Monday, February 28, 2005
His conclusion from the recent polls is : no matter whether Bush’s plan is referred to with his preferred language or with that preferred by Democrats, the result is still opposition. This suggests the degree to which Bush’s persuasive efforts are hitting a brick wall.
The Bush people aren't stupid. I flipped through all four major news shows Sunday morning, and everyone of them started with an administration flack pushing Social Security privatization.
They'll keep pushing until they get what they want, or until they are decisively defeated. Since they won't be decisively defeated until they recognize that they are, and they firmly believe that they win by outlasting their opposition, I am not at all sure what it will take to convince them they are defeated.
In fact, I am concerned that they may be correct. Even if they are wrong, if they are willing to outlast their opposition (us) and keep going, can they still win even if they are wrong?
I am willing to continue to oppose them because they are wrong. It is just that the ultimate issue is still in doubt even though they ARE wrong. Fortunately, a lot of us are continuoing to oppose them.
Sunday, February 27, 2005
The problem is, he apparently doesn't go back to see what he himself has said in the past. His allegations of "mistreatment" at the hands of liberals and bloggers simply don't stand up to even a cursory review of his own previous statements. Anthony Wade does an excellent job of taking Gannon/Guckert's new defensive statements and debunking them with what he has said and written previously.
Coming back to the eery feeling you get, when you are in Seoul. This feeling is increased knowing that North Korea now possesses nuclear bombs. We could've taken care of that during my presidency. There was a crisis in the early nineties. The North Korean leader at the time was Kim Il Sung, the father of the current leader. He threatened to build nuclear bombs if we didn't deliver oil to his bankrupt country.
At the time we did not want North Korea, a rogue state to possess these weapons. My administration was adamant that they either give up their ambition or we would bomb their nuclear facilities. The North Koreans continued their threats.
We came very close to bombing North Korea at the time. On our side all systems were go. I called the South Korean president at the time and told him what was about to happen. He flat out told me, South Korea would not join the war.
He told me, if the US attacks North Korea, we couldn't use any of his countries bases, roads, air, territorial waters. In other words, he vetoed the bombing campaign.
I can tell you, I was thunder struck.
Here we are trying to help defend the nation of South Korea and its government has this attitude like they don't care about their safety all that much.
The result of this is that North Korea now has nuclear weapons. And they are in the hands of the strangest dictator on the face of the earth.
When I was president, I read a report. A North Korean submarine was trying to sail to South Korea to put secret agents on its shore. The submarine's engine broke down. It came up in South Korean waters. The seven crew members and agents, who couldn't repair the old submarine, didn't want to be caught by the South Koreans, so they committed suicide.
All of them. When I heard this, I was shocked. It is not normal behavior for any soldier to do so. I commissioned a report. The report told me, these people were part of a decade long program to create human robots. Not electronics, humans so completely brainwashed they behaved like robots and did whatever their leader told them to do.
These human robots begin as orphans in state orphanages in North Korea. They are taught from their first minutes in this world that the North Korean leader, first Kim Il Sung and later Kim Jong Il are gods. They are taught, brainwashed to do whatever their 'Dear' leader asks them to do.
When Kim Il Sung died the program had only been in progress for about two decades. So the robots were about military service age. Right now the program is three decades old. I've seen reports these human robots are now little by little taking over leadership jobs in the North Korean administration. But I think they'll need another ten years to be fully trained and integrated into the administration of the North.
The reason I mention this is the nuclear option. If the US hits the North Korean leader and kills him, what will happen? Will his generals give up or give the order to destroy Seoul, a city with 17 million inhabitants ten miles from the border?
In years past, you might say, if the leader dies, the government structure might crumble. But, now, with the human robots taking over all the sensitive positions in the government, I'm sure they will unleash a holocaust on Seoul if they are attacked.
To be honest, now that North Korea has nuclear bombs and the human robots are old enough to operate them, only a major nuclear attack from our side, killing millions of North Koreans might save South Korea from retaliation.
And as I said, when North Korea didn't have any nuclear bombs, South Korea wasn't interested in going to war with the North. I don't think they are willing to fight a nuclear armed North Korea now. Nor do we.Another aspect of this equation is the role of China. It is clear China uses North Korea to try and scare the US out of Asia. This will not happen. In reality I think China is feeding the crocodile, which one day may eat the hand, which feeds it.
