Wednesday, February 01, 2006

No News is Bush News

The media was not very kind to (p)resident Bush’s big speech. You can read about it here at “White House Briefing,” from the “Washington Post,” one of the scribe’s favorite stop-offs:

the scribe, committed to a search for news, skipped w’s speech and if the accounts in Dan Froomkin’s assemblage/column are any indication, it was a good move that gave highwayscribery a leg-up on the major media outlets.

It’s certainly nice that the press has found its chestnuts and begun to call Bush on his boners. Of course, they should have been doing it some 60,000 dead soldiers and civilians ago.

The top piece from highwayscribery’s perspective was one entitled, “Bush Stretches to Defend Surveillance,” which is another way of saying, “Bush is Lying About His Power to Spy on Us.”

Here it is, from Peter Wallsten and Maura Reynolds of the “L.A. Times”:,0,1999790.story?coll=la-headlines-nation

the scribe does not know what happened to the deferential Edward Chen, “The Times” long-time White House correspondent, but Wallsten seems to wield a heavier and welcome hammer while Reynolds’ association with him can only accrue to her benefit.

Their piece opens up by observing that Bush’s defense of his domestic spying program “received a roaring ovation” Tuesday night. And that’s a good way of saying something important without having an opinion or overtly singling a specific item out for ridicule.

Maybe you think the roar was deserved.

the scribe doesn’t.

And how about the things that get these people excited anyway? Spying on Americans!

No greater tip-off to their reigning and under-commented deceit that patriotic (r)epublicans are the only worthy Americans; their cleanliness a standard for all to emulate.

Which is why nobody but Mormons can work for the federal government.

The Bush administration, Wallsten noted, has pointed to former presidents Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and Wilson who used war-time circumstances to exercise “executive authority.”

But the reporters note that, “warrantless surveillance within the United States for national security purposes was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972 – long after Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt stopped issuing orders – That led to the 1978 passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that Bush essentially bypassed in authorizing the program after the Sept. 11 attacks.”

This is good hard-hitting reporting; just the stuff they loathe (when it comes to Bush) at Fox News. It’s a sign that not only have reporters taken off their kids gloves in dealing with the administration, more importantly, so have the ladies and gentlemen in the editorial board room.

They’re letting the critique get through.

Taking a page from Al Franken’s book(s), Wallsten/Reynolds called up an authority on national security at Syracuse University, William Banks, and came back with this: “He [Bush] might be speaking in the broadest possible sense about the president exercising his authority as commander-in-chief to conduct a war, which of course federal courts have upheld since the beginning of the nation. If he was talking more particularly about the use of warrantless surveillance, then he is wrong.”

the scribe would like to suggest that Bush was talking about warrantless surveillance, and that he is wrong.

And that wasn’t all. Wallsten and Reynolds point out the “stretches” between facts and fiction in Bush’s speech on such items as our reliance on Middle Eastern oil (only about 10 percent), the shutting down of the Syrian border with Iraq (a favorite entry point for holy warriors), the effect his litany of tax cuts has had on job creation (not so much and going south), the administration’s handling of the post-Katrina Gulf Coast (blind faith) and on and on.

But read the piece and tomorrow we’ll talk about Edith Wharton’s “The House of Mirth.”


fjl said...

Why this obsession with warrantless serveillance ( good word ) amyway?
Real reasons?
Can scribe give us any idea?

highwayscribery said...

There are, at least, two Americas, just as I found in Spain, two Spains.

In the Western Democracies these groupings usually break down to two: Those who view national "Freedom" within a democratic context and anathema to government generally speaking. In the United States: another which associates freedom-with the country-with the government -- a dubious process of reasoning that places those mistrustful of the government at odds with them.

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 were a godsend (no pun intended) to the country-is-government crowd because it provided them a unique opportunity to do away with democratic niceties (like warrants for wiretapping) that they never truly had any time for, but were fearful of appearing undemocratic in opposing.

How's 'at?