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Thursday, 6 October 2005
Is it just me or is this administration losing it?
Topic: Bush Administraiton

These are not happy times in Morning-in-America-land. It seems like just yesterday W. was taking a 5 week vacation---getting lots of bike riding and bush whacking in---and Ann Coulter and her crew of misfits and bloglodytes were happily attacking Cindy Sheehan for having all sorts of dark associations with "hard left" groups whose agenda was the overthrow of the US government etc. and now in the blink of an eye all the neocons and nincompoops are accusing W. of cronyism and incompetence! This Miers nomination is going to go down as one of the biggest presidential blunders in history, right next to FDR's court packing plan. I mean, right after all the bad press associated with the Michael Brown and the Katrina fiasco and in the midst of the DeLay/Frist/Abramoff scandals W. picks a close personal friend and adviser, who has no experience as a judge and has no discernible record one way or the other on all the great legal questions of the day, to be the one to solidify the right wing vote on the Court? How politically tone deaf can you get? (This is just the scenario many thought would happen if he picked Alberto Gonzalez; the right and left attacking the administration from both sides.)

Maybe Cheney's leg splints and Karl Rove's gall stones, or whatever his problem is, along with his impending indictment, are effecting the brain truster's judgment? Here's an extremely right wing, ultra religious president with two Supreme Court vacancies, the fanatic's wet dream, and he blows it. It's going to be said that Bush betrayed his most rabid right wing supporters, the ones who gave him his "political capital" to begin with, just like daddy did to the Pat Buchanans of his day. These people wanted Clarance Thomas on steroids and this is what they get: SNL's church lady?

The Democrats are going to cross their fingers and hope she's another Sandra Day O'Connor, which isn't exactly a good thing, but is better than the Attila the Hun they were expecting. They would be mistaken to be so sanguine, they ought to fight this thing into the '06 elections. Filibuster it, do whatever, just hold up the vote in the senate. Make the fight as bloody as possible, ask for those legal briefs on torture! It's not a given that Miers will be confirmed, the Democrats ought to seize this opportunity to start acting like the opposition. There's a weak president, getting weaker by the day, the "Hammer" is trying to stay out of the slammer and the senate Republicans are split. (This would also be a good time for the moderate Republicans to try and take back their party from the bomb throwers.)

Remember, there is still the Republican agenda that must be stopped: the Patriot Act, making tax cuts permanent, Social Security, the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast etc. an entire swath of destruction they could be blocked or mitigated if the Republicans were on their heels. I say kick them while they're down, they would do the same. (You don't sit on a 3 point lead in the 4th quarter by running out the clock, you keep throwing down field.)

What's beautiful about this situation, too, is the various right wing "grass roots" religious groups are in a quandary over this whole thing. On the one hand, if they support Bush and Miers turns out to be another David Souter- type they'll look like idiots in the eyes of their flock, and if they don't support Bush on this they'll be leaving themselves out in the political wilderness, because they're all on the same sinking ship. They should have taken Paul Weyrich's advise and gotten out of politics a long time ago.

[Well, at least, Pat Robertson has endorsed the Miers nomination. Bush has him on his side, which must be quite reassuring. But, wasn't Miers in the ABA? Aren't they some sort of communist group or something?]

More scandal:

Yesterday, pentagon analyst Larry Franklin pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in giving government secrets to two AIPAC officials. He will be testifying against the two, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, as the star witness for the government in exchange for a reduced sentence. He said he also met with Naor Gilon, a political officer at the Israeli embassy, 8 or 9 times, this being the unnamed foreign government official listed in the indictment. He said his motivation was to help push a harder line against Iran by leaking this information to the press. Not that Israel would ever spy on us or anything, but I guess they did. The Israel official, of course, was recalled to Israel just in a nick of time.

And more scandal:

David Safavian, the Bush administration's ex-chief procurement official, was indicted yesterday on charges of making false statements and obstructing Senate and executive branch investigations into Jack Abramoff. The investigations Safavian allegedly obstructed involved him helping Abramoff acquire property by the General Services Administration while he worked there. Was he influenced by the August 2002 trip Abramoff tokk him on to St Andrews Scotland with Ralph Reed (I'm sure he preyed the whole time.) and rep. Bob Ney? Safavian's lawyer, Barbara Van Gelder, says he will plead not guilty, of course. She says it's all a frame up: "If this case did not involve Mr. Abramoff, the government would have never indicted Mr. Safavian on these charges." So, if Safavian had just been giving away public property to some schmuck, rather than Abramoff, that would have been ok, the government generally looks the other way in those cases, right? [AP]

Speaking of Jack Abramoff:

And Tom DeLay, too: The AP has found that Tom DeLay raised a whole bunch of cash for the 2000 GOP convention. In fact, he raised way more than he actually needed and then diverted it to Roy Blunt and his son, Matt, to his private charity, to a consulting firm where his wife just happened to work, but mainly to himself and to Roy Blunt. (Do I feel another Republican House leadership change coming on?) The AP article says long time Blunt aide Gregg Hartley felt that "the fact that DeLay's charity, Christine DeLay's consulting form and Blunt's son were beneficiaries was a coincidence." Of course, they planned on raising extra money and helping themselves to it, but it's all a coincidence, stuff happens.

There was a lot of money moving around: Blunt sending it to DeLay, DeLay sending it to Blunt, Blunt and DeLay sending it to DeLay's co-indictee Jim Ellis, from this place to that charity, to PACs no one has ever heard of etc., much like the Texas 2002 campaign laundering case.

And don't forget about Jack Abramoff: if there's a shady deal and money to be made, he's in the picture, His business clients in the Marianas islands gave DeLay money to fix certain legislation they didn't like, which no doubt made it's way back to Abramoff. [Remember the Guam investigation?] The AP says a former Federal Elections Commissioner they consulted for thier story said "investigators should examine whether the pattern of disguising the original source of money might have been a bid to hide simultaneous financial and legislative dealings with Abramoff and his clients." You think? This story just goes deeper and deeper, what's next? But, it's all a coincidence, you're all a bunch of partisan fanatics!

McCain and Graham in 2008!

To their great credit, John McCain and Lindsay Graham have successfully got their anti-torture amendment onto a defense appropriations bill. The Senate voted 90 to 9 to ban cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners in US military hands. The idea of the amendment is to make sure everybody is on the same page when it comes to interrogations. McCain said, "we demanded intelligence without ever clearly telling our troops what was permitted and what was forbidden." Of course, that's just the way Rummy wants it; if there are no rules, you can't be blamed for anything. [No rules, just right.]

W. said before and he's saying again, he will veto the 440 billion dollar defense spending bill if the provision is included. The great "conservative" president who never saw a spending bill he didn't like, who has never vetoed a bill---ever---is going to veto this one if it says we can't beat helpless prisoners to a pulp anymore. So, what's wrong if people are kept up for a while, made to stand for over 8 hours---Rummy stands for 8 hours---what the big deal? This bill will tie the president's hands and, as I heard some jack ass on the BBC this morning say, if there's another 9/11 style attack investigators will ask why we passed this bill. We have to have the ability to throw our moral authority out the window, to break every law, to do whatever we feel like, because we can, to fight this war on terror. Don't you understand, these people hate our way of life, even though is starting to look a lot like theirs.

In any case, it just shows how much a lame duck W. is starting to become; that two Republican senators pushed this amendment, against his direct threat of a veto, and 90 senators voted for it. Now, the House is another matter: in conference committee this is going to be a tough sell. It might have a chance, now that DeLay is out of the picture. Who knows, between now and then, when the two houses get together to hash this out, maybe Blunt will be gone too. I question the ability of Dennis Hastert to keep his troops in line. Hopefully the Democrats won't fold, like they usu sally do. It will be a long hard slog, as someone once said, but I'd love to see the look on W.'s face if it comes to his desk!

Aaaaa chooooo:

At his press conference on Tuesday W. said in answer to a question about the threat of an avian flu pandemic that he's "thought through all the scenarios of what an avian flu outbreak could mean. I'm not predicting an outbreak. I'm just suggesting to you that we'd better be thinking about it." First of all, I'm kind of surprised that he had such a ready answer for the question, but the notion of him having "thought through all the scenarios" seems a little hard to believe. I think he said he read a book on the issue, or he had someone read it to him, at least, but looking back on the Katrina debacle I'm not holding my breath---or maybe I should---that he's got a clue about how to deal with such an eventuality.

Science isn't his administration's strong suit, I expect any science advise he got would have to come from a faith based approach. 'Let us all pray.' When he opined---he likes that word, Oh Pine----"If we had an outbreak somewhere in the United States, do we not quarantine that part of the country, and how do you enforce a quarantine?" Naturally, a military solution is the first thing that came to my mind: "One option is the use of a military that's able to plan and move." We've gone from "having a discussion" about getting rid of the Posse Comitatus law of 1878, just a few weeks ago, to using the 82nd Air Borne to quarantine an entire section of the country! Germs are kind of like terrorists, they strike unexpectedly and they hate our form of government, they hate our freedom.

I think most public health experts would opt for something a little less Patonesque and a little more targeted and more likely to actually work. W. says while he was at the UN he used his visit to "talk to as many leaders as I could find" to report outbreaks as quickly as possible. What, were they all running from him, how hard was it to find leaders to talk to? Perhaps they had some inkling he might deal with an outbreak with shock and awe and didn't want to get in his sights.

Like I said before, I think most people nowadays are just crossing their fingers, toes, legs, eyes, whatever they got, and hoping this idiot doesn't get us all killed.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:03 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 6 October 2005 12:20 PM EDT
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