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June 22, 2004



WHAT? You are going on vacation again, Luke? You are starting to rival Bush himself in number of days off! Just kidding, enjoy your break and hope you get some good weather up there.


J.J., I concur Luke is taking far too much time off... heh heh heh....


When I used to call on European companies we always marvelled (sp?) at how much time they had off. What's up with that? !!


since this article makes a brief mention of expats at the end, I will have to post it.

When Irish Ties Are Fraying

Published: June 23, 2004

DUBLIN — The Irish hold the rotating presidency of the European Union and President Bush is scheduled to make an overnight visit to Ireland this week to take part in a two-hour summit meeting. On Friday, he'll fly into Shannon, an airport whose use by the American military during the Iraq venture has been highly controversial here. Substantial protests are planned, but the protesters will, of course, be kept far away from the president. He won't even hear their chants.

No doubt American television will show the president and his wife surrounded by harp-playing colleens and little girls in ringlets doing stepdancing in a medieval castle — this is an election year, after all, and there is an Irish-American electorate. But, in fact, the president and the Irish won't encounter each other at all. The loss is ours; but it is America's, too.

Mr. Bush is coming to a country that has been passionately pro-American since America took in our people after the Great Famine. Presidential visits have been a gift from that diaspora. John F. Kennedy came and assuaged some of the pain of all the farewells in our history. Richard Nixon came; I remember running almost three miles to the obscure graveyard in which an ancestor of his had been providentially discovered. Beside me, a couple carry a plump 3-year-old between them, hoping to show the child a president of the United States.

We didn't make it; but we cheered when we saw the presidential helicopter take off over the bog. Ronald Reagan came and protesters against American actions in Central America landed in jail, but on the entertainment side, he was the perfect partner in genial, Oirish leprechaunery. It was also believed that he had leaned on Margaret Thatcher to bring her to negotiations with us on the future of Northern Ireland. And that's what has mattered most in modern Ireland's relationship with America. Its friendliness to us has often been the power behind our dealings with Britain.

The Clinton administration and both the Clintons went further; they put a lot of time and effort into installing a political structure in Northern Ireland that will work, however long it may be delayed by local malice. When Bill Clinton visited the republic the place was brought to a standstill. There wasn't a dry eye in the house.

If Mr. Clinton came back today, we'd find some way — even in the post-Sept. 11 world — to welcome him. But even in that world, is security the only consideration keeping President Bush and the Irish apart?

When Mikhail Gorbachev, at the height of his promise, stopped over in Shannon for just a couple of hours, there was a fiesta. His wife, Raisa, was taken to an outdoor folk museum behind what was meant to be impermeable security, but there was such a welter of children up trees, people holding out daffodils, boys balancing on walls, lambs bleating, fiddles playing, buses reversing the wrong way and general happy mayhem that security became extremely flexible. True feeling finds ways to express itself.

How can there be so little enthusiasm for welcoming President Bush in as pro-American a country as exists on the face of the earth? Our intelligentsia is pro-American; American popular culture, far from being resisted as it is elsewhere in Europe, has been a precious modernizing influence on the grim patriarchy that dominated Ireland until recent times; our teachers and students work in the United States in the summer, our athletes train there, our doctors and scientists do postgraduate work there, we all have friends and relations there. No wonder Ireland shut down more completely than any other country in the world — schools, pubs, business, transport, everything — on its day of mourning for the Sept. 11 attacks.

But nations on the periphery watch the center more keenly than the center realizes. The vacuum where our enthusiasm should be is our response to the perception — the fear — that this administration is indifferent to any world view but its own; that it doesn't care whether a little place like this loves it or not.

There is another twist: we Irish, in our quarrel with Britain, have relied on American power, and that implicates us in how that power is exercised. The images from the Abu Ghraib prison were especially shocking here. We took the British Army to the European Court of Human Rights for using techniques of interrogation in Northern Ireland much less extreme than were used in Abu Ghraib — and, for all we know, in Guantánamo Bay, in Afghanistan and elsewhere in Iraq. The British techniques were ruled inhuman and degrading.

