It's time for a brand-new edition of the Scotty Show! And today's edition is definitely Scotterrific, so I want to get right to it. But first, The Scotty Show has added a new feature: If you want to be added to a "notify list" that will inform you immediately of a new edition of The Scotty Show, go ahead and send an email. Several other reportedly cool kids are doing it, and I have it on good authority that it has changed their lives dramatically for the better! Give it a try today! We promise not to use the email addresses for anything except notifying you of new Scotty Shows and as a cross-reference for when we want to know who our true friends are when we conquer the world.
Press corps comments and questions are italicized for her pleasure.
Scotty's bullshit is thick and bold, like in real life.
Translations are in plain text, which I'm sure signifies something suitably profound.
We're making important progress [on the economy]. Each year the President has been in office we have cut the growth of non-security discretionary spending; 2006 we proposed the most disciplined budget since Reagan was President.
A second aspect he'll talk about is making sure that workers have the skills and the job training that they need to fill the new jobs of the 21st century, particularly in our changing economy that we are in.
Secretary Laird said, when he came out of the meeting this morning, that the President heard some things from the participants that he didn't like. What did the President hear that he didn't like today?
I don't know what he was referring to. You might want to ask what he was referring to. The President welcomed the opportunity to sit down with this distinguished group of Democrats and Republicans from previous administrations. I will tell you -- to give you an accurate picture of what took place in that meeting -- the President talked about how he wanted to hear from each of these leaders, that he valued their advice and ideas. And he talked about the importance of what we're working to achieve in Iraq and how that is important to helping lay the foundations of peace for generations to come, and the importance of spreading democracy.
So this was really an opportunity to update them on our plan for victory and the progress we're making, as well as to talk about the difficulties and challenges ahead. The President has talked often about how while we're making important progress, there are going to be tough days ahead.
I think it was something to the effect of, "Mister President, your foreign policy is the biggest clusterfuck I have ever seen in my entire life." And when NIXON'S Secretary of Defense, who presided over Vietnam, says something like that, it does bad things to the president. We can see this clearly from the extensive notes the president took during the meeting. To wit:
So you were at the meeting, did you see any comments from any of the former Secretaries that the President didn't seem to like?
He appreciated the opportunity to sit down with them. I think they had a very open discussion about things, but for the most part, he heard constructive ideas that he appreciated hearing. I know there was one Secretary that talked about the importance of making sure the military is calling the shots, and that it's not being based on the political side here in Washington, D.C. Well, that's something the President has talked about often, that the decisions on the ground need to be made by our commanders on the ground. It's our military leaders who are in the best position to make the decisions about troop levels. And they understand the mission. They understand the stakes involved, and they know what they need to complete that mission.
He heard about some ideas on the formation of helping the new government be an inclusive one that represents all Iraqis. He heard some appreciation from these -- I think a number of these leaders, if not all, that they appreciated the speeches the President has been giving, talking to the American people about our plan for victory and making clear to them the challenges and difficulties that lie ahead, and doing so in a very open and candid way. And they encouraged him to keep doing that.
And one of the leaders, one of the Secretaries, former Secretaries at the end, I think summed it up -- and everybody seemed to nod their heads -- said, "Thank you for bringing us here. I can't recall another time when a President has done something like this."
ABBREVIATED TRANSCRIPT OF MEETING
as retold by Scott McClellan
THE GLORIOUS KING BUSH: Okay, guys, I brought you here to talk about the Iraq war.
DEF. SECRETARIES: You are truly a wise leader.
THE GLORIOUS KING BUSH: Thank you. The Iraq war is going swimmingly. Our plan for victory is on track and everything we are doing is working perfectly. Now I would like to hear your opinions.
DEF. SECRETARY #1 Well, sir, I think that American forces should stand down as Iraqi troops stand up.
THE GLORIOUS KING BUSH: Excellent. Who else?
DEF. SECRETARY #2: We must stay the course. Timelines would only embolden the enemy.
THE GLORIOUS KING BUSH: I agree. Next.
