Wednesday :: Mar 22, 2006

I Love Helen Thomas!

by pessimist

If anyone should be remembered for showing that King George is a blithering idiot, it's Helen Thomas!

I'm paraphrasing the actual encounter here, but Helen asked George why he wanted to go to war against Iraq. George responds "The Taliban were sheltering Al Qaeda", and Helen shoots back "I was referring to Iraq, not Afghanistan!"

I think George is a dunce, but jon Ponder at Pensito Review has a different take.

The remedy for 9/11 was to get rid of Saddam. When you read the president’s verbatim answer, you’ll see that his statement makes no sense. This is intentional. It is a prima facie example of “mirroring,” a term I learned today which describes the linguistic hat trick that Mr. Bush and his team use to create their patented brand of truthiness.

According to BuzzFlash, mirroring is a way of obliquely phrasing an untrue statement so that a) listeners draw the intended false conclusion and b) the phrasing cannot be deconstructed to show that the statement was untrue.

This is a reminder that President Bush is not as dumb as he acts.
Incurious, unread and thick-headed, yes — but also a devious liar
who is clever enough to fool a lot of the people most the of the time.

With the facile assistance of the SCLM! Where would he be without them?

Greg Palast leans in the direction that Bu$hCo has plenty to 'mirror' about:

Bush Didn't Bungle Iraq, You Fools

Bush and his co-conspirator, Dick Cheney, accomplished exactly what they set out to do. In case you've forgotten what their real mission was, let me remind you of White House spokesman Ari Fleisher's original announcement, three years ago, launching of what he called,



O.I.L. How droll of them, how cute. Then, Karl Rove made the giggling boys in the White House change it to "OIF" -- Operation Iraqi Freedom.

But the 101st Airborne wasn't sent to Basra to get its hands on Iraq's OIF. "It's about oil," Robert Ebel told me. Who is Ebel? Formerly the CIA's top oil analyst, he was sent by the Pentagon, about a month before the invasion, to a secret confab in London with Saddam's former oil minister to finalize the plans for "liberating" Iraq's oil industry.

And what did the USA want Iraq to do with Iraq's oil?
The answer can be found in a 323-page plan for Iraq's oil secretly drafted by the State Department. Our team got a hold of a copy; how, doesn't matter. The key thing is what's inside this thick Bush diktat: a directive to Iraqis to maintain a state oil company that will "enhance its relationship with OPEC."

Specifically, the system ordered up by the Bush cabal would keep a lid on Iraq's oil production -- limiting Iraq's oil pumping to the tight quota set by Saudi Arabia and the OPEC cartel.

There you have it.

Yes, Bush went in for the oil -- not to get more of Iraq's oil, but to prevent Iraq producing too much of it.

That would explain why Iraqis think U.S. in their nation to stay

Strong majorities [of Iraqi people] tell pollsters they'd like to see a timetable for U.S. troops to leave, but believe Washington plans to keep military bases in their country. Ibrahim al-Jaafari, interim prime minister, has said he opposes permanent foreign bases. A wide range of American opinion is against them as well. Such bases would be a "stupid" provocation, says Gen. Anthony Zinni, former U.S. Mideast commander and a critic of the original U.S. invasion.

How does the (mi$)Admini$tration answer these opinions? With more mirroring!

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, and other U.S. officials disavow any desire for permanent bases. But long-term access, as at other U.S. bases abroad, is different from "permanent," and the official U.S. position is carefully worded.

Lt. Cmdr. Joe Carpenter, a Pentagon spokesman on international security, told The Associated Press it would be "inappropriate" to discuss future basing until a new Iraqi government is in place, expected in the coming weeks.

In Washington, Iraq scholar Phebe Marr finds the language intriguing.

"If they aren't planning for bases, they ought to say so," she said.
"I would expect to hear 'No bases.'"
Right now what is heard is the pouring of concrete. Air Force mechanic Josh Remy is sure of it as he looks around Balad. "I think we'll be here forever," the 19-year-old airman from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., told a visitor to his base.

It sure looks that way, if one can take anything that Hizz Hindni$$ says factually:

Bush: Troops to Stay in Iraq for Years

President Bush said Tuesday that American forces will remain in Iraq for years and it will be up to a future president to decide when to bring them all home.

Bush has adamantly refused to set a deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. "I am confident — I believe, I'm optimistic we'll succeed," the president said. "If not, I'd pull our troops out. If I didn't believe we had a plan for victory I wouldn't leave our people in harm's way."

