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Former Senator Gary Hart has written an open letter to Rudy Giuliani, one of the Republican candidates for the presidency. It is short, factual and directly to the point: Continue Reading »

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I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In other words, I am a Mormon. I am also a BYU alum. I am embarrassed that BYU will allow Dick Cheney to speak at its commencement this week. I am further embarrassed that BYU will honor such a dishonorable man with an Honorary Doctoral degree. I have cross posted over at my religious blog, Messenger and Advocate my protest of this travesty. I cross post it here below the jump. Continue Reading »

The View From Space

I love good space photos, and thought this one was pretty cool.

soyuzapproach_iss13_big

Double click on the photo to enlarge it to its full size. It’s in high resolution so the full size is quite striking. Below is the explanation of the photo:

Credit: ISS Expedition 13 Crew, NASA

Explanation: Looking out a window of the International Space Station brings breathtaking views. Visible vistas include a vast and colorful Earth, a deep dark sky, and an occasional spaceship sent to visit the station. Visible on September 20 of last year was a Soyuz TMA-9 spacecraft carrying not only supplies but also three new astronauts. A few days before this picture was taken, the U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis had just departed. The three new approaching astronauts were American Michael E. Lopez-Alegria, Russian Mikhail Tyurin, and Iranian-American Anousheh Ansari. Ms. Ansari visited the International Space Station (ISS) briefly as a paying spaceflight participant for the Federal Space Agency of Russia, and wrote a popular blog about her experiences. Lopez-Alegria would lead the ISS crew dubbed Expedition 14, which included the flight engineer and Soyuz pilot Tyurin, flight engineer American Sunita Williams, and flight engineer German Thomas Reiter. Tyurin returned to the Earth with Lopez-Alegria.

Dick Cheney, so typical and consistent with his past for twisting the truth, and fabricating the facts has taken on someone who isn’t letting him get away with it: Former Senator George McGovern. Senator McGovern, also the former Democratic Party presidential nominee in 1972 wrote an op ed piece in the Los Angeles Times on 4/24/07, essentially speaking Truth to Power. Continue Reading »

I found a great cartoon over at Salon, which I will repost below as well.

  Nixon = Bush

 Makes you wonder eh?

George Bush Is The Worst U.S. President EverToday’s Washington Post runs an article by Professor Eric Foner, the Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University. In his article, Professor Foner argues, persuasively that George Bush is the worst President ever, in U.S. history:

Despite some notable accomplishments in domestic and foreign policy, Nixon is mostly associated today with disdain for the Constitution and abuse of presidential power. Obsessed with secrecy and media leaks, he viewed every critic as a threat to national security and illegally spied on U.S. citizens. Nixon considered himself above the law.

Bush has taken this disdain for law even further. He has sought to strip people accused of crimes of rights that date as far back as the Magna Carta in Anglo-American jurisprudence: trial by impartial jury, access to lawyers and knowledge of evidence against them. In dozens of statements when signing legislation, he has asserted the right to ignore the parts of laws with which he disagrees. His administration has adopted policies regarding the treatment of prisoners of war that have disgraced the nation and alienated virtually the entire world. Usually, during wartime, the Supreme Court has refrained from passing judgment on presidential actions related to national defense. The court’s unprecedented rebukes of Bush’s policies on detainees indicate how far the administration has strayed from the rule of law.

One other president bears comparison to Bush: James K. Polk. Some historians admire him, in part because he made their job easier by keeping a detailed diary during his administration, which spanned the years of the Mexican-American War. But Polk should be remembered primarily for launching that unprovoked attack on Mexico and seizing one-third of its territory for the United States.

Lincoln, then a member of Congress from Illinois, condemned Polk for misleading Congress and the public about the cause of the war — an alleged Mexican incursion into the United States. Accepting the president’s right to attack another country “whenever he shall deem it necessary,” Lincoln observed, would make it impossible to “fix any limit” to his power to make war. Today, one wishes that the country had heeded Lincoln’s warning.

Historians are loath to predict the future. It is impossible to say with certainty how Bush will be ranked in, say, 2050. But somehow, in his first six years in office he has managed to combine the lapses of leadership, misguided policies and abuse of power of his failed predecessors. I think there is no alternative but to rank him as the worst president in U.S. history.

