June 28, 2006
A Press-ing Matter
I get so tired telling Democrats how they should respond to the latest Rovian tactic. But here we are again. Republican ditto-heads are out there parroting Karl's talking points and Democrats, not knowing whether to shit or go blind, are stumbling around with one eye closed, farting.
I am speaking of the GOP attack on the press, particularly the New York Times. I have to give Rovian devils their due. They really know how to organize a charge of the Spin Brigade. But they seem to be attacking with unusual vigor this time. What's up with that?
I'll tell you what's up with that. This administration has successfully neutered virtually every check and every balance on it's behavior, from Congress to the courts. And, until the Times blew the whistle on NSA wiretaps and, more recently, the collection of personal banking data, the administration believed it had also cowed the press as well.
Those disclosers by the Times, and other major print media, showed the press, while down, was not yet out. Despite the administrations success in using the Times Judy Miller as a propagandist for non-existent WMD, there was still life the Old Grey Lady after all -- a revelation that sent chills down the backs of White House shills far and wide.
That's why we are seeing such a furious counter attack by Republicans such as Peter King's demands that the Times be criminally prosecuted. The administration must scare the press back into it's spider hole. Unless they can intimidate the press back into the cowardly "fair and balanced" crouch it maintained over the previous six years, more dirty little secrets will be disclosed. Someone might even go to jail.. and this time it won't be a member of the press.
Now to the Democrats. Hello. Anyone in there? When one of these sleazy Republican accessories-after-the-fact attacks the press, remind them that the press wouldn't have to if Republicans were living up to their constitutional obligations. What's that? It's called “oversight.” You know, hold oversight hearings on matters of national importance.
You can be forgiven if you've forgotten about oversight, because it's been outta-sight for so long. The Bush administration doesn't want oversight. Hates it, in fact. And their obedient Ditto Heads in the House and Senate have dutifully obeyed.
Lawrence B. Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, said this fall that "the people's representatives over on the Hill in that other branch of government have truly abandoned their oversight responsibilities [on national security] and have let things atrophy to the point that if we don't do something about it, it's going to get even more dangerous than it already is." (Full)
What a difference from the mid-1990s, when the Republican-controlled House of Representative. Back then it seemed almost anything the Clinton White House did required an immediate congressional hearing. Like when they seemed to having nothing better to conduct hearings to get to the bottom of whether the Clinton administration was misusing the White House Christmas card list. They burned 140 hours of sworn testimony over that festering scandal.
But apparently the Bush administration has behaved flawlessly, because hearings on this administration's doings have been as rare as electricity in Iraq. I don't have the numbers for 2006 but between 2003 and 2005 the Republican-controlled House found time for just 12 hours of sworn testimony on subjects like alleged abuse of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. ( Christmas card abuse, 140 hours of sworn testimony .. Prisoner abuse, 12 hours. I see. It's all about priorities.)
The House Government Reform Committee held just 37 oversight hearings of an investigative in nature during the last Congress. Compare that with the 135 such hearings held by the same committee in 1993-94, the last year the Democrats controlled the House.
Remember the Filegate flap? Republicans in congress were shocked.. outraged.. that the Clinton White House might of violated the law and privacy rights of Americans wanting to work for the administration by peeking into their FBI files. Republicans couldn't seem to hold enough hearings on that one. But now that we know – thanks only to the New York Times – that the Bush administration is conducting warrantless wiretaps and walking barefoot through private banking records, Republicans don't want oversight hearings, and instead, bashes the press when it picks up ball and runs it for them.
So, there you have it Dems – another fight-back strategy for combating the GOP wedgie machine. It's a gold-plated opportunity being handed to you dozens of times daily by the Karl Rove's army of walking tape loops. The very next time you see one of these Republicans huffing and puffing into a CNN mic, wait until they're done then remind the viewers that the press has been forced to step in and provide the very oversight the Republican-controlled congress has refused to conduct.
Oh, and you might also mention that this time we are talking about matters somewhat more serious than suspicions someone may be abusing the White House Christmas card list.
Now For Something Completely Different
Something quite extraordinary happened last week. The nation -- no – the world – bore witness to the first mental health test, conducted in public, of a legislative body.
The body of which I speak is the US Senate. Yesterday 100 Senators voluntarily -- even eagerly -- took this test.
And the results are in. Of the 100 Senators tested 66, two thirds of them, are F- - KING CRAZY!
I will call them the "Crazy-66" and they all voted to make burning an American flag a crime. (If you want to know who they are click here Print it out and take it into the voting booth with you this November -- unless of course you prefer your elected representatives on the crazy side.)
