Friday, April 28, 2006

Paying Attention

Screen cap from Jesus's General -totally without his permission, so an extra level of hell for me, no doubt!

That's Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) in a fuschia ensemble being arrested for complaining about the actions of a foreign country the U.S administration doesn't give a rat's ass about-Sudan.

And why should they? It doesn't have any oil, it's rapidly diminishing population can't afford American products, unless American's start demanding cheaper arid dirt and bleached bones it's not a likely spot for outsourcing.

But never mind all that. Look at how the tag fits the picture--it appears that Bush's response to calls for accountability is to arrest Democrat representatives.

Now why didn't Bush think of that before?

But far more interesting is the crawl:

"Cunningham's prostitues refused to service Sen. Roberts".

That would have to be Pat Roberts of Kansas whose turn-ons are tax cuts, big business, famers, Christ, guns, emergency medicine and anaesthetics. Turn offs include the environment, peace, women in government, contraception, most animals and civil liberties.

Who knew that there some things and some people a prostitute just will not do?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Big Guns

According to AP’s The Hill

“If retired Gen. Tommy Franks were to jump into the Florida Senate race, he would lead Rep. Katherine Harris by 4 percentage points in the Republican primary, according to a new poll of Florida voters conducted by Strategic Vision LLC, a GOP polling firm.”

So it seems General Franks’ political guns are just a bit bigger than Katherine Harris’s.
Hard to believe, judging from the pix, but there you go…

But interesting though this poll is, it’s actually really boring because General Franks in reality isn’t running for office, whereas Katherine Harris isn’t running for office in reality either but at least she’s running for office in her head—and that’s what counts!

What IS interesting of course is that General Franks could, if he wanted to, beat a woman, which apparently is the whole point of this poll.
It would be even more interesting if such a match up could actually be arranged—preferably with the two of them stripped down to their skivvies, in a ring with a lot of hot oil and who wouldn’t vote for THAT?!

And then if Franks won, all he’d have to do is gain another 28 points in the polls to challenge Democrat Bill Nelson for Florida, and winner take all!

Hey, Franks won the war in Iraq didn’t he? He could win the political war in Florida too! Really!

It’s not like the Florida GOP are desperate or anything!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Snow Job-Edited

If Tony Snow replaces Scott McLlellan as White House Press Secretary, we can all be assured of the usual snow-job, but this time it will be truly punny!

Updated(most of original post deleted--first time I've done such a thing):

Thanks to Elderta's superior research skills my claims for copyright on "Snow-Job" have hit a bit of a snag ( see the comments and dont forget to visit her blog--in my blog roll, AtThe EndOf The Boom) . Were I a common type of Republican blogger this would not be an issue. But I'm not, and it is. Hence the redaction.

I thought "Brain Damage" was my worst post, but "Snow Job" was far, far worse.

I will say this..Tony Snow is a good looking fellow. No doubt his excellent dentition will make Iraq, illegal domestic spying, the suppression of civil rights, torture, record deficit and national debt, record homelessness, record bankruptcies and so on so much more palatable.

When Snow has criticisized...

---hang on a sec--

I just BlogSpot spell-checked "criticisized" and was offered "McLellan" as the alternative--make of that what you will... anyway...

Snow actually has criticized Bush--but as a "Libertarian", not a "Liberal". He's in the Norquist camp where national government should only concern itself with law and order, defence and attack, and everything else in life is a other words he sides with oligarchy or to put it another way, benign fascism.

So what's going on here? Is the choice of Snow really a shake-up? Would the choice of sometimes acerbically critical Snow indicate a gradual return to the center and at least a partial reduction to partisan politics?

I don't think so.

Bush himself is now politically crippled.

But this is not about Bush any more--he's played his part. What matters now is the future of the Republican party. The appointment of Snow looks like a feint. The GOP needs to recapture the public and Snow as Press Secretary can serve as the president's substitute, he can appear as dynamic as Bush was in his early days.

Having seized control of all branches of government and the military, having a firmer grip of the juidiciary and with a significant hold on the Fourth Estate GOP radicals aren't about to let go of the near complete level of power they have worked so hard to grasp. With less than three years left thay have no intention of losing their grip--indeed now is the time for them to strengthen it.

But for all that they hold and control, they must still consider the electorate. The Republican base is turning away from the GOP, not because the Democrat's are doing a better job--they have been reduced to the level of interns--but becuase the GOP has done such a poor job of governance.

Choosing Snow to replace McLellan is a calculated move (duh!). McLellan was the loyal trooper slogging through the mud. Snow appears dynamic and even independent. But could he actually function as something like an ombudsman, rather than a shill? Could he actually present a more trustworthy visage and more compelling arguments than Mclellan?

David Corn at actually knows Snow and has worked with him. Read his informed take. Snow might actually be sort of okay, he thinks. Maybe.

Trouble is, the job raises Snow's profile big time. Instead of talking about politics he's now IN politics (again) and this time front and center. This is a big step for him. Will he have the balls to actually modify the administration's message? He might argue for a change behind closed doors, but when he stands at that podium, will there be anything other than a stylistic change? Fat chance. His new job is to represent the President and the White-House's policies, not himself.

He can't bite the hand that will be feeding him. Sure he may be more adept and personable than Scott, but just like Scott he will still have to shill and evade and obfuscate and lie. Nothing will change--it can't change, because change isn't what conservatism is about.

Snow's new job is simply a snow job.

