Thoughtcrime is a dreadful thing, old man It’s insidious

Like just about every issue conservatives have decided that since Bush’s knuckle dragging on Lebanon and North Korea have been failures, responsibility for those failures must be laid somewhere. What a conundrum for the stay the course crowd. Should Bush have stayed the course or been proactive in heading off problems before they came to a boil, or should he have been more flexible and imaginative as new problems presented themselves. That would be none of the above, instead blame John Kerry, Bush faces backlash on the right

Kenneth Adelman, a Reagan administration arms-control official who is close to Vice President Cheney, said he believes foreign policy innovation for White House ended with Bush’s second inaugural address, a call to spread democracy throughout the world.

“What they are doing on North Korea or Iran is what [Sen. John F.] Kerry would do, what a normal middle-of-the-road president would do,” he said. “This administration prided itself on molding history, not just reacting to events. Its a normal foreign policy right now. It’s the triumph of Kerryism.”

Not all conservatives subscribe to such views. Some prominent conservatives, including William F. Buckley Jr. and George Will, have been skeptical of the mission in Iraq and, in Will’s case, much of the Bush mission abroad. In his syndicated column yesterday, Will referred to the neoconservative complaints in observing that the administration is “suddenly receiving some criticism so untethered from reality as to defy caricature.”

George W. Bush who once called Franklin D. Roosevelt a socialist is channeling Senator John Kerry? Not a George Will fan, but we have to give him credit, it is beyond caricature. What we’re seeing, despite what seems like a conservative split, is the right-wing in a panic because Bush carried the banner for the most far right fire brand ideology from American Enterprise Institute, the flagship of so called conservative intellectualism. Bush and that brand of conservatism failed. The should haves crowd are different, but most of what we’re hearing from the think tanks is just a bloodier version of what stay the course and a tacit admission that things have gone terribly wrong, except for ostriches with rose colored glasses like Kenneth R. Weinstein,

“Given the laundry list of global challenges, the administration has had to make dozens and dozens of tough calls — and overwhelmingly it’s been right.”

Looking around if all is right, one has to wonder what wrong is.

Even if Bush is a disaster and there is probably some acknowledgement of that over Cuban cigars at the country club out of ear shot of the press, there has been an attempt already to distance conservatism from Bush. It is Twilight Zone-ish to see some from the far right willing to drown the baby to save the basket. At the end of the day differences amongst right-wingers is a matter of a few degrees not wholesale shifts in thinking. Getting new spark plus will not make the conservative engine run better.

Modern conservatism has always been about going to extraordinary lengths to protect and enrich large corporate interests at the expense of working Americans, the environment, and what little social safety net we have. Conservatism has never been about the common good, it has always been about paying lip service to the concept of small government as it doled out billions in tax payer dollars and greased the wheels of special interests. A move to lift the veil on US spending

Every new fiscal year brings its list of projects tagged with the “pork” label, such as a $320 million earmark for Alaska’s “bridge to nowhere,” or the $500,000 appropriation for a Teapot Museum in Sparta, N.C. In all, Congress added more than $29 billion pork projects in the FY 2006 budget, up from $27.2 billion in FY 2005, according to Citizens Against Government Waste, which sifts through appropriations bills every year looking for earmarks.

Remember Bush just used his first veto on stem cell research, not pork busting. Why would Bush stop pork, he sees it as an intrical part of government. In no way should this be seen as compassion. Republicans haven’t been throwing money at the problem, they’ve been throwing it at corporate benefactors, Medicare Mailer: Claim v. Fact

CLAIM: “This new law preserves and strengthens the current Medicare program. [mailer]

FACT: The bill weakens Medicare by privatizing it, at great cost to beneficiaries and taxpayers. The President estimates the new law will result in an extra $46 billion going to private plans. The Congressional Budget Office agrees with the President that the cost of covering seniors through private plans is “substantially higher” than the cost of covering them through traditional Medicare.

That 46 billion didn’t go to improve the quality of health care, it went into the pockets of health care corporations. “Privatising” has just become another Republican code word for Enroning government programs that may be flawed, but actually did work. Doing away with Medicare and Social Secuirty is the wet dream of most conservatives, but they know that would be political suicide. George, Dick, and Unka Karl didn’t sit in a bubble and dream this approach to government domestic programs up, it is at the root of conservatism. If they couldn’t killthe social safety net, they could at least make money off of it and if that siphonong off of funds toward the private sector does undermine the system, they just get to point fingers at the system. It doesn’t matter if George Bush or Newt or George Allen or any other conservative is doing the steering, America will always end up in the same place; in a broken economy and ill advised wars.

Interesting critique of The One Percent Doctrine: deep inside America’s pursuit of its enemies since 9/11 by Ron Suskind

Suskind is trying to challenge fear with fear. Where Bush officials argue that inaction will allow terrorists to flourish, Suskind says that the wrong kind of action will create more terrorists. He overlooks one of the ironies of our so-called “age of terror”: that there is less terrorism today than at any time over the past 30 years. In the 1980s, there were roughly 360 international terror incidents a year; by 2000 there were roughly 100. The biggest fall was in America itself, where the number of terror attacks has gone from 40 a year in the mid-1970s to fewer than five every year over the past ten years (although admittedly, if 9/11 is included, the annual death toll has gone up). Where Bush officials claim that they are winning the war against lunatics who pose a threat to life as we know it, Suskind says the war isn’t going very well and the lunatics may have acquired chemicals, gases and “suitcase nukes”.

A good critique of the war on terror should start by challenging the politics of fear that underpins it, not by advancing an alternative version.

If you take the Iraqi insurgency out of the picture, a dynamic that only exists because we are in Iraq O’Neill is probably more right then wrong. To admit that requires being level headed, a quaility once held in some esteem in this country.

‘Are you guilty?’ said Winston.

‘Of course I’m guilty!’ cried Parsons with a servile glance at the telescreen. ‘You don’t think the Party would arrest an innocent man, do you?’ His frog-like face grew calmer, and even took on a slightly sanctimonious expression. ‘Thoughtcrime is a dreadful thing, old man,’ he said sententiously. ‘It’s insidious. It can get hold of you without your even knowing it. Do you know how it got hold of me? In my sleep! Yes, that’s a fact. There I was, working away, trying to do my bit — never knew I had any bad stuff in my mind at all. And then I started talking in my sleep. Do you know what they heard me saying?’

He sank his voice, like someone who is obliged for medical reasons to utter an obscenity.

“Down with Big Brother!” Yes, I said that! Said it over and over again, it seems. Between you and me, old man, I’m glad they got me before it went any further. Do you know what I’m going to say to them when I go up before the tribunal? “Thank you,” I’m going to say, “thank you for saving me before it was too late.”

‘Who denounced you?’ said Winston.

‘It was my little daughter,’ said Parsons with a sort of doleful pride. ‘She listened at the keyhole. Heard what I was saying, and nipped off to the patrols the very next day. Pretty smart for a nipper of seven, eh? I don’t bear her any grudge for it. In fact I’m proud of her. It shows I brought her up in the right spirit, anyway.’

from 1984 by George Orwell