SINCE 1759

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Bush’s Scandal Shields
The Malfeasance Fraternity

The fabulous scandal boys, minus The Miers

In the last ten days, Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, commander of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey, resigned over the mice-and-cockroach infested scandal at Walter Reed. Neither would have owned up to anything had the Washington Post not revealed to what extent returning wounded veterans from Iraq are treated with no more respect afforded spent cartridges and aluminum recycling cans. A few days ago, Robert Muller, the director of the FBI, said he messed up as he owned up to what should have been obvious to anyone when it became law in 2001: The USA Patriot Act has been abused routinely and intentionally by FBI agents using so-called “national security letters,” by the hundreds of thousands, to snoop, without warrants, into Americans’ emails, phone records and financial transactions (and the records of foreigners living in the United States). Muller wouldn’t have owned up to anything had the Justice Department’s Inspector General not investigated the abuse and reported them to Congress—a new requirement inserted into the renewal of the Patriot Act in 2006. Muller uttered the usual bunk about taking full responsibility in the same breath as he contradicted it: he should resign. He isn’t resigning. He’s staying put as one of President Bush’s many human shields. On Tuesday, Alberto Gonzales (Mr. Quaint himself) said he messed up as he owned up to the politically motivated firing of eight U.S. attorneys who did not show enough loyalty to Bush. An independent judicial process? Not under the administration. And to think that Harriet Miers, the Texas cheerleader, White House counsel and once-prospective Supreme Court justice, was the ringleader of it all. Gonzales uttered the usual bunk about taking full responsibility in the same breath as he contradicted it. He won’t resign. As if that wasn’t enough, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Peter Pace (the Colin Powell of the moment) declared homosexuals immoral, and their acts comparable with the immorality of adultery, in his re-dedication to the homophobic rules banning gays and lesbians from the military (under the separate-but-equal standard of the day known as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell). A day after revealing himself no more creditable than General William Boykin, promoted to deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence after declaring that the United States is a Christian nation engaged in a war against Satan in Islamic garb, Pace not only did not apologize; he reasserted his support for the policy and said he should have merely kept his personal opinions to himself. Meanwhile the Lord and Savior president has been gallivanting all over South and Central America, playing with lettuce and dancing the samba, or whatever it is he was jigging with in country after country he’s been ignoring since the day he got into office. Presidents traditionally leave town on international cruises when feedlot flotsam hits the capital’s fans. But this trip is a classic of the cut-and-run routine, enabling him to duck what every one of his administrative shields has been so well trained to do on his behalf: responsibility. Without all the scandals and all the malfeasance of the last six years, if the last ten days aren’t proof to Bush’s hardiest supporters of the rot and cynicism at the heart of his presidency, nothing will be. I’m reminded of something the Rude Pundit wrote back in February 2006, during another blizzard of scandals, about the ways of the ducks:

At this point, we could discover that Karl Rove and Dick Cheney rape Iranian village pre-teen girls and then the President, ashamed of the sinful actions of his two close advisors, as well as of the defiled children, kills the girls, gutting them, cutting them up, and feeding the press corps a buffet of pate' and meatloaf made from the bodies, catered, of course, by Halliburton, while Tom DeLay, Bob Ney, Orrin Hatch, and Bill Frist use the blood to write voodoo bills that magically allow the government to spy on your toilet without a shit warrant, and Donald Rumsfeld freeze-dries the girls' organs to grind up into a powder for his cognac because he believes it's an aphrodisiac that he needs in order to get it up so he can head over to a VA hospital to jack off on the stumps of comatose Iraq War wounded, rubbing his dick on the bandages so he can say that he "feels their pain," as Rove and Cheney think about moving on to the captured missing children of Hurricane Katrina they keep hidden in a bunker buried in the Vice President's Maryland mansion's yard. And you know what? CNN would still balance the facts of the story with the demonic visage of Scott McClellan spinning it away, calling it ludicrous and ridiculous and "beyond the pale to suggest" yet never really denying all the fucking and gutting and grinding and rubbing, although if it had been done, it was for security reasons that are classified.

Plus ça change, plus c’est les même connards.

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