December 28, 2005

Stop Making Sense

WARNING: Irresponsible, tin-hat conspiracy theorizing below.

The Confidence Man has long been utterly addlepated by the Cheney Cabal's foreign-policy and homeland-security strategies.

Since their installment by the Scalia Court, the Cheney Cabal has again and again made bafflingly dangerous, destabilizing, and demented decisions on the international stage. Not a single move they have made has made sense from any sort of strategic or security-oriented standpoint.

Not even the "no-blood for-oil" arguments have ever made entirely convincing sense of the Chen ey Cabal's decisions.

But the Confidence Man has a theory -- one that keeps making more and more sense by the day, especially given recent revelations about the Cheney Cabal's domestic spy apparatus.

The Confidence Man has always lain some credence to the supposition that Dick Cheney and/or his lieutenants had some prior knowledge of at least some general aspects of the attacks of 9/11.

We're not claiming that Unka Dick remote-piloted the planes into the WTC and Pentagon. We're not claiming that he bankrolled the hijackers.

But given the copious documentation of the various intel agencies' knowledge of the soldiers on the ground and the chatter, it is apparent that Cheney knew SOMETHING was going down (figuratively speaking, at least) in the summer or fall of 2001.

Here's our theory: Cheney did, in fact, have someone "on the inside" within a cell including or proximate to the 9/11 hijackers. Cheney's agent was NOT one of the hijackers -- but he did go to ground after 9/11. Cheney knew something was coming down the pike, but didn't suspect it would be quite as catastrophic as it turned out. And when it was as bad as we all witnessed -- and Cheney's man on the inside had disappeared -- Cheney panicked.

Cheney did not panic for his fear at the safety of the US -- he panicked at fear for his own neck. Because the man on the inside had the goods on Dick's foreknowledge of 9/11.

The ENTIRE US security apparatus as mobilized post-9/11, then, has been Dick Cheney's desparate attempt to track down this one man. The kidnappings, the extreme rendition, the torture, the wiretapping, all of it.

The Moron War on the War on Christmas

Upon some further reflection regarding the Feebs-with-Geiger-counters-in-mosques issue we discussed immediately below, we have come to a tentative conclusion.

It is certain, of course, that Karl Rove has a greasy paw in FOX News' ludicrous "War on Christmas" campaign.

But what strikes the Confidence Man is the timing of the hullabaloo this year.

Yes, as some have noted, the Moron War on the War on Christmas, as with other commercial holiday endeavors, creeeps ever earlier year by year.

However, consider that the NYT's revelations of Bush's end-run around FISA for illegal wiretaps AND the FBI-mosque-radiation-monitoring program both came out at the height of the holiday shopping season -- and that, as the NYT and WaPo reported, the Bushists had been trying to suppress the NYT's reporting of said stories for over a year.

Now, numerous commentators in recent weeks have pointed to the essentially anti-Semitic nature of the Moron War on the War on Christmas.

While the Confidence Man agrees in principle with this argument, we are starting to suspect that perhaps there is a more subtle anti-Islamic dynamic at work in the timing of TMWOTWOX and the media.

TMWOTWOX, we suspect, in its more aggressive deployment this year was intended to prepare the ground for the revelations of the wiretapping and monitoring of mosques.

The Jesus Bomb

The Confidence Man reads with mounting horror and disdain the news that the FBI has been infiltrating mosques and Muslim community centers to monitor for radiation.

Leaving aside the issue that the Bushists have NEVER been serious about controlling nuclear proliferation, cracking down on Pakistan and various rogue international nuclear actors, or securing chemical and nuclear facilities in the US, we wish to conduct a little historical thought experiment.

Recall that, in the 1990s, the US was subject to a rash of terrorist acts perpetrated by, on the main, straight, Christian, Caucasian men: Oklahoma City, the Atlanta Olympic Village bombing, abortion clinic bombings, abortion doctor shootings and harassment, the Unabomber (granted, Ted K. was neither a Christian nor straight per se), the James Byrd and Matthew Shepard lynchings (among others), and Ruby Ridge, Waco, and the Montana Freemen (these three being Federal assaults on terrorist threats as or more genuine than, say Vincent Padilla or the melt-the-Brooklyn-Bridge-with-soldering-irons ding-dongs), as well as various and sundry un- or under-reported incidents.

The country, at the time, was under assault by a loosely aggregated white/Christian-identity network no less organized or well-funded than al Qaeda -- and no less hostile to classic Western Liberal Enlightenment values of liberte, egalite, fraternite, et al.

Imagine, then, the reaction if Clinton and Reno had justifiably decided to infiltrate CHURCHES in the '90s to monitor radiation levels.

When Bush Didn't Lie

During the 2004 campaign, Bush and his proxies frequently derided Kerry's insistence that countering terrorism was on the main a law-enforcement job.

The Bushists insisted on their mechaphor of the GWOT, casting the fight as a struggle between competing armies, not of civilization vs anarchy.

And, as we're now seeing, the Bushists were being entirely honest (albeit misguided and INSANE) during the campaign.

They never had any intention of pursuing legitimate legal means to estop, prosecute, or otherwise disrupt terrorists -- in America or abroad.

December 22, 2005

The Wrong Man

Left Blogistan has been a-buzz today with discussion of Ben Wallace-Wells' WaMo profile of Kos.

While the Confidence Man holds no brief for Kos (truth be told, we generally do find him and his Kossacks too shrill to be productive), we do consider ourselves among the blog triumphalists helping to sweep aside the deadwood of print journalism (if we may be so grandiloquent).

We are also, of course, baseball fans.

And being baseball fan and blog triumphalist alike, we know that when Wallace-Wells deploys Bill James as a conceptual metaphor for Kos's activities, we know that he's utterly wrong.

