Tuesday, July 17, 2007

So which candidate is in favor of indolence and perversions, ‘cause I’d totally vote for that guy

In a new ad, Mitt Romney says that he wants to engage in a culture war, get rid of sex and violence on tv and in the movies, cancel “Big Love,” and eliminate “indolence and perversions.” For the children. For the children.

If you eliminated indolence and perversions, what would Americans do in the evening? There’s only so much Scrabble you can play, and he probably wouldn’t even allow Strip Scrabble.

I just thought up Strip Scrabble, right then, but I’ve googled it and there are 675 hits. Romney has his work cut out for him.

Today Bush met with UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon. Evidently they “discussed a lot of issues.” Such as “the potential trial for -- about Hariri.” Trial? Of whom?

“And one of the things I briefed the Secretary on was my views about extremism and these radicals that will do anything to disrupt the goals set by the United Nations and/or disrupt the advance of democracy in peaceful societies.” 1) In normal usage, you “brief” someone about something factual, not about your views. Like his use of “remind” (discussed here yesterday), he is failing to distinguish reality from opinion. 2) What peaceful societies?

He said that Al Qaida is much weaker than it was before 9/11, and that it “would have been a heck of a lot stronger today had we not stayed on the offense.”

Let’s compare and contrast Bush’s remarks with the National Intelligence Estimate released today, entitled “The Terrorist Threat to the Homeland,” or at least the two-page summary of the NIE we’re allowed to see (pages 6-7). It says that “the United States currently is in a heightened threat environment” and strongly indicates that the war in Iraq is the thing heightening the threat environment. (Threat environment is a weird little phrase, isn’t it?) How does that work?
we assess that al-Qa’ida will probably seek to leverage the contacts and capabilities of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), its most visible and capable affiliate and the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the Homeland. In addition, we assess that its association with AQI helps al-Qa’ida to energize the broader Sunni extremist community, raise resources, and to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for Homeland attacks.
While Bush says “these killers in Iraq... have sworn allegiance to the very same man who ordered the attack on September the 11th, 2001, Osama bin Laden,” the NIE uses the words affiliate and association to describe the relationship, highly imprecise words that don’t say much about the nature of that connection. Although my favorite near-meaningless word in that paragraph is “leverage.” We’re meant to understand that AQ can order AQI to send people to the US, excuse me, the Homeland to engage in terrorist attacks, but they’re rather careful not to say that AQ has that sort of control over AQI.

Also, of course, it was the American occupation of Iraq that produced this entirely new body, Al Qaida in Iraq, and what is “energiz[ing] the broader Sunni extremist community” is not either group using the name Al Qaida, but the occupation itself.

Bush said that “these killers in Iraq... want us to leave parts of the world, like Iraq, so they can establish a safe haven from which to spread their poisonous ideology.” But the report says that no safe haven is actually required:
globalization trends and recent technological advances will continue to enable even small numbers of alienated people to find and connect with one another, justify and intensify their anger, and mobilize resources to attack – all without requiring a centralized terrorist organization, training camp, or leader.
You know what else recent technological advances are good for? Indolence and perversions. Just sayin’.

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