We helped the holy warriors in Afghanistan defeat the Soviet Union. It was a major success, but it also laid the groundwork for the foundation of Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaida.China must understand one thing.
The United States is far away. North Korean missiles might be able to hit a few bears in Alaska, but those same missiles and nuclear bombs are only a hundred miles from Beijing. Who should be afraid?
Based on this set of facts and analysis, it really looks like China and South Korea have a real problem in North Korea. So do we, but not nearly as bad.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
In the meantime, the White House is looking for one Democrat, any Democrat, to support his position on phasing out Social Security. USA Today points out that all he needs is one Democrat, but he can't find one.
"This can't be done without Democrats," says Norm Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank here. "They need the political cover of both parties."
Bush faces two problems. First, his plan to restructure Social Security is being sold as necessary to save the plan after 2052 when the most likely projection by the SSA actuaries state it is likely to use us the last of the Trust Fund and not be receiving as much money in tax payments as has been promised. Unfortunately, the White House has also admitted that their plan to convert to private accounts will not solve that projected problem. That makes it perfectly clear that there is no reason for even discussing private accounts except that is weakens the Democratic Party and is a long term ideological goal of conservatives. They will do anything to accomplish this, no matter how many Americans are hurt by the changes.
Second, individuals Democratic politicians have seen what happens to Democrats who compromise with the Republicans and the Georgia Republicans are repeating the lesson. Karl Rove is known to consider politicians who compromise as weak and vulnerable. Those Democrats who have attempted to work with the Republicans in Bush's first term have invariably found themselves targetted in the next election, and many have been defeated. Senator Max Clelland is only one example.
The lesson for Democrats is clear. There is no political advantage to the individual or the party to be found in compromise with the Republicans, and considering the very destructive proposals they are pushing, no advantage to the nation to let them get away with their idiocies.
Besides, any compromise by Democrats that gets written into a bill in either House of Congress will allow it to pass that House. Then the bill gets sent to a reconciliation committee stacked with Republicans who strip out the compromise before it passes both Houses.
With luck, the Democratic politicians have all taken this lesson to heart. If the Democrats don't become a real opposition party, America is a one-party nation.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
By Mark McSherry
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks sank on Tuesday as oil prices jumped above $51 a barrel and the dollar slid on concerns that other central banks would follow South Korea (news - web sites)'s lead in diversifying reserves out of U.S. assets.
The Bush administrations wild spending spree that is rapidly building the federal debt simply makes us a lot more vulnerable. If more central banks start diversifying reserves out of U.S. assets (that means selling US bonds and buying other nations bonds) then the dollar will fall further, faster than it already is, until our Federal Reserve raises interest rates to shut off the inflation caused by higher priced imported goods. A sharp increase in interest rates will dampen the American economy.
Were the fed not to raise interest rates, inflation would build rapidly and the economy would be damaged by that. The fed considers itself the protector against inflation, so that is highly unlikely.
A further drop in the dollar will also increase the price of oil, also dampening the American economy.
The canary is wobbly, so it may be time to hold your breathe.
Monday, February 21, 2005
"The public has a reason to be concerned about the ways in which political manipulation is influencing journalism," says Larry Gross at the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California.
In January came news that commentator Armstrong Williams, a syndicated broadcast host, had received a $240,000 payment from the Education Department to promote the No Child Left Behind Act. On a lesser scale, commentators Maggie Gallagher and Michael McManus were paid $21,500 and $10,200, respectively, to advise the Department of Health and Human Services on its marriage initiatives. Unlike Williams, neither were paid explicitly to promote White House policy in their columns.
A 2004 video produced by the Health and Human Services
Department to promote the administration's new Medicare prescription drug law ended with the tagline in journalese: "In Washington, I'm Karen Ryan reporting."
A number of local TV stations aired this spot and others produced by federal agencies, without disclosing their source.
Last May, the General Accounting Office ruled that the prepackaged news report segment violated a law prohibiting the use of federal funds for propaganda because it did not identify the government as the source of the news report.
