BLACK IS WHITE is the continuing fashion trend at the White House. The new black beyond obsidian is the hue we call nixonian. Given the power, the Bush administration has sought more power. You have to wonder where all those Republicans who wanted to keep government out of your life went. Probably not Wyoming, where Dick Cheney rises out of the earth surrounding his coffin in the vampire's castle. The veil of night cannot obscure what colors his views of power. MORE HERE.
JOB WANTED Strong, decisive type. PsychoSociopath Go getter go get Osama someday preferred. Must not take no for an answer. Must be willing to sell people, arguments short McKrap TM 24/7. No obstacle in Constitution will stand in way of successful not so successfulbusinessman candidate businessmanwith friends for president of up and coming country company. No military service, okay. Must be willing to relocate all Constitutional power in White House. English as foreign language skill helpful. Paranoia Ability to work with others a plus. Must be willing to take entire month of August off to work long hours to achieve defined goals. Come climb the September Eleventh pile of rubble again climb the ladder of success with us.
WE ARE NOW spied on to protect "us" from "them." Welcome to the Not So Fun House where the mirrors reveal things are not as they seem.
A CASE OF NATIONAL Attention Deficit Disorder? How did we get to this point? With the rise of Bush perhaps is revealed a large case of national Attention Deficit Disorder. This ADD revealed itself first in Bush's um election when counting the actual votes just would have taken too long. We needed results as soon as possible. Look what we got. Can't wait for threats to emerge? Look what we got. That detainee might have info, let's get it however we can as quick as we can even if the results aren't quite true! Look what we got! We've got laws, but they take too long to comply with. Look what we got. What we got was screwed. We now live a mutual national delusion of one man. The number of spy agencies multiplies to keep “us” safe from “them.”
WORDS HAVE MEANING At least they used to. Those who counsel a strict construction of the constitution who now suggest Bush did not step all over the Constitution with his recent traipse over the Fourth Amendment and his trespass with the NSA spying incidents in the the domestic sphere are fooling themselves. Not to mention jumping through hoops of inconsistent logic. Or running in circles as they chase the tail or is it the the tale of the President? A certain duplicity reveals itself. What is untold when told later may tell us there is more here than what the President claims is "limited."
SAYING SOMETHING IS SO does not make it so. We live with a president who consistently believes restating his premise proves his premise. At some point people are going to have to take George Bush seriously both for what he says and what he does. That point is now. Casual asides reveal a more serious center, slightly off center. If one can say three examples prove a point, consider the famous or is it infamous citation of George Bush and his approach to his job. It would be a lot easier if this were a dictatorship, as long as he was the dictator. Said not once, but three separate times. Consider that Bush has declared he has on thirty separate times given the same order to the NSA to spy on citizens. Dictator? You decide. Some cynics would day dictator is term two syllables to long for what Bush has done here.
THOSE PESKY LAWS Orcinus considers “the problem:” These "annoying" laws exist for a reason fundamental to the very foundations of modern society: This is a nation of laws, not men. And while it's easy and convenient to discard those principles in the flimsy context of a movie, doing so in real life has profound and lasting complications. I think what you can say is that the Bush team is cynically manipulating public sentiment for the sake of pushing the limits of presidential power. It's a brilliant move, really, tapping into an aspect of the psyche that has been preconditioned by a hoary myth that has been perpetuated over the years by Hollywood: the notion that the action-driven hero's instincts for "saving lives" are superior to careful reasoning and principled restraint. But it sure is weird for a bunch of people who make a living out of deriding "Hollywood values."
THE HERETIK SUGGESTS we may end our national delusion if we stop feeding it with watching shows like 24. Can it be done? Even I confess I am sickly drawn to it. We see the fantasy. How many of us really want to live it?
WHAT'S OUT THERE BLOWING IN THE WIND? CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION Democrats and Republicans called separately yesterday for congressional investigations into President Bush's decision after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to allow domestic eavesdropping without court approval. "The president has, I think, made up a law that we never passed," said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.).
