Reflections from the Grounded Center

8.26.2005

Nurse! Valium!


Is Bush Out of Control?
By DOUG THOMPSON


Buy beleaguered, overworked White House aides enough drinks and they tell a sordid tale of an administration under siege, beset by bitter staff infighting and led by a man whose mood swings suggest paranoia bordering on schizophrenia.

They describe a President whose public persona masks an angry, obscenity-spouting man who berates staff, unleashes tirades against those who disagree with him and ends meetings in the Oval Office with “get out of here!”

In fact, George W. Bush’s mood swings have become so drastic that White House emails often contain “weather reports” to warn of the President’s demeanor. “Calm seas” means Bush is calm while “tornado alert” is a warning that he is pissed at the world.

Decreasing job approval ratings and increased criticism within his own party drives the President’s paranoia even higher. Bush, in a meeting with senior advisors, called Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist a “god-damned traitor” for opposing him on stem-cell research.
“There’s real concern in the West Wing that the President is losing it,” a high-level aide told me recently.

A year ago, this web site discovered the White House physician prescribed anti-depressants for Bush. The news came after revelations that the President’s wide mood swings led some administration staffers to doubt his sanity.

Although GOP loyalists dismissed the reports an anti-Bush propaganda, the reports were later confirmed by prominent George Washington University psychiatrist Dr. Justin Frank in his book Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President. Dr. Frank diagnosed the President as a “paranoid meglomaniac” and “untreated alcoholic” whose “lifelong streak of sadism, ranging from childhood pranks (using firecrackers to explode frogs) to insulting journalists, gloating over state executions and pumping his hand gleefully before the bombing of Baghdad” showcase Bush’s instabilities.

“I was really very unsettled by him and I started watching everything he did and reading what he wrote and watching him on videotape. I felt he was disturbed,” Dr. Frank said. “He fits the profile of a former drinker whose alcoholism has been arrested but not treated.”
Dr. Frank’s conclusions have been praised by other prominent psychiatrists, including Dr. James Grotstein, Professor at UCLA Medical Center, and Dr. Irvin Yalom, MD, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University Medical School.

As a recovering alcoholic (sober 11 years, two months, nine days), I know all too well the symptoms that Dr. Frank describes and, after watching Bush for the past several years, I have to, unfortunately, agree with him.

Conversations over the last few weeks with longtime friends who work in the Bush White House confirm even more what Dr. Frank says and others have suggested.

The President of the United States is out of control. How long can the ship of state continue to sail with a madman at the helm?

COMMENTARY

I just couldn't resist posting this.

While it does sound suspiciously like the worst kind of propoganda/slander there is, it was too entertaining to not make available. There is something sickeningly comforting to believing that he is insane, because then maybe his inner circle (save Karl Rove) is not that terrible and they just have to deal with him...even though I really can't believe that, or the details of this post, in good faith.

8.23.2005

Good Christian Leader


Pat Robertson Calls for Assassination of Hugo Chavez
Televangelist Calls Venezuelan President a 'Terrific Danger' to the United States

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Aug. 22) - Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson called on Monday for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, calling him a "terrific danger" to the United States.

Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition of America and a former presidential candidate, said on "The 700 Club" it was the United States' duty to stop Chavez from making Venezuela a "launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism."

Chavez has emerged as one of the most outspoken critics of President Bush, accusing the United States of conspiring to topple his government and possibly backing plots to assassinate him. U.S. officials have called the accusations ridiculous.

"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson said. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."
Electronic pages and a message to a Robertson spokeswoman were not immediately returned Monday evening.

Venezuela is the fifth largest oil exporter and a major supplier of oil to the United States. The CIA estimates that U.S. markets absorb almost 59 percent of Venezuela's total exports.

Venezuela's government has demanded in the past that the United States crack down on Cuban and Venezuelan "terrorists" in Florida who they say are conspiring against Chavez.

Electronic pages and a message to a Robertson spokeswoman were not immediately returned Monday evening.

Venezuela is the fifth largest oil exporter and a major supplier of oil to the United States. The CIA estimates that U.S. markets absorb almost 59 percent of Venezuela's total exports.

Venezuela's government has demanded in the past that the United States crack down on Cuban and Venezuelan "terrorists" in Florida who they say are conspiring against Chavez.

COMMENTARY

I don't think I need any commentary here - even though I do have to say that I don't much care for Chavez. Then again, I don't much care for Pat Robertson either.

Here are some other great quotes from Mr. Robertson. Such a respectful, understanding and God-faring/loving man.

