Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

really really late

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

OK, so it happened on April 29, but it’s really worth watching the video of Stephen Colbert laying into President Bush. Enjoy.

graphic

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

If you live outside the US (or even inside) it is likely that you get a somewhat biased view of what “America” thinks, with regard to politics, at home and internationally. And one of the problems with the way people perceive a country is that they generally see that country through the lens of whoever is currently the leader.

So for example over the years I have spoken with several friends back in the UK about “America’s support” for the war in Iraq, social issues etc, where the impression comes across that non-Americans think that American is full of gun-totin’ yee-hawin’ bigots and there’s nothing much else happening. Well, of course there are a few of those people, just as in most countries – you generally have a spectrum of opinions and attitudes (look at support for the British National Party for example) but on the whole and contrary to many media impressions, America is generally a very sane and balanced place. Otherwise I don’t think I’d still be living here.

It’s certainly a lot more sane and balanced than many of those in power right now, and the people are expressing their disappointment more and more. To see this clearly, take a look at these amazing graphs from a poll out today, where you see disapproval for the President at near record levels. One stat which I think supports my view that this country is generally calm and sane is that more and more are finally “getting” that the Republican party (whose leadership have become more and more extreme in recent years) don’t in fact represent their moral values. In fact only 37% of respondents say that the Repubs do share their moral values, and 50% say that the Democratic party does.

disturbance in the force

Friday, December 9th, 2005

I woke up this morning feeling really groggy and just not quite right. Sort of the way you feel when you’re about to get sick, but haven’t developed any actual symptoms yet. And when I called up the local paper‘s homepage I immediately realized why: a cabal of the dark side is in town today for evil fundraising. I think the clouds of darkness have preceded their actual arrival, hence my feeling that all is not right with the Force today.

new low

Friday, November 4th, 2005

It’s taken America about five years to realize how unpleasantly incompetent Bush is, but finally we may be waking up. From the Washington Post today: Bush’s Popularity Reaches New Low:

On almost every key measure of presidential character and performance, the survey found that Bush has never been less popular with the American people. Currently 39 percent approve of the job he is doing as president, while 60 percent disapprove of his performance in office — the highest level of disapproval ever recorded for Bush in Post-ABC polls.

Do you remember when he said he would “restore integrity to the White House”? Not get involved in nation building? Be a “uniter not a divider”? Be “a “reformer with results”? It’s all working out pretty well, don’t you think?

news

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

Here’s some data which was buried in the Washinton Post’s White House Briefing today

A new CBS News poll shows Bush’s approval rating dropping to a shockingly low 35 percent — with 51 percent of those polled saying they consider the leak case a matter of great importance to the nation.

Cheney’s favorable rating is down nine points this year to just 19 percent.

John Roberts reports on the CBS Evening News: ‘The plunging poll numbers is another dose of bad news for a White House mired in it. The only recent president lower at this point in their term was Richard Nixon.’

More results can be found here.

The poll shows the public considers this the most important political scandal since Watergate, surpassing Clinton-Lewinsky, Whitewater and even Iran-Contra.

It also shows that only 32 percent of Americans think that before the war, the Bush administration was telling all or most of what they knew about weapons in Iraq, compared to 38 percent who feel they were hiding important elements and 26 percent who think they were ‘mostly lying.’

despite

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

I couldn’t have said it better myself. The actor who plays Chewbacca in Star Wars, Peter Mayhew, has become a US citizen, and here’s what he had to say about the United States:

“Whatever people say about America, it is still one of the most wonderful countries in the world, despite the politics, religion and everything else that goes on.”

. That’s pretty much how I feel, depending of course on what you mean about “everything else”. Although that doesn’t leave a whole lot, does it?

hypocrisy etc

Monday, October 10th, 2005

Christopher Hitchens writes an excellently outraged article about the religiousness or otherwise of the latest Supreme Court nominee here in America. He makes the good point that because she attends an evangelical conservative church she should either be a committed Christian whose life’s work is to convert people (he doesn’t mention that doing good deeds etc might be part of the deal too, but then neither do many evangelical conservative churches) or she’s a big fat hypocrite. Either way, not ideal.

In other religious political observation news, I saw Jon Stewart on David Letterman’s show over the weekend. Stewart was talking about the Bush response to Hurricane Katrina and pointed out the absurdity that the President’s main strategy to make things better appeared to be his National Day of Prayer. Especially as three days later Hurricane Rita moved in. So that would have worked out pretty well then.

social darwinism

Monday, September 12th, 2005

I realize that the title is ironic due to the Administration’s (and their friends’) aversion to evolution etc, but anyway.

There’s an excellent viewpoint on the BBC today about how the New Orleans flood might, like the Great Depression, shock the American people and political landscape into a new era of social support, what with the sight of so many people devastated and the incompetence and, in my opinion more importantly and more sickeningly, complete lack of accountability and apparent caring from the government. We can only hope. Emma made the excellent point at the weekend that while the Hurricane Katrina tragedy has indeed been appalling, thousands upon thousands of Americans face their own tragedies each day as they are abandoned by the government – lack of decent schools, homes, healthcare, public safety – and we should be outraged by that as much as how offensively pathetic, confused and lost our President has been over the last couple of weeks.

The BBC article expands on that idea a bit, with the hope that we might see some good from the tragedy. I’m not so optimistic that things will change very quickly, despite GWB’s plummeting approval ratings (last week it was at 39%, with 2/3rds of those polled saying that the government could have done more to help the people on the Gulf Coast – so 1/3rd think they did enough??). I think that the right wingers, and Bush’s push for faith-based aid, will get in the way of people thinking that Government should provide all of the safety net – witness the huge giving to charitable organizations instead of calls to raise taxes and have the government take care of the people affected.

disassembler

Friday, June 3rd, 2005

I don’t know if this rises to the level of a Bushism, but I noticed the following quote from President Bush at his May 31 press conference:

It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of — and the allegations — by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble — that means not tell the truth.

In fact as you well know, he meant that they have been trained to dissemble, which means not tell the truth or to disguise. It appears that our President is concerned about turrists who have been trained to dismantle our furniture.

UPDATE June 7 – I had emailed Slate magazine about this because I thought they’d like it for the Bushisms. And here it is.

unbalanced but fair

Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

Yes, this article is clearly from a very partisan source, but it does a great job of listing full quotes from George Galloway at the Senate inquisition yesterday. Like I said yesterday, I’m no particular fan of “gorgeous” George, but good work from him in standing up to the nonsense that was hurled at him.