Sunday, June 05, 2005
by Greg Stacy
There are so many reasons to oppose four more years of George W. Bush it can be hard to keep them all straight. And so we provide you with this handy guide, listing 60 reasons (in no particular order) why this administration sucks major butt.
1. Despite Bush’s endless assurances that "Americans are safer," he’s done astonishingly little to protect the continental U.S. from terrorist attacks. His administration spends more in Iraq in four days than they’ve spent protecting our ports in four years, and Bush has blocked mandatory safety and security requirements at nuclear/chemical facilities (such requirements are unpopular with his corporate buds), leaving these facilities perilously vulnerable.
2. While there’s no established connection between Saddam Hussein and Sept. 11, there are established connections between Sept. 11 and Saudi-government officials, who not only provided funds to the hijackers (15 out of 19 of which were Saudis), but also supported front groups that funneled millions in aid to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Say what you will about Michael Moore sometimes getting screwy with the facts, but his documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 does raise serious questions that the major media should have at least asked about the special treatment given numerous Saudis—including Bush’s longtime family friends the bin Ladens—to fly out of the U.S. in the days after Sept. 11.
3. Bush often reminds us we should be grateful to our soldiers, but in 2003, he proposed closing seven veterans hospitals, cutting combat bonus pay 33 percent, cutting assistance to soldiers’ families by 60 percent and cutting $1.3 billion in veterans’ health care. So far, Bush has not attended the funeral of a single soldier killed in Iraq.
4. Native Alaskan villages are being destroyed as sea ice melts and huge waves pound the coastline. El Niño caused China’s Yangtze River to overflow, killing more than 3,000 people and leaving 230 million homeless. Despite this and substantial evidence that global warming is real and man-made, for four years, Bush has misrepresented science in order to avoid passing measures that could annoy his campaign supporters in the fossil-fuel and auto industries. Bush has allowed companies to set their own targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and surprise, they set themselves very unchallenging goals.
5. Bush has his sights set on eliminating Social Security and is pushing for a system in which individuals’ contributions go into private accounts. This is a fine way to prepare for your dotage . . . as long as you’re not, y’know, one of those yucky poor people.
6. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have elevated conflict of interest to an art form. Before he joined the administration, Cheney was CEO of the giant energy company Halliburton, and he still receives deferred payments from the company. Halliburton’s a major contributor to the Bush administration, and Bush has paid them back in many sweet, sexy ways. In January, he announced we’re going to Mars, and an industry official told the Washington Post, "Halliburton would benefit considerably." Bush allowed hydraulic fracturing--an oil-and-gas-exploration technique pioneered and primarily used by Halliburton--even though studies showed the technique could leave toxic chemicals in drinking water. And then there’s Iraq. The Energy Task Force Cheney headed to develop a long-range plan to meet U.S. energy requirements naturally ignored ideas for reducing oil consumption and in March 2001 submitted a report containing a map of Iraqi oilfields, refineries, pipelines and terminals, along with two charts outlining Iraqi oil and gas projects. In 2003, without competitive bidding, the Pentagon hired Halliburton to rebuild Iraq and restore the Iraqi oil industry. After the company overcharged the government $61 million, the White House removed a provision from the $87 billion Iraq spending bill that would’ve held Halliburton accountable.
7. In Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, you can see for yourself what a useless lump Bush was on the morning of Sept. 11 as he sat in that classroom, staring into space while kids read My Pet Goat. This time, Moore’s actually hired some decent factcheckers, and for a line-by-line, factual backup of many of the film’s most damning claims against Bush, citing a variety of sources, visit www.michaelmoore.com/warroom/f911notes/.
8. Even now, Bush laughably points to Afghanistan as one of the successes of his administration. Although military and intelligence officials believe we had bin Laden surrounded in the caves of Tora Bora, Bush pulled out our troops, sent them to Iraq and left the bin Laden hunt to Afghan warlords. Bin Laden’s still at large, and since August 2003, more than 1,000 people have been killed in violence linked to a resurgent Taliban.
