and Anti-Bush League Web Ring Hub
Mechanical notes: There's a search engine (updated weekly) for the English parts of the site at the bottom of each page. Pages with the site navbar also have a search engine at the top left. The links on this page to older material will actually jump to separate archival files to keep this one fairly small, but the date index on this page and the search engine span everything.
A few lexical notes: I will frequently use the term "Bushies" here. It's intended as a collective (and somewhat pejorative) term for Bush and his handlers and flunkies. In a case like this (as during the Reagan years), it's hard to know who is actually making the decisions, because the ostensible decision maker doesn't even understand the issues. Cheney certainly appears to be on the handler side, and the secretaries of State and Defense seem to be on the flunky side, though there also seem to be some handlers located somewhere in the Defense Department, but just really hard to say in most cases. The big ear obviously has to listen to the real decisions from outside, and it's hard to say which apparent flunky actually has access to the ear. The regular plural Bushes will normally refer to father and son collectively. GOPpies is a broader (and again somewhat pejorative) term, basically intended to cover all Republicans and Republican-leaning voters, but excluding moderate Republicans like Jeffords and McCain and most of their supporters.
|And here's a special link to what seems to be one of the strongest anti-Dubya pages I've come across. Bush's worst nightmare: an enraged moderate. Also, I like this Dubya's dumb quotes page.|
3/11 3/20 3/24 4/1 4/4 4/8 4/14 4/22 4/29 5/3 5/11 5/13 5/19 5/26 6/2 6/10 6/16 6/24 6/29 7/5 7/7 7/15 7/30 8/2 8/10 8/16 8/16 9/1 9/8* 9/15 9/16 9/22 9/29 10/8 10/13 10/21* 10/27 11/4 11/11 11/18 12/2 12/8 12/15 12/29*
1/2 1/6* 1/20 2/2 2/11 3/3 3/31 4/21 5/12 5/18 5/26 6/2 6/23* 6/30 7/22 7/28 8/31 10/20 11/3 12/29
* Includes special focus on off-the-newswire stuff from living in Japan.
The general model in mind for this chronology is Paul Slansky's The Clothes Have No Emperor (sadly out of print, or more likely deliberately suppressed, as was Harlan Ellison's Nixon-era The Glass Teat that predicted that Reagan could become president). I still regard Slansky's book as the definitive guide to the Reagan years. Stylistically speaking, his entries were much shorter and pithier than mine.
At the most proximate level history starts as a series of events, so here are some events (and Japanese contexts):
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News is same-old same-old. Economy tanking. International situation deteriorating. Bushies thumping their chests. Peasants crying and dying.
Federal deficit is exploding. What can be said about the stock market? Last week ended with a drop of almost 400 points, but everyone agrees there's no place to go but down. Just read about the WorldCom bankruptcy filing. Dubya made a remarkably uninspiring speech about business integrity. Even for him it was a bad one. Tried to compare the business problems to a hangover. Dubya never was much of a businessman, but everyone agrees he's a real expert on hangovers. Now what has that got to do with the proximate results of his tax cuts? The Harken dealings are being recycled to show his essential hypocrisy, even though he was tanking that business. At least Cheney did a better job as a crooked businessman, and he's now getting raked over the coals for that. Looking for Cheney to retire for health reasons real soon now. Will he last until the election?
International situation is so fouled up it's impossible to know where to start. Major squabbles over the new international court. Certainly would be awkward to give them jurisdiction over Americans when we're making all these little mistakes, like bombing a wedding party in Afghanistan. Wouldn't want anyone to get confused and call it some kind of war crime, would we? Lots of suicide bombings and various other attacks in Israel. Reservists called up for the war on Iraq, which must be scheduled before the election. Be interesting to see if that shallow ploy works or backfires. Lots of other bad news, with the only apparent good news being that India has apparently decided to be too civilized to attack Pakistan--for now. Situation remains rather tense there.
