20 April 2005

The Things They Do. The Things They Slay.

[not really happy with that title, but I'm tired of working on a better one]

What really infuriates me about this administration is its patent character of arrogance. I have already had my fill of "the White House denies..." over the last four years, but whats so appalling is how aptly that describes a significant number of the administration's players and supporters. Its very unsettling for me to hear some of the rhetoric that these brownshirts are doling out.

For this discussion I have to omit the actor who portrays Emperor W. Not because he isn't arrogant in his veiws. It is because when he isn't reciting speeches, the man makes no sense at all.

Rumsfeld is equally dense; "You go with the Army that you've got." Apparently you go with the Secretary of Defense that you've got too. (He's another puppet of the neoconservatives, why he's heading the DoD is beyond me)

Cheney is one of the few brains in this operation, and like Karl Rove, he's smart enough to keep a very low profile. If it weren't for news articles outlining the origins of "enemy combatants", a majority of America would scarcely have seen him since his debate with Edwards. [He mostly bellowed "You've got your facts wrong" but Edwards was pretty much correct. Since Cheney didn't say anything particularly enlightening of his own accord, all he effectively did was look like a bully. See the above statement about the last four years...]

Condoleeza Rice. I honestly do not know what to say about her. "W's pet" will do for starters. The NYTimes calls her "a scholar of Russian history." Its true, but its no accident either. I don't recall how long she's been in W's entourage, but she was earmarked very early on to be the principle Russia expert in W's future administration. (you read that right, I believe that at least 6-8 years of planning went into W's ascendency) Now, I'll respect her as a scholar, I've no trouble with that. What is remarkable is that her outlook seems to be colored by her loyalties.

In today's New York Times Online: ... she said recent trends in Russia's struggle to become a full-fledged democracy were not positive, citing increasing central control of state governments and broadcast media. But, she added, "it would be a mistake to start to think of this as somehow reverting back to Soviet times."

When I hear that kind of a statement in normal conversation, it is my cue to shut up and go away. When the other speaker has not just an opposite viewpoint, but one so badly distorted and in such a harsh contrast from what information I have access to, there simply is no middle ground for anything resembling a conciliatory attitude. (but thats just me I guess)

Anyhow, why is this arrogant? It is arrogant because it is another instance of the truth being distorted to fit W's Black and White universe. Bush and Putin (from most accounts) get on famously and may even be good friends. It would be anathema for members of this administration to label Putin a neo-Soviet (although it sounds right to me, that would make it the Russian version of a neoconservative) or otherwise paint him or his government in an unfavorable light. The fact that all forms of dissent, opposition, and even independent news sources have been marginalized (if in fact they are fortunate enough to have survived at all) must be trivial. The the blatant attempt to compromise the Ukranian government must have been similarly innocuous. [I am not going to go into the Yukos saga for good reason. The trials don't appear to be fair, but perhaps I missed something crucial: I have yet to see anyone from Yukos claim that they did not owe gazillions in taxes. If they do owe the government, thats not our concern.]
"...It would be a mistake to start to think"... sorry Condi, but I already think that, so I guess I've gotten past the mistake of starting to think that way.

The "non-Soviet leaning" Russian leadership brings me directly back to this administration. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and her predecessor Rod Paige have referred to top educators and their associations as "un-American" and "terrorist organizations" respectively. The educators are trying to perform their duties and responsibilities within the framework of the new "No Child Left Behind" law, and would probably prefer to hear something a little more constructive from the administration.

The list goes on and on and on. Tom DeLay and the congressional republican leadership that conspires to sheild him from ethics rules: arrogant. John R. Bolton (insert anything you want here): arrogant. The White House's defense of same (Condi Rice is on-message for this one too): arrogant.

OK fine, thats politics right? We want "our" respective people holding power so we can pursue our respective agendas. I understand that concept. Fighting to put a real turd like Bolton into office (into the United Nations of all things! He's a better candidate for Secretary of Education, if the current and former ones are indicative of desirable qualities) is positively absurd. It is presently the summit of their arrogance. I'm sure there is more to come, so it would be more appropriate to use a mathematical term: local maxima.

What really gets to me is how low down the political ladder this nonsense goes. And its not "us versus them" or even "my way or the highway" anymore. We've somehow regressed all the way back to Senator Joe McCarthy accusing everyone of being a Communist sympathiser; and especially since 9/11. Now these people in power are using phrases like "un-American" and "terrorist organisation" when dealing in national affairs. I don't have the reference handy but I read where a leader of christian conservatives said of Democrats: "They hate your God." We have freedom of religion in this country, but this guy makes it sound like one of the next 4 or 5 Constitutional Amendments will correct that.

When they were talking about the importance of values, they should have specified whose values they were talking about. Now it appears that they really meant the values of the Josef Mengele family.

I resent this administration, and their arrogance, and their lies. I am not, however, diametrically opposed to their program. It is the feral sophistry of their conservative extremism that rubs me the wrong way. Listening to them rage on, I am forced to remember that some 51% of America voted for this.

Welcome to the Melting Pot.
If you don't agree with us, we can always make it hotter for you.