16 December, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Condi Rice has had a complete break with reality:
In an AP interview yesterday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke highly of U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq, stating, “We’ve done a lot of work to get these [reconstruction] structures right, and I think they finally are” — a day after a scathing government report detailed massive waste and poor planning in U.S. reconstruction efforts. When asked about the abuse, Rice claimed that U.S. dollars have emerged unscathed:

Q: But the cost in terms of lives and in terms of the money and the abuse of money – (inaudible) was money wasted, there was money that was siphoned off, corruption and that kind of thing, you’re —

RICE: Not of American money. Not American money. I don’t think that you will find that anybody is arguing that there was corruption in the American programs.

She must be using some obscure definition of "American" money and "American" programs, then.

– The Coalition Provisional Authority delivered 363 tons of cash on an airplane, totaling $12 billion, to Iraq “without assurance the monies were properly used or accounted for.”

– The State Dept spent $36.4 million dollars on weapons and equipment that could not be accounted for because “invoices were vague and there was no backup documentation“.

– Top contractor KBR came under fire last year from government investigators for overpricing its contract by $2 billion, which, for example, included overstating labor costs by 51 percent.

– State Dept. employees testified in May 2008 that the U.S. “allowed corruption to fester at the highest levels of the Iraqi government,” resulting in the loss of billions in U.S. tax dollars.

You know, I'm looking forward to a time when politicians will actually have to use plausible lies again, rather than spew bullshit that's this easily debunked.

It will be phenominal to have a president who actually recognizes reality rather than making up his own:

Dismissing any notion that the country’s political center has shifted after the Democratic routs in 2006 and 2008, Bush turns to the Center-Right Nation canard in his interview with RCP.

"I still think we're a right-of-center country," the President responded when asked whether the election offered proof that the ideological center of the country had shifted to the left.

Well, you know, the Cons only lost two of the last two election cycles, Obama's only wildly popular, and there's only overwhelming public support for things like healthcare and other progressive issues. Aside from that, the nation's still center right. And ponies still grow on trees in Baghdad.

Bush has a cunning plan for restoring the sparkle to the Republicon party:

Overall, the President remained upbeat about his party's political future. "I've got confidence we'll come back, so long as we don't abandon the core principles that enable us to win when we're winning - which is low taxes, strong national defense."
The good news for Democrats is that Bush is articulating what the GOP’s Palin-Limbaugh base really believes. If only they get back to talking about tax cuts and terra and keepin' the gubmint outta the way -- with a little God talk sprinkled in for flavor -- they’ll be just fine.

The key thing here, I think, is "the core principles that enable us to win when we're winning." Bush seems to think they're winning. Signs say otherwise. The fatal flaw is glaring him right in the face, and he still can't see it.

And when your party's acting insane enough to make even Newt Gingrich stand up and say woah nelly, you know you're on the wrong fucking track:

Within a few hours of Rod Blagojevich's arrest, the Republican National Committee was circulating materials to reporters hoping to prove that the governor was closely tied to Barack Obama. As the week progressed, the attacks intensified, reality notwithstanding.

This culminated in a three-minute web video, released over the weekend, featuring evidence of instances in which the senator from Illinois met the governor of Illinois. This was helpful in proving ... well, that the RNC is pretty desperate right about now and hard up for content with which to smear Obama.

On Sunday, John McCain distanced himself from the RNC's efforts, saying there's corruption in both parties and describing the RNC's campaign as a distraction.

Today, Newt Gingrich went even further. From a written statement issued by the former House Speaker:

"I was saddened to learn that at a time of national trial, when a president-elect is preparing to take office in the midst of the worst financial crisis in over seventy years, that the Republican National Committee is engaged in the sort of negative, attack politics that the voters rejected in the 2006 and 2008 election cycles.


"This ad is a terrible signal to be sending about both the goals of the Republican Party in the midst of the nation's troubled economic times and about whether we have actually learned anything from the defeats of 2006 and 2008.

"The RNC should pull the ad down immediately."

