Archive for the ‘George W. Bush’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at September 8, 2005

Category: George W. Bush

Lies, bluffs and obfuscation to look out for:

– You shouldn’t be playing the ‘blame game’ (see it in action; go to page and Ctrl+F for ‘blame game’ or read this handy extract or this excellent article)
– But the local authorities are actually to blame (see it in action)
– “The President had to beg the Governor of Louisiana to take action” (see it refuted)
– The local authorities didn’t follow the plan, or didn’t have a plan (see it refuted)
– The scale of disaster somehow excuses inaction, embodied primarily by “disaster area twice the size of Europe” (see it in action)
– Hatred of Bush driving criticism, suggesting it is in no way based on facts (see it in action)
“Nobody saw it coming”

(See also: What Kind Of Asshole Conservative Response Did You Have? and Listening To RW Radio – “They’ll Just Spend It On Crack”)

Meanwhile, a curtain is being drawn over New Orleans. Reports of an increasing media shut-down can be read here, here and here. A neat round-up can be read here.

Remember folks, we can overcome any shortfalls in reality if we can just manage the perception. Hell, it ‘worked’ in Iraq.

As for any kind of investigation or accountability, well, apart from this good news, we also have the following:

Republicans block efforts to amend relief bill, hold vote without providing copy of bill: Democrats said no one had even seen a copy of the legislation. Voting along party lines, Republicans denied a measure that would have allowed for two hours of discussion and opened up the measure to be amended. Democrats implored Republicans to allow amendments, which would enable consideration of measures such as which areas and to which agencies relief dollars were most needed and how to restructure FEMA so that it would be more effective.

GOP to announce fake rubber-stamp commission to investigate Katrina – no Democrats involved: Sources on the Hill are hearing that the Republicans are going to announce a “bipartisan” bicameral Katrina commission, except, while they are saying its bipartisan and bicameral, they’ve not told the Senate Democratic Leadership anything about it, the Democratic Leadership will not be invited to the announcement of the commission.

And finally, a refreshing acknowledgment of reality from the President (just kidding)…

Salon.com – “What didn’t go right?”: After a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Bush warned against the “blame game” as he pointed his finger: “Bureaucracy is not going to stand in the way of getting the job done for the people.” His aides briefed reporters on background that “bureaucracy” of course referred to state and local officials. That night, at the White House, Bush met with congressional leaders of both parties, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urged Bush to fire Brown. “Why would I do that?” the president replied. “Because of all that went wrong, of all that didn’t go right last week,” she explained. To which he answered, “What didn’t go right?”

UPDATE – Hm. Those words may come back to haunt him (but they probably won’t)…

Independent – Disaster agency chief to be fall-guy for federal failure: Mr Bush is loyal to appointees. But leaks against Mr Brown, about a lack of qualifications for the job – suspected of orginating in the White House, suggest he is being lined up as designated fall guy, in an attempt to save the necks of those higher up.

UPDATE (09 Sep) – Whoops. I forgot another bluff (used this morning by the fragrant Mrs Cheney); It’s a media obsession and the people don’t really care about blame. They want *action*. (So, therefore, they will never wish to ask questions about action that was not taken or have them asked on their behalf.)

UPDATE – TPMCafe – Deconstruction of the Myths: But the myth of the right’s pre-eminence in all things security related, which was never supported by evidence anyway, is not the only one found gasping beneath the waves of Lake Pontchartrain. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has exposed the tepid foundation of conservative thought itself: that society as a whole functions better when its participants pursue their own self interest over the interest of society.

UPDATE – The truth from Murdoch? Now we *know* Bush’s days are numbered.

UPDATE – “Now is not the time for finger-pointing,” says finger-pointing Republican.








Posted by Tim Ireland at September 7, 2005

Category: George W. Bush

Let’s begin with this excellent clarification of what ZDF actually claimed: And it actually was the case that all of a sudden this morning helper personnel showed up here, people who cleared away the rubble, who went through the houses in search of bodies, but exclusively along the route where the President travelled. Two hours ago the President left Biloxi again, and all of the helper personnel along with him.

OK, did you get that? The man who came to town to view the devastation either saw it from a 2500ft up or after it had been given a proper dusting. (The words beautiful mind spring to mind, but you also have to keep in mind that journalists have been asked if they wouldn’t mind not showing the recovery of bodies. It boggles the… something.)

