Tag Archives: Bush

When a President travels: it’s embarrassing

Every now and again, a tired and predictable outrage erupts over the cost of Bush’s! Obama’s! or (fill in the blank) _____’s travel. We heard one a few weeks ago when the President went! to! Africa!

The rants are usually accompanied by charges that the President is getting all tyrannical and acting like a king plus no other President has been so respectful of hard-working tax-paying Americans, so extravagant (especially if the President being so characterized is of anther political party).

And they’re right. President protection has reached preposterous levels. As for the effectiveness of the web of security we’ve constructed, look  no further than Reagan –  shot from just a few yards away while surrounded by Secret Service.

From the time of the Kennedy assassination, the retinue – from the epic productions that are foreign travel, to the limo known as “The Beast” and the ambulances that accompany every POTUS motorcade – has grown like a cancer.

In a post called When Presidents Travel, james at PoliticalDog101 tells us in detail how costs reach absurd levels when a POTUS and/or a FLOTUS go a’callin’ – pretty much anywhere.

Here’s The Dog (he does not even try to list the number of people who travel with the President – staff aides, cooks, stewards, pilots, government functionaries):

Aircraft for the President:

  • Air Force One of course
  • a second B-747-200 back up plane in case the one the President is traveling on has trouble.

Helicopters when needed:

  • Marine One Helicopter – for POTUS
  • For security details and press, another 4-5 choppers

The helicopters are airlifted by Air Force C-17 Cargo planes to EACH stop on the trip

The vehicles:

  • Presidential Limo’s – two limos for EACH stop
  • Secret Service ‘Back-Up’ Vehicles to transport the President’s Security Detail
  • White House Communications Vehicle – This SUV will be in the motorcade to help keep up contact with the US from anywhere on the planet
  • Secret Service Counter Assault Team SUV – Heavily armed firepower to protect POTUS (in addition to the Security Detail)
  • Hazmat Vehicle – A Marine detail in case of a chemical assault on the POTUS group
  • White House Medical Team Vehicle – Usually a US Doctor from the WH Staff plus a paramedic or military medic with their equipment

All of the vehicles (about 8 to 10 ) are airlifted by Air Force C-17 Cargo planes to EACH stop

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This kind of nonsense can break up families

Oh the ugly . . . anger spreads today across the land because the First Family spent lottsa taxpayer money staying in Ireland. And the First Lady is bad. Bad, bad, bad . . . here are the first six comments from a post at something called reagancoalition.* (The story began at the Moonie-owned, barely subscribed financial failure The Washington Times, and then went to Newsmax where this coalition-of-racists picked it up.)

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So she’s a low class n—ger with a big black butt whose kids hate her. Obviously. But it’s sooo classy to make fun of the kids (later comments savage them). I remember Limbaugh going after then 12 year old Chelsea Clinton and making fun of her looks. That was classy too.

An aside: the Obamas made a State visit the UK in ’10; Bush did the same in ’03. In 2011, the BBC compared costs and other aspects of the visits.  It’s here and is very interesting. Note that Bush brought 700 people with him; Obama brought 500. Pretty much this is what happens when a President of the United States goes calling.

*(Stipulated: 1) this looks like a wing site, and 2) I remember the Bush/monkey stuff but he was the president and she isn’t.)

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I gave the original of this picture of my great grandfather to that cousin. It’s a precious one as he is reading the very first edition of The Saturday Evening Post, in 1887.

Anyway, the story that occasions this post popped up on my timeline on Facebook as a ‘share’ from a second cousin. When I first went onto Facebook, I was delighted to find relatives I hadn’t communicated with in decades and we began some lovely getting re-acquainted dialogue. I even joined this cousin’s sister in a genealogy project which we conducted via email. It was a great deal of fun and very rewarding. She was deeply interested in family history – unlike my own nieces and nephews – so I sent her many heirlooms from my own great-grandparents, grandparents etc; it was mostly original photos, letters, even some wedding veils . . . it was a wonderful year or two for both of us.

Until last year. That’s when I began streaming this blog onto my facebook page. The communications died, emails were only answered in the most cursory way and eventually not at all. I had all along been quite familiar with these women’s politics and knew we were very different that way. But that wasn’t the sort of thing what we talked about, so it didn’t matter. Or so I thought.

I’ve not unfriended either of them and never will, but it’s a loss.

