Archive for August, 2006

Political Season Begins

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

I believe this week marked, for all practical purposes, the beginning of George W Bush’s midterm election campaign. Bush launched his umpteenth “non-political” speaking tour to elucidate the public about the events in Iraq, as though he has anything worth hearing on the subject to say. The American Legion Convention looked like a good launching pad for this campaign offensive — a safe bunch of hawks in a safely Republican state of Utah (the strange blue dot of Salt Lake, and mayor Rocky Anderson, notwithstanding). Donald Rumsfeld thus spoke his effectively campaign speech, raising the specter of Neville Chamberlain. Neville Chamberlain is the last historical reference refuge of a scoundrel. Keither Olbermann thus had his At Long Last, Have You No Sense of Decency moment.

Meanwhile, the semi-offical propaganda outlet of the RNC, Fox News, furiously beat the drums of war for a military strike on Iran. As White House chief of staff Andrew Card said in 2002, “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.” Or maybe you do, but just in the last week of August.

To get the most undiluted wad of Republican talking points, you turn to the dumbest and least independent-minded member of their cadre — Sean Hannity. Thus we get the specter of Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the tactic to bring out the beleagured base of the Republican Party — and the old saw is that midterm elections turn on whose base cares. I can’t picture anyone beyond the base who’d care about, at worst, “new boss — in some respects same as the old boss, and a check on this tired old government.” Even if the label “Limosine Liberal” fits Pelosi to a tee.

The latest issue of Weekly Standars is already out of date. The magazine had an editorial on the bump Bush was receiving due to the foiling of the British Liquid Terror Plot. The bump never materialized, but we all try to will such things into existence.

Bush Interviewed

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Something pops out to me from this transcript of Brian Williams’s interview with George W Bush

WILLIAMS: Is there a palpable tension when you get together with the former president, who happens to be your father? A lot of the guys who worked for him are not happy with the direction of things.

BUSH: Oh no. My relationship is adoring son.

WILLIAMS: You talk shop?

BUSH: Sometimes, yeah, of course we do. But it’s a really interesting question, it’s kind of conspiracy theory at its most rampant. My dad means the world to me, as a loving dad. He gave me the greatest gift a father can give a child, which is unconditional love. And yeah, we go out and can float around there trying to catch some fish, and chat and talk, but he understands what it means to be president. He understands that often times I have information that he doesn’t have. And he understands how difficult the world is today. And I explain my strategy to him, I explain exactly what I just explained to you back there how I view the current tensions, and he takes it on board, and leaves me with this thought, I love you son.

Rewind. Why in the world would George W Bush say:

But it’s a really interesting question, it’s kind of conspiracy theory at its most rampant.

Who said anything about any “conspiracy theory”? Bush is being asked about his relationship with his father, who although hasn’t said anything or made any public nudges in any direction, some of his aides have over the past few years publicly opposed some of Bush’s foreign policies. Nothing untorrid about that, and nothing “conspiratorial” about it.

But to mention it, out of the blue, is to suggest that he has it on his mind, and it is to suggest that, yes my dear, there is something X-Filey, aluminum or tin-foil hat going on. Otherwise, why would he mention a goddamned “conspiracy theory”, and have it on his mind as though it something he wants to dismiss and is hyper-aware of?

I may as well plunge on with the next curious moments of this interview.

WILLIAMS: We always talk about what you’re reading. As you know, there was a report that you just read the works of a French philosopher. (Bush laughs)

BUSH: The Stranger.

WILLIAMS: Tell us the back story of Camus.

BUSH: The back story of the the book?

WILLIAMS: What led you to…

BUSH: I was in Crawford and I said I was looking for a book to read and Laura said you oughtta try Camus, I also read three Shakespeare’s.

WILLIAMS: This is a change…

The back story of Camus’s The Stranger is that Laura recommended he read it? Can you get away with that as an answer on a school book report?

I hate these presidential reading lists. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind a president who reads the required reports concerning his job, and has for his Summer reading list — say, the latest Dean Koontz novel. Yes, I would hope he (or she) would be pretty well read throughout his life, but let the “heavy history of world literature” (or in Camus’s case, sort of middling — “a quick read” I hear) reading slide during his presidency.

If we pretend that Bush read The Stranger, we then have to wonder exactly what he got out of it. More importantly, we have to wonder what the Bush Administration was trying to signal by having him read it (or having him say he read it.) The premise:

The plot is simple. A young Algerian, Meursault, afflicted with a sort of aimless inertia, becomes embroiled in the petty intrigues of a local pimp and, somewhat inexplicably, ends up killing a man. Once he’s imprisoned and eventually brought to trial, his crime, it becomes apparent, is not so much the arguably defensible murder he has committed as it is his deficient character. The trial’s proceedings are absurd, a parsing of incidental trivialities–that Meursault, for instance, seemed unmoved by his own mother’s death and then attended a comic movie the evening after her funeral are two ostensibly damning facts–so that the eventual sentence the jury issues is both ridiculous and inevitable.

Does that describe his administration somehow?

