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October 7, 2004

the peasants are revolting

Speculation from various talking heads has surmised that the factor behind the President's poor performance last Thursday is the lack of access any person other than a yes man has to the President.  This piece refers to this unironic distance as a "bubble".  Charming image -- vulnerability, emapthy, a young John Travolta...

The "bubble" is pretty clearly a spin for the Admin, and the kind of spin they do best: taking a criticism and adopting it as your own.  I would think, and I would think that most would agree, that being in a "bubble" is a pretty bad thing, like, oh, "being out of touch with the mainstream".  Kind of like being more Imelda Marcos than an American President.  But the spin takes the "bubble" and curves it right into the outside corner of the strike zone. 

Old Bush Friend Karen Hughes, on Fox News [via above link]: "Presidents tend to listen and make decisions; they don't engage in debates with their opponents or really with anyone else.  They listen and make decisions."  Now the President is not weird or Howard Hughes-ey, he is actually a man too busy being President to be bothered with anything as insignificant as voicing thoughts coherently, or conversation.

It's a pretty good one, but it will have no legs because it's whiny and shirking at its heart, which qualities do not fly, even with stoopid American electorates.  So, please: more of the same.

Posted by mrbrent at 4:03 PM

those stinkin democrats, with their grudges!

For a nice early workday laff, click right here.  And then come back.

For those of you with hyperlink-disabled browsers, the link is the text of the statement released by Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX-Asshole) in response to a report from the House Committee on Standards of Offical Conduct (also known as the House Ethics Committee, as "official conduct" could be construed as less than ethical these days).  The Committee was investigating a complaint brought against Delay on three counts: basically, two counts of campaign finance violations and one count of improperly causing the Dept of Homeland Security to intercede in some wacky hijinks with Texas state senators running to Oklahoma, etc., etc.  With Tom Delay and Jackie Gleason in hot pursuit!

Although most news reports (and Delay's statement) refer to the outcome of the Report as a dismissal, it's kind of a lie.  Maybe not a "Cheney-never-met-you-before" lie, but a definite distortion. 

The first finance violation count and the Smokey the Bear count were dismissed, although, in both cases, a Letter of Admonition was issued to Delay -- kind of a scolding, but a definite bitchslap to a man who wants to be Speaker of the House.

The second finance violation, however, was deferred under Rule 15(f) of the Committee, which Rule reads as follows:

The Committee may defer action on a complaint against a Member... when the complaint alleges conduct that the Committee has reason to believe is being reviewed by appropriate law enforcement or regulatory authorities, or when the Committee determines that it is appropriate for the conduct alleged in the complaint to be reviewed initially by law enforcement or regulatory authorities.

In short, they won't investigate your ass, if your ass is already under investigation by the law.  Which hardly smacks of dismissal.

But the real kick in the head is in Delay's statement.  He decries at length the "highly devisive atmosphere" and "politically motivated individuals" and "partisan gain" that accompanied the process of determining if the Committee could prove that Delay is as guilty as he actually is, which is kind of like Nazi Germany comdemning France for France's invasion of Poland.  He is a politically motivated individual who seeks partisan gain by creating a highly devisive atmosphere.  I don't know if he's always been like that, because I didn't know of him back when he was a shitheel exterminator, but he has certainly been like that since the late 90s, when he was one of the poitically motivated individual who pushed for the highly devisive atmosphere of impeaching the President over a bullshit perjury trap for highly partisan gain.

Delay's statement, however, does not mention any letter of admonition or Rule 15(f), or anything like that.  Or even that eventual criminal charges in the State of Texas might obviate the whole kaboodle.

But, you know, it's that kind of focus and discipline that would serve a man well.  In jail.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:45 AM

October 6, 2004

i'm as surprised as i am

Not that that I ever have time to read any of the other amateur writey types out there, as I while the hours away here in the Dayjob Archipelago.  That would be unethical, as I am certainly not getting paid to clicky clicky.  But, for a split second the cursor slipped and I checked for response to last nights chairfight, and I was very surprised that the response is a) positive to Edwards; and b) concentrating on the lying ways of the Veep.  Which was my take on it too -- before ever even reading anyone else's reaction!

(Except for TPM, which I check three times a night, in my sleep.)

Which is just spooky.  I dunno if everyone is drinking the same kool-aid (and if they are, Alka Seltzer AM Relief is useful), but it's making us look like smart and disciplined propagandists.

You know, like Republicans.

Posted by mrbrent at 7:09 PM

it's an honor just to be nominated

Dick Cheney is the best avuncular liar I've ever seen.  He was like everybody's favorite mean-spirited, lying distant relative -- an second cousin you never could stand, or a scary grandpa.

For me, the most immediately glaring lie was, "I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11," which can only possibly be true if we revise the definition of the word "suggested".  Or maybe the word "not".  Or maybe "and".

For the last two years, "There is a connection between Iraq and 9/11" has been the mantra that Cheney ohms to himself before they seal him in his hyperbaric undisclosed sleeping location every night.  He's been photographed wearing that freaking T-shirt numerous times -- you know the one, the one with "SADDAM HUSSEIN FLEW THE PLANES" on the front and "9/11 NEVER FORGET" on the back.  For a while, he even tried having a funny character interrupt his Sunday morning talkshow appearances, the "Iraq - 9/11 Connection Guy".

Yeah, that was a pretty good lie.  But, if you don't like that one, there are so many others to choose from.  The lies about US casualties was a clear demonstration that even nothing is too sacred to lie about, even dead soldiers.  And the lie about not meeting Edwards was like an appertif, a light, zesty lie to help us digest an hour and a half of heavy, filling lies.

