With both yesterday and today spent traveling and at home, an abbreviated entry must suffice.
It seems Bush made a strategic error in his State of the Union address. By so significantly emphasizing his stubborn stance on Iraq, which has been largely played in the media, he left his few domestic promises open to meticulous analysis and criticism. Especially in regards to his energy promises, with so many large corporations announcing this week their desire for a comprehensive cap-and-trade emissions program Bush’s agenda seems not only timid, but ultimately empty. That being said, some issues, like global warming and fuel standards are at least on the table, but it remains to be seen exactly how they will be tackled, and whether Detroit especially will continue to wield unfortunate and discouraging power in Washington. The NYT ran this editorial yesterday, which gives a sufficient summation of the immediate flaws of Bush’s “ambitious” programme.
To make matters worse, instead of letting the Iraq issue die, Bush petulantly announced today that he is the “decision maker” on Iraq matters in an attempt to rebuff the bipartisan congressional efforts to derail his ultimately flawed escalation-via-troop-surge. The media seems to playing the story against Bush right now, but I am growing increasingly concerned that Bush’s inflexibility and monomania is actually a strategy meant to turn the issue against the Democrats again. It occurred to me after reading this otherwise unexciting editorial from the Rocky Mountain Times about the dangers of populism for the Democrats.
I now worry that the more hyperbolic and extraordinary Bush’s resistance to change seems, the more it will encourage Democratic lawmakers to speak out against him in public. Once the media starts to run this story, the next story is “what will the Democrats do?” And while America may be opposed to Bush’s escalation, there is no indication that they are for a Democratic plan, the reason being that there isn’t one. There is a hodgepodge of theories about how to withdraw, and what seems now a strong, unified congressional body against Bush, will quickly seem a divisively syncretic and fragmented heterogeneity with little answers once the story has flipped. Be careful Democrats, be very careful. Best to stay quiet for the time being on this one (while surreptitiously working on a plan of course).
More frightening than the prospect of Bush regaining power on the Iraq issue, is this story from the National Journal which seems to suggest that there is a behind the scenes escalation occurring with Iran and that it is only the efforts of some rational Executive Branch insiders who are keeping the hawks away from the military planning rooms. I’ve always considered Iran to be merely the coy mistress of the Mideast, constantly testing limits, playing games, but with little momentum or ambition towards real conflict. Pretense, all pretense. Either way, anything beyond diplomacy is a frightening endeavor.
Last, two brief pieces regarding 2008. One, from the NYT, details the recent rush of states to obtain early spots in the primary calendar, meaning that elections will increasingly be about media budgets and money in general with far less of a chance for darkhorse candidates, which is a shame, because they are often the strongest candidates and most successful leaders. Finally, the central election story these days seems to be Barak Obama’s appeal to black voters. To appease this interest I provide a Washington Post article on the subject, though, to be honest, I’m not sure this all amounts to more than racial cold feet or, at the very least, just an attempt to fill the airwaves with something.
Women aren’t funny, says the self-reflexive iconoclast Christopher Hitchens. And the requisite rebuttal by mildly amusing female author who, no doubt, Christopher Hitchens, misogynist extraordinaire alongside Martin Amis, will respect greatly.
In a follow-up of sorts to Tuesday’s article about the so-called “wild child” found after being raised in the jungle, Slate features an equally problematic brochure offering Baudrillardian vacations to the ultra-rich. Tour the indigenous cultures of the world. A cross-cultural Disneyland for the rich. Its like the Trail of Tears all over again, only this time the smallpox is delivered by a private jet and comes in an epistemologically bacterial form.
That being said, this is quite a brilliant article I think about the dissolution of group structures in the Western, postmodern state. I think it tacitly makes a nice space for some sort of Nietzschean collective politics, and also makes a strong analysis of radical Islam as a reaction to “deterritorialization” and the leeching effects of diasporic movement.
Closer to home, the Unabomber is in the news again, this time making constitutional arguments in order to keep his writings, which prosecutors are attempting to sell in order to recoup the civil settlement money he owes his victims’ families. I’ve always found the Unabomber fascinating and remember reading his manifesto in highschool and finding it surprisingly lucid. Obviously he’s a psychopath, but nevertheless.
Lastly, the Japanese filmed a weird creature, which then died and is now extinct. And when I say weird creature, I mean nightmarish fish-thing that will keep me from the oceans for the rest of time.