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February 13, 2006

Deadeye Dick

Mike: "What is our opinion on Mr. Cheney letting fly into a 78-year-old man's face with some birdshot? Did Dick shoot an old man in the face to draw attention away from the mounting Katrina outrage? Is it a trap? Is shooting old people in the face part of a strong enough issue area that Dick feels comfortable engaging in some transgressive behavior because the Democrats don't have enough credibility in the area to mount a serious public offensive?"

Me: "Cheney didn't do it to draw fire, if you will, from the president. He doesn't have a sacrificial bone in his body. His M.O. is attack, attack, attack. Sacrifice is for chumps."

"It's possible Cheney did it to up the ante in displays of arrogance, shamelessness, and transgressive force. As this administration has shown, most recently with the so-called "terrorist surveillance program" and in many other cases one could name, it is possible to spin political gold out of being brutes and fuck-ups, as long as you have the balls to BRAG ABOUT IT afterwards. The more brutal the fuck-up, the better--it shows you've really got brass. And if people think Cheney'd shoot an old man in the face on purpose, well, there are times when fear is more valuable than respect.

"But my own read on the incident isn't nearly as melodramatic: The old man is a prominent lawyer. It's been reported that Scooter Libby has testified that Cheney authorized and perhaps instructed him to release classified information to damage a political opponent. Naturally Cheney and the old man were talking a little shop out there in the field, and when the old man candidly told Cheney that he was screwed if Libby squealed, Cheney told him to go fuck himself and then he shot that old man in the face.

"It probably wasn't premeditated, but once they start spinning it, they're going to find that a lot of people don't mind at all: that many Americans, although they previously would have considered it un-American, even unthinkable, would actually like to shoot some old people in the face, and they're glad--satisfied, in fact, deep in their gut, in a warm, almost primal way that they don't have to feel ashamed of anymore--to see someone finally standing up for that.

"So, Americans once again find they've got a taste for the hard stuff; Karl Rove enjoys a belt of scotch; and Scott McClellan calls it a successful news cycle."

On the other hand:

Cheney, an avid hunter, usually visits the 50,000-acre Armstrong Ranch, settled in 1882, once a year. He also hunts regularly at sites in Georgia and South Dakota. [...] Two years ago, the vice president was criticized for going duck hunting with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.... A month earlier, he had bagged about 70 stocked pheasants at a private shooting club in Pennsylvania.

That doesn't sound like a man who'd waste valuable birdshot on a human. That sounds like a man focused on killing as many birds as he possibly can.

I'm no knee-jerk condemner of hunting, but 70 birds? Seems like most people would lose interest after the first two or three dozen. What grim efficiency! What single-minded determination! His finger cramps, his aching feet get cold, his atrophied heart cries for rest, but no: The killing must go on.

Much of the responsibility for the incident has been placed on the wounded man, but he probably knew the rules. "Stay outta his way when he's killin'," the old-timers say. "He'll shootcha. He'll shootcha and say ya had it comin'!"

That's why they call him Deadeye.

Posted by pk at 1:31 PM

February 11, 2006

Bootleg MoDo

Here's a secret: Karl Rove does not have powers of super-evil! Seriously! Sucker-punch that fucker in the sternum and he's as weak as a kitten--just like the rest of us! And Cheney? Aren't you tired of that goddam smirk? Whip his ass in ping-pong once, then see who's smirking! "Ooh--my Pacemaker!" Ha ha ha ha ha!

Sometimes it's worth it to sum it all up again. The New York Times, February 11, 2006:

Vice President Dick Cheney bitterly complains that national security leaks are endangering America. Unless, of course, he's doing the leaking, tapping Scooter Libby to reveal national security information to punish a political critic.

President Bush says he will not talk about specific security threats to America. Unless, of course, he needs to talk about a specific threat to Los Angeles to confuse the public and gain some cheap political advantage.

The White House says it has done everything possible to protect the homeland. Unless, of course, it hasn't. Then it can lie to hide the callous portrait of Incurious George in Crawford as New Orleans drowned.

The attorney general can claim that torture and warrantless wiretapping are legal, and can mislead Congress. Unless, of course, enough Republicans stand up and say, as Arlen Specter told The Washington Post, that if that lickspittle lawyer thinks all this is legal, "he's smoking Dutch Cleanser."

The president doesn't know the Indian Taker Jack Abramoff. Unless, of course, W. has met with him a dozen times, invited him to Crawford and joked with him about his kids.

The Bushies can continue to claim that the invasion of Iraq was justified because Saddam was a threat to our security. Unless, of course, he wasn't, and the Cheney cabal was simply abusing the trust of Americans to push a wild-eyed political scheme.

At the Bush White House, the mere evocation of the word "terror" justifies breaking any law, contravening any convention, despoiling any ideal, electing any Republican and brushing off any failure to govern.


Instead of just going after the 9/11 fiends, as W. promised with his bullhorn, the president and Vice President Strangelove have cynically played the terror card to accrue power and sidestep blame. They have twisted our values, mismanaged crises, fueled fundamentalist successes and violence around the world, and magnified a clash of civilizations.


W. and Vice have wasted hundreds of billions of dollars, turning Iraq into a terrorist training ground, leaving the 9/11 villains at large, and letting cronies and losers botch the job of homeland security.


In the new Foreign Affairs, Paul Pillar, who was a senior C.I.A. official overseeing Middle East intelligence assessments until October, says the obvious conclusion that should have been drawn from the intelligence on Iraq was that war was unnecessary. He says the White House "went to war without requesting--and evidently without being influenced by--any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq."

He calls the relationship between the intelligence community and the policy makers--you guessed it--politicized, damaged by bureaucratic rivalries, and dysfunctional.

At the risk of sounding partisan, I don't see any defending this administration's dishonesty and incompetence. What more does it take for responsible Republicans to see that the power in their party, though perhaps full of decent, respectable voters and representatives, has allowed ideology and impatience with dissent to metastasize into arrogance, corruption, and a blind greed for power?

Blah, blah, blah. Sounds like a broken record, doesn't it? Well, maybe some Republicans on the Hill are tiptoeing up to their responsibilities. We're counting on you, Specter and Hatch! Here's a secret: Karl Rove does not have powers of super-evil! Seriously! Sucker-punch that fucker in the sternum and he's as weak as a kitten--just like the rest of us! And Cheney? Aren't you tired of that goddam smirk? Whip his ass in ping-pong once, then see who's smirking! "Ooh--my Pacemaker!" Ha ha ha ha ha!

I tell myself that wild predictions of rising American fascism are cheap and ridiculous. "It couldn't ever happen here." But if Alberto Gonzales's performance before Senate Legal Affairs wasn't a contrived, fear-mongering, straw-man defense of authoritarianism, it sure did stink like one. And I've known a lot of mean, dumb, bigoted American bullies just waiting for the greenlight to beat up the weak, annoying, and different. Haven't you?

I know--"paranoid liberal chicken." But I'm going to be feelin' pret-ty fat and sassy when the Blackboots are marching up Main Street to shutter the presses, nationalize the banks, and put people like me in Liberty Camps out beyond the city limits. You'll all be getting a great big I-told-you-so then, boy.

Posted by pk at 11:04 AM