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Posts Tagged ‘Bush’

The now-ubiquitous shoe-hero alleges a severe prison beating as the case reverberates through the Iraqi Parliament.  Meanwhile, the American media jerks itself off laughing about those ungrateful A-Rabs.  Either way, someone’s gettin’ paid.  The previously anonymous “Model 271,” a standard-issue black leather Oxford, is flying off the shelves of its Turkish maker.  Orders have skyrocketed in the past week, with the company taking full advantage of the situation:

“Five thousand posters advertising the shoes, on their way to the Middle East and Turkey, proclaim “Goodbye Bush, Welcome Democracy” in Turkish, English and Arabic.”

Serdan Turk, general manger of Baydan Shoes, praised the outgoing president:

“Mr. Bush served some good purpose to the economy before he left.”

Now, if someone would just hit Cheney with an American-made car.

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The New York Post reports on George and Laura’s White House Hanukkah invitations:

“The message reads that the couple “requests the pleasure of your company at a Hanukkah reception,” written beneath an image of a Clydesdale horse hauling a Christmas fir along the snow-dappled drive to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.”

No fuckin way.  They can’t be that stupid.

Yes.  Yes they are.

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Film as it happens

Oliver Stone, king of the conspiracy, is about to release a film about the Bush presidency.  W, which doesn’t stand for winner, covers Bush’s life and is supposedly modeled on Stone’s well-regarded Nixon.  The director wants it to be “a behind-the-scenes approach” to the President’s life, and denies wanting to make a polemic.

Whether the movie is any good, whether it moves votes for or against, there’s another question here:

How weird is it to see Josh Brolin playing the President?

Thing is, this is all still going on.  The actors portraying the Iraq decisionmakers can’t hold a candle to the actual ones.  No cinematic copy can match the “lowest point” of Colin Powell’s life.  We’re still at war, no matter how Stone explains we got there, and the President’s total impotance in the recent financial crisis won’t even find space in the film.

My skepticism isn’t about the content of the movie itself; it’s about making a biopic about a sitting President while all the events are still occuring.  Of course there’s an entire literary industry built on this, much of which doesn’t age so well. But somehow it seems different on film, with close-to-real-looking actors delivering close-to-real-sounding dialogue.  Somehow it seems weird to look at fake-W and fake-Cheney planning to fake-invade Iraq.

Something in my gut finds it insulting to treat the foreign and domestic disaster of the last eight years in film so soon.  As though it takes the seriousness out of it.  Why pay $8 at the theatre for an approximation of the evening news?

If anyone can think of any major political films made concurrently with the events they portrayed, I’d be curious to compare.  I don’t even mean movies about politics set in current times; I mean examples where the actors portray the actual prominant politicians still in office.  For the life of me I can’t think of anything comparable.

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August 11 (Originally posted by Mischa)

This started a while ago, but didn’t get much press — the AP ran one paragraph on the Democratic response in July. So I’ve been staring at it for 20 minutes now and can’t for life of me come up with one legitimate defense of this:

“On May 5, the department [of Veteran’s Affairs] led by James B. Peake issued a directive that bans nonpartisan voter registration drives at federally financed nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and shelters for homeless veterans. As a result, too many of our most patriotic American citizens — our injured and ill military veterans — may not be able to vote this November.”

Seriously. They’re banning voter registration at VA hospitals. (The full Times opinion piece is here if you want it.)

The department offers two reasons for this: First, “voter registration drives are disruptive to the care of its patients;” and second, registering voters violates the Hatch Act.

First item: To be fair, the Bush administration VA is really doing a fantastic job with patient care. And it’s not like there’s any other distractions at the agency. So bully for them.

Second item: Hatch Act. Yes. Relevent sections in bold italics:

Permitted/Prohibited Activities for Employees Who May Participate in Partisan Political Activity

These federal and D.C. employees may-

* be candidates for public office in nonpartisan elections
* register and vote as they choose
* assist in voter registration drives
* express opinions about candidates and issues
* contribute money to political organizations
* attend political fundraising functions
* attend and be active at political rallies and meetings
* join and be an active member of a political party or club
* sign nominating petitions
* campaign for or against referendum questions, constitutional amendments, municipal ordinances
* campaign for or against candidates in partisan elections
* make campaign speeches for candidates in partisan elections
* distribute campaign literature in partisan elections
* hold office in political clubs or parties

These federal and D.C. employees may not-

* use official authority or influence to interfere with an election
* solicit or discourage political activity of anyone with business before their agency
* solicit or receive political contributions (may be done in certain limited situations by federal labor or other employee organizations)
* be candidates for public office in partisan elections
* engage in political activity while:
o on duty
o in a government office
o wearing an official uniform
o using a government vehicle
* wear partisan political buttons on duty

All of it is here, and worth noting that even the more restrictive Hatch group (FBI, Secret Service, NSA) is allowed to register voters.

This is a transparent effort to tamp down voter registration, brought to you by the same administration threatening to veto a veteran’s housing bill that passed with 400+ votes in the House. (Introduced by Senator Obama, it’s currently sitting in the Senate Banking Committee. It’s S-1084 if you feel like calling your upper-house Congresscracker.)

Thankfully, it’s OK if you’re a Republican. The Keyboard Kommandos would bleed from the ears if anyone three degrees left of Tojo tried to block veteran’s voting rights so shamelessly. So the offer stands: $1 to anyone who can provide a compelling argument for this policy.

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