DEF. SECRETARY #3: Democrats hate the troops and want to help the enemy with their "cut and run" strategy.
THE GLORIOUS KING BUSH: Yup.
DEF. SECRETARY #4: And I think it's very important that you continue to give speeches that say nothing new and just vaguely promise victory while giving no indication you actually have an actual plan to accomplish that.
THE GLORIOUS KING BUSH: I'm a step ahead of you there. Well, if there's nothing else, I guess we'll adjourn. That means, end the meeting. Heh heh. I like to call it "adjourning".
DEF. SECRETARIES: We all love you sir!
Scott, former Prime Minister -- or former Secretary Eagleburger said that Prime Minister Sharon's stroke was a disaster for the peace process. Does the White House agree with that assessment?
Well, first of all, Terry, let me make clear a couple of things, this is a time to keep Prime Minister Sharon in our thoughts and prayers. And that's what we are doing. We pray for his recovery, and we will continue to keep our focus there. I think Secretary Rice, earlier today, made very clear that the desire for peace in the Middle East is wide and deep within Israel and within the Palestinian Territories. And in terms of the situation right now, we continue to stay in touch with the government of Israel and we pray for Prime Minister Sharon.
Well, even if this sets the peace process back, the White House hesitates to describe it as a "disaster". We would term it as a "Rapture-Accelerating Event".
What impact do you think this has had on the peace process?
Again, Terry, I think this is a time to keep our attention where it should be, which is on the health of Prime Minister Sharon. The President is concerned about his health situation. He had a good discussion with Secretary General Annan earlier today on some other matters, and they talked about their shared concern for Prime Minister Sharon's health. He is a courageous leader who has taken some bold steps to help advance peace in the Middle East. But the desire for peace is strong in the region and it is wide and deep, as Secretary Rice indicated.
We can't possibly know that right now, but it's important to not second-guess God's decision to smite him.
Were you able to find out whether Abramoff was part of the transition team, and in that respect, had any relationship to the Interior Department?
In terms of any individual agency, I think you'd have to go and check with the people who were involved in that transition. In terms of the overall transition effort, I mean, we had an office that was running -- I was very involved in that effort -- and he wasn't a member of the staff of any of the transition team here in Washington, D.C. But in terms of --
I'm sorry, Abramoff who? The president does not know of anybody by that name.
Does the President think that 120 people dying [in one day] in Iraq, after we're nearly three years into this war, is tolerable?
The Iraqi people, Helen, have shown time and time again that they want to live in freedom. I think it's important to look at what took place in December. There are terrorists and Saddam loyalists --
And this war is helping ordinary Iraqis live in freedom.
As long as you don't define "live", say, the way the dictionary does:
v. intr., lived, liv*ing, lives.
- To be alive; exist.
- To continue to be alive.
Why are we there? Why are we killing people there?
-- there are terrorists and Saddam loyalists -- because we're transforming the Middle East, and that will help us lay the foundations of peace for generations to come.
And everybody knows that the key to laying foundations for peace is to kill the everlasting fuck out of people.
-- didn't ask you to do that, their country.
We were attacked on September 11th and --
I think everybody recalls that tragic day just a few short years ago, when Saddam Hussein climbed aboard a 747 and crashed it directly into the World Trade Center. And then all the other citizens of Iraq climbed aboard another 747 and crashed it into the Pentagon. Those crazy Iraqis.
We were not attacked by Iraqis.
I don't think we ever said we were.
SCOTTY SHOW FLASHBACK!!
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, your implication is certainly that.
HELEN: In this case, there have been several --
MR. McCLELLAN: That's your implication. No, that's your implication.
But what we learned on that day was that this is not a law enforcement war we're engaged in. This is a war about the safety and security of the American people. It's not a law enforcement matter. It's a war. We are a nation at war. And this is a comprehensive effort that we're taking. We're not ignoring threats. We are confronting threats before it's too late. And that's what this President will -
We are killing Iraqis because
they were behind 9/11!!! Oh, I mean, they had biological and chemical weapons. All right, all right... it's because of the mushroom cloud over New York City. Uh, we are liberating the Iraqis from a regime that tortures them?
