Tag Archives: GW Bush

Proposed Post-Birth Abortion Ban Could Shut Down Iraq War

Democrats in the House of Representatives have proposed a bill that would legislatively create a twenty-year period of “Post-Birth Fetal Development,” during which abortion would be completely illegal. Rep. Roberta Goldwaithe, the bill’s primary sponsor, thinks this is an idea whose time has come. “Neurologists have established that the human brain isn’t completely developed through adolescence. This explains why many young people engage in irrational and dangerous behaviors; drinking and driving, date rape, signing up for the Marines… every parent has his or her own horror story. It’s time for those of us who believe in the sanctity of human life to put our principles before our politics. We must protect all human life, including those who have not yet fully developed into independent creatures.”

Republicans have concerns that the “Post-Birth Fetal Development Pro-Life Abortion Ban Act” is a legislative Trojan horse with potential consequences reaching far beyond the abortion clinic, perhaps as far as Iraq, but Rep. Goldwaithe dismisses these accusations. “A Republican who would vote against the Pro-Life Abortion Ban Act is clearly a closest pro-choice, anti-life satanist, and I know that voters will be smart enough to recognize that come election day.” Goldwaithe admits, however, that the new law would affect the war in Iraq:

It goes without saying that being placed in a war zone would threaten fetal life, but this is a secondary concern. President Bush recently pledged, ‘I believe human life is a sacred gift from our Creator. I worry about a culture that devalues life, and believe as your President I have an important obligation to foster and encourage respect for life in America and throughout the world.’

The President expressed these sentiments to explain why he vetoed a bill that would have allowed federal funds for stem cell research. Embryos used for stem cell research consist of less than 200 cells. The vast majority will never develop into anything but freezer burn, and will eventually be destroyed. On the other hand, fetuses protected by the Post-Birth Act can be as much as six feet tall, and contain well over a hundred trillion cells. With proper care, all have the potential to become fully developed human beings. It’s inconceivable, pardon the phrase, that the President would refuse to protect the sanctity of life merely because it would interfere with military plans.

White House spokesman Tony Snow refused to comment directly on the proposed law, but did say that the administration would continue to support the right of a fetus to bear arms.

The Swiftian news

Dick Cheney’s jet, Air Force 2, was attacked by a suicide bomber, specifically a bird that threw itself into the right engine just before the jet’s landing at O’Hare airstrip. No particular group of birds has claimed responsibility for the attack, though analysts believe the VP’s favorite prey — farm-raised quail — were involved.

Cheney, unharmed but visibly shaken, said he would not alter his hunting strategy.

I will not give in to a few fowl terrorists. I will continue to shoot farm-raised birds released for my recreational pleasure from cages hidden behind bushes, and I will kill those birds. Quitting would render meaningless the sacrifice of my good friend, Harry Whittington, whom I shot in the face.

The Vice-President was in Chicago to speak at a function organized by the Heritage Foundation. The Vice President spoke about the importance refusing to set a specific date to withdraw from Iraq:

“It is impossible to argue that an unconditional timetable for retreat could serve the security interests of the United States. It would send a message to our enemies that the calendar is their friend, that all they have to do is wait us out, wait for the date certain, and then claim victory the day after.

Leaders of insurgency groups in Iraq responded with anger to the VP’s comments. “We must know the US withdrawal date in order to plan our victory-claiming celebration. The catering preparations alone will take forty-eight hours. And don’t even talk to me about making all those effigies.”

In other news, the President announced a plan to appoint a “war czar,” to finally achive victory in Iraq and Afghanistan. When asked for details, the President responded:

When I wish upon my czar;
Makes no difference who they are;
When I have a czar he’ll make my dreams come true.

President Bush then explained we could easily win in Iraq, but we all need to believe. He requested everyone present who believed in victory to clap their hands.

There were no additional questions.

Finally, on the human interest front, the winner of the Anna Nicole Smith baby contest was finally chosen from the group of finalists in the Bahamas. A disappointed crowd of men went home tanned, but empty-handed, when photographer Larry Birkhead was declared winner. Birkhead said he attributed his success to timing. “Anna asked me to set a definite time for withdrawal, but I refused.”

The Vice-President has not yet commented on Birkhead’s strategy.

Schlesinger v. Rove — a comparison of Presidential Special Assistants

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., historian, author and special assistant to President John F. Kennedy died February 28, 2007.
Presidential special assistants fill a unique role in an administration. Presidents choose individuals they believe have the experience, abilities and wisdom necessary to provide guidance during difficult times. A special assistant must share the presidents’ values and his vision for America.

