Category : President George Bush

([London] Times) Tim Montgomerie–Rescue the Christians ”“ and then keep going

The Christ Church congregation listened in silence as Canon Andrew White talked about one of his parishioners who had been visiting Mosul when Isis overran it. After the jihadis had robbed this widow of her life savings they forced her wedding ring from her fingers. She was lucky. The ring came off. People with stickier rings have had their fingers chopped in half, then been ordered to flee to save their lives.

Many haven’t saved theirs. On his Facebook page Andrew White told of a Christian family of eight who had been shot through their faces after refusing to renounce their faith. A photo that was too horrific for him to publish captured the blood-soaked scene and the family Bible on the couch ”” still open but never to be read by them again. Elsewhere in Mosul there is a park where the heads of children who’ve been cut in half are put on a stick to warn others that anyone, however young, who refuses to convert to Islam will be put to the sword.

Mr White didn’t stay in Guildford for long. He keeps returning to the most dangerous place on earth and his explanation is simple: you can’t abandon the people you love. It is to the enormous shame of Britain and America that we did not live by the Andrew White principle. America stayed in Germany and South Korea for decades to help to ensure they became the stable nations that they are today. Iraq needed a similar level of commitment. It didn’t get it.

Read it all (if you click on the picture it enlarges).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Islam, Office of the President, Other Faiths, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, President George Bush, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(PewR) More than Half of Amercians Now See Failure rather than Success in Iraq, Afghanistan

After more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the public does not think the United States has achieved its goals in either country. About half of Americans (52%) say the U.S. has mostly failed to achieve its goals in Afghanistan while 38% say it has mostly succeeded. Opinions about the U.S. war in Iraq are virtually the same: 52% say the United States has mostly failed in reaching its goals there, while 37% say it has mostly succeeded.

In both cases, evaluations of the wars have turned more negative in recent years. In November 2011, as the U.S. was completing its military withdrawal from Iraq, a majority (56%) thought the U.S. had achieved its goals there.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Iraq War, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, President George Bush, Theology, War in Afghanistan

(Pew Research) Trust in Government Nears Record Low, But Most Federal Agencies Are Viewed Favorably

Public trust in the government, already quite low, has edged even lower in a survey conducted just before the Oct. 16 agreement to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling.

Trust in Government Again Near All-Time LowJust 19% say that they trust the government in Washington to do what is right just about always or most of the time, down seven points since January. The current measure matches the level reached in August 2011, following the last battle over the debt ceiling. Explore a Pew Research interactive on Public Trust in Government: 1958-2013.

The share of the public saying they are angry at the federal government, which equaled an all-time high in late September (26%), has ticked up to 30%. Another 55% say they are frustrated with the government. Just 12% say they are basically content with the federal government.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, President George Bush, Psychology, Senate, The U.S. Government, Theology

(Economist) Liberty’s lost decade–Security v freedom in the United States

This newspaper is a wholehearted supporter of the United States and its commitment to individual freedom. At the same time we acknowledge that any government’s first responsibility is to protect its own citizens. It made sense to adjust the balance between liberty and security after September 11th. But America’s values ought not to have become casualties of Mr Bush’s war on terror.

The indefinite incarceration of prisoners in Guantánamo Bay without trial was a denial of due process. It was legal casuistry to redefine the torture of prisoners with waterboarding and stress positions as “enhanced interrogation”. The degradation of Iraqi criminals in Abu Ghraib prison in 2003, extraordinary rendition and the rest of it were the result of a culture, led by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, that was both unAmerican and a recruiting sergeant for its enemies. Mr Obama has stopped the torture, but Guantánamo remains open and the old system of retribution has often been reinforced.

Neither Mr Snowden nor Mr Manning is a perfect ambassador for a more liberal approach.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President George Bush, Science & Technology, Terrorism

Six Days After 9/11, Another Anniversary Worth Honoring

In the coming days, the calendar will bring the anniversaries of two signal events. One, of course, is Sept. 11, a Tuesday this year, as it was in 2001, when Al Qaeda terrorists in four hijacked planes killed more than 3,000 Americans. With public memorial services and private tears, those deaths will be recalled and mourned.

The other anniversary is of the visit President George W. Bush made to a Washington mosque just six days after the attack, where he spoke eloquently against the harassment of Arabs and Muslims living in the United States and about the need to respect Islam.

This act of leadership and statesmanship, however, has all but vanished from the national collective memory. It deserves, instead, to be noted and heeded and esteemed.

