Thursday, August 09, 2007

Bush press conference: there’s no proof of wrong

Bush held a press conference this morning. Hilarity ensued.

THAT THING YOU DO: “The American people need to know that we’re working hard to find out why the bridge did what it did so that we can assure people that the bridges over which they will be traveling will be safe.” Or you could actually make them safe.

A HUMAN POST-IT NOTE: “In my discussions with President Musharraf, I have reminded him that we share a common enemy”. On the one hand, that “reminded him” thing is pretty condescending. On the other, isn’t it nice that he shares?

WHY, I CAN MAKE A HAT OR A BROOCH OR A PTERODACTYL...: “We spend a lot of time with the leadership in Pakistan, talking about what we will do with actionable intelligence.” His own intelligence, by the way, indicates that Pakistanis like to be called “Paks.”

MR. EMPATHIC STRIKES AGAIN: “I can understand why Pat Tillman’s family, you know, has got significant emotions”. We know. “And I’m confident the Defense Department wants to find out the truth, too”. And then lie about it again.

WHAT THE IRAQIS NEED: “these folks need to trust each other more.” He says of the Iraqi government, “a lot of Americans look at it and say, there’s nothing happening there; there’s, like, no government at all, I expect they’re saying.” But actually, he says, the Iraqi parliament is passing many laws, “some of which are directly relevant to reconciliations”.

IN OTHER WORDS: “But one of the things I found interesting in my questions was there is revenue sharing -- in other words, a central government revenue sharing to provincial governments.”

“My belief is that people will make rational decision based upon facts.” He really has no self-awareness whatsoever, does he? That was in response to a question about the financial sector and the sub-prime-loan issue. Asked whether the government should help the recipients of those loans who are about to lose their houses, he said fuck no, but “obviously anybody who loses their home is somebody with whom we must show enormous empathy.”

IF ONLY BUSH WERE A MAN OF AS FEW WORDS AS MALIKI: “Prime Minister Maliki is visiting in Tehran today. His message, I’m confident will be, stabilize, don’t destabilize.” If not, little Nouri will get a talking to: “Now if the signal is that Iran is constructive, I will have to have a heart-to-heart with my friend, the Prime Minister, because I don’t believe they are constructive.”

“I don’t think he, in his heart of heart, thinks they’re constructive, either. ... So the first thing I looked for was commitment against the extremists. The second thing is does he understand with some extremist groups there is connections with Iran, and he does. And I’m confident.”

Interestingly, he’s careful this time not to repeat the lie that Iran has a stated policy of building nuclear weapons: “They have expressed their desire to be able to enrich uranium, which we believe is a step toward having a nuclear weapons program.” Still, he says Iran, you know, hates Israel and funds Hezbollah and “It’s a very troubling nation right now.”

IN OTHER WORDS (on Guantanamo): “I also made it clear that part of the delay was the reluctance of some nations to take back some of the people being held there. In other words, in order to make it work, we’ve got to have a place for these people to go. ... In other words, part of the issue, Peter, is the practical issue of, what do we do with the people.”

As for the new Red Cross report about torture practices in Gitmo, “I haven’t seen it. We don’t torture.” Except for grammar, which he waterboards with every sentence he speaks: “One of the things I’m anxious about, want to see happen, is that there to be trials.”

IN OTHER WORDS: “And therefore, what we’d really be talking about is a simplification of a very complex tax code that might be able to lower rates and at the same time simplify the code, which is like shorthand for certain deductions would be taken away -- in other words, certain tax preferences in the code.”

Honestly, how do you get past the age of 7 with such a poor grasp of singular and plural? “[T]he reason there is tax preferences in the first place are there are powerful interests that have worked to get the preference in the code.”

Asked how he can afford the war and fixing all the bridges and whatnot, he said, “One can meet priorities if they set priorities.” “They” being Congress, which he proceeded to lecture like little children, which is of course the best way to persuade them: “The problem in Congress is they have trouble actually focusing on priorities. ... And we’ve proven that you can set priorities and meet obligations. And so the Congress needs to learn to do that itself.”

He said that “Lewis Libby was held accountable” and that Gonzales doesn’t need to be held accountable because “There’s no proof of wrong. Why would I hold somebody accountable who has done nothing wrong?” Why indeed. “And as a matter of fact, I would hope Congress would become more prone to deliver pieces of legislation that matter, as opposed to being the investigative body.” I’ll bet you would.

Bush admits that he bases his evaluation of Iraq entirely on ideology, and assumes everyone else does the same: “But for those of us who believe it’s worth it, we’ll see progress. For those who believe it’s not worth it, there is no progress.” A few seconds later he repeats that “This is an ideological struggle.” Against reality.

Stoopid reality.

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