Katherine Harris Crazy

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

I find it difficult to believe that her Democratic opponent, Bill Nelson — who is probably one of the three or so most conservative Democrats in the Senate, is not publically Christian. A quick google search of “Bill Nelson” AND “Christian” shows up with the startling admission that… gasp… he votes a meager 16% with the Christian Coalition! For whatever that is worth. I wonder if the Christian Coalition charts votes over, say, the Estate Tax.

When candidates such as Katherine Harris attach themselves to the godly cause I am never entirely sure, nor do I ever really understand how these things transmit themselves to the True Believer.

OR:

You are giving her the benefit of the doubt regarding what she meant. Don’t. Odds are she believes just exactly what she said. It is a Fundie mind set that anything contrary to what they advocate HAS TO BE SINFUL.

May. Be.

As it were, Katherine Harris’s campaign has been one giant train-wreck and a joke. She is 30 points behind in the polls and keeps firing her staff. Should she be nominated, which is no longer a certainty, the Florida Republican Party will likely leave her name out of their campaign literature. God, as well as Jeb Bush for that matter, is telling her to go away, but she does not seem to have ears to hear.

The Tampa Tribune endorsed one of her obscure competitors for the Republican nomination. Actually they endorsed the least obscure competitor, whose relative name is owed to the fact that he is the son of a famous Florida Senator and Governor from the 1930s to 1950s. QUICK: Name me the most prominent politicians from your state in those decades.

Landon LaRoach

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

I spent Sunday morning looking over the newspaper, not really reading it because I couldn’t stop thinking about what a Fascist Plato truly was. I folded the newspaper up, put it away and indulged in a puzzle that has been intriguing me lately. Having long since grown tired of doubling the square, I moved on to the act of tripling the square.

I then pondered the Second Law of Thermodynamics as presented in the famous Beatles lyrics “And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make make.”

I thought about the blog post or posts I would be posting when I sat down at the computer. I had in my mind the amusing anecdote of a woman giving her personal thumbs down to Terrorists. Beyond that, what did I have? “You know,” I thought. “I haven’t posted about Landon LaRoach in a while. But why would I?” Just to keep the meter moving, I suppose.

July 17, to be more precise. And then it was only reposting a comment left from an earlier post regarding Landon LaRoach. As it turned out, a comment had just been left — a lone comment amongst 300 or so spam comments that I was obliged to delete as the system of banning these things had broken down a couple months ago — but the name “Tom Paine II” managed to poke through the endless “Penis Pumper Daddy”s.

Who the original Tom Paine decided to mold his entire mind toward escapes me at the moment.

“paultony” should learn English before trying to clumsily write this utter nonsense, full of grammatical, syntactical, orthographic errors and typos, to say nothing of the evident and obvious ignorance he displays, of what LaRouche has been, and is saying and writing, over the years.

I remember thinking about correcting paultony’s typographical errors, but deciding not to. At the very least, I was not about to correct his misspelling of Landon LaRoach, Lyndon Laroache, as I’ve developed a soft spot for misspellings of the man’s name. An example can be found with Tom Paine II’s post, Lyndon LaRouche.

Anyway, get ready for the new Dark Age. There’s a company in Utah that sold some good canned good supplies in large enough quantities to suffice. They did a great deal of business during the Y2K scare of 1998 to 1999. I’ll leave it at that.

The Gang of 14 and Lincoln Chafee

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

The chattering class believe they have picked up this oh-so-sad trend that the Center are being blasted by party extremists. The gold standard of the bi-partisan caucus was the “Gang of 14″, who came together to, as far as I can tell, push a couple of lower judicial picks of Bush aside to with great permanence disallow the Democratic Party from filibustering any Bush appointee to the Supreme Court. Speaking for Senator Dewine of Ohio:

Later, when pressed by a reporter, she was more succinct: her husband had defected, she confided, in order to save the Senate.

“Saving the Senate” from what, precisely, I’ve never quite been able to tell. Saving the Senate from I suppose legitimate procedural manuevers the in-party at the time always derides as illegimate and the out-party always portrays as noble, and saving the Senate from his party making creative re-interpertations of procedural rules.

The gist is that Mike Dewine, Lincoln Chafee, and Joseph Lieberman are all doomed — DOOMED — DOOMED — and how sad that is, sad, sad, sad. The Gang of 14 will just have to drop to 11, until we cast about and notice that the new Senate Freshmen include three candidates who fill the media-love for their interpertation of what fills the bill as “Sensible”. I remind the thumbed-into-the beltway media that the number fourteen was a cast that’d ensure neither party’s apparatus could override the 55-45 split in the Senate. A gang of 2 may suffice in the event of a 50-50 Senate; and to avoid the filibuster, it’d have to be — a gang of Twenty? Does that even make any sense… mygod, it’d have to be a gang of TWENTY-TWO!! The “gang” having to be composed of equal numbers of each party, and having to be composed of enough of one party to avoid a 40 vote block for a filibuster.

But beyond the death of this stupid “Gang”, is the more parlimentarian party government. The case against the most liberal Republican from the least Republican state, as per letters to the Providence Journal:

#1: Lincoln Chafee is a nice guy. A smart guy. A good person. Like his father before him, he has served Rhode Island well. At any other time in history, he would deserve to be re-elected.