So what is Dubya going to do now? Kind of hard to believe, given the situation, but he's announced he's taking another monthlong vacation. I suppose the strategy is to pretend there was nothing wrong with last year's little vacation. The Bushal Infallibility thing again. Not a "run away from Washington" thing, but just a "[non] business as usual" thing. I'm still wondering if the cold-blooded cowardice will be revealed. There has already been some public talk about the July meeting, but there are only a handful of people who actually know the real story, and even if some of them have actual functioning consciences, they definitely have a lot to lose in the crash landing it would cause. The voters have already proven they'll forgive lies and honest mistakes, but yellow-bellied cowardice is something else.
It ought to be hard to resist the schadenfreude these days, except for thinking about all the people who are suffering for Dubya's incompetence. Other people are going broke or getting killed because of his failures, but his only certain penalty will be to be a one-term resident of the White House. Then he'll just retire to his ranch and ghost write fantasies about what a fine job he did in Washington. Of course that's assuming he's still alive, and I admit I still doubt that Dubya is going to live that much longer. It would be excessively rude, but I feel like starting a pool to see who's going to kill him. My own bet would be on some of his own home-grown rightwing crazies, but that's mostly because they have more means and opportunity (guns and proximity).
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No major news this week. In the category of trivia, I'll note that the stock market is acting like it's controlled by a random number generator. It had been trending downward pretty strongly, but then it suddenly jumped way up, the next day all of the forces amazingly cancelled and it had almost no change. For the week as a whole it was probably up somewhat, but overall it mainly reinforces my impression of how completely detached from reality the stock market has become. The underlying notion of share value related to the actual value of companies is completely lost. Instead, wild speculations involving actual sales of a minuscule fraction of the companies' shares drive the prices hither and yon.
Not sure if this is a major breakthrough, though I file it under the category of trying to reason about insanity. The logic of Dubya appears to be "You should blindly support me as I take away your freedoms and money to protect you from the consequences of my greed, incompetence, and general stupidity." I'm hard pressed to come up with something crazier.
Anyway, right now it looks like Dubya is imitating his father's failures, and apparently with the same dismal results. His handling of the economy is going from bad to worse, and his main proposed diversion, the sack of Iraq, looks to be running into lots of problems. The only big difference is that Poppy wasn't a flaming coward, and I still think the BIG issue should be Dubya's personal cowardice. However, so far nothing besides its existence has come out about the crucial security briefing in July--that's the one where Dubya and Cheney decided to run for the hills. In fact, they're playing that down with another Dubya vacation scheduled for this August. Meanwhile, Cheney has hunkered down to avoid more Haliburton embarrassments. Might as well be on vacation, and Cheney is apparently going to stay in his undisclosed location until some undisclosed date.
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Well, don't want to miss an entire month, so just time to catch this one. It is not the case that I've suddenly become as lazy as Dubya and took the month off. Rather it is the case that there is so much news, and the news is so confusing, that I can't focus on any of it that seems especially worth remembering. Perhaps it's all part of a deliberate campaign to utterly befuddle the voters, and if so, it certainly seems that they're doing a good job in my case.
An interesting example would be from Dubya's recent speeches about the trees. The version on the White House Web site is the later speech. Perhaps earlier in the day or a few days later he had focused on the trees part of it at a location in a national forest. In the excerpts I heard, he was speaking from the site of a forest fire and saying how terrible fires are and how we could prevent them--by cutting the trees down before they can catch fire. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face? And let's clear out all that nasty flammable brush where those stupid animals live, too. I guess Dubya the intrepid hunter doesn't need animals to kill when he can have the voyeuristic thrills of sending our boys to kill Iraqis? The speech linked above just emphasizes the profits to be made. Just too bad we can't afford to have a few natural forests, I guess. Seems pointless to note that a few forest fires ARE part of natural forests and that there are some species of non-climax trees which would die out without a few fires now and then.
