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George W. Bush’s economy was terrible. (ANDY CROSS - AP)

TheWashingtonPost

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at 09:09 AM ET, 05/01/2012

There’s not much in politics that allows me to say, “I’m old enough to remember when.” But here’s one: I’m old enough to remember when George W. Bush was president.

It was, after all, only four short years ago. And it didn’t go so well. The Bush economy is one of the worst on record. Median wages dropped. Poverty worsened. Inequality increased. Surpluses turned into deficits. Monthly job growth was weaker than it had been in any expansion since 1954. Economic growth was sluggish. And that’s before you count the financial crisis that unfurled on his watch. Add the collapse to the equation, and Bush’s record goes from “not so good” to “I can’t bear to look.”

Was all that his fault? Of course not. No economy is entirely under the president’s control. He didn’t create the tech bubble or 9/11. His responsibility for the financial crisis is, at best, partial. But Bush’s economic policies — including massive, deficit-financed tax cuts, and his reappointing of Alan Greenspan to lead the Federal Reserve — mattered. And, rightly or wrongly, the American people blame him for the aftermath. He left office one of the most unpopular presidents in U.S. history. And the anger has stuck: A recent YouGov poll found that 56 percent blame Bush “a great deal” or “a lot” for economic problems. Only 41 percent said the same about President Obama.

Given all that, you’d think Republicans would be running from anything or anyone who even vaguely reminded Americans of our 43rd president. In fact, the GOP seems eager to get the old gang back together.

Last week, when CNN asked House Speaker John Boehner whom Mitt Romney, the likely GOP presidential nominee, should choose as his vice presidential running mate, he named Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Daniels and Portman served as budget directors in the Bush White House. Perhaps more surprising, a variety of big-name Republicans have openly yearned for Jeb Bush to get the nod — and before that, to run for the nomination itself.

Meanwhile, Romney’s campaign staff is thick with Bush administration veterans. Two of his economic advisers — N. Greg Mankiw and Glenn Hubbard — served as chief economists for Bush. His policy director, Lanhee Chen, worked on health policy in the Bush White House.

Some of this is unavoidable: Presidential administrations tend to suck up a political party’s best talent. The Obama White House, for instance, is full of Clinton veterans. But in the Obama White House, the Clinton veterans haven’t really acted like Clinton veterans.

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Bush’s Waterboarding Admission Prompts Calls For Criminal Probe

Huff Post- Dan Froomkin-  First Posted: 11-11-10 03:49 PM   |   Updated: 11-11-10 04:01 PM

WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday joined a growing chorus in the human rights community calling for a special prosecutor to investigate whether former president George W. Bush violated federal statutes prohibiting torture.

In his new memoir and ensuing book tour, Bush has repeatedly admitted that he directly authorized the waterboarding of three terror suspects. Use of the waterboard, which creates the sensation of drowning, has been an iconic and almost universally condemned form of torture since the time of the Spanish Inquisition.

Except for a brief period during which a handful of Bush administration lawyers insisted that the exigencies of interrogating terror suspects justified its use, waterboarding has always been considered illegal by the Justice Department. It is also a clear violation of international torture conventions.

The ACLU is urging Attorney General Eric Holder to ask Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate Bush. For nearly three years now, Durham has been acting as a special prosecutor investigating a variety of torture-related matters involving government officials considerably lower on the food chain. Just this Tuesday, it was widely reported that Durham had cleared the CIA’s former top clandestine officer and others in the destruction of agency videotapes showing waterboarding of terror suspects — but that he would continue pursuing other aspects of his investigation.

“The ACLU acknowledges the significance of this request, but it bears emphasis that the former President’s acknowledgment that he authorized torture is absolutely without parallel in American history,” the group wrote in its letter to Holder.

“The admission cannot be ignored. In our system, no one is above the law or beyond its reach, not even a former president. That founding principle of our democracy would mean little if it were ignored with respect to those in whom the public most invests its trust. It would also be profoundly unfair for Mr. Durham to focus his inquiry on low-level officials charged with implementing official policy but to ignore the role of those who authorized or ordered the use of torture.”

