Friday, August 27, 2004

Let me check with Rover, and I'll get back to you...

Has Bush finally seen the light on global warming? We’re not sure.

The New York Times
and The Washington Post are both reporting that the Bush administration has shifted its position on global warming.

From the Times: “In a striking shift in the way the Bush administration has portrayed the science of climate change, a new report to Congress focuses on federal research indicating that emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases are the only likely explanation for global warming over the last three decades.”

From the Post: “A Bush administration report suggests that evidence of global warming has begun to affect animal and plant populations in visible ways, and that rising temperatures in North America are due in part to human activity.”

President Bush, of course, was typically clueless when asked to explain the discrepancy between this latest report and his administration’s past positions. Here is an excerpt from a NYTimes interview with Bush the other day:

Ms. Bumiller: Mr. President, why did your administration change its position on what causes global warming?

THE PRESIDENT: I don't think we did.

Ms. Bumiller: According to —

THE PRESIDENT: I don't think so, Elisabeth.

Ms. Bumiller: You said that it's almost certainly carbon monoxide — which you hadn't said in the past, carbon dioxide.

THE PRESIDENT: I think that was my position during the campaign, if I'm not mistaken.

Ms. Bumiller: It changed —

MR. McCLELLAN: You're talking about the National Academy of Science report?

Ms. Bumiller: Yes, yes.

MR. McCLELLAN: We've always talked about how that would - we'd be guided by their science on the issue, and that's why the President has done a lot in terms of climate change, advancing the science of climate change, and also doing more research —

THE PRESIDENT: Let me get back with you on that, because I think you might — I don't know why you said what you just said.

Ms. Bumiller: Well, we had a story in the paper this morning saying that you issued a report saying —

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, okay, well, that's got to be true.

Press Flack Scott McClellan tried to jump in and bail Bush out with a bunch of mumbo gumbo, but it was too late.

Four More Years?

Four More Years?
Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.
Here is a recent picture of President Bush leading supporters at a rally in a chant of "Four More Years!"

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Bush's unanswered questions

We’ve spent several weeks now consumed with the back-and-forth bickering over John Kerry’s service in Vietnam. It should be clear by now to anybody not completely blinded by partisan politics that the main charges brought by the Swift Boat Liars for Bush have been thoroughly refuted by both the official records and by numerous eyewitnesses who have recently come forward.

I would also point everyone to this excellent post today at eTalkinghead where I am an occasional contributor.

But what still amazes me is that in the thick of this fight over how many bullets were wizzing over Kerry’s swift boat and how much blood spilled out of his arm when he was struck with schrapnel, George aWol Bush and Chickenhawk Cheney are still getting a free pass when it comes to their less than meritorious activities in the late-60s and early-70s.

USA Today still has some unanswered questions for President Bush:

• Why did Bush, described by some of his fellow officers as a talented and enthusiastic pilot, stop flying fighter jets in the spring of 1972 and fail to take an annual physical exam required of all pilots?

•What explains the apparent gap in the president's Guard service in 1972-73, a period when commanders in Texas and Alabama say they never saw him report for duty and records show no pay to Bush when he was supposed to be on duty in Alabama?

•Did Bush receive preferential treatment in getting into the Guard and securing a coveted pilot slot despite poor qualifying scores and arrests, but no convictions, for stealing a Christmas wreath and rowdiness at a football game during his college years?

The first question is the one I most answered most of all. How could Bush just blow off his flight physical during the middle of a war and throw away all the time and money the military spent training him to be a fighter pilot without any repercussions whatsoever?

Why won’t anybody ask Bush that question?

Monday, August 23, 2004

Larry Gatlin vs Bruce Springsteen

Country Singer Larry Gatlin wrote an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal today. There is no link for it so I transcribed it below. It was apparently written in response to this op-ed piece that Bruce Springsteen wrote recently for the New York Times.
I wouldn’t expect to find any great political wisdom in an article by Gatlin (or Springsteen) but the naivete and errors in fact that are sprinkled throughout his writing is evident of someone who must get all their information from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

So here is Mr. Gatlin with my comments in bold:

Since Bruce Springsteen is about to “Rock the Vote” for John Kerry, I’d be only too happy to start booking my motel rooms to hit the road for George W. Bush. With my brothers Steve and Rudy, my buddies the Oak Ridge Boys, Lee Greenwood, Mark Wills and any number of other country music artists who get their support from the Heartland, I’m going to find the time, come fall, to tell America that we’re playing, and praying, for President Bush.

