Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Brave New Bushworld ~ Governance By Propaganda

It's certainly not news to those of us who've been paying any attention at all for going-on-8-years now. So can we finally muster the political will to impeach the bastards before some other country tries them for war crimes?

Your Demon has to applaud Scott McClellan, even though everybody else, right and left, is vilifying him. He has, albeit hamhandedly, and for a price, written a tell-all memoir about his days as White House Press Secretary that finally begins to sound closer to the truth than what we've been hearing all these years. The book is what it is, and doesn't carry any particularly surprising information. Its failures and shortcomings, too, are rather pedestrian for the genre: 1. He wasn't to blame for parroting lies and misinformation; 2. He believes that Georgie, too, was misinformed and ill served by conniving advisors when he wasn't engaging in "self-deception"; 3. the MSM shares some blame for being too credulous in the run-up to the war.
Therein lies the cause for the very noisy controversy.
The LA Times says, "Get McClellan a press secretary!" Talking heads on all the late nite shows yesterday were huffing and puffing (if they were media types) how outrageous it is that the man feeding them cotton-candy lies and spin wants to blame them, serious journalists, for not pushing McClellan harder! The gall!
A very few pointed out that, er, he was right.
Right-wingers' heads were exploding all over print and the web yesterday and today. Karl Rove said of McClellan's opus that it sounded like it was written by a liberal left-wing blogger, the worst invective he could think of, no doubt, to hurl at the former denizen of the holy inner circle ~ treason, that's what it is!
Since when, Karl probably wants to know, is propaganda and spin a bad thing to the inner circle and workings of the Republicon machine? Weren't we all agreed that Americans are too stupid, lazy and uninterested to deal with reality? ~ feed them dreams, glory, righteousness, and leave the dirty business of running the country and the world to those who know better!
The Bush White House promptly proved McClellan right in its denials and spin: three people, including Rove and Dishy Tart Perino, said the exact same thing (no echo chamber here): "It doesn't sound like the Scott McClellan we knew." Suggesting, of course, that liberal bloggers had taken him hostage, or drugged him, or that he has gone completely and inexplicably off his nut.
He couldn't have suddenly sprouted a conscience and seen what all but the less-than-30% of the hard-core dead-enders have also seen: Bushco is the greatest fraud perpetrated on this country, EVER. We've just very nearly escaped a new brand of NeoCon fascism. McClellan is not the first to have noticed and sounded the alarm, and I daresay he won't be the last. It's getting harder and harder for the Radical Right Wing to shout down and/or demonize the few left who don't see what they're all about. I guess we should all be thanking our lucky stars they got too arrogant, greedy, and careless. If Bushco had been more competent...I shudder to think.
What amuses your Demon most, however, is that the same media accused of complicity by McClellan is pumping this story through the roof mostly as a result of its indignation~ while the very recent Pentagon-War-Profiteer Pundits shoulda-been-a-scandal, flogged by those same media? Nary a word, still. How dare McClellan call them complicit??
If you haven't read the excerpts from McClellan's tell-all that's set Washington afire, check the Politico link for the scoop on the CIA Plame leak and alleged conferences between Libby and Rove to get their stories straight, McClellan's thoughts on Bush carrying the campaign spin mindset into the WH when honesty was needed, and the "denial" Bush experienced over Hurricane Katrina.
Way to go, McClellan. Pretty impressive for a guy seemed to be destined to play minor hack and toady on the big world stage of history. You've almost redeemed yourself. And bitten Bushco's ass big time in the process, probably despite yourself.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Stand Aside, Obama ~ Let Bush Show How Negotiating With Terrorists Is Done

Capping his Nazi-invoking performance in Israel, Bush pays a visit to Saudi Arabia and the Sultans of Oil to "jawbone" his good friends there into increasing oil production.
Sultans say ~ er, NO!