In his new memoir, “Decision Points,” Bush recalls his thought process after CIA director George Tenet asked for permission to waterboard alleged al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in early 2003. Bush’s response: “Damn right.”

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William Blum, Foreign Policy Journal, August 5, 2010

If and when the United States and Israel bomb Iran (marking the sixth country so blessed by Barack Obama) and this sad old world has a new daily horror show to look at on their TV sets, and we then discover that Iran was not actually building nuclear weapons after all, the American mainstream media and the benighted American mind will ask: “Why didn’t they tell us that? Did they want us to bomb them?”

The same questions were asked about Iraq following the discovery that Saddam Hussein didn’t in fact have any weapons of mass destruction. However, in actuality, before the US invasion Iraqi officials had stated clearly on repeated occasions that they had no such weapons. I’m reminded of this by the recent news report about Hans Blix, former chief United Nations weapons inspector, who led a doomed hunt for WMD in Iraq. Last week he told the British inquiry into the March 2003 invasion that those who were “100 percent certain there were weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq turned out to have “less than zero percent knowledge” of where the purported hidden caches might be. He testified that he had warned British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a February 2003 meeting — as well as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in separate talks — that Hussein might have no weapons of mass destruction.[1]

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"Pale Horse" (left), seen in an Ohio Militia video

Accused Christian Militia Member Posted Video Last Year: ‘I’m Just A Simple Militant … What’s Wrong With That?’

TPM MUCKRAKER

Zachary Roth | March 29, 2010, 2:37PM

We already told you that one of the members of a Christian militia group charged today with “seditious conspiracy” in connection to an alleged plot to kill law enforcement appears to be the extremist who over the last 18 months created widely-viewed videos that warn “our country is in peril” and urge people to take up arms and march on Washington. And it now appears that that same militia member — Kristopher Sickles, who goes by the name of “Pale Horse” — posted a third video in which he lambasted the “corporate media” for its coverage of the militia movement.

The video, posted last August to YouTube and still available, sheds further light on the mindset and philosophy of at least one of the nine Hutaree members accused today of conspiring to kill police officers, then bomb their funeral in a bid to kill more law enforcement personnel, as part of a plot to “oppose by force the authority of the U.S. government.”

“Pale Horse” — identifying himself as a member of the Ohio Militia, and with his face and voice disguised — argues in the August video that the recent media coverage of the militia movement, including of his own earlier videos, suggests that the government, with the help of the mainstream media, is preparing to target his group. “It seems like they’re mounting an attack,” he says. “We’re all over the news. They’re putting us in a bad light. Who have we threatened?”

Later he says: “They’re stamping us all over the media. Clearly they have some plan in mind.”

Pale Horse also rebuts charges of racism advanced in some of the news coverage. “It has nothing to do with the fact that we have a black president,” he insists. “I started my group several years ago when Bush was in office.”

And at one point he cites Alex Jones, the conspiracy-minded radio host, as a comrade-in-arms.

Pale Horse closes with this defense: “I myself have never made any threats or claims against anyone,” he says. “I’m just a simple militant and I just want to protect my family. What’s wrong with that?”

And he adds: “You people need to read between the lines. You’re being lied to by the corporate media.”

Watch:

As we’ve explained, the Hutaree are an explicitly Christian militia group, based predominantly in Michigan, which says its preparing for the arrival of the Anti-Christ. Pale Horse’s video, by contrast, never mentions religious motivations.

It’s unclear exactly when and how Pale Horse began working with the Hutaree, though in one his earlier YouTube videos, posted last April, he referred to training at a Michigan Militia site.

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By Missy Beattie, Counterpunch, Feb. 26 – 28, 2010

A little more than a year after her son Casey was murdered in Iraq by the US Military Industrial Complex, Cindy Sheehan took a stand in Crawford to challenge the cowering George Bush who hid behind security at his ranch. The Peace Mom sat in a ditch under the searing Texas sun and asked the question heard round the world, “For what noble cause?” I remember this well. My nephew Chase was also murdered by war that same weekend.

