Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Incompetence is simply a byproduct of something far more sinister

I don't think the Bush administration is incompetent, in the pure sense of the word, as so many pundits have claimed.  Everytime I read that charge, it doesn't sit right in my mind.

No, that's not the whole of it, I think.  Their particular brand of incompetence is an outgrowth of something else -- something far more sinister.  If those who populate this administration, along with their co-conspirators in Congress, were simply happy-go-lucky fools, the incompetence tag would hang on them like a too-big suit.  They'd wear incompetence like a pair of oversized clown shoes.

Osama's escape, the Iraq Debacle, Katrina, Medicare D... The list of incompetent actions and policies stretches on for miles, as far as the eye can see on a flat, blazing hot desert road.

But "incompetence" lets them off too easily.

Incompetence is an outgrowth -- or an end product -- of indifference.  Cold, callous, cold-hearted, criminal indifference:

* Indifference towards the troops they put in harm's way.  

* Indifference toward the elderly who must cope with the trainwreck that is Medicare D.

* Indifference toward the hundreds of thousands of Gulf states residents who lost everything in Katrina.

* Indifference toward future generations by giving away national forests and refusing to abide by environmental agreements.  

Indifference after indifference after indifference.

Incompetence?  Sure.  But only because, fundamentally, they do not give a flying fuck about America or its citizens.  (Nevermind how little they think of the citizens of the rest of the world.) They care only of themselves -- and money. Simple, really.

It is no accident that indifference is a synonym for selfishness.  And that selfishness can be synonymous with greed.

When Grover Norquist uttered his famous proclamation that his dream was to "drown the federal government in the bathtub," he was only giving the half of it.  

The likes of Rove and Cheney and Rumsfeld quickly figured out that the best way to accomplish Norquist's dream -- a dream they avidly shared -- was to not only govern indifferently (thus, underlining their assertion that government is an inefficent and ineffectual way of operating everything from wars to disaster relief), but that they also could enrich themselves and their corporate sponsors in the process, effectively looting the government as they "drown it in the tub."

"Two birds with one stone" and all that.

The deficit is no accident.  It is the ultimate manifestation of Norquist's dream.  Cheney and company (through their idiotic puppet and perfect foil, George Bush) paint the government as incompetent while bankrupting the federal treasury and lining the pockets of everyone from Halliburton to the religious right.

The Bush years have been nothing more than a criminal enterprise.  Organized crime.  Thievery on a scale never before witnessed in the history of humankind.  Billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars looted from the national treasury and delivered to the pockets of the well-connected.  (Tax relief?  For whom?)

The NSA spying program was never about ferreting out terrorist plots. We knew that. It was simply another tool to be used to stop any person or entity which sought to uncover their criminal cabal. And the Patriot Act is more of the same. This crew will stop at nothing to protect their criminal enterprise.

So I wish the Paul Krugmans of the world would stop letting Cheney et. al. off so easy with the "incompetent" tag.

Like Liberace, they are laughing all the way to the bank.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

NSA Program Thwarts Thousands of Terrorist Attacks, Large and (Mostly) Small

My source in the White House left a detailed report on the NSA phone datamining program buried in a trash bin outside my office.

The report was generated by General Michael Hayden at the request of Vice President Dick Cheney to bolster the case that the program had yielded critical results that, in the words of the Vice President's formal request, "have saved Americans from an enormous number of terrorist acts, large and small."

The report details numerous instances of where the NSA's tapping of phone calls of Americans has saved countless citizens from terrorist assaults.

The report is nearly one thousand pages long, with most entries providing detailed accounts of likely terrorist strikes which were either thwarted in advance of these planned actions or stopped at the point of the planned atack.

They read like an episode of "24."

Here are few of the instances which caught my eye while thumbing through the document earlier this morning:

DATE: April 12, 2004
LOCATION: Naperville, Illinois

REPORT: Lucy F., in a phone call to neighbor, Jennifer G., outlined plans for her and her husband, Larry F., to bring their triplet boys, aged 5, to a local restaurant, [RESTAURANT NAME REDACTED], for dinner that evening. In the course of the call, Lucy F. informed Jennifer G. that the boys were "certain to raise hell" in the restaurant, "because that's what they do everywhere we go with them. But I'll be damned if Larry and I can't even go to dinner because no babysitter can handle these little terrorists."

When asked by Jennifer G. if she (Lucy F.) thought the resulting chaos would ruin dinner for other restaurant patrons, Lucy said, "Yeah, probably, but what are we supposed to do? Act like prisoners in our own home?"

ACTION: NSA officials listening to the conversation (after picking up the words "terrorists" through the datamining tools) dispatched local F.B.I. agents to "air" the tires of the F.'s minivan parked in their driveway, thereby disabling the vehicle and preventing the family from going to the target restaurant.

RESULT: Restaurant patrons were spared the experience of having their pleasant Friday night out ruined by three rambunctious, 5-year-old terrorists.