It’s not like she’s Fox & Friends! She’s Peggy Noonan, my dears, Peggy Noonan

Charles Pierce at Esquire tells us today that Wall Street Journal columnist and TV pundit, Peggy of the Noonans, thinks Obama was rude to Dubayew Thursday down at that library opening. She scolds:

He veered into current policy disputes, using Mr. Bush’s failed comprehensive immigration reform to buttress his own effort. That was manipulative, graceless and typical.

Here’s what the fake President said, what Noonan described as ‘graceless’:

Seven years ago, President Bush restarted an important conversation by speaking with the American people about our history as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And even though comprehensive immigration reform has taken a little longer than any of us expected, I am hopeful that this year, with the help of Speaker Boehner and some of the senators and members of Congress who are here today, that we bring it home – for our families, and our economy, and our security, and for this incredible country that we love. And if we do that, it will be in large part thanks to the hard work of President George W. Bush.

And there was this:

Back to the point. What was nice was that all of them-the Bush family, the Carters and Clintons-seemed like the old days. “The way we were.” They were full of endurance, stamina, effort. Also flaws, frailty, mess. But they weren’t . . . creepy.

PIERCE: Back when the Clintons actually were in the White House, Peggy Noonan called the First Lady at the time, among other things, “a highly credentialed rube,” a “person who never ponders what is right,” and “a squat and grasping woman.” But not creepy, not like the current First Family.

(Psst, Peg doesn’t like the Kenyan much. And as she’s speaking here in family plurals – FLOTUS and the daughters? Also creepy. )

I am so tired of Republicans getting away with this shit . . .

Since he was only a “chief economic policy adviser” to Reagan, what Bruce Bartlett says probably doesn’t count. In fact, these days that credential makes him suspect; he might be a Muslim-Kenyan liberal. Just like David Stockman. And David Frum*. You know, yesterday’s conservatives.

Republicans assert that Barack Obama assumed sole responsibility for the budget on Jan. 20, 2009. From that date, all increases in the debt or deficit are his responsibility and no one else’s, they say. This is, of course, nonsense – and the American people know it.

. . . Contrary to Republican assertions, there were no additional revenues from legislated tax increases.

. . . On the spending side, legislated increases during the Bush administration added $2.4 trillion to deficits and the debt through 2008.

The projected surplus when George Bush took over from The Big Dog:

was primarily the result of two factors. . . first, a big tax increase in 1993 that every Republican in Congress voted against, saying that it would tank the economy. This belief was wrong. The economy boomed in 1994, growing 4.1 percent that year and strongly throughout the Clinton administration . . .

During the 2000 campaign, Mr. Bush warned that budget surpluses were dangerous because Congress might spend them, even though Paygo rules prevented this from happening. . . .[he] reiterated this point and [said] . . .  future surpluses were likely to be even larger than projected due principally to anticipated strong revenue growth.

The 2001 tax cut did nothing to stimulate the economy, yet Republicans pushed for additional tax cuts in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008. The economy continued to languish even as the Treasury hemorrhaged revenue, which fell to 17.5 percent of the gross domestic product in 2008 from 20.6 percent in 2000. Republicans abolished Paygo in 2002, and spending rose to 20.7 percent of G.D.P. in 2008 from 18.2 percent in 2001.

. . . Putting all the numbers in the C.B.O. report together, we see that continuation of tax and budget policies and economic conditions in place at the end of the Clinton administration would have led to a cumulative budget surplus of $5.6 trillion through 2011 enough to pay off the $5.6 trillion national debt at the end of 2000.

. . . Republicans would have us believe that somehow we could have avoided the recession and balanced the budget in 2009 if only they had been in charge. This would be a neat trick considering that the recession began in December 2007.

. . .  they continually imply that one of the least popular spending increases of recent years, the Troubled Asset Relief Program [TARP], was an Obama administration program, when in fact it was a Bush administration initiative proposed by the Treasury Department that was signed into law by Mr. Bush on Oct. 3, 2008.

Lastly, Republicans continue to insist that tax cuts are highly stimulative, often saying that they add nothing to the debt, when this is obviously ridiculous.

Like I said though, Bartlett’s probably a commie by now, so no one should pay attention to him.

David Frum in 2012: Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Wall Street Journal editorial page between 2000 and 2011, and someone in the same period who read only the collected columns of Paul Krugman. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of the current economic crisis? The answer, I think, should give us pause.

It wasn’t us (updated below. Drat.)

There are dozens of excellent sources and charts available from very credible sources that reinforce the truth of the debt. Reagan and Bush II did the dirty. Clinton and Obama were left to clean up the ‘messes’.

