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George Bush Crying on God’s Shoulder

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As George Bush's time in office winds down, he's found time to sit down and reflect on his tenure with author Robert Draper. The resulting book is called Dead Certain, the title an apparent reference to Bush's defiance and stubbornness in the face of harsh reality.

This attitude is reflected in his answer to a key question from the author, who asked the president what his main goal would be in his remaining time in office. If you were expecting him to say something reassuring, something like "I'm going to focus on finding a sensible way to wrap things up in Iraq so that our soldiers can come home to their families," you'll be disappointed. He declares that his main goal is “To get us in a position where the presidential candidates will be comfortable about sustaining a presence," and (he later added) "stay longer."

So apparently Bush will be spending his days figuring out ways to continue his disastrous war ad infinitum, even after he's safely (for the world) out of Washington, because he's "dead certain" that he's right about Iraq, and nobody is going to get him to change his mind. Furthermore, he assures us that he really believes it when he says that things are going to turn around in Iraq. "You can't fake it," he told the author.

But you needn't worry that the war and all those dead Americans are putting too much stress on the commander-in-chief. When the author noted that he had nobody's "shoulder to cry on," Bush told him, “Of course I do, I’ve got God’s shoulder to cry on, and I cry a lot," and added, "I’ll bet I’ve shed more tears than you can count as president.”

For a president who likes to pride himself on being a strong leader, it seems a bit odd to me that he would admit to being a big crybaby. Somehow, I have a hard time picturing Bush laying in bed at night sobbing into his pillow so he won't wake Laura. It's much easier for me, however, to imagine the mothers and fathers, wives, husbands, and children of all those soldiers who came home in flag-draped coffins crying for the loved ones they'll never see again, and I'm willing to bet that God is a lot more willing to lend his shoulder to them than to Bush.

Bush has always made a point of saying that he doesn't make decisions according to the polls, and of course on one level, he's right. A president can't base his decisions on whatever the latest polls say. But you'd think that when the American people express such strong disapproval of their leader and his policies, he'd at least want to take a moment to ponder the reasons for their anger and search for ways to factor public opinion into his frame of reference.

In a classic case of wishful thinking, Bush has been reduced to claiming that although everybody thinks he's a screw-up now, history will vindicate him and record that he was a clear-eyed leader who did what he thought was right and as a result saved the earth from extinction. To me, he's like the father whose kids hate him, but it doesn't really bother him because he's "dead certain" that his strict authoritarian parenting style is what's best for them, and dammit, they'll thank him for it when they get older.

Bush posits the simplistic notion that he's unpopular because "I made a decision to lead." He says, "One, it makes you unpopular…and two, it makes people accuse you of unilateral arrogance, and that may be true. But the fundamental question is, is the world better off as a result of your leadership?”

Well, at least he admits that he's arrogant. I guess that's something. And the question he poses is exactly the right one. Is the world better off as a result of George Bush's leadership? The American people (and the world) have rendered their verdict on that score with a resounding no, and they're "dead certain" of their answer.

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About Doug DeLong

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Ah, the miracle of demonization. If you can belittle and dehumanize your enemy then they no longer need to be taken seriously and at the same time the hollow foolishness of your own beliefs is less likely to be taken seriously.

    Well, at least he admits that he’s arrogant

    Actually, I believe you make very clear that he doesn’t admit he’s arrogant, he admits that people accuse him incorrectly of arrogance. But sometimes Bush’s thought processes are too subtle for his detractors who mostly just hear what they want to hear.

    Let me take you back to the founding days of the holy and always perfect democratic party and share a quote from its revered founder Andrew Jackson, which I suspect Bush always keeps in the front of his mind: “One man with courage makes a majority.”

    Dave

  • REMF

    “But sometimes Bush’s thought processes are too subtle for his detractors who mostly just hear what they want to hear.”
    – Dave Popu…er, Nalle

    Yeah, in fact they’re still trying to figure out yet what he meant by, “I know how hard it is to keep food on your family.”

    ——————————–

    “…share a quote from its revered founder Andrew Jackson, which I suspect Bush always keeps in the front of his mind: “One man with courage makes a majority.”
    – Dave Popu…er, Nalle

    Oh, well that explains everything then. He can’t think clearly because he’s got that goofy slogan blocking “the front of his mind.”

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    Actually, I believe you make very clear that he doesn’t admit he’s arrogant, he admits that people accuse him incorrectly of arrogance.

    Dave, you’re pretty skillful at making a quote mean what you want it to mean, instead of what it actually means. I think the quote is pretty clear and speaks for itself.

    But sometimes Bush’s thought processes are too subtle for his detractors who mostly just hear what they want to hear.

    What? Bush has a thought process?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Dave, you’re pretty skillful at making a quote mean what you want it to mean, instead of what it actually means. I think the quote is pretty clear and speaks for itself.

    So do I, Doug. And I doubt anyone but you is likely to read that quote and disagree with me. I may be skillful at turning quotes to my advantage, but in this case no skill was required. The quote speaks for itself.

    What? Bush has a thought process?

    When you go with the common fallacy of assuming that he is stupid you render yourself incapable of analyzing his actions in any effective way.

    Dave

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    And I doubt anyone but you is likely to read that quote and disagree with me. I may be skillful at turning quotes to my advantage, but in this case no skill was required. The quote speaks for itself.

    Well, I guess we’ll see…Just so we’re clear, you think the quote means that he’s saying people accuse him incorrectly of being arrogant, and I say it means that he admits to being arrogant. Here’s the original quote. Bush is responding to why he so’s unpopular…

    “I made a decision to lead.” He says, “One, it makes you unpopular…and two, it makes people accuse you of unilateral arrogance, and that may be true. But the fundamental question is, is the world better off as a result of your leadership?”

  • Dr Dreadful

    Dave, Dave – the quote is:

    “…it makes people accuse you of unilateral arrogance, and that may be true.”

    In other words, he’s admitting that people may be right about his arrogance. OK, he may not be putting his hands up to it unequivocally, but it’s not what you’re representing him as saying at all.

    (with apologies for the Ruvy-style over-emphasis)

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Y’know, Doug. I think I have to admit to reading into that quote what I expected to see. I somehow missed the entire ‘and that may be true’ clause even after reading it a couple of times.

    It surprises me to see such an admission from Bush, I have to admit. Shows a depth of intelligence and self-examination you have to admire, really.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Doc’s got it rightest of all.

  • REMF

    “It surprises me to see such an admission from Bush, I have to admit.”
    – Dave Popu…er, Nalle

    Almost as surprising as your admission of reading into a quote something it was not.

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    I think I have to admit to reading into that quote what I expected to see.

    Wow, Dave admits he’s wrong and Bush admits he’s arrogant.

    A new day has dawned…

  • REMF

    Doug…Psych!!

  • Clavos

    So where’s the once widely revered (and practiced) grace of the victorious gentleman??

    Dead, I suppose, as are most of the old values in this poor imitation of a once-great culture in which we now live.

    Pity.

