The Beltway Bandit

An online journal of politics, culture, and sports

Thursday, July 31, 2003

POWERLESS AGAINST BOMBS -- The U.S. commander in Iraq's biggest province has admitted his troops are powerless to stop bomb attacks launched against them by anti-occupation Iraqi guerrillas.
"Frankly there is little that we can do as far as force protection," said Col. David Teeples, commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in al-Anbar province, home to some of Iraq's most restive and anti-American cities.

Over the past two weeks, his forces have witnessed an escalation in attacks by improvised explosive devices -- TNT, plastic explosive and propane cylinders hooked to electrical wires triggered by remote control devices.
In addition, Colonel Teeples admitted civilian air travel is not possible in Iraq right now because the guerrillas possess an unknown number of anti-aircraft missiles, which they have used--without success so far--against American aircraft. A reward of $500 for any shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapon is now in effect.

NY TIMES PANS BUSH PRESSER -- The New York Times was not terribly impressed with the way Mr Bush dodged questions about Iraq and the poor economy at his press conference yesterday. In fact, the editorial board rapped Mr Bush for giving answers that were, at times, "incoherent."
Mr. Bush will simply not engage the issue of whether his administration exaggerated the Iraqi threat in the months leading up to the American invasion. When asked whether the United States had lost credibility with the rest of the world since neither weapons of mass destruction nor a strong Al Qaeda connection had been uncovered in Iraq, the president veered off into a tour through American history and the difficulty of coming up with an Iraqi version of Thomas Jefferson. He then skidded to a halt with the announcement that "I'm confident history will prove the decision we made to be the right decision."

Mr. Bush still hung onto his most well-worn buzzwords, however. Iraq was a "threat" — just as the tax cuts were "a job-creation program." The president and his advisers obviously still believe that the constant repetition of several simplistic points will hypnotize the American people into forgetting the original question.

Saddam Hussein was certainly a threat to his own people, and there is still an enormous amount to be gained if the United States can foster a prosperous, open society in Iraq. But that does not cancel out the fact that the primary reasons Washington gave for the invasion look increasingly suspect. That is a serious problem, both in terms of the nation's credibility and the reliability of American intelligence. Mr. Bush owes the nation more than a brushoff on these matters.

In the case of the economy, the president was stuck defending an indefensible strategy of piling up one unnecessary tax cut after another. Having helped to turn the promise of budget surpluses into the disappointment of rising deficits, Mr. Bush mimics his father's out-of-touch performance in the 1992 campaign by acting as if the country is in fine fiscal shape. It is hard to buy his assertion that his first concern is Americans who are out of work.

Given the rambling non-answers the president gave to questions about Iraq and the economy, it was interesting to hear how focused he was when someone asked how, with no opponent, he planned to spend $170 million or more on the primary. "Just watch me," Mr. Bush said concisely. There is one area in which the president's thinking is crystal clear.
After kissing Mr Bush's ass for the better part of two years, perhaps the NY Times editorial board has finally had enough of this fraudulent president.

ANOTHER G.I. DIES -- Yes, it is that time again--time to tell you another precious American life has been lost to hostile fire in Iraq. Two more U.S. soldiers wounded, too. Thus ends our golden era--48 hours of relative calm when no American soldier was killed in country.

YOUR DAILY DOONESBURY -- Chickenhawk talk.

POT CALLS KETTLE -- Calling homosexual marriage "gravely immoral," the Vatican has kicked its campaign against gay unions into high gear. Hey, John Paul, you know what is gravely immoral? This. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church says Catholic lawmakers have a duty to oppose "deviant" gay marriages. Do Catholic lawmakers also have a duty to oppose capital punishment? And if so, when do we hear about that?

DEFENSE BOOSTS ECONOMY -- It was a pretty good week for the economy by the standards of the Bush regime. Why? Well, it turns out that if you boost defense spending to levels unseen since the Korean War it will have a stimulative effect on the economy. So, as long as we stay at war...

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

I'VE SEEN TOO MUCH -- This is just frightening.

