Tag: George W. Bush
No one is always wrong, including former Bush administration lawyer and Berkeley law professor John Yoo. Yoo was right when he wrote in the Wall Street Journal on March 25 that Obama “flip-flopped” when the then-senator said in 2007 that presidents lacked the constitutional power “to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation,” but then apparently did so when he ordered military action against Libya on March 19. (While Obama complied with the terms of the War Powers Act, prior congressional approval rested on the slim reed of a March 1 Senate resolution.)
Yoo’s chief problem as a constitutional commentator stems not from his tendentious memos justifying torture in the weeks after 9/11 during his stint in the Bush administration, but because his underlying constitutional analysis of presidential power is literally the opposite of what the Founders intended and wrote. In Yoo’s analysis, American executive power in foreign policy was copied from the British monarchy, where the monarchs once maintained a monopoly of power over war and military matters (continue reading…)
The Libyan assault as well as continued American presence in Iraq and Afghanistan have many people saying that either the Nobel Peace Prize committee should demand the prize be returned or that the president should volunteer to hand it back. For those who think these are serious options, I have some bad news for you — it’ll never happen. Not tomorrow, not next week, not ever.
Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize raised a lot of eyebrows around the world given that he had barely been in office and had little on the resume to justify the prize. My conclusion was that the committee gave it for two main reasons: (1) to remind America that they really disliked George W (continue reading…)
The no-fly zone is denying the Libyan people their right to self determination. That may seem like the oddest statement, but watching the grass roots, home cooked and home grown revolutions over the past weeks and months, it has become obvious that now is the time for the Arab Spring.
Throughout the Mid East people have shown extraordinary courage and determination to be part of a movement that has exploded spontaneously (in some cases) and after years of suppressed opposition and bloody tyranny. This is a moment. This is their moment.
It’s surprising then that so many who decried the Iraqi war and other Western interventions have supported the Libyan no-fly zone (continue reading…)
When Christian Bale won his Oscar for The Fighter (2010), I was hardly surprised, but nor was I elated. And I had to ask myself why.
This now hugely successful movie star is prodigiously talented, blazing with intensity and intelligence — not to mention killer good looks.
Still — with apologies to all the self-proclaimed “Baleheads” out there, on an emotional level the actor leaves me cold.
This fact got me thinking about how we relate to public figures and celebrities, and the importance of that elusive, yet fundamental human connection- admiring someone famous not just for their ability, but because we feel we know and “get” them.
In the realm of major politicians and movie stars, the “likeability” factor has always been important. This quality has helped more than a few undistinguished if not downright inept politicians get by (continue reading…)
Come on now: Let’s take a breath and put this NPR fracas into perspective.
Just as public radio struggles against yet another assault from the its long-time nemesis — the right-wing machine that would thrill if our sole sources of information were Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and ads paid for by the Koch Brothers — it walks into a trap perpetrated by one of the sleaziest operatives ever to climb out of a sewer.
First, in the interest of full disclosure: While not presently committing journalism on public television, the two of us have been colleagues on PBS for almost 40 years (although never for NPR). We’ve lived through every one of the fierce and often unscrupulous efforts by the right to shut down both public television and radio. Our work has sometimes been the explicit bull’s eye on the dartboard, as conservative ideologues sought to extinguish the independent reporting and analysis they find so threatening to their phobic worldview.
We have come to believe, as so many others have, that only the creation of a substantial trust fund for public media will free it from the whims and biases of the politicians, including Democratic politicians (yes, after one of our documentaries tracking President Clinton’s scandalous fund-raising in the mid-90s, the knives were sharpened on the other side of the aisle).
Richard Nixon was the first who tried to shut down public broadcasting, strangling and diverting funding, attacking alleged bias and even placing public broadcasters Sander Vanocur and Robert MacNeil on his legendary enemies list. Nixon didn’t succeed, and ironically his downfall was brought about, in part, by public television’s nighttime rebroadcasts of the Senate Watergate hearings, exposing his crimes and misdemeanors to a wider, primetime audience.
Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich tried to gut public broadcasting, too, and the George W (continue reading…)
Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA) recently commented that Republicans have “an allergy to science and scientists” during a congressional hearing targeting the EPA. This observation is significant not because of its insight, as Inslee was doing little more than stating the obvious. It is, however, unusual to hear a member of congress make these kinds of matter of fact statements. While debate in congress is often quite intense, Democrats seem uncomfortable saying these kinds of things even when they are painfully obvious (continue reading…)
Quick question – which U.S. President was the first to hold Ramadan itfar dinners at the White House, celebrating the breaking of the fast with Muslims? Hint: That same President visited Mosques more than once during his administration.
Many FOX News viewers may assume that it’s President Obama. But, it was actually George W. Bush.
It’s no secret that VoteVets.org had a number of issues with President Bush, most notably his decision to go to war in Iraq, and how he waged the war (continue reading…)
According to The Hill, Peter King will be holding hearings this morning to fulfill his “congressional duty and probe one of the most serious threats to national security.”