But it gets worse. In my last post on this subject I highlighted the staff and equipment waylaid by these ‘helpful’ visits from The Backdrop President.

Today…. oh, I can’t even continue for fear of breaking my teeth. Here are the links:

Frustrated: Fire crews to hand out fliers for FEMA: But as specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew’s first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.

Firefighters thought they were going to be deployed: Instead told to hand out fliers, stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas

The Potemkin President I
The Potemkin President II

Bush’s use of firemen: props

FEMA puts firefighters to work – as props for Bush

I’m going to take you back to the original article now for this whopper: On Monday, some firefighters stuck in the staging area at the Sheraton peeled off their FEMA-issued shirts and stuffed them in backpacks, saying they refuse to represent the federal agency. Federal officials are unapologetic. “I would go back and ask the firefighter to revisit his commitment to FEMA, to firefighting and to the citizens of this country,” said FEMA spokeswoman Mary Hudak. The firefighters – or at least the fire chiefs who assigned them to come to Atlanta – knew what the assignment would be, Hudak said.

Talk about a lack of gratitude. They’ll be complaining about having to carry the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner next.

(Actually, I’m with Atrios on this one: So, if you object to having yourself be flown across the country so you can be a human prop for the president instead of actually using your skills to help the citizens of this country then you need to revisit your commitment to “the citizens of this country.” Fascist.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at September 6, 2005

Category: George W. Bush

ZDF screen captureA lot of folks from Europe read this blog. I have a favour to ask of anyone who can translate from German to English.

This claim has been repeated a lot today: There was a striking dicrepancy between the CNN International report on the Bush visit to the New Orleans disaster zone, yesterday, and reports of the same event by German TV. ZDF News reported that the president’s visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of ‘news people’ had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time. The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF.

But so far there is only one source.

This appears to be the ZDF report in question (but later reports can be found here or here if I’m wrong about that).

The only segment I can see that might possibly relate to this is in the first clip from 3:30 onwards (in that it appears to show an empty tarmac).

Can I please get someone to confirm that this claim was made on air?

(That would be step one. Step two would be to approach ZDF for actual footage if they have it.)

Please email manic@bloggerheads.com if you can help.

UPDATE – So far, the only thing close to the claimed report is this, which includes a description of troops clearing up debris before Bush arrived, and then disappearing afterwards. It looks like I’ll need to bother ZDF with a direct email.

UPDATE – Emails sent via zdf.de and zdf-enterprises.de

UPDATE – Someone else has been doing the legwork on this, too. Their findings are very similar, but they go into much more detail. You can read all about it here.

UPDATE – ZDF have been in touch, and agree that the above transcript and analysis is correct. Sadly, they have no footage of the clean-up and departure.

UPDATE – Yorkshire Ranter has a translation of another report by another German network (ARD), which brings us back to the original charge:

Bush comes into town (well, into the outskirts) and so do a lot of workers. Everybody looks busy for the cameras. Once the PR event is over, Bush leaves… and then so do the workers.








Posted by Tim Ireland at September 6, 2005

Category: George W. Bush

I heard some chap on TV last night explaining that the humanitarian crisis that followed Hurricane Katrina wasn’t about racism, because all of the people who were unable to leave were actually “the poor, the sick, and the elderly”…

That the poor and the sick just happen to be predominantly black seems to have escaped him. (It also needs to be noted that the elderly were asking for it… the smug longevity-obsessed coffin-dodgers.)

More humanity that you can see on almost every channel… those who refused to leave (some because they refused to leave the bodies of their relatives) are being used as form of human shield so the public is protected from the story of those not able to leave and those not permitted to leave (the latter situation was so shocking that even Geraldo broke ranks over it on air).

You’re also not allowed to know that George W. Bush doesn’t care about black people. Watch Mike Myers squirm here.

Lies! All lies! Click here for a WMV file that shows how much he cares… about where the cameras are.

(Also, you may recall Ian Blair shielding himself from public scrutiny by burying himself under a pile of dead bodies. Something similar is happening now, with the latest spin emanating from the White House emphasising the scale of the disaster… as if that somehow excuses the conditions that existed long before it and the paralysis that followed.)