DOWD ON WOLFIE -- Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz testified on Capitol Hill yesterday and spent much of time dodging and weaving that attacks from both Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who know how dishonest the Bush regime has been about...well, everything to do with Iraq. Maureen Dowd summarizes some of the more absurd bits:
Senator Lincoln Chafee, Republican of Rhode Island, responded to Mr. Wolfowitz's oration about Saddam's tyranny by noting sharply that Liberia's Charles Taylor is also a vicious tyrant famous for dismembering and burning victims, and spreading war. "But we're doing nothing in Liberia," he said. He objected to Mr. Wolfowitz's using 9/11 to push regime change in Iraq, even though the hawk had advocated getting rid of Saddam all through the late 90's.

Senator Joseph Biden excoriated Mr. Wolfowitz for his lack of candor and said his own review of the Iraqi police force — "almost looked like the Katzenjammer Kids" — had convinced him democracy was way off.

"I no more agree, just for the record, with your assessment that Iraq is the hotbed of terror now than I did [with] your assertions about Al Qaeda connections at the front end," Mr. Biden said, adding that if officials did not tell the truth to the public about the costs in Iraq, they would lose credibility.

Spill all the facts? This crowd? Fat chance. Only yesterday, the administration showed ingenious new talent for insidious secrecy. President Bush refused to declassify the 28-page redaction about the Saudi government's role in financing the hijackings, even though the Saudi foreign minister flew to the U.S. to ask the president to do that. (You know you're in trouble when the Saudis are begging you to be more open.)
At least the Democrats have gotten off the mat and a few of the more honest Republicans [Chaffee, Lugar] are wondering what sort of kooks they've allowed to control their party and their country.

ACCOUNTABILITY, PLEASE -- By now, you should be aware that, in its efforts to discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson--the man who revealed the Bush regime's African nuclear lies to be, well, lies, two members of the White House illegally revealed the identity of Mr Wilson's wife, who is a CIA agent. Yet nothing has happened and Mr Bush and his staff continue to dodge questions about this serious matter. Josh Marshall writes in The Hill:
To date, Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) have called for investigations and any number of other senators have told reporters that some sort of inquiry is probably in order. But let’s be honest. We don’t really need any investigations, with all their depositions and fancy lawyers and public grandstanding. If the president wanted to, he could wrap this up with a few quick phone calls. So why doesn’t he?

A few years back, this town sped into paroxysms over claims that the Clinton White House had used FBI files to smear its critics. Even according to Ken Starr, those charges turned out to be baseless. This outrage, on the other hand, actually happened. And, when you think about it, that sort of makes it worse.
You'd think so, wouldn't you?

BUSHISM OF THE DAY -- "Security is the essential roadblock to achieving the road map to peace."
—Washington, D.C., July 25, 2003.
Thanks to Slate, as always.

DOOMSDAY SCENARIO -- It's almost too awful to contemplate, but what would Mr Bush do if he served a second term in the White House? Well, we'd get plenty of tax cuts [regardless of the state of the economy or the budget deficit], "tort reform" to limit the amount of damages plaintiffs can obtain when wronged by corporations, and plenty of oil drilling in national parks and nature preserves.

Still feel like voting for Ralph Nader?

BUSH WANTS CUTS IN AIR MARSHALLS -- In light of recent warnings from the Bush regime that Al Qaida is planning more suicide attacks with hijacked airliners, one would think a hefty increase in the number of air marshalls in the skies would be a priority. One would be wrong. In fact, the Bush regime is trying to cut more than $100 million in the budget for air marshalls, reducing the number of air marshalls available to defend our planes.
The TSA is seeking approval from Congress to cut $104 million from the air marshal program to help offset a $900 million budget shortfall. It's unclear how many of the estimated several thousand air marshal jobs would be affected.

"When we are faced with more priorities than we have funding to support, we have to go through a process of trying to address the most urgent needs," TSA spokesman Robert Johnson said.

News of the air marshal program cutbacks come as the Department of Homeland Security is warning of the possibility of hijackings.

President Bush noted the threat during a White House news conference Wednesday and said U.S. officials are talking to foreign governments about it.

"There are still al-Qaida remnants that have designs on America. The threat is a real threat," he said. "We obviously don't have specific data. We don't know when, where, what. ... I'm confident that we will thwart their attempts."