  • REMF

    #12;
    Spare me.

  • Clavos

    Q.E.D.

  • REMF

    K.M.A.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Hey. By virtue of my Britishness, I’m the only &%#@ing gentleman on here, you @#$%er&%$*ers!!!

    ;-)

  • Clavos

    Don’t get carried away with it, Doc, but there’s a grain of truth to what you say.

    By and large, Americans are a crude, loutish lot.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Almost as surprising as your admission of reading into a quote something it was not.

    Not the first time and probably not the last. When you actually read the posts and comment on a variety of topics rather than posting different takes on the same comment over and over, you’re bound to make the occasional mistake.

    Dave

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    I can’t decide what’s the most disturbing, the President of the United States claiming to cry on god’s shoulder or Dave Nalle admitting he made a mistake. I guess the Pres just edges it, but what a close call!

    Doesn’t having a President who believes all this mystical shit make you worry?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “Doesn’t having a President who believes all this mystical shit make you worry?”

    Having George Walker Bush for a president ought to have made any American worry. The guy is stupider than a cockroach laying on its back.

    But the “mystical shit”, Chris?

    Have a shufty at this quotation from a famous American document.

    When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation….

    And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

    — John Hancock

    I have no respect for a cockroach on its back wiggling its little arms trying to right itself, like the sitting American president, but James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and John Hancock? – an entirely different class of creature…

    Last I looked, Chris, it was the United States, the land of those mystical G-d chasers, who saved the Brits’ asses twice in the last 100 years…

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    I realise that it is a bit challenging for you to make sense when talking about religion and politics, so I guess that can excuse the rambling pointlessness of your last comment, Ruvy.

    I share your concern about the general lack of intelligence this president is displaying but why on earth do you drag in the US DoI or a somewhat distorted perception of what was at stake in the two world wars?

    For better or for worse, we are all living in the present not the past; we need to deal with the issues of the day, although of course it is important not to forget where we came from and how much we have grown since then.

    There is still a lot to do before we humans can feel pleased with our achievements but we’re still a young species and hopefully there is still time to get it right.

    Bush chunders on about being judged by history, a line he seems to have borrowed from that other mystical shit Tony Blair, which seems little more than a blatant attempt at avoiding dealing with the responsibility and burden of the consequences for his actions to me.

    Although it’s true that to bail out of Iraq now would be a shameful abandonment of duty (not that Bush is a stranger to that, of course), the decision to invade Afghanistan and Iraq in the first place seems to have done precious little to make the world a better or safer place.

    As you maintain that it is not these countries but others like Saudi Arabia and others that are the true enemies of America, I presume you would agree with me on that at least.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “Bush chunders on about being judged by history, a line he seems to have borrowed from that other mystical shit Tony Blair, which seems little more than a blatant attempt at avoiding dealing with the responsibility and burden of the consequences for his actions to me.

    Although it’s true that to bail out of Iraq now would be a shameful abandonment of duty (not that Bush is a stranger to that, of course), the decision to invade Afghanistan and Iraq in the first place seems to have done precious little to make the world a better or safer place.

    As you maintain that it is not these countries but others like Saudi Arabia and others that are the true enemies of America, I presume you would agree with me on that at least.”

    For once, Chris, I can register agreement with you. And I can easily respect your view – you were a soldier yourself once, if I remember correctly, and presumably have a comprehension of what it means to stand and to serve. And in what you write above, you clearly have a sense of honor – sadly missing in the sitting president of the United States, not to mention others….

  • Nancy

    #17 – You’re right, IMO.
    #19 – yes.

  • bliffle

    Bush isn’t the first to demand that history justify his aberrant behaviour. The oldtime commies did it, and I’ve even heard child molesters claim that in time their perversions would be accepted as normal.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I’m not quite sure why a straightforward, well-written piece like this gets under Dave’s skin so. If it did not carry the byline “Doug DeLong,” would it get the same reaction? In other words, is this personal?

    Yes, Doug uses the words to reinforce his negative opinions of George Bush. The NY Times front-page article on “Dead Certain” over the weekend had a similar effect without taking an explicitly opinionated stance. Doug’s is an opinion piece, but far less hysterical than many of the words that fly by on Blogcritics. The Bush quotes speak for themselves [as do his failed policies].

    It’s true that calling Bush stupid lets him off the hook too much. His manufactured aw-shucks persona seemed politically shrewd when things were working. Now that the administration is mired in disaster, it’s hard to know what to think of his cowboy act.

  • Nancy

    Yeah, well…the difference is, their garbage doesn’t affect the lives of thousands or millions, like Georgie Boy’s does. Once again, Dubya proves his endless capacity for making a major-league ass of himself every time he opens his yap. You’d think by now he’d have learned to keep it shut…but he obviously never learns anything, & never has.

  • Nancy

    He’s a one-trick pony, Handy. He’s too damn dumb to learn anything else. In fact, as he’s so lavishly demonstrated, he’s too damned dumb to learn anything at all. Period. As for Dave…he’s a BushCo suckup & always has been since I’ve been lurking here. Why I don’t know, because he claims to be a Libertarian, & they aren’t notibly fond of BushCo that I’ve noticed. But on occasion he slips & says he’s Republican, so it’s anybody’s guess why. Maybe he doesn’t like Doug…?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    It’s not necessarily a pro-Bush statement to say he’s not dumb. The verbal awkwardness and the Texas drawl are part of his political act. To realize that a smart, misguidedly idealistic man could screw up the country this badly is both more disturbing and closer to the truth than the simplistic “he’s just a dumbass.”

  • Nancy

    When I say he’s a dumbass, it’s because he doesn’t learn from his – or anyone elses – mistakes, Handy. He doesn’t learn, period. He just keeps repeating the same bullshit & the same mistakes over & over & over. It’s his core persona. Yes, the aw-shucks BS is just that – an act. He’s as much a gen-yew-ine redneck Texan cowboy as I am. I mean, he’s stupid because he won’t learn & he doesn’t learn. Not that he can’t: Won’t. Doesn’t. That constitutes stupidity, IMO, not intellectual capacity. Anyone who CAN & is capable of doing better, & chooses not to, out of laziness, shiftiness, or both or other reasons, is stupid. I know retarded folks who do their best. They may be handicapped & slow, but they aren’t stupid, because they do try.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Self-righteousnesss and irrational certainty are not signs of stupidity, more likely signs of at least moderate intelligence coupled with disfunctional egotism.

    And Nancy, to not hate Bush when everyone else is hating him just to be part of the herd doesn’t mean I’m a Bush sycophant, it just means I’m looking at him rationally while you and others let emotion and peer pressure frame your reaction to him.

    Would I choose Bush to be my President – obviously not since I didn’t vote for him either time he ran. But that doesn’t mean that I have to revile him. He has done some good along with all the bad, and he tried to do more in a half-assed kind of way.