You had none from Iraq.
-- that's what this President will continue to do because he knows his most important responsibility is protecting the American people. And spreading democracy in the broader Middle East is vital to our own nation's --
La la la... Can't you see I'm in the middle of a talking point here?
Don't do it by attacking an innocent country.
-- vital to our own nation's security. And the Iraqi people have shown they are deeply appreciative of the efforts that we have undertaken to remove a regime that was a threat and a destabilizing force in a dangerous region of the world. And we are going to change a troubled region for the better, and it will help lay the foundations of peace for generations to come.
MATH QUESTION: How many of these does it take to build a foundation of peace?
Can you also explain something about -- you often say the Iraqis are in charge, or that's up to the Iraqis. How far does that go? I mean, are they in charge of --
It's a sovereign nation.
They are in charge of doing as we tell them to.
But they make the decision, all the decisions.
It's a sovereign nation. We work in partnership --
They make the decision to do what we tell them to.
Detainee policy, on anything.
Well, I think we're working in partnership with this, and certainly we're helping in assisting them on those efforts. And I think that they appreciate the job that our men and women in uniform are doing, and they respect the advice that is given by our military commanders on the ground.
Okay, let's make this clear. We're in charge of detainees and the torturing thereof. We are also in charge of the war and anything related to the war and military affairs. As well as being in charge of all economic decisions. And all foreign policy decisions. And anything having to do with the political dynamic of the surrounding region. And we're also in charge of commerce. And don't forget the oil wells. Oh, and also the Iraqi media. We're in charge of that too, as well as immigration and border control. We're also in charge of the interior ministry and any infrastructure repair contracts we need to kick Halliburton's way. But if Allawi wants to declare tomorrow "National Iraq Day", he can do that with his sovereign powers. His powers for declaring official Iraqi holidays, dedicating building sites, and appearing at sporting events is unmatched within the sovereign nation of Iraq.
Did any of the former Secretaries raise any questions about the use of the NSA spy program, since they would all have --
No, wasn't discussed in this meeting.
Shut up, shut up, shut up! Cut his mike!
Not in any way?
Not in any way.
Thanks to extensive transcripts of conversations that the NSA has collected, we are already well aware of their positions on the spy program.
Any update on the Abramoff visits to the White House beyond the three parties that he attended?
Well, I indicated yesterday that I think there were some -- a few staff-level meetings. But, no, I'm making sure that I have a thorough report back to you on that. And I'll get that to you, hopefully very soon.
Abramoff... Abramoff... I'm sorry, I just can't place that name at all.
Scott, is it possible to, nevertheless, keep Sharon in our thoughts and prayers but comment on the peace process and its future at the same time? Can't those things happen simultaneously?
Well, I think I did make a general statement about the commitment to peace in the Middle East.
We took a bold, courageous, and principled stand when we said, "We are committed to peace in the Middle East." Now, we know that our groundbreaking position in favor of peace might be a bit controversial, but we felt we should take that political risk.
But in a more specific way, in terms of if he is incapacitated and what his incapacitation would mean?
Yes, I'm not -- I don't think it's appropriate to get into those discussions at this time. What's important is to keep Prime Minister Sharon in our thoughts and prayers right now.
It means that we're all about to get Raptured. Right..... NOW! Um... NOW! .... (long pause)... NOW!
You said that threats need to be confronted. If Iran doesn't listen to the Security Council, what options are left?
The President has talked about this in the past, and we've talked about it in the past. We continue to support the efforts of the European-3 to resolve this in a diplomatic way. But if the negotiations come to an end and it becomes clear, then the Security Council is something that the international community is prepared to refer the matter to.
I don't think you fully appreciate the nuances of United States foreign policy. Threats that don't exist -- like Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program -- those must be confronted immediately. We will bring the full force of the US military to bear against imaginary threats. However, real threats, like the nuclear capabilities of North Korea and Iran... those threats must be confronted... by other people.