A copy of the advisory, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, suggests an attack could take place by the end of the summer. The warning said terrorists may use five-man teams to take over airplanes just after takeoff or before landing and crash them into buildings.

"The hijackers may try to calm passengers and make them believe they were on a hostage, not suicide, mission," said the warning, which was distributed over the weekend to airlines and law enforcement agencies said. "The hijackers may attempt to use common items carried by travelers, such as cameras, modified as weapons."

It suggested cities on the East Coast, in the United Kingdom, Italy and Australia as possible targets.
Oh, those 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are looking better and better, aren't they?

BRING IT ON! -- This is what it means.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

GOOD NEWS FOR GRAY DAVIS -- Embattled Governor Gray Davis [D-CA] needs some good news and today he got some. Firstly, the state agreed on a budget that should eliminate and postpone California's massive budget deficit, lessening the potency of that issue against the incumbent--who now faces a recall election organized by his political opponents. Secondly, it appears that actor Arnold Schwarzenegger will probably not be running for governor.

VETERAN SUPPORT FOR BUSH DROPS -- It's always been difficult to understand why veterans voted for that draft-dodging coward George W Bush in the first place, but most of them did and that's a fact. Now, however, many veterans dislike Mr Bush and plan to vote against him in 2004. Why? Well, Mr Bush has consistently opposed legislation to ease the health care burden on retired veterans. Legislation to move that burden from the vets themselve and on to the federal government would cost only $5 billion per year, but the Bush regime has repeatedly warned Congress against it, despite the fact that 345 members of Congress have co-sponsored a bill to do just that. Some veterans are starting to notice.
"He pats us on the back with his speeches and stabs us in the back with his actions," said Charles A. Carter of Shawnee, Okla., a retired Navy senior chief petty officer. "I will vote non-Republican in a heart beat if it continues as is."

"I feel betrayed," said Raymond C. Oden Jr., a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant now living in Abilene, Texas.

Many veterans say they will not vote for Bush or any Republican in 2004 and are considering voting for a Democrat for the first time. Others say they will sit out the election, angry with Bush and Republicans but unwilling to support Democrats, whom they say are no better at keeping promises to veterans. Some say they will still support Bush and his party despite their ire.

While there are no recent polls to measure veterans' political leanings, any significant erosion of support for Bush and Republicans could hurt in a close election. It could be particularly troublesome in states such as Florida that are politically divided and crowded with military retirees.

Registered Republican James Cook, who retired to Fort Walton Beach, Fla., after 24 years in the Air Force, said he is abandoning a party that he said abandoned him. "Bush is a liar," he said. "The Republicans in Congress, with very few exceptions, are gutless party lapdogs who listen to what puts money in their own pockets or what will get them re-elected."
Maybe they'd like a real veteran--someone like Senator John Kerry [D-MA] or retired General Wesley Clark--instead of that phoney "fighter pilot" George W Bush.

LUGAR RIPS WHITE HOUSE IRAQ POLICY -- While Deputy Secretary of State Paul Wolfowitz was testifying that there may be 20,000 pro-Saddam Baathists fighting U.S. forces in Iraq, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar [R-IN] harshly criticized the White House Iraq policy for hiding the true cost of the occupation from the American people and creating unrealistic expectations about when the occupation might end.
Mr. Lugar, a respected foreign-policy voice in Congress whose views carry considerable weight, has repeatedly criticized the Bush administration's approach to pacifying and rebuilding Iraq.

Today, the senator said that because of "bureaucratic inertia, political caution, unrealistic expectations," Americans were taking a tentative and insufficient approach to Iraq, one that risked failure.

He said the United States needed, instead, to show the same sort of can-do spirit as it displayed for 11 months, beginning in June 1948, to overcome the Soviet blockade of western Berlin and sustain the city's 2.5 million residents. Mr. Lugar urged Americans to replicate the "sense that we could achieve the impossible, despite short time constraints and severe conditions, risk and consequence."

A first step, he said, was to make a more realistic, long-term commitment to Iraq.

"Congress," he said, has "been a co-conspirator with the administration in failing to advance a predictable, multiyear budget for operations in Iraq that would demonstrate American vision and commitment, attract allied support and clarify the scope of our mission."
Senator Lugar, who is surely becoming the White House's second-most-despised Republican senator [after John McCain, of course], also suggested a United Nations resolution might be necessary to give the U.S. occupation more legitimacy.