    As for the talking to god shit which Christopher finds so offensive, it’s another sign that Christopher doesn’t ‘get’ America, though I think if STM hadn’t disappeared he might understand. The Aussies have much the same problem. In Europe you can get away with being publicly atheist or agnostic and running for office. Here in the US lip service to religion, no matter how hypocritical is an absolute requirement and we accept political figures with troublingly personal relationships with god because we’re used to seeing it.

    Dave

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Dave Nalle: “Self-righteousnesss and irrational certainty are not signs of stupidity, more likely signs of at least moderate intelligence coupled with disfunctional egotism.”

    How well you describe yourself.

    I do get America, you self-righteous, irrationally certain, moderately intelligent disfunctional egotist, I just want to see a big change there. And in Europe too, which I don’t accept is as enlightened as you seem to think.

    And STM hasn’t disappeared, he’s on holiday in Portugal and has already posted comments to BC from there.

    Talking of holidays, did you see the news reports this weekend about how the USA has so much less holidays than most other modern countries? Apparently you don’t have statutory holiday entitlements and many people don’t even take the holidays they could.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    You’re so predictable, Christopher. I could have written that response for you and almost did. Should I just start including your responses in my original comments?

    As for holidays here in the US, as a nation we’re afflicted with a bizarre work ethic and feel guilty if we’re not working. Plus for a lot of us work is the only thing which keeps us from going insane.

    Dave

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    Dave: to not hate Bush when everyone else is hating him just to be part of the herd doesn’t mean I’m a Bush sycophant, it just means I’m looking at him rationally while you and others let emotion and peer pressure frame your reaction to him.

    Dave, it’s ridiculous to claim that people hate Bush “just to be part of the herd,” or because of “peer pressure.”

    First of all, I don’t hate anybody (well, maybe Celine Dion). But it doesn’t take a genius to understand the deeply negative feelings that millions of people have for this man. It’s a visceral gut reaction that happens every time he stands in front of a camera and speaks. It’s the nagging thought in your head that says, “How the hell did this man become the leader of the free world?” It’s a feeling of embarrassment that he is representing our country to the rest of the world.

    Add to that his truly catostrophic policies in regard to the war, torture, illegal survelliance, and a host of others, and it just makes any sane person want to scream and tear their hair out (I guess that accounts for the current status of my scalp).

    All you can do is count down the days to January 20, 2009, when the new president will announce to the world, “In the words of Gerald Ford…Our long national nightmare is over.”

  • Nancy

    And a lot of us just plain LIKE it (work, that is). 3 – 4 days off is about my max of tolerance, then I get antsy. Maybe it’s an American thing, ya think? What do Europeans think about Americans’ work habits, Chris? Are we nuts, driven, or just busy little bees?

  • Nancy

    I don’t despise the bastard because I want to be part of a herd, Dave. Don’t project your own proclivities on others. I loathe him because he’s a fool, a liar, a knave, a cheat, a thief – & because IMO at least, he’s also a murderer, sending US troops to their deaths or mutilation for the lamest of all possible reasons: his ego, his arrogance, his greed & that of his buddies. As for “good [that he’s done]” – WHAT “good”? Name something – anything – decent he’s ever done while in office that wasn’t a product of his being forced to do it to try to deflect criticism from something else, or for pure, cynical, political gain, because his handlers told him to. Go ahead. Name something. Anything.

  • Dr Dreadful

    This is just sublime…

    Christopher Rose, comment #31:

    Dave Nalle: “Self-righteousnesss and irrational certainty are not signs of stupidity, more likely signs of at least moderate intelligence coupled with disfunctional egotism.”

    How well you describe yourself.

    Dave Nalle, comment #32:

    You’re so predictable, Christopher. I could have written that response for you and almost did.

    Tchh – you kids…

  • Baronius

    “It’s much easier for me, however, to imagine the mothers and fathers, wives, husbands, and children of all those soldiers who came home in flag-draped coffins crying for the loved ones they’ll never see again, and I’m willing to bet that God is a lot more willing to lend his shoulder to them than to Bush.”

    What arrogance! The nerve of speaking of God’s behalf! Falling back on your beliefs about what pleases God, rather than make a defensible argument. You people think you’ve got the high moral ground because you can read God’s mind. Freakin’ fundamentalists.

  • Nancy

    Huh-! Thundering silence. I’m not surprised.

  • REMF

    Nancy;

    Handy and Nalle may have a point in-so-far-as GW may be smarter than he acts. I mean, he did manage to skip out on his last two years of Guard service (and recieve an honorable discharge), and then 25 years later convince all the conservative Republicans otherwise.

    Is that what Nalle meant by being “part of the herd”…?
    (MCH)

  • Nancy

    Yah, I see your point. I don’t contend he’s not intelligent. Like a weasel is intelligent. Or a rat. No… I take that back; weasels & rats demonstrate considerable learning ability, & don’t seem to hesitate to change course when an action doesn’t work. Dubya doesn’t. Well…I don’t know what to compare him to that wouldn’t be a gross libel to the comparable entity.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Dave, I knew you were going to say that. Indeed, you don’t actually exist. All the comments attributed to Dave Nalle are produced by a piece of software I own which is designed to ape a self-righteous, irrationally certain, moderately intelligent disfunctional egotist!

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Nancy, re your #34, I think you are all just conditioned to take work too seriously. In Spain, people work really hard but they all value family life far more highly.

  • Clavos

    “Apparently you don’t have statutory holiday entitlements and many people don’t even take the holidays they could.”

    True, and a major contributing factor to the USA’s ranking of #1 in the world in worker productivity; the other being our high degree of automation.

    My last several years in the airline industry, I was entitled to six weeks of vacation per year, but rarely was able to take more than a week or week-and-a-half. The time accumulated, though, and became a substantial cash payment when I retired.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Clavos, personally, I don’t see being #1 in working your ass off for a company that would sack you in a New York minute if it had to as anything to be proud of.

    There’s plenty of money in the Western world but time is a precious resource that should be enjoyed rather than donated to some dumb corporation. I’d rather have had the six weeks a year than a bit of retirement cash. You’re still working now but you’ll never get that time back.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Six weeks?! Even for a British employer that would be extravagantly generous. For an American company, that’s practically sending you on an all expenses paid business junket to heaven.

    My employer cut vacation from three weeks to one and a half this year. And that’s only if you’ve worked for them for five years. Even that’s more than most American companies will give you.

  • Clavos

    Chris,

    I’m working now because I LIKE it.

    I tried “retirement” for a year and it bored me all to hell, so I started a new career, and now I’m having a ball. I didn’t not take the vacations for the money, mostly it was because there was never enough time, and my wife only got two (later, three) weeks; I didn’t fancy taking the time and then sitting around the house while she was at work

    As far as the US ranking in re productivity; that’s the one of the principal reasons we are (so far) the wealthiest nation in history.

    Doc, I didn’t work for American companies; I worked for a Brasilian one for ten years and then a Mexican one for another twenty. Both started with two weeks after a year, then built up to six after ten years of service.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Clavos, being the wealthiest nation in history doesn’t appear to be getting you very far when you have a culture dominated by religion and warmaking or when decent chaps like yourself can’t find anything to do when on holiday or retired other than sitting around the house.

