Thursday, May 07, 2009

"If this be treason, make the most of it."

Fox Populi T-Shirt shirt
Fox Populi T-Shirt by webcarve

Whatever you may think of the Daily Kos; as a group they are unrivaled at picking out particularly idiotic statements by Republicans. Of course, the ammunition is provided with political intent - but all the sharp edges were lovingly crafted by the intended targets. If there is one great observation political critique to evolve over the last several years, it is this: "It shouldn't be this easy."

The fact that the following accusation of treason against Colin Powell is compounded by getting a "me too" from a fox news host is a matter that should be of bipartisan concern - and yet it can be presumed it is not, will not be and that pointing it out will be attributed to "political score-settling" or "lib'rul propaganda." I'm no liberal - but I become less and less interested in pointing out the apparently too-subtle distinctions between my own views and those of classical or modern Liberals. I'm unable to find words both small and rude enough to communicate.

And that, dear readers, is a significant problem. That is not merely a "political" issue. For treason is a rather consequential word to be attaching to a disaffected political ally.

If this accusation ever comes to Gen. Powell's attention - and I cannot imagine why anyone would think it significant enough to mention to him, nor would I expect him to consider Fox to be a source of reliable intelligence - I can only imagine that the very apt Patrick Henry quotation I chose to entitle this article might cross his mind.

If Colin Powell is a "Bad Republican," one wonders what a "Good Republican" looks like. Even more troubling, the speaker equates disloyalty to the Republican Party with disloyalty to the state. That is the sort of assumption that should have you checking your personal weapons to make sure they will function properly at sudden need.

But it does lead us to consider what "Loyal Republicans" look like.

Well, there's no lack of examples; Take Sen Dave Vitter (R, LA). Here's how he explains his tactic of holding up Obama's choice for FEMA chief just before hurricane season.

"Almost four years after Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, communities like Cameron Parish and Grand Isle are still waiting on an answer from FEMA so that fire stations and other key facilities can be rebuilt," Vitter said. "And FEMA is complaining about a short delay of this nomination vote? It seems like they have their priorities mixed up. I'm eager to end all of this delay; I hope FEMA is."

Gee, Dave, that means that, during those four years as a valued member of the majority party, you were unable to fulfill your most significant duty as a Senator - to get federal dollars for critical infrastructure? You could not shake loose any money for these critical infrastructure matters? Couldn't form some sort of activist coalition? Do a little lobbying of various agencies and federal entities? Schmooze committee heads?

Considering your failure to do your job when you belonged to a party that made every decision in favor of Republicans and controlled every aspect of the decision making structure - perhaps it's not so unreasonable that the White House dismisses this as a purely political stunt. There's good reason to doubt you have any genuine interest in dealing with the needs of those who supposedly elected you. (Assuming, of course, they actually did.)

There is a place in politics for stunts, and it's reasonable to consider the timing, the skill and the objective. I think you need to go ask Ron Paul for a few tips. Because, you see, you don't hold up the President on a time critical appointment when your stated reason for doing amounts to "because I'm incompetent."

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was notably blunt:

When asked about Vitter's reasoning, Gibbs said "the best way to get moving on any concerns that he has with FEMA is to get somebody of the utmost regard at the helm of FEMA to make progress."

"And I think his constituents would expect that same level of professionalism," Gibbs said.

One would think - but after eight years of prompt, high quality (R) service, they are probably relieved that the federal government has not designated New Orleans as a nuclear waste repository.

You see, this is the sort of public servant you get when blind loyalty to Party is the only required qualification. And while the equations may have differing variables across the aisle - results do not seem to indicate that they add up to significantly higher values.

There are a lot of places where people have simply given up on trying to get rid of obviously corrupt and conspicuously incompetent leaders. It's clear that the process itself is so badly compromised that going through the motions of participatory democracy seems - and in many cases likely is - a complete waste of effort.