DATE: September 27, 2004
LOCATION: Eufaula, Alabama

REPORT: Lisa G., a 17-year-old junior at Eufaula High School, plotted, along with several other unnamed co-conspirators, to "toilet paper" (TP) the homes of the high school football team's quarterback, halfback and middle linebacker in advance of the big game against league rival, Randolph Clay High School. Lisa G. stated in a "conference" phone call to three friends, "We need to nuke these guys tonight and the really great thing is that it's going to rain and this shit is almost impossible to get rid of when it's wet." Her co-conspirators emitted cold-hearted laughs at this point.

ACTION: Local authorities were alerted and set up surveillance at each of the three target locations. Four suspects were apprehended at the home of the quarterback and their toilet paper was confiscated in advance of being deployed. (Additional note: It WAS raining.)

RESULT: The families of the three targeted athletes did not have to clean up toilet paper from the trees and bushes in their front yards the following morning.

DATE: December 16, 2004
LOCATION: Cleveland, Ohio

REPORT: Tom S., 24, in a phone call to friend, Todd G. [FULL NAME REDACTED], announced plans to "dump" girlfriend, Betsy M. [FULL NAME REDACTED], "before Christmas so I don't have to spend money on a present for her." Todd G. asked how this would make Betsy M. feel, and Tom S. responded, "It will hit her like a huge bomb. But I'm broke and she's expecting something nice like jewelry or something." Todd G. then said Tom S.'s idea "seems like a good plan, because you can always patch things up at the New Year's Eve party." Tom S. replied, "No shit, Sherlock. I've thought of that already." [Additional note: We were unable to ascertain who "Sherlock" was or if there was a third party on the phone during this conversation. The investigation is continuing.]

ACTION: Agents from the Cleveland office of the F.B.I. notified Betsy M. that Tom S. intended to "drop a huge bomb" on her in the coming days prior to Christmas.

RESULT: Betsy M. thwarted the anticipated "bombing" by telling Tom S. that she had been secretly seeing his friend, Todd G. for more than a month (untrue, apparently, according to a follow-up F.B.I. report), thereby horribly ruining the holiday season of both Tom S. and Todd G. and leading to a fisfight between the two men at the aforementioned New Year's Eve party.

There are thousands of these instances in the report and I may share more over the course of the next several days. But suffice it to say, I may be rethinking my opposition to the NSA program based on these stunning results.

The NSA, Dick Cheney and George Bush are, indeed, saving average Americans from terrorist-like assaults every day. Sometimes we have to give up some of our freedoms in order to remain free.

Monday, May 01, 2006

EXCLUSIVE! Bush's Thoughts During Colbert's Correspondents' Dinner Performance

My highly-placed source at the White House surprised me today with a first: a transcript of what President George Bush was thinking during Stephen Colbert's blistering satiric roast of the President and the press at Saturday night's White House Correspondents' dinner.

My source explained that Karl Rove recently had a highly-advanced computer chip placed directly into Bush's brain so that the Rove could transmit thoughts to Bush without the need for the bulky "backpack" receiver/inner ear device Bush has worn in debates and press conferences.

But a weird side effect of implanting this new chip has been the ability to actually hear Bush's thoughts. (Granted, there's not a whole helluva' lot going on in there, but it does provide further insight into the manner in which our Fearless Leader® operates.)

When Rove discovered this strange byproduct of the chip implantation, he ordered an aide to transcribe Bush's thoughts along with a relevant/simultaneous timeline of events.

What follows are selected portions of Bush's thoughts during Stephen Colbert's performance at Saturday night's White House Correspondents' Dinner. Relevant Colbert remarks appear in bold. Bush's thoughts appear in italic.

The surprising news is that, contrary to reports in the press, Bush wasn't angry with Colbert at the end of the comedian's performance. He was angry with First Lady Laura Bush! Read on for the details...

Wow. Wow, what an honor. The White House correspondents' dinner. To actually sit here, at the same table with my hero, George W. Bush, to be this close to the man. I feel like I'm dreaming.

I'm his hero! Of course I'm his hero! I'm everyone's hero!

Somebody pinch me. You know what? I'm a pretty sound sleeper -- that may not be enough. Somebody shoot me in the face.

Oh good. He's gonna' mock Cheney and not me. I hate Cheney. He's not the boss of me.

By the way, before I get started, if anybody needs anything else at their tables, just speak slowly and clearly into your table numbers. Somebody from the NSA will be right over with a cocktail.

I wonder if that works up here, too. I need another glass of vino. WHISPER: Can I get another glass of the white?

We're not so different, he and I. We get it. We're not brainiacs on the nerd patrol. We're not members of the factinista. We go straight from the gut, right sir?

I like this guy.

That's where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. I know some of you are going to say "I did look it up, and that's not true." That's 'cause you looked it up in a book. Next time, look it up in your gut.

Damn straight, Steve! I need a guy like you to replace Rover when he gets his ass hauled away. Remember to mark that down... Hire Steve Colbert as new guy to help me do stuff...