And Iraq is only the most lurid in a sequence of isolationist initiatives — the abrupt rejection of the Kyoto Protocol, the imposition of protective tariffs, the hostility to any international court of justice, and above all, the disrespect this administration has shown to the United Nations. Not that anyone has unqualified respect for the United Nations. But small nations, in particular, have to rely on international bodies, and the United Nations for all its flaws is the international body we've got. We take it seriously and we strongly support it. Irish troops are serving with United Nations missions in places that could do with the money and attention Iraq is getting, like Liberia, Kosovo, Lebanon, Congo and the Western Sahara.

The hardheaded proconsuls in Washington know that we, though by no means the victims we once were — we've a stunningly successful economy — do not matter in terms of realpolitik. Ireland's population is a little less than that of Atlanta. But the attitudinal change I see here is part of global politics all the same. Americans who work or play outside their own country will have felt already, I'm sure, that the Bush presidency has changed how the world looks at America. For them — for ordinary Americans — the reception they get abroad at this time of profound difficulty should be warmer than ever.

But for the present administration — and a 1,000-strong entourage will be accompanying President Bush on his visit — my welcome flag is furled. It was such fun and such an honor, the first four times a president came here. But in the bitter words of a poet: "Never bright, confident morning again."

Nuala O'Faolain, a former columnist for The Irish Times, is the author, most recently, of "Almost There," a memoir.


Good article... sad because we should still have the sympathy of 9/11 on our side as the victims, but instead will be remembered for waging war just because we can.


Hmmm, this seems to have become an area for all around general posting.... So here goes.

While I have been supportive of Bush here is one
area that does give me pause not to mention some irritation. This regards that alleged Energy Task Force meeting that Cheny had which, supposedly, was supposed to be for the good of National Interests which, if I'm not mistaken, means Us, The People, our National Interests.
If so, then why are they so dogged determined to keep it all hush hush unless they have something to hide? It would seem to me that these behind closed door meetings do not serve the best in terms of National Interests nor for The People but, are solely intended to benefit the few, as in this case, the engergy companies, i.e., Oil interests.

"This ruling means that for now the public will remain in the dark about the Bush administration and energy industry executives' secret meetings about national energy policy," said David Bookbinder, the environmental organization's legal director."

So what are your thoughts on this idiot ruling?


J.J, a thought for you to ponder.....

"Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first...". I don't know the author...


Chrish, it would be easy for me to want those documents as a result of how cozy this administration has been to the energy industry and how awful its environmental record is. But I haven't studied the case enough to make a go of it. Officials in high places need some confidentiality to protect themselves and I don't know where the line is.

The one thing that does make me angry is Scalia's refusal to recuse himself. One thing that a judge is supposed to be is completely impartial. There's a very short list of people that I would invite a duck hunting trip, how about you? If he's chummy with Cheney, then he ought to step out, rather than make lame statements like, "If it is reasonable to think that a Supreme Court justice can be bought so cheap, the nation is in deeper trouble than I had imagined." The issue is not about how easily a judge can be bought, but whether or not a friend of the defendant should be donning the black robe.

Getting back to Bush, energy, and the economy, how do all of you rate his performance there? I think Bush's performance on domestic issues actually strains his credibility when it comes to international, at least for me. Halliburton, big contributions and chumminess with Enron "Kenny Boy" Lay, tax cuts that absurdly favor the rich, interest rates at all time lows, dismissal of Kyoto protocol, etc. Everything is biased towards helping the rich and getting himself re-elected, never mind the long term consequences for our country. I think we're in for a lot of hurt when all of these things come back to bite us. Even if Kerry gets elected, he will inherit a mess so bad that I predict he won't be re-elected.


OUCH!!! JEFF! Careful on that confidentiality argument!! This is the argument that Bush/Cheney used to originally squash the GAO request to see the minutes of the meetings. This is a very dangerous precedent and was one of the many ways Cheney used to consolidate undue power to the executive branch.

All of this happened relatively early in his presidency before I learned to turn against the Bush administration, but this one was one of the major contributing factors for me. Back then, I thought to myself: How can an administration that promises to be more moral and righteous than the previous one be so secretive about it's dealings? The most bothersome part of this to me was that they "consulted" with environmental groups by faxing them a copy of the finished policy the Friday night before putting the thing up for a Monday vote.