For once, Newt's not talking out of his arse. Trouble is, I think the Cons still have their heads so firmly up their own bums they can't hear a damned word he says.

If they're all as delusional as Dana Perino, there's no hope of recovery:
During today’s White House press briefing, spokesperson Dana Perino echoed President Bush’s claim that Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zaidi’s frustrations are not representative of the Iraqi public’s sentiments. She pointed out that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki apologized for the mistreatment of his guest. When reporter Helen Thomas pointed out that U.S. forces are actually “occupiers,” Perino bristled:

QUESTION: Why not worry about it? Does it reflect the feelings of the people?

PERINO: I don’t think that you can take one guy throwing his shoe as representative of the people of Iraq.

And I will tell you that Prime Minister Maliki and the journalists who were there in the room, who apologized on behalf of the Iraqis, saying this is not how they would treat a guest. […]

QUESTION: But he wasn’t a guest. We’re occupiers.

PERINO: No, we’re not. We are absolutely a guest.

Um. No. We invaded their country with guns drawn. I didn't see any gold-embossed invites saying "Please come blow everything up." I do believe we are what you would call occupiers, Perino's definition notwithstanding.

She must be hard to get rid of at parties.

And then there's this breathtaking statement from Juan Williams, who seems to be a little fuzzy on what makes people grateful:
Last night on “The O’Reilly Factor,” host Bill O’Reilly slammed Muntader al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush, and said that if he had been there, he “would have physically taken the guy down.” Guest Juan Williams agreed, but he widened his condemnation to Iraqis in general, who he said were behaving like “ingrate[s]” for not appreciating what the United States has done for them:
WILLIAMS: But on a serious level, how many American lives have been sacrificed to the cause of liberating Iraq? How much money has been spent while they’re not spending their own profits from their oil? American money. So I just think it’s absolutely the act of an ingrate for them to behave in this way. Just unbelievable to me.

What have we done for them?
An Oxfam report from February 2008 put into startling focus what the U.S. invasion has really meant for Iraqis:

– More than four million Iraqis forced to flee either to another part of Iraq or abroad.

– Four million Iraqis regularly cannot buy enough food.

– 70 percent are without adequate water supplies, compared to 50 percent in 2003.

– 28 percent of children are malnourished, compared to 19 percent before the 2003 invasion.

– 92 percent of Iraqi children suffer learning problems, mostly due to the climate of fear.

The Brookings Institute’s Iraq index also notes that the national unemployment rate is somewhere between 25 and 40 percent. Fifty-six percent of Iraqis say things in Iraq are going “quite bad” or “very bad.” Sixty percent rate economic conditions as “poor” and 75 percent rate security conditions “poor.”

And yet, they have sooo much to be grateful for.

With "thinking" like this at the helm for eight fucking years, it's no wonder this country is falling to pieces.


Blake Stacey said...

Oooh! Let's watch O'Reilly have his little Jack Bauer fantasy!

Actually, he reminds me of Louis Prothero in the V For Vendetta movie: "I wish I had been there!"

Blake Stacey said...

I also love how it's "American money" when they're talking about nation-building and all, but it's "not American money" when the subject of corruption comes up.

george.w said...

American money is a financial diode, Blake; it can only pass currency in one direction. That is, toward victory, never toward corruption. Yea! Go USA! USA!!!

I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around 363 tons of cash on an airplane.

Our country could really, actually be going down now. We might survive - we certainly elected the right guy to lead in the effort - but for the first time I am really beginning to have doubts that our country will not fall.

Unknown said...

This type of thinking has been around far longer than 8 years. Try the entire history of United Snakes.

The same type of thinking that says we Native Americans should be grateful for the same type of invasion, genocide and forced assimilation! It's the same type of thinking that denies the fact that there was a viable culture here before that drunk Italian decided he was in India!

Here's another little piece of info: The reason there has always been alot of Natives in the armed forces is the inscrutable fact that this IS our country! We have been fighting for it for over 500 years now and we haven't stopped!!