Friday, April 28, 2006

We strongly will work for freedom

Pakistan’s Generalissimo Musharaf tells the Guardian that he is not George Bush’s poodle. So much not George Bush’s poodle that he comes right out and says that he’d prefer that the US not his bomb his country any more, please, calling it “an infringement of our sovereignty”. Ya think? The Guardian mentions that a reporter who photographed fragments of the missiles fired on that village in January, proving that they were American, disappeared four days later and hasn’t been seen since. Why have I not heard that before? The US, by the way, still hasn’t acknowledged responsibility for that attack.

Bush met Azerbaijan’s hereditary president Iham Aliyev, with whom he “talked about the need to -- for the world to see a modern Muslim country that is able to provide for its citizens, that understands that democracy is the wave of the future.” That’s a description of Azerbaijan that will come as quite a surprise to Azerbaijanis.

Within an hour of praising Aliyev’s record (my favorite story about him is that when his father was dictator he closed every casino in the country to keep Iham from getting any deeper into debt), Bush also met with various people whose stories highlighted North Korea’s human rights record. Right message, wrong messenger. For example, he met with relatives of a Japanese teenager kidnapped by North Korea, saying, “It is hard to believe that a country would foster abduction.” This in a week when the EU reported that there have been over 1,000 secret CIA flights since 2001, carrying secret prisoners to secret prisons. He concluded, “We strongly will work for freedom,” which sounds like it was translated (badly) from a banner in Pyongyang.

I want my approval ratings back up to 40% pronto, or the cute little Korean girl gets it.

Continuing on his human rights roll, Bush said in the afternoon, “genocide in Sudan is unacceptable.” Earlier, he told reporters, “We don’t like it when we see women raped and brutalized.” Um, right.

He also said that it is unacceptable – not quite as unacceptable as genocide, but still pretty darned unacceptable – for the National Anthem to be sung in Spanish: “people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English, and they ought to learn to sing the National Anthem in English.” Sadly, there was not a follow-up asking him to sing it, or at least recite every single word and no leaving out the “Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution” stanza.

On immigration, he says several times that he wants to “enforce the border.” Does that strike anyone else as kind of a weird phrase? He also says he’s against the boycott and that “One of the things that’s very important is when we debate this issue that we not lose our national soul.” Have you checked under the seat cushions? “One of the great things about America is that we’ve been able to take people from all walks of life bound as one nation under God.” All walks of life? He literally forgot that he was talking about immigration half-way through that sentence. Also, “bound” as one nation? That doesn’t sound pleasant, unless he’s referring to Gina Gershon/Jennifer Tilly lesbian scenes.

The AP caption for this picture is “President Bush talks to reporters about the economy in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Friday, April 28, 2006.”

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