December 5, 2004
Bush in Canada. Bush visited Canada this week and was greeted by protesters in Ottawa and Halifax. The demonstrations were largely peaceful, though signs like "Bush: Terrorist" and "Friends don't let friends commit war crimes" abound.
The protests didn't bother Bush, who joked, "I want to thank the Canadian people who came out to wave, with all five fingers" and brazenly embarrassed his host, Prime Minister Paul Martin by publicly bringing up the missile defense program which wasn't on the agenda. I guess he carried his "political capital" across the border.
More Cabinet Shuffle. To replace Tom Ridge as head of Homeland Security, Bush chose former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik whose only credentials are the lack of Washington experience and quitting two high profile positions in a row. There's also scandals that prompted Newsday to tag him a "ticking time bomb".
Of course experience and competence don't count much in Bush's cheerleading squad of a Cabinet. It's loyalty that this increasingly insular president demands, and Kerik has that in spades. On the campaign trail for Bush, Kerik said, "I fear another attack, and I fear that attack with ... Senator Kerry being in office responding to it."
Venezuelan Coup. Declassified intelligence documents show that the CIA knew of a coup plot that displaced popular Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2002. This conflicts with the Bush Administration's statements right after the overthrow which prematurely announced Chavez's resignation, blamed him for his downfall and denied knowing about the attacks beforehand. Mr. Chavez is friendly with Fidel Castro and critical of the U.S.
The CIA denied involvement in the plot and officials said they have warned Mr. Chavez before it happened. This is only the latest in a long string of coup d'etats to which the U.S. government has been linked, having a long history of propping up friendly dictators and overthrowing the ones (Iran's Mohammad Mossadegh, Chile's Salvador Allende) it considers a nuisance. Onward, democracy?
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