Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Jeez, a feller takes a week off to self-administer a few high colonics for charity, and all hell breaks loose. Snag’s eulogizing me with Simon & Garfunkel, Pinko Punko’s all, “Check the hospitals … and don’t forget the morgue!” Sadly, No! gets down with some sympathy linkage for the dead guy, Adorable Girlfriend wanders by to call me an “ass” in comments (richly deserved, and also happens to be my name).
As PP points out, I got more traffic by not posting, so whaddyagunnado? Like, the Editors go missing for two weeks, then pop in to say, “I’m cool” … and they get 50 comments. Atrios is like, “Talk amongst yourselves, dumbasses” … and he gets 400 comments. Next time, I’ll just bust out with “Fuck you, cretins” … and I’ll straight up break the cybernets.
Anyhoo … here’s some catching up:
AEI lady on C-SPAN … big-time tosspot. But first, check out Dave Neiwert’s nice dressing down of Tucker Carlson for sulking about Arianna Huffington calling his petulant ass out for not disclosing Daddy Carlson’s ties to the Scooter Libby legal defense fund. Transparency, it’s mmm-mmm good.
(As an aside – and expect a whole lot more of these … I been gone a long time, muthafuckas – is Tucker Carlson not the most venal little piece of shit going? It’s not really what he says or does, though. Any number of primetime jackasses are more despicable than Tucker, at least theoretically. You know, your O’Reillys, your Hannitys, your Rush Limbaughs. But there’s just something about Tucker that makes you want to strangle the twerp more than you would want to strangle those guys. The very atoms that have conspired across space and time to form the pusillanimous flesh-sack known to us as Tucker Carlson scream out to be pummeled with the most fearsome accelerated particles we could possibly fling at them for all eternity. Whatever energy drives his sorry ass to walk and talk and speak ought to be inspiration enough to modern science to devise a means of flouting the First Law of Thermodynamics just to banish it from existence forever. It’s like Tucker’s a living, breathing trigger for Tourette’s Syndrome in all who ever have the misfortune of seeing him on television, a man who would drive Gandhi to violence, Shane McGowan to sobriety, Dick Cheney to unicorns and rainbows. If I had to choose between having one Tucker Carlson on the planet or 6.5 billion Tom Arnold clones, it’d be a tougher decision than you might think. Aside from all that, I’ve got kind of a soft spot for the little bow-tied prick. Okay, back to your irregularly scheduled programming.)
Now, pull up a chair and listen to my tangentially related story. It involves me watching C-SPAN’s Washington Journal at roughly 5am PST on Monday … and I tell ya, it’s a corker of a tale. Well, not really, but anyway, there’s this foreign policy expert woman on from the American Enterprise Institute who talks like I imagine this person does, which is to say, like a female Thurston Howell III, only with more command of the lower register.
So Luvvie is up there fielding questions about the Iraq War, defending all the “progress” being made over there and complaining that the media aren’t gooing and gawing every time an Iraqi wipes his ass without needing the fucking 3rd Infantry Division to stand guard over the hole in the ground.
You know - the usual wingnut complaints. Plus a few extra-credit swipes at Jack Murtha for having the audacity on Meet the Press the other day to compare the Iraq War to, you know, other historical conflicts that might, I don’t know, teach us something about the current one.
Anyway, this didn’t really concern me. We’re all used to this kind of high-ass talk from rightwing think tank 'bots by now. But then the doctor lady who looks like Jane Curtin that runs the Monday Washington Journals busted out the C-SPAN digital FX where they go super close-up on some highlighted newspaper article. The gist of which was that Gen. Whatisname, former supreme commander of Centcomdef-9 TacFrag or whatever, was retiring from the military and entering the private sector as a consultant for some “civilian” firm that happens to be up to its ass in military hardware at any given time. And apparently, the general has to wait two years before he can start using his Pentagon juice to get the latest top-secret nano-laser specs over to his new company.
Or something. Of course it was a lot more technical than that, and had to do with reasonable restrictions on former brass from immediately padding their new companies’ stockpiles and their own bank accounts with gelt procured thanks to unfair advantages, and shall we say, ethical conflicts of interest (you knew we’d get back to the Neiwert-Tucker connection, didn’t you?)
So AEI’s 2007 Kentucky Derby entry acts all horrified that anybody would evar suspect a fine, upstanding public servant – nay, American hero – like Gen. Major of doing something naughty with his pull at the Pentagon … and it’s a terrible, terrible way of honoring our five-stars by making them follow petty little legal technicalities like the one in question, and my! How horribly cynical we’ve all become to not trust even general staff officers.
Which, really, really pisses me off. I mean, her attitude. More than her nonsense about progress in Iraq … so maybe my priorities are screwed, but bear with me.
See, this country was founded on cynicism, the practical application of which is called checks-and-balances, separation of powers and all that jazz. The Founders weren’t noble men … they were scumbags. But their genius, as evidenced by the Constitution, was that they knew they were scumbags. After all, they did business with each other - including fucking slavery, no less. They probably spent a fair amount of time trying to fuck each other’s wives behind each other’s backs. Franklin alone likely deserved an entire Article detailing how to separate his little executive branch from any number of deliberative bodies.
So they set about to create government by the scumbags, for the scumbags and of the scumbags. The upshot is that what the untrusting old coots came up with was a really good framework for not letting scumbags run amok. Because even scumbags realize that unfettered scumbaggery will eventually bite them on the ass. The best of all possible systems, the Founders recognized, was not one where all public officials were trusted to be inherently noble and pure and moral, but rather one where they couldn’t afford to be otherwise. Now that is some smart fucking government-inventing, and those of us who don’t guzzle crazy-juice at AEI figured out how great it is in high school civics class.
Does it always work? Of course not. Is there a balance that needs to be maintained between individual liberty and what could become overly invasive scrutiny? Sure, but that’s a subject for another thrilling return from a week-long blog holiday.
At any rate, the point is, “trust” has nothing to do with what the good general can or can’t do with his new career in the private sector. The rules governing that - which are built up from the Constitution, which is built up from the brilliant idea that it’s wise not to give public officials the chance to be untrustworthy – aren’t personal. They’re business. Individuals like the AEI hag can trust the general all they want. They can toss bucketfuls of Extra-Strength Trust (Now with Fast-Acting Gullibleach!) at the guy if they want. But the law doesn't trust them as far as it can throw them, which is pretty far, what with the long arm and all.
Me, well, I like the law. I like the Constitution. I like the fundamental principle that says, keeping a hand on your wallet is a good idea, even when it’s just a former Pentagon insider sitting next to you on the bus to lucrative military contracts.
And to those America-haters who don’t … here’s a big, steaming cup of “Go fuck yourself.”