Read it all and make sure to read the whole speech also.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Office of the President, Other Faiths, Politics in General, President George Bush, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

Former President George Bush speaks at the dedication ceremony for the Flight 93 memorial

I found this very moving (about 10 minutes long), as was the talk by former President Clinton (before) and Vice President Biden (after) which I also recommend you take the time to hear. You can find all the talks at the link provided.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Office of the President, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, President George Bush, Terrorism

Gallup–Americans Back Bin Laden Mission; Credit Military, CIA Most

Ninety-three percent of Americans say they approve of the action that killed bin Laden. This is similar to the 90% of Americans who in an Oct. 7, 2001, poll approved of the U.S. taking military action against Afghanistan. These approval levels are higher than the immediate reaction to the launching of either the first Persian Gulf War in 1991 or the Iraq war in 2003, for which approval was in the mid- to high 70% range.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, President George Bush, Psychology, Terrorism

(Reuters) Larry Summers: Recession risk without tax deal

Failure by the U.S. Congress to pass a tax cut deal soon would “materially increase” the risk of the economy stalling and a double dip recession, White House economic adviser Larry Summers said on Wednesday.

Summers, who is leaving his post as Obama’s top economic adviser this month, said Obama’s deal with Republicans to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class and the wealthiest Americans would provide more fiscal support for the economy than most observers expected only weeks ago.

“Failure to pass this bill in the next couple weeks would materially increase the risk that the economy would stall out and we would have a double-dip,” Summers told reporters at the White House.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, President George Bush, Senate, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Washington Post–Tax-cut deal reached between Obama, Republicans

President Obama and congressional Republicans agreed Monday to a tentative deal that would extend for two years all the Bush-era income tax breaks set to expire on Dec. 31, continue unemployment benefits for an additional 13 months and cut payroll taxes for workers to encourage employers to start hiring.

The deal has been in the works for more than a week and represents a concession by Obama to political reality: Democrats don’t have the votes in Congress to extend only the expiring income tax breaks that benefit the middle class. The White House estimates that the proposed agreement would prevent typical families from facing annual tax increases of about $3,000, starting Jan. 1.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, President George Bush, Senate, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

George W. Bush says faith helped in tough times

Former President George W. Bush turned to his faith amid the tough times during his eight years in office, he said Saturday at a religious school’s banquet.

“I don’t see how I could be president without prayer,” he told the crowd of more than 1,100 at the Fort Worth Christian School event at a downtown hotel. “The prayers of the people … sustained me, comforted me and strengthened me in a way I could have never predicted before becoming president, and for that I am extremely grateful.”

Bush, who has had many speaking engagements since moving to Dallas after his presidency, said he doesn’t plan on staying in the public eye.

“You won’t see me out there opining … or criticizing my successor,” Bush said, later adding that he is writing a book about his decisions in office so that “you can draw your own conclusions.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Office of the President, Politics in General, President George Bush, Religion & Culture

Peggy Noonan–The Off-Center President

This touches on the still-essential question that historians will write books about: How did the president lose the room? How did he lose popularity?

The leftward edge of the left says he did it by being too accommodating, by trying for a bipartisanship that doesn’t exist. The rightward edge of the right says he did it by revealing his essentially socialistic agenda. The center has said, in polls and at the polls, that it didn’t like his administration’s first-year obsession with a health-care bill that was huge, costly and impenetrably complicated, and would be run by those people who gave you the DMV and the post office.

The political class this week blamed it on the Chicago Mafia, the longtime Obama friends and associates who surround him in the Oval Office. But even that doesn’t explain it. What did they do wrong? And why do people think Mr. Obama’s advisers are different from Mr. Obama?

Washington’s pundits have begun announcing that the White House is better at campaigning than at governing, but that was obvious last summer. The president and his advisers understand one thing really well, and that is Democratic primaries and Democratic politics. This is the area in which they made their careers. It’s how they defeated Hillary Clinton””by knowing how Democrats think. In the 2008 general election, appealing for the first time to all of America and not only to Democrats, they had one great gift on their side, the man who both made Mr. Obama and did in John McCain, and that was George W. Bush.

But now it is 2010, and Mr. Bush is gone. Mr. Obama is left with America, and he does not, really, understand it. That is why he thinks moving to the center would be political death, when moving to the center and triangulating, as Bill Clinton did, might give him a new lease on life.