He lies so much, he couldn't even stop himself from lying about the URL of a website to help prop up his flabby Halliburton arguement.

He lies so much, when lies around the house, he really lies around the house.

Word.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:51 AM

October 5, 2004

debate observer

No, fuck you, Mr. Vice President.

Posted by mrbrent at 5:34 PM

when profiteering is the least of your sins

Oh ho, anticipation for tonight's debate of the Veeps is so different in quality and texture than the (unwarranted) creeping dread last Thursday afternoon.  I mean, Cheney's got the "unrepentant asshole" voters pretty much locked, but, besides that, he's hands-down the man you you'd least like anywhere near your eternal soul.  Let's just say that the reason they don't let him kiss so many babies isn't because of that weird snarl he talks out of.

Maybe he'll have some luck with the Creepy Nerd voters when he busts out his "Luke, I am your father" routine with Edwards.

I do not want to jinx anything, but the worse thing I can say about John Edwards is that he smiles too much.  Other than that, he's a straight-forward, well-presenting little guy whose message I never didn't like.  It's really hard to imagine what he could do to scotch the debate.  It's hard to imagine anything he could do to scotch a conversation.

Of course, he will fall short of my expectation, which is to see Cheney reduced to tears in the face of his thirty years of subverting public service, culminating in pork-barreling a war.  The only way he could even creep back into an elected office after pimping his Defense Department access to the highest bidder was by being head of the search committee.  This is a man whose chief of staff is under investigation for blowing the cover of an intelligence operative, which is not only against the law, it's kinda treason.  And treason ain't no desk warrant, either.

Ah, converted, unto you I preach!

Nevertheless, it is my sincere belief that every schooling he will receive tonight and in the weeks to come is only what he deserves, and that if there is anyone we should feel sorry for, it is his physical body, for having to contain his soul for all this time.

Posted by mrbrent at 4:53 PM

October 4, 2004

can you hear me now

I've read of whispers of the possibility that the President uses an earpiece (invisible to the naked eye, of course) to assist him in his press conference performance.  Of course, this has absolutely nothing to do with his performance during the first debate, unless the discomfort of the tiny earpiece was so maddening as to inspire a sitting President to whine to a nationally televised viewing audience, but I would like to make with the insight!  Then we have conversation, yes?

I'm going to assert, based on my first and second hand experience, and on casual memory of audio/video of old Bush press conferences, that the President has used an earpiece, and has, in fact, used an earpiece to recite whole blocks of text.

We'll call this "earpiece recitation".  This would be different than having an earpiece and then taking instruction -- "smile more, there's a bug on your head, etc." -- it is instead directly reciting, word for word, from an audio feed that only you can hear.  My first experiece with this was a workshop rehearsal (as they are called) for a multimedia theater piece some years ago that I was one of those "actors" for.  In this rehearsal, we wore earphones containing recordings of speeches, speeches that we were not familiar with, and we tried to recite the words as we heard them as best we could.  Which was not very good at all, as it is a lot more difficult than it sounds.  I guess the simultaneous hearing/speaking logjam stacks up the synapses like airplanes landing in a fog, because the results were a garble, with funny little misspeaks that were not like misspeaks caused by thought, or losing track, or stuttering, or even inebriation.  My lesson: earpiece recitation is hard and makes you talk funny.

And then about two years ago, the uber-talented Radiohole put up their live stage production of None OF IT here in NYC, and it ended with a ten minute monolgue, apparently a transcript from an old CBC radio broadcast.  The monologue was performed without a script, but there were weird stutters and misspeaks -- a word would be pronounced wrong and left uncorrected, and pauses would happen at unlikely points in a senctence.  I asked the performer, later if he was working off an earpiece, which he confirmed.

Within weeks of that I heard one of the few press conferences that the President has given, and he was making verbal gaffes of the same variety.  Not the normal W gaffes -- ums and ers and "nucular" and what not -- but the same kind of gaffes I'd noticed in the Radiohole performance.  Maybe the best way to describe them is what a C3PO making a speech would sound like if his batteries were low.  Were I an actual journalist, I'd review some old tapes and list the gaffes for your reference, but, since I am only an amateur writey guy, I can only accuse the President of using earphone recitation one at least one occasion, and let other amatuer writey guys do the heavy lifting of research.

As far as using an earpiece in a more normal fashion (i.e., to listen to iPod, baseball game, police scanner) at inappropriate times, I would have to say that I wouldn't really know and I don't think there's a law against it, and whether he did it or not, it's hardly as bad as the unprovoked and unilateral invasion of a nation that poses no threat to you, so it's a free pass for him if he has.

And I do not think that this was the case during Thursday's debate, though accusations have been made, as evidenced by a link in Atrios (which is down now, so I can't find it) to a nyc indymedia thing (which was down when I tried to click it up), to explain a mysterious "let me finish" that Bush interjected in his rebuttal to Kerry's examples of the Admin lying about Iraq.  Given my experience, a misplaced "let me finish" is less likely an earpiece misspeak and much more likely an invisible robot in his teeth. 

Actally, an invisible interrupting robot in his teeth.

UPDATE:  The Washington Monthly has a great link to the various and sundry swirling rumors about the earpiece and matters related to the earpice.  Also, extra points for mentioning the weird lump on the President's back, though they did fail to mention that, from a distance, it looked like he had a bug on his face.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:10 AM