Archive for the ‘George W. Bush’ Category

Well – we did it! Enough of the country said “When” on November 4th that we are embarking on a new administration – one that, even at this early date, is proving to be at least more aware of itself and its impact on the world than the one we endured for 8 years.

We want to thank the thousands of you who participated in the Say “When” movement – please take credit (and our thanks) for your part in this miracle!

Our point in starting Say “When” was to point out the rampant corruption at the very core of our government. Just in the past year, it has become more and more apparent that the people we elected to represent us are, in many cases, less than honest in their positions of power. It is with your help that millions have become aware – and are holding their representatives responsible.

Because of your awareness and your insistence that others become aware as well, the actions of people in positions of power – not just in government but in business as well – are being brought to light and they are being put on notice that their greed and corrupt values will not be tolerated any longer.

Americans have always embraced the spirit of the entrepreneur – but we will not tolerate a greed that is so pervasive that it smacks of entitlement and illegality. We will continue to support and strive for “the American Dream” – but we will no longer allow it at the expense of others.

It’s been a long and tiring journey to this point – and we thank you for your incredible support! It is truly because of you that we find ourselves here. Thank you again!

We at Say “When” are feeling the desire to change our focus. We feel that the American people have moved into a position of power and will not let the things that plagued us for 8 years develop again. We are giving President Obama and his Administration our support – and a bit of leeway. The hole we found ourselves in just a few short months ago was huge – and will take a while to get out of.

In the spirit of Hope and service and moving forward, we will be suspending our website – www.say-when.org. Our domain name expires on March 6, 2009 – and we will not be renewing it. The site will cease to exist – except in our hearts and memories. This blog will still be up, but we will not be updating it regularly. We will let it rest as well. Your wristbands will be collector’s items one day – and something you can show your kids or grandkids as a symbol of your stand for what’s right in America.

We suggest that you maintain your vigilance – but allow it to be tempered with optimism and faith. Mainstream media still has its challenges for us, but we’re encouraged by two newscasters in particular – Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow of MSNBC. We feel they have their integrity in place and it is with these true journalists we will continue to “keep an eye on things.”

We especially want to thank Rosie O’Donnell. You may or may not “enjoy” her style, but there are very few people who would be willing to put their careers, their reputations, or their butts on the line for their country like Rosie did (and will continue to do, if we know her). It is because of her that millions of people became aware of the disaster that was the Bush Administration. She was a supporter of Say “When” from the beginning – and we will always have a special place in our hearts reserved just for her and her viewers!

If you feel it necessary to contact us, our e-mail at admin@say-when.org will be functioning until March 6. After that, please feel free to leave a comment here.

Thank you again from the bottoms of our hearts – we wish you every good thing you desire and deserve.

The Say “When” team

by Helen Thomas

WASHINGTON — As he leaves office, President Bush is passing on to his successor two wars and a growing economic debacle. What a way to go!

Because of Bush’s policies, the U.S. also is complicit in the Israeli attack on the Palestinians on the Gaza Strip by providing a “made-in-America” high-tech arsenal for the assault and blocking a ceasefire for nearly two weeks, a move intended to help the Israelis consolidate their hold.

Not to worry, Bush says he isn’t concerned about how history will view his militant eight years in the White House, telling ABC News that he “won’t be around to read it.”

Well, they say that journalism is the first draft of history. So I am going to predict that those future historians will not deal kindly with the Bush presidency.

It’s true — as Bush and company point at their proudest achievement– there have been no new terrorist attacks on the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001.

But they fail to acknowledge administration mistakes before and after that fateful day, starting with the fact that White House and security officials ignored significant early warnings of an imminent strike against the U.S.

The second half of the double 9/11 mistake was the trampling of our constitutional system and American values by the administration’s infamous torture policies, illegal interrogation practices, including water boarding (simulated drowning), secret prisons abroad and U.S. run jails at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere. Post- 9/11 Bush strategy also nurtured a climate of fear that enabled the self-styled “decider” to lead the country into a senseless war against Iraq, a calamity still underway as he leaves office almost six years after the invasion.