~ Tide of chrome-encrusted SUV's expected to flood American used car lots~

In a real dig at Obama's naiive postulations that we can "negotiate with terrorists," or so Bushco propaganda has it, Bush promptly turns around and proves it's a different matter entirely when you're only negotiating with the countries who finance them. And even so manages to fall flat on his face, even though he's promised the Saudis enriched uranium (for "peaceful" nuclear uses), according to the WaPo today.

Well, that's some admirably tough negotiating for yas. Give 'em anything they want, including the capacity to make nukes, even if you get nothing in return. Even conservative bloggers are going apopolectic over the news.

Turns out that it wasn't only McCain and Obama watching Bush's performance before the Israeli Knesset. The Sultans of Oil were, too, and reportedly did not like it one bit.

..."With the president under pressure at home to show he is fighting to lower gasoline prices, the Saudi gesture gave Bush a face-saving outcome after a day of meetings with Saudi leaders. Bush has invested enormously in improving his personal ties to King Abdullah, and administration officials say the effort has paid off in greater cooperation in fighting terrorism, confronting Iran and other shared concerns.

"But the limits to this warmth were on full display as Bush arrived in Saudi Arabia for his second visit of the year and was whisked off for private consultations and dinner with the king at his palatial horse farm near Riyadh. Not only did the Saudis resist efforts to boost production even more -- as many congressional leaders are demanding -- they also pointedly said that the extra output was a week-old response to commercial customers, not to the president. And they made clear their unhappiness with Bush's emotional speech Thursday to the Israeli Knesset.

"In the address, Bush touched only lightly on the Palestinian quest for a state, while paying homage to the 60th anniversary of the Jewish state -- a contrast that deeply angered many Arabs. 'It was so one-sided,' said Saudi academic and writer Khalid al-Dakhil. 'The president is supposed to be evenhanded.'

"Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal voiced disappointment in remarks to reporters. 'We are well aware of the special U.S.-Israeli relationship'" he said. 'Stressing the right of a nation to exist should not strike out or revoke the rights of other nations.' The Palestinians 'are in dire need to enjoy their rights,' he said.

"White House officials dismissed the suggestions that the president is insufficiently committed to his goal of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal by the end of the year, and said Bush will renew his efforts on Saturday when he meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Egypt.

"After a detailed briefing for the president by the Saudi oil minister, White House officials also seemed satisfied with Saudi explanations that they are investing billions to expand their production capability over the next several years and that there is not much more they can do to lower prices. White House officials said Bush asked the Saudis to increase production as much as they can but made no specific numerical demand."
"The Saudis have taken the measure of the administration and found they can convey their concerns to the administration, but they are not required to do much in return," said Dennis Ross, a Middle East envoy in both Democratic and Republican administrations."
"Another source of tension is the financing of terrorists. Saudi promises to set up a charities commission to regulate the flow of money that U.S. officials believe is supporting terrorism have not materialized, according to current and former U.S. officials. In little-noticed Senate testimony last month, the top U.S. official tracking terrorist financing portrayed a mixed picture of cooperation.

"'They are serious about fighting al-Qaeda in their kingdom, and they do,' said Stuart A. Levey, a Treasury undersecretary, who added that the same 'seriousness of purpose' has not extended to combating financing for terrorists. 'Saudi Arabia today remains the location from which more money is going to Sunni terror groups and the Taliban than from any other place in the world,' Levey said. "

And in other news today, Bush shows he can negotiate with North Korea's Kim Jong Il and safely ignore our allies, the Japanese, who are in the way, after all, of North Korea's nukes. They persist in thinking they should have a say and are being uncharacteristically vocal about the matter.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tin Pot Dictators 'R' Us

Too much fun news to pass up recently:

Bush Bangs the War Drums in Israel ~ Bloviates about Nazi Tanks Invading Poland
~ we daresay, a calculated ploy to ensure applause on Israel's 6oth Anniversary~

Presnit Bush makes America proud again as he stumbles, mumbles and mispronounces his way through a speech before Israel's governing body, thumping his chest and deploring "appeasers" who would "negotiate with terrorists," likening them to American Nazi "appeasers" of the early twentieth century.