MORE ATTACKS EXPECTED -- The U.S government is warning that more Al Qaida attacks are expected in the coming months. Officials believe those attacks will be similar to the 9/11 atrocities, with suicide bombers and hijacked airplanes used to inflict massive civilian casualties.

TEEHEEHEE -- All his music sounds like it so the fans might as well throw it at him.

SOME TOUGH GUYS -- Those tough, hardbitten civilians at the Pentagon--who always stick to their guns like real men--have already abandoned the terror futures market they had planned and that was announced yesterday. The market was a bad idea, but watching them retreat so quickly and in such ignominy shows you how tough these guys really are.

PREGNANT PANDA? -- We might have a pregnant panda at the National Zoo. I'm crossing my fingers because, sure as hell, the Zoo could use some good news right about now.

BAD POLL FOR BUSH -- The latest IPSOS-Public Affairs poll shows that the number of people who believe Mr Bush cooked the pre-Iraq War intelligence and the number of people who do not think the war was worth fighting are growing. In addition, a large number of people think the war was worth fighting, but believe the intelligence was cooked and strongly disapprove of Mr Bush's economic and domestic policies.

DAILY DOONESBURY -- Rummy v. the troops.

BUSH MAINTAINS 9/11 SECRECY -- Despite calls from members of the Senate of both parties, the White House has announced its determination to keep key portions of the 9/11 report classified.
Declassifying 28 pages of redacted material, as has been requested by the Saudi government and some members of Congress, would "compromise our national security and possibly interfere with the investigation of the events of Sept. 11," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.
...
Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., a presidental candidate and the co-chairman of a congressional committee investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, called on Monday for Bush to declassify a section of the 900-page congressional report dealing with foreign support for the hijackers.
...
Graham had said that releasing the report would "permit the Saudi government to deal with any questions which may be raised in the currently censored pages, and allow the American people to make their own judgment about who are our true friends and allies in the war on terrorism."

Graham made the request in a Monday letter to Bush.

After the report was released last Thursday, Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan issued a statement saying that "28 blanked-out pages are being used by some to malign our country and our people."

"Saudi Arabia has nothing to hide. We can deal with questions in public, but we cannot respond to blank pages," he said.

Citing those comments, Graham said Bandar "has joined in asking that the pages be declassified."
Perhaps I'm being uncharitable, but I doubt the Saudi sincerity when they demand the remaining portion of the 9/11 report be declassified. It looks good ["we've got nothing to hide"] and does not require any special bravery as long as they have assurances from their allies in the White House that their "request" will not be granted. Nevertheless, the American public needs to know the truth and the survivors of those who perished on 9/11/01 deserve to know the truth. A Democratic candidate for president should make it a staple of his stump speech to assure the nation that one of his first acts as president will be to declassify the remaining portions of the 9/11 report.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE FALLS -- Why would anyone lack confidence in the Bush economy?

Monday, July 28, 2003

ACTIONS v. WORDS -- While the Bush regime's words on the Iraq occupation remain relentlessly cheerful, Fred Kaplan of Slate notices that its actions contradict the public optimism. Why? Well, reporters are not being embedded anymore and Mr Bush is considering sending James Baker to the country, where he would undoubtedly wield more power than current supremo Paul Bremer. Mr Kaplan is hopeful this signals a change in favor of diplomacy and multilateralism and away from the belligerent unilateralism that has characterized the Bush regime's foreign policy hitherto. I'm not as optimistic as Mr Kaplan.

9/11 REPORT NAILS RICE -- Serial liar/National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice has been contradicted several times by the authors of the 9/11 report, who appear to regard some of Ms Rice's public comments about the terror attacks as lacking in sincerity.
President Bush's adviser told the public in May 2002 that a pre-Sept. 11 intelligence briefing for the president on terrorism contained only a general warning of threats and largely historical information, not specific plots, the report said.