The operative model is, of course, Oakland's Billy Beane.

And the East Coast Establishment, Ivy League hopeful yearning of Wallace-Wells' invocation of the Red Sox' hiring of James and consequent WS Championship is all washed up. James didn't win the Series -- owner John Henry's money (intelligently spent by Beaneiac more than Jamesian GM Theo Epstein, building on a team framework largely inherited from Epstein's predecessor) won the Series.

And, of course, Beane's most famous comment from Moneyball -- "My shit doesn't work in the playoffs" -- would have been a much more apt anecdote to sum up Kos's political efforts in '02 and '04. To wit, Kos, like Beane, was able to utilize new principles of technology, organization, and data analysis to build a cheap, efficient machine to succeed at the margins where the mainstream market was most inefficient -- but ultimately both keep failing at the final test (playoffs, elections).

Brazile Nuts

Donna Brazile, she of the flawless Gore '00 campaign, repeatedly has achieved Shrumian levels of competence.

But the Confidence Man had not previously suspected that she might, in fact, be mentally ill.

This NYT article on black leaders' meeting with Bush provides profound evidence that Ms. Brazile may have suffered massive brain trauma.

Regarding her meeting with Bush to discuss Katrina reconstruction efforts, Brazile was quoted as saying:

"'He gave me information. Like I didn't know that prior to Katrina we may have had too many hospital beds instead of enough,' she said. 'He put that information into my head.'"

Um ... so, one of the problems with Katrina rescue-and-cleanup efforts was that there were TOO MANY HOSPITAL BEDS AVAILABLE?

Now, the Confidence Man can JUST imagine the convoluted, tortuous, utterly-divorced-from-reality-and-genuine-economic-scholarship HBS MBA-speak "market dynamics" argument that one of Chimpy's handlers might have given him to parrot regarding this, um ... theory. The fundamental misunderstanding and misapplication of economic principles is at the heart of the Rove-Abramoff-Norquist GOP.

But for Brazile to swallow it AND regurgitate it for the benefit of the press? That presumes a truly Reaganesque level of mental faculties on Brazile's part.

And ... "He put that information into my head."?!? What is she -- a fucking Scientologist? And undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenic? (TomAYto, tomAHto, I know ...) Who talks like that?

December 16, 2005

That's it. I'm outta here.

The Confidence Man reads with rising gorge the NYT report on Bush's authorization of the NSA to conduct heretofore-illegal wiretaps on American citizens.

But what really renders us bilious is the revelation, buried deep in the story, that the Times SAT ON THE STORY FOR A YEAR.

1. The NYT is DONE. Finis. Kaput.

2. Hmmm ... what major American political event transpired approximately 1 year ago ... hmmm, our memory seems faulty ... hmmm ... let's see, it's now December 2005, so a year ago would have been ... uh, carry the 10s column, uh ... 200- ... 4? Yes, that's it: 2004. Now, what month immediately precedes December? Nnnn- ... Nnnnov- ... Nnnnnnnovem- ... November? Let's see -- 1 + 1 = ... t- ... tw- ... two!

Alright, we'll say it: the Bush Administration convinced the NYT to not publish this story prior to the 2004 election.

Impeach these pigfuckers. Impeach 'em NOW.

And cancel your NYT sub.

December 15, 2005

I dunno 'bout you ...

... but when I hear "Saudia Arabia" and "visa fraud" in close conjunction, I usually think of this ...

December 01, 2005

Hillbilly Orange Alert

Well, this certainly can't be comforting news to Jibbenainosay and his fellow denizens of the cane-break. Killer Soviet Squirrels!

November 28, 2005


Dept. of Figurative Metaphors Literalizing Themselves: US Supreme Court facade is crumbling.;_ylt=AjNewn1Xzu_kued.8AJE6uKs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3b2NibDltBHNlYwM3MTY-

... one half expects maintenance men to discover a crude graffito scrawled into the niche from whence the rock fell: "NINO WUZ HEER DEC '00" ...

November 22, 2005

Goose, Gander, etc.

Now, ordinarily the Confidence Man doesn't much go in for the rhetorical trope of "Bush is a hypocrite for accusing others of what he himself is guilty."

But this one seems too obvious to avoid.

"'Dirty Bomb' Suspect Padilla Indicted"

'(11-22) 08:04 PST WASHINGTON, (AP) --

Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen held for three years as an "enemy combatant" suspected of plotting a "dirty bomb" attack in this country, has been indicted on charges that he conspired to "murder, kidnap and maim" people overseas.'

Um ... 'conspired to "murder, kidnap and maim" people overseas'? That seems like an accurate precis of the activities of the WHIG, OSP, NSA, CIA, Bush, and Kreepy Unka Dick over the last 4 years, don't it?

November 21, 2005

For Those of You Scoring at Home ...

Slate's "Explainer" column on Friday dealt with parsing the Woodwardian epithet "senior administration official."

The Confidence Man has a suggestion--a modified tool to balm Slate's Jack Shafer and other critics of the overuse of "anonymice."

What if an individual news organization were to codify its use of such positional epithets?

For example, the Washington Post could run a box buried deep inside the National or Politics section--and/or, certainly, at the WaPo website, a standalone page--with a list of all of the persons (or, perhaps, positions/offices/departments) fitting under each rubric.

For the first several months of this innovation, the news organization could have an editorial policy of, every first use of an anonymouse, appending a parenthetic: "(see box, page X)" (with a hyperlink on "box" in the online version). Of course, there should also probably be an editor's/publisher's note at the outset of the policy, and thereafter a smaller version accompanying the anonymouse rosters.