9. Fossil fuels will be gone within your lifetime, and while Bush’s administration has been touting hydrogen as a potential replacement for oil, it takes more energy to create hydrogen than we’ll ever get from the stuff. Unless we get serious about alternative fuels--and pronto--expect ever-skyrocketing oil costs, bloody wars over resources and economic collapse.
10. Bush’s campaign has cleverly turned many of Democratic nominee John Kerry’s seemingly irrefutable virtues against him. Problem: Bush supported the Vietnam War but stayed home and partied, while Kerry, who was against the war, went off to fight courageously, won medals and came home to tell America of the horrors he’d witnessed. Solution: Swift Boat with a dash of ribbon-gate. Problem: Bush is an inarticulate ignoramus, while Kerry is well-spoken and sophisticated. Solution: portray Kerry as a French-talking, out-of-touch egghead (and make lots of jokes about him being rich, even if your guy comes from big money, too). Problem: Bush is small and graceless, while Kerry is imposing and athletic. Solution: use the footage of Kerry snowboarding and windsurfing to make ads about him "changing direction," impugn his masculinity wherever possible, and joke about his tan. Problem: Bush is mindlessly set on a suicidal, unpopular course in Iraq, while Kerry’s position evolved, like most Americans, from pro to a firm con. Solution: flip-flopper! Hey, this stuff writes itself. Well, actually, horrid little men write it in darkened rooms, and Bush sneakily benefits while publicly deploring the sorry state of modern campaigning.
11. Last March, members of Congress hosted a peculiar ritual for South Korean cult leader/ex-con/multibillionaire Sun Myung Moon, who was given a jeweled crown and pronounced the "King of Peace." Moon has declared that gays are "dung-eating dogs," American women are "prostitutes" and Jews brought the Holocaust upon themselves by betraying Jesus. He did time in the 1980s for tax fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice, and there are extensive reports he’s allowed followers to be tortured. Nevertheless, he’s enjoyed a long relationship with the Bushes, and a Bush Sr. spokesman told the Washington Post, "[Moon’s] group is about strengthening the family and that’s what President and Mrs. Bush are deeply focused on." Various Moon VIPs have scored peachy government gigs, and under W’s Faith Based Initiative, the federal government has given Moon grants supporting school programs focused on Moon’s anti-sex teachings. Makes you long for Jerry Falwell.
12. In the 2000 debates, Bush promised he’d create millions of new jobs through his tax cuts. He promised he’d support allowing Americans to buy less expensive prescription drugs from Canada. He promised to end Washington’s partisan squabbling. He promised that if he sent American troops into combat, "the force must be strong enough so that the mission can be accomplished. And the exit strategy needs to be well-defined." If you want to predict the next four years, just assume Bush will do the exact opposite of what he promises in the 2004 debates.
13. On Aug. 24, a high-level, independent Pentagon panel found Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs of Staff failed to effectively oversee detention policies at U.S. prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cuba, leading to the infamous rape and torture of men, women and children at Abu Ghraib. This torture was not simply a few hillbillies gone out of control; it was the direct result of this administration willfully flouting the Geneva Convention. Rumsfeld’s resignation is expected shortly after hell freezes over.
14. Bush’s Medicare Modernization Act is actually a devious way to gradually kill off Medicare altogether, splitting seniors into warring camps by adding a new, private Preferred Provider Organization option. More affluent seniors will pounce on this option, poorer seniors will stay with traditional Medicare, and the private competition will drive premiums ever higher as benefits for basic Medicare become ever worse. And as Medicare is dying, the healthier, wealthier seniors will have little incentive to fight for it. As taxpayers, we’re going to pay a hell of a lot for Medicare in our lives, but by the time we’re old enough for it, it won’t be there anymore.