But the authors of the congressional report, released last week, stated the briefing given to the president a month before the suicide hijackings included recent intelligence that al-Qaida was planning to send operatives into the United States to carry out an attack using high explosives.
...
The Sept. 11 congressional investigators underscore their point three times in their report, using nearly identical language to contrast Rice's answers with the actual information in the presidential briefing.

The president's daily briefing on Aug. 6, 2001, contained "information acquired in May 2001 that indicated a group of bin Laden supporters was planning attacks in the United States with explosives," the report stated.
There's more. Read it all. The noose is tightening around Ms Rice's neck. It's only a stop on the way to Vice President Cheney and Mr Bush himself, but it's a stop worth making nonetheless.

LUGAR WANTS HONESTY ON IRAQ -- Senator Richard Lugar [R-IN], Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, is criticizing the Bush regime for not telling the truth about the true cost of the Iraq War.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar of Indiana said on National Public Radio that the White House understands there is a big price tag for rebuilding Iraq. ``But they do not wish to discuss that,'' Lugar said.

Asked by NPR whether rebuilding Iraq will cost tens of billions of dollars, Lugar responded, ``Yes. We are talking about that. And that's what needs to be talked about now as opposed to one surprise after another'' in funding requests to Congress.

Lugar supported the war in Iraq but has said U.S. post-war planning was inadequate. During the interview, Lugar said the White House should lay out a 4-year budget plan for providing security, humanitarian aid and other expenses related to rebuilding Iraq after the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein.
Senator Lugar's committee holds hearings tomorrow about the Iraq occupation tomorrow. Let's hope the senator, one of the few honest Republicans left in high office, holds the Bush regime's feet to the fire.

HATE THY NEIGHBOR? -- Depressed after meeting a horde of right-wing morons in Goshen, Connecticut, Brian Montopoli is angry and ready to write off the righties. Always tempting, Brian.

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER DEATH -- More American blood is shed in Iraq:
The military, meanwhile, reported a U.S. soldier killed in an attack in the capital, while guerrillas blew up a major civilian bridge in an attempt to disrupt the U.S. occupation.

In Baghdad, military officials said the soldier was killed when insurgents dropped a grenade on his convoy as it drove below an overpass, the military said. Three soldiers were wounded.

The death brought to 49 the number of soldiers killed in the guerrilla war since May 1, when President Bush declared an end to major combat in Iraq. In all, 164 U.S. soldiers have died in combat in Iraq, 17 more than were killed in the 1991 Gulf War.
And let's not forget the sabotage:
North of Baghdad, guerrillas floated a bomb on a palm log down the Diala River, a Tigris tributary, and detonated it under an old bridge linking the northern cities of Baqouba and Tikrit, hotbeds of Saddam support in the so-called "Sunni Triangle."

U.S. soldiers had built a pontoon bridge farther downstream and were renovating the old bridge, but after the explosion they closed both to the public.

"We've been repairing it since the end of April, but now we've got people trying to blow it up," said Lt. Col. Bill Adamson, a 4th Infantry Division commander. "Because of this damage we've got to shut it to all the civilian traffic."

The bomb was the first known guerrilla attack on a bridge. Bridges are especially crucial in a nation born around its two major rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates. Saboteurs have attacked infrastructure such as electricity plants, water installations and oil pipelines in the past.
It is increasingly clear the U.S. forces are facing a determined and cunning enemy in Iraq.

SADDAM NOT LEADING REBELS -- The Bush regime has contended for some time that Saddam Hussein and Baath party regulars are organizing the anti-American attacks in Iraq. This was always a convenient explanation for the Bush regime because it suggested the people of Iraq are virtually unanimous in their embrace of the U.S. invasion, while only a small minority of those connected to the former dictator are opposed. Now, however, the Bush regime's own man in Iraq has blown the lid on that shabby story.
Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited 4th Infantry commanders in Tikrit and later told reporters in Baghdad that Saddam "was too busy trying to save his own skin" to lead the insurgency against American forces.

