Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Bush's May 31 Press Conference

I hate to sound like a moderate liberal (instead of a radical leftist), but God, Bush is the worst public speaker in recent memory. Putting aside his linguistic faux pas', he frequently pauses to search for basic words, he becomes louder as he becomes questioned more, and sounds generally confused and unprepared. Clinton was a war criminal and dishonest adulterer, but at least he was charismatic, funny and could recover from his mistakes with a joke. (Today's Bushism: Terrorists have been trained to "disassemble".)

Bush began by arguing that America needs a unified energy strategy and hasn't had one for ten years. But that's probably a matter of semantics; see http://tampatrib.com/nationworldnews/MGBLKDGQY5E.html, among others. The energy plan is hardly beneficial, and even if it is, it's a long-term attempt to reduce oil dependancy and won't ease prices at the pump now. http://www.zmag.org/content/Economy/krugman0115.cfm

He moved onto CAFTA. Here's an article about that debacle: http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=54&ItemID=4919

Regarding the trials in Russia (and, of course, I'm glad that attacks on effective Russian democracy are finally entering the media... several years late), Bush said that he was amazed that they sent someone to prison before trying them. But we do this frequently year: remand without bail. It takes watching a few Law and Order episodes to know this. Here's an article about how Russia is using its oil abilities to regain power on the international stage: http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/7237-10.cfm

Asked a question about how the US invasion of Iraq has increased proliferation, Bush uttered something about how he wanted diplomacy and wanted to let Iran apply to the WTO, then talked about how North Korea and Iran ostensibly violated NPT regulations and can't be trusted. Never mind that America has been in violation of the NPT for decades and supports(ed) violators. Never mind that this has no bearing on the relative success of NK/Iran proliferation and the fact that the war on Iraq eminently failed to reduce proliferation as was claimed. Just watch the thousand points of light.

He was dishonest enough to claim both that his Social Security policies have failed to get through Congress and that politicos in Washington continue to accuse him of trying to take away old people's checks but he's been in office for five years so that cannot be the case. One can't claim that one's policies will be a success and then point to the status quo as a response to criticisms.

Bush also claimed that he brought attention to the Social Security "crisis". Begging the question of how real this crisis is, the fact remains that readers of this site (http://arekexcelsior2.blogspot.com/2004_12_01_arekexcelsior2_archive.html) can see articles dating from before the Bush presidency about Social Security "reform". Did Bush just sleep through the Clinton era?

One reporter cited an Amnesty International report about human rights violations in prisons and asked how this would affect international relations. Dubbya's response was that America does good things. Even if that were always or even mostly true (and in many respects, it is), that says nothing about his administration. Only if the current rulers are congruent with America, the assumption of fascists, does his response make any sense. In any respect, it's still a total evasion, as even if the Amnesty International report is rubbish, other nations will continue to perceive human rights violations. (Another Bushism: All reports against the prisoners have been looked into. Funny, that's not the problem.) Bush justified the treatment of prisoners by saying that they were lying terrorists, but not only is that not even close to an accurate representation, it wouldn't matter anyways because Amnesty does not just ask prisoners, it observes actual cases of abuse firsthand. Contrary to what conservative delusions imagine, human rights organizations often deliver tepid reports and drastically underreport, especially given the lack of access given by countries like the US.

Bush continued to refer to Congress as "they". While I admire his attempts to honor separation of powers, as a practical matter his party controls Congress. If Bush's own party is having doubts about his policies, maybe it isn't just Beltway grandstanding and partisan bickering but people actually having their own opinions. His accusations of partisanship and calls for cooperation are decoded for what they are: Blatant attempts to form a one-party state.

Bush declared that he looks forward to the day that both parties come together to do something. Does he mean that the incredible bipartisan support for the war in Afghanistan was not a right thing? Or does he only tolerate when everything goes his way, like a spoiled rich kid?

Next came the tirade about UN reform and how John Bolton will get reform done. First of all, the only way Bolton (despised by the world) would get anything done would be forcing the institution with preponderant US power. Doing that would make the UN a vehicle for power, doing more damage to it than help. Second, the reform the UN needs is not what Bolton can offer. Third, while the US may pay $2 billion in, it also has been the UN's largest debtor, and the UN pumps far more than that back into the economy.

Bush apparently doesn't understand that a filibuster is extended debate, not the slow procedure of getting a bill through various committees.

Next came a question about Bush's argument that there is no spare embryo. Funny, since many unused embryos that will never give birth stay in fertility clinics. Bush's response was again patent irrelevancy.

Frankly, the media has been exceedingly kind to Dubbya. During replays and commentary, they judiciously ignore his idiocy.


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