F**k saving lives... I need the window-dressing!The view from the cheap seats:

CNN’s Drew Griffin in New Orleans, Louisiana: I am stunned by an interview I conducted with New Orleans Detective Lawrence Dupree. He told me they were trying to rescue people with a helicopter and the people were so poor they were afraid it would cost too much to get a ride and they had no money for a “ticket.” Dupree was shaken telling us the story. He just couldn’t believe these people were afraid they’d be charged for a rescue.

The view from the balcony:

Oh, man… and you thought Dubya’s Trent Lott remark would take some topping (WMV link here – the sharp-eyed may just notice the helicopters and rescue workers doing sweet-bugger-all while Bush uses them as a backdrop):

Editor & Publisher – Barbara Bush: Things Working Out ‘Very Well’ for Poor Evacuees from New Orleans: What I’m hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (she chuckles slightly) – this is working very well for them.

1. Originally, Editor & Publisher softened the quote to remove the words; “which is sort of scary”.

2. You can read some comments at Daily Kos, including a round-up of responses from the right-wing clubhouse that is freerepublic.com

3. Still in a state of disbelief? Listen to the MP3 here.

UPDATE – Mariano Aguirre – The Hurricane and the Empire (link via Perfect)

UPDATE – Widely repeated but yet to be confirmed: There was a striking dicrepancy between the CNN International report on the Bush visit to the New Orleans disaster zone yesterday (September 2) and reports of the same event by German TV. ZDF News reported that the president’s visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of ‘news people’ had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time. The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF.

UPDATE – What ZDF actually said was…

UPDATE – Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Guess who will lead the investigation into how the Hurricane Katrina disaster was handled. Go on, have a guess.








Posted by Tim Ireland at September 5, 2005

Category: George W. Bush

New York Times – White House Enacts a Plan to Ease Political Damage: Under the command of President Bush’s two senior political advisers, the White House rolled out a plan this weekend to contain the political damage from the administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina. It orchestrated visits by cabinet members to the region, leading up to an extraordinary return visit by Mr. Bush planned for Monday, directed administration officials not to respond to attacks from Democrats on the relief efforts, and sought to move the blame for the slow response to Louisiana state officials, according to Republicans familiar with the White House plan.

No. It can’t possibly be true. Can it?

Well, take a look at this lie that blew through the Washington Post yesterday. (The article in question now carries a correction.)

And, yes, last night we all saw Condi Rice on our televisions, praying in church for the dead and the dying. Not practicing her backhand, shopping for shoes, or laffing it up over ‘Spam-a-lot’.

And today, you can expect to see more presidential hugs. Lots and lots and lots of them.

Rove has his work cut out for him, that’s for damn sure. And he may have to change gear suddenly if Cheney decides to ditch the puppet before he loses an arm.

Independent – Apocalypse in the USA: It is not just that he has handled the crisis badly. His first response was a bemused look, reminiscent of his mental paralysis at the news of 9/11. He then committed a terrible blunder, telling disaster victims to “take personal responsibility”. The individualist message was miscalculated, offensive to the altruism that disasters always ignite. Next, the President seemed to think that it was more important to stop the looting than to save lives. His gaffes don’t end. In storm-torn Biloxi on Friday, he referred two distraught women, who collapsed in his arms, to the Salvation Army shelter.

M. Kane Jeeves – The worst President ever!: Under Bush’s leadership, federal flood control spending for southeastern Louisiana has been cut from $69 million in 2001 to $36.5 million in 2005. Federal hurricane protection for the Lake Pontchartrain vicinity in the Army Corps of Engineers’ budget sunk from $14.25 million in 2002 to $5.7 million this year. Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu pleaded for $27 million. No deal. Iraq was more important.

Time – Dipping His Toe Into Disaster: It isn’t easy picking George Bush’s worst moment last week. Was it his first go at addressing the crisis Wednesday, when he came across as cool to the point of uncaring? Was it when he said that he didn’t “think anybody expected” the New Orleans levees to give way, though that very possibility had been forecast for years? Was it when he arrived in Mobile, Ala., a full four days after the storm made landfall, and praised his hapless Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director, Michael D. Brown, whose disaster credentials seemed to consist of once being the commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association? “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job,” said the President. Or was it that odd moment when he promised to rebuild Mississippi Senator Trent Lott’s house–a gesture that must have sounded astonishingly tone-deaf to the homeless black citizens still trapped in the postapocalyptic water world of New Orleans. “Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott’s house–he’s lost his entire house,” cracked Bush, “there’s going to be a fantastic house. And I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch.”

