Monday, April 18, 2005

Luke (wotisitgood4) advises us of a Bumiller parody; Folding Star (A Winding Road) and thoughts on Bolton

For those missing chuckles at the expense of the Elite Fluff Patrol Squad leader Elisabeth Bumiller, Luke of wotisgood4 e-mailed us a link to this parody: "I Scream, You Scream, President Bush Screams for 'Ice Cream!'"

Here's an excerpt, courtesty of community member Dallas:

Today President George W. Bush followed his dinner with two scoops of Mama Lucy's Chocolate Ice Cream. This is not a new thing. Since his inauguration, the President has really enjoyed ice cream a lot!
"Ice cream is the President’s little pick-me-up," said press secretary Scott McClellan, "He just needs something sweet after dinner. Ice cream is indeed sweet and often consumed after dinner."

For additional chuckles, you can check this morning's paper for Bumiller's latest White House Letter which is an authentic piece of Bumiller's writing.

Lori and Ben have both e-mailed regarding the news from the Times yesterday morning that another employee is stepping forward to speak about Bolton. For more information on how it's playing out thus far, check out Folding Star over at A Winding Road:

The Republicans seem to have come into the Committee with their minds made up. They'd give Bush the UN Ambassador he wanted, regardless of anything that came to light in the hearings.
But, wait! Lugar's statement that it's 'unlikely' may contrast with another statement from a Committee Republican!Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said today that he's 'troubled' by the allegations and might vote against Bolton- deadlocking the Committee and keeping the Nomination from a full Senate vote- if anything further emerges.
Last week, it seemed that moderate Senator Chafee of Rhode Island was the only hope of stopping the nomination. Hagel's statement may be some sort of political maneuvering. It's possible that he has no intention of really voting against Bolton but is using the threat to get something he wants on some other matter. You always have to take these things into account.
But it's also possible that Hagel is truly signaling that he will vote no if others come forward with the truth about Bolton. And with Senator Hagel stating that he feels that way, it may become even more likely that Senator Chafee will come around.
Please continue to call and write the Committee members, particularly the Republicans. The Democrats on the Committee have signaled their commitment to defeating this disastrous Nomination and all it's going to take is one of the ten Republicans voting the facts, rather than out of party loyalty.

My own thoughts, since Ben & Lori asked, as Folding Star notes, you've got Hagel on the fence right now and that's it. Lugar and the other Republicans probably do have their minds made up.

What's America thinking? He's a bad boss?

Some Republicans are no doubt thrilled by the idea that he's "authoritarian." Democrats would do better to quit playing Waiting for Guffman and start explaining to the people why his leadership ("authoritarian" or just plain abusive) is a problem.

It's a problem because it doesn't fit in with diplomacy. It's a problem because it goes to an issue of what we want to be and how we see ourselves. Are we a nation of bullies?

The American people have been misled by fear mongering and we continue down this path or we can start addressing what we stand for.

If the Democrats suddenly got their heads on straight collectively (some individuals do have their heads straight), there's no guarantee that they could stop Bolton's nomination. They could, however, lay the groundwork for why you want to vote Democratic in 2006. (Apologies to Green Party members and third party members. I'm speaking of strategy here, not attempting to sway anyone from their party of their choice.)

Start standing for something. That's the selfish reason for the Dems to address this issue. The non-selfish reason is that this a dialogue the country needs to have. But I'll take the dialogue for any reason.

I'm not suggesting that Senate Dems, at this late date, attempt to educate the people on unipolar systems or the historical significance or the hostilities and dangers they can result in for the people in a country fancy itself the big bad. It's a little late for that, the Dems abdicated that opportunity.

I am suggesting that the Dems get their act together and start explaining why someone who bullies employees and underlings and has a record of anti UN statements isn't the person fit to hold the position.

If they're too scared to make the arguments in their own words, I'd suggest that they check the record for the Bully Boy's father's statements on the UN and the importance of diplomacy. If they need someone to hide behind because they don't have the guts to do it themselves, trot out seventies statements from George H.W. Bush.

But do something beyond, "Here's another witness who will tell America that Bolton is a bully and a lousy boss." You're not expanding the debate. Republicans like the authoritarian figure.
You need to make a case that takes Bolton's public record on the UN and his activities in leadership and demonstrates why, as a result, he is unfit to serve at the UN.