PUBLIC ENEMY? Joe Keohane offers a synopsis and review of the newly re-issued Sinclair Lewis novel It Can’t Happen Here written in the all to familiar 1930s: PICTURE THIS: A folksy, self-consciously plainspoken Southern politician rises to power during a period of profound unrest in America. The nation is facing one of the half-dozen or so of its worst existential crises to date, and the people, once sunny, confident, and striving, are now scared, angry, and disillusioned. This politician, a ''Professional Common Man,'' executes his rise by relentlessly attacking the liberal media, fancy-talking intellectuals, shiftless progressives, pinkos, promiscuity, and welfare hangers-on, all the while clamoring for a return to traditional values, to love of country, to the pie-scented days of old when things made sense and Americans were indisputably American. He speaks almost entirely in ''noble but slippery abstractions''-Liberty, Freedom, Equality-and people love him, even if they can't fully articulate why without resorting to abstractions themselves. Through a combination of factors-his easy bearing chief among them (along with massive cash donations from Big Business; disorganization in the liberal opposition; a stuffy, aloof opponent; and support from religious fanatics who feel they've been unfairly marginalized)-he wins the presidential election.
THE HERETIK HAS PREVIOUSLY stated a belief in a certain circularity to history and a skepticism of progress. We face the same monsters again and again, the problems are as old as Proteus, the enemy returns like the multiplying heads of the Hydra, the face we see against us morphs in the mirror.
MORE ON WHAT WE ARE LOOKING AT NEW TECH BEHIND NSA SNOOP CASE?There's more to the NSA domestic spying case than the current storyline -- that much is clear. The idea that the Bush Administration needed to bypass the courts to get wiretaps quickly makes no sense; under the current system, you can start eavesdropping, and get a warrant later. The notion that disclosing the surveillance would somehow tip off potential terrorists is laughable, too; Al Qaeda types know they're being monitored. That's all assuming, of course, that the wiretaps in this case are the same as in any other. But maybe they're not. Maybe there's something different about this surveillance. It could be in its scope, as Laura suggests. But I'm guessing -- and this is just a guess -- that the real difference is in the technology of the wiretaps themselves.
MY WIFE IS DONE beating up on traitor Democrats like Biden and Kennedy. She will leave those losers right where they belong with the other frothing rabid dogs. My wife wants to give a beating where the beating belongs. She wants to beat the bushes now, in particular Bush George. She says if he were our son, she would tell him he is onebad son of a bitch. I am no sure how to tell her what that makes her.
SHUT UP she says. Shut up, you bitches. I am pretty sure she spiked the eggnog after she found out the New York Times spiked this spy on citizen story for a whole year. When she heard about all the right and righteous ones on the right who want to put the Times on a spike for treason, I think she downed a whole bottle of Jim Beam while I was working what is left of my upper body at the home gym. The Times has a past it should have lived up to sooner, rather than later, my wife said.
SHUT UP you bitches, she said with some relish. We know treason and have seen it before. I know it was alcohol I was smelling on her breath as she finished up the last of her toast and the editorial in the Washington Post. I enjoyed that brief moment of silence before the damn broke loose. The torrent started to rip Bush’s way.
SHUT UP she says. Shut up, you bitches. I am pretty sure the minister might notice something other than angel’s breath this morning when my angel takes the sacrament. It’s beats the devil out of me how I am going to make her stop her stammering about beating the hell out of that son of a bitch Bush. Don’t you see it’s all related, she yells as she puts on her yellow coat. I am going to drive us now to the meeting house if she doesn’t drive me crazy first. I hope shedoesn’t start up about the lawyers. She would say by by to Bybee in a minute.
SHUT UP she says. Shut up, you bitches. You is a bitch, I heard her say. Rarely am I the one to suffer her attack. And her grammar seemed lost, if only for a moment. My wife collected what I thought was the lost parts of her mind. Then she said. Not you. Yoo, John Yoo is a bitch. I hoped she would be done by the time we got to church, because I was sure all the congregants would hear her and possibly god in high heaven. Yoo is in trouble and I'm glad it's not me.
