"'The world is my idea:'-this is a truth which holds good for everything that lives and knows, though man alone can bring it into reflective and abstract consciousness." -Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation
"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will-we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study, too, and that's how things will sort out." -Anonymous Bush 43 aide, to Ron Suskind
This, from the Times review of John Farmer's The Ground Truth:The Untold Story of America Under Attack on 9/11, should be repeated as many times as necessary: "Yet both Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Vice President Dick Cheney, Farmer says, provided palpably false versions that touted the military's readiness to shoot down United 93 before it could hit Washington. Planes were never in place to intercept it. By the time the Northeast Air Defense Sector had been informed of the hijacking, United 93 had already crashed. Farmer scrutinizes F.A.A. and Norad recÃ‚Âords to provide irrefragable evidence that a day after a Sept. 17 White House briefing, both agencies [...]
Absolutely astounding op-ed from the Times' Ross Douthat, which argues that George W. Bush wasn't as bad a president as we think he was if we're judging solely by every single metric that shows the lasting damage the nation incurred during his tenure. In fact, George W. Bush might actually have been a good president! You're wondering why, particularly when you look at the evidence of, say, every single metric showing the lasting damage the nation incurred during his tenure. Well, says Ross, Bush at least tried to fix some of the major fuck-ups he was responsible for: Iraq and the economy.
Try and act surprised: "A Texas school district that declined to allow students to listen to President Obama's speech to students on Tuesday will bus about 500 students to attend a Super Bowl-related event this month where former president George W. Bush will speak, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports."
To be fair, it's been a good four years at least since George W. Bush was able to indoctrinate anyone about anything, so maybe this is just a fun outing.
Everybody's angry today! Former Vice President Dick Cheney is angry with George W. Bush for turning into a pussy during the end of his second term. The Catholic Church is angry with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for his arrogant and mortifying behavior with hookers and underage girls. Matt Drudge is PISSED about faltering retail sales. And Karl Rove is angry with Barack Obama for "exaggerations, misdirection and efforts to divide Americans", or, as Karl likes to refer to it, "stealing my bit." People, people… where is the love?
Here's the Twitter-length history of the George W. Bush presidency, from a previous occupant of the office: "George had a pretty good ride for a while-the economy was pretty good. And then it ended up nasty up there. Mean." Yeah, that's exactly how I remember it too!
Good news, history fans: George W. Bush's Decision Points comes out on November 9th, a week after the midterm elections. The former president "will write about political and personal challenges and discuss his handling of events including the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina, as well as his embracing of his faith amid his effort to quit drinking… [Bush will] focus on 14 critical decisions in his life and share his reflections on subjects including the closely fought 2000 Presidential election and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq."
We've managed to score an early excerpt. It's pretty exciting, because it tells the story of his momentous decision to [...]
Ya like freedom, responsibility, opportunity, and compassion? Course ya do, you're an American. Ya know who else is big into that stuff? George W. Bush! In fact, they were the core principles of his time in office. And now you can stand with the former president and his lovely wife Laura by becoming a Charter Member of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. In fact, if you contribute $50 or more, "your name will also be included in the Freedom Registry on permanent display at the Center." Normally I would be totally into this, but ever since the guy drove the economy into the ditch I've been out of [...]
Former President George W. Bush made his debut as a motivational speaker last night in Fort Worth, and the reception was friendly and welcoming. Appearing onstage alongside Colin Powell, Rudy Giuliani and others, the 43rd President of the United States gave what is being reviewed as a largely unstructured speech in which he spoke about his faith, his term in office, and the illusory nature of popularity. But here's one telling anecdote from the end of the Washington Post's coverage.
Former Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer has a book coming out about that administration's final days, and GQ's got an excerpt. The whole thing is worth a read, but here's one of my favorite parts: The president assesses his potential successors.
You have probably by now heard the news of former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge's revelation that he was pressured to elevate the agency's color-coded threat level in advance of the 2004 elections. This has caused some shock and horror by those who refused to believe that the previous administration would be so blatantly political on matters of national security, but since the only people dumb enough to actually believe that were journalists it doesn't really make that much of a difference. I mean, you know, it was a long time ago! We've got much more important issues to worry about now. Let's just forget the whole thing [...]
Speaking in Erie, PA, last night, former President George W. Bush delivered several critical remarks about his successor's policies while taking great pains to not mention Barack Obama's name directly. Outside the convention center where the speech occurred, Bush fans held up signs that might indicate how difficult it is to find something in the former president's legacy for which to offer full support: the placards read "Welcome President Bush" and "Thank you for defending the babies." Presumably this refers to the "babies" that were in female uteri and not the actual babies on the ground in New Orleans during Katrina. ZING!
Controversy! Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton clasped hands with residents of one of Haiti's massive tent cities Monday on a tour of its quake-devastated capital – a visit intended to remind donors of the immense needs facing the recovery effort.
After shaking hands with residents, Bush appeared to wipe his hand on Clinton's shirt, according to a video shot at the scene.
But is that indeed what we're seeing? I've watched the clip several times now, and here are the possibilities I've come up with.
A new poll shows that 44% of voters would rather have George W. Bush as president than Barack Obama. Because remember how great was? We had so much fun!
Bruce Bartlett, an adviser to Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, takes a look at former George W. Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer's tell-all about his time in the White House. Here's an interesting bit: One of the things that Latimer talks a lot about is the importance of the president's mood, which appears to have gyrated wildly. Apparently, the best way to get on his good side was to pretend to be stupid so that Bush would seem like a genius by figuring out some simple point for himself. Latimer says that national security adviser Stephen Hadley was very good at doing this:
"Hadley was a master at [...]
This is one of those things where the results are actually more horrifying the deeper into the numbers you look: "Thursday's annual Census Bureau report on income, poverty and access to health care-the Bureau's principal report card on the well-being of average Americans-closes the books on the economic record of George W. Bush…. On every major measurement, the Census Bureau report shows that the country lost ground during Bush's two terms. While Bush was in office, the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked."
But at least he wasn't a LYING MUSLIM SOCIALIST, am I [...]
The Atlantic's Megan McCardle approvingly cites this bit of equivalency from Clive Crook of the Financial Times: The gap between the right of the Republican party, which is providing the angriest critics of the reforms, and the left of the Democratic party, which thinks the proposals too timid, is unbridgeable. These groups do not merely disagree. They despise each other. Their differences are only secondarily about policy. They hold each other's values in contempt.
These snarling extremes are nonetheless somewhat alike. They have an equal and opposite penchant for conspiracy theories. Almost a third of Republicans, according to a recent poll, believe the unsupported story that Mr Obama [...]
Did you see Saturday Night Live this weekend? It's all over the Internet if you haven't and, you know what, there's probably a good reason for that: It was pretty solid. Against the odds, and given that it is what it is, i.e. a tired format whose impact has been severely diminished in our fast-paced etc., the show had a season that actually exceeded expectations. (All sorts of charts and graphs can be found here.)