Dubya & Pootie-Poot highlights
We're going to have to try and catch TV footage of the Bush-Putin news conference later because based on the transcript, it sounds like (unintentionally) they put the laugh in Bratislava*. First, it was a field-day for anyone monitoring Dubya's habit of suddenly springing insider jargon, which as Mo Dowd once pointed out, is an old Bush family habit possibly linked with being under pressure. So today, the dude who likes to say 'nucular' suddenly uncorks:
... MANPADS ... mil-to-mil exchanges ...
Thanks to Google, we can at least verify that the first acronym, which we suspect most people watching didn't recognise, stands for man-portable air defense systems. A weirdly convoluted way of saying shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, but we suppose that SFAAM, while being a good bubble word for the fight scenes in an old Batman episode, doesn't sound sound half as cool as MANPADS, which conjures up the geriatric aisle at the supermarket if not the weirder images from his previous favourite 'man' term, mandate.
Make sure now that you're sitting down for Dubya's statement of how US democracy operates:
PRESIDENT BUSH: I live in a transparent country. I live in a country where decisions made by government are wide open, and people are able to call people to -- me to account, which many out here due on a regular basis. Our laws, and the reasons why we have laws on the books, are perfectly explained to people. Every decision we have made is within the Constitution of the United States. We have a Constitution that we uphold. And if there is a question as to whether or not a law meets that Constitution, we have an independent court system, through which that law is reviewed.
There's not enough space on Blogger's servers to track every laughable assertion here. Let's just get the ball rolling with mere mentions of Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force, the secret terrorism suspect detentions, Gitmo, the bamboozle sales pitches for the tax cuts and Medicare legislation, and the Rehnquist-Scalia-Thomas votes that put Dubya in the White House back in 2000.**
We'll keep going. One gets the impression from the news conference that one of Pootie-Poot's critiques of having more liberal media laws in Russia was that such a media would say nasty things about him. Dubya had this soothing model from back home to offer:
Obviously, there has got to be constraints. There's got to be truth. People have got to tell the truth, and if somebody violates the truth, then those who own a particular newspaper or those who are in charge of particular electronic station need to hold people to account. The press -- the capacity of the press to hold people to account also depends on their willingness to self-examine at times when they're wrong. And that happens on occasion in America. And that's -- that's an important part of maintaining a proper relationship between government and press.
I can assure you that the folks here are constantly trying to hold me to account for decisions I make and how I make decisions. I'm comfortable with that. It's part of the checks and balances of a democracy.
Note for Dubya, accountability is something the media has to do, and it sometimes involve media people losing their jobs. Not his administration. He's right about one thing though -- the folks in the USA are indeed constantly trying to hold him to account. Not succeeding.
*UPDATE: Feb 25. It's not just us. James Wolcott basically wonders what the f**k was going on at that news conference. And Dan Froomkin goes to the trouble of providing links for an almost identical (to what we listed) set of contradictions to Dubya's view of American democracy.