    No offense mate, but now you’re having a ball trying to sell yachts on commission only to people even richer than you.

    Being so wealthy, you could have travelled, studied art or done any one of a million other things rather than slobbing about like an aimless teenager.

    And some fool wrote a song about life being more fun in America. Ri-ight!

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    I haven’t had a job that limited me to two weeks vacation in 25 years, and I’m hardly the only American in that circumstance.

    Remember, we have a much larger population of entrepreneurs and independent contractors and freelancers than most countries. All of those folks can take more than 2 weeks vacation if they make the right accommodations – such as vacationing where there’s internet access and being willing to spend some time doint work during the vacation.

    Dave

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    That’s what I’m doing right now, Dave. I’m on my fifth or sixth holiday of the year and loving it.

    However the point is that most Americans don’t take much holiday time and most indicators seem to show that is not a good thing. People need down time.

  • Clavos

    “Being so wealthy, you could have travelled, studied art or done any one of a million other things rather than slobbing about like an aimless teenager.”

    While in the airline business, I spent thirty years on the road as much as three weeks a month, and traveled all over the world during that time; both for business and for pleasure. It was time for something else.

    I also have acted in more than fifty community theatre plays over the years, as well as in TV commercials and even a few extra and bit roles in movies and TV programs; I’ve volunteered at the VA hospitals in the various cities in which I’ve lived; I’ve kept plenty busy.

    Apparently, this is incomprehensible to you, but I LIKE TO WORK; especially around and on yachts, which is why I still am. I fail to see what the commission only aspect of it has to do with this, or why (as you seem to imply) it’s a negative.

  • Dan

    Doug D #10: “Wow, Dave admits he’s wrong and Bush admits he’s arrogant.”

    Bush doesn’t “admit” he’s arrogant. He admits that some accuse him of arrogance–as Dave say’s. He goes on to say that “that may be true”, the logical converse of which is: that may be untrue.

    Of course, the spectrum of arrogance runs from not enough, to too much. Obviously Bush doesn’t think he’s too arrogant or he would take corrective action.

    Personally, I think he’s got the right mix. Ironically, his acknowledgement of “that may be true” demonstrates resoundingly how non-arrogant he actually is.

    A more arrogant–and true (imo)–response would have been to say his detractors are purely partisan hacks, who’ll disgracefully stoop to the level of wishing any disaster just to wrest power.

    Hope this helps.

  • Dan

    Christopher’s derision of the US’s work ethic is standard nationalist jealousy.

    If Americans aren’t obese and lazy, they’re psychologically impaired work-aholics.

    Meanwhile, we just continue to be the most productive.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Clavos, travelling for work in the way you did is not at all the same thing. I’ve also spent a lot of time on the road so I know whereof I speak.

    It’s not incomprehensible to me at all that you like to work and I don’t think I said anything that implies differently. Everyone likes to be useful. I do think you’re working too much for too little when there is so much more to be done in life but, hey, it’s your life, your call.

    Having also worked for commission only, I think it is one of the shittiest ways of being employed. I’d rather be self-employed, which I am, regardless of how much I enjoyed any particular job.

  • Dan

    Working on commission is the essence of self-employment. Your employer doesn’t care how much money you make. You push his/her product at your own expense.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Dan, it’s not that at all. Furthermore, your assertion that the US is the most productive isn’t entirely true.

    From one of the most recent reports on international productivity: “According to statistics, the U.S. lead the group of productive nations with $63,885 of value added per person employed in 2006; that lead was followed by Ireland ($55,986), Luxembourg ($55,641), Belgium ($55,235) and France ($54,609).

    Since Americans work more hours per year than other developed economies, Norway caps the list in terms of highest productivity level when measured as value added per hour worked ($37.99).

    Productivity increase may be viewed as efficiency in the way a company manages capital, labor and technology.”

    Nor do I see spending more time working as necessarily a good thing.

    Quality of life is far more important and in this respect the USA laga behind several other countries.

    From The Economist:

    Quality of life
    Ireland
    Switzerland
    Norway
    Luxembourg
    Sweden
    Australia
    Iceland
    Italy
    Denmark
    Spain
    Singapore
    Finland
    United States
    Canada
    New Zealand

    The UK came in 26th.

  • bliffle

    “Meanwhile, we just continue to be the most productive.”

    Fat lot of good it does for the people who are more productive. Their workweek gets longer, their vacation shorter, their benefits diminish and wages don’t keep up with inflation.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Dan, re your #54: Self employment is working for your self in your own business. Working on commission only means being employed without a salary.

  • Clavos

    Chris,

    I KNOW traveling for work is different. After all, I was in the travel business, which, because I could travel for free, was why I traveled for pleasure as well.

    As a commission only yacht broker, I AM self employed. As to whether it’s shitty or not probably depends a LOT on what kind of money you’re making, and I’m doing better than I ever did on a salary, where I was doing very well.

    Just saw your response #57 to Dan. In this country, as a commission-only yacht broker, I AM self-employed in every conceivable way; my brokerage provides NO benefits, not even business cards, much less medical, retirement, etc. My license (and my time) are my investment in the business, and the license is totally portable; it goes where I go. I can leave at any time, and have done so when it suited me. Even the IRS considers me self-employed. I am a one man corporation, legally, and can work anywhere.

    In fact, because my income is dependent ONLY on my own efforts, not the “goodwill” of a boss or the arbitrary wage and seniority rules of a union, I am MUCH better off than wage slaves, making a LOT more money than when I worked for a salary.

  • Dan

    Christopher, that’s a good response. If Norweigans create 37.99 value per hour, then they could produce $79,019 if they worked an average 40 hour week.

    Since they didn’t rank in the top 5, then they must only work something less than 27.6 hours a week.

    My hat’s off to them. If you can spend 27.6 hours working and 140.4 enjoying life, no wonder they’re 3rd in quality of life according to the Economist.

    Although I would be interested in seeing what the Economists’ subjective view of “quality of life” entails.

    Still though, I understand what you say.

    A correlative is like when someone complains that the US deficit is the highest it’s ever been, and you try to explain to them that the deficit is only meaningful as a percentage of GDP.

    It’s nearly as low as it’s ever been now.

    “Self employment is working for your self in your own business. Working on commission only means being employed without a salary.”

    Self employment is usually also “being employed without a salary”.

    you determine what you make. With a lot more control on the downside.

    Working on commission’s saves you from coming up with a product. Thus, you’re free to be as active as you care to. More freedom, not less.

  • Dan

    Biffle, with inflation as low as it’s been under the Bush administration, wages don’t need to grow very much to keep up.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    To get back to the original subject of this article: Chris Matthews had an interesting if heavy-breathing interview with the author of “Dead Certain” tonight.

    MSNBC is giving lots of coverage to the supposed outrage concerning Bush’s comments on refilling his “coffers” with gigantic speaking fees after leaving office. [His dad and Bill Clinton make big bucks for speeches, and he wants his share.]