15. The Patriot Act does little to defend you from terrorists but greatly increases the government’s power to get all up in your mess. Phone and Internet records can now be searched without warrants; police can see what books you’ve checked out of the library, but libraries are prohibited from informing you about the inquiry; your religious and political activities can be scrutinized even if the government doesn’t suspect criminal activity; you may be jailed without being charged, denied a lawyer or the chance to confront witnesses against you, and held indefinitely without a trial. Bush’s boys apparently still don’t feel they’ve dismantled civil liberties enough: they’re reportedly at work on the Patriot Act II.
16. On Sept. 24, The New York Times reported the Republican National Committee sent mass mailings to West Virginia and Arkansas warning that "liberals" seek to ban the Bible. The mailings featured images of the Bible labeled "banned" and a gay-marriage proposal labeled "allowed." RNC spokescreature Christine Iverson was unapologetic: "When the Massachusetts Supreme Court sanctioned same-sex marriage and people in other states realized they could be compelled to recognize those laws, same-sex marriage became an issue. . . . These same activist judges also want to remove the words ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance."
17. You know those tax cuts you’ve been getting during W’s term, the ones that didn’t quite take the sting out of getting laid off? On Sept. 23, Congress approved a $145.9 billion package to extend three cuts, despite an expected record $422 billion deficit this year. Democrats and moderate Republicans argued to extend the cuts one year and pay for them by closing corporate tax loopholes, but Bush held out for a plan extending the cuts five years while keeping his beloved corporate cats as fat as ever. Bush’s fiscal policy is not unlike his energy policy: we’ll relentlessly draw from a finite, diminishing pool, and by the time it runs dry, we’ll be dead and somebody else can clean up the mess.
18. During a commercial break on a 2000 Late Night With David Letterman appearance, the cameras caught Bush cleaning his glasses using the shirttails of Maria Pope, one of the show’s producers. Our president used a stranger as his Kleenex. (See the clip at www.bushflash.com/unb.html.)
19. With nuclear tensions escalating with Iran and North Korea, Bush is touting a $100 billion missile-defense program that wouldn’t stop a tetchy mosquito. On Oct. 3, the Associated Press quoted Loren Thompson, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute think tank in Washington: "In terms of operational realities, it is a very rudimentary system that requires much further testing and could not stop a substantial attack against the nation."
20. Bush’s administration is steadily chipping away at reproductive rights. Bush has appointed a host of anti-choice federal judges. He slashed funds to the United Nations Population Fund, a program supporting groups that educate the women of poor nations about their reproductive options. He signed a bill banning a late-term abortion procedure, a bill two federal judges found unconstitutional. Although laws already cover crimes against pregnant women, Bush signed the redundant Unborn Victims of Violence Act as a shout-out to pro-lifers. He’s suggested doubling the federal funds for abstinence-only sex-ed programs, even though graduates of such programs are statistically more likely to engage in unprotected sex. Sure, the majority of America is pro-choice, but since when has Bush let the will of the people affect his decisions?
21. "Sanctity of Marriage": pure crap.
22. Remember the recent headlines when Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, was deported after his name was spotted on a U.S. security "watch list"? Turns out the whole thing was due to a spelling error. Nice to know our government is devoting the proper resources to persecuting singer/songwriters of the 1970s.
23. Although Bush hardly spent his youth (or middle age) in a state of monk-like sobriety, his administration will bust you hard if you party like he did. His Justice Department has invoked the War on Terror to crack down on minor drug users, running hysterical ads equating marijuana use with supporting terrorism. Last year, Cheech and Chong’s Tommy Chong did nine months of hard time for selling glassware that could be used to smoke pot. Chong wasn’t dealing drugs; he was a glassware pusher. The day Chong was arrested, Ashcroft declared in a press conference, "The illegal-drug-paraphernalia industry has invaded the homes of families across the country without their knowledge." Jesus . . . Tommy Chong? Cat Stevens? Is Bush working his way through Nixon’s old enemies list? Watch out, Hanoi Jane!
24. Bush’s administration doesn’t just invoke the War on Terror to justify busting folksingers and pothead comedians. They invoke it to bust unions, too. On Jan. 7, 2002, Bush issued an executive order to de-unionize 500 government positions (mostly support staffers like secretaries, paralegals and clerks) because the presence of unionized workers would not be "consistent with national security requirements and considerations."