After the introductory period, the rosters would stay, but the explanatory note and in-text parenthetics could be deled. (The online versions could, potentially and advisably, retain the hyperlinks to the rosters, perhaps on first use of "anonymous.")

November 19, 2005

The Dumbino Effect

Fowl play
Dead bird overshadows domino world record

Posted: Saturday November 19, 2005 12:12AM; Updated: Saturday November 19, 2005 12:12AM

...The sparrow was killed by an exterminator with an air rifle on Monday after it knocked down 23,000 dominoes. The killing was seen by many as an overreaction, and angered animal rights and bird protection groups.

It later emerged that the house sparrow, though common, is classified as an endangered species in the Netherlands.

Good thing it wasn't a child that knocked down the dominoes! I take it this is a metaphor/foreshadowing of animal-human relations after the Great Bird Flu Pandemic? (And speaking of the GBFP, has The Confidence Man come up with a name for this yet-to-be-or-not-to-be phenomenon?)

November 18, 2005

Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion

Well. The supporting players are starting to line themselves up nicely for FITZMAS: THE MOVIE.

The Reprehensible Representative Jean Schmidt (R-Moonbatville, OH) erupted in a tirade against John Murtha on the floor of the House today.

And thus, we have ourselves another cast member: Donnie Darko's Beth Grant.

Dick -- you're FIRED!

Another casting suggestion for FITZMAS: THE MOVIE.

For Dick Cheney, Ronny Cox.

Yes, Ronny's a bit, ahem, undernourished to play Our Pulmonary Veep, but ... well, now that we think of it, Kurtwood Smith has gotten a bit pudgy over the course of his televisual sinecure. Either makes an excellent baddie.

And, if we wanted to go the direction of fat-padding, Gregg Henry would be AMAZING as Cheney. And that'd be a nice follow-up to his tv portrayal of the BTK Killer.

(Speaking of which, does anyone else think that "the BTK Killer" sounds like some weird costumed spokescharacter for the merged entity of KFC and Burger King?)

(And, tangentially speaking of Brian DePalma, our colleague Capt. Simon Suggs -- who shall be Going to Croatan shortly -- points out that the most excellent SF Chronicle headline from yesterday ["Police Search for Gary Glitter in Vietnam"] would, with the addition of two offset commas and one word, be an excellent precis of the entire oeuvre of DePalma: "Police Search for Gary Glitter, Girl, in Vietnam.")

November 17, 2005

Buffalo Bob

Here's what's bugging the Confidence Man most about Buffalo Bob Woodward's revelation that he was the first known (nod to Fitz' precise language; tip o' the hat to Keith Olbermann) Plame leakee: given Woodward's demonstrated history of misleading-to-mendacious false trails on Deep Throat (tip o' the hat to Slate's Tim Noah, who has dogged and catalogued Buffalo Bob's spoor trail for several years), why, indeed, should we believe a single word he says regarding the (non-)identity of his current Deep Roy Background source?

The issue is not, as several commentators have put it, that we can't trust Woodward because he's a stooge of the Bush administration; rather, it's that we can't trust Buffalo Bob because he has a clear and demonstrated history of dissembling to his readers and other reporters regarding the identity and nature of his sources. Buffalo Bob's much-ballyhooed recent Larry King "no bombshell" appearance is the latest example.

(Note, dear readers, our thematic linkage of "Buffalo Bob" with both the "Calamity Judy Miller"/"Wild Bill Chalabi" Wild, Wild WMD theme as well as to every Boomer's favorite puppet-on-a-string, Howdy Doody. Question is, who's Clarabelle? Len Downie, or Walter Pincus?)

Best. Headline. Ever.

"Police Search for Gary Glitter in Vietnam"

November 16, 2005

Deep Roy Background

Well, with the news that Bob Woodward has been suspenders-deep in Plamegate/Traitorgate/Scootergate/Cheneygate since Day N-1, the Confidence Man thinks we need to do a bit of wish-casting for the eventual Fitzmas movie.

Of course, since Woodward has effectively ceded his moral high ground to the Judy Miller "I wasn't a prime move but a patsy" defense, he's pretty much eliminated Redford as a viably heroic redux casting choice.

In fact, Woodward's shamelessly unbelievable charade of naivety -- "Woodward said the unnamed official told him about Plame 'in an offhand, casual manner . . . almost gossip' and that 'I didn't attach any great significance to it.'" -- reminds the Confidence Man of a distinctly different cinematic context. To wit:

"She knows you'd find out who Lisa Hoberman is. You're a good cop. Did she tell you casually and make it seem irrelevant? Did she tell you in bed, Nick? That's what I'd do."

Yes, the Bushists have apparently traded in Ed Neumeier for ... Joe Eszterhas. And Woodward is playing the late-career Michael Douglas emasculated-patsy role.

And we're still convinced of the rightness of Richard Roxburgh as Scooter Libby.

As for Fitz himself, while John Diehl (The Shield's Assistant Chief Gilroy) is a dead ringer, he's probably not charismatic/established enough to carry what must eventually be the lead role. Other bloggers have made the obvious suggestion of George Clooney; the Confidence Man, while a huge Clooney fan, remains unconvinced as yet.

But we have the perfect candidate to play Bob Novak: Deep Roy.;fc=1;ft=23

November 15, 2005

Los Alamos

The Confidence Man thinks back to the provocatively prolix pen-mail (in both senses of "pen") sent by Scooter Libby to Judy Miller en carcel -- the one that concluded, in part, with the following:

"Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them."

Now, speculation heretofore has focused on the supposed Colorado-Wyoming vacation spots favored by Libby y Miller, and/or the Aspen Institute collocation of the Entangled Two.