"He is so busy surviving he is having no impact on the security situation here," Myers said.
Exactly. The attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq are being organized and carried out by nationalist and religious opponents of the invasion. In other words, there are plenty of people who hated Saddam and oppose the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

DICK CHENEY: SECRET DOVE -- That was then:
If you're going to go in and try to topple Saddam Hussein, you have to go to Baghdad. Once you've got Baghdad, it's not clear what you do with it. It's not clear what kind of government you would put in place of the one that's currently there now. Is it going to be a Shia regime, a Sunni regime or a Kurdish regime? Or one that tilts toward the Baathists, or one that tilts toward the Islamic fundamentalists? How much credibility is that government going to have if it's set up by the United States military when it's there? How long does the United States military have to stay to protect the people that sign on for that government, and what happens to it once we leave?
--Dick Cheney, April 1991
And that was then:
[A few weeks later, when the uprisings occurred among the Shi'a in the South and the Kurds in the North,] I was not an enthusiast about getting U.S. forces and going into Iraq. We were there in the southern part of Iraq to the extent we needed to be there to defeat his forces and to get him out of Kuwait, but the idea of going into Baghdad, for example, or trying to topple the regime wasn't anything I was enthusiastic about. I felt there was a real danger here that you would get bogged down in a long drawn-out conflict, that this was a dangerous, difficult part of the world; if you recall we were all worried about the possibility of Iraq coming apart, the Iranians restarting the conflict that they'd had in the eight-year bloody war with the Iranians and the Iraqis over eastern Iraq. We had concerns about the Kurds in the north, the Turks get very nervous every time we start to talk about an independent Kurdistan.
--Dick Cheney, 1996
And that was then:
[I]f Saddam wasn't there, his successor probably wouldn't be notably friendlier to the United States than he is. I also look at that part of the world as of vital interest to the United States; for the next hundred years it's going to be the world's supply of oil. We've got a lot of friends in the region. We're always going to have to be involved there. Maybe it's part of our national character, you know, we like to have these problems nice and neatly wrapped up, put a ribbon around it. You deploy a force, you win the war, and the problem goes away, and it doesn't work that way in the Middle East; it never has and isn't likely to in my lifetime.
--Dick Cheney, 1996
And what now? Well, you know.

DATELINE: HOLLYWOOD IS VERY FUNNY. GO LOOK -- There is a new website out there called Dateline: Hollywood and it is pretty damn funny. It's sort of what The Onion might look like if it spent most of its time making fun of the entertainment industry instead of our political culture. [Which is almost as easy to spoof.] In case you're not convinced enough to click on that link, have a look at one of their current stories:
Oprah Winfrey is once again having a public feud with an author selected to be part of her book club. Readers may recall that in the previous incarnation of “Oprah’s Book Club,” the host disinvited Jonathan Franzen, author of “The Corrections,” after he publicly said of the honor that he had “considered turning it down.”

As she re-started her book club this past month, Oprah may have thought she was playing it safe with her selection of the John Steinbeck classic “East of Eden.” But the next day, custodians at the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Salinas, Calif. were shocked when Steinbeck’s maggot-ridden corpse rose from his coffin and walked around the graveyard chanting “No, Oprah! No, Oprah!” Cemetery night watchman Alan Williams said that the night after Oprah announced her choice, he had hear weird noises from near Steinbeck’s marker, “like someone turning over in his grave,” but had dismissed the sounds as a figment of his imagination.
I also like this pie chart, which examines why people watch reality television.

CARTOON OF THE DAY -- Mr Bush and the Saudis congratulate each other on what didn't make it into the 9/11 report.

BURIED BY HER SOURCES -- The most spectacular reporting on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction program was done by Judith Miller of The New York Times. Unfortunately, her reporting was spectacularly bad--and she's still at it. Slate has a good rundown on Judith Miller's failures on this story. Clearly, Ms Miller climbed aboard the Bush regime's WMD story and rode it for all it was worth. Turns out now, though, that it wasn't worth anything. After detailing the lies and failings of fired reporter Jayson Blair, perhaps The Paper of Record would be so good as to provide a similar accounting of Ms Miller's failures, which have been about as numerous and far more consequential than Mr Blair's shenanigans.

WOULD YOU HIRE HIM? -- What follows below is the curriculum vitae of George W. Bush as it should be written.

George W. Bush The White House, USA

PAST WORK EXPERIENCE

--I ran for Congress and lost.

--I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas; the company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.

