Daily Archives: April 1, 2004

Quotes of the Day

[We will] take the next steps of space exploration: human missions to Mars and to worlds beyond.–George W Bush

He reminded me a little of Walt Disney’s version of a mad scientist.–Steven Spielberg

The complete lack of humility for nature that’s being displayed here is staggering.–Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic Park)

Before we go to Mars, we must retake our own planet.–Al Franken

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.–Isaac Asimov

We are dealing with the best-educated generation in history. But they’ve got a brain dressed up with nowhere to go.–Timothy Leary

Randi Rhodes’ Reading List

No 1 Must-Read: American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush by Kevin Phillips.

Editorial Review


Paraphrasing a passage from Machiavelli’s The Prince, Kevin Phillips writes, “a ruler can ignore the mob and devote himself to the interests of the ruling class, gulling the inert majority who constitute the ruled.” He then says, “Borgia references aside, 21st-century American readers of The Prince may feel that they have stumbled on a thinly disguised Bush White House political memo.” These pointed words would sting regardless of who uttered them, but coming from Phillips, a former Republican strategist, they have an added piquancy. In American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, Phillips traces the rise of the Bush family from investment banking elites to political power brokers, using their Ivy League network, vast wealth, and questionable political maneuvering to obtain the White House and consequently, shake the foundation of constitutional American democracy. Citing the Bush family mainstays of finance, energy (oil), the military industrial complex, and national security and intelligence (the CIA), Phillips uses copious examples to show the dangerous alliance between the Bushes’ business interests (huge corporations such as Enron and Haliburton) and the formation of national policy. No other family, Phillips says, that has fulfilled its presidential aspirations has been so involved in the ascendancy of the arms industry and of the 21st-century American imperium–often at the expense of regional and world peace and for their personal gain. It is hard to tell what offends Phillips the most: the Bushes’ systematic deceit and secrecy, their shady business dealings, their cronyism, or their family philosophy that privileges the very wealthy and utterly dismisses all the rest. It is clearly all of these things combined. But at the top of Phillips’ list is the dynastic nature of their family power, for it is that concentration of power and influence that strikes at the heart of our democracy. Past administrations have transgressed, albeit not so egregiously, and other political families have had dynastic ambitions. But none have succeeded as thoroughly as the Bushes. Jefferson and Madison would be horrified, and according to Phillips, we should be too. —Silvana Tropea

Daschle on Bush’s Abuse of Power

Tom Daschle was once a liberal fighter with muscle and backbone. Then the right-wing slime-machine began targeting him as Satan (yes, they called him that). spread rumors about him, sent those rumors to registered voters in South Dakota, and made a national, concerted effort to unseat him. They came close, too. So Daschle backed off, backed down, and all but disappeared. But he held onto his Senate seat and his position as Minority Leader, and maybe that’s the name of the game.Now the momentum is shifting, the Bush Admin is falling apart, Junior’s numbers are in the toilet on everything but security and shaky there as well, thanks to Clarke, and Tom’s seat is probably safe again, so we’re at last being treated once more to the Daschle we used to know. In spades.

On the floor of the Senate day before yesterday, Tom finally let fly. In a stirring speech that called the BA to account, Daschle defended Richard Clarke’s testimony and blasted the BushBabies’ omnicient sliming in its larger context–Abuse of Power.

We can and should debate the facts and interpretations Clarke has offered. But there can be no doubt that he has risked enormous damage to his reputation and professional future to hold both himself and our government accountable.The retaliation from those around the President has been fierce. Mr. Clarke’s personal motives have been questioned and his honesty challenged. He has even been accused, right here on the Senate floor, of perjury. Not one shred of proof was given, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to have the perjury accusation on television and in the newspapers. The point was to damage Mr. Clarke in any way possible.

This is wrong–and it’s not the first time it’s happened.

After going through a laundry list of BushBaby attacks on both Democrats and Publicans–McCain, Cleland, Larry Lindsay, Shinseki, Foster, Paul O’Neill, Joe Wilson. et al–he starts closing in:

The common denominator is that these government officials said things the White House didn’t want said.********************

This is no way to run a government.

The White House and its supporters should not be using the power of government to try to conceal facts from the American people or to reshape history in an effort to portray themselves in the best light.

They should not be threatening the reputations and livelihoods of people simply for asking – or answering – questions. They should seek to put all information about past decisions on the table for evaluation so that the best possible decisions can be made for the nation’s future.

