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Bush Drinking Again

National Enquirer, Sep 21 2005

A Washington source said: "The sad fact is that he has been sneaking drinks for weeks now. Laura may have only just caught him -- but the word is his drinking has been going on for a while in the capital. He's been in a pressure cooker for months."

Dangers of a Drunk Dubya

Capitol Hill Blue, Sep 23 2005

This web site reported last year that the White House physician had placed the President on anti-depressants. If Bush is mixing alcohol and anti-depressant drugs his judgment - which is already suspect - is impaired even more.

"The President all too often is out of control," a White House source tells me. "People are afraid to risk his anger by telling him things he does not want to hear. Newsweek magazine reported the same thing last week in their story: "How Bush Blew It."

The Enquirer interviewed Dr. Justin Frank, a Washington D.C. psychiatrist and author of Bush On The Couch: Inside The Mind Of The President.

"I do think that Bush is drinking again," Frank said. "Alcoholics who are not in any program, like the President, have a hard time when stress gets to be great. I think it's a concern that Bush disappears during times of stress. He spends so much time on his ranch. It's very frightening."

Cheney Seeks Plan for Nuke Attack on Iran

American Conservative, Aug 1 2005

In Washington it is hardly a secret that the same people in and around the administration who brought you Iraq are preparing to do the same for Iran. The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing--that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack--but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.

Neo-Con Plan Continues Apace

Pepe Escobar, Oct 7 2005

Whatever the mood in public opinion, the National Defense Strategy of the United States - which explicitly endorses unilateral pre-emptive strikes - remains very much in place. The Bush administration self-declares that it retains a unique "right" to engage in a "pre-emptive/preventive" war against anyone, anywhere, any time, even at a mere suspicion of being subjectively threatened by the theoretical possibility that it might be "attacked" at some undefined place in an indefinite future.

But even more crucial: any diplomatic or legal disagreement with the US under international law is regarded as such an "attack", or as a form of "asymmetric warfare". So to diplomatically attack the US may also be regarded as an act of terrorism. Then there's the new Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)"license to kill" any time, anywhere, all over the world, without any supervision - with missile-armed drones having already conducted selected assassinations in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.
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An iron link is being slowly and carefully constructed by Washington hawks, by the use of the same techniques, between Syria, Iran (under its new "hardline" president), the Sunni Iraqi resistance and Palestinian nationalism, all depicted as "terrorist". In the case of Iran, there is the inevitable link with weapons of mass destruction, as it was constructed in the case of Iraq.

Blair Links Iran to Iraq Blasts

Guardian, Oct 6 2005

Prime Minister Tony Blair warned Iran on Thursday not to meddle in Iraq after declaring that explosive devices that have killed U.S.-led troops were similar to those used by the Iranian-linked militant group Hezbollah.

"There is no justification for Iran or any other country interfering in Iraq," Blair said [I love this quote!], vowing that Britain would not be intimidated into dropping demands that Tehran cooperate with the U.N. nuclear agency.

Speaking at a press conference with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Blair said new explosive devices used "not just against British troops but elsewhere in Iraq ... lead us either to Iranian elements or to Hezbollah," the Lebanese group backed by both Syria and Iran.
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"We know that the devices are of a similar nature to those used by Hezbollah, and there are certain pieces of information that lead us back to Iran," Blair said. "But I'm not saying any more than that - we cannot be sure of this."

Bush as Churchill

Guardian, Oct 6 2005

President Bush sought Thursday to revive waning public support for the war in Iraq, accusing militants of seeking to establish a "radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia" with Iraq serving as the main front. [cf: "political projection"]

Islamic radicals are being sheltered by "allies of convenience like Syria and Iran," [em mine; also, he means "enemies of convenience", not "allies"] Bush declared in a speech before the National Endowment for Democracy.
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Asked about the president's singling out of Iran and Syria as "allies of convenience," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, "They continue to move in the wrong direction." [for whom?]
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"The murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals is the great challenge of our new century," he said. "Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy teaches that innocent individuals can be sacrificed to serve a political vision." [cf: "political projection" of zealous neoliberalism/neoconservatism; it's also another great quote]

"The militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region, and establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia," Bush asserted. [as opposed to a puppet dictatorship]

"Against such an enemy, there's only one effective response: We never back down, never give in and never accept anything less than complete victory," Bush declared.