    I’m no fan of GWB, but this particular item escaped my outrage-meter when I first read the quotes. But maybe it is kinda tacky for a war president to muse on profiting after he leaves office. Whatcha think?

  • Dr Dreadful

    Depends how you define a “war president”. I mean, who was the last one not to either start or prosecute a war (hot, not cold) while in office? Carter? (If you don’t count that fiasco in Iran.) Eisenhower? (Was Korea done with by the time his bum plopped down behind the Oval Office desk?) Hoover?

    Golly.

  • Dan

    handyguy, without knowing the comments or the context, it would be kinda hard to judge.

    Instinctively, knowing the partisanship of MSNBC amd Chris Mathews, I would be skeptical of the critisizm.

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    Here’s some additional context of his “coffers” remark (from NY Times)…

    When President Bush is asked what he plans to do when he leaves office, he often replies curtly: “I don’t have that much time to think beyond my presidency” or “I’m going to sprint to the finish.”

    But in an interview with a book author in the Oval Office one day last December, he daydreamed about the next phase of his life, when his time will be his own.

    First, Mr. Bush said, “I’ll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol’ coffers.” With assets that have been estimated as high as nearly $21 million, Mr. Bush added, “I don’t know what my dad gets — it’s more than 50-75” thousand dollars a speech, and “Clinton’s making a lot of money.”

    Then he said, “We’ll have a nice place in Dallas,” where he will be running what he called “a fantastic Freedom Institute” promoting democracy around the world. But he added, “I can just envision getting in the car, getting bored, going down to the ranch.”

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Regarding the coffer replenishing remark, it makes perfect sense. Every year he spent in the White House almost certainly cost him lost revenue compared to what he was making before he ran for office. It’s not unreasonable for him to expect to recoup some of that loss once he gets out.

    He’s relatively young. It will be interesting to see what kind of influence he has once he leaves office.

    Dave

  • Baronius

    I dunno, Dave. I’m as big a Bush fan as there is and I can’t imagine him having influence. He’s hated in much of the world and mocked in most of the rest of it. Even his allies don’t bother to defend him. And who’s going to pay money to hear him speak?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    But look at Carter, Baronius. One of the worst presidents ever and a sanctimonious egomaniac and he’s had a great career since he left office. If he can do it anyone can.

    Dave

  • REMF

    “Mr. Bush added, “I don’t know what my dad gets – it’s more than 50-75″ thousand dollars a speech, and “Clinton’s making a lot of money.””

    Wow, just think about it. People will actually pay to listen to a GW Bush speech.

    Yakov Smirnoff was right…”America, what a country!”

  • REMF

    “Clavos, being the wealthiest nation in history doesn’t appear to be getting you very far when you have a culture dominated by religion and warmaking or when decent chaps like yourself can’t find anything to do when on holiday or retired other than sitting around the house.”

    Not true. He had a blast last July 4th rolling around for 10 hours in the BC mud with moonraven.

  • REMF

    “But maybe it is kinda tacky for a war president to muse on profiting after he leaves office.”

    Maybe he could sell those two missing years of his Guard service. I mean, just think what those 18 minutes of Nixon’s missing tape are worth…

  • bliffle

    “Biffle, with inflation as low as it’s been under the Bush administration, wages don’t need to grow very much to keep up.”

    But shouldn’t wages increase some to take up some of the increases in productivity? Else, what’s the point?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Bliffle, read my article The Emerging Workforce Crisis. It’s got some of the relevant info on the accelerating increase in wages, and follow the link to the BLS figures which demonstrate the wage growth.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    As much as I loathe Dubya, even I don’t have any problem w/him speculating on how much he can mulct idiots to pay to hear him mispronounce “nuclear” as “noo-kyoo-ler”. Every prez & pol & 15-second celebrity known tries it. I doubt it will end up benefitting the public through any foundation of merit, tho: most likely it will go towards heavy spin & historical re-writing of Bush’s sorry legacy, to make him out to be a Great War Prez, to accord with his fondest erotic fantasies.

  • bliffle

    I read that article and concluded it was the leadin for another apologia for more H1B visas.

  • Nancy

    Or something. Anything but what it is presented to be, hey?

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    Bush has become a self-parody, just about the worst thing that can happen to a public figure. Still, if Bush Sr. & Clinton can make the book sales/speaking fees, surely GWB will as well.

    Dave, I agree that Carter was a weak and unsuccessful president but, in person, he is completely different. I have seen him deliver speeches and interact with audiences;believe it or not, he is forceful, knowledgeable, and articulate, with a grasp of detail, clarity 0f thought, and understanding of events and forces that he never projected on TV.

  • Baronius

    Also, Carter desperately needed acceptance, and would do anything to get it. He’s quite a pathetic figure. I don’t see Bush having that same craving.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I’d prefer to express it as: Carter is a first-class human being but he was an ineffective president.

    GWB is apparently very charming and likable in person. Politically, he’s been a polarizing radical, and some of his most visible policies have exploded in his face. And ours.

    Clinton is one of the smartest and most charismatic men ever to hold the office, and yet he accomplished relatively little of what he and his supporters [me included] would have hoped. Certainly he squandered major political capital through his own missteps, and a venomously partisan opposition in Congress made sure he didn’t regain enough to accomplish more.

    In the current poisonous political atmosphere, it’s hard to imagine a president most of us could agree on, a president who has the support of nearly everyone.

  • Clavos

    “In the current poisonous political atmosphere, it’s hard to imagine a president most of us could agree on, a president who has the support of nearly everyone.”

    Food for thought there, handy, which also begs the question, what will the political atmosphere be like beyond the election?

  • REMF

    I guess the main difference being, Carter and Clinton didn’t send 3,600 Americans (and counting) to their deaths and waste over 449 billion dollars (and counting) on a shithole like Iraq.
    – MCH

  • Baronius

    Carter was a classless partisan hack who has tried to undermine every subsequent Republican administration by dealing with enemies of the US. A saner generation would have long ago had him arrested for treason.

    Not even Pat Robertson wears his religion on his sleeve the way Carter does. But no one calls him on it.

    Carter has supported and endorsed thuggish regimes, and thus is indirectly responsible for innumerable deaths and human rights abuses. You name it, he’s praised it: Yugoslavia, Syria, the PLO, Ortega, basically any rat that’s ever ruined a country.

    Why the kinship with dictators? Because Carter is at heart a bully – an ineffective bully, but a bully. He also seems to hate elections. That could be personal or ideological; either way he disgraces America when he supports tyranny.

