Friday, June 20, 2008

Calhoun’s Can(n)ons, The Bay News, Tolosa Press, for June 19,2008

Scott McClellan Nation

Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.
George Orwell

It was as if “What Me Worry” Alfred E. Newman had stepped off the cover of Mad Magazine and started spilling the beans about the publishers. But with Scott McClellan, former White House Press Secretary and loyal Bush fool, there was one little problem: There were already miles of shelves filled with miles of books, all filled with nothing but carefully researched and documented beans. So the only new revelation Scott had to offer was this: How was it humanly possible for anyone with an I.Q. larger than his shoe size to remain so clueless for so long?

True, the paycheck was nice and that can buy a lot of willful stupidity. And silence. As one wag noted, it’s easy for a man to not know something when his job depends on his not knowing it. And knowing that speaking out would make enemies of your friends can be an intimidating proposition. But whatever made Scott think these people were his friends? They were cronies and he was their useful, willing and then expendable tool, nothing more.

Of course, Scott was not alone in his Kool-Aid-Drinking myopic zeal. The entire Bush administration is remarkable for the sheer number of people who put personal good above the good of the nation. Not for nothing was Colin Powell the one chosen to go to the UN to present the dog and pony show designed to justify the Iraq war. He had always made sure his public credentials were burnished to a fine gleam, so he could be counted on to do nothing to harm his career. If thousands of soldiers had to die to keep that fine public reputation polished, so be it. From Army generals who kept their mouths shut until that pension check was safely in the mail to the Talking Points Republican Congress members who put maintaining their position and political power over the good of nation, to the spineless Democrats who failed to fulfill their oversight responsibilities, to a bought-and-paid-for corporate media willing the be, not watchdogs, but useful handmaids, it was a Scott McClellan government – fingers in the ears, humming a la-la-la-la plainsong, willfully blind, asking no questions.

In normal times, such a government and administration would have outraged a skeptical, informed and watching nation, and been booted out of office. But in this case, the United States had also turned into Scott McClellan Nation – the whole country became the piano player in the whorehouse, pretending to be ignorant of what was going on upstairs. La-la-la-la. The citizens were lied to, bamboozled, conned, spun, manipulated, and fleeced , not once, but again and again and each time they scrunched their eyes shut and returned the wolves to the sheep pens. Until the stench of incompetence and rot and war dead and wasted billions grew so huge they simply couldn’t ignore it any longer. But even then, instead of outrage, impeachment hearings and a full regime change with a demand to hold those responsible to account, they made sure there would be no accountability. Just a brief news cycle jabber about yet another tell-all book that will go on a shelf, unread, while those in charge covered their behinds and scampered for the door scot-free.

It’s too soon to tell whether Scott McClellan Nation has finally had the same epiphany that Scott McClellan the man did, minus the book contract. Or whether we are still a nation of sleepwalkers, easy marks for the same lies, offering all our wedge-issue, hot-buttons to be pushed once again, sheep returning to the shearing pens.

Whether the country has had that epiphany is critical since there are extremely dangerous and complicated times ahead. Global warming, volatile weather shifts promising more Katrinas that will require competent government assistance, the coming battles over scarce resources, famine-driven migrations that will further destabilize an already volatile planet, and economic and environmental hard times that will also offer unique opportunities only to those prepared to seize them. All of these are issues that can only be dealt with by an awake, aware, accurately informed and engaged nation of gimlet-eyed “Show-Me” Missourians, with one hard eye on the Constitution and the other watching the silverware.


Ron said...

Ann wrote:

"... a bought-and-paid-for corporate media willing the be, not watchdogs, but useful handmaids, it was a Scott McClellan government – fingers in the ears, humming a la-la-la-la plainsong, willfully blind, asking no questions."

Thank God for Amy Goodman.

She had Scott McClellan on her amazing show, Democracy Now!, recently, and the interview was excellent, which is why it was so sickening.

Here's the link to the interview.

And here are some samples:

AMY GOODMAN: So did Scooter Libby and Karl Rove lie to you?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: That’s the only conclusion I can draw. They knowingly misled me. There’s no other explanation for it, because I asked them point blank if they were involved.


SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, I think we need more Helen Thomases in the press corps, both the national press corps, even in the White House press corps, as well. She is someone who is not afraid to ask the tough questions and hold people accountable for the decisions that are made. So I think that’s important to state right up front.


SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, the White House Iraq Group, as I mentioned, was set up, as you point out too, to really market the war to the American people.


SCOTT McCLELLAN: There are several things I probably should have spoken up about at the time. That’s probably one. But you get caught up in this environment in Washington, and you’re pushing the administration’s views and the administration’s talking points. But yes, I wasn’t as experienced as I should have been in the ways of Washington and the way this White House was operating, and I should have questioned some things more.


AMY GOODMAN: Cheney’s role? What do you fault Cheney for? Do you believe he lied?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: In terms of the Iraq war?


SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, you know, he certainly took some of the intelligence and went much further than anyone else in the administration. And, you know, it’s not for—I’m not into questioning his specific motives, because I don’t know them, but certainly he exaggerated the intelligence more than anyone else, making the connection to 9/11, when the connection, we now know, was not there at all, a direct connection there, with Mohamed Atta and this meeting in Prague with Iraqi intelligence officials that no one can verify ever happened. So I think that that is troubling.

AMY GOODMAN: So he lied about that?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, I don’t know—you know, I don’t know if he really believed it or not. He had access to the intelligence that was suggesting that, but he was certainly wrong and very misguided in making those statements.

- - -

Absolutely disgusting.

You know what I'm not clear on? What's the difference between Bush/Cheney and Slobodan Milosevic?

Churadogs said...

Ah, yes. As Kurt Vonnegot noted: You are what you pretend to be, so be very careful what you pretend to be. Slobodan ended up in the dock at the Hague, if memory serves? Exactly where a whole lot of these Bush Boys need to be as well. Won't happen because there are too many in congress on both sides of the aisle, who went along with all of this and so they have a vested interest in seeing NOBODY will be held to account. And the American people don't know or care much either. Scott McClellan Nation, indeed.

Ron said...

Ann wrote:

"And the American people don't know or care much either."

I'm an American person, and I care ; - )


"... too many in congress on both sides of the aisle, who went along with all of this and so they have a vested interest in seeing NOBODY will be held to account."

Sound familiar, Los Osos?

"Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance."
-- Kurt Vonnegut

(I'm tellin' ya... sans the "Shark Inlets" and the "Marks" hogging all of the space, these comments sections can be a pretty fun place.)

Shark Inlet said...

The problem here ... like in DC and Sacto ... Ron, is that "journalists" (even the "independent" variety) haven't really every checked out the veracity of various claims ... both by the LOCSD board members and those running for board. Had, for example, a single journalist (you are one, aren't you Ron) bothered to check out the "$100/month, ready to go" claim of the recall campaign, we would have known those running for office were full of crap. Whether they were more or less full of crap than those in office would still have been an open question, but no one would have voted for the recall thinking that the new guys would save us money. One could make similar claims about the Solutions Group claims.

Just a thought from someone who posts far less often and uses far fewer words than Ron thinks ...