This chart has been graphically sexed up, but the data is right out the US Treasury Dept. (h/t friend Ed)

UPDATE: Okay, this hurts. Links in the comment thread for this post, challenge this chart. The links are to Politifact and WaPo and taken together are persuasive that this info is not entirely honest. I think it is still very fair to say Reagan and Dubya were the worst offenders . . . while the challengers both put Obama at the top based on an assumption that the growth over the next five years will stay at the same rate as the last three. That assumption is, I think, preposterous and somewhat sullies their conclusions.

Nevertheless, I am eating a bit of crow here. And as much as it hurts, I’ve acknowledged as much in the comment thread to the man who provided the links – Alan Scott. How ’bout that.

Bush era tax cuts

When Bush was in  the White House and he had a GOP Congress, they passed some tax cuts. And they themselves attached an expiration date to the tax cuts. (Why?)

So now it’s Obama’s problem. Now, it’s a problem for the Democratic congress. And now, it seems the new truth is that addressing whether or not to allow them to expire – as designed by the GOP – is according to the GOP – just wrong, wrong, wrong. These guys are becoming the party of silly, silly, silly.

This morning, Ezra Klein writes about the impact of continuing the tax cuts. He says:

There is no policy that President Obama has passed or proposed that added as much to the deficit as the Republican Party’s $3.9 trillion extension of the Bush tax cuts. In fact, if you put aside Obama’s plan to extend most, but not all, of the Bush tax cuts, there is no policy he has passed or proposed that would do half as much damage to the deficit. There is not even a policy that would do a quarter as much damage to the deficit.

Nine-eleven, nine years

Nine years since Al Quada took down the Twin Towers. Not a day any of us is likely to forget ever, especially if we were able to watch it happen in real time on teevee. I was in my office at the theatre that morning – no online live streaming then, at least not at my company – and at the first word, we all raced to a break room where there was a television. And we watched – about a dozen of us. And we didn’t speak. We just watched. Our building had by then  become a no-smoking building. But we smoked – for hours. No one said a word. About an hour after the second tower fell, we began going home. And didn’t come back for a few days except to staff the evening performances – the show always goes on. But during the day, no one came in. The phones had stopped ringing. The box office was silent. No one answered email. So we stayed home and watched New York and called friends and family.

Less than a month later, U.S. forces were in Afghanistan. And we have been there for eight years and 338 days.

It’s hard to know what’s been accomplished. The purity – don’t know if that’s the right word – the purity of our cause was soiled by the diversion to Iraq. The capture of our actual enemy was thwarted by the diversion to Iraq. The support of most of the rest of the world began evaporating in distaste after the diversion to Iraq.

Our leaders served us badly. And now I expect they’re somewhere playing golf. There should be a price to pay, but the only price being paid is by our troops.

  • In Afghanistan 2071 coalition troops have died and many many more have been casualties. Those might be acceptable numbers were it not for the fact that half of the deaths have occurred in the last 19 months.
  • In Iraq  4800 have died (over 30K seriously injured), but at least there the fatality numbers have gone steadily down since the civil war abated. And with the implementation of the (Bush) Status of Forces Agreement, there are fewer troops in the country, none of whom are designated combat troops. (They’ll all be going to Afghanistan soon.)
  • Since 2001 we’ve spent over A TRILLION DOLLARS on our wars – 800 billion in Iraq, and 300 billion in Afghanistan.

And after all that, we’re scared to death of shampoo bottles and our shoes. We Americans need to do some very serious soul searching before we’re ready to go in grace into this new century and this new millennium.

At the very least, we need to stop amusing ourselves with trivial nonsense. But we are what we are. Aren’t we.

Eighty three point four

While the nation once again settles in for another day of blaming the current president for the wars we’ve been engaged in for (respectively) nine years and seven and a half years,  for the perfectly fine economy he mucked up and for his failure as prophet (he promised unemployment wouldn’t go over 7%, 8%, 9%, take-your-pick) . . . here is something I know. I know that Iraq is Obama’s fault because he’s a Democrat and Iraq was their fault – or so said Dan Senor on Chris Mathews‘ tonight – and he got away with it. (Senor was the PR flack for Paul Bremmer when he was emperor of Iraq).

But about that economy thing. This is a chart that I created some time ago for another post in which I was referring to the far right column, a percentage increase in debt – by president. As I said then, taking any one of these line items alone would mean nothing. But over this period of nearly 70 years, the pattern is clear. And damning.