--I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team, in a sweetheart deal and built a stadium using taxpayer money. With my father's help and name, I was elected Governor of Texas.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS GOVERNOR

--I changed pollution laws in favor of the power and oil companies and made TX the most polluted state in the US. And replaced Houston over L.A. as the most smog-ridden city in America. Cut taxes and bankrupted TX government to the tune of billions of dollars in borrowed money.

--I set the record for most executions by a Governor in US history.

--I became US President after losing the popular vote by over 500,000 votes with the help of major Enron money and my father's appointments to the Supreme Court.

PRESIDENTIAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS

--I attacked and overtook two countries.

--I spent the US surplus and bankrupted the US Treasury.

--I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in US history.

--I set an economic record for private bankruptcies in any 12-month period.

--I set the all time record for the biggest drop in history of the US stock market.

--I am the first president in US history to enter office with a criminal record.

--I set the record for most days on vacation in any one year.

--After taking the entire month of August off, I presided over the worst security failure in US history; I set the record for most campaign fundraising trips by a US president.

--I set the records for the least amount of press conferences than any president since the advent of television.

--I presided over the biggest energy crisis in US history and refused to intervene when oil industry corruption was revealed.

--I have cut healthcare benefits for war veterans.

--I set the all time record for the largest number of people worldwide to protest my policies in public venues (15 million) shattering the record for protest against anyone in world history.

--I have dissolved more international treaties than any president in US history.

--I have made my presidency the most secretive and unaccountable of any in US history.

--I presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud in any country in history.

--I am the first president to order a preemptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation, and besides that I did so against the will of the United Nations.

--I set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases, more than any president in US.

--I am the first president to have the UN remove the US from the Human Rights Commission.

--I withdrew the US from the World Court.

--I refused to allow inspectors access to prisoners of war and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.

--I am the all-time US and world record-holder for receiving the largest corporate campaign donations.

--My largest campaign contributor and one of my best friends, Ken Lay, former CEO of Enron, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in US history.

--My political party used the Enron Private jets and their corporate attorneys to assure my success with the Supreme Court during the 2000 election.

--I am the first president in history to have a majority of Europeans (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.

--In the past 18 months since the World Trade Center attack, I have successfully prevented any public investigation into the biggest security failure in US history.

--In a little over two years, I have created the most divided country in decades, possibly the most divided since the Civil War.

--I entered office with the strongest economy in US history and have turned every single economic category downward, all in less than two years.

RECORDS AND REFERENCES

--I have at least one conviction for drunk driving in Maine. And my Texas driving record has been erased and is unavailable.

--I was AWOL from the National Guard during the Vietnam War.

--I refuse to take a drug test or answer any questions about drug use.

--All records or minutes from meetings I, or my Vice-president, attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable to the public.

--These are just a few of my accomplishments as President, for inquiries and more information, my father can be reached at the Carlyle Group offices, where he and James Baker are helping to divide up the spoils of the US-Iraq War and planning for the next assault.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

NIXON APPROVED WATERGATE -- Jeb Magruder, former aide to President Nixon had previously contended that Nixon had not known of the Watergate break-in; that Chief of Staff John Mitchell had been behind it. Now, Mr Magruder is telling PBS that President Nixon approved the Watergate break-in personally during a telephone discussion with Mr Mitchell.

What a shock.

ANOTHER G.I. DIES IN IRAQ -- Earlier I blogged that three U.S. servicemen died in an attack from Iraqi guerrillas. Now, it seems a fourth serviceman died on Saturday, after he was ambushed by anti-American forces in Iraq. The Bush regime told us things would get better after the death of Saddam Hussein's two sons. However...

"Things are worse now," said Staff Sergeant Kenneth Maxwell, nervously fingering the trigger of his machinegun on an armored vehicle in Saddam's hometown of Tikrit on Saturday.

"They used to just attack us, mostly at night. But now they are attacking us during the day with AK-47s and RPGs (rocket- propelled grenades), at any American soldiers they can find," Maxwell said, eyes alert under the baking sun.
Lesson: Don't believe anything the Bush regime tells you. This is only going to get worse.

CONDI ON HER WAY OUT? -- It seems unlikely, but at least it is not unthinkable anymore.