Don't get me wrong. I have no problem with folks being crazy. But at least be consistently crazy. I want to alert the Crazy-66 that their vote, besides being certifiably crazy, contained a serious inconsistency.
Here it is; you bag of mixed nuts forgot to include protections for the American apple pie! (You know, as in “the flag, motherhood and apple pie?”) Only when all three are protected can Americans feel truly safe and well-served by Congress.
Since I have not read of anyone desecrating mothers, I assume they are safe, at least for now. But there's piles of evidence of rampant apple pie desecration.
- Millions of half-finished pieces of apple pie are unceremoniously scraped into trash bins at diners across the nation,
- Amateur cooks burn – yes BURN – embryonic apple pies by the tens of millions each year,
- Tons of ice cream are unceremoniously slopped atop slices of apple pie without so much as a howdy do.
But wait, it gets worse. (Cover your children's eyes now so they don't have to see this) – Those godless liberals in Hollywood have even shown actors having sex with warm apple pies.
It's enough to make a mad dog politician howl at a full November moon.
Don't get me wrong, the flag is fine. But nothing is more American than the apple pie. You guys -- the Crazy-6 -- ask yourselves this; do they eat apple pie in Iran? No! Do they eat apple pies in North Korea? They wish. Did Johnny Appleseed spread his seed in just the US of A? He sure did. And why? Because he was a real American, that's why.
Nevertheless the Crazy-67 left the apple pie exposed to daily abuse, neglect, disrespect – even rape!
Why didn't they extend protections the same protections they did to the US flag to the heavenly crumbly crust and sweet fruitiness of the American apple pie? Was it because, rather than baking an apple pie, Betsy Ross decided to sew that day? Or because the national anthem makes no mention rockets bursting in the air while revolutionary troops enjoyed piping hot slices of true blue American apple pie, "in the rockets red glare?"
Now that we know at least 66 members of the US Senate are crazy, I am certain they will take the apple pie's plight to their patriotic bosoms as well. I am sure, understanding as they do the solemn responsibility they have when amending the US Constitution, they will want to include constitutional protections for the American apple pie as well.
So I've taken the liberty of drafting a clause they can add to their flag burning amendment the next time around:
The American Apple Pie
Protection Act of 2006
WHEREAS the American apple pie and American flag have been inextricably intertwined throughout history, and
WHEREAS rather than balancing the budget or ending the war in Iraq, the US Senate instead used their time and political capital to debate and vote to amend the US constitution to make any act desecrating the American flag illegal, and
WHEREAS the American apple pie has been subjected to countless acts of desecration, and
WHEREAS a mid-term election looms this November, and there are at least 50 million voters who in two previous elections have proven themselves to be just as crazy as each of the Crazy-66, and
WHEREAS many Democrats seem to believe they must look butch on all things patriotic, no matter how anti-American and/or nonsensical they may be, and
WHEREAS Republicans have nothing to run on this November but mounting deficits and one of hell of mess in Iraq,
WHEREAS Hillary Clinton believes she must prove she has bigger testicles than her husband, and that she can blow and suck at the same time, and
WHEREAS 2500 American soldiers will no longer be able to enjoy a piece of piping hot American apple pie,
WHEREAS yellow cake turned out no substitute for good ole' American apple pie, and
WHEREAS the President of the United States has shown himself to be at least as crazy as the 66 senators who voted for the flag amendment, and
WHEREAS skyrocketing home heating costs may lead to more flags being burned as fuel and fewer American apple pies being baked, and
WHEREAS “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” it's important the apple pie be preserved as a nutri-cutical for the 45 million Americans who can not afford to see a doctor, and
WHEREAS Hollywood's depiction of sex with apple pies may lend encouragement to the nascent Applophile movement NAMBLA (National Association of Males who Love Apple pies).
THEREFORE, to with, henceforth and with all the superficiality we can muster, we proclaim that the desecration of an American apple pie shall be punishable by a fine of $10,000 and up to six months in prison; and during such prison sentence apple pie desecraters shall be denied any apple pie or fruit cup containing apples; and upon release apple pie desecraters shall be required to register with local authorities as a convicted American apple pie desecrater. Local police shall also be required to post fliers at all bakeries and restaurants within their jurisdiction, warning that an American apple pie desecrater is living in the area.
There, now all our crazy bases are covered. The flag is safe, apple pies are safe. The country? Not so much.
Happy 4th of July eveyone.