Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Cultcha

A week or so after 9/11, I said that the Bushies kept talking about making Americans “feel safe” about flying in airplanes and such, and seemed less concerned with making them actually safe. Now it seems that they ordered the EPA to lie and say that the air in NYC was safe, and that breathing in bits of burned buildings and airplane passengers and such was actually good for you, cleans the sinuses right out.

As deaths of American soldiers in Iraq since the “end of major hostilities” now equals the number of deaths before then, Condi Rice urges patience: "We are 117 days from the end of major combat operations in Iraq," she said, without explaining if that’s 117 days after or 117 days before.

Jon Carroll says that the idea of dim bulb GeeDubya surrounded by bright, ruthless neocons was a myth, that in fact the neocons aren’t that bright either. For example, Cheney, Wolfowitz, etc have been demanding the invasion of Iraq since at least 1998 without evidently ever having thought through the consequences.

A NYT article on Bush & “compassionate conservatism” on the front page of Tuesday’s paper mentions in the first paragraph his campaign website’s “compassion photo gallery” section, without observing that most of those pictures are Bush with black people, which was pointed out by several leftie websites and bloggers last week (and, eventually, the WashPost). Is the Times being deliberately obtuse, or is it somehow in bad taste to take cognizance of the fact that Bush’s compassion pretty much begins and ends with letting minorities serve as photo-op fodder.

Shrub says that "terrorists are gathering in Iraq to undermine the advance of freedom." Don’t we usually invade countries in which terrorists gather? Oh, wait...

He also reiterated a massively silly argument that others have used, but not I think him before today: that all the attacks in Iraq are a sign of how desperate the bad guys are (he called them terrorists, which preserves the central nyah nyah tone of the Bush admin but is inaccurate as a description of people who attack forces occupying their country). Yeah, it’s a sign of desperation if they attack us, a sign of boldness and resolve if we attack them, yeah yeah yeah. And he said we should fight terrorists in Iraq so "our people will not have to confront terrorist violence in New York, or St. Louis, or Los Angeles." Didn’t Reagan say this about the contras, and LBJ about Vietnam? Also, and with all due respect: St. Louis? The Post article I’ve been heckling in this paragraph notes the contradictions in Bush admin characterizations of the Iraqi, oh for the sake of contrariness, let’s call them freedom fighters. It’s the last gasp of a dying regime, it’s an all-out war for the security of the US and what Bush calls “civilization.” It’s a floor wax, it’s a dessert topping.

At the tail end of the article, it talks about Bush’s fund-raising, which includes $55 million raised so far to fight a primary opponent who does not exist. The Post did not make any comparison with Iraq. Here’s a hilarious quote from Boy George: "Until the political season starts for me, I will continue to work to earn the confidence of every American by keeping this nation secure and strong and prosperous and free."

The NASA report blames the Columbia explosion on flaws in NASA “culture.” This sort of thing worries me. Although I don’t disagree with the idea, when you’re that vague about the problem, it’s often because you’re not planning to do anything substantive to change, just hold a bunch of silly corporate seminars in which people fall backwards into each other’s arms. Anyway, NASA has a problem with “culture,” Bush is in a battle to preserve “civilization,” maybe everyone should just go to an art museum and an opera and declare victory.

Speaking of culture and civilization, in Nevada, Republicans and the far-right are starting a plan to recall the governor. Maybe they can get Steven Segal to run. Their governor too was just reelected in November. Nevada’s system is that any potential candidate for governor has to gather a huge number of signatures, the same as for the recall itself, which is much higher proportionately than in Cal. If no one can do that, a recalled governor is simply replaced by the lite gov.

Time magazine says that the Army is rotating officers out of Iraq, and replacing them with new ones new to the country and the troops. Because when has actually knowing what you’re doing been a qualification for a job in the Bush admin?

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