"If they look over the course of 100 years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings."-- On whether "activist judges" are more of a threat than terrorists, May 2005

"Maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off on Foggy Bottom to shake things up." -- Referring to the State Department's location while criticizing the agency, October 2003

8.22.2005

Swift Boating


GOP Senator Says Iraq Looking Like Vietnam

By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - A leading Republican senator and prospective presidential candidate said Sunday that the war in Iraq has destabilized the Middle East and is looking more like the Vietnam conflict from a generation ago.

Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel (news, bio, voting record), who received two Purple Hearts and other military honors for his service in Vietnam, reiterated his position that the United States needs to develop a strategy to leave Iraq. Hagel scoffed at the idea that U.S. troops could be in Iraq four years from now at levels above 100,000, a contingency for which the
Pentagon is preparing.

"We should start figuring out how we get out of there," Hagel said on "This Week" on ABC. "But with this understanding, we cannot leave a vacuum that further destabilizes the Middle East. I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur."

Hagel said "stay the course" is not a policy. "By any standard, when you analyze 2 1/2 years in Iraq ... we're not winning," he said.

President Bush was preparing for separate speeches this week to reaffirm his plan to help Iraq train its security forces while its leaders build a democratic government. In his weekly Saturday radio address, Bush said the fighting there protected Americans at home.

Polls show the public growing more skeptical about Bush's handling of the war.
In Iraq, officials continued to craft a new constitution in the face of a Monday night deadline for parliamentary approval. They missed the initial deadline last week.

Other Republican senators appearing on Sunday news shows advocated remaining in Iraq until the mission set by Bush is completed, but they also noted that the public is becoming more and more concerned and needs to be reassured.

Sen. George Allen (news, bio, voting record), R-Va., another possible candidate for president in 2008, disagreed that the U.S. is losing in Iraq. He said a constitution guaranteeing basic freedoms would provide a rallying point for Iraqis.

"I think this is a very crucial time for the future of Iraq," said Allen, also on ABC. "The terrorists don't have anything to win the hearts and minds of the people of Iraq. All they care to do is disrupt."

Hagel, who was among those who advocated sending two to three times as many troops to Iraq when the war began in March 2003, said a stronger military presence by the U.S. is not the solution today.

"We're past that stage now because now we are locked into a bogged-down problem not unsimilar, dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam," Hagel said. "The longer we stay, the more problems we're going to have."

Allen said that unlike the communist-guided North Vietnamese who fought the U.S., the insurgents in Iraq have no guiding political philosophy or organization. Still, Hagel argued, the similarities are growing.

"What I think the White House does not yet understand — and some of my colleagues — the dam has broke on this policy," Hagel said. "The longer we stay there, the more similarities (to Vietnam) are going to come together."

The Army's top general, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, said Saturday in an interview with The Associated Press that the Army is planning for the possibility of keeping the current number of soldiers in Iraq — well over 100,000 — for four more years as part of preparations for a worst-case scenario.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (news, bio, voting record), a South Carolina Republican, said U.S. security is tied to success in Iraq, and he counseled people to be patient.

"The worst-case scenario is not staying four years. The worst-case scenario is leaving a dysfunctional, repressive government behind that becomes part of the problem in the war on terror and not the solution," Graham said on "Fox News Sunday.

Allen said the military would be strained at such levels in four years yet could handle that difficult assignment. Hagel described the Army contingency plan as "complete folly."

"I don't know where he's going to get these troops," Hagel said. "There won't be any National Guard left ... no Army Reserve left ... there is no way America is going to have 100,000 troops in Iraq, nor should it, in four years."

Hagel added: "It would bog us down, it would further destabilize the Middle East, it would give
Iran more influence, it would hurt Israel, it would put our allies over there in Saudi Arabia and Jordan in a terrible position. It won't be four years. We need to be out."

Sen. Trent Lott (news, bio, voting record), R-Miss., said the U.S. is winning in Iraq but has "a way to go" before it meets its goals there. Meanwhile, more needs to be done to lay out the strategy, Lott said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"I do think we, the president, all of us need to do a better job, do more," Lott said, by telling people "why we have made this commitment, what is being done now, what we do expect in the process and, yes, why it's going to take more time."

COMMENTARY

Hmmm...I wonder how they can try to discredit and villify his 2 purple hearts. I mean, if he thinks things are going poorly he must not be a REAL war hero. Chuck, why do you hate America?

8.09.2005

True Illusion

To the person that loves the drama of today's wide assortment of reality programming, it may have just seemed like another scandalous incident during an innocent parent swap. On tonight's episode of "Trading Spouses," an argument erupted between the uptight clean freak from Minnesota and the pro-Bush, pro-war father of her host family in Tennessee (was it Tennessee?).

