Bush: 21st Century Gunzel

In the classic film-noir The Maltese Falcon based on the hard boiled crime novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett, Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade refers to the character Wilmer ( Elisha Cook Jr.) as a gunzel. An early definition of the word was defined as a convicted criminal that had a fondness beyond regular friendship for another inmate, but later, like slang has a habit of doing, expanded to include gangsters who were not all that tough when you took their gun away and still retained at least a hint of implying that the gangster in question was less then manly. Bush gives new meaning to the word gunzel. Until 9-11 Bush disregarded the warnings of the Clinton Administration about making Osama Bin Laden a priority and instead moved fighting gun control,stopping the threat of medical marijuana usage, and punishing hookers and their clients to the top of the gunzel to do list. A punk’s list of priorities if their ever was one. For those that were paying attention, 9-11 striped away the facade of the fake cowboy’s toughness, after reading a children’s’s book and flying around in circles he shows up in New York to wrap himself in the new gunzel’s protective gear, the American flag. The new gunzel is clever, ya see if you criticize the gunzel wrapped in the flag, it looks like you are critical of the flag too. 9-11 was a horrible day and even the most cynical critics of the administration put aside their honest differences for national unity. What was important is that we as a nation get justice for this grossly criminal act. It turns out even as plans were being made to go after Bin Laden, gangsterish schemes were under way to wage war against a secularized Islamic state rather then the very tedious job of ferreting out the blood thirsty jihadists that concealed themselves within dozens of nation-states. Gunzels are notoriously lazy minded, they reject thinking about things that are complex, that require thinking outside the box. Gunzels hiding behind bluster, think they can point a gun at something, snarl and the threat real or not will shrink up and disappear. You can judge a gunzel by lack of results, ‘Significant attacks’ at 21-year high, revised data show

The administrations’s approach to Iraq was the same as a punk’s approach to robbing a bank, they thought they had all the angles covered, but of course punks never do. They sent too few troops to do a job they themselves would never be brave enough to do, they sent them without the proper body armor and with no real plan for the occupation. Since the flag draping worked to deflect any criticism of Bush they draped Iraq in the flag too. They tried and somewhat succeed in convincing people that Bin Laden and Saddam were the same thing. Yet no WMD, no collaboration with al-Queda ; these marginal threats were used rather then having a clear picture of real threats and a real strategy of defeating the terrorists and stemming the spread of terrorism. The 21st century gunzel must always be at war or people might notice how useless they are.
Katrina versus the gunzel, and Katrina wins. One sure sign of a gunzel, our modern day tough guy wannabe is the claim to being the great protector. Yet when faced with a catastrophic event Bush could not muster all the power at his disposal to help the victims. No, presidents cannot prevent hurricanes, but they can respond to them. With a series of debacles under his belt, 9-11, Iraq, Afghanistan’s reemergence as an opium center, he asks that America trust him to break FISA laws that every president since 1978 has adhered to. With the Bush record of one miserable failure after another, maybe its out of pity that some members of Congress are trying to make Bush’s violation of the constitution and the public trust retroactively legal. The gunzels as usual have taken the tact of misdirecting the debate, with the egregious accusation that Democrats don’t want the president to spy on terrorists. If we lived in a sane world, Bush and any member of his administration that expressed those sentiments would be censured for suggesting such a thing. The issue a month ago, the issue today, and the issue tomorrow will be spying on American citizens without a FISA warrant.

A gunzel of the 40’s and 50’s could be found pistol whipping his opponents even after they had been subdued. Gunzel Bush tortures people after they’ve been caught and imprisoned, not because torture works, not because it saves us from some hypothetical ticking bomb, but because gunzels then and now take pleasure in sadism, especially at the idea of having such control over another human being. One of the defining characteristics of modern conservatives are the desire to control even the most personal aspects of human behavior.

The modern gunzel poses different dangers; Bush gunzelism endangers any true small government conservatism, it pushes moderate Muslims to the fringe, it punishes Muslim states instead of Muslim terrorists, it demoralizes and weakens our military, it undermines our sense of community as a nation, it rewards incompetence and cowardice,it tramples on the law and the public trust, and Bush gunzelism tarnishes America’s reputation as a country of honor.

Stripe away Wilmer’s gun, stripe away Bush’s false bravado, “bring it on” and all you have is a tough talking incompetent coward. Like his entire cuddled life, Bush will manage to get through his presidency without taking responsibility for anything, letting others carry the burden of his gross ineptitude. Bush, a gunzel for the new century.

Bill Kristol is a gunzel too, Commandante Kristol Unholsters His Cap Pistol (updated)

and the light of his soul flickered with shame

Thoughts from Kansas, FISA gutted to protect the President?