Yeah, well, I ain’t holding my breath. But Daschle wasn’t just calling them on the carpet; he was prepared to threaten retaliation.

We’re seeing it again now in the shifting reasons the White House has given for Dr. Rice’s refusal to testify under oath and publicly before the 9-11 Commission.The people around the President first said it would be unprecedented for Dr. Rice to testify. But thanks to the Congressional Research Service, we now know that previous sitting National Security Advisors have testified before Congress.

Now the people around the President are saying that Dr. Rice can’t testify because it would violate an important constitutional principle: the separation of powers.

We will soon face this debate again when it comes time for President Bush and Vice President Cheney to meet with the 9-11 Commission. I believe they should lift the limitations they have placed on their cooperation with the Commission and be willing to appear before the entire Commission for as much time as the Commission deems productive.

This was Tuesday. Daschle’s veiled threat must have worked because yesterday Alberto Gonzales sent the letter that said Rice would be allowed to testify if the WH could control the appearance of the Prez and the Veep.

There’s something to be said for backbone, guys, but let’s watch the price we have to pay. Some prices, we can’t afford. As Randi Rhodes said to Ralph Nader, “Sometimes I see a beautiful pair of really expensive shoes but I can’t afford them, and if I can’t afford them I have to go without!” Make sure you check the tag before you buy the product; the BA has a tendency to overprice its inventory.

(Thanx to Seattle for the link and eagle for the goose)

Bush Resigns!

Bush Resigns!I couldn’t believe this when I read it. It can’t be true. We’re not that lucky. According to the New Yirk Tomes:

WASHINGTON–In a surprise announcement shortly after midnight Wednesday, President George W Bush resigned his office.”I can’t stand it any more,” he said, tears streaming down his cheeks. “The guilt is just too much for me.”

In an emotional appeal for forgiveness from the American people, Mr Bush said he regretted many of his actions over the last three years, especially the war in Iraq, which he admitted was totally unnecessary. “We was jest screwin’ around,” he said. The turning point came when he discovered that people had actually died during the invasion.

“Killed! Dead! Did you know that? I was shocked.” Wiping his eyes, he added, “Real life isn’t anything like it is on tv, is it? I never knew. I always thought it was, like, you know, video games.”

He also said he regretted the harm that had been caused to the environment, the economy, foreign relations, and American credibility during his Administration. “I was a lousy President,” he said candidly. “What was I thinking?”

Asked what he would do now, Mr Bush replied, “I thought I might maybe be a hermit, jest, you know, be alone and search my soul. If I have one. Do I? Have you seen it around anywhere? They say it’s like this shimmery thing, sort of like Tinkerbelle in Peter Pan. Does it talk? I liked that movie. Saw it 37 times.”

Mr Bush’s sudden change of mind was apparently precipitated by a vision. As he was looking out the window of his bedroom prior to retiring, down on the street he saw an enormous white rabbit leaning against a lamp-post. “I only had a couple of little drinkie-winkies, so I knew he was real.” The sighting changed his life.

“Harvey–that’s the rabbit’s name, Harvey, sort of a pansy name but he’s very butch–Harvey told me a lot of things I, you know, din’t know nothing about atall. He said lying was Bad.” Shocked, Mr Bush pressed Mr Harvey for further information. Mr Harvey told him about global warming, hunger, joblessness, and low wages. “I could never understand why people din’t jest buy their own damn health care, but Harvey explained to me as how they couldn’t afford it on $5.12 an hour! I tell yah, he opened my eyes.”

Explaining that Mr Harvey had convinced him he didn’t deserve to be President, Mr Bush said he decided that it would be better for the country if he stepped down before he did any more damage. “I’m a one-man wrecking-crew,” he joked. “Rin Tin Tin would be better qualified to run this country than I am.” Informed that Mr Tin had passed away, Mr Bush responded, “Even more qualified than I thought.”

Invoking a little-known Executive Order that Vice President Cheney had ordered him to sign in secret right after the Inauguration, Mr Bush announced that he now had the power to appoint his successor. Mr Cheney began to stand but Mr Bush waved him back to his seat. “Not you, Dick. You’re worse ‘n me,” he said. “Let Harvey do it. He knows all about disease and libraries and corruption and community colleges and the Constitution, shit like that.”

President Harvey could not be reached for comment.