America to Bush: We Need A Break
If You Gotta Go...
"I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?" George W. Bush
What, the president's not sure about the state of his own bladder? A facetious interpretation, of course, but it makes you think. He does virtually nothing else on his own initiative without consulting his demon advisors, so why should taking a pee be any different?
According to Gary Hershorn, a picture editor for Reuters (which published the picture), the real reason Bush may have written that note to Condi Rice during a UN Security Council meeting was his lack of familiarity with UN protocol on asking to be excused.
Makes sense to me. And on so many levels. Bush knows nothing about protocol. Bush knows nothing about the UN Security Council. Bush cares nothing about what's happening in a UN Security Council meeting. Or pretty much anywhere else.
My pal Swami Uptown explains it this way, dead on target, "The President wasn't communicating that his bladder was full. He was saying that he'd had enough of the UN. That he was bored. That he wanted o-u-t. 'Bathroom break' was code --- a witty way of expressing an unacceptable thought. Yeah, it was a weak joke...but so is he, kids, so is he."
You go, Swami ... so to speak. But media-wise, should Reuters have published that picture? Why not? If we can be shown photos of a stained blue dress, there's no reason we shouldn't be given a look at the stain of presidential indifference.
Generating More False Hope
"What makes you mad is that it's the same things we saw on 9/11. Whoever is responsible for acting in these places hasn't acted. Are they going to do it now? What else has to happen for people to act?" 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean, former Republican Governor of New Jersey
A chilling indictment of the Leader of the Free World, from a fellow Republican no less. And unfortunately there are piles of bodies and thousands of shattered lives to back up Kean's logic and concerns.
There was similar reaction to President Bush's speech last night from Katrina survivors currently being housed in Philadelphia. We've heard it before. Empty promises. Saving face. Image rebuilding. One man, very articulate on those subjects, finally said, "You'd have to edit it out if I told you what I really feel."
I'm with that guy. I self-edit here, but that doesn't mean I wasn't hurling a bunch of expletives at my newspaper this morning as I reviewed how Bush tried to tap dance his way out of trouble and back into America's hearts. (We didn't watch the live speech because our house is a Bush-Free Zone. There isn't enough Anger Management in the universe to handle my reaction to watching him live.)
So did he accomplish his self-aggrandizing goal? No way. He's broken too many hearts, lives, families and Promises to win us back that easily. If there wasn't a solid plan in place--and money allocated--to manage a foreseeable disaster like Katrina, what the hell will happen if (when?) terrorist bombs start exploding in our streets?
Bombs are still exploding in Iraq and Afghanistan, at huge cost in dollars and human lives, with no end in sight. We're paying billions for a war we never should have entered, and now Bush proposes we pay billions more for a relief operation with no sound fiscal strategy or proposed safeguards against corruption.
Here's an idea: take truckloads of the pork money allocated to needless roads and bridges in the recent highway bill and just turn it over to Halliburton for the Katrina rebuilding effort. If anybody's prepared to deny that more Bush Republican cronies will get even richer from the Gulf Coast recovery plan, you're either badly deluded ... or one of them.
Out of all the analysis and discussion about last night's Presidential Address, one sentence from the New York Times story sprang out at me, "The Bush White House, well practiced in the art of presidential stagecraft, provided its own generators for the lighting and communications equipment that beamed Mr. Bush's remarks to the nation."
Well, that tears it. Where was the White House with those generators when people were dying of hunger and thirst and heat on the ravaged Gulf Coast? I'll tell you where. They were eating and drinking and freezing and fumbling, far away from reality, and the madding crowds. Then finally, when they themselves were in deep trouble ... presto! They're ready and able to shine false light on more false hope from the President of the United States. (Question: did they leave those badly needed generators behind for a hospital or a shelter? Not a chance. They're far too critial for National Security as image-saving devices.)
Paul Krugman of the New York Times nailed it today. I couldn't possibly improve on his comparison of F.D.R. and George W. Bush, "the anti-F.D.R." Read it here Not the New Deal and weep.
And then ask yourself: Under George W. Bush, when will America get a break?