Of course, Mr. Bush has two more years in office; but, I would argue there is nothing in the last six years to suggest he will do much to change his governing style, or suddenly become more competent in any aspect of presidential leadership.

Professor Foner is not the only person who has made this argument. Earlier this year I posted links to two articles, one before Mr. Bush took office, and the other after both making the same argument. I think these folks are right, and that History, once the requisite amount of time passes, will judge Mr. Bush quite harshly–deservedly so I say.

Update 11:00 a.m.

The Washington post ran another article on this same topic as well, by Douglas Brinkley.  It’s seems today is George Bush as worst U.S. President’s day over at the Post.  Again, I can’t say I disagree.  Clearly Bush has another two years to salvage what is left of his reputation and “legacy”; but, like Mr. Brinkely I see little likelyhood of any significant changes by George Bush.  Even after the mid-term elections he talks and taunts just the same as he did when his party ran all of Washington.  Also, check out The Moderate Voice–I like their post on these articles.

Opines Mr. Brinkley:

There is wisdom in Cannon’s prudence. Clearly it’s dangerous for historians to wield the “worst president” label like a scalp-hungry tomahawk simply because they object to Bush’s record. But we live in speedy times and, the truth is, after six years in power and barring a couple of miracles, it’s safe to bet that Bush will be forever handcuffed to the bottom rungs of the presidential ladder. The reason: Iraq . . .

The problem for Bush is that certitude is only a virtue if the policy enacted is proven correct. Most Americans applaud Truman’s dropping of bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki because they achieved the desired effect: Japan surrendered. Reagan’s anti-communist zeal — including increased defense budgets and Star Wars — is only now perceived as positive because the Soviet Union started to unravel on his watch . . .

Mr. Bush’s War, by contrast, has not gone well. When you don’t achieve a stealth-like victory in a war of choice, then you’re seen as being stuck in a quagmire. Already the United States has fought longer in the Iraq war than in World War II. As the death toll continues to rise, more and more Americans are objecting. The pending Democratic takeover of Congress is only one manifestation of the spiraling disapproval of Bush.

At first, you’d want to compare Bush’s Iraq predicament to that of Lyndon B. Johnson during the Vietnam War. But LBJ had major domestic accomplishments to boast about when leaving the White House, such as the Civil Rights Act and Medicare/Medicaid. Bush has virtually none. Look at how he dealt with the biggest post-9/11 domestic crisis of his tenure. He didn’t rush to help the Gulf region after Hurricane Katrina because the country was overextended in Iraq and had a massive budget deficit. Texas conservatives always say that LBJ’s biggest mistake was thinking that he could fund both the Great Society and Vietnam. They believe he had to choose one or the other. They call Johnson fiscally irresponsible. Bush learned this lesson: He chose Iraq over New Orleans.

So Bush’s legacy hinges on Iraq, which is an unmitigated disaster. Instead of being forgiven, like Polk and McKinley, for his phony pretext for war (WMD and al-Qaeda operatives in Baghdad), he stands to be lambasted by future scholars. What once were his two best sound bites — “Wanted dead or alive” and “Mission accomplished” — will be used like billy clubs to shatter his legacy every time it gets a revisionist lift. The left will keep battering him for warmongering while the right will remember its outrage that he didn’t send enough battalions to Iraq.

There isn’t much that Bush can do now to salvage his reputation. His presidential library will someday be built around two accomplishments: that after 9/11, the U.S. homeland wasn’t again attacked by terrorists (knock on wood) and that he won two presidential elections, allowing him to appoint conservatives to key judicial posts. I also believe that he is an honest man and that his administration has been largely void of widespread corruption. This will help him from being portrayed as a true villain.

This last point is crucial. Though Bush may be viewed as a laughingstock, he won’t have the zero-integrity factors that have kept Nixon and Harding at the bottom in the presidential sweepstakes. Oddly, the president whom Bush most reminds me of is Herbert Hoover, whose name is synonymous with failure to respond to the Great Depression. When the stock market collapsed, Hoover, for ideological reasons, did too little. When 9/11 happened, Bush did too much, attacking the wrong country at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. He has joined Hoover as a case study on how not to be president.

Time will tell–but in 10 years, or longer I’m pretty certain I won’t have to take back any of my words on this subject.