Mirror, Mirror, tale so tall
told with back against the wall
wish I may, wish I might
be believed I'm doing right

He better hope so! In an editorial last Sunday, The Des Moines Register issued a call to exit Iraq:

The time has come for President Bush to do what he has resolutely insisted he would never do: Set a timetable to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

The U.S. invasion produced chaos and unleashed ancient hatreds, as experts on the Middle East warned it would. President Bush chose not to listen, preferring to believe his own fairy-tale vision of happy Iraqis welcoming Americans. Now, in the words of the nursery rhyme, all the king¹s horses and all the king's men can't put Iraq back together again.

The Free Republic has jumped on the 'Bye, Iraq!' bandwagon, republishing an editorial from the notably conservative Tribune-Review - a suburban-Pittsburgh paper controlled by uberconservative Richard Mellon Scaife:

We didn't agree with Jack Murtha in November when he called for an immediate withdrawal of United States forces from Iraq. The timing was not right. But the times have changed.

This is not retreat. This is not cut-and-run. This is a recognition of the reality in Iraq -- one that has evolved into an Iraqi problem that only the Iraqis now can solve ...

OK - it's a start!

The Arizona Daily Star printed the opinion of The Most Trusted Man In America - Walter Cronkite:

Not unlike the Vietnam quagmire on which I reported in 1968, we are today presented with the Iraq quagmire. The threat of world communism has been replaced by international terror as a pretext for another misbegotten and mismanaged war, but the falsehoods, broken promises and withering national faith are too familiar.

Now, as then, with each further escalation, we come closer to the brink of cosmic disaster. A recent poll revealed that three-fourths of U.S. troops serving in Iraq want full withdrawal, one-fourth immediately. Despite the executive's stubborn optimism, two-thirds of the public now favor withdrawal.

Yet in Congress, such voices are the minority.
As I stated in relation to Vietnam, the only rational way out is to proceed not as victors but as an honorable people who tried to defend democracy the best they could.
Our men and women in uniform face the task of trying to stave off a civil war when their very presence as an occupying force more often than not fuels the violence and represents an obstacle to Shiite and Sunni reconciliation.

Besides conservative newspapers losing the Bu$hCo faith, Many die-hard Republicans shaking their heads over Bush and his war:

Oceanside, San Diego County -- Dennis Dalbey, armed with scissors, an electric hair clipper and a steady hand, has given dozens of Camp Pendleton's young Marines the regulation haircut before they head to combat in Iraq.

But these days, Dalbey, a Republican and a self-described conservative who voted for President Bush, is not nearly as supportive of the commander in chief.

"Enough is enough," he said of the war ...
"If they haven't got this thing settled by year's end,
it's time to bring the boys home.
With the war still raging, and the public growing increasingly sour over the outlook, Bush's approval ratings have plummeted. The once-positive images of the president and his party, which controls both houses of Congress, have been shredded ...

[A] tour through congressional districts of California's Inland Empire and northern San Diego County -- Republican-dominated districts that have voted twice for the president -- found surprisingly strong doubts about the president and his war policies.

I live in this area, and I can attest to this characterization.

But I digress.

In nearby San Marcos, Herb Ranquist, 77, a retired Navy veteran perched on a stool in the local VFW hall, is equally perturbed, saying, "If we're going to war, we ought to do it right. If we let the generals and admirals do the job, we'd do OK.
"I voted for him two times, and I wish I hadn't," Ranquist said of the president.
"It was probably one of the worst mistakes I ever made."
The Iraq war "did not protect us after 9/11. (Bush) was supposed to get bin Laden," said Marilyn Joy Shephard, 62, of Escondido, who has been a registered Republican since the Reagan era. "But he wanted to go into Iraq, and I don't know why," she said.
"I absolutely don't feel safer."

Remember - these are not liberals making these statements, but conservative Republican voters. Why would this woman, for instance, be turning against king George?

Shephard, a former high school teacher and financial adviser, survived the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center from the 66th floor of the second tower to be struck by a jetliner. Shephard said she ran down 66 floors and rushed outside -- only to see a young woman who had jumped from the skyscraper land on the ground nearby. She recalls in painful detail the sights, sounds and smells of that attack, adding, "I even still have the 9/11 cough."

She isn't just talking her discontent - she's acting on it:

Tellingly, Shephard was one of a handful of Republicans in Escondido attending a house party for a Democrat, Francine Busby, a school board member from Cardiff-by-the-Sea who hopes to win the solidly Republican 50th congressional district seat vacated by GOP Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham after his conviction on corruption charges.