25. During his 2000 campaign, Bush pledged that if elected, he’d support the continuation of the assault weapons ban. Bush lied, of course, and AK-47s will soon make a legal return to the streets.
26. Pseudonymous bloggers Julius Civitatus and Biltud compiled a chart showing the Bush administration announces new terror alerts (alerts often discredited later) whenever the headlines look bad for W and that Bush’s approval ratings typically rise as a result. Following some rough weeks for Bush this summer, on Aug. 2, the Department of Homeland Security raised the terror alert at several large financial institutions in New York City and Washington . . . based on info later revealed to be three or four years old. That same day, Bush’s daughters visited New York’s Citicorp Building, one of the buildings supposedly in grave danger. See the chart at juliusblog.blogspot.com/2004_08_01_juliusblog_archive.html.
27. At this writing, the headlines are full of the "Rathergate" fiasco, so much so that nobody mentions that while the memo itself was a rather obvious forgery, all the evidence suggests Bush did skate on his National Guard service. A chastened CBS has shelved a long-planned 60 Minutes piece investigating how the Bush administration justified the Iraq invasion by using forged documents claiming Iraq attempted to purchase uranium from Niger. CBS now says it would be "inappropriate" to run it this close to the election. Some might say the Rather memo came along at the perfect moment for the Bushies.
28. "In the CIA’s core, U.S.-based bin Laden operations unit today there are fewer Directorate of Operations officers with substantive expertise on al-Qaeda than there were on Sept. 11, 2001. There has been no systematic effort to groom al-Qaeda expertise among . . . officers since Sept. 11. Today, the unit is greatly understaffed, [and] the excellent management team now running operations against al-Qaeda has made repeated, detailed and on-paper pleas for more officers to work against al-Qaeda . . . but have been ignored." (Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit)
29. While Bush’s camp has tried to convince America the terrorists want Kerry to win, Bush is actually a superb recruiting tool for al-Qaeda: he is despised by the rest of the world, and he’s overseeing a disastrous occupation of Iraq that brings more people to the terrorist cause every day.
30. After Sept. 11, there was an outpouring of goodwill toward the U.S. from the nations of the world, something Bush has squandered with his macho posturing.
31. This administration treats America’s workers with shocking contempt. On Oct. 2, Congress voted to oppose Bush’s efforts to rewrite overtime pay rules so an estimated 6 million workers would lose overtime benefits. In a May visit to an Arkansas Wal-Mart, Cheney said, "The story of Wal-Mart exemplifies some of the very best qualities in our country." Do America’s best qualities include paying workers poverty-level wages, providing such crappy health benefits many employees rely on public assistance, and locking employees inside stores overnight? Referring to workers who’ve dared to take Wal-Mart to court over such labor practices, Cheney snarled, "America’s entrepreneurs should be able to hire productive workers, instead of hiring lawyers."
32. Millions of jobs have been lost in the past four years, yours perhaps among them. But don’t worry; as Cheney has helpfully pointed out, you can get by just fine selling your possessions on eBay!
33. On Jan. 8, 2002, Bush signed the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act with much fanfare. The program was to have provided American schools with critical resources while holding them to strict new standards. And then Bush mercilessly cut the program’s funding, leaving millions of children behind. For the 2004-2005 school year, NCLB will be underfunded by $9.4 billion, affecting nearly every district in the U.S. Bush once famously asked, "Is our children learning?" No, Mr. Bush, thanks to you, they unfortunately is not.
34. No Child Left Behind also included a provision whereby public school districts—to qualify for the federal funds--have to provide personal information on high school students to military recruiters.
35. At a White House press conference on Sept. 23, Bush giggled as he said, "I saw a poll that said the right track/wrong track [polling] in Iraq was better than here in America. It’s pretty darn strong. I mean, the people [of Iraq] see a better future." Well, no wonder! Bush is hell-bent on bringing decent schools, universal health care and free elections to Iraq . . . and apparently just as hell-bent on preventing us from getting that stuff here.