SHUT UP she says. Shut up, you bitches. Things got more graphic as she stuck her head out the car window. She suggested a solution to the problem which might work for her, but not for me. My wife said we should take all these lawyers who tell Bush breaking the law is all right and we should shove them all up Bush's ass. My wife said that would shut up those bitches for good and might give Bush pause from running his mouth as well. My darling who smiles rarely went quiet, then gave me the oddest grin.
THEN SHE TURNED ON ME and asked me where is Osama? I didn't want to be the one to tell her the reason he hasn't been found.
W W W We will not waver (see waiver for important details). The wicked will not win.(Results may vary. Your victory results may not be the same as ours.) It’s World War Three, the Global War on Everything Terror TM, brought to you by the people who brought you W, the boy on the bubble who stood on the rubble, the man to stand behind as they stand up and we stand down. We should all fall down with shock and awe at the brilliance of such Patriot Acts. W, W, W. Watch what you say, watch what you do. The Heretik is falling down laughing. Or something.
ONCE YOU REALIZE W George Bush is a brand, the marketing of the less than smart seems more the stuff of genius. Iraq? The mess of what was Mesopotamia for the White House is like the problem General Motors has with those two McKrap TM brands Buick and Pontiac.
HOW DO YOU KEEP market share (and the bases in Iraq that are key to transforming the Middle East)? Brand W is not withdrawal, although there will be a drawdown. You start training the Iraqis (think: Vietnamization), so the failures are their own. With Brand W, the Iraqis are in the driver’s seat it seems, but you know what’s more important.
SO LONG AS THE IRAQIS DRIVE no matter what bumps in the road they hit and no matter how many dings the car takes, you forever get to ride shotgun. Brand W shoots straight. The war can go dirty with death squads and you never have to come clean. The Iraqis can vote and have a “democracy” that fails. Failure for them is a win for W. Because then the shotgun will always be needed, whether it is sawed off or sawed down numbers of troops. We will be in Iraq forever, which was always W’s will and his way. World War Three is just a cover. Now if W’s people can just get We the People to buy it. OTHER HOT BRANDS ZARQAWI STANDS IN for Osama as active evil in Iraq. Osama is now CEO of evil, working behind the scenes, better to be never found for then he can be forever chased, but not too vigorously.
KERRY IS SO VERY useful. Any unfortunate line spoken by John Kerry (soldiers terrorize mothers and children) should be seized on and twisted. John Kerry stands with the terrorists. Brought to you by the same people who put the Swift Boats in the water.
CHENEY UNCHAINED Foaming at the mouth and snarling minimized if dog is given regular walk.
THE WORSE THINGS GET the better for Brand W BOMBS EXPLODE At least 27 Iraqis died Tuesday when two suicide bombers walked into a police academy in Baghdad and detonated themselves, a U.S. military spokesman said.
WHILE GEORGE BUSH famously has said history will be the judge of his record and we will all be dead by the time judgment is made, bloggers a la izquierda, pundits of the cynical sort and the left leaning regularly call him the worst president ever. Still it comes as some surprise to see that line in a Richard Reeves Yahoo headline with fifty socialistscommunistsdamn pinkos historians agreeing. Or maybe not.
I have talked with three significant historians in the past few months who would not say it in public, but who are saying privately that Bush will be remembered as the worst of the presidents. There are some numbers. The History News Network at George Mason University has just polled historians informally on the Bush record. Four hundred and fifteen, about a third of those contacted, answered -- maybe they were all crazed liberals -- making the project as unofficial as it was interesting. These were the results: 338 said they believed Bush was failing, while 77 said he was succeeding. Fifty said they thought he was the worst president ever. Worse than Buchanan. This is what those historians said -- and it should be noted that some of the criticism about deficit spending and misuse of the military came from self-identified conservatives -- about the Bush record: # He has taken the country into an unwinnable war and alienated friend and foe alike in the process; # He is bankrupting the country with a combination of aggressive military spending and reduced taxation of the rich; # He has deliberately and dangerously attacked separation of church and state; # He has repeatedly "misled," to use a kind word, the American people on affairs domestic and foreign; # He has proved to be incompetent in affairs domestic (New Orleans) and foreign ( Iraq and the battle against al-Qaida); # He has sacrificed American employment (including the toleration of pension and benefit elimination) to increase overall productivity; # He is ignorantly hostile to science and technological progress; # He has tolerated or ignored one of the republic's oldest problems, corporate cheating in supplying the military in wartime. Quite an indictment. It is, of course, too early to evaluate a president. That, historically, takes decades, and views change over times as results and impact become more obvious. Besides, many of the historians note that however bad Bush seems, they have indeed since worse men around the White House. Some say Buchanan. Many say Vice President Dick Cheney.