Add the administration’s pathetic response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and you have basis to dub Bush’s eight White House years as the “Bush error.”

He was to be the great “unifier” but instead he became a great polarizer.

While he remained stubbornly steadfast to his core social convictions, he did a 180-degree turn when it came to the role of government in the economy when he bailed out the collapsed giants of Wall Street.

He told CNN: “I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market systems.” So much for all the anti-government rant of Republican conservatives.

After the 9/11 attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney and then-national security advisor Condoleezza Rice drummed up the fiction that Iraq was linked to the al Qaida attacks and sold that fable to a naive Congress and jittery American people. During the first crisis meeting after the 9/11 attack, neo-con advisor Paul Wolfowitz, said: “Let’s bomb Iraq.”

There were no Iraqis involved in the attack and no evidence that Saddam Hussein had any role in planning or executing it.

Other falsehoods that these officials peddled included the tale that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Cheney told his Sunday television audiences, “We know where they are.”

Official inspectors found none. The non-existent weapons were used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Bush is not about to admit that his costly inhumane attack on Iraq was a mistake. How could he tell grieving families of more than 4,000 American service members that their loved ones had died because of his error?

In addition to the flawed decision to attack Iraq, Bush and Co. used the aftermath of 9/11 to take wholesale swipes at our civil liberties, including warrantless wiretapping.

So those future historians will have a clear view of the 43rd president as they look back on the early years of the 21st century.

A list of Bush’s accomplishments also should include his efforts to pay more money and political support into helping victims of AIDS and malaria in Africa. And he is proud of his controversial program “No Child Left Behind” to upgrade public school students by imposing national standards on an education system that had none.

Those future historians should also take note that Bush was hailed for his “likeability” when he came into office and was dubbed the guy you would like to share a beer with.

However, a CNN poll last year suggested that Bush had become the most unpopular president in modern American history. That CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey indicated that 71 percent of the American public disapproved of how Bush was handling his job as president.

Bush must have a sense of relief in giving up the presidential burdens.

He is confident that those future historians will vindicate him and his presidency.

But no one is expecting him to wind up on Mount Rushmore.


© 2009 The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Helen Thomas is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers. E-mail: helent@hearstdc.com .

Vice President Cheney

“I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators.…” (Cheney, Meet the Press, 3/16/03)

I think that the people of Iraq would welcome the U.S. force as liberators; they would not see us as oppressors, by any means.” (Cheney, CNN American Morning, 9/9/02)

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz

“The Iraqi people understand what this crisis is about. Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator. (Wolfowitz, Remarks to VFW conference, 3/11/03)

Secretary of State Colin Powell

I hope we would be seen as liberators. I think that might well be the case. ” (Powell, Meet the Press, 2/9/03)

December 14, 2008

A surprise visit by US President George Bush to Iraq has been overshadowed by an incident in which two shoes were thrown at him during a news conference.

An Iraqi journalist was wrestled to the floor by security guards after he called Mr Bush “a dog” and threw his footwear, just missing the president.

The soles of shoes are considered the ultimate insult in Arab culture.


Bush Plans to Put 9/11 Workers’ Care in Company Based Outside NY – Sick Would Pay Upfront

WASHINGTON – The outgoing Bush administration appears to be working “covertly” on a contract that would strip the 9/11 health and treatment program from the FDNY and Mount Sinai Medical Center, sources told the Daily News.

The plan, which sources say is being batted around within the Department of Health and Human Services, would yank all Sept.  11-related monitoring and care from the city and put it in the hands of of one company – likely based outside the city.

A new contract could potentially force 9/11 patients pay up front for services, and then be reimbursed. Currently, the tab is covered.

More than 50,000 people are enrolled in the city-based health and monitoring program, open to those exposed to Ground Zero. About 16,000 participants are actively receiving treatment.

