Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Approval ratings falling...


Is the floor falling out from under him?

Maybe it's the ports deal, maybe it's Iraq, or maybe it's his own base lashing back because they know they're going to have trouble in the mid-term elections.

A new CBS poll reports that Bush's approval rating is down to 34 percent. That's pretty bad. According to the pollsters, the president's numbers fell roughly eight percent from this time last month.

You may say that since the article I cited above is an Australian outlet, and may not be trust worthy, here are a few more: NBC, Knight Ridder, Bloomberg, Washington Times and, well, you get the picture. There's even a poll that says the troops favor coming home, which doesn't bode well for Bush, who has one of his strongest supporters in the military.

We'll have to see what's going to happen, but I smell another bin Laden tape or terrorist attack on the horizon...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Strange Bedfellows Pt. 3



The Dubai/Bush ports story just keeps getting more and more interesting. I wanted for someone with the time to look into and document/publicize the underlying aspects of this story.

This Prison Planet article is on the right track. It explains exactly why this deal should not go through. Many people are overlooking the fact that the Dubai Ports World number two executive already controls all security of US ports under Maritime Administration, which should be a much larger part of this story than is actually being reported.

People deride web sites like Prison Planet and Rense.com by labeling them conspiracy theorists and hacks. I don't see anything, as a young journalist myself, wrong with the legitimate reporting done in this Prison Planet article. This article should be running in all the major media outlets.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Strange Bedfellows Pt. 2


Driven by a "free-trade agenda"?

The Strange Bedfellows post from a few days ago predicted, or assumed, that there was more to the Dubai/Bush ports deal than has been reported.

The "free trade agenda" is behind the strange circumstances surrounding this deal, according to an article on Rense.com. This free trade agenda is above national security or politics, according to the article.

This story is interesting in several ways. It made allies of political enemies who both are "worried" about national security — either legitimately or for political reasons. Some alleged that normal protocoll was not followed, and even some with inside knowledge of the deal report there were "intelligence gaps" that prevented them from making an informed decision. Leaders of the GOP threatened the White House on the issue, and Bush said he would use his first-ever veto to block any legislation preventing the deal from moving forward. The compromise was a 45-day extension Dubai agreed to.

It's certainly clear that something resembling a close relationship exists between the Bushes and the Dubai leadership. Ultimately American people are the ones who will pay the price.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I just had to do it...


Is this what he's really trying to say?



This is kind of stupid, kind of funny. This little gem, courtesy of iFilm.com, is a must see.

Disclaimer: The clip is obviously heavily edited, and I don't think anyone thinks this is serious.

That said, some of the stuff Bush "says" in this clip is eerily close to the perception of what the president is really trying to communicate when he makes speeches driving home talking points every day. That's the perception of some, to be sure, but not all. I'm sure if you took any of Clinton's State of the Union addresses and edited it the way this one is edited, you could make his say some pretty funny shit too.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Strange bedfellows...


Questionable decisions and questionable record on post 9-11 security

The Bush/UAE ports deal is making for some pretty strange bedfellows. So-called liberals and conservatives have found common cause on this one, but Think Progress has a post that suggests the opposition's logic on this one is flawed and misplaced, if not purely political.

But there is another Think Progress post that says the Bush administration failed to follow protocol on this particular deal, raising questions about the whole thing.

Democrats are using this issue to score points against Bush, but who is to say Republicans would not score the same shots on a democratic president, because they're attacking their own man.

And it seems the GOP is trying to figure out where it stands on the issue. Average Americans probably think it's a no-brainer that a Middle Eastern country should control port security, despite the obvious flaws with that line of reasoning pointed out in the first Think Progress post above.

This situation points out the clear flaws in American politics: Both parties play different cards to try and attract votes. The democrats feel they can look tougher than Bush on security for once, and the republicans are confused between supporting Bush or playing to the majority of people who will never examine the complexities of the deal.

Another interesting aspect of this story is Bush's passionate defense of the "private transaction." It seems, on the surface at least, akin to this administration's reluctance to truly investigate — or at least publicize — Saudi Arabia's ties to al Qaeda and the direct connections with some of the 9-11 hijackers.

