White House

Bush insults vets on Veterans Day

President George W. Bush snubbed America’s 20 million veterans Sunday, hiding out at his Texas ranch on yet another vacation while sending Vice President Dick Cheney, a draft-dodger during the Vietnam War, to Arlington National Cometary for Veterans Day ceremonies.

Bush, who has spent more time on “vacation” than any President in history, made a brief trip to a local American Legion Hall near his Crawford, Texas, ranch for a ceremony honoring four Lone Star vets who have died in Iraq but skipped the traditional Presidential appearance at Arlington.

Big Brother Bush is always watching

Privacy is under assault in America and the government is leading the charge.

Like personal liberties that disappeared under the despotic Presidency of George W. Bush, privacy is becoming an extinct species as the government seeks to monitor all financial transactions, travel and communications of Americans.

Now the Bush Administration wants to “redefine” privacy to fit its assault on the personal freedoms and civil liberties of American citizens.

By the time Bush is finished, the preamble to that historic document that once defined this nation will have to be changed to say that Americans are entitled to “a monitored life, a government-mandated notion of happiness and the terror of pursuit.”

Will Bush ever call Musharraf?

President George W. Bush has not telephoned Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf since he imposed emergency rule and cracked down on protesters in a crisis that the White House on Tuesday called a “mistake.”

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino also described the situation in Pakistan as a setback and a crisis in its “early days,” and said it was premature to call Musharraf a dictator.

Mukasey’s mistake

Former federal judge Michael Mukasey will certainly be confirmed as U.S. attorney general, but the Senate Judiciary Committee’s 11-8 approval of this otherwise qualified candidate was closer than it should have been.

Mukasey’s misstep was to appear to denounce torture without exception on the first day of his hearings and then come back the next and appear to waffle on a particular form of brutal interrogation — waterboarding — that the White House finds acceptable but many others consider to clearly be torture.

Rice must testify in Israel spy case

A judge ruled Friday that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and White House National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley can be subpoenaed to testify in a sensitive spying case that has focused attention on pro-Israel lobbying in the United States.

Federal court judge T.S. Ellis ruled to allow the request by lawyers for Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, former employees of the influential pro-Israel lobby American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), to subpoena Rice, Hadley and 13 other current and former top government officials to testify in the case, according to court documents.

When in doubt, Bash Congress

President Bush’s agenda these days is not subtle: Blast Democratic lawmakers for ineptitude. Then find a way to do it again.

Even with the factors working against him — record-low approval ratings, fading public attention and dwindling time in office — Bush still talks like a leader whose hand has never been stronger. Backed by a veto power that’s hard to override, Bush has taken to blistering Congress in a remarkably relentless fashion.

The ‘Darth Vader’ of GOP politics

President George W. Bush joked Wednesday that Vice President Dick Cheney, sometimes caricatured as Darth Vader, did not need a costume to play the sinister “Star Wars” villain for Halloween.

Bush’s jibe came as some of the candidates vying to succeed him as president put their own spin on Halloween, and a Senate Foreign Relations hearing was spooked by a “double” of chairman Senator Joseph Biden.

The President enjoyed his jibe at Cheney, who is derided by critics as a malevolent behind-the-scenes influence in US politics.

Dick and ‘cousin’ Barack

Vice President Dick Cheney said Friday he hasn’t reached out to “Cousin Barack” Obama since reports that the two share a distant relatives.

In an interview for CNBC’s “Kudlow & Company,” Cheney was asked whether he and Obama, a Democratic presidential candidate, have discussed their ancestral link.

“Cousin Barack?” Cheney said. “No, we haven’t — haven’t had the opportunity to talk about it.”

Lynne Cheney, the vice president’s wife, told MSNBC last week she uncovered the long-ago ties between the two while researching her ancestry for her latest book, “Blue Skies, No Fences.”

More of the same

In a major address at the State Department, President Bush announced that U.S. policy toward Cuba will remain the same, only more so. Thus another opportunity for fresh thinking by the 10th American president to deal with Fidel Castro slides by.

The United States has had sanctions and an embargo on Cuba in place since 1961. Occasionally those restrictions are tweaked. But despite their proven ineffectiveness, they remain in place, more out of political inertia than any hope they might actually work.