As stated, she wasn't alone:

Jerry Gould, 65, a retired pharmacist and a 40-year registered Republican also attending the party, was angered with Cunningham, his party and his president's performance on the war. "I'm incredibly unhappy with the poor planning, and the thousands of people who've gotten killed," Gould said. "(Bush) had no idea of an exit strategy. They're dealing with a culture they don't understand ... and I have a sick feeling that 20 years from now, another Saddam (Hussein) will be in power.
"The guy with the biggest gun will prevail."

And that guy isn't going to be Deadeye Dick Cheney.

While the Republicans are seriously idiologically-impaired, they aren't totally stupid. Self-preservation portions of their brains are still functioning, and retirement for many GOP Congressmembers is looking very good right now:

New York Representative Sherwood Boehlert is the latest Republican lawmaker to retire, announcing Friday that he won't seek a 13th term in office. Republican House leaders, aware that incumbents rarely lose, are struggling to prevent a wave of retirements that would bolster Democratic prospects to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the November elections. With Boehlert's departure, 17 Republicans have now announced their retirement compared with just nine Democrats.

This year, a toxic combination of low presidential approval ratings, a lobbying scandal and term limits on leadership posts may contribute to a flurry of further retirements said Representative Gil Gutknecht, a Minnesota Republican. "It's reaching a point where it's of concern."

I'll bet!

Retirements played a role the last time control of the House changed hands,
when 28 Democrats decided to leave their seats in 1994.
Republicans, who that year had fewer retirements,
picked up 54 seats and won a 230-205 majority.

But there is a fly in the Democratic ointment - gerrymandering:

In the 2004 elections, 98.3 percent of House lawmakers who ran were re-elected.
"These districts, for most of us, were drawn for us,"
said Republican Representative Ray LaHood of Illinois.
"If we don't keep people from leaving, we have too many open seats," he said. "You do give the Democrats, if they can find the right candidate, a chance to win."

Former Democratic Representative Martin Frost of Texas, who once chaired the DCCC, said chairmanship term limits have caught up to Republicans in what would in any case be a tough election year for them. "It is a serious problem," Frost said.

"It was a mistake for them to place term limits on their chairs.
It encourages some people to retire early."
Of eight Republicans who are in their sixth and final year as panel chairmen, five, including Boehlert, have said they are retiring: International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde of Illinois; Financial Services Chairman Michael Oxley of Ohio; Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle of Iowa; and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas of California.

The GOP can't rely upon the wrong-wing blogoshpere anymore for assistance. As Chris Bowers at MyDD reveals, it has been incorporated into the So-Called Liberal Media; it doesn't exist anymore:

The right-wing blogosphere itself has been all but annihilated. Most major right-wing bloggers have now been incorporated into the established news media apparatus.

* Glenn Reynolds is a columnist for MSNBC.
* Andrew Sullivan is a columnist for Time.
* Michelle Malkin is a frequently published columnist in a number of offline outlets.

And now, RedState co-founder Ben Domenech has a regular column in the Washington Post. Despite being the latest in a long line of conservative bloggers to achieve "mainstream" status with the established news media, his first column was, predictably, an attack on the same institutions that just hired him and gave him space.

In short, there is almost nothing in the way of an independent right-wing blogosphere operating outside of existing, established news media outlets.
The entire term "the blogs" implies a new institution operating independently of established centers of news distribution and political power. That no longer exists on the right. The right-wing blogosphere, as it is now constituted, is simply an extension of a larger message machine that developed long before the blogosphere ever existed. The right-wing blogosphere no longer holds any promise to produce new leaders within the conservative movement, or to alter the balance of power within the conservative movement in any way, shape or form.
"The blogs," as they are known in many media outlets and circles and DC,
are now almost exclusively the realm of progressives.
It should not come as a surprise that there has not been a major successful campaign by right-wing blogosphere for over a year now. Simply put, there are no longer any emerging online institutions on the right. While conservative bloggers are looking to be absorbed within established institutions, progressive bloggers continue to build new ones.
The right-wing blogosphere is dead.
Long live the progressive blogosphere.

While I'm not quite ready to celebrate the apparent dominance of progressive blogs today (George can still find many ways to shut us down as China and Saudi Arabia do theirs), the trend is real. Progressive blogs like [apple polishing] The Left Coaster [/apple polishing] are having more of an influence all the time. As Bowers summed up in a previous post (that he quotes in this linked post):

The single most important difference between the blogospheres is this: the progressive blogosphere is introducing new actors into the political scene. The right-wing blogosphere is facilitating further organization of what was already a fairly coherent political world.

And, as 'intelligent' designers refuse to admit, societies facing change need to adapt or die. The ossified world that conservatives seem to prefer is thus the very source of their political downfall.

Not to mantion their numerous crimes which violate the traditional social standards of this nation!

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