But the Confidence Man wonders if, perhaps, given Miller's WMD/nuke-proliferation beat, if "the aspens" might have had some deeper, más siniestro, meaning ... "Los Alamos," anyone?

Rove Back in the Saddle

There has been much scrivening over Bush's 11/11 "pushback" speech (link below), but no one seems to have pointed to the obvious overall stratagery: yes, Bush's risible and contemptible mendacity is the operational mode, but the main goal of his speech was not so much to "defend" his own decisions or "attack" those of the Dems per se, but to reassign the public face of the Dems away from Pelosi, Reid, and Dean back to Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.

All other effects of this speech are secondary to the reinforcement of "Democrats = Kerry/Kennedy." And that is why the Dems need to continue to "get out in front of" the Iraq-Chalabi-Libby-Cheney-Rove-Abramoff nexus with NON-Kerry/Kennedy speakers.

November 09, 2005

We need more of everything!

The Confidence Man, as a Citizen of Gullivernya, is happy to see that we sided (and voted) with the majority in defeating all 8 CA initiaitives last night -- including Ahnuldt's pet 4 Potemkin Reform measures.

As a member of the Fraterinity of Confidence, of course, we must regard the defeats of the measures (especially Ahnuldt's 4 and BigPharma's illusory scrip drug measure) as a professional defeat.

But sometimes Citizenship must take precedence over Confidence.

We are especially amused (again, as a member of the FoC) by Der Gubernator's reaction to his massive rejection:

"We need more nurses, teachers, firefighters and police officers,'' said the governor, singling out the groups that had targeted him. "We need more affordable housing, more energy and more water. We need more of everything, and I recognize that we also need more bipartisan cooperation. I promise I will deliver that.''

"We need more of everything"! Sweat, creamy Jesus! What a perfect precis of Bush-Rove polity.

November 08, 2005

El diablo que viene

Hemos recibido noticias de un lector hispanoparlante que el diablo está suelto en los blogs.

No pudieramos estar más de acuerdo con esta declaracion. Jibbenainosay (su abuelo siendo mexicano, norteño de Sonora) seguirá el consejo de nuestro lector, quien nos informe que los blogs en español están muy mal catalogados por Google, con el resultado que el diablo juega con libertad en blogs escritos en Ingles, tomando ventaja de este "loop-hole" elecronica.

A partir de hoy, cuando el diablo nos charla, lo contaremos en español.

November 06, 2005

Unintelligible Designs

Kansas evolution vote nears, scientists fight back

Friday, November 4, 2005

...Led by a conservative Christian chairman who says evolutionary theory is incompatible with the biblical account of God's creation of life on earth, the Kansas Board of Education plans to insert questions about the veracity of evolution theory into statewide teaching standards.

Jibbenainosay was hobknobbing with some government-employee acquaintances, who will remain nameless, in our nation's capital this weekend, when this subject came up. The rumor is that Al-Quaeda came up with the term "Intelligent Design" and planted it via a "grassroots" plan in key fundamentalist strategy zones.

November 02, 2005

Indians in the Lobby

Indian leaders testify in lobbyist probe
Tribe chairman: 'They hit the jackpot with us'

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

...In October 2001, the tribe paid Michael Scanlon $870,000 to create a grass-roots political structure in Texas because it was told the state was on the verge of legalizing gambling and that would devastate the Coushatta casino, which relies on customers from Houston, the Senate panel was told

Now you can hire someone, for less than a million dollars, to create a grass-roots political movement for you! And no one will notice that this is a patently ludicrous thing, because CNN considers it quite normal and not worthy of comment.

The politics of this little article are extraordinary, though. Did the Indians really believe it was going to take grass-roots activism to keep Texas from legalizing gambling? Do they expect us to believe that they're innocent victims for having attempted to buy 80 million dollars worth of political influence?

Then on the other hand: they're a domestic dependent nation. That is, these particular Indians can't be punished for abuses of the U.S. political system, since after all they're technically a nation unto themselves. "The Coushattas hired Abramoff and Scanlon's lobbying services to help thwart the Jena Choctaws, another Louisiana tribe, from opening its own casino." Makes perfect sense, as does this: "The tribe donated $45,000 to DeLay's national political fundraising committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, and another $10,000 to Texans for a Republican Majority, also founded by DeLay and now at the center of the Texas campaign finance investigation involving him." (This story goes some way towards explaining why Republicans in the administration have been such friends to Native nations.)

But the irony for Republicans is that what might well happen here is that the Indians may bring down one of the most racist power structures currently operating in Washington and its omphalos Tom DeLay, while promoting precisely what they lobbied for in the first place: futile debate about gambling in Texas. Jackpot!

October 31, 2005

W. Wonka's Death Factory!

Hey, Kids!!!

One of you youngsters is about to die because the Republican government doesn't believe scientists know more than your parents about your health! Just think, next it could be you.

And remember, if you think this is frightening, you can't just run away--that's what the Amber Alert is for, silly!


The sKarlett Letter

The Confidence Man has read the snippets of Pat Fitzgerald's indictment of Scooter Libby.

Along with everyone else, the Confidence Man waits with bated breath for the other shoe to drop on Karl Rove, aka "Official A."

Alas, Turd Blossom, we hardly knew ye: thy new nickname is "Official Asshole."

October 28, 2005

Denoument (Corrected): Bush/Kinski

Back in July of this year, we offered our prediction that "the remainder of Bush's term [will] look like the last 20 minutes of GOODFELLAS":

As of today, with the indictment of Scooter "Frankie Carbone" ( Libby, the 20 minutes have begun.