Mr. Gatlin is already touring on behalf of the Bush campaign. He has performed at a number of Bush rallies and is scheduled to perform at the Republican National Convention next week.

Musicians can be political, and when the right time comes - and the right cause - they will be. But while I respect Bruce Springsteen’s artistry and even his opinions on the current political situation (as expressed not long back in the New York Times), I see the world differently. Here’s my take.

The intel on Iraq that President Bush saw raised red flags to some analysts and doubt in others. Some said there was an imminent threat, some said there was not. I believe that if one of Mr. Springsteen’s friends were to swear to him that his house was on fire and another that it was not, he, or anybody, would surely check it out.

I’m not sure whether Mr. Gatlin’s ‘house on fire’ analogy here is supposed to refer to the 9-11 terrorist attacks or the allegations that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. It would appear that it is being used to represent both. Like many Fox News viewers, Mr. Gatlin has been mislead to believe that Iraq had something to do with the attacks on the United States.

Well, our house was on fire. President Bush and an army of “the good guys and the good gals” checked it out. Big Time. And as a result, the bad guys have not been able to set our house on fire again.

In either case, we were able to “check out” the fire analogy without launching a pre-emptive war in Iraq. We checked out the 9-11 attacks and found the cause to be al-Queada which was holed up in Afghanistan and we promptly (and properly in my view) launched a military action there. We were also “checking out” the WMD story via the United Nations weapons inspectors who were requesting more time to finish their job before President Bush pulled the trigger on the costly military invasion that is still killing our soldiers and draining our resources. As for not being able to ‘set our house on fire again’ that remains to be seen.

To say, as John Kerry has, that “If attacked I will respond decisively” is not enough in today’s world. Good Lord, Senator Kerry - Barney Fife would respond decisively if we were attacked again! President Bush had the strength of will and courage to pre-emptively take out those who would attack us. I say “Rock on, Mr. President” (you too, Bruce). Keep checking out the bad guys and let Barney keep peace in Mayberry (a little humor in the middle of a very serious situation).

It is obvious now that Iraq did not attack us the first time and was not in a position to attack us afterwards either. North Korea, on the other hand, does have that capability. As a charter member of Bush’s “Axis of Evil” and one that definitely does have WMDs, would Mr. Gatlin tell President Bush to “Rock on” and attack them as well?

My gratitude to the president isn’t confined to his role in keeping us safe. His tax cuts have helped all Americans who pay federal income taxes and have jump-started an economy that was in recession through no fault of President Bush.

So this is what a jump-started economy looks like? And how does Mr. Gatlin substantiate this claim that all Americans have been helped by Bush’s tax cuts? (Never mind the record national deficits.)

Those who refuse to see that have their heads in the sand and a “Kerry for President” bumper sticker on their SUVs. (I’d say the former condition is pretty much a prerequisite for the latter).

Oh, I see. By telling anyone who doesn’t agree that they have their head in the sand. Nice.

I’m no economist, but I do know two things for sure: I never got a job from a poor man; and the more money people have in their pockets, the more jobs they create by spending the money.

Bush’s first tax cuts took effect before 9-11 and the Republican-controlled Congress has passed more since then and yet Bush is still going to be the first president since Herbert Hoover to have a net loss of jobs during his watch.

President Bush’s attempts at education reform have been thwarted at every turn for fear that vouchers might actually work. (Imagine that, Ted Kennedy!)

Bush’s education reforms have never been adequately funded by the Republican-controlled Congress. Ted Kennedy had nothing to do with it. He is stuck in the minority.

His faith-based initiatives tried to help those who can’t help themselves, only to be “shot down” for fear that someone might get well and that God might have something to do with it.

OK, now he is getting a little wierd. Bush’s faith-based initiatives haven’t been ‘shot down’. The person Bush tapped to head his program quit in disgust a while back and said Bush was never serious about tackling social problems.

I was lucky. I had the money for my little “28-day vacation in pajamas” 20 years ago. There are millions out there who are not so lucky. So they die in the back streets of America for want of help. God only knows how many. (But there’s the rub - we can’t say God and government on the same page.)

Millions dying on the backstreets for want of help? Does he think we are living in Sudan? And all because some unnamed people have allegedly blocked Bush’s faith-based initiatives?? Whatever.

In closing I’d say this to Bruce Springsteen: We do have something in common - we were both “Born in the USA.” From the bottom of my heart I say, Thank God.

I got to see Larry Gatlin peform live a number of years ago at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. I’ve never seen Bruce Springsteen perform, but I do have a lot of his records.