Still recovering from Tuesday's "State of Disunion", even though I decided against watching it. I opted to watch Gilmore Girls and a video instead because throwing socks at the TV screen in the hopes of banging one off Bush's nose is no longer fun -- just stupid. But of course, media junky that I am, I couldn't help myself from catching it all on the back end for the rest of the week from the likes of the CNN talking heads, administration stooges like MS-NBC's Chris Matthews, and even the good folks on PBS who think they're unbiased but who play right into the hands of those in power. Only Jon Stewart grabbed my undivided attention when he pointed out the take-away line about Bush warning us to be vigilant about preventing doctors from doing interspecies cloning. (Now that warrants wall-to-wall prime-time coverage.)
I doubt it's a coincidence that this is the week that the Muslim world is up in arms over culturally insensitive cartoons published first in Denmark and then reprinted in media from every xenophobic country in Europe. You can tell who welcomes dark-skinned folks and who shuns them by the news that filters in on the margins. Basically, all of Europe (and much of the U.S.) is anti-Muslim, anti-black, anti-brown, anti-anyone not "one of us", whoever "us" is defined as.
Before the speech, CAIR urged Bush to avoid loaded terms in his address, terms such as 'Islamo-fascism,' 'militant jihadism,' 'Islamic radicalism,' or 'totalitarian Islamic Empire' I've yet to read the address in its entirety, but I heard all of these terms on the back end from those who carry the water (and drink the kool-aid) for the administration. Just as Rumsfield was so eager at one point to rename "The War on Terror" the "Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism", semantics do matter. Whether or not these terms were used, anything which confuses 9/11 with Iraq, Usama bin Laden with Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, and Hamas with international terror is not accidental. And as Knight Ridder reported, on Wednesday, one day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic advisor said that the president didn't mean it literally.
It is also no coincidence that this is the week in which we've pushed the Iranians' buttons to the point where they're ready to throw out the inspectors. Or that, surprise of suprises, White House e-mails covering the period around the outing of Valerie Plame have gone missing from the government's computer archives (as in "the dog ate their homework.") Or that, as Juan Cole points out, 120 Bulgarian troops have been stationed at an airforce base in Iraq to guard 4000 members of an Iranian dissident terrorist cult which has been instrumental in manufacturing stories about Iran's desires for nuclear weapons.
Or that (and this part is really frightening) Business Wire has published that the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) component has awarded KBR, the engineering and construction subsidiary of Halliburton, an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contingency contract to support ICE facilities in the event of an emergency. With a maximum total value of $385 million over a five-year term, consisting of a one-year base period and four one-year options, the competitively awarded contract will be executed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District. (More jobs for Texas.) KBR held the previous ICE contract from 2000 through 2005. The contract may also provide immigrant detention support to other U.S. Government organizations in the event of an immigration emergency, as well as the development of a plan to react to a national emergency, such as a natural disaster. In the event of a natural disaster, the contractor could be tasked with providing housing for ICE personnel performing law enforcement functions in support of relief efforts. (Has no one asked where they were after Hurricane Katrina? It's only paranoia if they're not watching you ... I can't imagine a scenario in which the U.S. would have to house enough illegal immigrants to warrant a $385 million facility. But I can imagine such a facility housing American dissidents...)
Doesn't any of this sound at all familiar? Were we not in this same place three years ago with the infamous 16 words? Or are we all, as a nation, too wrapped up in Superbowl Sunday and the 5-second delay which ABC has put in place so that our poor, innocent children will not be subjected to a horrific repeat of Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction by the Rolling Stones during the half-time show...
9 years ago