However, we feel we must revise our denouement prediction: the remainder of Pat Fitzgerald's investigation will look like the last 20 minutes of GOODFELLAS; the remainder of the Bush Administration after *that* will look like the last 2 minutes of AGUIRRE: THE WRATH OF GOD -- George Bush, with a demented gleam in his eye, floating downstream on a raft covered with spider monkeys.

(And, by the way, we're not under any impression that Scooter Libby looks anything like Frank Sivero. In fact, were we casting PLAMEGATE: THE MOVIE, we'd have Richard Roxburgh [;fc=1;ft=21;fm=1] play Scooter.)

Le Canard Maladroit

The Confidence Man reads yet another of Bush Pere leak-magnet Tom DeFrank's pieces on the spider-monkey-infested raft that is the Bush II White House:

'"He's not a lame duck," one of [Bush's] closest political counselors said yesterday. "He's a clumsy duck. This can still be fixed."'

A "clumsy duck" -- what an evocative, yet metonymically clumsy *itself*, locution.

The Confidence Man is certain it scans much better en Francais: "le canard maladroit."

Note, of course, the alternative reading of the French phrase: the malevolently false and misleading story ("le canard mal") from the Right ("a droit").

Ding ding ding ding! We have a winnah!

October 24, 2005

The Fiduciary Roots of the Anti-Clinton Industry

The always reliable and diverting Dan Froomkin notes this morning that another WaPo article on Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald says that, "In its first 15 months, the investigation cost $723,000, according to the Government Accountability Office."

Froomkin compares the cost of Fitz' investigation with the ludicrously protracted Henry Cisneros investigation ($3M in the same amount of time; $21M over its 10-year span) and the simply ludicrous Ken Starr investigation ($52M in the same amount of time).

Now, if the Confidence Man recalls correctly, Starr's investigation ended up costing somewhere north of $200M in toto.

And the Confidence Man wonders ... just where did all that money go?

We won't necessarily speculate that Starr threw cash around suborning perjury -- but we will note that all of the principal players in Starr's little crucible were the founders of the VRWC Anti-Clinton Industry. Yes, the Richard Mellon Scaife cash was funding some of the players independent of Starr's pork; but we suspect that much of Starr's spending may well have been seed cash for the Rovean apparatus.

September 14, 2005

"Vacation," My Foot -- Dan Radosh Is Working for Bush Again

Via Laura Rozen (oh, how the Confidence Man loves that blogspeak formulation -- it makes it sound as if Laura IM'ed me personally to impart this info), the Confidence Man reads a WaPo article ("U.S. Deploys Slide Show to Press Case Against Iran") describing yet another piece of Bushist PowerPoint agitprop making the diplomatic rounds:

"With an hour-long slide show that blends satellite imagery with disquieting assumptions about Iran's nuclear energy program, Bush administration officials have been trying to convince allies that Tehran is on a fast track toward nuclear weapons."

This development comes suspiciously close on the heels of noted PowerPoint auteur Dan Radosh's recent "vacation."

The Confidence Man has noted previously the alarming coincidence of Radosh's expertise with that of the Bush Administration. And we are still convinced that Karl Rove has noted satirical dystopist Ed Neumeier locked in a White House sub-basement.

September 09, 2005

Al Gore Is Running for President in 2008

The Confidence Man reads Garance Franke-Ruta's astute PR thoughts on Katrina here:

"[H]ow is anyone going to run for president in '08 without footage of themselves in New Orleans?"

... and when we combine that excellent insight with the "below-the-radar" Al Gore efforts in Louisiana:

... we must realize that Gore is targeting another run in '08.

July 14, 2005

Rove IS a Jerk!

The Confidence Man has long harbored, shall we say, *suspicions* regarding (as Jibbenainosay would put it) the "heteronormativity" of Karl Rove.

Now, ever since that eruption of Gannon/GuckertGate died down (we understand penicillin helps with that sort of thing), our suspicions had been held in abeyance.

However, when Time's Matt Cooper rolled on Rove last week, our (ahem) radar was set off by this:

'"A short time ago," Mr. Cooper said, "in somewhat
dramatic fashion, I received an express personal
release from my source."'

And then, just yesterday, David Gergen insisted to the NYT that "Karl is [Bush's] right arm."

Um ... "express personal release"? "Karl is [Bush's] right arm"?

We were *right*: Rove IS a jerk!

(Though we always thought W was a lefty. Perhaps he's ambidextrous ...)

July 11, 2005

No Blood for Ink!

The Confidence Man must object to the naked, unilateral aggression shown by the press today at the Gaggle.

With their failure to push forward with Social Security destruction, their internal battles shaping up over the Supreme Court nomination, the dissension in the GOP ranks, the tanking poll numbers, their lame-duck status, the debacle in Iraq, and their continued inability to manage their way out of a paper bag, the Bush Administration has been contained. They no longer represent a direct threat to America. We must let Fitzgerald's inspections continue. Yes, Bush is an evil despot whose rule must be ended some day by the freedom-loving people whom he has under his thumb, but a preemptive attack by the media is a violation of Bush's sovereignty.

Of course, a more cynical mind than that of your humble interlocutor might suggest that it is the very weakness of the Bush Administration that prompted the media to strike now, after lo these many years of appeasement. The media figure they will win in a cakewalk, and will be greeted by the American people as liberators, with parades and rose petals at their feet.


Well, if this Rove thing is indeed the Beginning of the End (actually, the Bush Social Security Debacle was the Beginning of the Beginning of the End, but we digress), the Confidence Man fully expects the remainder of Bush's term to look like the last 20 minutes of GOODFELLAS: as the Lufthansa Heist that is the Bush Administration finally corrupts every member of the team who participated in it, and our Principals become ever more paranoid and coke-addled, we start seeing the bit players (Ralph Reed, Duke Cunningham, Tom De Lay) show up in Dumpsters and refrigerated trucks.

The parallel actually works pretty well: Bush, the ne'er-do-well scion who mucked with the drugs against the advice of his various father figures, is Ray Liotta; Rove, the impetuous, hotheaded ultimate dirty trickster who ultimately becomes too volatile even for his friends' naked lust for power and gets offed just before being "made," is Joe Pesci; and Dick Cheney, the older outsider who never quite fit in by dint of birth, class, and paternity, is Bobby De Niro.

July 09, 2005

The New Hot Zone

Government places new restrictions on AIDS funding
Friday, July 8, 2005; Posted: 4:28 p.m. EDT (20:28 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. groups fighting AIDS overseas are being given an ultimatum by the government: Pledge your opposition to sex trafficking and prostitution or do without federal funds.

Influenced by the reasoning (though incapable of imitating its glittering irony) of the Confidence Man's post "George W. Bush is a Great American," I confess that my initial objections to this new policy (the by-now-boring Republican tactic of making you state the obvious in policy in order to reduce your flexibility in practice) have been replaced by a more long-term view that supports its implementation.

If successful, this initiative will promote first abstinence and then monogamy and unprotected, reproductive sex among folks currently with or at risk for HIV. This will channel HIV propagation to the heteronormative, reproductive, fundamentalist community, and in particular, will target recent converts. Then we will see if the Lord will provide. At the very least I suspect funding for HIV research will rise.

July 08, 2005

Tin Cup

"Michelle Wie is 15 years old. Michelle Wie is 15 years old.

Excuse me if I keep repeating it, but to me this fact is almost incomprehensible.

It's so unreal that the young Hawaiian's gender -- Michelle Wie is a girl -- takes a seat so far back in the minivan that it's almost behind the rear bumper."

What's incomprehensible is that it's so obvious why there's no buzz about Wie's playing on the men's tour, yet no one will say it: she's playing as an amateur, and won't take any prize money. When Annika went out, there was a risk of her doubling her annual earnings!

To a male golf pro, anyone who won't take home the money is neuter.

July 07, 2005

Is Judith Miller a Great American?

Missus Miller, of that fancified broadsheet rag from up in New York City, certainly has Confidence. In point of fact, she may have too much Confidence -- or, perhaps, too many Confidences.

Her sub-paramour Ahmad Chalabi certainly would qualify as a Great American, were he a Native Son. Then again, every man is a Native Son of some land, and America is the great Melting Pot -- so, welcome, Br'er Chalabi!

Miller's dalliances with Br'er Chalabi, howe'er, mayhap indicate that she was not the mistress of her own dance card, if you get our drift.

No, Miller seems, in so many instances to have been the gull -- for Br'er Chalabi, for Br'er Ledeen, for Br'er Wolfowitz.

And the gull, while an essential component of the perpetual motion machine that America has pawned off on Mother Nature, is most certainly not a Great American. Even the great tragic Losers of American history -- Willy Loman, Benedict Arnold, Preston Tucker, Preston Sturges, George Donner, among others -- have been men who crapped out trying for one last seven.

That being said, there may be hope yet for Judy Miller in the annals of our Many-fist Destiny.

For, when you come right down to it, there are only three logical explanations for Judy Miller's perfidy lo' these last 10 years in advancing the PNAC/INC cause: incompetence (she was a common Sucker Americanus, unable to suss the dross from the truth), acquiescence (she didn't care enough to discern the truth from the disinformation, and was concerned merely with riding the Tiger wherever it led so long as it kept her public dropping the nickels in the paperboys' hands), or ... Confidence (she was in on the game, and when it came her turn to hold the deck, she self-dealt with the best of 'em; Calamity Judy to Wild Bill Chalabi).

If the lattermost is indeed the case, then the Confidence Man may admit Judy to the Panklepton.

Until we see proof of such, however, we request that Judy remain in the antechamber with the other drummers and solicitors.

George W. Bush is a Great American

The Confidence Man has for some time been musing over the temperament, methods, and achievements of one George Walker Bush, erstwhile ne'er-do-well scion, thence former ne'er-do-ill ready-made Achilles, and current canard boiteux.

Monsieur Bush, wethinks, mayhap indeed be, as our title indicates, a Great American.

A Great American, that is, in the line of descent that includes thy humble correspondents the Confidence Man and Jibbenainosay, as well as Masters Huckleberrry Finn, Ichabod Crane, and Captain Simon Suggs.

America, you see, is a nation founded on Confidence. And it takes a particklar pride in rejuvenatin' isself from time to time with a dose thereof.

Yes, the Confidence Man claims George W. Bush as one of his own, and claps George to his own hotblooded bosom.

Welcome, George, to the Brotherhood of Lit'ry Scoundrels. You rapscallion, you.

On Returning

"And, for the sake of form, Tim Price resurfaces, or at least I'm pretty sure he does."

Yes, the Confidence Man has returned. Thy humble correspondent tugs at his forelock in apologia for his long incommunicado trek through the canebreak. Things to do, people to see, et cetera, et cetera.

In any event, we are glad to see that Josh Marshall has been empire-building while we were at Croatan. Marshall's is an invaluable resource (which we shall add to our blogroll, when we get around to building it), and, of much interest to us here at Croatan, features a section titled :"Early Returns from the Political Wilderness." As frequenters of the political wilderness, we Croatanians welcome dialogue on this subject; although we of course do wish for certain modes and methodologies of wilderness-tramping and -returning-thenceforth remain occulted.

As, we are sure, does Karl Rove. Part of his amazing success has been the maintenance of various Republican doppelgangers, shadow cabinets, camerae obscurae, secret twins in the attic, termites in the woodpile, et cetera, et cetera. Yea, some of those pigeons may now be coming home to roost, as it were; Cain asking for a seat at the table; yet we have Confidence that Unka Karl will wriggle his way back into the briar patch soon enough.

For this is Unka Karl's secret, as well as that of the many forces assayed against the tsunami of Liberalism and Modernism that continues to flood higher and higher ground, creeping its way intercontinental: illicit urges demand not their release in ugly peccadillos, but rather their own entombment in a sekrit chamber, so as to spin endlessly in the musty dark and thereby provide the black matter to drive the engine of social revanchism. The festering imp at gthe heart of every man does not wish to live in the City on the Hill; it wishes above all else to Go to Croatan.

Of course, to swathe the Imp deep in a velvet cloak is to strike a fustian bargain. For nothing that Goes to Croatan may reside e'er in that bower. Its own wilding spirit drives it occasionally, mindlessly, into the light of day.

And when the Imp returns -- then, boys, it's padlock-the-chitlins-in-the-larder time, for as the Sun impels the Imp to the surface, the Imp commands the blood to rise in other creatures.

March 18, 2005

Teen Sex Addicts Attract Your Attention

In re: this story at CNN:

Study: Many virgins take other risks
Report suggests those who pledge abstinence try other sex

Friday, March 18, 2005 Posted: 6:00 PM EST (2300 GMT)
NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (AP) -- Teens who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are more likely to take chances with other kinds of sex that increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, a study of 12,000 adolescents suggests.

...which attracted my attention for reasons that will be known to my friends, I'm obliged by the declaration contained within it to post the following, which I wrote to CNN:

This respects the story "Study: Many virgins take other risks" in the Health section. It's a great story in concept: who wouldn't be interested?

But there are two problems. First, in this statement: "Millions of teens have signed written pledges or verbally promised to abstain from sex, part of a church-led effort to discourage premarital sex and the spread of disease. President Bush has boosted funding for abstinence-only education in schools." What exactly does "church-led" mean? Which church? George Bush's church? George Bush is the _President of the United States_, not the head of a church, whatever he may seem to want to be. My church does not endorse _any_ such policies, nor does it lead _any_ such initiatives. You can say that it's led by _some religious_ groups, and that's fine. But there's not one church, and George Bush _as president_ speaks for no church, however he may want that to change.

Second, don't quote things like this unless you're willing to be a more aggressive news organization, which by your mission statement you are not: ""If adolescents only had sex in monogamous, married relationships, by definition there would be no STDs," Brueckner said, echoing President Bush's remarks in last year's State of the Union address. "But the majority of adolescents don't live like that. They do have sex."" I agree with Brueckner, and I'm thrilled to see CNN print irony. But do you really want irony? Brueckner's is not a "statement" per se! Note: the implication that adolescents might commonly be married under the abstinence regime; the fact that as a Yale sociologist Brueckner is certainly aware that many STDs are transmitted by means other than "sexual" contact; and the glossing over of the question of what it would mean to conservative religious folks for kids to be having sex in monogamous, but _not_ married, relationships. Brueckner is an _assistant_ professor, like myself, which means she's still idealistic, still trying to change the world. Watch out for assistant professors; we are crafty!

A copy of this email will be posted at my blog, "Croatan."


The "End" of Education

Science exhibit asks 'Know Thy Poop'
Thursday, March 17, 2005 Posted: 5:03 PM EST (2203 GMT)
-- Freddie the Fly lays it out in terms dear to the adolescent heart: "My wife's cooking is so bad I vomit before I eat. But seriously ..."

Freddie tosses off one-liners like the late Henny Youngman, all of them true. It's all about "gross" at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Freddie, a huge animated model, is the star of the "Vomit Slurpers" exhibit in "Grossology: The Science of Creatures Gross and Disgusting." [...]

I liked the fly thing," offered Eli Prudencio, 11, touring with his classmates from a suburban elementary school. "I liked how it vomits on its food before it eats it."

Classmate Keynan Middleton, also 11, was impressed by the different names for droppings.

Jibbenainosay has only praise for this endeavor. He suspects that if you wrapped Deleuze and Guattari in poop you'd remove the only barrier to middle-school kids' understanding it.

February 17, 2005

1 + 1 + 1 = 3

You have got to be kidding me.

Bush has nominated John "Honduran Death Squad" Negroponte to the post of US Intelligence Czar.

Was it just last night that the Confidence Man was musing about American Death Camps in the Southland?

February 16, 2005

Speaking the Unspoken

The Confidence Man has been avidly following the ruckus over the Gannon/Guckert non-credentialed-White-House-"correspondent"-cum-gay-military-escort story.

To wit, this Gannon/Guckert fellow -- who is, it turns out, basically a gay male prostitute and e-entrepreneur -- with the apparent cooperation and assistance of the White House, secured regular admittance to WH pressers to lob softballs at HBush's Press Sec'y.

The Confidence Man understands why the MSM won't touch this one.

but we don't understand why no one is willing to say two names out loud anywhere near this story:

Ken Mehlman.

Karl Rove.

... and, hell, for that matter, Andrew Sullivan. Little Roy has been suspiciously silent on the Gannon/Guckert contretemps -- and, coincidentally, announced his short-lived "retirement" from blogging shortly before the Gannon/Guckert fracas burst into the open.

Libel, schmibel. Follow the monkey.

Arithmetic Progression

1 + 1 = ?

The Confidence Man notes some extremely vague paranoia-mongering and head-scratching amid Left Blogistan a while back regarding the GOP's bizarre "murder-at-will" proviso in the expansion of the Homeland Security dept.