Anyway, the really weird part of it is the annotations in the transcript. They say the audience was so overcome by enthusiasm that they had to interrupt Dubya more than 80 times to applaud his wondrousness and laugh at his awesome wit. Dubya must be the greatest speaker since old Adolph. Naw, even allowing for the corrections and the hand-picked audience, it doesn't wash. They have to be using cheerleader shills, probably rehearsing the laugh and applause points along with Dubya. Or perhaps the shills have hidden radio receivers to alert them when to applaud? Not unlike the earphone Dubya uses, and all of the shills could share one frequency. They can't actually use a big flashing "applause" sign. Blind as the press has become, some of the reporters might notice that. The actual public back in the "free speech zones" would not be amused.
I suppose the funniest news was Dubya's stumping for the GOP candidate for governor of California. This is a guy with SERIOUS ethical problems, and Dubya is trying to support him just after making another speech about "corporate responsibility". More evidence of the confuse-the-voters theme?
The big "work" event of the alleged "working holiday" was an economic summit in Waco. Only 30 minutes from his ranch, so as not to inconvenience him, I guess. If the audience mentioned above sounds sycophantic, reports say they were amateurs compared to the crowd at the "summit". Main result was lots of fodder for the political cartoonists. The stock market itself isn't doing much just now. Apparently too confused between rumor and news to even apply the old "Buy on the rumor, sell on the news" rule.
Latest big rumor is that the Iraq invasion is scheduled for 30 November, apparently to get it going before the new Democratic-controlled Congress is in session. Does that mean that some of Dubya's pundits are conceding this November is going to hurt? (Just got confirmation of my absentee ballot, so I'm looking forward to doing my bit--assuming that the ballots actually get counted.) Actually in the category of good news that there seems to be big friction developing between Dubya and his chickenhawks and everyone else. Not just the normal everyone else like the flaming Democrats and the rest of the world, but even including the rest of the GOPpies, especially the ones with actual military experience or some understanding of the Middle East.
Well, I guess that's enough to get some new reports filed on me by Ashcroft's TIPS informants. They've apparently turned it over to private industry after Congress refused to fund a higher proportion of internal informants than the East Germans had. For the sake of the complete dossier, they probably want to know how many cookies I ate today. I confess! I ate six cookies.
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Inevitable that I'd miss a month, I guess. Main reason is that I've been experimenting with moving my Web site to my own computer, but that's a long and mostly irrelevant story. Not that there is any shortage of bad Dubya-related news to report...
For example, the stock market went way under 8,000 for a while, and Dubya got his basic blank check to attack Iraq, though I don't think there was any official mention of the "war" word. Actually, that resolution was kind of a pitiful effort. Certainly on its own merits it wouldn't have justified anything as serious as killing someone, or possibly thousands of innocent someones if things go badly. Maybe there's piles of secret evidence somewhere, but all the publicly revealed evidence against Saddam wouldn't come to a hill of beans, and the appearance it created was that the entire thing was a political circus of the most disgusting type. Dubya just railroaded it through Congress in the shadow of the election. There was just no serious consideration given to the serious issues of possibly killing lots of people. Mostly they don't care because they expect that mostly they'll be killing Iraqis, but there seemed to be a number of serious questions that should have been discussed as part of the supposed responsibility of Congress for declarations of war. Actually, the only reason Dubya apparently bothered with this pseudo-formality was because there was very strong national sentiment that Congress should be involved, but it was just a political football. Dubya had the votes, and not reason to consider any negotiations or compromises.
Actually, there is a fair amount of sentiment for paying some attention to the UN, even in America, but not enough to really concern the Bushies. Just the hypocritical par for the course, as Dubya says Saddam's disregard of UN resolutions is an important justification for attacking him, but if the UN won't play along with the new American rules, then Dubya is going to ignore and defy the UN resolutions AND the UN Charter and attack Iraq anyway. British opinion is so strongly against it that it's not even certain that they'll be willing to join in, lap dog status notwithstanding.