The Gannon case raises the tougher question of who gets to be a journalist. In Washington, credentialing standards vary among the different branches of government. Gannon, who wrote for the GOP-linked Talon News website, was first criticized by liberal Internet bloggers, who objected to the pro-administration slant in his questions, such as "...How are you going to work with [Democrats] who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"
Turned down for a congressional press pass because he did not meet the standards set for a journalist, James Guckert (Gannon's real name) has had access to the White House briefing room for more than two years on day passes. "Many seasoned journalists have not had the honor of attending the events or enjoying the access Mr. Guckert has," said Rep. Louise Slaughter (D) of New York.
Guckert/Gannon has revealed a great deal of information that indicates his access to the White House There is no reason to question the fact that he was a conservative republican plant. There may be some question about how far up the White House food chain clear knowledge of his act as a shill goes, but there is no question at all that whoever set the plan up and inacted it is now being protected by Bush. If Bush wanted to know how Guckert/Gannon got access to White House Briefings, he knows. But he approves, because we aren't being told.
Guckert/Gannon in White House Briefings is the responsibility of George W. Bush. He is primary. Others matter, but it is first the responsibility of George W. Bush.
If you want to read two really funny, angry books read his "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail."
His style, which he called Gonzo Journalism, is a blend of fact and fiction that he said got closer to the truth being reported on than objective facts do. Since the first book above is his report of being a totally stoned reporter who attended and reported on the District Attorney convention on Drug Control in Las Vegas, you might begin to guess it is not your normal rational tale. It's not. It is angry, hilarious, unforgettable, and educational.
The second is his report of covering Nixon's 1972 Presidential Campaign as the National Desk Reporter for the Rolling Stone. Since in those days Rolling Stone was sort of a version of Mad Magazine that covered the then still very new Rock and Roll scene, and Hunter S. Thompson already had his reputation, it is once again angry, hilarious, unforgettable and extremely educational. It's a shame he didn't do similar books on GWB's 2000 and 2004 elections.
He was also the source Garry Trudeau used when he drew the character "Duke" in Doonesbury. I've read that Thompson was less than happy with that, but I loved it.
I notice that the short personal history the Washington Post article included did not include the fact that he had a Ph.D. in Journalism from Colombia before he spent his year riding with the Hell's Angels. I'm told that the Angels loved his book.
In any case, if you have some time and want a really funny read, try the two books I mentioned above. Then lift a drink to the passing of a very interesting, fun, funny and insightful writer who did it his way. I certainly will.
In reading the many tributes to the genius of Hunter S. Thompson, I am beginning to suspect that my long-time belief that he had a Ph.D. in Journalism from Colombia is the result of another of his jokes. Doesn't surprise me. Like him, I have a Doctor of Divinity from the Universal Life Church.
Doesn't matter if he does or doesn't have that or any degree. He had a truly great insight into America and an ability to express it that I can only envy.
Sunday, February 20, 2005
The answer is that this is just one element in the entire consistent set of actions from the White House and the Republican Party. Gannon is not a journalist except by the very loosest of definitions. He has never before even pretended to be one. What he is is a right-wing political hack and a male gay prostitute who, except for his political ideology as right-winger would never be allowed within a quarter mile of the White House fence.
But it is a symptom of the overall effort of the Republicans to spin a massive propaganda effort to mislead the American public. The Gannon is just one more in a consistent pattern of Republican duplicity. A brief list includes:
1. Gannon/Guckert as a White House authorized shill and ringer in the White House Press Briefings.
2. The White House has been buying pundits and journalists to spread its lies.
3. The Administration just got its hands slapped for putting out fake 'news reports' with pro administration propaganda.
4. Then there are the repeated efforts to subvert elections, like the Republican operatives who recently were jailed for jamming Democratic phone lines on Election Day 2002.
These are just a very brief outline of the overall story. The real story is the total propaganda effort beginning with lies from the very top and echoed all the way down the chain. The sex part connected with Gannon is just an indicator of how sleazy the whole business is.
