Friday, March 26, 2004
Rant Round-up, Vol. 2

Before I talk about any of this other stuff, I gotta tell you about my dream last night. It's not (I hope) a prophetic dream, but it's an interesting dream... and I stand by that assertion.

The setting: Election night, 2004, at what appears to be the Election Party That Matters. Everybody is here: Bush himself, all his people, Kerry and his people, and unidentified but apparently significant folks from both parties. In addition, there are many fairly average people, including myself and a few of the people from the Co-op. I have no idea how we got invited, but it doesn't matter.

My friends and I are sitting on the floor, leaning against the back wall of the room, waiting impatiently for the early results. Now, as with any dream, some elements of this story are slightly... odd. The first odd thing in this particular vision is the small point that, normally, Big Bi-Partisan Election Parties don't take place in Midtown Memphis (at the approximate site of the Bank of America at Cooper and Young), if indeed they are held at all. But odder still, most normal elections aren't decided by 300 or so individuals weilding two flavors of muffins (at least, I hope not.) And yet -- I swear, this is exactly how I dreamed it -- that's what I found here: everybody in the room had two muffins -- a chocolate muffin and a plain yellow muffin -- and as baskets were passed around, they'd place one muffin inside to represent their vote. Chocolate muffins were for Kerry, and yellow muffins were for Bush. The muffin/vote baskets were kept covered by tasteful linen tea towels, but I took the liberty of peeking under the towel covering the basket closest to me, and counted 13 chocolate muffins and 27 yellow muffins. I returned to my companions and said, "it doesn't look good according to that basket."

A brief aside: some of you, being mostly friends of mine, may be worried about my mental state when I get to the point that I'm actually dreaming about the 2004 election. I understand your concern; I find it diconcerting myself. But so far it's just a one-time thing. If I have another one, I promise I'll take a week off from stewing about politics. Okay? Okay.

Back at the party, my friends and I decide we all need a drink, so we head downstairs to an open bar where most of the average people are hanging around. I have the distinct feeling that none of these guys ever got a muffin to vote with -- in fact, I'm pretty sure I didn't, either. And as we order our drinks and start introducing ourselves, word comes down: Bush has just won the election. A wave of anger washes over the room, half-full drink glasses are thrown againt walls, and despair sets in. My friends and I sit on a small staircase and begin to count the many ways in which this development Sucks Major Ass... our friends will be drafted; the war will continue; none of us will ever find good jobs; my mother will gloat; my troubled relationship with my native country will no longer be salvageable. We all begin a little game, going around the room, each person taking a turn naming a country they would rather be living in. "I wish I was in England." "I wish I was in Australia." "I wish I was in Japan." etc. You lose when you can't name another country that you'd rather be in... okay, so I possess some subconscious anti-American sentiment, so sue me.

After a few minutes of this, we get up and leave our new friends and head up a ramp into a small art gallery. We're still grumbling and bitching -- how could this have happened? what are we gonna do now? -- when we hear agitated, angry shouting coming from somewhere above us. There's a rumor that mass electoral fraud has been discovered. We all look at each other, silently sharing the insight that perhaps all is not lost after all, although it does us little good at the moment. I reflect briefly on the potential for committing electoral fraud with muffins -- did someone eat all the chocolate ones, or what? -- and ascend through a back exit out onto Cooper Avenue. The group disbands, and I volunteer to drive Morgan home -- which is silly, because in reality he lives like a block from there.

And that's it. Post thoughts and interpretations -- especially about the muffin thing -- in the comment thread.

Anyway, getting back to reality, there is way too much stuff going on to possibly cover now:

Is it just me, or are things kinda tense? Not for me, of course, I'm enjoying it; I'm talking about the parties. Kerry remains on vacation and thus mostly silent -- probably a good thing, but I do hope he says something before long -- but everyone else is going all-out crazy-ass apeshit. Especially the Republicans... Jeebus H. Christ, there is NO fucking fury like a Republican administraton scorned.

Case in point:

Republicans seek to declassify 2002 Clarke testimony
WASHINGTON -- In a highly unusual move, key Republicans in Congress are seeking to declassify testimony that former White House terrorism adviser Richard Clarke gave in 2002 about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Friday.

Frist said the intent was to determine whether Clarke lied under oath -- either in 2002 or this week -- when he appeared before a bipartisan Sept. 11 commission and sharply criticized President Bush's handling of the war on terror.

"Until you have him under oath both times you don't know," Frist said while vivsecting a shelter kitten.
source

Italicized words my addition.

When I first read this, my first two thoughts were, "uh-oh," and "holy shit, they are pissed. Presumably, "uh-oh" is exactly the reaction this move is intended to inspire, while the second is more complicated and not beneficial to this administration. It's possible that the "uh-oh" is all they want... it's only a request, after all, and one that likely as not won't be fulfilled. But "uh-oh" in and of itself has value if the purpose is to plant seeds of doubt, and let the voter's imagination take them where it will. Sometimes "uh-oh" is all you really need.

And in this particular case, I'd argue that the risks involved in moving beyond "uh-oh" are pretty goddamn big. I mean, c'mon... does this administration really want to start playing with classified documents? 'Cause I'm guessing there are some pretty interesting classified documents the Democrats might want to see as long as we're at it...

In any case, if push came to shove, what does it benefit them, even if they can find a discrepancy? Clarke already said in his testimony that some of his past statements were not entirely reflective of the whole truth (so to speak) because that's what the administration told him to say.

Use occam's razor:

1. Clarke lied in earlier statements because the Bush administration instructed him to do so.
2. Clarke lied on Tuesday out of pure spite.

If there's a discrepancy, then one of these has to be true. Looking at the available evidence -- including, but not limited to, the absolute refusal of Condi Rice to testify publicly under oath even though she's been blabbing non-stop for days on any TV news show that would have her, the refusals of many other administration insiders to testify, and the growing number of former staffers who have confirmed Clarke's allegations -- I'm guessing it's the first one.

I can't really see many ways in which the fulfillment of this request can benefit the White House, but I can see a whole lot of ways that it could lead to their ultimate destruction. Which is why I hope they do declassify the damn thing. The angrier they get, the closer I know we are to The Actual Goddamn Truth, and It's About Time You Assholes.

The Guardian has a good summary of the situation.

A quick run down of everything else, so we can all get on with our lives; I reserve the right to expand on these topics later.

Passage of "fetal protection bill" : complicated, but not good. Potentially very bad.

Condi Rice wants another private meeting with 9/11 Commission: please, by all means.

Alleged al-Zawahri tape urging Pakistanis to overthrow their government: seriously bad, but not unexpected. It would follow completely from everything that's gone before.

Kerry's plan to cut corporate taxes in return for getting rid of incentives to move overseas: errrr... not sure. Maybe. Uncomfortable with it, though.

Georgia House including piercing in a bill outlawing genital mutilation in women, and only women: insert slack-jawed bafflement here .

And since it's Friday, we can look forward to something important being dropped sometime this evening. Drip, drip, drip...

Update: Is this all they've got?

While gutting a cute, furry little orphan kitten with a scalpel,[Frist] quoted Clarke as telling Congress behind closed doors, "the administration actively sought to address the threat posed by al Qaeda during its first 11 months in office."
via this "Hammer" fellow

Again, the words in italics are my own editorial addition.

First... that's a hell of a big ruckus for that stupid little detail. Second... seeing as how the document hasn't been declassified yet, what's the deal with revealing classified information? Huh, big guy? Mr. Kitten Killer? What gives?

Heh... keep diggin', boys. China's down there somewhere.

Clarification: for those wondering what's up with the cat thing, click here. We kid because we love.
4:21 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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