George Bush never answered Sheehan. If he’d had the balls, he’d have faced Sheehan and said, “For power, empower, Empire.”

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Charlotte Dennett and Vincent Bugliosi Want Bush in the Dock

By Russell Mokhiber, Counterpunch.org,  Feb 25, 2010

In 2008, Charlotte Dennett ran for Attorney General in Vermont.

Dennett’s key campaign pledge – if elected, she would appoint Vincent Bugliosi as a special prosecutor to seek a murder indictment against George W. Bush for the deaths of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Bugliosi was the author of The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder (Perseus Books, 2008)

He also had an enviable track record as an assistant district attorney in Los Angeles – 105 out of 106 successful felony jury convictions and 21 murder convictions without a loss.

Bugliosi is best known for his 1974 classic Helter Skelter – which documents his successful prosecution of Charles Manson and several other members of the Manson family for the 1969 murders of Hollywood actress Sharon Tate and six others.

Manson was not present at the murder scene.

When Dennett announced her candidacy for Attorney General of Vermont in September 2008, Bugliosi was at her side.

Now, Dennett has written a book – The People v. Bush: One Lawyer’s Campaign to Bring the President to Justice and the National Grassroots Movement She Encounters Along the Way (Chelsea Green, 2010).

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Conyers Slams Authors Of Torture Memos, Announces Hearings

TPM Muckraker

Justin Elliott | February 19, 2010, 5:44PM

In a statement this afternoon, [Friday], House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) says that the Justice Department torture memo report released today makes “plain that those memos were legally flawed and fundamentally unsound, and may have been improperly influenced by a desire to tell the Bush White House and the CIA what it wanted to hear.”

Conyers, who posted the DOJ documents on his Web site, continued:

“The Office of Legal Counsel has a proud tradition of providing independent, high quality legal advice to the executive branch. The materials released today make clear that the lawyers who wrote the torture memos did not live up that tradition.”

He announced the committee will hold hearings on the matter.

Here’s the full statement:

“For years, those who approved torture and abuse of detainees have hidden behind legal memos issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel,” Conyers said. “The materials released today make plain that those memos were legally flawed and fundamentally unsound, and may have been improperly influenced by a desire to tell the Bush White House and the CIA what it wanted to hear.”The Office of Legal Counsel has a proud tradition of providing independent, high quality legal advice to the executive branch,” Conyers continued. “The materials released today make clear that the lawyers who wrote the torture memos did not live up that tradition. While the Department ultimately concluded that the lawyers did not breach their minimum professional obligations, I certainly hold top lawyers at OLC to a higher standard than that, as all Americans should.

“Given the serious nature of the issues raised in this report, the Committee intends to hold hearings on these matters in the very near future.”

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Keith Olbermann blames Bush, Cheney for 9/11 attacks

Raw Story- By Stephen C. Webster
Saturday, February 13th, 2010 — 3:11 pm

The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 changed American politics forever. But in spite of the warning signs raised by the U.S. intelligence community, the Bush administration seemed preoccupied with other issues, aloof to the alleged threat until the day both towers fell.

Why then, MSNBC’s liberal host Keith Olbermann asked on Friday night, is it “taboo” to blame the Bush administration for allowing the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans on their watch?

His conclusion: For their lack of vigilance and because they “did not prioritize,” President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are to be faulted for the attacks.

RELATED: O’Donnell shouts down ‘enhanced interrogation’ defender

Provoked by former Bush and Rumsfeld speechwriter Marc Thiessen’s allegation that President Obama is “inviting” another attack, Olbermann noted that when President Bush was warned by the CIA that terrorists were targeting the United States and may be planning to use airliners, Bush replied, “All right, you’ve covered your ass now” and proceeded to do nothing about it.

Joining him in the discussion was Lawrence O’Donnell, who had been cut off earlier that day by MSNBC’s resident conservative Joe Scarborough in the midst of a tirade in response to Thiessen’s claims.