This time, I ask that you look at the number in the first column after Barack Obama’s name. Just look at it. It is the number he gets to start with. So look again at that number. The starting number. And weep. Obama’s economy my ass.

UPDATE: A commenter thinks the chart above explains nothing and asks ‘where are the jobs?’.  So maybe these graphs will help him see where the jobs went. GOP loses jobs, DEMS have to get them back. Old story.

Calling Mr. Bush, calling Mr. Bush

Dear President Bush:

I don’t like you. Never did. One reason is because you so deliberately played the dumbfuck regular guy when the cameras were on, as though that were a remotely appropriate image for the leader of the free world. Of course, you never were that dumb but you also weren’t well versed in history or philosophy which leaders should be. And that got us into a lot of trouble.

However, you did one thing right. After 9/11 you immediately saw the danger in pissing off a billion Muslims. Arab Muslims, Persian Muslims, American Muslims, Malaysian Muslims, Indonesian Muslims, Chinese Muslims, Indian Muslims . . . you got the point Mr. Bush. So you stepped up and spoke out in order to dampen primitive instincts which always rise up when an enemy is needed.

For some weeks now, it’s been time for you to speak out again. You haven’t (and now I have another reason not to like you). The leaders of your own party are playing footsie with very dangerous and simmering sentiments. They don’t say a word because they are cynical and opportunistic. But you’re retired now, never running for office again, and you owe us one. Step up and do the right thing.

Are we still in BushWorld?

Made the acquaintance today of  Outofcentralasianow, who examined a recent bit of testimony by General Petraeus. The General said:

“The reality is that it’s hard, but we are [in Afghanistan] for a very, very important reason, we can’t forget that,” he added. “We’re in Afghanistan to ensure that it cannot once again be a sanctuary for the kinds of attacks that were carried out on 9/11.”

CentralAsia found this to be a rather remarkable (stupid, my word) comment on why we’re there. He wrote:

Is that a stupid statement? There’s no other land anywhere from which to plan another “9/11″ anywhere in the world? Wern’t the ringleaders based in Germany? Wern’t some in the U.S. training to become pilots?

Mohammed Atta, the leader of the 9/11 attackers, did his training right down the road from me here in South Florida. This ‘sanctuary’ line is bogus. If it was ever valid, it no longer is. And CentralAsia is exactly right. Denying them Afghanistan does not deny them a place to train.

Oh, the lazy, it creeps . . .

Because it’s almost bedtime, but this did catch my attention – from Brendan Nyhan at pollster.com (lifted in its entirety):

Matt Drudge is currently blaring this headline about a new CNN poll (PDF):

CNN SHOCK POLL: MAJORITY SAY OBAMA DOESN’T DESERVE 2ND TERM

Actually, the poll isn’t especially shocking. As The Hill points out, “52 percent of Americans said President Barack Obama doesn’t deserve reelection in 2012” — a number that is almost identical to the proportion who disapprove of the job he’s doing (50%).

For context, a Fox News poll in August 2001 asked the following question about George W. Bush:

Considering how President (George W.) Bush has performed so far, do you think he deserves to be reelected or would the country probably be better off with someone else as president?

The results? 36% said Bush deserved to be reelected, 42% said the country would be better off with someone else, and 22% said it depends or weren’t sure. These numbers are actually worse than Obama’s relative to the 55% approval/32% disapproval numbers the Fox poll showed for Bush.

50%, schmifty per cent

Wanna talk about Presidential approval ratings? Here’s a walk down memory lane from the Wall Street Journal, via . . .

“Sweet, sweet, the memories you gave to me; can’t beat the memories you gave to me.”



Helen Thomas, White House scourge

Have watched a number of White House press conferences over the last months. It’s very instructive. Good old Helen Thomas continues her decades long challenge to sitting presidents. She is like the mosquito flapping aorund your face that you cannot swat away – it keeps coming back and heading for the same soft spot.

And I am reminded of how the Bush administration dealt with it by demeaning and trying to banish the eighty-year old doyen of the press corps. They were such wusses.

I’m watching one now. And Jake Tapper is such a pill. Chuck Todd is a pill in training.

UPDATE: Also Carl Cameron Major Garrett. Carl Cameron Major Garrett is also a pill.

FURTHER UPDATE:  In another post, I took another swipe at Jake Tapper. Who – honest, I am NOT kidding – commented to let me know I  misspoke. He was correct. He was cordial in every way. I replied in the thread  with an apology (of sorts) but there’s no word back  to date. It must mean I am not the center of Jake Tapper’s world. And I thought . . .