So in the last week I haven't paid the slightest attention to pop culture (if you can call attending the San Diego Con not paying attention, given that much of the programming time was given to promoting Hollywood stars and new movies, and much of my time involved chatting with producers). But it was next to impossible to stay away from politics, what with the press actually – what a shock! – questioning the Administration's behavior, "suicides" in England, more killings of American soldiers in Iraq and some really questionable behavior from the White House. It's unfortunate that most Americans waited until American soldiers were actually dying in Iraq before examining the whys and wherefores of our involvement there, and the admin's stepping all over itself claiming justifications. The war between the CIA and the White House is heating up as well, with the White House blowing the cover of a CIA field agent apparently in retaliation for her analyst husband trying to set the record straight on what the CIA knew and didn't know about the phony "Iraq wants nukes" reports that have now taken center stage in the "Did The President Lie?" debate, and when the CIA actually informed the White House. (Turns out it was November 2002.) The White House denies it, of course, which isn't surprising because revealing the identity of CIA agents is a federal crime, enacted a couple decades back in a failed attempt by Congress to put the magazine COVERT INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN out of business, but it fits with the longstanding (and largely unexamined by the press) practice of this administration to threaten swift and harsh retaliation against those who oppose its agenda. (Just ask many members of our "Coalition Of The Willing" what carrots and particularly what sticks they were offered to take part in our little adventure, mostly against the will of their own citizenry.) Capping the week for the White House must be two papers: One from the commission studying 9-11 that says pretty much what I've been saying all along (at minimum the attack was made possible by complacency in our various intelligence agencies, particularly the FBI, and turf wars that balled up the exchange of information between agencies, which suggests that no new agencies like the Office Of Homeland Security or measures like the heinous Patriot Act were necessary, and proper application of existing agencies and laws would have been just as effective); and a report from within the Justice Department itself citing many administration abuses of the Patriot Act. Me, I'd suggest the Patriot Act was created to be abused. Topping off everything was the return of war hero Jessica Lynch (I know we're not supposed to ask this, and I'm glad she's back and all, but what exactly did she do that was so heroic, besides survive with some help from Iraqi doctors and nurses?) to her hometown, whose citizens came out to cheer her return but had no compunctions about criticizing the Hand Puppet and the war on the news, just as soldiers actually stationed in Iraq have done.
Things are sounding awfully Nixonian all of a sudden.
But when the going gets tough, the tough obviously stand their tenuous ground. The Hand Puppet has been handling adversity with amazing dexterity, answering the issue of falsified Iraqi nuke reports by categorically stating they will find plutonium in Iraq, just like they will find the "weapons of mass destruction" that daily recede further and further from consensus reality. Last week, he insisted to reporters that we had to invade Iraq because we "gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region." Conveniently forgetting, of course, that by the time we rallied an invasion force, Saddam was letting inspectors in, on their terms. Sure, he was grousing about it, and dancing this little dance where he'd complain about them, and declare resistance, and then get the out of their way, and that we were the ones who kicked them out because we didn't like the result. But that's the logic this administration specializes in.
Not that the American public isn't capable of conveniently forgetting either. Certainly the press is. As amusing as the administration's current tribulations are – and I'm not even including the collapsed job market, the inanity of pretending you can give away the US treasury and beat an ever mounting deficit while dumping a tax crisis on the states, or the health care crisis that just won't go away – a second term for the Hand Puppet remains the strongest likelihood.
If that happens, then we really get to see Nixonian.
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I'm reviewing comics sent to me – I may not like them but certainly I'll mention them – at Steven Grant c/o Permanent Damage, 2657 Windmill Pkwy #194, Henderson NV 89074, so send 'em if you want 'em mentioned, since I can't review them unless I see them. Some people have been sending press releases and cover proofs and things like that, which I enjoy getting, but I really can't do anything with them, sorry. Full comics only, though they can be photocopies rather than the published version. Make sure you include contact information for readers who want to order your book.
My old personal webpage – the one with all the information – has finally vanished, and it's about time, since I left that server almost a year ago. The new one isn't up yet, but keep watching this space for details.
Crisis on Infinite Earths: 'Who's Who' of Guest Stars Teased For Crossover