Watch it on YouTube:

Check this commentary on MSNBC:

(Barack Obama, on the other side of the world, takes exception to the comparison, and that tarty dish White House Press Secretary Dana Perino responds that while Obama may think the world revolves around him, no, it's just not true.)

So, the rest of us are left to ponder how much better the world might be if purveyors of snide liddle kiddle sensibilities, cheap shots, and playground-bully tactics were to evacuate the White House and be replaced with real adults...oh, wait! That's just around the corner now.

Bonus tidbit on Poppy Bush's enabling of financing in Nazi Germany:

Meanwhile, Republicans Find the Reality-Based Community Perplexing and Not at All to their Liking, Fret About their "Brand" and Slogans

~ Demon suggests some new ones, below~
Still unwilling to believe that the jig is up and revealing an almost-touchingly naiive faith in the marketing, PR and disinformation campaigns that brought them to power to also cure all that ails them now ~ wondering where the magic has gone, natch ~ *poof*~ Republicon members of Congress fret and sweat, and certainly don't seem to be reading the same news the rest of the country does. For instance, food prices rising, the United Way announcing that the social safety net nationwide is in tatters just as "the party of personal responsibility" has succeeded in wrecking the economy, and things like this: nefarious associations within the Grand Old Party of a marketing firm, representing the Burmese military junta as well as your more run-of-the-mill special interests, leads to the resignation of the Republicon National Committee Convention Chief (chosen by McCain)

Your Demon just has to take the opportunity to gloat a little about this article, appearing in the Washington Post today:

"House Republicans turned on themselves yesterday after a third straight loss of a GOP-held House seat in special elections this year left both parties contemplating widespread Democratic gains in November.
"In huddles, closed-door meetings and hastily arranged conference calls, some Republicans demanded the head of their political chief, while others decried their leadership as out of touch with the political catastrophe they face.
"GOP leaders sought yesterday to 're-brand' the party with a new slogan and renewed pledges of fiscal rectitude and limited government. But the slogan -- 'The Change You Deserve' -- came under mocking fire, because it parallels Democratic presidential front-runner Barack Obama's 'Change We Can Believe In' motto and it mirrors the advertising slogan for the antidepressant Effexor.

"'What we've got is a deficiency in our message and a loss of confidence in the American people that we will do what we say we're going to do,' conceded Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

"The losses of conservative House seats in Louisiana and Illinois this spring were explained away by many Republicans as setbacks in which they were hampered by bad candidates. But Tuesday's loss in northern Mississippi was devastating. The district had given President Bush 62 percent of its vote in 2004. To reverse its losing streak, the NRCC pumped $1.3 million from its depleted coffers into the race. Freedom's Watch, a conservative independent group, pitched in. Vice President Cheney appeared at a last-minute rally. Bush and Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, lent their voices to automated phone calls imploring Republicans to vote for Southaven Mayor Charles G. 'Greg' Davis.
Davis lost the contest by eight percentage points, a wider margin than in either of the two previous special-election defeats.
"As soon as the results came in Tuesday evening, Democrats were already gloating, some even talking publicly of a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate. Charlie Cook, a nonpartisan political analyst, scoffed at 60, but he said he now could see gains of as many as seven Senate seats and 15 to 25 in the House. Democrats now hold a 236 to 199 majority in the House, up from 203 seats they controlled two years ago, and Republicans face a flood of retirements in the chamber. Retirement announcements from Senate Republicans in Colorado, New Mexico and Virginia have created prime pickup opportunities for Democrats, who will not be defending any open seats in November.

"Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator in history, has been badly damaged by scandals besetting his family and his party in Alaska, creating an unexpected opportunity for Democrats. Sen. John E. Sununu (N.H.) is defending a seat in a state where Democratic fortunes are on the rise, and other Republican senators -- including Susan Collins (Maine), Norm Coleman (Minn.) and Gordon Smith (Ore.) -- are seeking reelection in states leaning Democratic in a presidential election year. In total, 23 Republican-held Senate seats will be on the ballot this fall compared with 12 for Democrats.

