Saturday, September 23, 2006

Broder Patrol

It's as if David Broder is on a mission these days to make sure everyone understands that he's a blithering idiot. Mission accomplished.

The revolt of several Republican senators against President Bush's insistence on a free hand in treating terrorist detainees signaled the emergence of an independent force in elections and government.


The senators involved -- John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Warner -- were also instrumental in forming the "Gang of 14," the bipartisan bloc that seized control of the Senate last year and wrote the compromise that prevented a drastic change in the filibuster rule that otherwise would have triggered a bitter partisan divide.

These are not ordinary men. McCain, from Arizona, is probably the leading candidate for the 2008 presidential nomination. Graham, from South Carolina, is the star among the younger Republican senators. Warner, from Virginia, embodies the essence of traditional Reagan conservatism: patriotism, support for the military, civility.

They were joined in their opposition to Bush's call for extraordinary interrogation techniques by Colin Powell, the former secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who is still, despite the controversies over his role in Iraq policy, one of the most admired Americans.

Yep, and they just rolled over after a week of shameless kabuki, to not only allow Bush to interpret Article 3 pretty much however he pleases (you know, when he's not edimufyin' hisself readin' L'Etranger), but to provide him retroactive cover for what's already happened. Because, though it's rarely mentioned, there are dozens of people who have been literally disappeared, to be battered and broken in some dungeon, left to die, off the books, anonymously, without recourse or due process, perhaps completely innocent, which we know has already happened many times.

But that's not the most obnoxious part of Broder's stale chunder. It's his reflexive journamalistic instink that tells him that if he angers both "sides", that he's doing his job. So he lobs this scud o' stupid:

It is a standard this administration has flagrantly rejected. Bush was elected twice, over Democrats Al Gore and John Kerry, whose know-it-all arrogance rankled Midwesterners such as myself. The country thought Bush was a pleasant, down-to-earth guy who would not rock the boat. Instead, swayed by some inner impulse or the influence of Dick Cheney, he has proved to be lawless and reckless. He started a war he cannot finish, drove the government into debt and repeatedly defied the Constitution.

Now, however, you can see the independence party forming -- on both sides of the aisle. They are mobilizing to resist not only Bush but also the extremist elements in American society -- the vituperative, foul-mouthed bloggers on the left and the doctrinaire religious extremists on the right who would convert their faith into a whipping post for their opponents.

For one, Broder's equivalence between the "foul-mouthed" bloggerses and the religious fanatics is cheap and false. There are plenty of vituperative, foul-mouthed bloggers on the right; that they haven't yet mau-maued a Linc Chafee or a Chuck Hagel is irrelevant. They're there in numbers, and like the lefties, right or wrong, they're doing something they believe in. But make no mistake, they are every bit as intemperate and extremist in their commentary as anyone on the left side of the blogosphere.

So by Broder's weak calculus, they pretty much cancel each other out, and only a complete fool -- or Broder -- would stipulate that there is anything remotely close to a countervailing force on the left to the political juggernaut of fanatic religious PACs on the right. It's not even close; it's not even worth debating.

Now, I don't know who it was that decided that a bunch of tornado-dodging, football-and-corn-worshipping flatlanders were supposed to be the ultimate repository of American Wisdom, but ferchrissakes, at least have the balls to admit when your gut fucked you over. At least have the honesty to fess up and acknowledge that the traits you want in a drinking buddy aren't necessarily the same traits you want in the most powerful job on the entire planet, and as such, maybe you should ask your interviewee tougher questions than "Would I like to have a beer with you?".

So stick it up your ass sideways, O Dean of all that is civil and even-handed. This is what your moderation and fake objectivity got you -- a petulant moron running the show, dragging this country into the moral pit of torture and murder, of preventive war based on false premises, of future war being agitated for even as we speak. This is what happens when you beltway weasels jerk each others' chains and decide that it would just be bad form to point out the obvious, ugly truth of the matter.

Watching the HBO documentary on Barry Goldwater the other day, I was struck by how, despite Goldwater's reactionary crankism in foreign policy matters, he was a true conservative on pretty much everything else. Even much of his more notorious blustering was of the spirit of "American exceptionalism", which is expected of every politician, as is demonstrated by Nancy Pelosi and Charlie Rangel falling all over themselves to offer criticisms of Hugo Chàvez' UN buffoonery. Anyway, the point is that Goldwater, a true conservative, would have to run as an interventionist Democrat at this point, because the Republican Party has been taken over by Christian Coalition nutjobs and faux-populist windbags of the Pat Buchanan/Newt Gingrich stripe. (And it says everything about the state of the corporate media that, mere minutes after Chàvez tirade, MSNBC cupcake Norah O'Donnell turned to none other than Pat Buchanan for what is supposed to be sensible commentary. Mobutu Sese Seko probably could have gotten a cushy gig as a "commentator" or "consultant" in this environment.)

Goldwater, whatever his faults, had enough sense to see the Falwell types for what they were -- strutting little fascists for Christ, who have debased the meaning of "conservative" (and "Christian", for that matter) quite thoroughly. The current Republican Party is not "conservative", it is nakedly authoritarian. By definition, this means that, despite Broder's puling excesses, they do not have even a modest amount of "decent respect" for what the people want. Diebold and James Dobson will tell them what they want, and fake mavericks like McCain and Huckleberry Graham will do whatever their master tells them to. So spare us all the "civility and decency" chat, Dave. These neocon/theocon culture warrior assholes instigated all this with a full fourteen years now of patently indecent, vituperative conduct.