Besides money, are they also using prostitutes to buy more favorable media treatment? How about blackmail? Gannon/Guckert also shows that they do not hesitate to sacrifice American national security in their effort to push the propaganda messages. The Plame Affair also shows both how sleazy they are, the extent to which they will go to get what they want, and their total lack of concern for American National Security.
Now remember, this is spread over the elections of 2000, 2002, and 2004, the Tax Cuts, the so-called War on Terror, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the Destruction of Social Security and the coming effort to further revise the tax code.
This is all one package. Gannon/Guckert and the prostitution element is merely a graphic display to extremes and the level of sleaze these Republicans go to in order to get what they want.
This story has a long way to go. We know very little yet, and it illuminates so much already.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
September 27 1999, GOPUSA3-DOM CreatedDecember 1999, GOPUSA (according to Bobby Eberle, see interview) started as a Web-design company for Republican candidates. Not much activity and lacking success they reevaluated direction in Spring 2000.
September 2000, the GOPUSA became Internet news/information/commentary company.
November 2000, following election, Bruce Eberle, starts Election Integrity 2000 (later known as MillionsofAmericans.com). In the following two weeks, 335,656 petitions delivered to Sec. of State Katherine Harris in support of Bush. In later articles, they claim that 600,000 petitions were gathered. (more on activities in box below)
January 1, 2003 The GOPUSA news archives began
January 15, 2003 Gannon byline in GOPUSA
February 28, 2003 Gannon in White House
March 29, 2003, Talon News registers its domain name
April 1, 2003, the site goes live
April 3, 2003, Guckert goes to work in White House as Talon reporter
September 2003, GOPUSA Conference
March 24, 2004 merger of www.millionsofamerican.com with www.gopusa.com (see letter below)
Online Journal has an interesting article on James Guckert/Jeff Gannon (JGJG) written by Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author, and columnist. Since I am unfamiliar with either Online Journal or Wayne Madsen, I present this as only interesting rumors. In my opinion that puts this article in the same level of reliability as raw FBI files. Essentially this article provides a description of Guckert/Gannons’ conservative connections.
I am trying to learn who gave JGJG two years of daily access to the White House Press Briefings and who gave him critical information such as four hour advance notice on the beginning of the bombing of Iraq. These indicate a severe security lapse at the White House. The allegations of a conservative DC gay prostitution ring seems like a connection that would explain it.
Here are two snippets that might lead to the White House source of access:
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said he did not realize Gannon was using an alias until recently. However, rumors in the gay community are circulating about McClellan frequenting gay bars in Austin, Texas.
Last year, a senior source on the Washington Times editorial staff (the same paper that broke the GOP pedophile scandal in 1989) linked White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove to gay activities involving top Republican political strategists in Washington, DC.
These allegations hint at Scott McClellan and/or Karl Rove.
Friday, February 18, 2005
As a young Captain in the 1970's I worked briefly for an Armored Corp Brigadier who had served in WW II One evening at the club he explained to several of us how he first got into the tank corps as it was being created for WW II.
He was commissioned a lieutenant in the horse cavalry prior to WW II, and was training at Fort Bliss, near El Paso Texas. As the culmination of a set of training exercises he was to lead a live fire cavalry charge across the desert. He spoke of his excitement as he pulled his .45 pistol, raised it over his head, stood in his saddle, yelled "Charge", brought his .45 down and fired – right into his horses' head.
Killed the horse instantly. His transfer to a nearby tank unit was almost as rapid. During the quick transfer he recalls his CO saying something about "No one who shot his own horse was ever going to be a cavalry officer."
He was drinking gin-and-tonic as he told the story.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Kevin Drum provides access to the CATO institutes' calculator, then points out the very different assumptions that go into each result. Needless to say, Chuck Schumer's assumptions are a lot more realistic. Most people's income does not increase 4% per year over the working life, and the CATO institute's assumption of 4.95% return on investment over the life of the investment does not consider the management fees (probably 1% to 1.5% per year on the balance.)
Switching Social Security to private accounts is simply switching from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan.
Anyone who thinks that private accounts are the way to go should ask why companies have been phasing out defined benefit retirement plans and replacing them with defined contribution plans such as 401(k)s. In every case it is for the benefit of the company and at the cost of most of the potential retirees. One big element of that is that in a defined benefit plan, the risk is on the company. In a defined contribution plan, the risk is shifted to the retiree.