Some 4,000 people are enrolled in a national version.

“The department is not working on a solicitation of this type and this allegation is untrue,” HHS spokeswoman Christina Pearson insisted.

Nevertheless, a source told The News officials within the department “have not liked this program from the beginning.”

“They are ideologues, and they could stick the Obama administration with this contract. At best, it’s disruptive,” the source added.

A spokesman for the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, which administers the 9/11 programs, said the contract for treating ill Americans outside of the tri-state area would end in the summer – but could not say if there were any plans for the city programs.

“What they want to do is broaden that national contract, and put everyone in there,” a source with New York ties said, adding that federal officials appear to be trying to bid out the new program before Barack Obama takes office.

The source said New York legislators learned of the impending move after a potential contractor called them, hoping to get help preparing a bid.

That prompted Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler (D- Manhattan) to fire off a angry letter Thursday demanding an explanation for the secret moves after officials had promised to keep them in the loop.

“Last week, we were dismayed to hear of a new solicitation about to be issued by your department that would apparently replace all current arrangements,” says the letter addressed to HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt and obtained by the News.

“This information on the new solicitation concerned us not only with regard to the potential damage to the current program,” the letter went on, “but also regarding the apparent attempt to covertly announce this contract solicitation in the last days of the Bush administration.”

Maloney and Nadler gave the secretary three days to respond.

“We just received this letter today and immediately called their offices to say these allegations are unfounded,” Pearson said.

Dubya Dunrulin’

On August 17, 2007 – we posted the article below. In light of the events of the past few weeks, please take a few minutes and re-read this amazing piece of information.

Countrywide Financial

Smaller Banks Resist Federal Cash Infusions

By Binyamin Appelbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 15, 2008; A01

Community banking executives around the country responded with anger yesterday to the Bush administration’s strategy of investing $250 billion in financial firms, saying they don’t need the money, resent the intrusion and feel it’s unfair to rescue companies from their own mistakes.

But regulators said some banks will be pressed to take the taxpayer dollars anyway. Others banks judged too sick to save will be allowed to fail.

The government also said yesterday that it will guarantee up to $1.4 trillion of private investment in banks. The combination of public and private investment is intended to refill coffers emptied by losses on real estate lending. With the additional money, the government expects, banks would be able to start making additional loans, boosting the economy.

President Bush, in introducing the plan, described the interventions as “limited and temporary.”

“These measures are not intended to take over the free market but to preserve it,” Bush said.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers from both parties praised the plan and scrambled to take credit for writing provisions into the law passed almost two weeks ago that allowed the government to switch from buying bad loans to buying ownership stakes in banks.

On Wall Street, bank stocks soared even as the broader market stayed flat while investors grappled with economic concerns. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.82 percent, or 76.62 points, to close at 9310.99 one day after its largest percentage gain in more than half a century.

And in offices around the country, bankers simmered.

Peter Fitzgerald, chairman of Chain Bridge Bank in McLean, said he was “much chagrined that we will be punished for behaving prudently by now having to face reckless competitors who all of a sudden are subsidized by the federal government.”

At Evergreen Federal Bank in Grants Pass, Ore., chief executive Brady Adams said he has more than 2,000 loans outstanding and only three borrowers behind on payments. “We don’t need a bailout, and if other banks had run their banks like we ran our bank, they wouldn’t have needed a bailout, either,” Adams said.

The opposition suggested that the government may have to continue to press banks to participate in the plan. The first $125 billion will be divided among nine of the largest U.S. banks, which were forced to accept the investment to help destigmatize the program in the eyes of other institutions.

In rolling out the program, Treasury said it would make the rest of the money available to banks that requested it. Officials said they expected thousands of banks to participate.

But both the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America said that they knew of few banks that planned to participate.

“I’m not sure we’ve heard from any that want to participate,” said Karen Thomas, vice president for government relations at the community bankers group, which represents about 5,000 banks. “That said, if any community banks do enroll, we anticipate it will be just a small minority.”