God Told Bush to Invade Iraq

BBC Press Release, Oct 10 2005

President George W. Bush told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq - and create a Palestinian State, a new BBC series reveals.
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Nabil Shaath [Palestinian Foreign Minister] says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq ..." And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

Why are so many Republicans staying out of next year's Senate races?

American Prospect, Oct 10 2005

There's one obvious reason why Republican candidates aren't listening to the White House and the national party: For the first time, George W. Bush is an unpopular president. In Virginia, which is holding state elections next month, Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore has notably failed to call in the president to stump for him. One reason might be a Washington Post poll released in September that put Bush's popularity at 47 percent in this state he'd easily won 10 months ago. Startlingly, 45 percent of the polled said that Bush's endorsement would make them "less likely" to vote for the Republican candidate, compared with 28 percent who'd be more likely.

This makes a stark change from 2002, when Bush may have been the most popular president ever facing a midterm election. The national exit poll put his popularity at 66 percent, with 71 percent of voters approving of his handling of terrorism and 58 percent supporting him on the then-foundering economy. But now, according to the national polling outfit Survey USA, Bush's approval ratings outweigh his disapproval ratings in only 12 states, all in the Deep South and Mountain States. In Florida, Michigan, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont -- all states with potentially hot Senate races -- his approval is mired in the 30s.
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The White House's objectives for this term -- spending projects, private accounts, and the war in Iraq -- are weighing down Republican candidates and making the 2006 climate look increasingly ominous...

Polls show public confidence in Bush plummeting

Jim Lobe, Oct 2 2005

A series of polls shows public confidence in President George Bush's leadership has fallen to unprecedented lows, while the national mood has become distinctly negative.

Even more worrisome for President Bush's hopes of retaining his political potency, the surveys show that moderate Republicans are deserting his camp and that self-described independents say they intend to vote Democratic in next year's congressional elections by a two-to-one margin.

According to one poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, nearly half of all respondents want to see most members of the Republican-controlled Congress voted out next year--the highest level of dissatisfaction with the country's lawmakers in the past decade.
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Perhaps the most striking finding of both polls, as well as a third survey by the New York Times and CBS News, was the public's pessimistic mood and its growing lack of confidence in Pres. Bush's leadership.

The Times/CBS poll fond that more than six in 10 respondents say that Pres. Bush does not share their priorities for the country, and a similar percentage said the country was "pretty seriously" on the wrong track. Forty-five percent said Pres. Bush lacked "strong leadership qualities"--the highest percentage since the survey's sponsors first asked the question in 1999 when he was preparing his run for the presidency.

The same poll found that the public has become particularly pessimistic about the economy, with 49 percent expecting that it will worsen over the next year, as opposed to 16 percent who said it would improve. In January, according to the survey, those figures were reversed.
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If Democrats regain control of either or both houses next year, Pres. Bush's more radical social and economic agenda of partially privatizing Social Security and cutting taxes, particularly on the wealthy, would almost certainly not survive, according to most observers. Some believe the anticipated costs to the federal treasury associated with Katrina--at well over $100 billion--may already have dealt those initiatives a mortal blow.

Bush is Cooking Up Two New Wars

Paul Craig Roberts, Sep 30 2005

...The Bush administration is leveling false charges against Iran, just as it did against Iraq, of conspiring to make nuclear weapons. These charges are known to be false by the Bush administration and by the entire world.