Mia, standing in for the Matriarch of the home, baited the father into an argument about the war. Somehow she came to the decision that it was appropriate to ask how he felt, as a supporter of the war, if his son-in-law in the armed forces didn't come home, if he, "...dyyed ooover there in eye-Rahhck?" You see, the little boy of the family liked to play with army men and he killed a worm with a handful of salt. Granted, when his answer to "why?," was, "I like to kill things," I was a little freaked out. Teamed with the fact that his father taught him how to do it, I could understand the point that Mia (the mother...are you still with me?) was making. The kid definitely was, after editing, obsessed with war and killing other living things. But here's the deal...

Maybe you shouldn't teach your kid that killing other living things is acceptable, just as you shouldn't ask a stranger how they would feel if a family member were to die in a war he volunteered to go to...especially if you are on national television. Fine. But how is this entertainment while REAL people are REALLY dying? In a reasonable nation, the sad drama being played out in front of our hungry eyes and ears should not, as a reasonable People, entertain us.

8.05.2005

‘GAYSROK’

SALT LAKE CITY - The state of Utah can't block a woman from using her license plate to tell the world "GAYSROK," a judge has ruled.

The state has no good reason to prevent Elizabeth Solomon from having that plate - which can be read "Gays are OK" or "Gays Rock" - or another one saying "GAYRYTS," according to Jane Phan, an administrative law judge with the Utah State Tax Commission.

"The narrow issue before us is whether a reasonable person would believe the terms "gays are OK" and "gay rights" are, themselves, offensive to good taste and decency. It is the conclusion of the commission that a reasonable person would not," Phan wrote.

The state can appeal the July 19 decision.

"We're discussing it, and we have 30 days to do that," Barry Conover, deputy director of the commission, which oversees Utah's Department of Motor Vehicles, said Wednesday.

"It kind of opens up the door for all types of people who want to make a license plate a public forum, for every initiative," he said.

Dani Eyer, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, which represented Solomon, countered: "The government can't pick and choose what subjects it likes and does not like."

Solomon, of Park City, on Wednesday said she considered the judge's decision as a victory for her daughter, who is gay, and for two gay male friends.

COMMENTARY

What is most amazing about this article is that any gays choose to stay in Utah.

This is another clear example of how the far right is pursuing an active, systemic campaign to destroy the gay community and send us back to the shadows.
"It kind of opens up the door for all types of people
who want
to make a license plate a public forum,
for every initiative,"
Oh, you mean just like the "PROLIFER" plate that I saw yesterday? Are license plates really that important of a medium? Personally, I think vanity plates are annoying and self-indulgent, but meaningful and impactful? No, I think not. And I don't think they do either...but it is one more place to try and stick it to us (forgive the pun, please).

"They" love to publicly claim that there is no intention to strip us of rights or treat us as second class citizens, just that they are simply preventing the implosion of our society - a claim which, in and of itself, is ridiculous. They insist we deserve the same as everyone else...just not marriage, equal protection, due process, and now license-plate design. What a collection of ass clowns!

8.03.2005

Intelligent?




WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush said Monday he believes schools should discuss "intelligent design" alongside evolution when teaching students about the creation of life.

During a round-table interview with reporters from five Texas newspapers, Bush declined to go into detail on his personal views of the origin of life. But he said students should learn about both theories, Knight Ridder Newspapers reported.

"I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," Bush said. "You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes."

The theory of intelligent design says life on earth is too complex to have developed through evolution, implying that a higher power must have had a hand in creation.

Christian conservatives - a substantial part of Bush's voting base - have been pushing for the teaching of intelligent design in public schools. Scientists have rejected the theory as an attempt to force religion into science education.

COMMENTARY

So, life is too complex to be explained by evolution - even though that is exactly what biologists have done - so it must be that a sentient diety set this whole thing up? Aside from the fact that teaching a clearly religious view of life's creation in public schools (as part of a science unit, no less) is absolutely absurd, there is a larger issue at hand.

It seems so simple to me to reconcile these two arguments. There are a great many scientists that are religious, pious people that believe in God AND evolution - though I suppose they would be considered false believers. So why can't these two concepts get along? Why is science not the study of God's work? The reason lies at the very heart of the reason why fundamentalists are so obnoxious, yes, but also dangerous and scary. This reason is because to them, the world is black and white. It is one way or the other. It is evolution or creationism (or, "intelligent design," in the mills of the evangelical propaganda machine). It is Republican or Democrat. You are either with us or against us. While I believe in an objective reality, I hardly think that is what Ayn Rand meant.

It is not Christianity, or Islaam, or the devil that flies planes into buildings or blows up abortion clinics and gay bars. It is the resignation to ignorance and easy answers, the subjugation of the individual and his/her power of reason to the dogma of one singular school of thought and moreover, the men and women who preach this path, that are truly to blame.