One of the more irreverent web columns that I know of is Bryan Lambert's "You Are Dumb", which skewers 'most everybody, but really enjoys poking holes into the right wing, and the right-wing-wannabees* (probably because there are so many more than the lefties, and they are just so good at being .... strange ... and attracting press coverage).
Lambert's recent column on the proposed sale of the British firm that currently operates port facilities for 6, count 'em, six, uhh, 21, count 'em, 21! U.S. cities to a state-owned company in the UAE reflects both on the "dumbness" that many in the current administration seem to want to foster and the supreme irony that such conditioning to a simple, un-nuanced appreciation of issues may be to have the public react to the White House over this deal as the Congress and the GOP reacted to the Harriet Miers nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
From "You Buy Dubai Do:"
Memo to George W. Bush: PEOPLE ARE DUMB.//snip//
And for five years, this has worked to your advantage, dumbass. You've thrown around absolutes and generalities like they were nickels at a whorehouse. You've appealed to the basest, most xenophobic, least rational parts of the American mob mentality as you clawed your way to more and more power.
So pardon me while I revel in it finally biting you on the ass.
This is, of course, about the Great Port Controversy. This is also, of course, an entire column written almost entirely to justify the title, but that's not important right now. What's important is that right now, George W. Bush desperately needs the American public to calm down, think things through, and understand the nuances of a complicated situation involving national security and brown people.
But people don't think about it. So there's no point in making them try in the Dubai Ports case. Just let them get worked up into a racist lather, and see if they actually listen now when another story comes out about a big business with a friend in the Administration (Treasury Secretary John Snow, in this case), bypassing the various regulatory steps and oversight in a sweetheart deal that nets them a big wad of cash.
They've never listened before, but if they're mad enough at the thought of "ay-rabs" controlling our borders, maybe some shit will stick. Dubya spent five years creating the precise brand of mob mentality that's turning on him now, and the proper political strategy is to sit back and make sure there are ample supplies of pitchforks and torches handy.
It takes a village, after all.
Lambert is right on the money here.
For years the GOP spinmeisters have been conditioning the public to not really think things through, so it makes perfect sense for the GOP to get away with calling members of Congress who don't kowtow to the Accepted Gospel As Revealed by /K/a/r/l/ R/o/v/e/ George Bush "unpatriotic." Including ones who lost limbs in the service of our country.
And it makes perfect sense for the GOP to imply that, if you have doubts about what the Prez is doing, to keep them to yourself, because you "better watch what you say," with the implied threat of "we know where you live."
And it makes perfect sense for the administration to have its head lawyer, the Attorney General of the United States, actually try to claim that, if the media doesn't remind them, the various terrorists organizations throughout the world will "forget" that the U.S. intelligence agencies will be trying to intercept their communications.
The kind of hand-waving that says "don't just ignore the man behind the curtain, ignore that the man behind the curtain, the curtain, and the machinery being operated, exists at all."
This is the kind of single-level analysis that the GOP has been fostering.
And now it has, as Lambert noted, come back to bite 'em. In the ass.
Because the administration has been fostering the "ohh, we're under constant attack by the evil terrorists in the middle-east, and since the terrorists are there in all the nations in the middle-east (except Israel, of course [and maybe Our Friends The Saudis]) anybody who comes from there must be Working With The Terrorists" paradigm, now that Dubai Ports World is in the picture, the collective White House rear ends are sitting right next to the mastiff's teeth. And it smells like lunch.
As I said in an earlier article, the paramount objection I have is that *any* non-US company is operating the ports, and that includes those companies owned by the Brits and the Chinese. Yes, the company owners will not be responsible for security by themselves, that has been, and will be, the ultimate responsibility of U.S. government agencies. But to admit that means that you have to admit that you have to look at more than the surface, and we can't have that, can we?
And it is certainly *not* helping that the feeding frenzy (to mix a few more metaphors) is being heightened by revelations that not only has GW claimed that *he* had no idea about the deal (but, even though he didn't know about it, he was in support of it all the time), neither did the Cabinet heads of Treasury, DOD nor Homeland Security, none of who will admit that they were aware of the parties involved in the sale. (Just who *is* minding the store over there?)
If a novelist attempted to use these scenarios the manuscript would be thrown back over the transom of any publishing house it was submitted to.
For a look at someone who really *has* been looking further than the skin of the onion, read "Ports Redux" from the Boorman TRibune.
I wonder if I can get part of the torch & pitchfork franchise?
* A column of his that was an absolute scream was about somebody who, because Ben Cohen, one of the founders of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, was on a tour promoting a "President Bush has been lying out his ass" display (with the "PantsOnFire-Mobile"** ), that this somebody, who owned a store that *sold* the B&J brand, Would Show Them.
Ignoring the fact that the founder in question no longer owned nor ran the brand, He Would Show Them.
By *burning* his stock of B&J ice cream.
Remember, this store owner had already paid for the stock.
He already had it in his store, waiting to be sold to customers, presumably at a profit.
And he was Going To Show Them by *burning* ice cream.
Burning *ice cream.* Read "Custard's Last Stand" to see the heights of rapture that Lambert can achieve.
** In a "Do you think anyone will notice?" moment, Talon News (the erstwhile agency that "employed" Crack Journalist Jeff Gannon), took the text of the AP story referenced above, and put it out, pretty much verbatim, under their own byline -- see "Ice Cream Co-Founder Travels Country With Image of Bush With Pants on Fire", where their "reporter" finally, in the penultimate paragraph, gives a nod to the actual source by saying "Cohen said to the AP."
Looks certain that Gannon wasn't the only wanker at Talon.