Balkinization asks “Mother of Mercy, Is This the End of FISA?!,” as Senator Specter proposes a law that, rather than addressing the legality of the current system, would simply let FISA warrants be issued for anyone at all:

the bill would permit domestic electronic surveillance targeted at U.S. persons merely upon a showing of “probable cause” that the surveillance program as a whole — not even the particular targeted surveillance — will intercept communications of anyone who has “had communication” with a foreign power or agent of a foreign power, as long as the government is seeking to monitor or detect that foreign power (or agent)!

How many people are there who have no probable chance of ever talking to someone who has talked to someone who might have called another country or had communication with some bad person. (Foreign agent and foreign power are defined in FISA, and Congress already broadened those definitions after 9/11).

And even if such a person existed, what is there to prevent the President from using this new law as toilet paper once he’s done with the FISA that already exists?

If you were thinking that the changes would lower the standards for FISA or twist FISA and the 4th Amendment to the point of being comical, The Anonymous Liberal beat you to the punch, Specter’s Trojan Horse

So instead of having to demonstrate that probable cause exists on a warrant by warrant basis, the government would only have to demonstrate that there is probable cause to believe the program as a whole will intercept at least one communication involving a foreign power or agent of a foreign power or someone who has communicated with such a person. That’s a comically weak standard, so weak that I doubt any conceivable surveillance program would fail to meet it, including dragnet-style data-mining programs.

from People for the American Way,

Demand a Special Prosecutor Investigate the White House for Illegal Spying

Millions of Americans are outraged by the White House’s warrantless domestic surveillance and its disdain for constitutional checks and balances. Join us in a call for a thorough, independent investigation of these practices. Calling for a Special Prosecutor is an important first step in a People For the American Way campaign to encourage public vigilance in pursuit of government transparency, accountability and oversight.

Sign the petition and pass on the good word!

As in stop complaining and do something.

Bush Team Squeezes Farmers, Stifles Dissent

McGavin, ‘A Christmas Story’ father, dies at 83

The husky, tough-talking performer went on to become one of the busiest actors in television and film, starring in five TV series, including “Mike Hammer,” and endearing holiday audiences with his role as the grouchy dad in the 1983 comedy classic “A Christmas Story.”

….He also starred alongside Don Knotts, who died Friday night, in the 1976 family comedy “No Deposit, No Return.”

I thought McGavin was great. He was great at playing gruff or tough guy with a heart of gold. He even admitted that he played some parts a little tonque and cheek, not being sure that he should take the character as seriously as written.

Doesn’t seem like a week can go by without the neocons weakening the nation in one way or another, some governors of both parties have noticed, Bush Policies Are Weakening National Guard, Governors Say

Tens of thousands of National Guard members have been sent to Iraq, along with much of the equipment needed to deal with natural disasters and terrorist threats in the United States, the governors said here at the winter meeting of the National Governors Association.

The National Guard, which traces its roots to the colonial militia, has a dual federal-state role. Governors normally command the Guard in their states, but Guard members deployed overseas in support of a federal mission are under the control of the president.

The governors said they would present their concerns to President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Monday. In a preview of their message, all 50 governors signed a letter to the president opposing any cuts in the size of the National Guard.

German Intelligence Gave U.S. Iraqi Defense Plan, Report Says

In providing the Iraqi document, German intelligence officials offered more significant assistance to the United States than their government has publicly acknowledged. The plan gave the American military an extraordinary window into Iraq’s top-level deliberations, including where and how Mr. Hussein planned to deploy his most loyal troops.

The German role is not the only instance in which nations that publicly cautioned against the war privately facilitated it. Egypt and Saudi Arabia, for example, provided more help than they have disclosed. Egypt gave access for refueling planes, while Saudi Arabia allowed American special operations forces to initiate attacks from its territory, United States military officials say.

My first thought was that this would explain , in addition to very well trained troops why the initial invasion wave was so successful. It would also highlight how miserably the administration did after that initial success in evaluating the resistance of the insurgency where there was no inside information.

He saw that he was good. He recalled with a thrill of joy the respectful comments of his fellows upon his conduct.

Nevertheless, the ghost of his flight from the first engagement appeared to him and danced. There were small shoutings in his brain about these matters. For a moment he blushed, and the light of his soul flickered with shame.

A specter of reproach came to him. There loomed the dogging memory of the tattered soldier–he who, gored by bullets and faint of blood, had fretted concerning an imagined wound in another; he who had loaned his last of strength and intellect for the tall soldier; he who, blind with weariness and pain, had been deserted in the field.

from The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane