Thursday, October 30, 2003

On the ligher side:

Pee-wee, a hamster, may well set the record for smallest hamster. :-)

Bush's "Mission Accomplished" Sign Revisionism

Includes a mid-May 2003 story about how carefully choreographed the May 1 appearance to announce the end to combat operations really was.



While you're at it, here's how the White House originally presented the Iraq situation: notice the highlighted part at the bottom of the image (prior to the headline being changed):



Wednesday, October 29, 2003

From Jekyll-Hyde to Hyde-Jekyll: America's Transformation into the Premier Rogue State.

When does a leader's obvious cognitive dissonance become a political liability? It was the cognitive dissonance angle to this post that first caught my attention, and is worth noting. Whenever beliefs are inconsistent with facts, or we find that we hold two contradicting beliefs, or we find that our behaviors and beliefs are in contradiction, we have a tendency to feel psychological discomfort. We become more anxious, and are motivated to reduce dissonance however possible. One means of doing so is to discount one of the dissonance-inducing factors. In the case of the White House, that means discounting the data that show that the Iraq war and occupation have not been going well at all. It's certainly convenient to react that way, but it does have some definite risks, such as the risk of no longer being taken seriously after a certain point in time:



Think about Linus and the Great Pumpkin as a metaphor. Linus insists that each Halloween, the Great Pumpkin will visit the most sincere pumpkin patch (Linus is deliberately vague by what a "sincere pumpkin patch" means) and leave treats to whomever is at that specific pumpkin patch. So, he goes to a lot of trouble to convince others that the Great Pumpkin is really going to appear this Halloween, and while many are skeptical, Linus does get something of a coalition of the willing: namely Sally (and perhaps Snoopy?). So what happens? Linus and Sally end up spending the night in a pumpkin patch, see no Great Pumpkin, and go back home empty-handed. How does Linus react? The failure to find the Great Pumpkin is proof that the Great Pumpkin exists and simply must have visited another pumpkin patch. Suffice it to say, Linus is not likely to be taken seriously by Sally again.



Now if the primary consequence of such irrational judgment were simply the lost opportunity for treats on Halloween night, we'd have an amusing vignette about a common human foible. However, when the primary consequence of discounting contradictory information leads to policy decisions that lead to a pronounced loss of human life, treasure, and credibility internationally, then we have a serious problem. At some point, and I believe we are now long overdue, it becomes imperative to change course. Stubbornly avowing that there is a Great Pumpkin will not prove its existence. Stubbornly clinging onto the mantra that "all is going well in Iraq" does not make it so. Bush's failure to see the need to change his beliefs about the war are making him look further and further out of touch with reality. His failure to adjust according to data will likely be his undoing -- not that I especially mind. But the price we've paid for this particular Great Pumpkin quest has been way too high.

Quote from Molly Ivins

It is not necessary to hate George W. Bush to think he's a bad President. Grownups can do that, you know. You can decide someone's policies are a miserable failure without lying awake at night consumed with hatred.

Bush Speak

Scroll down to "Bush Speak" to get not only a transcript of the Bush press conference from Tuesday, along with Steve's editorial commentary. It's a bit longish, but worth the effort for the humor inherent in showing just how full of it our esteemed Misleader actually is.

Miserable Failure

Courtesy of Old Fashioned Patriot. The idea is to make the link to Dubya's bio and the phrase "Miserable Failure" become a top google hit. Works for me.



While your at it, check out the Old Fashioned Patriot blog and say "whazzup!"

That Pesky "Mission Accomplished" Sign Still Nips at Bush's Heels

Apparently Dubya is now blaming the Navy for that idea. Not surprisingly, that's a move which has invited considerable criticism. Best quote comes from John Kerry:



"Landing on an aircraft carrier and saying 'mission accomplished' didn't end a war, and standing in the Rose Garden and stating that 'Iraq is a dangerous place' does nothing to make American troops safer."



And here's a gentle reminder of one of Bush's statements during his June speech to US troops in Qatar (courtesy of the Daily Kos):



I am happy to see you, an so are the long-suffering people of Iraq. America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished.



I'm sure he wishes he'd never said that.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Make War Not Love

The motto of this presidency? Are sexual prudishness and aggression related? Ever wonder why people who have so many hang-ups about sexual behavior are the very same people who rabidly favor going to war, using the death penalty, and a draconian approach to law enforcement? This column makes for a pretty decent thought piece.

Apparently Faux News wanted to file a lawsuit against The Simpson creator Matt Groening

Why, you might ask? Apparently one episode featured a fake Faux News crawl at the bottom of the screen, a parody of the news crawls that one might see on any of a number of news channels. Apparently, Groening is no longer allowed to do that particular form of parody, because it might "confuse" the viewers into believing that it was real news. I suppose it never occured to these geniuses that 1) the Simpsons audience is primarily composed of cynical types like myself who enjoy satire and know that the cartoon is very well-done satire, and 2) that it's a cartoon. Anyone who cannot distinguish between cartoons and reality needs some serious antipsychotic medications...NOW. Actually, anyone who cannot distinguish between cartoons and reality already watches Faux News religiously and probably avoids The Simpsons like the plague.



Here's what got the Faux News execs knickers in a knot:



POINTLESS NEWS CRAWLS UP 37 PERCENT ... DO DEMOCRATS CAUSE CANCER? FIND OUT AT FOXNEWS.COM ... RUPERT MURDOCH: TERRIFIC DANCER ... DOW DOWN 5000 POINTS ... STUDY: 92 PERCENT OF DEMOCRATS ARE GAY ... JFK POSTHUMOUSLY JOINS REPUBLICAN PARTY ... OIL SLICKS FOUND TO KEEP SEALS YOUNG, SUPPLE ... DAN QUALYE: AWESOME ... ASHCROFT DECLARES BREAST OF CHICKEN SANDWICH "OBSCENE" ... HILLARY CLINTON EMBARRASSES SELF, NATION ... BIBLE SAYS JESUS FAVORED CAPITAL-GAINS CUT ... STAY TUNED FOR HANNITY AND IDIOT ... ONLY DORKS WATCH CNN ... JIMMY CARTER: OLD, WRINKLY, USELESS ... BRAD PITT + ALBERT EINSTEIN = DICK CHENEY ... RIGHT WING OF CHICKEN // [cut off at this point]

Shorter Bush

The increased insurgent attacks and carnage prove that we're winning the war in Iraq.


Notes From Underground editorial response: Good thing our president doesn't read the news.