Archive for the ‘Bush Derangement Syndrome’ Category

Folks, It Was Only 8 Years!

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

I was amused by Bush May Have Set Back ‘Clean Coal’ Efforts by 10 Years, Report Says in today’s Washington Post.

The Bush administration’s decision to halt production of an experimental power plant that would capture and store carbon dioxide emissions underground may have set back “clean coal” technology in the United States by as much as a decade, according to a congressional report released at a hearing yesterday.

Also, cost estimates used as justification for killing the commercial-scale project known as FutureGen were grossly exaggerated because Energy Department officials did not account for inflation, according to a Government Accountability Office report, also released yesterday.

The two reports, commissioned by the House Committee on Science and Technology, represent the latest efforts by the Illinois congressional delegation to revive the plant, which would be built in the small Illinois town of Mattoon. President Obama took part in the delegation’s efforts when he was in the Senate.

Now I know that may liberals feel as though the country has emerged from interminable darkness, but, folks, it was 8 years. So I am having difficulty in understanding how Bush’s decisions could possibly set back “clean coal” by 10. The article explains that Bush killed the project just a year and a half ago

The Bush administration killed plans to build the plant in December 2007, just hours after Mattoon was chosen over two sites in Texas, triggering allegations that the move was political.

So, if the plans were on track in December 2007, how can we be 10 years behind today, when the project was killed less than a year and a half ago? Oh, this was a Congressional report. That explains it.

And how gauche was it of Bush to be, gulp, political? I mean, politics couldn’t possibly have come into play with, say, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decades long effort to scuttle funding for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository (in Nevada)?

The article accuses the Bush administration of failing to properly factor inflation when comparing initial cost estimates with more recent cost estimates

The GAO report disputed the Bush administration’s contention that the costs had nearly doubled, from $1 billion to $1.8 billion, saying the figure would be $1.3 billion if adjusted for inflation.

Presumably, this was the excuse given in 2007 when the plans were killed. However, now the financial landscape has changed a little

The ultimate cost of the plant continues to be a matter of debate. Energy Secretary Steven Chu reasserted his desire yesterday to build the plant but cautioned that price estimates now range as high as $2.3 billion and that he would like to bring down the cost. He plans to meet soon with the FutureGen Industrial Alliance, private companies involved with the project, to determine how best to move forward. The alliance hopes to compete for $1 billion set aside in the economic stimulus package for “fossil energy research and development” projects.

The article ends with

Victor K. Der, acting assistant secretary for the Energy Department’s Office of Fossil Energy, said the technology needs to be tested at a commercial scale. He also said FutureGen is the only project of its kind close to the construction phase, calling it “near shovel-ready.”

So the project has been “killed” since December 2007 and is “near shovel-ready” today? I still don’t see where this technology could have been set back a “decade”. I’m going to chalk this one up to Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Clean Dream

Clean Dream

Cranial Contortions

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Even on President Obama’s first full day in office, Bush Derangement Syndrome is still at the fore for many of the muddle-headed. Today, BDS is brought to us by Ralph Hitchens in the form of a letter to the editor of the Washington Post. The spark that ignites Hitchens’ BDS? An op-ed column in the Washington Post. Hitchens writes

Regarding Peter Beinart’s Jan. 18 op-ed column, “Admit It: The Surge Worked“:

Okay, I’ll admit it, given Mr. Beinart’s willingness to admit that the war itself was a colossal strategic mistake that cost more American lives than Sept. 11 did, not to mention an enormous number of Iraqi lives. But how can he say that the surge looks like Bush’s “finest hour”? When a man deliberately sets fire to his neighbor’s house, should we praise him for belatedly using an extra fire extinguisher? Even more important than the extra U.S. troops was the realization by Sunni and Shiite leaders that al-Qaeda in Iraq was a plague on both their houses and that it was far better to get rid of the “foreign fighters” and conserve strength for the power struggle that will inevitably follow a U.S. pullout.

The surge “worked,” but in the tragedy that is Iraq, it means very little.

Mr. Hitchens displays unsurpassed cranial contortion to come up with this analogy:

When a man deliberately sets fire to his neighbor’s house, should we praise him for belatedly using an extra fire extinguisher?

With 20-20 hindsight, it clearly would have been better had we simply contained Sadam. And, Mr. Bush was slow to make key adjustments in the strategy to deal with the insurgency. But it is BDS to assert that Bush alone is responsible for something like arson on a global scale. I’m sure that Hitchens thinks of this as a rhetorical question. But of course, it is not. The situation described is not a very good analogy for what happened. If Hitchens could check his BDS at the door, he might recognize this

While the man is contemplating using the fire extinguisher, there are many people in the neighborhood screaming that the house is totally burned down. The people screaming that the house is totally burned down are doing so because they stand to gain in the short term. The man, knowing that the house is not burned down, chooses instead to “win” against the fire by deploying the fire extinguisher. For that, he should be praised.

Hitchens administers the coup-de-grace

Even more important than the extra U.S. troops was the realization by Sunni and Shiite leaders that al-Qaeda in Iraq was a plague on both their houses and that it was far better to get rid of the “foreign fighters” and conserve strength for the power struggle that will inevitably follow a U.S. pullout.

But Beinart acknowledges that the surge, if defined only as the simple increase in troop levels, is not “solely responsible for the turnaround”

Is the surge solely responsible for the turnaround? Of course not. Al-Qaeda alienated the Sunni tribes; Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army decided to stand down; the United States assassinated key insurgent and militia leaders, all of which mattered as much if not more than the increase in U.S. troops.

It is a sign of BDS to pick a fight when two factions are in vehement agreement.

And then, to wrap things up, Hitchens finishes with

The surge “worked,” but in the tragedy that is Iraq, it means very little.

It “means very little”? Um, Mr. Hitchens, do you enjoy gardening? Perhaps you have some of these around the house?

One thing it does mean is that President Obama can begin to safely draw down troops and start devoting more resources to Afghanistan. It means that General Petraeus has been able to field-test his theories and has distinguished himself as a strategic thinker, and may be able to bring this thinking and lessons learned to bear in Afghanistan and the tribal regions of Pakistan. It means that there is not a conflagration in the Middle East at the same time as a global economic meltdown. It means that Iraq has a chance with upcoming regional and national elections.

And it means that, for as long as the surge “means very little”, we will always have yardstick by which to measure BDS.

Extremely Jaundiced

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

As I write this, Carter, Bush, and Clinton have just been introduced to the crowds at the Inauguration.

One would think that, at such a special occasion, most in our country would be looking forward to the new administration. Most, but not everyone. In yesterday’s Washington Post, there is plenty of Bush Derangement Syndrome on display, courtesy of E. J. Dionne’s opinion piece titled Why the Uniter Divided Us.

The crowds are resuming the chants Obama, Obama, Obama!

Dionne wants to help the new president in avoiding the mistakes made by Bush

There are many reasons why most Americans are not mourning President Bush’s departure. But our new president would do well to concentrate on the deeper causes of the public’s disaffection with the man headed to Texas.

From the very beginning of his presidency, won courtesy of a divisive Supreme Court decision that abruptly ended his contest with Al Gore, Bush misunderstood the nature of his lease on power, the temper of the country and the proper role of partisanship in our political life. His win-at-all-costs strategy in Florida became a template for much of his presidency, reflected especially in the way the Justice Department was politicized.

What? I won’t defend the politicization of the Justice Department. But does Dionne really think that Bush had a win-at-all-costs strategy in Florida? I seem to recall that it was Gore that had the win-at-all-cost strategy. Wasn’t it the Gore camp’s idea to keep recounting votes from only a few districts until the total count for the state came out in his favor? What are they serving there at the Post? Hashish?

Bush did not respect the obligation of a leader in a free society to forge a durable consensus. He was better at announcing policies than explaining them. He dismissed legitimate opposition and plausible doubts about the courses he wished to pursue. It is partly because of these failures that Americans reacted by selecting a successor with such a profoundly different political personality.

What the hell is a “durable consensus”? Is it a consensus where politicians vote one way, and then do not pretend that they voted differently 6 years later? Whose fault is it that Bush did not get a durable consensus from Democrats? Here are some important issues where Bush achieved consensus

  • The Iraq War
  • No Child Left Behind
  • Prescription Medication for Seniors
  • AIDS and Health Programs for Africa

Interestingly, Dionne mentions a few of these later in the column, but I don’t see how they bolster his main theme. I might add, that Bush was better able to find consensus with Democrats on immigration reform than with Republican legislators.

Barack H. Obama was just announced.

Admittedly, Bush did not seek consensus on one of the most important decisions of our time. The decision to move ahead with the surge. Thankfully he did not listen to those that would throw the USA under the proverbial bus, and throw Iraq into civil war and the Middle East into true chaos, just to score “electoral advantage”.

Rick Warren is providing the invocation.

For a few months after Sept. 11, 2001, the president governed as a truly national leader. At that moment, we saw the consensus-builder he promised to be in 2000. He might have built a durable majority for his party on the basis of more moderate, consensual policies. Instead, he moved to ridiculing those who doubted the wisdom of his Iraq adventure and used the war on terrorism for electoral advantage.

Let me see if I have this right. Dionne is accusing Bush of using the war on terrorism for electoral advantage? I would have thought the other way around. That Democrats used the war on terrorism for electoral advantage.

Aretha Franklin is singing “My Country Tis of Thee”. [I don’t care for the big bow.]

Remember “This War is Lost”? Remember “General Betrayus”? Now that is attempt at electoral advantage. To suggest otherwise is despicable and intellectually dishonest.

John Paul Stevens is administering the oath of office of the Vice President. [How many names does Biden have?]

But [Obama] is decidedly not an us-vs.-them guy. He gets both the uses and the limits of partisanship. He has been known to quote the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr on the dangers of moral arrogance. He could make nuance and complexity cool again. Of course it will take more than that to be successful. But it’s a start.

Nuance and complexity? This sounds like it could have been applied to Jimmy Carter. Nuance and complexity? That is the watchword at the United Nations (an organization that has accomplished exactly nothing).

John G. Roberts is administering the oath of office of the President. The crowd roars. A few hiccups.

Congratulations to Barack H. Obama, 44th President of the United States.

Now, would E. J. Dionne and the rest of those afflicted by BDS please take some of your own advice and move on? What does E. J. stand for? Extremely Jaundiced, I would say.

President Obama is addressing the nation.

Barack H. Obama - 44th President of the United States

Barack H. Obama - 44th President of the United States