But there is hope. Equally compelling facts and figures about Iraq failed to stop the insanity or bring down the Bush administration, because of the useful presence of the boogey-man.

So what Rove needs to do is to get ‘experts’ to start asking questions about possible sabotage of the levees. No facts or evidence required… just a few well-placed questions ought to do it. That’s how The Osama Solution works.

UPDATE – Daily Kos – A brush with Bush in NO: It actually couldn’t have been a worse experience; a team of us were working to put up a website with directions to every Red Cross shelter in the region when we were evicted from the computer room by the Secret Service. There’s only one room in the Cajundome with telephones and internet access for refugees, and Laura Bush shut it down for eight hours (along with the food service rooms to the side and the women’s showers). You may have seen it on CNN; apparently seven refugees were allowed back so Laura could help them in front of the cameras.

UPDATE – MyDD – Chertoff Still Uninformed About Katrina Details: I say uninformed because I really need to believe that the Secretary of Homeland Security is not lying for political reasons right now…

UPDATE – Halliburton to the rescue!

UPDATE – Sell the Ranch!

UPDATE – Did Newsweek get spun too? Bugger Sell The Ranch, let’s have Burn The Source.

UPDATE – Denny Hastert’s Dark Calculus

UPDATE – Open Letter to the President

UPDATE – Remember seeing George Bush on TV yesterday, wearing the Red Cross like a cloak of invulnerability and asking you to give “cash-money” to the cause? Well…. Red Cross NEVER allowed into New Orleans

See also: Katrina medical help held up by red tape. And this: In St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes, just south of New Orleans, victims of the hurricane are still waiting for food and water and for buses to escape the floodwaters, Melancon said. And for the entire time Bush was in the state, the congressman said, a ban on helicopter flights further stalled the delivery of food and supplies.

UPDATE – Police looting in Wal-Mart

UPDATE – More on Karl Rove’s lie machine.








Posted by Tim Ireland at August 3, 2005

Category: George W. Bush

Heh. This is great, this is. Perfect for those who pride themselve on clarity of vision.

See also: George W. Bush singing Imagine (NSFW audio intro)








Posted by Tim Ireland at July 12, 2005

Category: George W. Bush

Don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out.








Posted by Tim Ireland at July 11, 2005

Category: George W. Bush

Alternet – Is Karl Rove Screwed, or Not?
Joho the Blog – Kiss your assrove goodbye
DailyKos – Karl Rove; Traitor

(And, for those who *still* don’t know who Karl Rove is, I provide this informative link.)

UPDATE – A near-to-infinite Fark thread on this subject.

UPDATE – CBS – White House Mum On Rove Leak: For two years, the White House has insisted that presidential adviser Karl Rove had nothing to do with the leak of a CIA officer’s identity. And President Bush said the leaker would be fired.

UPDATE – A glorious exchange at today’s White House press briefing. Mirror here.

Direct video link.
Page with two video links (WMV and Quicktime) plus links to reactions.

UPDATE – Nice bit of analysis in the comments over at Oliver’s site: The fact the WH is now stonewalling doesn’t bode well for Rove. Remember, this is an administration that normally responds to criticism with attacks. These folks are seriously hunkered down which means they’re in the hurt locker and the options don’t look good.








Posted by Tim Ireland at July 6, 2005

Category: George W. Bush, It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, The War on Stupid, Video

An uncompromising examination and criticism of US foreign policy, according to Barry from down the pub.

(Requires Windows Media or ReallyCrapPlayer. Link via Blogman.)








Posted by Tim Ireland at July 4, 2005

Category: George W. Bush

Newsweek – Time magazine talked to Bush’s guru for Plame story: The e-mails surrendered by Time Inc., which are largely between Cooper and his editors, show that one of Cooper’s sources was White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, according to two lawyers who asked not to be identified because they are representing witnesses sympathetic to the White House.

Guardian – Key Bush aide named in row over CIA leak: Mr Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, confirmed that his client had been interviewed by Matthew Cooper for the article, but denied that Mr Rove provided the crucial information that exposed the identity of the agent.

Perhaps, like our great leader, he merely ‘confirmed’ the name.

UPDATE – The following paragrah from the Guardian has been link-enhanced for your futher reading pleasure: At the time, Mr Wilson said he believed that Mr Rove was the source, but the accusation was dismissed by the White House as “totally ridiculous”.








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