Remember that the company can afford to hire actuaries to lay out what the risks are and what they are likely to cost, then advise managers how to deal with those risks. In a defined contribution plan, the retiree is on his own to guess what those risks might be and guess how to deal with them. Very few people are good at that. Instead, retirees are left to essentially roll dice and hope for good numbers.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
It is an interesting question. Guckert has obviously been tightly connected into conservative politics, possibly because he had blackmail-type material on some insiders, and certainly because they had material on him. What did they have on him? Well, he was a gay prostitute. Let's look at that.
Was Guckert really a member of the Marine Corps Reserves? (USMCPT - US Marine Corps Part Time - See John Aravosis' excellent but disturbing investigative work.) If he was, then he ran the danger of getting kicked out for being Gay under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
If he was open to blackmail, that is the most likely source. It is gone now. He is out. It seems to me that he would be more amenable to switching.
However, if his access to the White House briefings came from a highly placed White House lover, he may still feel that he has an in to the administration and feel "protected" by his knowledge.
Getting him to switch would be similar to the effort an intelligence agency puts into converting a spy or defector. The administration could be expected to react as though that was exactly what was happening.
But Guckert is clearly vulnerable to that type approach - by ANY intelligence agency in the world, as well as by liberals who want him to switch. That is why he is also a threat to national security.
It is this last vulnerability that makes his strange actions and the even stranger actions of the White House to clear him daily to briefings that makes this more than just an attack on him for "personal reasons."
Guckert was never permitted attend Congressional press conferences. Permission to those is granted by the media reporters themselves. He also never had normal clearance to the White House press conferences. That is why he had to get cleared daily.
If he can be approached and convinced to come clean, he can tell who was clearing him. And why?
If I were Guckert I would consider getting a body guard to watch his back and let him sleep. Which might be another lever to convince him to switch sides. Once he has told his story, he is a lot safer than he is right now.
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Johnson posted an email he received "...from the office of Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (NY-28), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Rules that includes this quote:
"This matter is growing more serious by the day. We now know that 'Jeff Gannon' had access to classified CIA documents that contained the identity of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame. This is more than an issue of media manipulation by the White House... this is now an issue of national security," said Rep. Slaughter. "What is the White House hiding? This man, Mr. Gannon, should never have been admitted into the White House briefing room in the first place. Someone let him in day after day. Someone gave him access to classified CIA documents. Someone must answer for this. It is critical that we uncover the exact nature of the relationship between Gannon and this White House," added Slaughter."
This is scary stuff. This White House is all politics and no effective operation of government when the two are in conflict.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Juan Cole presents his view today, with which I agree. [If you don't regularly read Juan Cole on Iraq, you should.]
A highly placed US official in Baghdad told the Chicago Tribune's Liz Sly that he thought the guerrilla war would go on for many years. As regular readers know, I concur. The old Sunni Arab power elite, mainly Baathists or the officer class, has not reconciled itself to the political ascendancy of the Shiites and Kurds. They still think they can destabilize the country and take back over. I would compare them to the Phalangists, the fascist Maronite Christians in Lebanon, who fought tooth and nail 1975-1989 against recognizing that Christians were no longer a dominant majority in Lebanon. Eventually they had to accept a 50/50 split of seats in parliament (which is generous to the Christians, given that Muslims are now a clear majority). That the Sunni Arab elite might be quicker studies than the Phalangists is possible but a little unlikely.
Likewise, the guerrillas in Iraq have many advantages. They were the managerial class and the officer class, so they have a great deal of organizational know-how. They clearly still have some of the loot the Baathists stole from the Iraqi people, and they know where the missing 250,000 tons of munitions are. If either ran out, there are plenty of Gulf millionnaires who would surreptitiously support a Sunni insurgency against American domination in Iraq. Money is fungible and I don't think their support could be effectively interfered with (do you know how many nouveau riche millionnaires there are in the Gulf?)
America isn't going to stop bleeding and hemorrhaging money in Iraq anytime soon. The Kurds and Shiites will not have effective police or an army in less than two years, if then, and the longer we are there the more we will lose in the Muslim world.
