Other Presidents have lashed out at the press when it suited their purposes. Jack Kennedy famously called and cancelled his subscription to the New York Herald Tribune and was rightly chastised for it by Richard Nixon who later tried to cancel the entire New York Times for publishing the Pentagon Papers. Nixon unleashed the criminal Spiro Agnew on the press and they ended up doing a jig on his political grave. So now the Bush leaguers want to take on the New York Times with righteous indignation about the newspaper revealing yet another secret executive power grab of questionable legality. Taking on the press is fair enough, but there should be one rule. Before you start criticizing a newspaper, you must first have to read it.
The Presidents red-faced tirade about the Times revealing the government's secret sifting through Americans' private bank records, calling it a disgrace that gave aid and comfort to the enemy was transparently rehearsed. Cheney's speech was just plain eerie. Cheney must be wondering who they are going to cast in his role in the movie. Is Donald Pleasance dead? Then Anthony Hopkins it is. "Hello Clarice." What took them two days to work up sufficient rage about the story? The fact that they used the Times like they were Jeff Gannon/Gunterts for hire to plant favorable stories about their rogue schemes, then allow one of their reporters to twist slowly in the wind, and the Times has the gall to turn on them? Every day, someone, somewhere reveals another of this regime's secret dealings and it is frightening.
This photo-op, propaganda saturated administration is like a bad dream that just won't quit. Look at these guys. The speaker is Denny Hastert, the majority leader is Bumbling Bill Frist, the political guru is Karl Rove, and the President is George By-Damn Dubya Bush. They are like the Student Government at a bad community college. The only thing they are capable of doing is choosing the band to play on the Washington mall this fourth of July. I'm certain it won't be the Dixie Chicks. I'd like to see them get Toby Keith, Lee Greenwood, Hank, Jr., and Charlie Daniels too, for a grand old Texas style celebration of xenophobia and ignorance. And nobody better burn a flag, Hoss, even though that jingoistic screed went down in flames in the Senate. Here's a solution to the flag burning amendment. Pass a law that says real American flags must be made of non-flammable material. They did it for children's' pajamas. Then anytime someone burned a flag, you would know it wasn't an "official" flag.
If the carnage in Iraq continues at the current pace, we'll need all the flags we can get to fold up for our servicemen's families. The Senate Republicans scorned the Democrats as cowards and traitors for suggesting a timetable for troop withdrawal, then General Casey announces just such a plan. I'll take my troop withdrawals any way I can get them, but it seems particularly sinister to release a token group of forces from their grinding duties just in time for the fall election. How cruel it must feel to wake up in a war zone knowing that you just missed a politician's required quota of troops to go home. If Cheney turns up with Bin Laden's head on a pike in time for the next presidential election, I won't be surprised. Everything the Bush leaguers do is for political effect.
This is the result of an electorate so distracted and delusional they will elect a President according to reality television rules. Outlast, out wit, out survive. This President came to office with no real vision for the nation, he just hired his Daddy's old administration, and they had a metaphoric hard-on for Saddam Hussein. The Bush Posse seized power after being appointed by the Supreme Court, with no mandate, and proceeded to operate government according to their own narrow ideology. They believe that government functions to reward your friends and punish your enemies, like the Baathist Regime. But for them to use the worst attack ever suffered on this soil to sell the American people a bill of goods including mushroom clouds, enrichment of uranium, and biochemical weapons factories on wheels, is beyond cynical. It is evil.
I still hope for some miracle of diplomacy to bring a political solution to the Iraqi insurgency. The hard figures require a miracle to even begin to reconcile the irreparable damage that the Bush government has done in our name. Beyond the 20,000 American casualties, the journalists kidnapped and killed, the beheadings, and the other atrocities, there is one stark figure that screams out; 50,000 dead Iraqi civilians whose only crime was being born. That's going to take more diplomacy to resolve than Karen Hughes can provide. I want every cabinet officer of this administration to remain hale and healthy. I want President Shemp to mountain bike, jog, and clear some brush. He'll need all his stamina for his trial in the Senate next year. And Daddy's Boys are ripe for an appearance at a war crimes tribunal in the Hague. It would be fitting for "Old Europe" to decide what punishment befits new world liars and warmongers.