36. Flashback to May 2003: Bush in a flight suit on the deck of an aircraft carrier bearing a "Mission Accomplished" sign.
37. The National Guard exists to protect the continental U.S. from invasion, domestic terrorists, etc. Bush has sent almost the entire National Guard overseas. What happens if an armed militia mounts a major attack on, say, New York City?
38. On Sept. 24, the Washington Post quoted Bush on Kerry’s promise he’d increase taxes only on Americans earning more than $200,000 per year: "[Kerry] says he’s going to tax the rich. Rich hire lawyers and accountants for a reason--to stick you with the bill. We’re not going to let him tax you because we’re going to win in November." Just like that, Bush--who’s worked tirelessly on behalf of the grossly affluent--takes Kerry’s promise to tax only the wealthy and twists it around. Anyone else smell Karl Rove in the room?
39. While Bush maintains he has no plans to revive the draft, the military is facing a critical personnel crisis. There’s no end in sight to the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, our allies are pulling out their troops, thousands of U.S. soldiers who were due for discharge instead had their service extended (in violation of the contracts they originally signed), hundreds have gone AWOL, and more than 1,000 have been killed with more causalities on a daily basis. Bush will not pull us out, and he can’t afford to lose. If you want to lose some sleep tonight, visit www.blatanttruth.org/draft.php and read their biased but not easily dismissed arguments for why a draft is looking increasingly likely.
40. The Plame Affair should have been a scandal so big it had a "gate" at the end, but sadly it petered out at Affair. In the summer of 2003, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson wrote a New York Times opinion piece in which he revealed that in 2002 he traveled to Niger on a CIA assignment to investigate claims Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium. Wilson said he’d reported back the allegations were probably bogus, yet Bush still mentioned the uranium plot in that year’s State of the Union address. One week after Wilson’s Times piece, conservative columnist Robert Novak wrote an article defending the White House, in which he argued Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, "an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction," arranged Wilson’s Niger trip. Plame had been a covert operative before this, and revealing covert operatives is crazy illegal. The Washington Post later reported that over that summer, two administration aides had contacted six separate journalists to reveal Plame’s identity. Wilson contends the White House leak was intended as a grim warning to the intelligence community, cautioning them against publicly questioning the administration.
41. "A reliable source who has just returned after assessing the facts on the ground for U.S. intelligence services told me that in Iraq, U.S. commanders have plans for this week and the next, but that there is ‘no overarching strategy.’"--Sidney Blumenthal, writing in The Guardian of London in September.
42. According to the Supreme Court, the FCC is required to protect the American public’s right to a "wide diversity of viewpoints from a multiplicity of sources." But a diversity of viewpoints is the last thing Bush’s boys want. In the past four years, the FCC has been handing control of the entire media to a few conservative conglomerates, thereby enriching Bush’s corporate pals and squashing critical voices in one masterstroke. Last year, FCC Chairman Michael Powell—son of Colin--approved relaxed media-ownership rules that would let a single company (like, say, Fox) own a daily newspaper, three TV stations, eight radio stations and a cable system in the same city. This June, a U.S. appeals court blocked implementation of the rules, ordering the FCC to review them further, but it’s only a temporary reprieve. In the meantime, the FCC’s trying to stamp out what remains of free speech, making a big show of going after smut (Janet Jackson’s boobie) and dissent (Howard Stern). For years, Stern supported Bush, but this year, Stern came out strongly against the administration. The FCC promptly hit Stern with an unprecedented, $500,000 indecency fine . . . for material that aired a year before. In this repressive climate, broadcasters aren’t taking risks. The Bush-friendly Clear Channel dropped Stern’s syndicated show from its stations, Disney dumped Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, CBS canned The Reagans, etc., etc.
