Friday, January 25, 2002

Asking for increased military spending including yet more military wage increases, Bush calls the military America’s “highest calling.” Yes, like the priesthood, but with more weaponry.

Never thought I’d mention Mariah Carey, who is evidently a very famous singer with large breasts and a larger ego, none of whose songs I’ve ever heard, who was just dropped by her label. Variety headline: Virgin Sacrifices Carey.

So Bush is insisting that not going ahead with a tax cut is exactly the same as a tax increase. But what about Florida, where Jeb Bush just did exactly that? Ari Fleischer: “That’s a state matter, and the president doesn’t weigh in on state matters.” Dick Cheney: “I think if you think about it, you know, what a state does is much more fiscal management, whereas what we’re talking about at the federal level is what really governs the overall shape and direction of our economy.” Go back in your bunker, Dick. Maybe Dubya was the smart one after all.

Speaking of the smart one, Neil Bush has been in Saudi Arabia. I’ve often asked what happened to him, since he got away with murder in the Silverado S & L bankruptcy (sort of the Enron case of its time, I suppose) by pretending to be so stupid that he just had no idea what was going on. He did, of course, and my reading of the case was that he personally took a house as a bribe. Anyway, he was in Saudi giving advice on their PR problems and why those darned Israelis are just so popular in the US, despite their prime minister just having rubbed out a witness against him, execution-style, in Beirut. From a Saudi paper:
Win American hearts through sustained lobbying: Neil Bush
By Khalil Hanware & K.S. Ramkumar, Arab News Staff

JEDDAH, 22 January -- Neil Bush, brother of US President George Bush, said here yesterday that the distorted image of the Arab world could be removed through the sustained lobbying of US politicians.

“The US media campaign against the interests of Arabs and Muslims and the American public opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be influenced through a sustained lobbying and PR effort,” Bush, chairman and chief executive officer of Ignite! Inc., said in his keynote address on the concluding day of the three-day Jeddah Economic Forum at Hilton Hotel here.

The support for Israel had been strong for many years because of the strong public opinion in its favor and continuous lobbying by Israeli supporters among politicians. After all, politicians shape policies based on public opinion, he said.

He recalled that many of those whom he had met throughout his travels in the Middle East expressed sorrow, sympathy, anger or concern over the tragic events of Sept. 11 and how it had affected the US.

“Over 3,000 lives were lost through a brutal and horrific act that affected not only Americans but peoples all over the world. I want to express gratitude to all for their support. Without the support of the peace-loving people in this region and all over the world, the US president cannot succeed in his fight against terror,” said Bush, who freely interacted with delegates before he began his speech on “The corporate challenges of human resources in a complex global environment.”

In the speech, he called for the root causes of terror to be explored. “There could be economic disparities, social unrest or unemployment causing growing dissatisfaction in the region. But I have been told that the bigger issue is the resolving of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There was only lip service for ending the conflict, but since Sept. 11 there has been a difference. There seems to be a sense of urgency. The difference is public opinion has shifted. Public opinion shapes public policy dramatically. It’s true in the US, in this part of the world and elsewhere,” he said.

“In the US for years we believed in Israel’s right to exist. We still see Israel as a loyal friend, one the US will not turn its back on. That is the fundamental belief in our country,” Bush said.

“The US media has been reporting Israelis defending themselves from rebels disrupting their stability. So public opinion is bigger in my opinion. No wonder the people of the US side with Israel. And it’s no wonder given the politics of our leaders who are steadfast in their support for Israelis,” he continued.

The scene in this part of the world is quite different, said Bush, who has been visiting the region for the last 10 years. “I hope America sees Arabs as I see them, and understand Islam as I understand it. Leave behind the misunderstandings about our two peoples and two cultures. And let us help bridge the gap by understanding each other,” Bush declared.

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