Namely, the loopholes that, beyond declaring the Sec'y of Homeland Security to be beyond the laws of the USA, would designate vast swaths of the US-Mexico border to be legal grey areas.

Now, the Confidence Man is not sure what the problem here should be in figuring this out: the US has, since 9/11, been performing "extraordinary rendition" on swarthy individuals to terrorific states such as Egypt and Thailand, as well as setting up extralegal encampments for the internment of swarthy individuals in Guantanamo and Afghanistan.

By opening up grey areas -- legal black holes -- within the "Homeland," it renders the incarceration and interrogation all the simpler.

Spineless and Starstruck

God bless Carla Marinucci of the SF Chron.

The Confidence Man has had mixed opinions of Marinucci's local political coverage in the past, but this piece -- skewering the Cali media's collective sucking (up) to Schwarzenegger -- is very nicely done.

As for the other scribes at the Chron, the Confidence Man still reveres Tim Goodman above all others -- though Aidin Vaziri is coming up on the outside track.

Oh, So THAT'S What They Were Doing ...

"Report: FBI agent says he warned baseball of steroid use 10 years ago."

Well, thank god for that. Wouldn't have wanted the Feeb chasing down any potential Islamic suicide bombers ...

Seriously. God help us if this jarhead worked out of the Phoenix or Minneapolis offices.

100,000,000 Democratic Voters Can't Be Wrong

The Confidence Man has spent some time herein discussing the Dems' need to cultivate some starpower to help swell their electoral ranks.

What, however, is required -- more so even than the whispering-in-the-ear of lefty celebs -- is the development of a strategic plan to "grow" celebs into viable candidates.

The Confidence Man is speaking here not of the "intensive political seminar" sort of thing (Ken Khachigian and his cronies tried that with Reagan in the '60s; it didn't work then, and it won't now).

No, we're thinking of a power-rail-to-office (or, if you prefer the aquatic metaphor, springboard-to-power): not necessarily the barely legal machinations of Schwarzenegger in Gullyvornya via the Recall, but a similar fast-track to legitimacy in a statewide forum to serve as a base for a plausible national executive candidacy.

Specifically, the Dems need to get a celeb elected governor of a large state (ideally, a Red or swing state, but in any event, not California or New York).

The obvious answer, given the Confidence Man's previous speculations, would be Oprah in Illinois. On deeper reflection, however, Oprah probably presents as many problems as she does solutions; she's also, shall we say, a bit more headstrong than one would wish for the ideal candidate to be (Oprah as a candidate would probably be more like Ross Perot than anyone else).

No, what is needed is a slightly more malleable individual, but who still has the requisite star quality, soccer-mom appeal, understated machismo, blue-collar ethos, and ability to do sincere line readings.

Our thoughts turn to New Jersey -- and we note that there is a gubernatorial race upcoming.

(First things first, we need to convince Sen. Jon Corzine to drop his candidacy. As much as we do admire Corzine, he's (a) not the future of the Party, (b) far more "Senatorial" than "Parsdinchal," and (c) is actually a fine Senator and rainmaker and would do more good in that role.)

So we think now of Native Sons of NJ -- no, not the first person who (ahem) "springs" to mind, but the second.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, we're talking about Mr. Jon Bon Jovi -- your next Democratic Governor of the Great State of New Jersey.

And, thenceforth, the leading candidate for the Dem Presidential nom in '08.

And, yes, we're quite serious about this.

Simile simili gaudet

Drifter accused of kidnapping sings in court
Man charged in Elizabeth Smart case removed from competency hearing
Wednesday, February 16, 2005 Posted: 1:40 PM EST (1840 GMT)
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) -- The drifter and self-proclaimed prophet accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart was removed from his competency hearing Wednesday for singing a religious song -- the third time he has done that in court in recent months.
Prosecutors say Mitchell took Elizabeth into the foothills near her home, sexually assaulted her and kept her as his second wife.

But like attracts like, as they say--hence this equally perverse phrase: "An excommunicated Mormon, Mitchell once wrote a rambling manifesto espousing the virtues of polygamy."

February 05, 2005

To Create a Mockingbird

Class seeks to rid kids of Appalachian accents
Friday, February 4, 2005 Posted: 9:20 AM EST (1420 GMT)
PIKEVILLE, Kentucky (AP) -- A new class that seeks to teach youngsters how to lose their Appalachian accents has set off an age-old phonetic debate: Should mountain natives drop the drawl or hold tightly to their twang?

Jibbenainosay hopes that CNN doesn't continue to cover stories like these--or at least, that it does so with the same kind of misleading headline as this one bears. This stuff is top secret. This program of course replaces previous JW Theatre efforts involving painting black children white and teaching the girls to dress and act like boys to "broaden their performance opportunities and improve overall marketability." The Kentucky plot to take over the world proceeds apace: you will never know when we're there, watching you, imitating you, replacing you....

February 02, 2005

Finding Churchill

University faculty defends controversial professor
Wednesday, February 2, 2005 Posted: 11:52 AM EST (1652
BOULDER, Colorado (AP) -- As pressure mounts on a University of Colorado professor who ignited a furor by comparing the World Trade Center victims to Nazis, colleagues have come to his defense -- on free speech grounds.

Normally, Jibbenainosay wouldn't intervene in such a fine hoopla as this, but he feels the urge to point something out. Nowhere in the three CNN front-page articles about Ward Churchill's controversial statements respecting 9/11 and consequent resignation from his chairship is it mentioned that Churchill is one of the leading scholars of Native America. Where do these looney ideas about "U.S. Imperial Arrogance and Criminality" that, according to Governor Bill Owens, defy the facts of history, come from, CNN readers are wondering? How did somebody writing books about U.S. imperialism end up as chair of an Ethnic Studies department?