PERHAPS BUSH’S BEST MOVE would be to be impeached. On the one hand he would no longer be President, but Cheney who already is President could take the official title of Worst President Ever.
GEORGE BUSH SPOKE before another tough crowd of soldiers again and again and again in Korea today (APPLAUSE) In case they forgot (APPLAUSE), he reminded them and anyone else covering the event (LAUGHTER) that he (APPLAUSE) is sinking in the polls the commander in chief (APPLAUSE) (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE) [White House transcript]
PARENTHETICALLY the White House intersperses a message or two between the more important message that the President gets a good response (APPLAUSE) from soldiers and that he has a light touch (LAUGHTER) that all kinds of pre picked people love. We the good guys will fight the evildoers them over there and there and there so we don’t have to fight them here.
AND BRIEFLY . . . enemy . . . innocent . . . killers . . . madness . . . murder . . . retreat . . . not on my watch . . . victory (APPLAUSE) . . . freedom . . . honor . . . tyrants . . . jihad, islamofascisct, Zawahiri . . . here, there, everywhere . . . stand up comedy, stand down in the polls . . . tyrants, would be tyrants . . . free. . . free . . free . . .(ECHO) May God bless you all.
DELIBERATE DISTORTION takes many forms. You could obsess on one part of the world obsessively. And totally forget about the rest. You could be so “focused” on one country that people will not notice you seem to have Attention Deficit Disorder on just about everything else.
BUSH WILL NOT DELIVER anything but little sound bites, perhaps hard to swallow. Look for leftovers gone cold. [story]
"I don't think there are going to be any headline breakthroughs," national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley told reporters on Air Force One. "This is not a trip where the president has to come with a deliverable initiative." The main goal, he said in a separate briefing last week, is "to show the U.S. commitment to Asia as an area of our interest" and "to indicate clearly that the president knows the United States has an important role to play in both the economic and security challenges in Asia and that he wants to play that role."
BUSH WANTS TO PLAY that role. The problem with Bush is that he plays at everything. The WaPo goes with the headline: Bush Shifts Focus with Trip to Asia, which presumes he has a focus. This has been your deliberate distortion for today. Thank you. Go bless America.
OTHER VOICES IN THE SOUND AND THE FURY BUSH IS NO CLINTON [Ipinions] After all, despite his domestic woes, Clinton was always adored abroad. By contrast, however, it seems Bush is as disliked and disrespected abroad as he is at home: where recent polls rated him as the most unpopular president in U.S. history (due in part to the growing disillusionment of many Americans with his administration - stemming from the bloody quagmire in Iraq and the upsetting suspicion that Bush misled them about his reasons for targeting Saddam.) Moreover, even though this is a timely trip to escape political heat in Washington, it is most untimely for Bush to be risking what little remains of his international gravitas at this APEC summit. Because his gospel about the values of democracy and free trade is bound to fall on more deaf ears - given his spectacular failure to impress leaders in his own backyard with these values at the recent Summit of the Americas in Argentina.
THE HERETIK COULD NOT agree more. While Clinton did have problems for coming across Lewinsky, he came across as serious across the world. In contrast Bush just comes up short. Live by the sound bite, Bush, get chewed up by small ideas.
BUSH CAN HIDE but he can’t run. While he is out of the country, look for leading anonymous White House “officials” and top Republicans to run his attack campaign on “unpatriotic” Democratic critics and dissenters to his war in Iraq here at home while he takes it on the road.