But not this time in history.
Now, Lincoln Chafee is just a pawn in an endgame. A Bush enabler. As with other New England moderates (Olympia Snowe and Joe Lieberman come to mind), so-called independent voices, his time has come and gone.

The weight of the world actually depends on this upcoming election cycle. So sentimentality just won’t cut it.

I used to believe in Tip O’Neill’s “All politics are local.” But now I know better. And it’s well past time for change. Change that Linc Chafee can’t help us with. Lincoln Chafee is part of the problem.

I know it stinks, but I urge the folks of Rhode Island to vote for anyone but Linc Chafee this year. Because a vote for him is, quite simply, a lost vote, a vote by proxy for the Bush administration.

And this great country can’t afford many more of those.

AND

Lincoln Chafee is a nice guy. A smart guy. A good person. Like his father before him, he has served Rhode Island well. At any other time in history, he would deserve to be re-elected.

But not this time in history.
Now, Lincoln Chafee is just a pawn in an endgame. A Bush enabler. As with other New England moderates (Olympia Snowe and Joe Lieberman come to mind), so-called independent voices, his time has come and gone.

The weight of the world actually depends on this upcoming election cycle. So sentimentality just won’t cut it.

I used to believe in Tip O’Neill’s “All politics are local.” But now I know better. And it’s well past time for change. Change that Linc Chafee can’t help us with. Lincoln Chafee is part of the problem.

I know it stinks, but I urge the folks of Rhode Island to vote for anyone but Linc Chafee this year. Because a vote for him is, quite simply, a lost vote, a vote by proxy for the Bush administration.

And this great country can’t afford many more of those.

If the party extremists don’t throw out Lincoln Chafee in the upcoming primary, the general voting populace of Rhode Island likely will in November.

Boo to Terrorism

Sunday, August 27th, 2006

Sitting across me on the Max was the friendliest example of an obviously certifiable crazy man (schizophrenia of some variety) I’ve encountered. He talked to himself profusely, but to the degree that he was comprehensible, he was apologizing to everyone (who generally ignored him, uncomfortably squirming) for doing so.

He made a remark in the direction of, which directed my attention to, an older – looking woman, who was either accompanying a man only slightly older than I to the airport or had chatted earlier with a man to he airport who was carting a suit-case, to the airport and onto a plane and onto Europe — where in Europe I do not know as he described his trip as one to “Europe”.

They thought about the security he was going to experience on various spots in the airplane traveling experience, and he expressed this as a reason for being extra early. “Oh, right. Terrorists.” The woman than pointedly gave a thumbs down motion, while frowning. “Terrorists.” And she shook her head.

Something everyone can agree with, I suppose.

Pluto

Saturday, August 26th, 2006

I see that someone — or someones — have “Pluto” technoratied or search-engined in some manner or other so as to post a spam to a petition posted at a fangled website Please Save Pluto.

I saw the post at a Blue Oregon post about the horrible Oregonian editorial on the Pluto decision.

I do not understand the impetus to “Save Pluto”. Pluto needs no saving. Pluto does not face an existential crisis, as do your creatures on the Endangered Species list. It will exist, with its highly eccentric orbit and — as scientists have deemed it — nonplanetary attributes, no matter how humans classify it.

As an aside, “Dwarf Planet” seems highly dubious a classification for the simple fact that “dwarf” appears to be an adjective for “planet”, and thus I’m left with “Pluto. Dwarfish Planet.”.

Remind me: Why did I listen to/hear 10 minutes of John Gibson?

Saturday, August 26th, 2006

John Gibson, apparently prefaces a regular segment of his radio talk show with an overheated and exaggerated piece of over-production that announces “John Gibson Was RIGHT!” Forgetting what he claimed to be right about in the past, based on his reading of highly suspect evidence, that at least — I suppose — throws him to some base in figures to throw out.

What John Gibson said he was “right” about, after the triumphant note, is that Hezbollah LOST, Israel WON… after all, TAKE THAT YOU DOUBTERS!! I can’t quite guage the formula, which hinges on whether the infrastructure of the “state within a state” in Lebanon outweighs the sudden rush of approval that has greeted Hezbollah amongst the Lebanese populace and vice versa, who and when the Lebanese blame for the thing — Hezbollah for throwing a war they had no interest in fighting amongst them or Israel because their bombs flew down on them, and in Gibson’s mind hinges on the estimation that there weren’t a lot of actual casualties and somehow the bombs landed on Hezbollah infrasture and (as Rush Limbaugh termed it, “Hezbos”) nearly exclusively. “The Arab Press is begining to understand”.

As evidence for this assessment, and by way of John Gibson provides us with an editorial from the Wall Street Journal from one of his favourite columnists and his favourite experts on the middle East — which he saw on OpinionJournal.com, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial website, by way of — um — which succiently re-stated his opinion on the issues.

A classic example of congratulating another for having the same opinion, except strangely more perverse because here it is a matter of patting oneself on the back for finding someone else with the same opinion.

I will now write an editorial that urges White People to procreate at a faster rate, send it to John Gibson, and wait to be featured on a “John Gibson was right!” segment.