The following is a short comparison of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., special assistant to President John F. Kennedy, with Karl Rove, special assistant to President George W. Bush. I hope that viewing this comparison is as enlightening for you as writing it was for me.

 

 

Schlesinger

Rove

Education

Harvard University, 1938-42

Left following Pearl Harbor, without completing his PHD

University of Utah 1969-71

University of MD — completed half a semester, 1971

George Mason University, 1973-75

University of Texas at Austin, 1977

Never received his bachelor’s degree

War
Experience

Volunteered for combat during WWII, turned down due to bad eyesight; spent 1942-45 in the
Office of War Information, and the Office of Strategic Services, precursor to the CIA.

Maintained a student deferment during his semester and a half of college in Utah and MD; lost his deferment just prior to the end of the draft.

Youthful
fame

Won the Pulitzer Prize at 29 for The Age of Jackson, a history of Andrew Jackson’s presidency.

Stole stationary from the offices of a democratic candidate for Illinois state treasurer, used them to produce handbills advertising “free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing” at the opening of the candidate’s
new campaign headquarters, and distributed the handbills at rock
concerts and homeless shelters.

Significant
Mentor

Reinhold Niebuhr, Christian theologian, proponent of the use of Christian values as a basis for politics and diplomacy, and one of the architects of modern
“just war” theory.

Donald Segretti, a Nixon political operative. Rove worked under Sergretti during Nixon’s campaign, when Segretti obtained letterhead stationary from Democratic presidential candidate Ed Muskie and used it to produce a bogus letter falsely claiming that Democratic Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson had fathered an illegitimate child with a 17 year old woman. Segretti was later convicted as a Watergate conspirator.

What he said about his President

“… urbane, objective, analytical, controlled, contained, masterful, a man of perspective…”

“Huge amounts of charisma, swagger, cowboy boots, flight jacket, wonderful smile, just charisma – you know, wow!

Other
significant achievements

Wrote twenty books, won two Pulitzer prizes, three national book awards, the Four Freedoms Award and the Paul Peck Award. Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1961.

Served as Special Assistant for Latin America affairs and speech writer for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, 1961-64.

Ran George W. Bush’s presidential campaign, including
during the S. Carolina primary, when a whisper campaign falsely claiming that opposing candidate John McCain was mentally unstable, had been a stoolie
during the time he spent in a Vietnamese POW camp, and had fathered a black, illegitimate child.

Rove, a political operative, served Bush as assistant to
the president, deputy chief of staff, and senior adviser.

Rove outdoes his mentor Segretti, giving testimony in the investigation of the Valerie Plame affair, and is not even indicted

Quotation

“If we are to survive, we must have ideas, vision, and courage. These things are rarely produced by committees. Everything that matters in our intellectual
and moral life begins with an individual confronting his own mind and conscience in a room by himself.”

“As people do better, they start voting like Republicans – unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing.”

Ed Henry, My Valentine

Ed, I know we haven’t always seen eye to eye, but today you’ve won my heart.

Today you had the nerve to ask Bush why the hell anyone should trust his accusations that Iranian weapons are being used against Americans in Iraq. Bush was clearly shocked that anyone would suggest his administration would fabricate evidence about weapons. Watching the exchange was better than chocolates or roses.

If you’d like to see the video, check out Think Progress here. Here’s the transcript:

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. I want to follow up on Iran one more time. Are you saying, today, that you do not know if senior members of the Iranian government are, in fact, behind these explosives?

That contradicts what U.S. officials said in Baghdad on Sunday. They said the highest levels of the Iranian government were behind this. It also — it seems to square with what General Pace has been saying, but contradicts with what your own press secretary said yesterday. What…

BUSH: Can I — let me — I can’t say it more plainly: There are weapons in Iraq that are harming U.S. troops because of the Quds Force. As you know, I hope, the Quds Force is a part of the Iranian government. Whether Ahmadinejad ordered the Quds Force to do this, I don’t think we know. But we do know that they’re there. And I intend to do something about it. And I’ve asked our commanders to do something about it. And we’re going to protect our troops.

QUESTION: But given some of those contradictions, Mr. President…

BUSH: There’s no contradiction that the weapons are there and they were provided by the Quds Force…

QUESTION: What assurances can you give the American people that the intelligence this time will be accurate?

BUSH: Ed, We know they’re there. We know they’re provided by the Quds Force. We know the Quds Force is a part of the Iranian government. I don’t think we need who picked up the phone and said to the Quds Force, Go do this, but we know it’s a vital part of the Iranian government.

