The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

In Which the Gravy Train is Finally Threatened

Power of the Majority Watch

Republicans like to say that “elections have consequences” and moaned and complained in the Senate when Democrats wouldn’t let them have an “up or down vote”. Remember that? Now that they are in the minority, the GOP in the senate has been telling Harry Reid that they will filibuster everything that comes up. In fact, they tried to institute a standing threat of filibuster, requiring 60 votes to bring any measure relating to Iraq to a vote in the Senate. This obstructionism was way too easy for these lazy louts. And Harry Reid finally made them work for it a little bit. He called their bluff and actually made them filibuster overnight. Of course, the Democrats gave in after one day (of course!), but at least they made it more obvious to the country that the GOP really owned this war. The amendment in question was a toothless proposition that would have recommended that El Presidente change the strategy in Iraq and start withdrawing forces sometime in the future, certainly nothing either useful or even very controversial. After all, lots of Republicans, even Senators, have been complaining about Bush’s strategy and suggesting that we should begin to get out, most notably Dick Lugar and Pete Domenici recently. Suprisingly, the GOP caucus held together on the vote to keep the amendment from being voted on. Only four Republicans, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Chuck Hagel, and Gordon Smith, voted to allow the amendment to be brought to the floor. So, even though some Republicans sometimes talk as if they had a brain, they are too scared to ever vote against Dick Cheney. I guess they don’t want any US weaponized anthrax in their mailbox.

What was more surprising was Reid’s next move. He pulled the Defense Authorization bill off the floor, meaning that the voluminous flow of money into the pockets of the military-industrial complex will stop after September 30th. Finally, a Democratic majority in the Senate begins to mean something. With the sweet river of unrestrained war profiteering money under a small bit of threat, the American death industry sent out its fully-bought-and-paid-for puppets to whine and complain about the poor military, and how this was going to “hurt the troops”. I wonder if we’ll continue to fall for that tired BS? This, combined with the new commission to investigate war profiteering being assembled, should make the death merchants take notice. My prediction is that they will force Holy Joe Lieberman to stop caucusing with the Democrats very soon.

The Handmaid’s Tale Watch

One step in the mafia-like takeover of America by theocrats described in Margaret Atwood’s excellent novel was the government seizing the assets of its political enemies. Though it’s been fifteen years or more since I read it, I still remember how frightened for the protagonists I felt when she described how they went to an ATM to retrieve some cash, and their bank account had been wiped out.

Now, thanks to CheneyCo, we may be one step closer to that wonderful dystopian scenario. In an executive order issued on Tuesday, Bush seems to claim the right to seize all of the assets of anyone who “pose(s) a significant risk of committing an act or acts of violence that have the purpose of threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq”, or anyone who does any business with such a person. Given the way that protestors of the Iraq War are portrayed as harming our mission in Iraq, and given that you don’t have to actually commit an act of violence, it seems to me that this gives the President the right to seize the property of anyone who he thinks might protest the war. I’m certainly no lawyer, so I’d love to have some other opinions on that.

That’s a Lot of Lies Watch

This very excellent video compilation of all of the lies and manipulations of the Cheney regime should be seen by everyone. Pass it on!

It’s an Ideology, not a Strategery Watch

Glenn Greenwald highlights the fact that Bush’s decision to stay in Iraq has nothing to do with thinking critically about American interests or realistic assessments of the situation on the ground, but rather is based on a religion-like “faith” that this is the right thing to do, with no self-examination or any other kind of examination. This is one of the reasons that people of “faith” should not necessarily be at the reins of power – especially the kind of faith that grows from not being intellectually curious, from requiring feelings of security by listening to the voice of authority, from needing a daddy figure to tell them that everything will be all right if they just believe. You can’t change that kind of a person’s mind. An excerpt:

This is something Establishment Washington and the media simply refuses to digest. The way we show "respect for religion and people of faith" is by never questioning the specific prongs of the belief system and/or the role it plays in their public decision-making. Instead, these Wise Elite Opinion-makers continue to believe -- long after any rational person could -- that Bush is susceptible to Washington Wise Man persuasion, or to political pressure, or to the constraints of resources. That simply is not how Bush works. He believes he is supported by a much higher authority and as long as he acts in accordance with that, nothing can or should stop him.

That is why -- even in the aftermath of a shattering midterm election defeat for his party and the wrist-slapping of the Wise, Bipartisan Consensus Baker-Hamilton Report -- Bush not only stayed in Iraq but announced we would escalate. And nothing stopped him. He could not have cared any less about those standard Washington influences or even the limits of reality.

And if Bush believes -- as he almost certainly does -- that a military confrontation with Iran is necessary, nothing will stop him there either, no matter how many solemn David Broder columns and Fred Hiatt editorials or public opinion polls oppose it.


Shafting Retarded Kids – For Politics! Watch

In this interview, the former Surgeon General describes how he was told he couldn’t attend a Special Olympics event because the Kennedy family is very involved with the Special Olympics. How petty can they be? We are only starting to plumb those depths. He says he eventually attended the event on his own dime. One wishes that all of these brave Republicans who hate the regime while they work for it, would find the courage to do the right thing while they were still in office. I’m lookin’ at you, Colin Powell.

Now They’re Just Blatantly Breaking the Law Watch

Harriet Miers has, for a second time, rejected a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee. She reasons that since Bush is claiming executive privilege concerning the US Attorneys General matter, she doesn’t have to show up. Unfortunately for her (and you’d think a one-time nominee for the Supreme Court would know this *snark*), that isn’t how things work. You have to show up when Congress subpoenas you, and THEN you may claim executive privilege or the fifth amendment or that you can’t remember anything that has happened since 1972. But, YOU HAVE TO SHOW UP. She is in blatant violation of the law. And the press corpse yawns on.

Predicting the Future Watch

Bush keeps claiming that if we leave Iraq, “the terra’ists will gitcha”! It’s not really clear what he means by “fight them over here”, in that for the money we spend to defend our country, and the extraordinary power we give to law enforcement for protecting us, we should be pretty safe if everyone is doing their jobs (like they apparently weren’t concerning September 11th).

Interestingly, there is a way that grown ups try to actually predict things like: what would happen if we leave Iraq? They use modeling, in scenarios like war games or weather prediction. It turns out the DoD has war gammed our withdrawal from Iraq, and they predict a lot of violence and a de facto partitioning of Iraq into three countries. What they don’t find is Al Qaeda taking over Iraq or using it as a base to attack the US, or Iran benefiting greatly from it. Though an awful scenario, the DoD report supports withdrawal as one of the least bad courses for us to take. Keith Olbermann interviews “Fiasco” author Thomas Ricks on these findings.

College-Aged Chickenhawks Watch

Max Blumenthal is a young man who, in addition to excellent writing, rather bravely infiltrates and videotapes Republican events. In this excellent episode, he interviews BushBots at the College Republican National Convention. They spout logic-challenged GOP talking points effortlessly, and point to bum knees to explain why they aren’t in the 130 degree heat of Baghdad this summer. Thoroughly recommended for fulfilling your daily allowance of smug, ignorant, overprivileged, hypocritical asshattery.

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