I'm a simple man with a simple mind. I hold a simple set of beliefs that I live by. Number one, I believe in America. I believe it exists. My gut tells me I live there. I feel that it extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and I strongly believe it has 50 states. And I cannot wait to see how the Washington Post spins that one tomorrow.

Fifty states... Fifty states... Is that right?

I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least. And by these standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.

This guy is terrific! I hope my asshole father is listening... Hey, dad, this guy LOVES me and LOVES what we've done in Iraq!

And though I am a committed Christian, I believe that everyone has the right to their own religion, be you Hindu, Jewish or Muslim. I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.

He's wrong here. I'm pretty sure Jews don't believe in Christ. That's why I don't trust Jews.

Now, I know there are some polls out there saying this man has a 32% approval rating. But guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in "reality." And reality has a well-known liberal bias.


So don't pay attention to the approval ratings that say 68% of Americans disapprove of the job this man is doing. I ask you this, does that not also logically mean that 68% approve of the job he's not doing?

I like that! I like the way this guy thinks! Whatever it takes, we're getting him on staff ASAP!

And I just like the guy. He's a good joe. Obviously loves his wife, calls her his better half. And polls show America agrees.

Why are people laughing?

I'm sorry, I've never been a fan of books. I don't trust them. They're all fact, no heart.

But what about 'Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten?" I love that book! It has heart! C'mon, Steve, you're wrong here!

The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change; this man's beliefs never will.

I hope someone is writing this stuff down. I want to use that line in my next speech!

As excited as I am to be here with the president, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America, with the exception of Fox News. Fox News gives you both sides of every story: the president's side, and the vice president's side.

Oh shit. He forgot Rumsfeld. I'm going to be hearing all kinds of shit from that asshole now.

But the rest of you, what are you thinking, reporting on NSA wiretapping or secret prisons in eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason: they're super-depressing.

Cheney says they're secret cuz they're illegal. But I like 'super-depressing' better. Good one, Steve. Write that one down for the next speech, too...

But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down.

I'm the Decider! I get to decide what's best and what I decide is best because that's what I decided!

At this point, videotape shows Laura Bush leaning over and saying something to the President.

She says he is "ripping you a new asshole." What is she listening to? Idiot. She never was very smart. She's lucky she landed me or she'd still be living back in Podunk town with that loser, Tom Fredericks. This guy LOVES me! What's she talking about?

By the way, Mr. President, thank you for agreeing to be on my show. I was just as shocked as everyone here is, I promise you. How's Tuesday for you? I've got Frank Rich, but we can bump him.

That'll be great, but I wish Rover would tell me in advance about this shit. That'll be even better than being on with that little bitch, Katie Couric.

Look, by the way, I've got a theory about how to handle these retired generals causing all this trouble: don't let them retire! Come on, we've got a stop-loss program; let's use it on these guys.

Cheney should tell Rumsfeld to do this. If I tell Rumsfeld to do this, he'll just tell me to fuck off like he always does when I say something to him.

Joe Wilson is here, Joe Wilson right down here in front, the most famous husband since Desi Arnaz. And of course he brought along his lovely wife Valerie Plame. Oh, my god! Oh, what have I said? I am sorry, Mr. President, I meant to say he brought along his lovely wife Joe Wilson's wife. Patrick Fitzgerald is not here tonight? OK. Dodged a bullet.

Why is Wilson still breathing? Cheney said he was going to take care of him. Steve will be needing to take over for Rover -- Hey, I made a poem! -- Steve will be having to take over for Rover because of this thing. Over for Rover, over for Rover, over for Rover...

Colbert talks about Tony Snow and Scott McClellan and tells the President he wanted to audition for the job. Colbert then shows a video of himself handling the press followed by him being stalked by Helen Thomas.

Just punch her, Steve! Just punch her! She's way smaller than you! Hit her real, real hard like I did to Harriet Miers when I found out she gave money to Al Gore's campaign! Slug that sawed-off, pushy little bitch!

Laura Bush leans over to the President and says something as the video ends.

Mr. Smith, members of the White House Correspondents Association, Madame First Lady, Mr. President, it's been a true honor. Thank you very much. Good night!

She's "never been so insulted?" Why? Because the guy actually likes me? Well, fuck her! Some people DO like me! And he just so happens to be one of them! So FUCK HER! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!

With that, the President and the First Lady rose from their seats, quickly shook Colbert's hand, and walked off the stage. Rove's aide recorded these final Bush thoughts:

She's worse than my dad. Worse! He told me I was stupid almost every day of my life! I don't need to hear this shit from her everyday! This guy was great! And he likes me! So FUCK YOU, LAURA! I wish I could say that out loud... But she'd kill me. Or she'd be really mean and say what she always says... "Have another pretzel." Colbert... Colbert... Got it! His nickname will be "Cheese!" Like Colby cheese! Hi, Cheese!