(APPLAUSE) Why do White House transcripts always contain editorial (EXTRAS) that show Bush in a good light (LAUGHTER) but never show other reactions?
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Thanks for the warm welcome. (Applause.) Laura and I were in the neighborhood - (laughter) -- we thought we'd come by to say hello to the nation's "Arctic Warriors." (Applause.) We're proud to stand with the courageous airmen of Elmendorf Air Force Base, the soldiers of Fort Richardson, the Coast Guard -- (applause) -- the Coast Guard men and women here in Alaska -- (applause) -- the men and women of the Alaskan Command, and all those who wear the uniform of our country. (Applause.) The General is right about one thing -- (laughter) -- I did live in Alaska. (Laughter.) In 1974, and I remember it just the way it looked coming in on Air Force One, this vast, majestic land, so beautiful, and full of decent, honorable, independent-minded people. (Applause.) People who love their country. (Applause.)
THANK YOU God bless America. If it just ended that way, we would have Bush out there Presidenting with troops as convenient props. Bush now uses troops as props for political attacks. This is an expensive face lift for Bush's image and the American people are paying for it.
Reasonable people can disagree about the conduct of the war, but it is irresponsible for Democrats to now claim that we misled them and the American people. Leaders in my administration and members of the United States Congress from both political parties looked at the same intelligence on Iraq, and reached the same conclusion: Saddam Hussein was a threat. Let me give you some quotes from three senior Democrat leaders: First, and I quote, "There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons." Another senior Democrat leader said, "The war against terrorism will not be finished as long as Saddam Hussein is in power." Here's another quote from a senior Democrat leader: "Saddam Hussein, in effect, has thumbed his nose at the world community. And I think the President is approaching this in the right fashion." They spoke the truth then, and they're speaking politics now. (Applause.)
IT’S ALL ABOUT GEORGE (APPLAUSE) What we see here is a President who can’t change his mind or adjust. When he is at fault and others notice now what they didn’t before, the fault is the critics’, not own. (Laughter)
THE MEDIA TAKE [AP] President Bush escalated the bitter debate over the Iraq war on Monday, hurling back at Democratic critics the worries they once expressed that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat to the world.
THE HERETIK WONDERS who is bitter? All of this has him hurling. So much to digest and only so much stomach.
MUST BE BITTER CRITTERS or is it critics? [Daily Pundit] Excellent! Apparently Bush intends to keep on slamming the Democrat, liberal, and lefty liars about his administration and the road to the Iraqi war. This is wonderful news. Notice the phrasing from this typical lackey of the left trying to disguise as himself a "journalist." Bush "escalates" the "bitter" debate.
THE HERETIK ISN’T SURE if Bush is bitter, but he does seem to be wearing his pants a little tight. (APPLAUSE)
BUSH MAKES A MAJOR MISTAKE attacking the patriotism of his critics on the war. The President who refuses to acknowledge the reality or influence of polls should consider the accumulation of events since his time a top a pile of rubble at Ground Zero. As his number descend further and further acts bring him closer to ground, people start to recognize he is not so much the leader to be unquestioned but the politician who must give answers. [Froomkin/WaPo]
President Bush on Friday launched his third presidential campaign -- this one to salvage his reputation, and what's left of his second term. And his most prized talking point -- that many Democrats agreed with him at the time -- is problematic. Many of those Democrats did so because they believed the information the president gave them. Now they are coming to the conclusion that they shouldn't have. Like other Bush campaigns, this one will inevitably feature the ceaseless repetition of key sound bytes -- the hope being that they will be carried, largely unchallenged, by the media -- and virulent attacks by the White House on those who dare to disagree, even going so far as to question their patriotism. His goal this time is not to win an election; it's to gain back the public trust.
THE DANGER BUSH faces in attacking doubting Democrats is that doubting voters will consider their own good sense attacked as well. The “facts” of pre war intelligence will be debated, but one certain fact remains. The people’s opinion of Bush has changed. The one who controlled perception will now be controlled by it. From this point on, the more Bush attacks on patriotism, the more opinion of him will change for the worse.