And now that Iraq is said to be under even more torture than under Saddam, and in the early stages of civil war, even the Bushies aren't bothering with the "liberation" tropes. Now it's just "it takes time". Oh, really? Because we were insultingly told, as if we all stupid, traitorous ninnies, that this would be a cakewalk that would pay for itself. My, the days of civility and decent respect. Those nasssty bloggerses sure fucked all that up.

This is an administration that has gone out of its way repeatedly to thwart scrutiny and avoid accountability. They literally feel that they do not owe their putative bosses, the citizens of the United States of America, an explanation about anything. Ever. They have lied, obfuscated, and dissembled about pretty much everything. They have treated their opponents and even their allies with sneering contempt, and have been anything but serious and civil and decent.

So when punk-ass bitches like Dave Broder hop their high horses to scold some bloggers and blindly defend the indefensible, there's nothing I as a lowly, uncivil blogger can say that the dark master himself can't say better. Hit it, Dick!

The question of where the President gets the notions known to the nation as "I'm the decider" and within the White House as "the unitary executive theory" leads pretty fast to the blackout zone that is the Vice President and his office. It was the Vice President who took the early offensive on the contention that whatever the decider decides to do is by definition legal. "We believe, Jim, that we have all the legal authority we need," the Vice President told Jim Lehrer on PBS after it was reported that the National Security Agency was conducting warrantless wiretapping in violation of existing statutes. It was the Vice President who pioneered the tactic of not only declaring such apparently illegal activities legal but recasting them as points of pride, commands to enter attack mode, unflinching defenses of the American people by a president whose role as commander in chief authorizes him to go any extra undisclosed mile he chooses to go on their behalf.

If that's not contempt for the Constitution and settled law, and the people who live under those things, I don't know what is. I think that is far more indecent and uncivil than a couple of strings of expletives from anonymous ranters on the internets, but I guess I just don't have the innate godlike midwestern wisdom to prioritize properly.

Cheney did not take the lesson he might have taken from being in the White House at the time Saigon fell, which was that an administration can be overtaken by events that defeat the ameliorative power of adroit detail management. He took a more narrow lesson, the one that had to do with the inability of a White House to pursue victory if Congress "tied its hands." "It's interesting that [Cheney] became a member of Congress," former congressman Tom Downey said to Todd Purdum, "because I think he always thought we were a massive inconvenience to governing." Bruce Fein, who served in the Meese Justice Department during the Reagan administration, told Jane Mayer of The New Yorker that Cheney's absence of enthusiasm for checks and balances long predated any argument that this was a "wartime presidency" and so had special powers.

Exactly. None of this is coincidental, or even circumstantial, as it's been portrayed. The revivification of the "unitary executive" principle is opportunistic, enabled by the PTSD this nation experienced in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, where a shell-shocked populace rallied around people it assumed it could trust.

Well, it's been made abundantly clear that they can't be trusted to be competent in their jobs or accountable to us. Most people are seeing that, but the leverage belongs to the minority in the appropriate opinion-mongering jobs. People like David Broder, whose job as point man is to belabor the small stuff and studiously ignore the obvious. He fancies himself a serious commentator, but he's really just a rented scrivener to the lowlifes who fester in power, dragging this country through a downward spiral of needless embarrassment and unnecessary conflict.

The thing about being the big dog, whether we like it or acknowledge it or not, is that all eyes are on us. I don't think the other 95% of the people inhabiting this planet see what Dean Broder sees. I don't think anyone outside of the professional parasite class sees what he sees.

1 comment:

Seven Star Hand said...

Hello Heywood and all,

Why do religious leaders and followers participate in and support blatant evil?

History is replete with examples of religious leaders and followers advocating, supporting, and participating in blatant evil. Regardless of attempts to shift or deny blame, history clearly records the widespread crimes of Christianity. Whether we're talking about the abominations of the Inquisition, Crusades, the greed and genocide of colonizers, slavery in the Americas, or the Bush administration's recent deeds and results, Christianity has always spawned great evil. The deeds of many Muslims and the state of Israel are also prime examples.

The paradox of adherents who speak of peace and good deeds contrasted with leaders and willing cohorts knowingly using religion for evil keeps the cycle of violence spinning through time. Why does religion seem to represent good while always serving as a constant source of deception, conflict, and the chosen tool of great deceivers? The answer is simple. The combination of faith and religion is a strong delusion purposely designed to affect one's ability to reason clearly. Regardless of the current pope's duplicitous talk about reason, faith and religion are the opposite of truth, wisdom, and justice and completely incompatible with logic.

Religion, like politics and money, creates a spiritual, conceptual, and karmic endless loop. By their very nature, they always create opponents and losers which leads to a never ending cycle of losers striving to become winners again, ad infinitum. This purposeful logic trap always creates myriad sources of conflict and injustice, regardless of often-stated ideals, which are always diluted by ignorance and delusion. The only way to stop the cycle is to convert or kill off all opponents or to end the systems and concepts that drive it.

Think it through, would the Creator of all knowledge and wisdom insist that you remain ignorant by simply believing what you have been told by obviously duplicitous religious founders and leaders? Would a compassionate Creator want you to participate in a system that guarantees injustice and suffering to your fellow souls? Isn’t it far more likely that religion is a tool of greedy men seeking to profit from the ignorance of followers and the strife it constantly foments? When you mix religion with the equally destructive delusions of money and politics, injustice, chaos, and the profits they generate are guaranteed.