Monday, February 20, 2006

When in doubt: classify


Historians will be seeing a lot more like this

Government secrecy is nothing new. There may be something inherent in top-level jobs anywhere that just breeds secrecy. Even the store managers at your local Dairy Queen hold some level of priority over staff-level employees when it comes to sensitive information.

But sometimes the government takes it a step too far. An article published on the New York Times web site today says the government has been secretly classifying documents that have previously been public for the last seven years.

This isn't a partisan issue. The program was initiated under Bill "Slick Willy" Clinton in 1999. The program continued under Bush, whose administration has trended toward secrecy for quite some time.

There's also a little gem buried near the end of the article. The document removals have not been reported to the Information Security Oversight Office, as the law has required for formal reclassification since 2003, the article says.

The explanation for that, according to the individual agencies that particular documents are controlled by, is the documents were not declassified properly, so technically it is not a re-classification. This, despite the fact the documents were marked declassified, and they exist in scores of historians' collections.

It sounds a little like the more recent explanations for the NSA's domestic surveillance program. Attorney General Gonzales said the president had the inherent authority to do what he sees fit when it comes to prosecuting the War on Terror.

People need to keep an eye on the continuing erosion of public access to government records by the day. We need to keep just as keen an eye no matter which party has its chosen one in the White House. It truly is the sign of a crumbling nation when the people can't even check the records of people who supposedly work for them.

Domestic Propaganda?



Is he putting military operatives in today's media?

A report published today on the Wayne Madsen Report, written by Madsen — a former intelligence official — outlines what he thought would happen to American media in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. This report, written in November of 2001 but not published until today, outlines some of the objectives that the federal government had when it came to propaganda over seas and at home.

He outlines how the government created the International Public Information system under a presidential order signed by President Clinton. The purpose of this system was to bring together representatives from around the federal government law enforcement and intelligence agencies to develop methods to prevent and mitigate crises and to influence foreign audiences in ways favorable to the achievement of U.S. foreign policy objectives.

"According to the directive, information aimed at U.S. audiences is to be 'coordinated, integrated, de-conflicted, and synchronized with the [IPI] to achieve a synergistic effect,'" Madsen wrote.

The report lays out the specific ways the government wanted to — and may currently be — manipulate mass media, including television shows and Hollywood films, to create as mucy sympathy as possible for U.S. policies. The report is an educated prediction written several years ago. The items in the report can be trusted to be accurate as of November of 2001, but what has happened since?

Rumsfeld has already said publicly that the U.S. needs to beef up certain aspects of its propaganda machine. Some people think that American propaganda is necessarily part of any war, especially the War on Terror, that has to be marketed every day to Americans and whoever will listen over seas. Others, however, feel that propaganda — known more widely as public relations — is wrong in any situation.

President Bush said once that the administration's policies shouldn't have to be bought, they should be able to stand on thier own two feet. This statement begs the question: If the policies should stand on thier own two feet, why has this administration spent $1.6 billion on public relations in the last two and a half years? Hell, the Defense Department, one of the key agencies in deploying funds for strategic public relations and fighting this War on Terror, can't even balance its own budget.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Rumsfeld: Is he fully informed?


Is he uninformed?

One has to wonder if communication is a virtue of the Bush administration.

As we have seen from the most recent Dick Cheney episode,even the president has underlings who fail to notify him of important events as they happen.

Now, a LA Times piece says that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is saying that the reportedly-aborted US program of planting fake news stories in Iraqi media is over, while those on the ground in Iraq say the program remains active as of a week ago.

Is Rumsfeld lying, telling the American public the propaganda-like program has ended when it is still functioning? Is the Secretary uninformed of current Pentagon policies and initiatives?

Either way it is a troubling piece of news. If our Defense Secretary is uninformed to this magnitude — when it comes to operational details in a current war theater — in a time of war, we have major problems. Also, if our Defense Secretary flat-out lies to the American people about what the United States is truly engaged in around the world, we are in just as much trouble.

Remember, the Bush administration is not doing a great job in the propaganda wars, for the most part. A try at domestic propaganda didn't work out so well for them the first time.