Really? That’s interesting because back in 2002 when 9/11 families were fighting for the creation of the 9/11 Commission, Peter King–Republican Congressman of NY–had no interest in supporting it.
Indeed, as one of the 9/11 widows who lobbied Congress seeking support for a 9/11 Commission to probe one of the most serious attacks to our nation, I distinctly recall walking into King’s office and noticing his Sinn Fein mementos strewn about his office, along with several photos of King with Gerry Adams–a terrorist.
In fact, at one point I recall even being invited to a gathering to meet Adams. As I tried to figure out just what kind of person’s support I was trying to get, my head swam. I mean, I was a woman whose husband was just murdered by terrorists (continue reading…)
Last night, Columbia University’s Task Force on Military Engagement released its findings. ROTC–the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps–is welcome back on campus. Harvard followed suit. Both pro and con voices at these Ivy League schools have legitimate feelings about a uniformed presence on campus (continue reading…)
Mark McKinnon — the Republican campaign consultant who helped create George W. Bush, and who for a time ran John McCain’s campaign — and I don’t agree about much. We do agree about the need for fundamental reform of the way campaigns are funded. About a year ago, I said to McKinnon that “the only way we win this issue is if a Republican makes it his.” “There’s only one Republican,” he said to me, “who could do that credibly, and he is not running.”
On Thursday, Buddy Roemer proved McKinnon wrong (continue reading…)
Heretofore, I have never been a Charlie Sheen fan nor have I disliked him. I’ve been disappointed as have many others with his apparent shallow lifestyle and risk-taking with his career. A career he was blessed to have entree to thanks to his father Martin Sheen’s acting success, not to mention association with his older brother Emilio Estevez, already working in features, who’d opted not to call attention to his father’s fame.
Look, there are any number of actors and producers and writers and directors, as well as politicians and business leaders who’ve had a leg up on those of us who forged our attempts without such aid, knocking on doors, saying “Look at me. Gimme a chance, too.”
Jeff and Beau Bridges, Liza Minnelli, Richard Zanuck, Donald Trump, the Kennedys, Bushes and Udalls all had the help of a family name (continue reading…)
President Barack Obama’s failure to ever get around to pivoting to the economy last year was one of the major reasons why Democrats didn’t do well in the mid-term elections. But if he loses next year, and I expect him to win, it probably won’t be because of the domestic economy. It will be because of what he’s spent so much of time on that is not the domestic economy, namely geopolitics.
Not that the domestic economy is going great guns, which it’s clearly not, but that it will be good enough for Obama to muddle through on against unimpressive Republican opposition tied to the policies which nearly got us into Great Depression II in the first place. Late last week, meeting with high tech industry leaders over dinner in Silicon Valley, Obama showed that he might be able to add some forward-leaning vision, and counter the Republican spin that he’s anti-business, to the policies that have us moving away from the abyss he inherited from the Bush/Cheney Administration.
President Barack Obama, reacting very cautiously to the crisis in Libya, is dispatching Secretary of State to Geneva for an international conference on Monday.
But even as he was meeting with a dozen tech titans at the home of one of the biggest greentech venture capitalists in the world, Obama’s already complicated geopolitical situation became more complicated, illustrating the dichotomy he faces.
Bahrain’s royal family ignored the entreaties from his secretary of state and secretary of defense and again cracked down violently against peaceful protesters in the capital city Manama, not far from where the U.S (continue reading…)
When I was a child, our family had a prize possession that my sister and I could only use on special occasions. Known as “the sick puzzle,” it contained 81 one-inch wooden cubes whose individual sides had been painted red, white, blue, or yellow. The house rule was simple: the only time you were allowed to play with the sick puzzle was when you were actually sick.
Although my sister and I knew exactly where to find the sick puzzle, we always respected the rules of usage. As such, there was one toy that became a family heirloom and was put back into use soon after my niece and nephew were born (continue reading…)
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It was only a matter of time. Once the uprisings spread from Tunisia to Egypt to protests of differing sizes everywhere from Libya, Bahrain, and Yemen to Syria and Jordan – and even Italy – some semi-delusional retreaded tyre was going to emerge from the shadows to proclaim President Bush was responsible for the sudden flowering of revolution and democratic potential across the Middle East.
Enter Elliot Abrams. Yes, the same Elliot Abrams that was convicted of unlawfully withholding information from the Congressional Investigation into the Iran-Contra affair.
Abrams, who you might think would be disqualified from publicly addressing all matters pertaining to “democracy-building” – after undermining the will of the representatives of the United States people with his involvement in arguably the biggest political scandal of President Reagan’s administration – took to the pages of the Washington Post to share his nostalgic blend of freedom-fries optimism and historical revisionism:
What mindset was that? The one that treated American freedoms in the manner that Dick Cheney does a hunting companion’s face? Or the one that Don Rumsfeld discusses in his new book that led the Bush Administration to gather plans to attack Iraq within two weeks of 9/11 – which has only already been corroborated by everyone from Clinton and Bush’s counter-terrorism czar, Richard Clarke, to former Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill – even though there was no evidence they had anything to do with that act of barbarism – and still isn’t.