However, I think the aspect that may bother me most of all was Dubya's press secretary publicly advocating assassination as a cost-effective alternative to invasion. Here we have an official US government spokesman publicly advocating cold-blooded murder. So much for the moral high ground.
Back on the forgotten terrorist front, there was a major attack in Bali that is regarded as the probable work of Al Qaida. The very unhelpful and sluggish American response was something like 'We sort of warned you.' Largest number of 'significant' casualties were Australian tourists.
One other major news story of the last few weeks has been the sniper attacks near Washington. A number of people were killed with single shots from an M16-caliber weapon. More signs of how nutty the country is becoming? I don't want to buy into the conspiracy theories, but some people are already saying the whole thing was just a plot to cover the elimination of the FBI analyst who was just snuffed. If so, there should be a few more killings to help keep up the appearances of randomness, and then they can dispose of the rifle and leave it in the unsolved murders category...
In general, apart from the new Web server experiments mentioned above, I've been pretty busy on other projects, and though I'd like to put more time into writing content, not sure how much point it serves. Actually, at this point I'd like to read some of the writings of the Germans during the mid-30s as Hitler consolidated and expanded his powers. It would be interesting to look at the similarities, and I'm already sure there are many.
Not sure what to say. The big election is coming up, and I'm supposed to receive my absentee ballot in time to do my duty, but it hasn't arrived yet. However, it seems like the GOPpy strategy of chanting "War, war, war" is succeeding, no matter how much they've messed up in every area, including the VERY unfinished war on terrorism. Haven't heard firm projections, but right not it seems like they'll minimize their losses, and they are even mumbling about recapturing the Senate, whereas on the basis of their dismal performance, the GOPpies should be praying to avoid 2/3 Democratic majorities in both houses. We'll soon see.
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Still dangling between servers, but have to make some kind of entry at this crucial time. Election coming up, and also some extremely big political news of the worst kind.
Starting with the "minor" election news, I managed to do my duty. Maybe. My ballot arrived on Wednesday, six days before the election, and I got it in the mail as soon as the post office opened on Thursday. However, I consider it quite possible that my ballot will be invalidated for some imperfection. Let me count the possible ways. (Also useful notes while it's still fresh in my mind.) There was effectively no glue on the inner envelope that is supposed to hold the ballot. I don't know if the mechanical procedures at the other end might make it easier to tamper with an unsealed ballot, but I decided to seal the envelope properly with glue, but they may claim that is now evidence that the ballot was tampered with. Next, there was some kind of weird form with confusing instructions. I'm not even certain I was supposed to fill it in, and having filled it in, I'm not certain where I was supposed to put it. The instructions said something about Envelope #4, but there was no Envelope #4, just the inner ballot envelope, the outer carrier envelope, and the envelope that delivered everything. Anyway, I decided it belonged in the carrier envelope, but who knows. While the inner envelope had been almost glueless, the carrier envelope was overglued, and the right side was already sealed, so I had to tear it open in order to get the ballot envelope into it. Therefore, now it looks like its been tampered with, and I probably made that worse by deciding to use glue on it, too. I tried to add some insurance by signing the carrier envelope a second time, on the right side, going over the place where I had to tear it a bit to get it open, but since the signatures were not identical, again they may have grounds to claim tampering and toss the ballot. Also, I was in a hurry and forgot to write my return address until the last minute, resulting in a sloppy job there, which might be more grounds for suspicion. Finally, I'm not even sure the ballot will arrive in time, even considering the part of the instructions that seemed to say I had an extra five days from abroad. They certainly didn't allow any slack time this year, though in previous elections the ballots arrived several weeks early. This could be especially insidious. They know strange oversized envelopes are going to have troubles and travel slowly, but they may know that non-military international ballots tend to be Democratic so they don't really mind if those ballots are too slow, whereas military ballots travel by a different and much faster mail system. Compounding the situation in my specific case is the detail that I'm registered and vote in a notoriously non-Republican district. Hopefully all of this is just rampant paranoia, and there is no problem and my ballot will count, for what little it's worth, but it still shows you what can happen when someone loses faith in the system.