O’Donnell, an MSNBC political analyst and former chief of staff to the Senate Finance Committee, held nothing back in his second shot at the former speechwriter’s assessment of Bush-era terror politics.

“Mr. Thiessen also claimed that torture, which, of course, he will not recognize by that word, saved Los Angeles from its own 9/11,” Olbermann began. “Is this that Liberty Tower, Library Tower, Liberia Tower crap again? Is that what he’s talking about? Is this something else they’ve made up?”

“It’s a very wearisome story that they refused to put away,” O’Donnell began. “It has been debunked time and time again. Timothy Noah on Slate, every time it comes up, he very patiently lays it out again as he did today, that the arrest of the ring leader of this so-called plot occurred the year before the waterboarding occurred of Sheikh Mohammed, and which they now claimed we got the information to stop the plot that had already been stopped. And the FBI has said this is ludicrous, that it did not happen. The FBI doesn’t believe the so-called plot even could have been carried out.”

At the time, intelligence officials attributed the claim of a foiled attack on the Library Tower in Los Angeles — which Bush called the “Liberty Tower” — to political posturing, suggesting it had been nothing more than talk.

“The FBI has always thought that this was not a serious threat and whatever it was, was stopped a year before the torture that produced the evidence according to this guy,” O’Donnell said.

“Why is it OK in polite company to say Mr. Obama is inviting attack, but you still can`t say that Mr. Bush not only invited attack but he sent the night watchman home?” Olbermann asked.

“Keith, it’s unconscionable to me,” his guest replied. “You know, I mentioned his oath of office to him because I took an oath of office to work in the Senate. It changes your relationship to the institution and to the government. And there are things after that, the places you don’t go. You don’t go to the spot that says this sitting president of the United States is trying to get this country attacked. You don’t go where Dick Cheney went in the 2004 campaign, saying John Kerry would allow an attack. You don’t go to those places. And it is just unconscionable to see someone do it after taking an oath of office to serve this country.”

This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, broadcast Friday, Feb. 12, 2010.

This video is from MSNBC’s Morning Joe, broadcast Friday, Feb. 12, 2010.

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Bush Pushes Back Against Limbaugh’s Obama-Haiti Remark

Huffington Post- Sam Stein

First Posted: 01-17-10 10:27 AM   |   Updated: 01-17-10 10:55 AM

Former President George W. Bush pushed back Sunday against criticism — levied most prominently by talk radio host Rush Limbaugh — that his successor, President Barack Obama, was somehow politicizing the disastrous earthquake in Haiti.

“I don’t know if– what they’re talking about,” Bush declared during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I– I– I’ve been briefed by the President about the response. And as I said in my opening comment, I– I appreciate the President’s quick response to this disaster.”

This past week, Limbaugh insisted that the Obama White House would use the catastrophe in Haiti to “burnish” the president’s standing and credibility “with the black community, in the both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community, in this country.”

“It’s made-to-order for ‘em,” Limbaugh said. “That’s why he couldn’t wait to get out there. Could not wait to get out there.”

Joined by former President Bill Clinton during a series of interviews on the Sunday shows, Bush also touted the need to get relief to the Haitian people, in both a streamlined and responsible way. Asked by host David Gregory if he drew any lessons from the recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina (widely regarded as tragically bungled), Bush replied:

“First of all, it takes time to get the supplies in place. That–shouldn’t deter them. In other words, there– there’s an expectation– amongst people that things are gonna happen quickly. And– and sometimes it’s hard to make things happen quickly. Secondly, there is a great reservoir of good will that– wants to help. And– and that’s why he asked us to help, and we’re glad to do it.”

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by Marjorie Cohn, CommonDreams.org, Dec 21, 2009

President Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize nine days after he announced he would send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. His escalation of that war is not what the Nobel committee envisioned when it sought to encourage him to make peace, not war.

In 1945, in the wake of two wars that claimed millions of lives, the nations of the world created the United Nations system to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” The UN Charter is based on the principles of international peace and security as well as the protection of human rights. But the United States, one of the founding members of the UN, has often flouted the commands of the charter, which is part of US law under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.

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