Friday, February 10, 2006

Read His Lips [a rant]

It's a variation on an old joke: How can you tell President Bush is lying? Answer: His lips are moving.

We've just witnessed the unveiling of the Big Lie for 2006 -- that Bush has delivered us from evil -- and we're going to see a lot more of it before the year is out. This is an election year, after all, and the Rovepublicans have nothing else to run on.

(Other related lies: executive abuse of power is not only necessary in a time of war but a lot of fun, domestic spying is good for the economy, W plans to enroll in the Betty Ford Clinic for Oil Dependency, freedom is slavery, ignorance is truth, etc.)

The immediate goal of the Big Lie is to justify executive abuses of power (like the domestic spying program) while permanently enshrining the Patriot Act. Longer term is to rescue the midterm elections and (gulp) avoid weakening or even losing a majority in the House. Ultimate goal: permanent power and redlining the parts of the Constitution they don't like. And if this means having to make a fake anthrax threat or take credit for another country's intelligence work, well, Karl Rove has done worse.

Thus the big announcement about how the Bushies kept the "Liberty Building" in LA from being bombed four years ago. Bush isn't saying domestic spying helped them catch the bad guys; he's just letting people think it -- exactly what he did to conflate Saddam with 9/11. It worked then, it should work now, right?

According to a December 2005 Harris Poll, 22% of Americans still believe Saddam was behind the attacks, and 26% still think he had WMDs when we invaded. These are the same people who believe that pressing the button on their garage door openers makes them invisible, and for whom a hot Friday night involves huffing a bottle of Mr. Clean while reading a copy of Juggs.

Yet those numbers were closer to 70% before everything turned to camel dung in Iraq. That's when the mainstream media began to recover from the head injuries it suffered on 9/11 and stopped simply repeating everything the Bushies told them.

Now it's happening again. The Lie is getting a big push from headline writers, like those behind the AP story "Bush: US Surveillance helped stop attack." But if you ignore the headlines and actually read the news reports, Bush didn't say that. In fact, it's clear US spying had almost nothing to do with stopping the plot. An unnamed Southeast Asian country stumbled onto one of the potential bombers and arrested him. It wasn't until much later that the US realized the disaster it had managed to narrowly avoid.

The score so far:

Dumb Luck: 1
Police State: 0

Yet this is going to be the rationale we're going to hear through November: We need domestic spying and the Patriot Act to keep us safe. The Democrats are too wimpy to do it, only the Republicans have the cojones. Please please please re-elect us; we haven't finished draining the treasury yet.

It's the voices of Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, singing in perfect harmony, with their hands up W's ass. It's a ventriloquist act, only in this case it's the dummy's lips that move. And it might just fool enough people to work -- again.


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