Pick up those shovels, people, and when you're done with the pretty white covering, there's the same old pile of shit underneath to deal with.

Cobra II

If you give damn about what most Americans care about these days above all else--the Iraq War--then get a hold of Cobra II: The Inside Story of The Invasion and Occupation of Iraq.

I wouldn't normally provide free advertising but I found this an exceptional and well researched book. Not only is it intellectually stimulating (and often depressing) it is also viscerally exciting.

The first third of the book substantially corrobarates Woodward's "Plan Of Attack" regarding Rumsfeld's influence and relationship with General Tommy Franks and how the invasion was concieved and prosecuted. Personally I learned little more than I already knew about the reasons and planning of the Iraq invasion which is covered in the first third of the book so that aspectof it can be read as a prologue for those of us who have been paying attention.

What particulary struck me about the book was its representation of the experiences of the Army 3rd Infantry Division. the Marines and the Special Forces as depicted by personal testimony and official record woven into a narrative by the authors.

For all the high tech-gadgetry that promised so much, the testimony in this book suggests it didn't live up to it's hype. And as for Frank's and Rumsfeld's planning, those schemes were not as solid as they represented either. Indeed my impression from this book, which in its narrative it does not explicitly iterate , is that that the best laid plans of mice and men are often thwarted--yet it is the men on the gorind who have to carry out the plans who make the plan succeed, not the planners themselves.

The descriptions of combat are uttely clinical with no drama added. Yet in the cold prose the pain and chaos of warfare is stark and disturbing. As much as this book is a critique of the politicians that chose to conduct the war and upper miltary echolons who enabled it, it is also a testament to those who were given no choice but to conduct it, to fight it and to die or be injured in it.

Beyond the exemplay research of the authors what impressed me most was the actions of the soldiers as they were described--mostly importantly the frequent conflict they experienced in trying to balance the orders they were given with the realiteies on the grounf, their own respective perceptions, knowledge and experience and the demands of their superiors, the mission and the "cause".

COBRA II is not a diatribe with a political bent. It is as honest an account as you will find of the Iraq war. And as comprehensive as it is, it is not comprehensive enough.
Nonetheless it provides an exceptional insight into why and how this war was conducted. Given such a contemporsary example
I would urge every reader of this book to then delve into the political and military histories of past wars and then compare--I'd suggest you will find the similarites with seemingly ancient conflicts shockingly familiar.

War is war, it is bloody and cruel no matter the century in which it occurs. But what truly distinguishes one war from another is not so much the military victories but the aftermath. And the aftermath and thus ultimate victory is not determined by the will and might of the military, but that of the politicians.

Sadly this book makes it clear that no great public cause served this war, only the fantasies of delusional power-players, politicians and generals alike, egoists of the highest order who paid lip service to the root of their power, the will of the people.
Certainly a majority of the US agreed to war against Iraq by a slim margin, and of that majority there was a belief in the the leaders pronouncemnts of legitmacy for the cause and the competence of those on high and in charge.

So much for that.

For a dose of reality and a real perspective read Cobra II, and compare to "Plan Of Attack", amongst other available books. It illuminates in it's own right, and will help illuminate other perspectives of your choice.

Substitute For Another Guy

Scott McLellan at a 2006 press conference indicating the direction of Bush's latest approval ratings.
Note the placard behind his head that reads "whitewashing".

Once Scott McLellan actually leaves the press-gaggle podium for good, he will leave behind an empty, cavernous void; a space where for the past 2 years and 9 months there has always been (excuse me--getting a little choked-up here), Scott.

Of course, he was an empty cavernous void when he took the job in the first place.

But how shall we remember him?
Will it be for the tightness of his shirt-collar that made his pudgy head look like it was constantly on the verge of exploding?
Will it be for the robotic monotony of invented facts and talking points? Or that when challenged one could actually hear the cogs in his head protesting as he tried to move from “drive” through “neutral” to “park” via an improbable “sideways” gear?

For myself I think I’ll remember him most for his pioneering work in communications, wherein he steadfastly refused to actually answer questions and challenged the conventions of logic and history and what it is that constitutes a “discussion”.

Perhaps nothing sums up Scott McLellan as well as how he responded to questions of his own departure.

After he had made the formal announcement on April the 19th he was asked when he’d made the decision to resign. Scott said it was on the 14th. And when had he informed Bush?
In the morning of the 17th.

And yet in the afternoon of the 17th when asked “Do you plan to stay on?”, with his resignation already settled and a matter of fact, Scott replied: “Look, I never speculate about personnel matters”.


The Press Secretary isn't supposed to overshadow the President himself, so a lack of personality is an important qualification for the job. But McLellan lacks so much more...he has no spine, no thoughts, no charm, no wit, no....well you name it and he doesn't have it.

McLellan was simply too good at channelling Bush's psychoses, lies, illogic and stupidity, and so his competence of course eventually did him in.

What might the future hold for the man who substituted for a substitute president? He might still be able to 'serve the public'--perhaps by being cemented into part of a New Orleans levee wall?

Of course a book deal with Regnery is possible; what might it be called?
My Stuffed Pet Goat?
Another Million Little Pieces?
I Think We've Discussed That Already?

McLellan has only offered one clue to his immediate future--he's thinking of helping his mommy's political campaign (which is how he got started in the first place). Of course the fact that mommy doesn't want his help because even she is pissed-off with Bush is neither here nor there.

Poor little Scott, I'm afraid, was, is and will remain the ultimate substitute for another guy. And there will never be a substitute for Scott.