What matters is, is that we’re responding. The idea that somehow we’re manufacturing the idea that the Iranians are providing IEDs is preposterous. My job is to protect our troops. And when we find devices that are in that country that are hurting our troops, we’re going to do something about it, pure and simple.

Now, David says: Does this mean you’re trying to have a pretext for war? No. It means I’m trying to protect our troops. That’s what that’s means. And that’s what the family members of our soldiers expect the commander in chief and those responsible for — responsible for our troops on the ground.

Mum’s the Word

I recently had the opportunity to interview the Director of the Executive Non-Communications Office in Washington, D.C. It had been trying to contact ENCO for years, but they never returned my calls, so you can imagine my pleased surprise when I received the invitation.

I arrived at the State Department HQ at the appointed time, and was guided to ENCO’s office, down in the labyrinth of the sub-sub basement. The director was at his desk when I arrived. He wore mirrored aviator sunglasses and held a small bull-horn shaped voice-scrambler that he spoke through during our conversation. His voice coming out of the machine was metallic and flat, bearing eerie resemblance to the voice of Dick Cheney.

I shook his hand and was invited to sit down.

“I appreciate your taking the time to meet with me,” I began eagerly. “I hope I can give the public some insight into ENCO’s achievements.”

“I’m more than happy to speak with you. As you probably know, our work is confidential, but a decision was made to leak information to the public. This conversation is entirely off the record. Feel free to take notes and publish whatever you’d like. We’ll just deny this interview ever took place. Given your place in the journalistic pecking order, everyone will believe you made it all up, but, with luck, the regular press will cover the story of your deceit, and the information will get out, unconfirmed. So you see, we’ll all get what we want. I only mention this to provide an example of ENCO expertise in matters of non-communication.”

“Uhhh… thank you… Maybe you can start by telling me about your organizational responsibilities. I take it from your address that ENCO is part of the State Department?”

“Oh no, not at all. Our office is located here to maintain our confidentiality. We hide behind the cloud of irrelevancy surrounding the State Department, but we have very little to do with them — to be honest, we’ve pretty much replaced the State Department. As head of the Office, I report directly to the President, who in turn keeps Vice-President Cheney apprised of our activities. We’re funded under through FEMA’s budget for providing emergency hurricane relief to New Orleans.”

“Wait a minute…. your budget comes from Katrina relief funds? Is that legal?”

“Of course it’s legal” The Director’s mechanized voice seemed to grow even colder. “The President authorized the reallocation of funds in a signing statement that accompanied his approval of the emergency budget. Then the Attorney Genera wrote a memo assuring the legality of the President’s signing statement. After all, our office is dedicated to protecting the country — including New Orleans — from terrorism.”

“I’m surprised none of this came out in the press. At least I don’t think I’ve heard anything.”

“Of course you haven’t!” the Director snapped. “The reallocation, the signing statement and the AG’s memo are all classified, Executive Eyes Only. This is just the sort of information that would encourage our enemies and demoralize the troops were it to get out.” He peered at me again. “Say, you’re not one of those traitors who wish Saddam was still in power are you?

“N-No.. of course not! I’m just amazed… the whole plan is so… diabolical.”

The Director leaned back in his chair again and smiled. “Thank you. The entire plan came out of this shop. It was the first official recommendation of the Non-Communication Office.”

“Is that the sort of work the Office routinely does?”

“Oh no, our primary mission is international diplomacy management. We’re constantly reviewing the international situation and recommending where to focus the nation’s diplomatic efforts.”

“I see. I’ve noticed…” — I decided to tread carefully on this ground — “I’ve noticed the liberal media complains that the administration hasn’t accomplished much through diplomacy.”

“There’s actually quite a bit going on — we’re currently engaged in diplomatic efforts with a number of countries —- Canada, Australia, Norway…. oh, and let’s not forget Poland.”

“Those really don’t seem to be nations where diplomacy is needed to resolve problems….”

The director smiled broadly. I could almost hear pride in his electronic voice. “That’s where ENCO’s planning has really paid off. US diplomatic efforts are now focused on countries where there aren’t any problems to resolve. It makes the work so much easier. And more social. We like to call those nations the ‘coalition of the chillin’.” His synthesized laugh made me shiver. “…you get it, right? “chillin’? It sort of rhymes with ‘willin’? Like willing, only….”

I tried to keep my forced laugh from sounding as flat as his mechanical giggle. “Yes, I see. Very good joke. But I can’t help wondering…. what about places where diplomacy might solve real problem? Shouldn’t we be spending more time in, oh, I don’t know… Iran, say? Or Syria… Lebanon… maybe Palestine?