Maybe, just maybe, as we just passed Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday, we can remember how the conservative icon spoke of winning “hearts and minds” in the then-solidly communist Soviet bloc.
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If, on Presidents Day 2011, I had to rank the last twelve presidents since America became the world’s most powerful empire, in World War II, I’d put them in the following order:
1.Franklin D. Roosevelt: by far and away, in my view, the greatest of all our modern American Caesars — in wisdom, courage, determination, selflessness, judgment and vision.
In the second tier I would rank these three Caesars:
2.Harry S Truman , who truly stepped up to the plate in April 1945, and made the historic decisions that ended World War II and defined the post-war era:
The decision to use the atomic bomb to end the war with the Empire of Japan
The Marshall plan
The Berlin Airlift
The decision to fight back in Korea, tho’ failing to stop MacArthur from crossing the 38th Parallel.
3.Dwight D. Eisenhower, who brought the Korean War to an end, kept the U.S. strong but out of foreign wars (especially during the 1956 Suez Crisis) — and attempted to find a modus vivendi with the Russians (including the second maddest Soviet emperor, Nikita Khrushchev).
4.John F (continue reading…)
My guest post today is from Ernesto Morales Licea, until recently one of my fellow bloggers on the Island. Ernesto is a journalist who was fired from his position allegedly for, as he eloquently describes here, reading forbidden materials. A campaign of serious accusations was then launched against him, and he recently moved to the United States where he is once again working as a journalist and continuing to blog.
By Ernesto Morales Licea
One of the most notable differences between living and growing socially in a democratic country versus doing so in a country governed by totalitarian precepts, is the respect for freedom to make one’s own decisions. The sovereign freedom to choose in each moment what to do with one’s own life.
“Great freedom implies great responsibility,” a friend told me on my arrival in the United States (continue reading…)
When speaking about the Arab uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and beyond, the language used here in the U.S. is euphoric. Expressions like “nothing will ever be the same again” and “the existing order is being swept away” are common. But when the conversation comes home, the exuberant rhetoric is pushed aside and hard-nosed practicality becomes the order of the day (continue reading…)
As President Obama’s approval numbers begin to climb, there is one glaring failure that has taken a back seat to the Giffords shooting and the symbolic vote to repeal “Obamacare” by the House. This failure is one that I have spoken about in the past, ruffling the feathers of many progressives who seem to choose to point to Obama’s successes-a watered-down health care bill, a months-too-long repeal of DADT-rather than point out where he can improve.
This failure, of course, is Guantanamo Bay, the blemish of which America seems unable (or worse, unwilling) to rid itself. While Obama promised that Gitmo would be closed within a year of taking office, and signed an executive order to that end, it remains open and fully functional.
If this is not bad enough, Obama has now fully reversed his decision to close Guantanamo by embracing a Bush-era policy of holding military tribunals on the navy base in Cuba. A policy that Obama heavily criticized while running for office in 2008 (continue reading…)
The stunning news today of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak stepping down has all but eclipsed the other political news of the week. Who would have thought, a month ago, that a government that had oppressed its own people for over three decades would fall simply because a bunch of people marched in the streets and refused to give up?
American politicians are still trying to figure out how they should react. Although shocking to some, this is entirely normal. The people of Egypt have spoken, and before it happened, nobody could have foreseen how fast or how effective it was going to be (continue reading…)
A few days before the 1988 election between George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis, I attended a rally on the University of California campus where I was enrolled in my last year of college. Although it was reasonably clear by then that Bush was going to win the election, we still held out hope the Dukakis could somehow make a surprise comeback and bring about the end of the Reagan era. One of the speakers at that rally was the mayor of Santa Cruz, the town where the university was located (continue reading…)
For some there is no better way to get attention for oneself than to appeal to the fears of an unknowing audience. To do so risks inciting hatred, but ultimately it may be the act of a desperate person.
These were my thoughts as I watched Glenn Beck spew his secret plot for a Muslim takeover of the world. Last week he stood at a map of the Arab states and concluded that Islam would soon be united as a caliphate stretching from Iran west to Morocco. The center, or the capital, would be Babylon, in Iraq (continue reading…)
Anyone that has a serious interest in or is involved in making policy regarding our national security, especially in light on the ongoing debate around military commissions for terrorist suspects and the disposition of the Gitmo holding facility, should read a recently-published book entitled Courting Disaster by Marc C. Thiessen (Regenery 2010). Mr. Thiessen is a former speechwriter for President George W (continue reading…)
When U.S. politicians are forced to discuss critical Middle East matters, more often than not, their remarks either display an ignorance of facts, are shaped more by political needs than reality, or are just plain dumb. Commentary about the popular revolt in Egypt provides a case in point.
There was no doubt that the events in Cairo were momentous and, therefore, deserving of response (continue reading…)