Scott, some of what you're saying sounds an awful lot like the preamble to Iraq.
I SAID WAR!
Good God, y'all!
Who is it good for?
Say it again.
So how long do they have?
The President -- remember, the President has talked about this. Let's go back to what the President has said. It's not the same as -- it's not the same as Iraq. The President said that in Europe.
It's totally different, in that Iran might actually BE a threat to peace, while Iraq really wasn't.
Scott, a two-part. Does the President believe that the nation, and especially West Virginia, deserve a real apology from the Associated Press and other old big media who reported those coal miners were alive?
Les, I think it was a very heart-wrenching experience for the families and the community in West Virginia with the confusion that occurred and the communication the other day. The families of those who lost their lives remain in our thoughts and prayers. Our hearts go out to them. There is an investigation that has been launched by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, and one aspect they'll look at is the communication and what happened with regard to that. And I wouldn't want to draw any conclusions.
Everyone in this administration believes that it is important that the media spends a maximum amount of time focusing on how they reported the story incorrectly. We also think there should be very little focus on how, if this administration wasn't in bed with the coal mining industry, they might have continued the Clinton administration's policy on strict enforcement of mining safety regulations which in turn might have prevented the media from having a story to get wrong in the first place.
Yes, but my question is, does he believe that the AP and other old big media should apologize?
I'm not drawing any conclusions, Les. You're trying to get me to draw conclusions.
No, that might bring the focus back on the 273 safety violations that the Sago mine managed to pile up while this administration had its lips wrapped around the mining industry's cock.
Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt has gone without food for two weeks in his protesting of the Navy's ordering him not to mention Jesus in public prayer. He's hoping for an executive order. Does the President believe that the Navy should engage in this suppression of the First Amendment's guarantee of the free exercise of religion?
Well, the President believes strongly in the free exercise of religion. And he believes that it's important that our military personnel be able to freely express themselves --
We continue to strive for a religiously-motivated military force.
Will he order them, in an executive order?
-- to religion. And we value the contributions of our military chaplains to our men and women in uniform. And we're committed to safeguarding the ability of people to freely express their religious views.
Les Kinsolving: Determined to put the "Jesus" back into "Jesus Christ, what a fucking nutjob."
When did he issue an executive order --
Let me make clear --
Your doctor prescribes your medication for a reason, Les.
Isn't he going to do that, as Commander-in-Chief?
I'm not talking about any specific matter, but I'm talking about the principles and what we're committed to doing.
In a perfect world our whole military would be a big group of guys who are all willing to die for Jesus. We're just trying to ease them into it slowly, Les.
Scott, a few days ago, conservative columnist Paul Craig Roberts had a column where he compared the administration's use of September 11th with Hitler and the Reichstag fire as a blanket cover for extraordinary measures. Now, this is coming from a conservative columnist; this is not Nancy Pelosi. Doesn't this concern you that these kind of reactions have come up especially with all the revelations about the NSA and spying?
I haven't seen his column -- I haven't seen his column. But what -- your characterization I would reject wholeheartedly.
That is an outrageous claim! Outrageous! Completely beyond the pale.
Look for yourself at how wrong that comparison is:
On the economy, you said the President will be addressing the deficit as one of the areas tomorrow. I was wondering, besides the short-term deficit, will the President or Cabinet officials be addressing their concerns over a long-term deficit? [... I]s there any concern, though, about the long-term deficit from making tax cuts -- particularly the alternative minimum tax -- permanent after 2009, and the effect that could have on the deficit?
Well, I've expressed our views on the alternative minimum tax, and we've also talked about our commitment to tax reform, as well. And that's something that we have been looking at, and that the Secretary of Treasury is looking at now.
We believe that we can sufficiently screw old people, children, impoverished families, veterans, young couples, teachers, policemen, firefighters, libraries, public radio and television, the environment, college students, enlisted military, sick people, and the injured or otherwise disabled to offset our tax giveaways to the rich and the upper middle class. That's our position.