Read it all from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, President George Bush, Senate, The U.S. Government

Paul Vallely: 'Good faith' isn't usually good enough

Conscience is the last court of appeal. “If I am utterly convinced, how else could I act? Morally speaking it would be wrong to do anything else. My judgement may be faulty but my moral sense cannot be queried.” As a society we don’t just accept conscience, we expect it. We reject its opposite, the Nuremberg defence of “I only did what I was ordered to do”.

But we do place limits on conscience. Some Muslim student doctors are now telling their medical ethics lecturers that the right of conscience should extend to them, as Muslim men, refusing to examine the bodies of women. They have been given short shrift, but it is problematic, in logic, to say why conscience may be exercised over abortion but not over gender. (Or in the case of Catholic adoption agencies, over sexuality). In the end the answer is empirical rather than logical: that is what this society has decided.

That raises the question of what a society wants in a leader. “My duty was to put the country first,” said Mr Blair at Trimdon. We like that when his view of the national interest concurs with ours. But what about when it does not? When George Bush declared that he was not signing Kyoto because climate change curbs were not in America’s best interest, most outsiders bridled, yet Bush was doing what he saw as a leader’s job. Rowan Williams does the same when he suppresses his personal views on homosexuality in favour of a strategy to try to keep the Anglican Communion together; he sees that his role supersedes, at present, his personal views.

But Tony Blair offers a different view. “My duty was to put the country first,” he said at Trimdon, and “in time you realise that putting the country first doesn’t mean doing the right thing according to the prevailing consensus or the latest snapshot of opinion. It means doing what you genuinely believe to be right. That your duty as prime minister is to act according to your conviction.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iraq War, Office of the President, Politics in General, President George Bush, Theology

Time Magazine: Mass Mutiny: How Scott Brown Shook the Political World

Brown’s victory ”” some called it “the Scott heard round the world” ”” on the eve of the first anniversary of Barack Obama’s Inauguration was an ominous sign for Democrats for the midterm elections ahead and a potentially crippling blow to Obama’s entire agenda. Brown ran explicitly on a promise to be the “41st Senator,” who would give the Republicans the power to block what he called “the trillion-dollar health care bill that is being forced on the American people,” one that will “raise taxes, hurt Medicare, destroy jobs and run our nation deeper into debt.”

That such a message would resonate here was poignant, given that no one had fought harder and longer than Kennedy for universal health care, something that the terminally ill liberal lion had referred to before his death in August as “the cause of my life.” And it was all the more ironic considering that Massachusetts has come closer than any other state to assuring coverage to all of its citizens, thanks to a 2006 law that was championed by a Republican governor, Mitt Romney, who was celebrating onstage with Brown on election night.

Although the rest of the country sees Massachusetts as the bluest of blue states ”” it had not elected a Republican Senator since Richard Nixon was President ”” its political complexion is actually more subtle. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 3 to 1, but fully half the state’s voters are registered “unenrolled” ”” not affiliated with any party. And four of its last five governors have been Republicans, albeit ones of a more moderate stripe than that of the national party.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, Office of the President, Politics in General, President George Bush, Senate

Anatole Kaletsky: Obama should have blamed Bush, not bankers

The economic pattern of the early 1980s may well be repeated. The US economy is likely to start to recover strongly, with a growth rate of more than 5 per cent expected this month.

But it looks increasingly doubtful that Mr Obama and the Democrats will enjoy the benefits. Having won Massachusetts, the Republicans will have no compunction in claiming that what saved the US economy was the conservative backlash. If the Democrats fail to challenge them, this is the version of reality that American voters will start to believe.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, President George Bush, Senate, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

Senate Report: Bin Laden Was 'Within Our Grasp'

Osama bin Laden was unquestionably within reach of U.S. troops in the mountains of Tora Bora when American military leaders made the crucial and costly decision not to pursue the terrorist leader with massive force, a Senate report says.

The report asserts that the failure to kill or capture bin Laden at his most vulnerable in December 2001 has had lasting consequences beyond the fate of one man. Bin Laden’s escape laid the foundation for today’s reinvigorated Afghan insurgency and inflamed the internal strife now endangering Pakistan, it says.

Staff members for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Democratic majority prepared the report at the request of the chairman, Sen. John Kerry, as President Barack Obama prepares to boost U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, History, Military / Armed Forces, Office of the President, Politics in General, President George Bush, Terrorism, War in Afghanistan