  • REMF

    Jimmy Carter:
    **Enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving from 1946-53
    **Bachelor of Science Degree, U.S. Naval Academy
    **Served on submarines in the Atlantic and Pacific fleets
    **Executive Officer and Engineering Officer, USS K-1, nuclear submarine program, 1951
    **Resigned at the rank of Liuetenant
    **Honorable Discharge…”Golden”

    GW Bush
    **Used influence to jump ahead of a waiting list of 500 men to get into the Texas National Guards
    **Was automatically awarded rank of Lt. after boot camp, despite having never attended Officer Candidate School
    **Permanently grounded from flying for missing a mandatory physical, thus wasting $1 million on his training
    **Failed to report for duty to Dannelly AFB in Aug. 1972, and then skipped his final two years of obligation, thus committing Desertion
    **Honorable Discharge…”Bogus”

  • Baronius

    REMF, if Bush can be wrong after 4 years of military service, Carter can be treasonous after his years.

  • Baronius

    Actually, now that I look at that, REMF, Carter’s military record is amazing. Annapolis graduate, war years, and he only made it to Lt.? Wow, old Goofy Tooth was a lousy sailor as well as a terrible president and pathetic human being.

  • Clavos

    Damn, Baronius, you beat me to it!

    That’s a VERY low rank for a Middie, especially when you consider that he served in wartime, and for seven years.

    OTOH, when you look at his presidential track record, it’s not so surprising.

  • REMF

    “Annapolis graduate, war years, and he only made it to Lt.? Wow, old Goofy Tooth was a lousy sailor…”

    How high did you get, Baronius?

  • Lumpy

    I believe REMF meant to type . Lt
    Commander, but I can understand his lack of familiarity with military ranks. Lieutenants don’t get to be XOs of nuclear subs.

  • Baronius

    Never served, never called to, never tried to subvert US foriegn policy. Carter corresponded with the USSR, encouraging the Kremlin to embarrass Reagan in 1984 for the sake of Mondale. He lobbied nations on the Security Council to oppose the Gulf War. If you blame Bush for desertion after his military service, you have to blame Carter for his treason.

  • Baronius

    Lumpy, as near as I can tell, Carter really never made it farther than Lieutenant. I can only guess how far REMF got, since he can’t spell “Liuetenant”.

  • REMF

    “but I can understand his lack of familiarity with military ranks. Lieutenants don’t get to be XOs of nuclear subs.”

    Care to make a wager?

    —————————-

    “Never served, never called to…”
    “Wow, old Goofy Tooth was a lousy sailor…”

    I can’t be the only one who sees the hypocrisy there.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Carter’s presidency would have been more fun (bearing in mind his naval service) if:

    – he’d insisted on being referred to as ‘Jamaica Jim’
    – in his State of the Union addresses, instead of beginning ‘my fellow Americans’, he’d started out with ‘ARRRRRRR!!!’
    – his Press Secretary had been a parrot
    – he’d handed out extra rations of rum at the DNC
    – he’d announced that there really was a treasure map hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence

    Worth thinking about…

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Sorry, Doc. John Hodgman did not list Carter as one of the nine American Presidents who had hooks for hands.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    I don’t find any record of Carter ever being XO of a nuclear sub. He seems to have been allowed at the helm, but never without supervision. And after 7 years he did indeed never get higher than a plain old Lieutenant, which is longer than average, but only a little. Remember, unlike the Army Lieutenant is not the lowest rank of Navy officers. He presumably started out as an Ensign. He was also self-admittedly an underachiever.

    Dave

  • REMF

    In typical BC fashion, three of the four guys who’ve mocked and/or judged Carter’s military record have conveniently never served themselves…
    (MCH)

  • Clavos

    Lieutenant in the Navy is the O-3 rank (third from the bottom, with the first, Ensign, automatic with the commission); it is equal to a Captain in the Army.

    Pretty low rank for an Annapolis graduate with seven years of wartime service. Wartime, after all, is when promotions flow like water.

    Again, not surprising that the Navy didn’t see much potential in Carter; there wasn’t much, as the American voters discovered during his only term in the WH.

  • Baronius

    Well, Carter was in the Academy for four years, so he wasn’t going to get any promotion then. But 1950-1953 was a pretty busy time for the military, and the cream rises to the top. Carter didn’t.

    Besides, even Carter’s defenders consider him a lousy president. And therein lies the lesson for you, REMF: we judge a president on his presidency. We judge a military man on his service.

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    You know, it’s kinda pathetic that the only way the Bushies can feel better about their man is to run down a former president.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Doug, we’d be running down Carter regardless of who was president now, just as you’ll be running down Bush 20 years from now.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    “You know, it’s kinda pathetic that the only way the Bushies can feel better about their man is to run down a former president.”

    Running down carter doesn’t make me feel better about bush. Running down bush doesn’t make me feel good about clinton.

    Can’t feel good about any of those bozos.

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    “Doug, we’d be running down Carter regardless of who was president now, just as you’ll be running down Bush 20 years from now.”

    In 20 years, Bush will simply be known as “He Who Must Not Be Named.”

  • REMF

    “And therein lies the lesson for you, REMF: we judge a president on his presidency. We judge a military man on his service.”

    Please, spare the sanctimony. And a lesson for you, Baronius: I judge a hypocrite on his rhetoric.

  • Baronius

    No, REMF, you judge every butcher, baker, and candlestick maker by their military service. Indeed, you claim to judge me as a hypocrite, but that’s not based on my rhetoric. It’s based on my lack of military service. The sanctimony shan’t waver an iota, lest you fail to learn from it.

    Doug – Dave and I got on Carter as we discussed Bush’s post-presidential life. He came up for comparison purposes. I feel great about Bush without mentioning Carter. I also thought Carter was pathetic before Bush became governor.

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    I feel great about Bush…

    Seriously? George W. Bush, the so-called president, that Bush? Really?

  • Nancy

    For the record, I think Carter is a wuss & a failure as well. His performance during the Iran Hostage Crisis was craven & waffling. His whole life for the most part has been a pitiful performance of just shufflin’ along, & wringing his hands ineffectually. The only time he seemed to find himself was after the WH, at which point he assumed for himself the role of Senior Stateman & then he started to ‘bloom’, as they say. I do have to give him credit for his charity work, of which he does do a lot. But that’s all.

    Doug, you feel GOOD about Bush? Why? The only (& it’s reaching pretty desperately) reason I could think of to feel good about Bush is, that it will feel so good after he leaves. He’s certainly made it so that whoever comes after him will have to set a pretty low standard to look as incompetent & vile as he (& his admin in general) have been.

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    Doug, you feel GOOD about Bush?

    No no no no no….oh my god no…

    That was a quote from Baronius that I was responding to.

  • Nancy

    Well, I did think that was an odd comment, coming from you after your previous postings, but thought perhaps you were being sarcastic, ironic, or maybe a little loopy….

  • REMF

    “No, REMF, you judge every butcher, baker, and candlestick maker by their military service.”

    Wrong Baronius, I judge every macho war-wimp who has never served who:
    1) mocks or critiques the service of those who’ve actually served;
    2) dodged the draft or Deserted during Vietnam, but are now responsible for sending others to their deaths;
    3) refers to anyone opposed to the war as a “commie” or a “pinko”;
    4) pontificates military strategy and pretends to know what combat is like;
    5) claims to “support” the invasion/occupation, but promotes someone else fighting their battles for them;
    6) mocks the appearance of a dismembered combat vet;
    7) regurgitates (draft-dodger) Rush Limbaugh ad-hominens like “the purpose of the military is to kill people and break things.”