For the past two years the International Atomic Energy Agency has had unfettered access to inspect Iran for any sign of a nuclear weapons program. The head of the IAEA has announced that there is no sign of a weapons program. The Bush administration nevertheless insists that Iran is making weapons, but can produce no evidence. As in the case of Iraq, the Bush administration substitutes allegations for facts.
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By bullying the 35 members of the IAEA, the Bush administration last week managed to get 22 votes that could lead to the referral of Iran to the UN Security Council. The Bush administration will now lobby for the referral. Once it has the referral, even if the Security Council does not act on it, the Bush administration can use it as an excuse to attack Iran. The Bush administration knows that few Americans have any knowledge of international law and procedures and will simply believe whatever President Bush says. The highly concentrated US media is a proven walkover for the war-mongering Bush administration.

The Bush administration's plan is to create Iranian intransigence in place of cooperation by forcing the Iranian government to stand up to the bullying by reducing its cooperation. The goal of the Bush administration is to attack Iran, not to create cooperative relationships.

...Iran has also threatened to cut off oil deliveries to some of the countries that caved in to US pressure, thereby permitting the US to increase tensions and escalate the conflict.

The Bush administration is betting that it can demonize Iran the way it did Iraq. As both Congress and the American public have failed to hold Bush accountable for deceiving them about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the administration assumes that its tactics will work a second time.

However, a nuclear attack on Iran would leave the Bush administration isolated. The US would instantly become a pariah nation, loathed and hated everywhere else.

Diversionary Use of Force and Presidential Agenda Setting

Karl DeRouen Jr., Department of Political Science, University of Canterbury; Jeffrey Peake, Department of Political Science, Bowling Green State University

Recent efforts at accounting for presidential use of force short of war have centered on diversionary theory (DeRouen 2000; Fordham 1998a; Levy 1989a, 1989b). The general argument is that presidents have incentive to treat an external use of force as a "scapegoat" during times of domestic distress such as high unemployment, inflation, scandal or other domestic turmoil (see Brace and Hinckley 1992; Levy 1989a; 1989b). For instance many questioned whether President Reagan ordered the invasion of Grenada in 1983 while the nation mourned the loss of 200 Marines killed in Lebanon. More recently, pundits questioned the motives of President Clinton in ordering military strikes at Serbia, Sudan, and Afghanistan in 1998 and 1999 because the President was in the midst of being impeached. The scapegoat explanation has become linked to presidential approval because a sizable percentage of all rallies in presidential approval in the post-war era have been related to the use of force short of war. Presidential foreign policy decision making is conceivably affected by the intense media coverage of uses of force. This media attention ostensibly helps focus public attention away from troublesome domestic issues providing a domestic political incentive for presidents to use force.

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Our shift in focus notes scholarship that has addressed presidential agenda setting, particularly presidential attempts to shift focus or change the subject. Recent analyses are critical of the president's agenda setting capacity in foreign policy (Edwards and Wood 1999; Peake 2001; Wood and Peake 1998). These studies suggest that American presidents are primarily responsive to the media and uncontrollable international events when deciding which issues to discuss publicly. However, these studies have not taken explicitly into account presidential decisions to use force beyond the president speaking publicly on the issue. In so doing, their focus on presidential speech instead of action may have underestimated the impact of presidential attempts to influence the agenda. The present study clarifies the plausible agenda setting influence of presidents within the "economy of attention" framework that governs agenda setting.

Agenda setting theory tells us that presidential force (the most dramatic of presidential events) is likely to impact public attention to issues, which may in turn indirectly influence presidential approval by priming the public's evaluation. The agenda setting model appears to do a good job accounting for the effects of force on diversion. Our results suggest that presidents have plausible incentives for forceful actions that may include indirect effects on public approval and direct effects on the public's agenda. Of course, these benefits are often outweighed by the inherent risks associated with using force and are mitigated by opportunities dependent on the international environment (DeRouen 1995; Fordham 2000).