43. "I don’t think that you can kill the insurgency [in Iraq]," W. Andrew Terrill, professor at the Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, told Salon.com on Sept. 16. "We see larger and more coordinated military attacks. . . . The insurgency has shown an ability to regenerate itself because there are people willing to fill the ranks of those who are killed."
44. Most arguments against stem-cell research are based on confusion between embryos and fetuses. Stem cells aren’t harvested from aborted fetuses; they’re harvested from embryos, which are babies the same way acorns are trees. Bush certainly knows the difference, but he doesn’t want to tell America the truth and risk alienating pro-lifers. And so he allows millions of people to die or suffer horribly from diseases (like Alzheimer’s) scientists believe could be cured via stem cells.
45. Since Sept. 11, the Justice Department has detained more than 5,000 foreign nationals in anti-terrorism sweeps. In all this time, the Justice Department obtained exactly one jury conviction, and on Sept. 2, 2004, a Detroit federal judge threw it out. While W’s goon squads have been expending massive resources to round up and hold thousands of innocent people on flimsy evidence, how many real terrorists have they let slip by?
46. Campaigning in 2000, Bush warned that Al Gore would "throw the budget out of balance." In the past four years, Bush and a GOP Congress blew a 10-year budget surplus once estimated at $5.6 trillion, leaving us with an estimated $5 trillion deficit. According to the Office of Management and Budget, this year’s deficit will run about $445 billion.
47. Before Bush was inaugurated in January 2001, Bill Clinton told him that bin Laden, al-Qaeda and the Taliban would most occupy the new president’s time. That message was reiterated in a Jan. 25, 2001, memo from the White House’s counterterrorism expert, Richard Clarke, who asked on several occasions for early Principals Committee meetings. Clarke, who was frustrated that no early meeting was scheduled, wanted principals to accept that al-Qaeda was a "first-order threat" and not a routine problem being exaggerated by "chicken little" alarmists. In July 2001, an FBI agent in Arizona sent a memo to headquarters warning of the "possibility of a coordinated effort by Usama [sic] bin Laden to send students to the United States to attend civil aviation schools." That memo and the Clarke memo were ignored for months. According to the 9/11 Commission’s official website (www.9-11commission.gov/staff_statements/staff_statement_8.pdf), no Principals Committee meetings on al-Qaeda were held until Sept. 4, 2001.
48. By his own admission, Bush is not a reader. Among the things he apparently doesn’t read are his Presidential Daily Briefs. The infamous brief for Aug. 6, 2001, headlined "Bin Ladin [sic] Determined to Strike Inside U.S." stated, "Al-Qa’ida [sic] members--including some who are U.S. citizens--have resided in or traveled to the U.S. for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks. . . . FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York." The same day that brief arrived, the Associated Press reported that Bush, vacationing on his ranch, enjoyed a fishing trip and a leisurely morning jog.
49. Showing just how concerned W’s administration was about terrorism leading up to Sept. 11, on Sept. 10, 2001, brand-new Attorney General John Ashcroft cut the FBI’s request for new counterterrorism money by 12 percent . . . a decision he presumably regretted somewhat the following morning.
50. On March 23, 2004, Bush actually had the plums to declare, "Had my administration had any information that terrorists were going to attack New York City on Sept. 11, we would have acted."
51. Bush’s health plan is so awful it makes Kerry’s awful health plan look . . . well . . . less awful. No worries: just don’t get sick. Ever.
52. On Aug. 10, 2001, the Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer noted that "if you add up all his weekends at Camp David, layovers at Kennebunkport and assorted to-ing and fro-ing, W. will have spent 42 percent of his presidency at vacation spots or en route." After Sept. 11 Bush’s vacation time decreased . . . by a whopping 2 percent. In an April 11, 2004, story headlined "Bush Retreats to a Favorite Getaway: Crawford Ranch," the Houston Chronicle noted that with 33 trips to Crawford; 78 trips to Camp David; and five to his family’s compound at Kennebunkport, Maine, Bush spent all or part of 500 days--or about 40 percent of his presidency--at one of his three retreats.