“The President has a very strict policy about those countries. Being allowed to talk with the United States is a privilege, and the President will not reward countries who are engaged in activities we don’t approve of. It just gives them the attention they want.

“So we’ll never have talks with Iran?”

“Of course we will! We’ll open talks with Iran as soon as they start behaving.”

“Which means…..”

Well, we’ve placed a Presidential attention embargo on Iran because of their nuclear power program and their interference with Iraqi freedom. All Iran has to do is to stop doing those things, and the President will open negotiations with them.”

“But…… aren’t those issues the reason why we need talks?”

“Of course.”

“But we won’t talk with them….

“….until the stop doing the things that are problems. Exactly. Then we’ll send in all the diplomats they’d like. You have to admit it’s a perfect policy. By the time talks start, the really big issues are solved!”

“I have to admit, I’m awed. What other nations is the President punishing with silence?

“Well, the list is changing all the time. Let’s see… we won’t talk with Syria or Lebanon or the Palestinian Authority. In fact, the President was so upset about the Palestinian elections, we may not even speak with them when they get rid of Abbas. Not until the people themselves apologize for misusing their precious freedom to put the Hamas in power in the first place. And .. let’s see… there’s Venezuela, Darfur…

“Wait a minute — we have a policy of purposely ignoring Darfur?!”

“Of course! Haven’t you read about what’s going on in that country? It’s a mess! People are being killed, tortured…. I admit it’s been a tough nut to crack. We’ve been ignoring them for three years now, and there hasn’t been much improvement. But the President believes if we stay the course, the leaders in Darfur…. whoever they are….will eventually accede to our unspoken demand to fix everything up so that diplomatic relations with the United States can begin. Darfur has probably been on our list longer than anyone else. Except maybe Antarctica…”

By this point, I felt nothing would shock me. “You’re saying we refuse to engage in diplomatic relations with a continent. You do know there isn’t a government there?”

“Well, yes, but there have been a lot of problems in Antarctica, all that snow melting and global warming talk. The President feels we should be prepared to do our best to encourage Antarctica to pull itself up by it’s bootstraps, should there be any Antarcticans to encourage. It’s an example of the President’s long-range vision for America. Be sure to mention that in your article, should you ever be tempted to write one about this off-the-record discussion.

The Director went on: “The President wanted to add the Arctic to the Non-Communication list, until someone in the office pointed out there’s really no land there. Did you know all those polar bears and seals and things live on huge chunks of ice with nothing underneath? It’s no wonder they’re having problems up there. Anyway, we didn’t think it would be worth the President’s effort to ignore a bunch of icebergs. And really, the problem seems to be taking care of itself, doesn’t it?”

The Director didn’t seem to need more encouragement to talk about ENCO’s accomplishments. “There are lots of people and things that aren’t nations that fall under ENCO’s jurisdiction. I guess you could say Antarctica is only the tip of the iceberg,” he grinned. That’s sort of an office joke.” I grimaced politely and nodded him on.

“Other targets of punitive non-communcation include groups and individuals. For example, the President will talk with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, but he’s made a commitment to not listen to him. He absolutely won’t speak with anyone at the United Nations. In fact, President Bush was so upset with Kofi Anan that he considered locking him in the UN building without supper.

He’s never listened to Congress, of course, and recently he went so far as sticking his fingers in his ears and singing loudly during a policy discussion with Nancy Pelosi.

He was very upset, even hurt, by the Iraqi Study Group, and has ignored them entirely. Except for Mr. Baker, of course, though he often pretends he’s not in his office when he knows Baker is coming.

Our most recent recommendation, made just after the last election, led to he President’s decision to refuse to listen to the American people. This was really a tough decision for him. I think it really hurts him more than it hurts the people, but the President knows that a leader must stand firm on doing what he knows is right.”

“Wait a minute! How can he do that? Isn’t there any concern that ignoring Congress and the American people might hurt Republicans badly in 2008?”

“That did come up, but the President feels strongly that this is a crucial moment of change in the history of the country. He used to think God elected him to the Presidency to fix Iraq, but for various reasons he’s decided that his real holy mission is to teach the American people that they have to listen to their leaders if they expect their leaders to listen to them. So he’s decided to ignore the 2008 election and continue as President until the electorate learns their lesson. We’ve run the idea by focus groups, and we’re pretty sure that the American people will do anything he wants if he promises to listen to them in 2012.”