  • Clavos

    “Rush Limbaugh ad-hominens like “the purpose of the military is to kill people and break things.””

    That’s not an ad hominem (no hyphen), emmy.

    “Main Entry: 1ad ho·mi·nem
    Pronunciation: (‘)ad-‘hä-m&-“nem, -n&m
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: New Latin, literally, to the person
    1 : appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
    2 : marked by or being an attack on an opponent’s character rather than by an answer to the contentions made”

    This has been a public service announcement.

  • Nancy

    Well, truth in advertising I was never in combat either, altho we DID chase down & catch several drug runners when I was on active. Mostly we patrolled & bailed out sinking boats or sent drunks back to shore that shouldn’t have been out to begin with, or boarded foreign fishing vessels inside our perimeters.

  • REMF

    Nancy;
    Thank you for your service to our country, it was more than I did. I knew a guy from h.s. (a great athlete) who lost his life in the Coast Guard attempting to rescue some fishermen caught in a terrible storm off the coast of the Alaskan panhandle. Left behind a widow and four children.
    (MCH)

  • Nancy

    Ah, well, that WAS the dicey part of it, the weather. The rest of it was fun, actually. Well, the drunks weren’t fun, but all the rest was fairly interesting.

  • REMF

    ^ The irony (and tragedy) was, the two fishermen survived, while the three Coasties did not.

  • Nancy

    I am sorry for that. Too many good people – cops, firemen, CG, soldiers – loose their lives trying to save those who aren’t worth saving, IMO.

  • Baronius

    Yeah, Doug, I feel great about Bush. It’s possible. You say that the US and the world has agreed that Bush is a failure, but we haven’t. I’m proud of voting for him twice. He’s overseen a great economy, done some good things in education and the judiciary, held to a solid pro-life position, and led the fight against terrorism.

  • bliffle

    Erroneous Baronius steps to the plate again and whiffs, as usual:

    “You say that the US and the world has agreed that Bush is a failure, but we haven’t.”

    The triumph of bullheadedness over reason.

    ” I’m proud of voting for him twice.”

    I voted for him once and was totally deceived about his policies. I can admit I was fooled: one time.

    ” He’s overseen a great economy,”

    Borrowed a trillion $$ to create a party for the most powerful that our grandchildren, the most powerless, will have to pay for.

    ” done some good things in education”

    Such as? Where’s the evidence of improved education? And this should be a slam dunk, as they say, because it was in such horrible shape after 40 years of weakening by PC liberals.

    ” and the judiciary,”

    appointed cronies.

    ” held to a solid pro-life position,”

    What a stupid issue!

    ” and led the fight against terrorism.”

    No, he invented the WOT to justify his yen to invade someone, like, Iraq.

    Bush is a bum.

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    How can anyone take Bush seriously when he keeps saying really stupid things? Latest example…he reportedly told Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile, who had inquired about progress in Iraq, “We’re kicking ass.”

    WTF? Forgetting for the moment about his crude language, is he looking at the same war as the rest of the world? The man lives in a fantasy world.

  • Clavos

    I love this one!

    “WTF? Forgetting for the moment about his crude language”

    What does “WTF” mean, Doug?

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    I have nothing against crude language. In fact, I’m an avid fan of it. I just expect the president to be a little more refined in his analysis of a war that’s killing people every day. And, oh yeah, telling the truth would be a refreshing change, too.

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    the King: De Long is short on reasoning capacity
    thus it is spoken

    Care to elaborate on your comment, or have you reached the limit of your vocabulary?

  • Clavos

    “I just expect the president to be a little more refined in his analysis of a war that’s killing people every day.”

    Why? What difference does it make?

    That’s silly.

    Oh, and BTW, “killing people every day” is what war is about; that’s why so many are opposed to it.

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    Why? What difference does it make?

    Well, because he’s the friggin’ president, that’s why! Shouldn’t he be able to offer an analysis that’s more than something you’d expect to hear from some drunken frat boy? Let’s put this one up on the wall right next to “Bring ‘em on!”

    By the way, are you willing to endorse his assessment that “we’re kicking ass” in Iraq?

  • Clavos

    I have no problem with his manner of speech, which is aimed at the American people, who, as I mentioned in another thread recently are by and large, a crude and loutish lot.

    He’s just speaking their language.

  • Nancy

    His comments are aimed at Americans when he’s making broadcasts TO Americans specifically. Otherwise he’s engaging in offical US business to the world public – in which case such language is NOT called for. As you are aware, I don’t hesitate on occasion to use it myself. But I try to use it appropriately; most people do. He doesn’t. Despite all his money, he’s an ignorant lout himself, a lowlife, a boor, and an idiot. He shames us by his boorish, loutish behavior when he’s abroad – as ANY American who behaves badly would & does.

  • Nancy

    His comments are aimed at Americans when he’s making broadcasts TO Americans specifically. Otherwise he’s engaging in offical US business to the world public – in which case such language is NOT called for. As you are aware, I don’t hesitate on occasion to use it myself. But I try to use it appropriately; most people do. He doesn’t. Despite all his money, he’s an ignorant lout himself, a lowlife, a boor, and an idiot. He shames us by his boorish, loutish behavior when he’s abroad – as ANY American who behaves badly would & does.

  • Nancy

    His comments are aimed at Americans when he’s making broadcasts TO Americans specifically. Otherwise he’s engaging in offical US business to the world public – in which case such language is NOT called for. As you are aware, I don’t hesitate on occasion to use it myself. But I try to use it appropriately; most people do. He doesn’t. Despite all his money, he’s an ignorant lout himself, a lowlife, a boor, and an idiot. He shames us by his boorish, loutish behavior when he’s abroad – as ANY American who behaves badly would & does.

  • Nancy

    Aw, now the computer’s doing it to me; yesterday it was Doc.

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    I have no problem with his manner of speech

    Okie dokie…and would you care to answer part 2 of my question, which was…

    Are you willing to endorse his assessment that “we’re kicking ass” in Iraq?

  • Nancy

    Hell no-! ;)

  • Clavos

    No, I’m not willing.

    I have no idea what the situation is like over there.

    I do not trust any of the media reports; they are all (left, right, and center) pushing an agenda.

    I trust the politicians’ assessments even less.

    I do trust the military, because they have their lives on the line, and because I’ve “been there, done that.”

    Ask me again when Petraeus presents his report.

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    Ask me again when Petraeus presents his report.

    Oh, you mean the Petraeus Report that’s going to be written by the White House…that Patraeus Report?

  • Clavos

    Gee, I didn’t know that. I thought he’d write his own.

    Forget it then.

    I guess I’ll never know what’s going on over there, I’m certainly not going to travel there to find out.

  • Nancy

    Petraeus will write what Georgie Boy (& President Cheney) tell him to, I’m guessing. We’ll see in a few if he’s an honest man or just another dick-licker.