53. We don’t have space to detail the whole 2000 election debacle, so we’re assuming you know about the sleazy doings of Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris in Florida and how thousands of Florida’s African-Americans were falsely (and deliberately) classed as felons and thus barred from voting. If not, go get crazy with Google. Anyhow, after Bush finally declared himself the winner, he pledged to modernize America’s voting systems by 2004. Well, surprise, it’s still a mess . . . something Republicans will take advantage of again this election. They’ve been pushing "e-voting," using machines leaving nothing behind for a recount, machines made by Bush’s buddies. In the highly contested state of Ohio, Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell has been trying to bar thousands of newly registered Democratic voters based on a paper-stock technicality. There are even accusations that Jeb Bush is resorting to horrifying new methods to scare blacks away from the polls: armed agents recently visited Florida’s elderly black people in their homes, told them they were part of a criminal investigation, asked confusing questions about their voting records and waved guns around. (The facts are at paleblue.us/archives/000912.html.) Jeb doesn’t deny armed agents visited the homes of old black people, but he denies the agents deliberately intimidated anybody. Every vote counts—except the ones never counted.
54. That Swift Boat horse shit. If you were dumb enough to buy any of it, you deserve whatever freakin’ president you get. Bush has made half-hearted denials that he had advanced knowledge about the ads, but on a Sept. 28, 2004, appearance on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, he was non-committal about whether Karl Rove knew about them, saying, "I don’t think so." When asked if his campaign people would give him a "heads up" if they’d coordinated the ads, Bush replied, "Not to my knowledge."
55. "[Iraq] is far graver than Vietnam," retired General William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told Salon.com on Sept. 16. "There wasn’t as much at stake strategically, though in both cases we mindlessly went ahead with a war that was not constructive for U.S. aims. But now we’re in a region far more volatile and we’re in much worse shape with our allies." Odom also said he’s never observed so much tension between a presidential administration and senior military officials, not even during Vietnam: "There’s a significant [military] majority believing this is a disaster. The two parties whose interests have been advanced have been the Iranians and al-Qaeda."
56. In a Nov. 28, 2002, Toronto Star interview, New York University professor of culture and communications Mark Crispin Miller explained there could be something sinister behind Bush’s notorious verbal gaffes. "I think that Bush is a sociopathic personality," Miller said. "I think he’s incapable of empathy. . . . He has no trouble speaking off the cuff when he’s speaking punitively, when he’s talking about violence, when he’s talking about revenge. When he struts and thumps his chest, his syntax and grammar are fine; it’s only when he leaps into the wild blue yonder of compassion, or idealism, or altruism that he makes these hilarious mistakes." Miller cited an example from early in Bush’s presidential tenure: "I know how hard it is to put food on your family." Miller: "That wasn’t because he’s so stupid that he doesn’t know how to say, ‘Put food on your family’s table’—it’s because he doesn’t care about people who can’t put food on the table. When he tries to talk about what this country stands for or about democracy, he can’t do it."
57. In a Sept. 14, 2004, Boston Globe article, Michigan physician Joseph Price told columnist Alex Beam that Bush’s mangled syntax could well be the result of "presenile dementia." Price noticed telltale signs of the disorder when his kids gave him a daily tear-off calendar of "Bushisms" for Christmas. "They are horrible," Price told the Globe, "but they are also diagnostic." Price’s suspicions were also piqued by a long article about Bush in The Atlantic that reported Bush had been articulate through his 40s, which would rule out diseases like dyslexia that typically develop in childhood. In a letter published this month in The Atlantic, Price describes presenile dementia as "a fairly typical Alzheimer’s situation that develops significantly earlier in life. . . . President Bush’s ‘mangled’ words are a demonstration of what physicians call ‘confabulation’ and are almost specific to the diagnosis of a true dementia."
58. The idea that the leader of the free world is either a sociopath or suffers from a degenerative brain disease is too terrifying to contemplate. Best-case scenario: he’s just a plain old dumbass. Keep your fingers crossed, kids.
59. Because this schmuck makes Nixon look good.