"Even Republican strategists were downcast about their prospects for the fall.
'These races were not in New Jersey or New England, where Republican erosion has taken place over the last decade. They were in the heart of the Bible Belt, the social conservative core of our coalition,' Rep. Tom Davis (Va.) fretted in a 20-page memorandum given to House Republican leaders yesterday and provided to The Washington Post.

"'Members and pundits, waiting for Democrats to fumble the ball so that soft Republicans and Independents will snap back to the GOP, fail to understand the deep seeded antipathy toward the President, the war, gas prices, the economy, foreclosures and, in some areas, the underlying cultural differences that continue to brand our party.'

"Republicans from across the ideological spectrum of their party said yesterday that they understand the need to change course. But they disagreed on what change is necessary.

"Several Republicans decried the NRCC's strategy in the Mississippi and Louisiana special elections of nationalizing the campaigns by linking the Democratic candidates to Obama. All that did, they said, was energize African Americans to vote, while taking the GOP's focus off the local issues the Democrats were riding to victory. 'Cheap, partisan political points' are not going to work in this environment, Keller said.

"At a tense closed-door meeting of the House Republican Conference, Cole took full responsibility for the string of losses. But in a hastily arranged conference call with reporters, he dismissed any call for his resignation or a staff shakeup, which some Republicans have suggested may be necessary.

"'You have to get beyond campaign tactics and take a long, hard look if there's something wrong with your product,' he said. 'It would be a great mistake to think that this could be fixed by tweaking a few things or a staff thing.'

"And Cole rejected the notion of a dramatic break with Bush.
"'I don't see it particularly as an advantage to be in a debate with our president,' he said. 'It's not for me to second-guess the president of the United States.'

"But the numbers point to some dramatic action. In recent days, two polls put Sen. Elizabeth Dole's Democratic challenger within striking distance of her in North Carolina. Another poll showed Democrats gaining on Smith, a moderate who appeared to be escaping the heat of the election year. Even Sen. John Cornyn, one of Bush's closest allies and a fellow Texan, may be feeling some heat from state Rep. Rick Noriega, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. "

Even Funnier: Tom DeLay and Newt Gingrich, those titans of moral rectitude, poster boys and personifications of everything that's wrong with the GOP, weigh in on how to fix it

'We haven't hit bottom yet. I've never seen members so frustrated or demoralized,' former House majority leader Tom DeLay (Tex.) said in an interview.
"DeLay and former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) have been issuing calls to arms to their former troops. But even they disagree on the steps needed to reverse their fortunes, with Gingrich demanding an emergency meeting of all Republicans to craft a new agenda. Gingrich is offering unusual proposals such as reforming the Census Bureau and the Federal Aviation Administration.
"But DeLay called those ideas 'a yawn' and instead demanded a dramatic agenda that would energize the conservative base -- or else face major losses in the fall leading to wholesale changes in leadership next year.
"'That sort of thing will happen over time if there are more losses. You can never gauge when members have had enough,' he said.
"'There is no simple, easy way out of this,' said Glen Bolger, a GOP pollster who works closely with congressional Republicans. 'This is extraordinarily problematic.'"

I know, boys! How 'bout "No New Taxes"! "Drown Government in the Bathtub (except for bailing out moneyed interests)"? "The Constitution: Shred It, Torture It, Burn It." "Lying. Spying. Torture. Bullish on America." "All of the Above: Mission Accomplished. Our Work Here is Done." Or, "You Weren't Using Those Civil Liberties Anyway ~ You Won't Miss Them." "America is Hurting~ Don't YOU Need a Corrupt Politician On YOUR side?"

Er, how 'bout, "Government for You, Not Us and Our Special Interests?" Or maybe, just maybe, you guys really shouldn't have voted against Mother's Day after all.