Yes, call me a dork, but when it comes to the presidency, I put them all under the microscope.


hypothetically speaking, if Kerry get's elected, he will likely still face a Republican Congress. And one that is going to be very bitter after this division we have seen in the past few years. My guess is that Congress will refuse to work with him and do anything possible to block his policies. Just look at how the Republican leadership (Hastert, Frist, Delay) have managed to completely eliminate the Dems on everything from drafting new laws to decision-making/consultations to vote calling. It's so petty, it's almost pointless to have a democratic government if one party can so easily dominate proceedings. Reminds me of the mexican PRI.


Here's some news. Pretty much all politicians don't tell us about every single meeting they have or every memo they write. This is why it's more important to judge someone on what they do vs. what we think their intent was. Plus anytime there is a dominat congress it will battle a President who is from another party. It happened to Reagan as well as Clinton. But I would much rather have our system, which is filled with checks and balances than have one such as Canada's and much of the rest of the world where you just vote for a party and not a person.


"it's more important to judge someone on what they do"
apparently Jim believes that an energy policy aimed at benefiting the president's friends' pocketbooks at the expense of our breathing air, drinking water and global climate is something positive.


did anyone actually WATCH the interview that Bush gave on Irish TV? Oh man, I nearly fell of my rocker. What world does that man live in??? The world with the exception of France supports him? The world is safer now than before? And he said all this with a straight face. What a moron! Then again, I know who these comments are aimed at - that large sector of the american public that is utterly ignorant of the world beyond our borders. They actually believe this crap and will then go and parrot those lines tomorrow (kind of like the 'some people don't want democracy for Iraqis.')
On the flipside, it was hilarious to watch Bush get pissed over and over again during the interview when the interviewer interrupted to correct or contradict Bush's wrong statements. Since our terribly 'liberal' media does such a good job of constantly kissing his ass, he must not used to other countries' media actually expecting to be told the truth. Imagine that, a news media that won't go along with presidential lies, they must be a bunch of socialists freaks who want to undermine democracy the world over!

I got news for you Bush: the world does not support you, the world hates you! The world hates you more than anyone else. Period, end of story, basta!


Ooooh, J.J. you're sounding kind of miffed.. ;o)

Jeff, I understand what you're saying as far as officials "needing some confidentiality to protect themselves" but, would wonder about several things. Such as, protect themselves from what if they are doing no wrong and since they are representative of the people, work for the people, serve the people, and We pay their salary
then why should things of such importance such as
energy come under the guise of confidentiality? The problem I have with that reasoning as well as the "Secret" or "Top Secret" things is that far too much is hidden from us under those labels. Things that We, as a people, should know about and have a right to know about. Consider some of the actions, activites, and going's on in South America that were lumped under "National Security", "Our National Interests", or other labels allowing secrecy to go on. I understand the needs for those labels i.e., new more advanced weapons development, or Some activities overseas or on foreign ground but, for me there have been far too many things being done in our name that most of us would prefer not being associated with nor going on. This especially holds true, in this particular instance, as it regards Energy. As J.J., pointed out, "they
"consulted" with environmental groups by faxing them a copy of the finished policy the Friday night before putting the thing up for a Monday vote.". One has to wonder what the hell that was all about? Seems to me that when an issue such as energy is discussed, is so critical to this country's future the whole thing would be not only wide open to the public but, environmental groups, and developers of alternative energy sources would be some of the primary members of this so-called "Energy Task Force".

I wholeheartedly agree with you J.J., Scalia should not only have recused himself but, forced to remove himself from those deliberations to avoid any semblance of biasness in those proceedings. Scalia may very well say there is no conflict and no problem but, common sense dictates that he should have recused himself. Which makes his decision suspect.

Quite honestly it seems to me that "Our National Interests", our "National Security", and for the
sake of the environment it is critical that alternative sources of energy be developed to completely remove Our dependency upon Oil. That will require that both Republicans and Democrats have the political will to take on the influence of Oil industry and their lobbyists; a Special Interest Group.

As far as I'm concerned all politicians should be continuously held under a microscope. They should know that We are watching them and what they are doing.

