The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is expected to advise President Bush to reduce the U.S. force in Iraq next year by almost half, potentially creating a rift with top White House officials and other military commanders over the course of the war.
Administration and military officials say Marine Gen. Peter Pace is likely to convey concerns by the Joint Chiefs that keeping well in excess of 100,000 troops in Iraq through 2008 will severely strain the military. This assessment could collide with one being prepared by the U.S. commander in Iraq, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, calling for the U.S. to maintain higher troop levels for 2008 and beyond
Pace's recommendations reflect the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who initially expressed private skepticism about the strategy ordered by Bush and directed by Petraeus, before publicly backing it....read on
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The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead. Then there would be little risk or expense and no American army would be left exposed...read on
Hello again, I'm Mark Hoback from The Aristocrats, and I'll be filling in all week here at Mike's Blog Roundup.
Let me start with a piece that might just blow your mind, or maybe just your lunch. It's philosopher king Phil Atkinson from Family Security Matters on Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy. Sample capture:
"President Bush can fail in his duty to himself, his country, and his God, by becoming 'ex-president' Bush or he can become 'President-for-Life' Bush: the conqueror of Iraq, who brings sense to the Congress and sanity to the Supreme Court."
Eatbee's Blog uses the piece as the center for Neoconservative Death Throes, but I'm afraid that corpse may still have a lot of life left in it.
Sure, bringing sense to the Congress and sanity to the Supreme Court is nice, but what about the true breeding ground of chaos and rebellion, the family dinner table? Of course, as the good Reverend Wiley Drake will tell you, when all else fails, you can always count on the power of
Whew. I feel dirty after all of that. What I really need right now is something inspirational, like this lighthearted piece about Karl Rove's dad.
Maybe that last piece proves something, but for the life of me I can't figure out what it is. So if anybody was offended by the inclusion of such a piercing article, please accept my Unpology.
Mervgate! What else is there to say? (Except, perhaps, for "We'll be right back".)
And I'll be right back tomorrow. If you have any tips, send them to mhoback AT verizon Dot net.
There’s just something amusing about the president’s penchant for vacations. As governor of Texas, Bush enjoyed an inordinate amount of “down time,” and he brought that style to the White House. When he’s at “work,” Bush leaves plenty of time for exercise and likes to knock off early. More importantly, he likes to get away from “work” more than anyone I’ve ever seen.
The amusing part of this, I suppose, is that one might assume that the president would have plenty to do. There is a war going on, and there are a variety of crises (economic, diplomatic, strategic) that demand real leadership. But Bush just loves to get away. (via TP)
President Bush tries to set an example for Americans whenever he can, in terms of physical fitness, faith, optimism and a certain overall moral rectitude. He also sets an excellent example on taking vacation.
On Thursday, Bush left for a weekend in Kennebunkport, Maine, and his family’s summer compound, Walker’s Point. On Monday, he heads to his Crawford retreat, where he has spent all or part of 418 days of his presidency, according to Mark Knoller, a CBS News White House correspondent and meticulous record-keeper.… Bush’s August sojourn will be his 65th trip to Crawford, according to Knoller.
The Houston Chronicle added, “The presidential vacation-time record holder is the late Ronald Reagan, who tallied 436 days in his two terms. At 418 days, and with 17 months to go in his presidency, Bush is going to beat that easily.”
It’s an interesting contrast with what the typical American worker faces.
Via Atrios, this is just beyond weird:
President Bush was treated for Lyme disease a year ago after developing a circular rash characteristic of the ailment, the White House announced yesterday.
Especially when you consider this:
The disease varies widely in its presentation, which may include a rash and flu-like symptoms in its initial stage, followed by the possibility of musculoskeletal, arthritic, neurologic, psychiatric and cardiac manifestations. In most cases of Lyme disease, symptoms can be eliminated with antibiotics, especially if treatment is begun early in the course of illness.
A percentage of patients with Lyme disease have symptoms that last months to years after treatment with antibiotics. These symptoms can include muscle and joint pains, arthritis, stiff neck, cognitive defects, neurological complaints or fatigue. The cause of these continuing symptoms is not yet known. There is some evidence that they may result from an autoimmune type of response, in which a person’s immune system continues to respond even after the infection has been cleared, as well as evidence of ongoing infection with the spirochete. (emphasis mine) Read more...