Now to the election news. Since the last election, the GOP has controlled almost every part of the federal government except for the Senate, where they lost their advantage as a result of pushing Jeffords too far. If the GOP can retain control of the other branches and recapture the Senate, it would make it much easier for them to advance their more harmful projects. In particular, they were afraid to try pushing a controversial SCOTUS nomination against a hostile Senate. The No.1 Senatorial target of the GOP was a notoriously liberal Democrat named Wellstone. However, after he voted against Dubya's Iraq War resolution, he was actually moving up in the polls and looked to be almost certain to retain his seat, which would be a colossal embarrassment for the Bushies. A few days ago, Wellstone suddenly died in a plane crash. Actually, I strongly suspect he was killed, but so far no conclusive evidence has been found (or revealed). However, the situation is fundamentally very suspicious. Wellstone hated flying and insisted on having two pilots aboard. The twin-engine plane was in the last stages of a normal final approach, but then it appears the plane somehow became effectively pilotless and crashed. Mondale has come out of retirement to take the place on the ballot, but the GOP is trying hard to take advantage of the last-minute tragedy. (The greenie candidate has enough support to salvage the situation, but is extremely unlikely to do the correct thing. The greenies are notorious for their stupid obstinacy and refusal to take advantage of their few chances to have a positive influence on things.)
Meanwhile, in the rest of the country it looks like the Iraq-uber-alles strategy is holding pretty well and that the GOP will do much better than they should this time, at least if they were being held accountable for their performance over the last two years. California is a kind of bright spot, though that was fairly safe for the Democrats, but the Republican challenger for governor has really bungled his campaign about as badly as possible. The Florida race has turned into a surprisingly close one, and it's possible Jeb will get removed, even though the Bushies are making extraordinary efforts to avoid that embarrassment, too.
Minor news that got big play was the sniper thing which I mentioned earlier. They apparently caught them, and so far it sounds like it was just a cunning extortion plot. Dubya's new moral leadership writ small.
That reminds me of a range of other not so minor news, most of which seems bad for the GOPpies, though there seems to be too little time to have any major effect on the election. In Florida, Jeb's daughter went to jail for another drug violation, and a bunch of Haitian refugees are causing problems as Jeb hems and haws. Back in Washington, and not sure exactly who's to blame, but the former FBI head Webster was just nominated to a new corporate watchdog post, and now it is being publicly revealed that he was apparently negligent when he had some similar responsibilities some years ago. This one is echoing around since those problems were apparently known BY the nominators and BEFORE he was nominated. Really hard to take the Bushies as seriously wanting to do anything about corporate fraud. Meanwhile, all the economic news continues terrible. Except for Microsoft, which just got the final approval of the judgment as they wanted it--bendeth over, ye lowly consumers, here it comes again.
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Well, really haven't been motivated to do much work on these pages lately. Not that Dubya has gotten any better, but the situation continues to deteriorate, there are just too many bleak news items to pick from, and there seems to be less and less hope for improvement. Becoming a struggle to see any optimistic outcome. While I continue to believe that good will prevail in the end, it looks like there's going to be a rough passage here, and that usually equates into bloodshed... The bottom line is that the Bushies firmly, even religiously, believe that might makes right, but the non-American 97% of the world is liable to get upset. Doesn't matter how many guns and bombs the 3% has if the rest of them get angry enough, and if there's one thing that's become clear over the last two years, it's that the Bushies don't give a fig about making other countries angry.
So for now I'm going to limit comments to the single most egregious recent example. This was the recent perfectly unilateral decision by the US to block the production of cheap versions of life-saving drugs for distribution in poor countries. The vote was 142-1, with the US being the only country opposed to saving those lives. Reports are that Dick Cheney intervened personally to block what every other country in the world agreed would be a good thing--including all the other rich nations.
In general, I've realized that this Web page mostly has the format of a blog, so I'm going to experiment with that software, and here's blogging!
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