J.J., as far as Republicans making it difficult for Kerry, if he wins, or Democrats making it difficult for Bush, if he wins, is a foregone conclusion. Republicans make it difficult for a Democrat and Democrats make it difficult for a Republican; politics as usual. Nothing gets done, nothing gets resolved, and nothing of real substance for the People ever seems to happen. Oh, We get a few crumbs thrown our way but, nothing really good for the people that will truly benefit us seems to occur. The politicians seem to get wealthier, there retirement plan is well taken care of, the Special Interest Groups that own them are well taken care of, and the people still struggle to survive.


I don't recall saying anything about Scalia, are you confusing me with someone else?
Yes, what you said in the last paragraph is true and it is politics as usual. But I am going on the likely assumption that the Republicans will gain more or less majority control of both houses of Congress, which would thinks difficult for a President Kerry and easier for a President Bush.


Ooops, sorry J.J, I guess I should have referred to Jeff but, no big deal.

You're right, if Republicans gain more control of both houses and Kerry wins the election nothing,
of course, will really get done. They will, as usual, be fighting each other and the really important issues will be undone. Sad....

M. Rose

A British General's View
DAILY MAIL (London) / July 1, 2004
General Sir Michael Rose, Former Commander of the UN Protection Force in Bosnia

I suspect many soldiers serving in Iraq today will find Michael Moore's film intensely irritating.

This is because for much of the film he allows his antiwar, anti-Bush and anti-big business stance to obscure the important debate: whether President George W. Bush led his country - and by default the UK - into war in Iraq on a lie and whether subsequently, in trying to impose justice, freedom and democracy on the Iraqi people by force, the Americans became so violent and brutal themselves that they lost the moral high ground for ever.

Nevertheless, Moore has mounted a powerful protest against the Bush administration, in which he uses all the tricks of the skilled polemicist - ridicule, conspiracy theory and sensationalism.

He shows terrible images of dead and dying civilians and soldiers in Iraq.

He interviews U.S. soldiers both in Iraq and in hospital in America who question why they went to Iraq 'to kill innocent civilians', and he intrudes closely on the grief of an American mother who lost her son.

I believe that this film will utterly destroy any residual confidence that the American people might have in the credentials of George W. Bush as a decisive war leader.

For a full five minutes, Moore cruelly dwells on Bush's vacuous, tortured face in close-up immediately after he had been told about the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.

The message is clear. Here is no Roosevelt, Churchill or Thatcher, but a deeply inadequate man whose mind is frozen with indecision and fear. It is a look I know well - if he had been a subordinate commander in battle I would have immediately relieved him of his command.

What emerges from this film is that America is unlikely ever to attempt such a disastrous military adventure again.

The trust of many of the American people in their leadership is destroyed and the all-volunteer Army in Iraq has run out of steam. It is now heavily dependent on the reservists who are taking much of the strain of operations in Iraq.

Many of these young people only joined the army to obtain funding for their university education. They never expected to be sent overseas for such a prolonged period of time, and - if Moore's film is a true reflection of American opinion - they will not allow themselves to be so badly misled again.

Looking beyond Moore's sensationalism, I think that his underlying message is nonetheless valid.

The war in Iraq was immoral and it has caused some Americans to behave in an immoral way themselves. Meanwhile, the wider war on terror is being lost.

Fact or fiction, everyone should see this film. I, for one, support Moore's protest.

note by JJ - I especially like this line: "if he had been a subordinate commander in battle I would have immediately relieved him of his command"


I also saw Moore's film and while thought provoking it also was a one sided view of events
represented by the piecing together of selected news clips, film clips, and other sources with commentary.

He's a movie maker for God's sakes, that's his trade to make the unbelievable believable. You don't believe there was actually a ring, or Hobbits, or Elf's do you? You don't really believe the actor who played Frodo Baggins is really that short do you?

You take sections, pieces, and parts of different film clips gathered from a multitude of sources,
cut, edit, splice, review, cut, edit, and splice some more dub in the voice over's and music into
some form of a cohesive whole to present an idea, an opinion that you choose to make or want to represent. Add to that the blatent audacity of calling it a "Documentary", "the truth" and voila you have "Farenheit 9/11", "Bowling for Columbine", or the likes of "Reefer Madness", for those who remember that film.

I have no doubt that another movie maker taking the same film clips, segments, pieces, and sections from the same sources could create a completely opposing "Documentary" contradicting anything Moore tried to represent as the truth.

The truth according to a Michael Moore? You've got to be kidding.....

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