May 2008

Seeking distraction from the Scott McClellan ‘revelations‘, Ace asks:

Hmmm… here’s a “turncoat” who’s offering new facts about a public figure, and not mere speculation and interpretation.

Think Rebecca Walker will get the sort of media feting that Scottie McClellan is getting?

Think Alice Walker is the President of the United States? Think Alice Walker’s daughter’s childhood is as politically relevant as the War in Iraq? If you know the answers to these tricky questions, you can probably predict the relative importance a sane news organization will assign to each. If not, you are probably a regular reader of Ace of Spades.

It’s hard not to feel a little bad for your Bush dead-enders these days. Never particularly clear on what the President’s job actually was – aside from totally pwning libs, fags and Frenchies, obviously – the world has become particularly confusing recently, with people saying all sorts of really hurtful things and totally ignoring the fact that someone said there’s a crazy lady who’s totally mean and crazy. Has Michael Moore suddenly become svelte? Where are people’s priorities? And what of the threat to democracy posed by Rachael Ray’s scarf?!?!

Some advice for the future: if you don’t want someone to receive the sort of scrutiny which comes with the job of President of the United States, don’t vote for him for that job.  Convince him to leave national politics and enter, say, American Idol.  Or perhaps the Constitution could be amended to allow for national elections of Official Co-Author of The Color Purple, a position which would never exceed the Alice Walker Threshold for criticism of public figures.  Concentrating your energies in such a direction would avoid confusing situations like this one, while also leading to a less fucked-up government, which would have the added benefit of making the majority of Americans hate you less.  Plus, you might get to meet Oprah.


Charles Kaiser goes to the bad place:

The big question (which no Washington reporter has ever bothered to investigate) has always been: Who was Guckert’s very special White House friend who provided the gay blade with such remarkable access? Today, for the first time, Guckert offered an explanation.

“I can say without fear of contradiction, that I knew [ex White House press secretary] Scott [McClellan] better than any other White House correspondent or Washington reporter,” Guckert wrote on his blog.

That seems to solve several mysteries.

It doesn’t, really, but it’s fun to make-believe. Now, if you will excuse us, we’re going to play with our Larry Craig bobble-foot doll and practice our Beavis laugh.

Re: Jihadella al-Hitchens and a threatened “citizen’s arrest” of Walrusface Bolton, a dude on the internet opines:

The former U.S. ambassador to the UN—whose role is to represent the United States in front of the world—is targeted by “progressives” [in this case, a columnist for The Guardian newspaper] as a criminal because he was ” ‘instrumental in preparing and initiating the Iraq war by disseminating false claims through the State Department” while he was under-secretary of state for arms control.’ ”

Meanwhile, an acknowledged jihadist, whose role is “to inspire other people to wage jihad,”gets the front page treatment in the New York Times, which quotes the director of Belgium’s federal police force thus: “She enjoys the protection that [lenient Belgian law] offers. At the same time, she is a potential threat.”

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that “war-mongering” is being treated as a crime on one side—namely, ours—but not on the other. Not very fair, that. Nor very confidence-inspiring for your normal everyday citizen of the West, who wants the authorities to prevent crimes—to act before a terrorist incident occurs, not to react afterward.

Note a distinction which is not made: the War in Iraq actually happened, while Jihadella writes stupid warblog slashfic on the internets. Notice another: Walrusface is being treated as a criminal suspect by a private citizen (SPOILER ALERT:Mr. Bolton will not see th inside of a jail cell), while Osama bin Bloggin has actually been arrested by federal law enforcement in two European countries.  However, “your normal everyday citizen of the West” should read these two stories and proceed immediately to cower under the bed in fear from the deadly threat from the Moorish hordes (who, in this case, among other terrifying superscary terrorpowers, can neither hold down a job, speak Arabic, nor actually get into al-Qaeda.  But she knew someone who did!  I believe this makes her al-Qaeda’s #3 in command.)  Words on the Belgian internets are more serious than war, some dude’s publicity stunt is more significant than actual police action.  Words speak louder than actions, always.

I think Barack Obama has the right idea:

If elected president, Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama said one of the first things he wants to do is ensure the constitutionality of all the laws and executive orders passed while Republican President George W. Bush has been in office.

Those that don’t pass muster will be overturned, he said.

One of Bush’s goals has been to make sure the radicalism of its administration survives his term – by seeding the bureaucracy with movement loyalists, sabotaging government agencies which could hinder movement activities, using government power to damage movement enemies, as well as the more accepted methods of appointing movement judges, passing legislation, and acting to establish radical precedent and culture in the government. One of the primary goals of a Democratic administration must be to clean up the mess – remove the movement soldiers from the civil service, repair the broken agencies, reestablish appropriate norms, nullify the radical precedents, shampoo the carpets, repaint the walls, have the city of Washington, DC crop-dusted with holy water, and act at all times in open rejection of everything the Bush people stand for and “accomplished”. There will be considerable political pressure to “move on” – particularly when undoing bad action requires revisiting unpleasant “old news” which could embarrass important people – and nothing can ever completely undo what is done. But it’s nice that Obama seems to have garbage collction as a priority.


