Recent Headlines and Comments to Make Your Head Hurt

Saturday, April 01, 2006 at 04:20 PM

These are strange times.  Very strange times.  The daily headlines are often enough to provoke uncontrolled laughter, vomiting, or both.  The oddest statements can lurk beneath innocuous headlines.  Reality's getting hard to find.

Here's a small selection of the above:

Headline: Harris' Senate campaign 'imploding'

Well, it's only fitting that the campaign of the woman who played a key role in getting the Bushster into the White House should be in the same shape as  democracy in the country he now ru[i]ns.

Story excerpt: "Right now, I don't think anybody with any credibility would touch her," [David] Johnson (a Republican pollster and consultant) said.

Wouldn't we be saying the same thing about the Bushster if there was any awareness and energy left in the country?  Oh, wait, I forgot the stories about several local Republican politicians finding excuses to avoid appearing with him on his most recent round of  HBMIGG ("honest, believe me, it's going good").

Headline: Rice Defends US Actions in Iraq

Story excerpt 1: "First of all, to a certain extent, the protesters make my point: that democracy is the only system that allows people to be heard, and to be heard peacefully," said Ms. Rice.

Maybe she hasn't heard about the FBI spying on anti-war groups?  Or the real possibility that the NSA spying program encompasses people "suspected" of being al Qaeda agents because of their opposition to the war? (we can't tell, see, because the info needed to know if the program is out of control is secret, and we can't make them produce the secret info until we can prove that the program is out of control).

Story excerpt 2: Secretary Rice told reporters that the United States has made mistakes in Iraq, but that it will be judged by its larger aims of peace and democracy in the Middle East.

I know how any politician hates people to think too long about the politician's public statements, but...does that line logically mean that the results are literally irrelevant?  After all, our now-proclaimed "larger aims of peace and democracy" will be the same even if Iraq turns out to be the beginning of a Middle East conflagration that eventually sucks in all of mankind, right?

Headline: FBI Keeps Watch on Activists. Antiwar, other groups are monitored to curb violence, not because of ideology, agency says

Just asking: do they keep watch on pro-war people, "counter protestors," and those less likely to disagree with the government, but every bit as likely to resort to violence?

Story excerpt 1: The FBI, while waging a highly publicized war against terrorism, has spent resources gathering information on antiwar and environmental protesters and on activists who feed vegetarian meals to the homeless, the agency's internal memos show.

And I ask you, is anyone more likely to get bloody than those zealots carting around vegetarian meals?  For the damned homeless, those embarrassments to all that is good and free-marketable?

Story excerpt 2: "They don't know where Osama bin Laden is, but they're spending money watching people like me," said environmental activist Kirsten Atkins. Her license plate number showed up in an FBI terrorism file after she attended a protest against the lumber industry in Colorado Springs in 2002.

Well, DUH Kirsten; how can they watch OBL if they don't know where he is?  If you can't watch the one you hate, you got to watch the one you're with.

Headline: Charting a Path Forward; Remarks by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff at the Heritage Foundation

Story excerpt (emphasis added):

I want to talk about briefly is protecting our critical infrastructure. We've had a lot of discussion in the last several weeks about protecting the port. My job, however, is not to go from protecting the ports to protecting the railroads to protecting this and protecting that following along as the media focuses in fits and starts on the particular news of the day. My job is to always make sure that our approach to protecting critical infrastructure is comprehensive, that it looks at all of the threat, not merely the one that happens to be capturing public attention at any given moment and to make sure that it's balanced, to make sure that we do not take steps in the name of protecting ourselves that are so destructive to our way of life and to the foundations of what our society's about that we in the vernacular burn down the village in order to save it.

Hmmm.  Is there anything contradictory there to the other headline "NSA data mining is legal, necessary, Chertoff says"????  That, by the way, is the same story in which Mr. Chertoff says "there hasn't even been a hint" that the program is targeted at domestic dissidents or innocent bystanders--possibly because all evidence that would give such a hint is secret?