Thursday, February 02, 2006

Elbows? Why elbows?


Iranian President Ahmadinejad responds to Bush’s remarks in the SOTU, saying that Bush’s “arms are submerged up to the elbows in the blood of other nations”. And your point is?

Eli at Left I points out again that Bush’s arguments about why the NSA (supposedly) doesn’t spy on “domestic” calls but on “terrorist” ones, or something, creates an illogical distinction “by which international calls automatically surpass some magical threshold of ‘threat’ while domestic calls automatically do not.” Eli thinks the Bushies are covering up the fact that they also listen in on wholly-domestic calls, and I’m sure he’s right, but I think the purpose of the distinction has nothing to do with the content. That is, we’re seeing a favorite Roveite method: confusing the issue, any issue, by turning it into a he said, she said. What he & she actually say is irrelevant, the illusion of a dispute about the facts is the only thing that matters. It’s a handy template for defusing any scandal, because even if the news media bestir themselves to fact-check, they’ve already put out the initial story, which is “the facts are in dispute,” so half their readers/viewers/listeners have dismissed it as more partisan bickering they’re too busy to get to the bottom of. There’s nothing like a small injection of cynicism to counteract righteous indignation, which is why McClellan, Bush etc falsely claimed that Jack Abramoff gave to Democrats as well as Republicans. Ideally, the Bushies will dominate the phony dispute by dictating both the he said and the she said sides so that suddenly instead of talking about the rights and wrongs of the surveillance, we’re talking about whether or not it’s “domestic.” They could just as easily picked some sort of nit over the word surveillance (“Surveillance means ‘to watch over,’ but the NSA was actually listening; why do the Democrats want you to think the NSA was watching when it was actually listening?”).

Maybe that explains the human-animal hybrid thing too.

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