Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Friday, January 23, 2004
It appears hunting is all the rage among the higher ranks of the Imperium.
On January 1, 2004, President Bush and 41, as indicated in this January 1st Reuters report, slaughtered a few quail on a private ranch in the southern Texas town of Falfurrias.
43, later bemoaning his hunting skills to reporters, claimed to have bagged 5 quail out of a Texas limit of 15.

Scalia and Cheney PhotoShop'ed at Golden Ranch Plantation

At some point, also during the first week of this month but not specifically datelined, limited news accounts mentioned that Imperial Regent Cheney and Antonin Scalia, an Associate Justice of the very court scheduled to hear an upcoming Vice Presidential appeal, spent time duck hunting at a private camp in south Louisiana.
While this morning’s Los Angeles Times reports that the ranking Democratic members of the Judiciary and Governmental Affairs Committees are wanting Chief Justice and tiny dog fancier William H. Rehnquist to examine issues of apparent conflict, my thoughts wandered in other directions.
On January 2nd I made a fleeting mention of the President’s more rugged casual clothes as he, fresh from the quail killing fields, talked in an unusually relaxed manner with the traveling pool.
Though he was disparaging his rifle prowess, I remember noticing the President’s 5 claimed kills had our usually dour leader rather giddy.
Shortly thereafter I watched a CBS News report on robotic hunting decoys.


In the report, the manufacturer guaranteed at least 5 kills per hunter using his devices.
Hummm, where had I heard that that number mixed with the idea of hunting?
Ah, yes, I remember!
I had reports, not from British Intelligence, of the President acquiring similar quantities of quail out of Texas!
The sporting goods Website displays an amazing collection of expensive robotic waterfowl and even robotic flocks meant to lure unsuspecting and highly susceptible early and late season migratories to an efficient and entertaining doom.
An individual RoboDuk retails for $129.95 but I suspect our infamous Vice Imperator would prefer one of the two decoy sets refers to as:

The most effective decoy system[s] in the world!

The Mallard Machine

For $184.95 to $194.50, the guarantee of success and a $27.50 battery and AC charger, a hunter could utilize a 3 or 4 unit swimming decoy system with the doomsday moniker, Mallard Machine
This decoy system allows the unsportsmanlike hunter to choose many motions from swimming to diving, shaking, sitting still or thrashing water.
Increasingly heavy hitters are offered what seems to be the ultimate weapon of duck destruction with the $279.95 swimming duck decoy system the Quaker Smacker.
Have our leaders dabbled in robo-duckery?
I was also curious about available bayou lodgings suitable for major Personages.
While surfing, and for your information, I discovered that after enjoying the fruits of daily hunts with a la cart pricing, some high rolling corporate and other important huntsmen in southern Louisiana are likely to rest and dine, as their game is processed for another fee, at the two day minimum $2,200 per day 50,000 acre Golden Ranch Plantation.

Photos: Reuters, Golden Ranch Plantation,
Thursday, January 22, 2004

According to this morning’s Boston Globe, unidentified Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee infiltrated the computer files of the Committee’s Democratic Senators from the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003:

Members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic communications without a password.

With assistance from the US Secret Service and forensic computer experts from General Dynamics, the office of the Senate Sargeant-at-Arms has interviewed more than 120 people and seized servers from the Department of Justice and the office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist along with several hard drives.
Manuel Miranda, an advisor to Leader Frist and former Judiciary Committee staff member, is quoted, in the article, as saying:

Stealing assumes a property right and there is no property right to a government document. . . . These documents are not covered under the Senate disclosure rule because they are not official business and, to the extent they were disclosed, they were disclosed inadvertently by negligent [Democratic] staff.

Amazing, huh?
So, stealing isn't stealing if you say it isn't stealing...a little concept I'll call Faith-based Honesty.
The article deadpans:

The computer glitch dates to 2001, when Democrats took control of the Senate after the defection from the GOP of Senator Jim Jeffords, Independent of Vermont. A technician hired by the new judiciary chairman, Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, apparently made a mistake that allowed anyone to access newly created accounts on a Judiciary Committee server shared by both parties.

Photos: Chicago Sun-Times, US Senate, Reuters
Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Photo: Reuters
Bring It On!

I have a message for the special interests that call the Bush White House home: We're coming -- you're leaving -- and don't let the door hit you on your way out!
Senator John F. Kerry

Fib of the Union

The President practices the State of the Union prior to returning to Capitol Hill this evening and the scene of last year's crime.
Don't you just love the fake gesture old Dubya is attempting!
Doesn't it just scream firmness and (snicker) boldness?
The always fun White House website is offering an opportunity to ask White House Press Intimidation Goon Dan Bartlett questions that he will answer online at 2 PM EST.
Ask away, folks!

Photos: Reuters
Monday, January 19, 2004

In a device meant to flatter the apprentice’s sorcerer while reinforcing a false idea of historic Bush inevitability, the New York Times’ easily befuddled Elizabeth Bumiller wonders why Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, John Kerry, Joe Liberman and Tom Harkin talk so much about the President’s Mayberry Machiavelli Karl Rove.
In another coincidental faux-stunning Bushian coincidence, Ms. Bumiller arrives at a frequent press conclusion first introduced by Karl himself prior to the ill-fated 2000 Presidential Election:

Mr. Rove… like Mark Hanna, the strategist and fund-raiser behind William McKinley's 1896 drive to the presidency, he has longer-term goals… Rove is an avid student of Hanna's role in history…. Like Mr. Hanna… Rove "clearly wants to establish a Republican majority for decades to come."