Federal regulators said they did expect some banks to volunteer, though none stepped forward yesterday. But they added that they would not rely on volunteers. Treasury will set standards for deciding which banks can be helped, and the regulatory agencies will triage the banks they oversee: The institutions faring best and worst will not receive investments. The institutions in the middle, whose fortunes could be improved by putting a little more money in the bank, will be pushed to accept the money from the government.

“We will encourage institutions to apply,” said John C. Dugan, the comptroller of the currency, who oversees most of the nation’s largest banks.

In return for its investments, Treasury will receive preferred shares of bank stock that pay 5 percent interest for up to five years. After that, if the companies haven’t repaid the government’s initial investment, the interest rate goes up to 9 percent.

Participating banks cannot increase the dividends they pay to shareholders without federal permission, they must accept some limitations on compensation for their executives, and Paulson said the government would press companies to limit mortgage foreclosures.

The government decided not to impose an explicit requirement that banks use their taxpayer dollars to increase lending. But regulators said they will watch banks closely. They also noted that banks have less reason to hoard money now that they can borrow more easily. Most important, however, they said, banks want to make money.

“And the way that banks make money is by lending,” Dugan said.

Also yesterday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said it will create, essentially, two new insurance programs.

The basic insurance program still guarantees all bank deposits up to $250,000. A new supplemental program guarantees all deposits above $250,000 in accounts that don’t pay interest. The program basically covers accounts used by small businesses.

Some European governments had already guaranteed deposits, creating a competitive advantage for banks in those countries. Banking regulators also were concerned that small businesses were transferring deposits from community banks to larger institutions perceived as less likely to fail. Finally, small businesses contributed to the failure of Washington Mutual and the collapse of Wachovia by pulling uninsured deposits from those banks.

The FDIC estimates that this new guarantee could cover up to $500 billion in deposits. Banks that sign up for the insurance — and bankers agree that everyone will participate, for fear of ceding an advantage to rivals — will pay a premium of 10 cents on every $100 in deposits.

The combination of the existing and new guarantees will cover about 80 percent of the $7 trillion in deposits at the nation’s banks. The bulk of the uninsured deposits are held in interest-bearing accounts, such as certificates of deposit, that tend to be marketed and regarded as investment products.

Sheila C. Bair, chairman of the FDIC, said the agency considered guaranteeing all bank deposits but decided that any potential benefit was outweighed by the risk that a guarantee on interest-bearing accounts would attract a huge inflow of deposits currently held in money-market mutual funds.

“We’re trying not to stabilize one part” of the financial system “and destabilize another part,” she said.

Separately, the FDIC is creating an insurance program to encourage investment in banks by guaranteeing that investors won’t lose money. Participating banks will pay the FDIC a fee of 75 cents on each $100 in debt that they sell to investors. The FDIC will guarantee through June 2012 the debt issued by participating banks before the end of June 2009. If the bank goes bankrupt, or defaults on its debt, the FDIC will pay the investors.

To prevent banks from running up massive debts on the government’s tab, the program limits banks to a 25 percent increase from their current level of borrowing. The FDIC estimates that the maximum amount of debt that banks could issue under the program is about $1.4 trillion.

Bair also said that the FDIC may refuse to guarantee debt issued by banks with financial problems, though she declined to discuss specific criteria.

Bair acknowledged that the new guarantees shelter banks from the immediate consequences of misbehavior because depositors and investors have no incentive to remove their money from an institution if they know that the government stands behind it.

But Bair said the government’s first priority was to stabilize the industry.

“The risks of moral hazard were simply outweighed by the need to act and act dramatically and act quickly,” Bair said.

Dugan offered a slightly different perspective.

“It just means we’ve lost one tool and we’re going to have make sure that we compensate,” he said.

Staff writers Paul Kane, Lori Montgomery and Peter Whoriskey contributed to this report.