THE MISSING ELEMENT is how Bush appeals to fear and weakness and considers himself and the nation somehow stronger for doing so. You would have to be a fool or most forgetful not to remember how brutally the the Republicans over ran any but the most warlike positions in the midterm elections of 2002. [EJ Dionne/WaPo] There is a great missing element in the argument over whether the administration manipulated the facts. Neither side wants to talk about the context in which Bush won a blank check from Congress to invade Iraq. He doesn't want us to remember that he injected the war debate into the 2002 midterm election campaign for partisan purposes, and he doesn't want to acknowledge that he used the post-Sept. 11 mood to do all he could to intimidate Democrats from raising questions more of them should have raised.
THE HERETIK LAUGHS at the sad joke Bush has become. As if people don’t have memories of who it was who most politicized this entire war from the day on the rubble in downtown Manhattan ever on.
THE HERETIK DECLARES it doesn’t matter what Bush says about who is lying now or who is re-writing history. The people know about recent history and they see a dark future. The people know about fear and they know where that fear lies. Bush can send out strawman after strawman, can attack with a new and a different tack until the end of his term. None of that matters from now until evermore. The braggart who claimed political capital has overdrawn his limit.
THE WHITE HOUSE MAKES a continue mistake appealing to its “facts.” If this White House has taught us anything, hard “facts” matter far less than hard feelings. The hard reality is no matter how much Bush appeals to “facts” and who knew what and when, the people have the hardening feeling they were lied to by their leader. And lie to in order to scare them. The people are tired of the war, they are tired of being scared, and they are tired of the leader who put them in both those spots. Everyday Bush opens his mouth, he will only remind them more. Buh bye, blustrous butthead.
RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL READING FIGHTING THE LAST WAR [Digby] When it comes to the big stuff, it's best to do what you think is right and let the chips fall where they may. Democrats have shown that they aren't partocularly good at playing politics with war anyway. If they simply do what they think is right at least they can sleep at night. And after all, if they'd voted against the Iraq war resolution, they would have been on the same side as pretty much everyone on the planet except the Republican party.
FOR BUSH only the free fall into the drink awaits. Crying havoc or crying wolf and letting loose the dogs of war on terror is now dog tired to a more Americans than not. [story]
For the first time — albeit by a narrow 49%-48% — a plurality disapprove of the way Bush is handling the issue of terrorism. Six in 10 disapprove of the way he's handling foreign affairs, the economy, Iraq and immigration, and 71% disapprove of him on controlling federal spending.
BUSH’S OTHER NUMBERS are daggers too. One can only imagine how many “alerts” we will face and how many more “successes” will be announced. Oy.
HOW BAD IS IT? Worse than it was last month. And worse after the Bush Veteran’s Day speech that cast Democrats and war dissenters as unpatriotic. The poll was conducted on the Friday of the speech and Saturday and Sunday. [CNN]
Bush also received his all-time worst marks in three other categories in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll. The categories were terrorism, Bush's trustworthiness and whether the Iraq war was worthwhile. Bush's 37 percent overall approval rating was two percentage points below his ranking in an October survey. Both polls had a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. . . . The White House has said it doesn't pay attention to poll numbers and the figures do not affect policy. "We have a proud record of accomplishment and a positive agenda for the future," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters Wednesday. "We look forward to continuing to talk about it. I mean, you can get caught up in polls; we don't. Polls are snapshots in time."
POLLS ARE SNAPSHOTS in time? Right now they look more like a shotgun blast in the ass. Be afraid, very afraid. Or laugh a little.
COMEDY CENTRAL [Steve Soto/The Left Coaster] Keep the wingers away from window ledges or sharp objects when they read this: A 53% majority say they trust what Bush says less than they trusted previous presidents while they were in office. In a specific comparison with President Clinton, those surveyed by 48%-36% say they trust Bush less. That’s right; Bush plays Jon Lovitz to the Great Satan himself