Speaking of incompetence - Colin Powell spent much of his tenure with the Bush Administration trying to fix a fuckup in progress, the completely incoherent and ultimately more than useless detainment program that led the US to national disgrace with the scandals at Gitmo, Abu Ghrab and elsewhere. This article establishes that Dick Cheney was one of, if not the major force behind the completely indiscriminate roundup of apparently randomly-selected victims, a process he apparently still defends as vital to national security.

Fox news - as everyone is well aware, due to the mindless cheerleading of techniques of torture by such leading Republican intellectual leaders as Sean Hannity, apparently concurs that torturing the wrong people is as likely to produce good, actionable intelligence as torturing the right people. That is, of course, a common-sense conclusion - if you understand that torture does not produce high quality intelligence. So, we must presume that the "good results" would be something more along the line of terrifying the crap out of certain target elements - the Iraqi people and, of course, "libruls."

Colin Powell's former chief of staff,
Lawrence B. Wilkerson has a blistering assessment of the entire program that Powell's team ultimately failed to put an end to, and is unheasitatingly assigning direct responsiblity for that failure to Dick Cheney. (Though no doubt he would consider it as a "credit.")

After a relentless establishment of the reasons for making his statements - foundations that everyone concerned about national security from any perspective, political or practical should read - he bluntly concludes:

Cheney went on to say in his McLean interview that "Protecting the country's security is a tough, mean, dirty, nasty business. These are evil people and we are not going to win this fight by turning the other cheek." I have to agree but the other way around. Cheney and his like are the evil people and we certainly are not going to prevail in the struggle with radical religion if we listen to people such as he.
Fox news would presumably have the ability - as a news gathering organization - to contact people with appropriate, relevant and useful insights into matters of this import. Certainly, you would think that if a man of the stature of Colin Powell had qualms about Cheney's torture program, they would have sources that could have let them know about it.

We can then presume that they are either devoid of contacts that could have told them as matters developed - but that would then establish that they have no useful sources. Of course, by now, a simple Google search could have given them multiple sources to inform their analysis. At this point, we must therefor presume they have the intent of deliberately misinforming their audience, that, or presume they are absolute idiots. One could easily presume that both are true; it takes quite a bit more charity to say that neither is.

But Hannity proves by example that he's not firmly enough convinced that waterboarding is not torture to put his personal pink butt on the line to underline the network's editorial position.

Perhaps we should put the challenge to Rupert Murdoch himself?

I suspect for men of stature such as Colin Powell, being called a traitor to such a cause served and advanced by such people is an honor to be cherished.

As for those who continue to excuse and defend and demand the GOP move even further towards absolute sociopathic authoritarian mindlessness; "Fox Populi, Fox Idiotum."

I suppose Sun Tsu would council me to silence on this matter, but I'm willing to risk it. At this point, those who continue to have faith in this mindlessly evil sociopolitical philosophy are probably incapable of understanding the point I'm making here.

So in plain English, here it is. People this viciously stupid and this prone to violence will have to be dealt with. Nor am I saying that as a rallying cry - I'm stating it as a reality they will absolutely bring about by their own efforts.

You - whoever you are - should be considering how you, your family and the people and institutions you are responsible for might be affected should some fanatically idiotic person act in the manner that Fox news and agitators and propagandists are clearly urging them toward.

The only prudant assumption is that there are people - who are no doubt directly or indirectly connected to whatever circle of hell picks up the phone when Cheney calls - in position to use such a situation as a pretext to take some action you might well consider objectionable.

It's time to abandon the fond assumption that "such things could never happen here." They surely can - just as surely as there were those saying "such things could never happen here" when Caeser marched on Rome.

Nor do I expect that things will unfold much differently in the United States then they did after Caeser crossed the Rubicon.

But there is one lesson of history - repeated far too often, in my opinion - and it is this. It is profoundly unwise to question the loyalty of those who have defended the honor and security of a nation in such a way as to establish that those holding sway over it have no honor and are undeserving of personal security.

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