Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bush Press Conference Transcript 2-28-08

Bush at his most delusional best. Read the entire transcript:

  • I don't think we're headed to a recession, but no question we're in a slowdown.
  • I don't know much about Medvedev either. And what will be interesting to see is who comes to the -- who represents Russia at the G8, for example. It will be interesting to see -- it will help, I think, give some insight as to how Russia intends to conduct foreign policy after Vladimir Putin's presidency. And I can't answer the question yet. I can say that it's in our interests to continue to have relations with Russia. For example, on proliferation matters...
Then there is this incredible contradiction. Isn't Putin a tyrant? How about China?:
  • Here's what I learned -- here's what I learned: I learned that it's important to establish personal relations with leaders even though you may not agree with them -- certain leaders. I'm not going to have a personal relationship with Kim Jong-il, and our relationships are such that that's impossible.

    But U.S.-Russian relations are important. It's important for stability. It's important for our relations in Europe. And therefore my advice is to establish a personal relationship with whoever is in charge of foreign policy in Russia. It's in our country's interest to do so.

    Now, it makes it easier, by the way, when there's a trustworthy relationship, to be able to disagree and yet maintain common interests in other areas. And so we've had our disagreements. As you know, Putin is a straightforward, pretty tough character when it comes to his interests. Well, so am I. And we've had some head-butts, diplomatic head-butts. You might remember the trip to Slovakia. I think you were there at the famous press conference. But -- and yet, in spite of that, our differences of opinion, we still have got a cordial enough relationship to be able to deal with common threats and opportunities. And that's going to be important for the next President to maintain.

  • What's lost by embracing a tyrant who puts his people in prison because of their political beliefs? What's lost is it will send the wrong message. It will send a discouraging message to those who wonder whether America will continue to work for the freedom of prisoners. It will give great status to those who have suppressed human rights and human dignity.

    I'm not suggesting there's never a time to talk, but I'm suggesting now is not the time -- not to talk with Raul Castro. He's nothing more than an extension of what his brother did, which was to ruin an island, and imprison people because of their beliefs.

  • Q Thank you, sir. In China a former factory worker who says that human rights are more important than the Olympics is being tried for subversion. What message does it send that you're going to the Olympics, and do you think athletes there should be allowed to publicly express their dissent?

    THE PRESIDENT: Olivier, I have made it very clear, I'm going to the Olympics because it's a sporting event, and I'm looking forward to seeing the athletic competition. But that will not preclude me from meeting with the Chinese President, expressing my deep concerns about a variety of issues -- just like I do every time I meet with the President.

    And maybe I'm in a little different position. Others don't have a chance to visit with Hu Jintao, but I do. And every time I meet with him I talk about religious freedom and the importance of China's society recognizing that if you're allowed to worship freely, it will benefit the society as a whole; that the Chinese government should not fear the idea of people praying to a god as they see fit. A whole society, a healthy society, a confident society is one that recognizes the value of religious freedom.

    I talk about Darfur and Iran and Burma. And so I am not the least bit shy of bringing up the concerns expressed by this factory worker, and I believe that I'll have an opportunity to do so with the President and, at the same time, enjoy a great sporting event. I'm a sports fan. I'm looking forward to the competition. And each Olympic society will make its own decision as to how to deal with the athletes.

His convoluted logic led to this gaffe (see video in previous post today):

I had these wives of these dissidents come and see me, and their stories are just unbelievably sad. And it just goes to show how repressive the Castro brothers have been, when you listen to the truth about what they say. And the idea of embracing a leader who's done this without any attempt on his part to release prisoners and free their society would be counterproductive and send the wrong signal.

Q No one is saying embrace him, they're just saying talk --

THE PRESIDENT: Well, talking to him is embracing. Excuse me. Let me use another word -- you're right, "embrace" is like big hug, right? You're looking -- I do embrace people. Mike, one of these days, I'm just thinking about -- (laughter.) Right, okay, good, thank you for reminding me to use a different word.

1 in 100 U.S. Adults Behind Bars, New Study Says

A national disgrace:

For the first time in the nation’s history, more than one in 100 American adults is behind bars, according to a new report.

Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year, bringing it to almost 1.6 million. Another 723,000 people are in local jails. The number of American adults is about 230 million, meaning that one in every 99.1 adults is behind bars.

Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 Hispanic adults is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 black adults is, too, as is one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34.

[...]In the past 20 years, according the Federal Bureau of Investigation, violent crime rates fell by 25 percent, to 464 for every 100,000 people in 2007 from 612.5 in 1987.

[...]Now, with fewer resources available, the report said, “prison costs are blowing a hole in state budgets.” On average, states spend almost 7 percent on their budgets on corrections, trailing only healthcare, education and transportation.

In 2007, according to the National Association of State Budgeting Officers, states spent $44 billion in tax dollars on corrections. That is up from $10.6 billion in 1987, a 127 increase once adjusted for inflation. With money from bonds and the federal government included, total state spending on corrections last year was $49 billion. By 2011, the report said, states are on track to spend an additional $25 billion.

It cost an average of $23,876 dollars to imprison someone in 2005, the most recent year for which data were available. But state spending varies widely, from $45,000 a year in Rhode Island to $13,000 in Louisiana.

Bush Gaffe on Cuba During Press Conference

Is it any wonder that we are in so much trouble diplomatically throughout the world when the President of the United States doesn't know the difference between embracing and talking to a regime. Just add this blunder to the long list of Bush verbal slip of the tongue.

Jack Cafferty: Hillary Blaming Press a Desperate Ploy

Hillary Clinton has adopted a new tactic--blame the press for all her failures. It is reminiscent of the vast right-wing conspiracy arguments during hubbies Presidency. Her reference to the Saturday Night Live spoof during the debate was a new low for her floundering campaign:

"Bill Clinton: The Bitter Half"

We heard from the beginning that Bill Clinton was a great asset for Hillary. I never really believed that. It now turns out that he was only a liability. Remember that the former Rarely is it mentioned that Bill Clinton was instrumental in the Democrats losing control of Congress in 1994. He was also to blame for Gore not winning the White House in 2000:

It is hard to miss the irony: the man from Hope is now trying to figure out how to tamp it down. But that tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the spot in which Bill Clinton finds himself today, as his wife's presidential campaign fights for its life in Ohio and Texas. What is harder to figure out is how much of the blame for her predicament belongs to him. "I think he just did her such damage," says a friend and supporter, expressing a sentiment that many feel privately. "They'll never see it that way, because they can't. And he has no self-knowledge. This has magnified all his worst traits."

Everyone around Hillary Clinton always recognized that Bill would be a mixed blessing for her campaign. Back in the pre-Obamamania days, her supporters assumed that no one could draw crowds, bring in money or ignite the base like the only Democratic President since F.D.R. to win re-election. Bill was considered the sharpest political strategist of his generation. And as public approval for President George W. Bush sank lower and lower, the Clinton years, for all their drama, were looking better and better. Yet there was always the worry about whether Bill would be able to stay within the constrained, derivative role of the candidate's spouse. The biggest fear was that he would shine too bright, burn too hot, consign the candidate to his shadow.

[...]On the campaign trail, Bill's way of grabbing the spotlight has reminded voters of what they didn't like about the last Clinton presidency and what might be wrong with the next one. Lobbyist and former Texas Lieut. Governor Ben Barnes, long a prolific donor to the Clintons and other Democrats, says the former President is — as everyone knew he would be — his wife's most powerful weapon. The problem is, says Barnes, who now supports Obama, "that gun kicks as bad as it shoots."

In Iowa, Bill Clinton shaded his own nuanced record on the war, saying he "opposed Iraq from the beginning"; in New Hampshire, the criticism he got for that didn't stop him from blasting Obama's claim of steadfast opposition to the war as a "fairy tale." He twisted Obama's observation that Ronald Reagan had changed the country to make it appear that the Illinois Senator had praised Reagan's ideas. And Bill churlishly diminished Obama's sweeping and historic primary victory in heavily African-American South Carolina by pointing out that Jesse Jackson had also won the state. Liberal columnist Jonathan Chait wondered, "Were the conservatives right about Bill Clinton all along?"

Nowhere did it get worse than in South Carolina. A Clinton campaign official says Bill "hijacked the candidacy in South Carolina. It was appalling to watch it." In the week before the primary, his attacks on Obama put the former President in the news more times than any of the Republican candidates, according to a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism; during a debate in Myrtle Beach, Obama complained, "I can't tell who I'm running against sometimes."