Friday mixed load

December 15, 2006 by barbara

by barbara

South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson is reported to be having an uneventful recovery from his brain surgery yesterday. He is responding to the voice of his wife (among others), and reaching for her hand. It has been a long time since the life of one man carried so much weight concerning the future of our country. May he recover fully, whether or not he chooses to complete his term of office. This one is totally out of our hands. Read on.

There's an excellent piece by George Lakoff, analyzing the November 7 election and looking toward the future. It's probably simplistic to say that Lakoff has all the answers. But he's definitely on the right track. There is immense power in language, as the Republicans learned long ago. They mastered the art of apparent catch phrases that actually run very deep (for good or ill). Think "No Child Left Behind." "Contract with America." "Blue Skies Initiative." Those are some of Lakoff's favorite examples. His Rockridge Institute is doing important work for progressives (who, like African and Slavic nations, used to have other names that include liberals [which morphed into bleeding-heart liberals] and Democrats). I had the great good fortune to meet with Lakoff. I believe that candidates who write him off do so at their own peril.

Digby tees off on the immigration raid at Swift, which appears to be a case of Swift-meating. The immigration "problem" is complex, and I don't pretend to understand all the issues. But I do understand the Bush administration's pre-occupation (so to speak) with fear-mongering. As Digby points out, Republicans would have us believe that those darned Mexicans will do almost anything for the privilege of going elbow-deep in cow and pig guts on the kill floor. Puhleeze!

It's Don Quixote's last day in charge of the Pentagon. Actually, that's a bad metaphor, since Quixote was misguided but did not seem to harbor evil intent. Firedoglake commenter Lina provides this outline of an earlier time:

1968: Tet Offensive: Viet Minh attack South Vietnamese provincial capitals belying American belief that the war is drawing to a close. US launches brutal counterattack. US troops execute over 200 men, women and children in the village of My Lai. The massacre is captured by an army photographer. US troops in Vietnam peak at 536,000.

1969: President Nixon endorses "Vietnamization" of the war, replacing returning US troops with South Vietnamese forces and secretly intensifying bombing of North Vietnam and Viet Minh supply lines inside Cambodia. Marines secretly invade Laos. US troops decline to 475,000.

1970: US troops invade Cambodia on April 30. Congress later bans US combat forces in Cambodia and Laos.

1971: South Vietnamese troops invade Laos.

1972: Hanoi launches Spring Offensive. US mines Haiphong Harbor and intensifies bombing of North Vietnam.

1973: Peace treaty signed between US, South Vietnam, and North Vietnam. Congress bans bombing of Cambodia, bans military expeditures (sic) anywhere in Indochina, and passes War Powers Act, requiring the President to consult Congress before committing troops. North Vietnamese force US military out of South Vietnam.

Then Lina muses: In our current parallel nightmare, we are at about 1970. Will it take three years for Congress to cut off the money?

Laura Bush helps us understand why Condoleeza Rice is not likely to run for president: "Probably because she is single, her parents are no longer living, she's an only child. You need a very supportive family and supportive friends to have this job." Thanks for sharing, Laura.

Finally, in the believe-it-or-not department, the First Mythologist is comparing himself to (ready for this?) Harry Truman. Pulitzer Prize-winning author, David McCullough, says, "I know that President Bush admires Harry Truman -- we have talked about that . . . ." According to the WaPo, McCullough says he sees similarities between Truman and Bush, especially in their capacity to endure "merciless criticism and personal abuse" that he doubts "many of us could take." And my question is this: "What would Harry say?"

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