Ilan Goldenberg remembers:

John McCain, a man with a long long record on national security, comes out and says some half reasonable things about non-proliferation and working with Russia and the press and foreign policy community simply suspend all disbelief and just swoon. 

Seriously, rather then just reading the speech one might consider the fact that this is a man who has actually called for kicking Russia out of the G8 and even in the speech yesterday continued to call for national missile defense –  something that would greatly damage any possibility for cooperation with Russia.  A man who has a long history of saying belligerent things about allies and foes.  A man who has joked about bombing Iran.  A man who voted against ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.  A man who has a long record of showing a penchant for using military force.  A man who with this type of history would be unlikely to achieve any of the main goals he seems to lay out in the speech

While we’re reminiscing: I recall, about 5 years ago, when the Bushies were boldingly tearing up the Agreed Framework with North Korea and replacing it with … well, nothing, John McCain was asked on TV what he would do if China failed to stop North Korea from expanding its nuclear program.  (Funny postscript: China failed to stop North Korea from expanding its nuclear program.  After letting North Korea develop nuclear weapons without limit for five years, Bush eventually got Pyongyang to agree to a less effective deal than the one Clinton et al nogotiated in 1994.)  McCain’s said he would respond to such an unlikely contingency by helping South Korea, Japan, and – and I pray I’m misremembering this – Taiwan develop their own nuclear weapons.  John McCain did not appear particularly concerned that, if one is interested in preventing a nuclear arms race in Asia, aggressively promoting a nuclear arms race in Asia is not likely to be a fruitful policy.  John McCain can be charming, but his record in foreign policy is a record of unequalled crazy.

Here is McCain a few years later, on a different show, pushing the same policy in more diplomatic terms.

And thus the flurry of face-saving tell-all memoirs begins in earnest. All that time with Ari Fleischer’s family must have hardened little Scottie McClellan. Maybe some adorable little tow-headed Fleischer child, not more than five, slapped him twice across the face and said “what the fuck were you thinking, you glib twit?” Or maybe more likely, the specter of actually getting called to account for the vast misery he grinningly participated in began to feel real to him; its weight, along with that of his mandatory enormous head, giving his already weak spine a distinctly put-upon cant. So he decided to Reveal Disturbing Truths! in a Shocking! Tell-All! Memoir! Lay it on us, Scottie, we can take it:

McClellan charges that Bush relied on “propaganda” to sell the war.

• He says the White House press corps was too easy on the administration during the run-up to the war.

• He admits that some of his own assertions from the briefing room podium turned out to be “badly misguided.”

• The longtime Bush loyalist also suggests that two top aides held a secret West Wing meeting to get their story straight about the CIA leak case at a time when federal prosecutors were after them — and McClellan was continuing to defend them despite mounting evidence they had not given him all the facts.

• McClellan asserts that the aides — Karl Rove, the president’s senior adviser, and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff — “had at best misled” him about their role in the disclosure of former CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity.

No. Fucking. Way. Next thing you know he’s going to tell us Bush didn’t really, technically look into Putin’s soul. Look forward to lots more of this, folks. The “CYA-Oriented Perfunctory Recounting of Shit You Already Know” aisle at Barnes & Noble will squeeze out the 8 million remaindered copies of Left Behind For Dummies and moldy stacks of John Mayer CDs in no time. And every time another ex-Bush apparatchik clasps their bloodied hands in front of them to mewl and whimper for sympathy because it just wasn’t their fault, expect the press to be Shocked! by the Stunning! Revelations! in their Surprisingly Harsh! note from Mom (signed, shakily, in crayon) that requests, in sum, that little Scottie (or little Paul or little Condi or others to be named later) be excused from prison today because that mean little Rove boy beat him up in the briefing room again. Pathetic.

Bizarro Hitchens:

[Malika El Aroud] calls herself a female holy warrior for Al Qaeda. She insists that she does not disseminate instructions on bomb-making and has no intention of taking up arms herself. Rather, she bullies Muslim men to go and fight and rallies women to join the cause.

“It’s not my role to set off bombs — that’s ridiculous,” she said in a rare interview. “I have a weapon. It’s to write. It’s to speak out. That’s my jihad. You can do many things with words. Writing is also a bomb.”

Perhaps not ideally, but a popular sentiment these days. And how did Mrs. El Aroud come to her calling?

Ms. El Aroud began her rise to prominence because of a man in her life. Two days before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, her husband carried out a bombing in Afghanistan that killed the anti-Taliban resistance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud at the behest of Osama bin Laden. Her husband was killed, and she took to the Internet as the widow of a martyr.

Which is to say: by glorious association with someone who blew himself up in another nation’s civil war at the behest of the foreign patron of an unpopular and doomed regime. Warblogging, while sordid, must be considered an improvement. I used to think that world peace could be attained if people would agree to settle all military disputes through video games – all the excitement and trash talk of war, without the unpleasant bits. The downside of this plan was that the world would be ruled by 9-year-olds – assuming that would be, in fact, a downside, or even a change. Perhaps instead we can achieve peace through internet wanking, channeling one’s frustration, xenophobia, and sense of purposelessness into a fantasy world of soaring rhetoric and clashing civilizations and supping of the Funyons of Victory! I knew this was a different kind of war!

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