Worse, the Bush administration thinks we will get out soon, so they are not building up the already severely overstretched US military forces. That's the message they send by funding the Iraq war on special appropriations instead of budgeting for the war.
Such ideologically blinded idiocy and incompetence is really hard to believe. In spite of the brief bright spot of the election, the problems are rapidly getting worse and there isn't any suggestion that a correction is on the way.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
The White House has been accrediting an organization called "Talon News" as White House Correspondents, and their "reporter" has a reputation of offering low-ball easy questions when the White House Press Officer was in trouble.
Talon News has no known subscribers, and their "reporter", Joe Gannon, mostly simply reprints GOP press handouts as news when he is not writing gay-bashing articles. Gannon is somehow the only representative of the Press to have seen a classified memorandum that stated that Amb. Wilson's choice to go to Niger to investigate uranium sales was suggested by his wife, Valerie Plame.
This Republican stalking-horse, Talon, passing as news was exposed on the Dkos.com website. It will now be more difficult to document because Joe Gannon has suddenly resigned, and all of his articles, previously posted on the "Talon News" website have been removed.SusanG has posted an interview with Amb. Joe Wilson regarding Joe Gannon's interview with him in the Valerie Plame affair. Read it. It is worth reading.
World O'Crap offers a description of "Jeff Gannon." Oh, and that isn't his real name. It may be Jim Guckert. He has been getting daily permits to attend the White House daily briefings, probabably because he can't pass a real security check.
John Derbyshaw has a good discussion of the Intelligent Design (psuedo) arguments. Essentially he explains why they are not science, and not even particularly good metaphysics.
As he points out, the IDer's have offered the same, stale arguments for 15 years in spite of the fact that those arguments have been repeatedly destroyed. That merely demonstrates the degree to which ID is a faith-based argument, not a scientific one.
Since science classes are supposed to teach how to think scientifically and ID is clearly not scientific thinking, ID should not be taught in science classes. The Mullahs, Bible-thumpers and other True-Believers have their own classes to populate. Let's keep them from contaminating our science classes.
Monday, February 07, 2005
(Source: http://www.akiko.ndirect.co.uk/words/advice.html )
From a recording of William S. Burroughs:
Meanwhile, life goes on... I am sometimes asked if I have any words of advice for young people. Well, here are a few simple admonitions for young and old, man and beast.
Never interfere in a boy and girl fight.
Beware of whores who say they don't want money. The hell they don't. What they mean is that they want *more* money; much more, these are the most expensive whores what can be got.
If you're doing business with a religious son of a bitch, get it in writing; his word isn't worth shit, not with the good lord telling him how to fuck you on the deal.
If, after having been exposed to someone's presence, you feel as if you've lost a quart of plasma, avoid that presence. You need it like you need pernicious anemia.
We don't like to hear the word "vampire" around here; we're trying to improve our public image. Building a kindly, avuncular, benevolent image; "interdependence" is the keyword -- "enlightened interdependence". Life in all its rich variety, take a little, leave a little. However, by the inexorable logistics of the vampiric process they always take more than they leave -- and why, indeed, should they take any?
Avoid fuck-ups. Fools, I call them. You all know the type -- no matter how good it sounds, everything they have anything to do with turns into a disaster. Trouble for themselves and everyone connected with them. A fool is bad news, and it rubs off -- don't let it rub off on you.
Do not proffer sympathy to the mentally ill; it is a bottomless pit. Tell them firmly, "I am not paid to listen to this drivel -- you are a terminal fool!" Otherwise, they make you as crazy as they are.
Above all, avoid confirmed criminals. They are a special malignant strain of fool.
Anyone who has looked at George W. Bush honestly and evaluated what he has done himself (rather than who is family is, what he says, how much money he has, or who he pals around with) has known that GWB is a fuckup. Nothing good has ever happened because he was there, and the experience of his governorship and Presidency has not changed that experience.
The best GWB can ever say is "Hey! I didn't do it!" but shit keeps happening all around him. He is a fuckup and a fool.
Worst I've had in over twenty years. Glad it is about over. Wish I'd gotten a flu shot. Rampant incompetence in government circles!
It's all Bush's fault!