Cartoons of Rove and Hanna

This concept or meme takes advantage of carefully selected historic props to reinforce in the public’s mind a sense of historic inevitability to the Bush occupation of the White House:

Hanna's name was used in a similar way with McKinley, and cartoonists of the time often drew the president as a small boy with his strategist telling him what to do. But historians note that McKinley was re-elected in 1900, ushering in a period of Republican dominance.

Like so many in media and government these days, Ms. Bumiller and Mr. Rove are somewhat selective with the factual record.
While it’s true that McKinley pioneered the supposedly hands-off executive style preferred by the current, incurious officeholder:

Every important letter addressed to the President is boiled down to six lines by the secretary, before it is seen by Mr. McKinley.

The 43rd, in reality, is no 25th:

All the great questions of the day are as familiar to him as the A B C's. He knows the exact standing of all the men that call upon him or correspond with him. He possesses in a remarkable manner the faculty of quick analysis and decision.

Accuracy need not conflict with Bumiller and Rove’s fanciful inevitability:

Historians note that McKinley was re-elected in 1900, ushering in a period of Republican dominance.

But, of course, historical periods are of variable length.
Unlike 1900, 2004 has not yet revealed itself and inevitability is not yet inevitable.
A Vice President with a weak heart, an industrialist past and a disdain for public speaking is an, unsurprisingly, unspoken element that could dash Rove’s desire for party dominance as Hanna’s were ultimately dashed by the November 21, 1899 death of Garrett A. Hobart.
In a July 24, 1999 Washington Post article, David Drehle quotes Marshall Wittmann of the Heritage Foundation:

McKinley's apple cart was upset when he chose Theodore Roosevelt as vice president. Roosevelt became president and redefined the party all over again. What if Bush meets his own version of Teddy Roosevelt in the primaries instead of a few years down the road? A reformer, a war hero, a tough, plain talker . . . Doesn't that sound a little like John McCain?

Howler Must Read!

Bob Somerby outs the reporter whose behavior shocked Tucker during Campaign 2000:

It was shocking. I was embarrassed, and I wasn’t a Gore man. And I remember talking to her afterwards, you know, “Boy, you know that was pretty rough, what you did to the vice president,” and she said, “I just don’t like him. He’s a phony.”

Photos: Reuters, AP, Ohio State University Department of History, Newsmakers
Cartoons:, OSU, The Daily Howler
Sunday, January 18, 2004
It is almost amusing to read a New York Times reviewer carefully trash Kevin Phillips and his new book American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush in the Times stylized Kabuki of impartiality.

As I write it is, still, late Saturday evening and I just finished watching a tape of the former chief Nixon political strategist speaking about the book and answering questions in a local DC Dupont Circle bookstore on C-SPAN’s Book TV.
I was impressed by Phillips and, since he is more what I consider a traditional cloth-coat Republican rather than the modern “born again” specie, I’m thinking the ongoing and barely noticed skirmishes between Grover Norquist and Frank Gaffney coupled with the Bush indictment’s somewhat reluctant messenger and Paul O'Neill's pre-intimidated second thoughts could, finally, be signs of growing turmoil within the ranks of moderate traditional Republicans.
The review begins with the crafty suggestion that the equally sly Phillips is really a card-toting Leftist:

Phillips, like so many Americans, has drifted away from his partisan identification. He says he is now more of an independent…his politics have certainly given more solace to the intellectual left in recent years.

The review correctly states the book’s premise:

George W. Bush's behavior, far from being entirely his own product, is rooted in the dynasty's four-generation evolution and concomitant pattern of deception, dissimulation and disinformation…If there are other families who have more fully epitomized and risen alongside the hundred-year emergence of the U.S. military-industrial complex, the post-1945 national security state and the 21st-century imperium, no one has identified them.

And, with the media’s patented unfair naiveté, trashes Phillips' scholarship:

Phillips finds the family fingerprints on everything…a reader is tempted to shake Phillips and say, aren't we all the products of our forebears?
…There is no one who makes more historical connections, conclusory leaps and just plain old sweeping statements that transcend the bounds of footnotes.

A New York Times writer tossing about accusations of conclusory leaps and plain old sweeping statements is deeply, darkly funny.
That the dynastic Times mocks an author who mentions the recent dynastic tendencies of America’s elites is also darkly funny.
The Times reviewer isn’t just unsatisfied with the book’s content; he finds the dust cover or jacket, also, somewhat of a scam:

Phillips's (sic) publisher has wrapped it with a cover that seems to offer one of those fascinating multigenerational sagas…The Presidents Bush lean into each other smiling, while beneath are small photos of the family patriarchs. But Phillips is not a writer of history. He is an analyst of demographics… His tone is reminiscent of the muckrakers at the turn of the last century.

I’m guessing the reviewer, unsure of the mainstream media’s ability to obscure Phillip’s collection of available but unreported facts, feels the book should be restricted to the dull dust covers reserved for compendiums of unreliable second sources such as a lot of books, newspaper articles, Web sites and magazines.
Now, as I write, Lefties and Righties are dancing their version of the informationless media Kabuki on C-SPAN.
Is it left?
Is it right?
Why, why, why?
Why has America’s political history of confrontation, compromise and conciliation been trivialized into a kind of uninformative TV wrestling?
As Phillips doesn’t quite yet have the courage to say, perhaps this century long history of Bush family involvement in government secrecy and corporate cronyism has, excepting the uses put to the Pentagon’s old Internet, been the precise precipitator of the world we find ourselves observing through the tube's smudged glass.
As the fate of Democracy seems to be at stake, perhaps the Times could utilize some of Phillips connections and leaps as starting points for original investigations.
They won’t.


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