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    Gee, I didn’t know that. I thought he’d write his own. Forget it then. I guess I’ll never know what’s going on over there, I’m certainly not going to travel there to find out.

    I’m gonna go ahead and assume you’re being sarcastic, but seriously…you just said that you don’t trust politician’s assessments of the situation, so how is it you can trust a Patraeus Report that will be written by the White House?

  • Nancy

    I don’t. I trust my own assessment, based on what the independently-reported numbers tell me: how many US dead, how many ieds, how many suicide bombings, how many civilians dead, how much we’re spending, etc. To paraphrase the song, “put them all together, they spell ‘FAILURE….’ ” I mean, the least Dubya could have done was manage to secure some really good antiquities from the Iraqis, since he couldn’t manage to snag control of the oil fields for Halliburton et al. Still, they & Bush’s other buddies, the Saudi royals, are lining their pockets well enough with non-bid suppliers contracts, etc.

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    More excellent presidential adventures…

    Following up on his incisive “We’re kicking ass” comment, the president went to the Sydney Opera House to deliver a speech. After referring to the APEC Summit as the OPEC Summit and thanking the Australian prime minister for sending “Austrian” troops to Iraq, the president…

    “strode away from the lectern on a path that would have sent him over a steep drop. Howard and others redirected the president to center stage, where there were steps leading down to the floor of the theater.”

    That’s our president!

    Full article here.

  • Baronius

    Doug, if you’re going to chronicle all the dumb things Bush says in public, you’re going to be busy. I remember people praising his speeches after 9/11, but I don’t know because I didn’t watch them. I consider him unwatchable. Maybe Clavos is defending Bush’s presentation, but I’m sure not. I don’t see how anyone can.

    Nancy, you’ve set up a perfect trap. Any good words that Petraeus says are sucking up. Anything negative is being honest. You’ve set up those traps before. Like with Bush planning a coup: either he does it, or someone talked some sense into him before he tries it. Your theories are unfalsifiable.

  • gonzo marx

    Doug is correct on that one, Clavos…

    the WH has already admitted that the report will be written up by the Administration, nothing directly from the Generals, until they show up in front of Congress

    but here’s the kind of thing to remember when anyone starts talking about the situation, do note that al Anbar province is where all the “success” stories are coming from, and rightly so…it appears that some security matters there are indeed getting better…

    well, there’s a few reasons for that…going from ONE division of troops to EIGHT divisions is one thing…paying off factions to not fight each other for a few months is another (some of these local “warlords” are being bribed off with American rifles and ammunition)…then there’s how you take your statistics

    shot in the back of the head counts as “sectarian violence”, shot in the front of the head is “criminal activity”

    on and on

    my fucking favorite bit of shittiness surrounding this fiasco is the stench the Admin raised over the GAO report…which initially said that 3 of the 18 benchmarks passed, the rest failed, was the Admin screaming to get partial credit for the ones where they felt they had “made progress”…

    i guess holding themselves to the same kind of standards in something like a war is not going to be as stringent as they hold teachers/schools/students to with “no child left behind”…?

    there’s an Article all right…”no Iraqi left behind”

    heh

    Excelsior?

  • Clavos

    Doug,

    Re my #131:

    No, I wasn’t being sarcastic, I honestly had not heard that Petraeus’ report was being written by the WH.

    A pity.

    So, in the absence of information I accept as reliable, I can neither endorse nor repudiate Bush’s assessment.

  • Dan

    Retired General James Jones spoke on behalf of his 20-member independent commission of retired military brass created by Congress to evaluate the progress of Iraqi Security Forces yesterday.

    Looks as if things are working out.

    Democrats are starting to shift positions. No one is calling it a “disaster” anymore.

    As is typical, some Dem’s are now claiming the success of the surge is reason to begin drawing down. Well duh, that’s kind of like what Bush had in mind.

    Although I imagine the Dem’s draw down strategy will be a race to try and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    Dan…didn’t you see the GAO reports on all of this?

    i’d advise folks like yourself, and Clavos to take a look, it’s probably the closest any of us can get to a complete and unbiased look at what is actually going on over there

    but no matter how ya slice it, failing on at least 11 of the 18 benchmarks is not satisfactory by any standard…and these standards and benchmarks were the ones the Administration signed onto and said “wait until September” for the results…

    well, it’s September…we have the results…ANY honest and objective view can easily see that failing 11 of 18 is a failure in toto

    nuff said…

    Excelsior?

  • Clavos

    gonzo,

    I’ve been saying for some time I think we should get the hell out of Iraq.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing us pulling back ALL our overseas troops and reducing the overall size of the military by at least 50%, either. Put what’s left on the borders and coasts.

    I’m tired of paying for it; in both blood and money.

    And having already personally participated in an idiotic military venture, I’d like to see us withdraw and just mind our own territory.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=gonzo%20marx gonzo marx

    Clavos…i’ll second that Emotion, as you well know

    hey now…i know what we need, some genetic material from Dennis Cuccinich and Ron Paul!

    a few hours in the lab splicing…force grow the new clone while it watches the Fountainhead and Easy Rider on endless loops

    we could have something here… lemme check my notes

    Excelsior?

  • Clavos

    Damn, gonzo, you been checking up on me???

    “…the Fountainhead and Easy Rider…”

    Two of my all-time favorite works-never saw the Fountainhead movie, but read the book a couple of times, and actually did a term paper in college (my whole grade for the course; had one of those really hippy-dippy 60s profs for that course) on Easy Rider. Got an A, too.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Doug:

    That 14-hour flight to Sydney is enough to fry anyone’s brain, let alone Bush’s. What a classic, though. I’m sure the Aussies loved it.

    Just a shame that Stan’s out of the country and missed it.

  • Dan

    Gonzo, the GAO report you referenced is from 2004. Not to nitpick though. Clearly an understandable error.

    A more comprehensive view of what the 18 benchmarks mean is to understand that if all 18 are met, Iraq would be peachy keen. And it would be time to come home.

    In the highlight of the study, the GAO acknowledges that Public Law 110-28 requires different standards from their study and the administrations assessment.

    GAO:

    “In comparison, the Act requires the administration to report in July and September 2007 whether satisfactory progress is being made toward meeting the benchmarks, not whether the benchmarks have been met.”

    One benchmark that has failed is the one requiring legislation to be enacted and implemented requiring equitable distribution of energy resources benefiting different groups of Iraqi’s. Although “3 of 4 components have been drafted” they’re yet to be considered by the Iraqi Parliment.

    Another legislative benchmark has been drafted, and enacted, but won’t be implemented until 2008. So there’s no hope of satisfying that benchmark for several months.

    So far there are 3 benchmarks met, and another 4 partially met. To be fair, there are several benchmarks the GAO reports no progress on, and a couple where there appears to be some backsliding.

    I suspect war supporters will see “satisfactory progress” and war opponents will see failure.

  • Nancy

    Baronius #136: thank you; I’ve been studying Gonzo.