Making that case, and appealing to our better nature, sets up Democrats for a better showing in 2006. Otherwise you're just playing Waiting for Guffman and leaving America still waiting.

(My opinions on the above. As always, I could be wrong.)

The reality of the way some Republicans are seeing this is different than the way some on the left are seeing it. That's why you can find a conservative writer for a publication we won't name comparing Bolton's actions to Liza Minelli's alleged behavior towards David Gest. It's all a joke to them.

Via BuzzFlash, you can get a heads up to a story from the Majority Report:

Last night, a woman named Melody Townsel came on the show to tell Sam a personal story of her bizarre and harassing run-in with John Bolton, George Bush's nominee to be U.N. Ambassador. The run-in took place in 1994, when Bolton worked for a private law firm. Melody has spoken with minority council to the Foreign Relations Committee, and may be called to testify next week. She suspects, unfortunately, that her expirience with John Bolton may not be unique.
Interview clip
Full 6 minute interview
Her tale was written up by a friend as a diary, where you can read the full text of her letter the the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. That can be found

From the Daily Kos link:

Within hours of sending a letter to US AID officials outlining my concerns, I met John Bolton, whom the prime contractor hired as legal counsel to represent them to US AID. And, so, within hours of dispatching that letter, my hell began.
Mr. Bolton proceeded to chase me through the halls of a Russian hotel -- throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door and, generally, behaving like a madman. For nearly two weeks, while I awaited fresh direction from my company and from US AID, John Bolton hounded me in such an appalling way that I eventually retreated to my hotel room and stayed there. Mr. Bolton, of course, then routinely visited me there to pound on the door and shout threats.
When US AID asked me to return to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in advance of assuming leadership of a project in Kazakstan, I returned to my project to find that John Bolton had proceeded me by two days. Why? To meet with every other AID team leader as well as US foreign-service officials in Bishkek, claiming that I was under investigation for misuse of funds and likely was facing jail time. As US AID can confirm, nothing was further from the truth.
He indicated to key employees of or contractors to State that, based on his discussions with investigatory officials, I was headed for federal prison and, if they refused to cooperate with either him or the prime contractor's replacement team leader, they, too, would find themselves the subjects of federal investigation. As a further aside, he made unconscionable comments about my weight, my wardrobe and, with a couple of team leaders, my sexuality, hinting that I was a lesbian (for the record, I'm not).

(Note, amyindallas is the author of The Daily Kos entry above quoting from the letter of Melody Townsel.)

Townsel could be a genuine Guffman. Her tale's something that could resonate. It's certainly a frightening and embarrassing story.

But also frightening is Dafna Linzer's "Bolton Often Blocked Information, Officials Say
Iran, IAEA Matters Were Allegedly Kept From Rice, Powell
" from the Washington Post:

John R. Bolton -- who is seeking confirmation as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations -- often blocked then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and, on one occasion, his successor, Condoleezza Rice, from receiving information vital to U.S. strategies on Iran, according to current and former officials who have worked with Bolton.
In some cases, career officials found back channels to Powell or his deputy, Richard L. Armitage, who encouraged assistant secretaries to bring information directly to him. In other cases, the information was delayed for weeks or simply did not get through. The officials, who would discuss the incidents only on the condition of anonymity because some continue to deal with Bolton on other issues, cited a dozen examples of memos or information that Bolton refused to forward during his four years as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.

Two officials described a memo that had been prepared for Powell at the end of October 2003, ahead of a critical international meeting on Iran, informing him that the United States was losing support for efforts to have the U.N. Security Council investigate Iran's nuclear program. Bolton allegedly argued that it would be premature to throw in the towel. "When Armitage's staff asked for information about what other countries were thinking, Bolton said that information couldn't be collected," according to one official with firsthand knowledge of the exchange.

Refusing requests from the State Department? Denying the existance of data? If both reports are true (Washington Post's and The Daily Kos), they could deliver the knock out punch. One story is the harrassment/abuse of someone not working for him, the other speaks of a disregard for duties. Both go beyond the "authoritarian" frame that allows Bolton to come off so well to some Republicans. Dems should work very hard to make the case to the people.

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