As much brush-clearing as George does this doesn't come as a surprise, but Lyme disease is no laughing matter. This should have been made known to the public and might also explain a few things about the president's behavior...
The deficit is high, the debt is growing, the war’s financial costs are exorbitant, and the nation is just coming to grips with the need for a sizable investment in the nation’s bridges and infrastructure.
Given this environment, the president has a plan: more tax cuts.
President Bush said yesterday that he is considering a fresh plan to cut tax rates for U.S. corporations to make them more competitive around the world, an initiative that could further inflame a battle with the Democratic Congress over spending and taxes and help define the remainder of his tenure.
Advisers presented Bush with a series of ideas to restructure corporate taxes, possibly eliminating narrowly targeted breaks to pay for a broader, across-the-board rate cut. In an interview with a small group of journalists afterward, Bush said he was “inclined” to send a corporate tax package to Congress, although he expressed uncertainty about its political viability.
As Kevin Drum put it, "He really is like a windup doll, isn't he? No matter what's going on in the outside world, no matter what problems we're facing, no matter what the political situation is, you pull the cord and he says 'Tax cuts!' It's like he's the Manchurian President."
There are a couple of items in the news today reminding us that the conservative philosophy of government is not to govern at all.
Item one, an editorial in today’s New York Times:
Over the last several years, America’s imbalances in trade and other global transactions have worsened dramatically, requiring the United States to borrow billions of dollars a day from abroad just to balance its books.
The only lasting way to fix the imbalances — and reduce that borrowing — is to increase America’s savings. But the administration has steadfastly rejected that responsible approach since it would require rolling back excessive tax cuts and engaging in government-led health care reform to rein in looming crushing costs — both, anathema to President Bush. It would also require revamping the nation’s tax incentives so that they create new savings by typical families, instead of new shelters for the existing wealth of affluent families — another nonstarter for this White House. ...
Call the waahhhbbuulllance! The Douchebag of Liberty isn't part of the cool kids anymore and he doesn't like it.
In a radio interview with Diane Rehm this morning, right-wing columnist Robert Novak tried to assert his conservative credentials by distancing himself from the Bush White House. "I don't support this administration," he said.
"The president's cut me off the list of conservative columnists that are invited there." He added, "They consider me a lot of trouble."
It would be unsurprising if the White House considered Novak "trouble," given his unscrupulous journalistic ethics. But nothing in Novak's previous comments has suggested anything but a close relationship with the White House. Just recently, he said he "never enjoyed such a good source inside the White House" as Karl Rove.
It appears Novak is simply sour over the fact he wasn't given a 110-minute sit-down interview with President Bush like his counterpart at the New York Times, David Brooks.
Audio of the Diane Rehm interview available at TP.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) says it all. It's official, George Bush and Alberto Gonzales now have the legal authority to spy on you and I without a warrant at any time. The vote was as follows:
There were a number of Democrats who voted for President Bush and against the American people and our civil liberties. Here's the final vote tally. It's unlikely there's anyone around in our representatives' offices at this time, but you can find their contact information here.
Update: Nancy Pelosi has written a letter to John Conyers asking him to amend the FISA bill:
Speaker Pelosi said that S. 1927, the bill passed tonight by the House to temporally amend FISA for six-months, after H.R. 3356, the Improving Foreign Intelligence Surveillance to Defend Our Nation and Our Constitution Act bill failed last night, contains many provisions that are unacceptable and she does not believe that the American people will want to wait that long before corrective action is taken. In a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes, Speaker Pelosi requested that the Committees report to the House “as soon as possible after Congress reconvenes,” legislation to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
The Senate passed legislation Thursday to add 3 million lower-income children to a popular health insurance program in bipartisan defiance of President Bush‘s threatened veto.
It also gave Democrats, who secured a veto-proof margin, a chance to draw a stark distinction between their priorities and Bush‘s on an issue that resonates with voters.
Bush has proposed spending $5 billion to extend the program. He says the Senate‘s $35 billion expansion would balloon the decade-old program beyond its original mission of covering working poor children and would move more people toward government-run health care.
The Senate measure now must be reconciled with the House-passed $50 billion expansion, which was paid for partly by cutting government payments to Medicare health maintenance organizations.
The vote (68-31) is important to note, because Bush had threatened to veto the bill. I'm just wondering who those kid-hating 31 senators are. (h/t HK) And again, for those who disparage: would we have gotten this expansion under a Republican majority? Oh wait, I found one: