To Questions He Can’t Answer, Bush Has A New Response: Buy My Book

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WASHINGTON — George W. Bush, bursting back onto the public scene a little less than two years after he left Washington in disgrace, has come up with the most self-serving answer yet to some of the most persistent questions about the moral and practical failings of his administration: Buy my book!

Bush repeatedly deflected follow-up questions from NBC’s Matt Lauer in an interview aired on Monday night, suggesting that more satisfying answers could be found by purchasing his new $35 memoir.

Big surprise: They can’t.

After Bush acknowledged that he approved the use of waterboarding — an interrogation tactic nearly universally considered to be one of the archetypyal forms of torture — Lauer asked: “Would it be OK for a foreign country to waterboard an American citizen?”

Bush’s response: “It’s all I ask is that people read the book. And they can reach the same conclusion. If they’d have made the same decision I made or not.”

After Bush insisted that waterboarding is legal, “because the lawyer said it was legal,” Lauer remarked: “Tom Kean, who a former Republican co-chair of the 9/11 commission said they got legal opinions they wanted from their own people.”

Bush’s response: “He obviously doesn’t know. I hope Mr. Kean reads the book. That’s why I’ve written the book. He can, they can draw whatever conclusion they want.”

But Bush doesn’t remotely address Lauer’s first question in the book. As for the second, he simply states that “Department of Justice and CIA lawyers conducted a careful legal review. They concluded that the enhanced interrogation program complied with the Constitution an all applicable laws, including those that ban torture.”

Bush on Monday night also got a bit testy when Lauer asked about his initial reaction to news of the 9/11 terror attacks — and how, on that morning in a Florida classroom, he appeared to freeze.

Bush’s response: “Yeah, well, I’m not gonna debate the critics as to whether or not I was in shock or not. I wasn’t. They can read the book and they can draw their own conclusion.”

In the book, Bush’s explanation of that morning is strikingly revisionistic and almost laughably implausible. Keep in mind that during those achingly long seven minutes, so dramatically recounted in Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” there was no way to know that further attacks weren’t under way. If there was ever a time for a president to leap into action, that was it. But instead he just sat there, as if waiting for someone to tell him what to do. Or, you can believe what he writes in “Decision Points“:

My first reaction was outrage. Someone had dared attack America. They were going to pay. Then I looked at the faces of the children in front of me. I thought about the contrast between the brutality of the attackers and the innocence of those children. Millions like them would soon be counting on me to protect them. I was determined not to let them down.
I saw reporters at the back of the room, learning the news on their cell phones and pagers. Instinct kicked in. I knew my reaction would be recorded and beamed throughout the world The nation would be in shock; the president could not be. If I stormed out hastily, it would scare the children and send ripples of panic throughout the country.

And with Bush essentially abrogating responsibility that morning, what happened? Why, vice president Dick Cheney took command from his bunker, of course.

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Why Do Men Cheat?

 

“Most of us are never satisfied, and it’s impossible for one person to fulfill your every want and need. So if there’s a chance to cheat, we jump at it. I once cheated because the relationship just stopped making progress.—Alain P., 31, operations analyst

“The reason men cheat is because our society accepts adultery and the media sensationalizes sex. When given the opportunity to choose between beautiful women, cheating seems like the best option for a man. It’s no wonder infidelity is the main reason for the breakdown of a lot of Black families.”— Seth T., 55, English teacher

“Yes I cheated in a relationship once, but only out of revenge on a woman who had stepped out on me first. What she had done to me was really on my mind, and at that time someone else was offering what she wouldn’t give me in the bedroom. I think that I just got caught up in the heat of the moment. —Douglas G., 26, administrative assistant

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON BREAKS IT DOWN

“Why do some Black men cheat? Because they can. The usual reasons (or excuses): She doesn’t understand me; she doesn’t take care of her body; she’s too busy with the kids; she loves her career more than me. Notice all of this deflects attention from us. The first sign of difficulty in a relationship, we’re in the arms of another.

There are different kinds of cheaters, but the most common are the accidental, occasional and habitual ones. Accidental two-timers step out because of circumstance. Met her at the bar on the way home from work and hit it quick. They’re usually not repeaters and are very remorseful. Occasional cheaters take advantage of amorous relations at their convenience, wishing not to disrupt home. Habitual cheaters sleep around as often as they can. They’re always working late, going on business trips, or conveniently turning off their cell phones.

Dealing with infidelity isn’t easy, and a woman should never blame herself for her man’s affair: He’s responsible for his behavior. She just has to decide what kind of cheater she has on her hands to determine what to do—keep him or kick him to the curb.

Michael Eric Dyson is the Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania.

The New American

Americans on Food Stamps Reach New High | Print | E-mail
WRITTEN BY BRUCE WALKER
TUESDAY, 09 NOVEMBER 2010 09:51

The food-stamp program has grown dramatically during the last few years. The latest figures show that an incredible 42 million Americans are receiving food stamps — about 14 percent of the entire national population. Within the last year, the number of households receiving food stamps has jumped from 16.2 million to 19.4 million. Since July 2007, participation in the food-stamp program has increased almost exponentially — a 50-percent growth in just three years.

Ironically, this fantastic growth in free food for those who qualify for food stamps has coincided with a concerted and public effort to encourage children to eat less and exercise more. Obesity, particularly among the poor, is rapidly becoming one of the most serious public health problems in America. While no one wishes Americans, especially children, to go hungry, the evidence of real hunger among the poor is slight, while the evidence of the poor eating more food than is good for their health is significant.

The food-stamp data also reveal another interesting fact about America today. Food stamp eligibility is connected with income eligibility, and the data indicate that unemployment or underemployment in America has not been positively affected by President Obama’s stimulus package. The number of Americans receiving food stamps is much higher than when the President began his multi-trillion-dollar effort, using borrowed federal dollars to fund activities intended to increase employment. The growth in the food-stamp program also reflects a troubling decline in the traditional and natural impulse of Americans of faith to help out their coreligionists or the average American in need. Orthodox Jews, Mormons, Catholics, and many Protestant denominations look after members of their faith or, in many cases, anyone who is hungry or in other need. The Salvation Army long has made care of the less fortunate a centerpiece of its mission. Charity ennobles the giver without humiliating the recipient. But welfare and food stamps are not charity. It is dependence administered by bureaucrats who are just as dependent upon people needing help as the food-stamp recipients are dependent on others for food.

It is noteworthy that in American history, unlike almost every other country in human history, famine has been unknown. Malnutrition, caused by inadequate knowledge of nutrition, has been present, but private enterprise has addressed malnutrition with things like iodized salt (preventing goiter) or vitamin-enriched milk and cereal. Our nation overflows with food. City lots have been set aside for the poor to garden and to reap the fruits of their labor. Churches and other charities quietly feed the poor and the hungry with no tax dollars and no bureaucrats. As a consequence, no one walking the streets of even our poorest cities would see hunger like it has haunted China, Africa, and India in recent memory. Instead, many of our poor are fat, suffering ill health because of too much food and too little activity.

Will GOP gains halt a regulatory renaissance? – By Timothy Noah – Slate Magazine

Will GOP gains halt a regulatory renaissance? – By Timothy Noah – Slate Magazine.

Populists v. Consumers

Will GOP gains halt a regulatory renaissance?

House Republican Leader John Boehner. Click image to expand.“We’ve got to end the threats of the excessive government regulations,” Sen.-elect Pat Toomey, R.-Pa., said in his acceptance speech. Rep. Eric Cantor, R.-Va., who will likely be House majority leader, wants to conduct “an immediate and comprehensive review of proposed government rules, regulations, and statutes.” The phrase “job-killing” is back in vogue as an adjective to describe government regulation. The House Republicans’ “Pledge To America” reiterates the opposition to regulation voiced 16 years ago in Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America.” The new Republican majority, says the pledge, will “rein in the red tape factory in Washington, DC by requiring congressional approval of any federal regulation that may add to the deficit and make it harder to create jobs.”

Search and replace the word regulation with consumer protection, and this subcategory of populist conservative bombast looks a lot less politically saleable, even in this moment of tea-party-fueled antigovernment fervor. Granted, the Republican takeover of the House and its gain of a half-dozen seats in the Senate is hardly good news for consumers. But it probably isn’t as bad as it sounds. Lets consider the possibilties.

Health care. This is the GOP’s most highly-valued target. As mySlate colleague Will Saletan points out, Republican claims that their retaking of the House is a mandate to repeal health care reform isn’t supported by exit polls, which showed an even split; 48 percent said it should be repealed while 47 percent said it should be maintained or expanded. That means the public feels the same way it felt in March, when the bill cleared Congress. A poll released days before final passage had 46 percent supporting the bill and 45 percent opposing it. You can fault the Obama administration for not selling more people on the bill’s benefits after it became law. But with its most significant provisions years away from taking effect, health reform remains, to voters, mostly the same abstraction it was this past spring.

Nonetheless, Republicans are already treating the election results as a license to gut health reform. As N.C. Aizenman explained in the Nov. 4 Washington Post, that isn’t going to happen. Outright repeal, of course, is impossible because Democrats maintain control of the Senate. Even if by some miracle repeal cleared the Senate, Obama would be certain to veto it. Repealing the “individual mandate” requiring virtually everyone to buy health insurance—which many Republicans claim is unconstitutional—is also never going to happen, because Democrats know that without it health reform will collapse like a house of cards.

Republicans might have more luck going after two other provisions in the bill, Aizenman noted. One of these is the so-called 1099 provision, which, as Annie Lowrey recently explained in Slate, lowered the threshold for filing 1099 forms to the IRS to a level that will create enormous paperwork for small businesses. The business community’s gripe about this appears to be legitimate, and many Democrats now say they want to repeal the provision too. The only catch is that if this provision is eliminated Congress will have to either reconcile itself to adding $17 billion to the deficit (that’s how much the Congressional Budget Office projects the 1099 provision will save over ten years through higher IRS compliance) or find $17 billion to cut, probably from the health reform bill itself.

The likeliest part of health reform that Republicans will want to cut, unfortunately, is its massive expansion of Medicaid coverage, on which the federal government will spend $434 billion over ten years, according to the CBO. The GOP will argue that expanding this state-federal program, which provides health coverage to the poor, is an “unfunded mandate” that the states can’t afford. Democrats will answer that the feds are paying for 96 percent of this expansion over the next ten years (as well they should); the states just need to cough up 4 percent, or about $20 billion over ten years. (According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal nonprofit widely respected for the rigor of its numbers-crunching, between 2014 and 2019 the additional cost to the states will be just 1.25 percent more than they were going to spend on Medicaid without the expansion.) Republicans will answer: We’re glad you brought that 96 percent up, because the federal government can’t afford to spend $434 billion on Medicaid expansion! Then the Democrats will answer: It’s wrong to squeeze budget savings from society’s most vulnerable population. Republicans will answer: We’re not cutting spending here, just cancelling some of the program’s expansion. Then the Democrats will answer: Bottom line is you’re taking health coverage away from poor people who would otherwise get it.

The Republicans will probably win. An eternal (and eternally depressing) fact of life in Washington is that it’s easier to cut programs for poor people than it is to cut programs for anyone else, because poor people lack lobbying and fundraising clout.

Cap and Trade. This is the GOP’s second-favorite target, and President Obama may already have abandoned it. “Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat,” Obama said in his post-election press conference. “It was not the only way. It was a means, not an end. And I’m going to be looking for other means to address this problem.”

 

Reagan Budget Director: “Mad Men” Run Fed – MyStateLine.com

Reagan Budget Director: “Mad Men” Run Fed – MyStateLine.com.

(Washington, DC)  —   The man behind Ronald Reagan’s tax policies blasted “mad men” at the Fed and “free lunch parties” in Congress.

David Stockman also ripped into the Fed as “these mad men” on ABC’s “This Week.”  Stockman served as Reagan’s budget director but had blunt criticism for those drawing parallels between today and 30 years ago.

Paraphrasing a Reagan campaign line, Stockman said, quote, “this is not morning again in America.”

He lit into the Federal Reserve, saying, quote, “we’re now becoming the banana republic (of) finance.”  Stockmen said the Fed was comprised of “these mad men who are out of control” and predicted their plan to load up on U.S. debt will “end in a disaster.”  He called for a stark reassessment of Social Security and Medicare and for scaling back defense spending.

Stockman insisted the country was at the “sundown as an imperialist power.”  He added, “We can’t be the policemen of the world anymore because we can’t afford it.”

Stockman insisted the “weak” and “tepid” recovery was over, and the country would remain in economic crisis for another five-to-ten years.

He said the U.S. would be lucky to see one-to-two percent economic growth annually.

He called on Republicans to consider raising taxes as much as he wants to see Democrats slash spending.

Stockman said, quote, “We are in such dire shape that we have no choice.”

(Copyright 2010 by VERTEXNews/Newsroom Solutions)

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