December 31, 2003

Last Fisking of the Year

This is a good day. I got to make fun of Howard Dean, and now I'm going to fisk an editorial I found on The Smirking Chimp.

It's from the St. Petersburg Times, it's by Bill Maxwell, and it's called A citizen's duty is to ferret out the truth.

Everybody ready? It's fiskin' time.

(Note: thanks to extended entries, I am now able to write much longer posts than I could with Blogger. This one is a good example.)

As a journalist, I have a simple New Year's resolution: During these times of flag-waving and ultrapolitical correctness and conservatism, I will continue to be a good American citizen and a patriot.

Did I really just read a sentence saying that political correctness is a conservative idea? In a time where people can't display the American flag at work because it offends their anti-war coworkers, and students can't enter a float in a parade because it depicts the ousting of Saddam Hussein, this man believes political correctness is a conservative tactic? Brilliant.

Being a good citizen and a patriot during 2004 means unequivocally and unapologetically expressing what I consider to be the truth and the reality about our national politics, our federal policies and President Bush.

"What I consider to be the truth and the reality..." That's classic liberal thought right there. "If I believe it, it must be the truth! Truth is just opinions that people say out loud...unless they're evil, bigoted conservatives, those hateful liars!"

News flash: You don't "consider" something to be the truth. The truth is what's true, not what you believe. It doesn't take a philosophy scholar to figure that out.

Let us start right now.

Ready when you are.

Since the terrorists attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Bush and his fellow Republicans have redefined what being an American means. In almost all of his speeches justifying his international policies and many of his domestic policies, Bush plays a cynical political game of exploiting the memories of 9/11.

It seems to me that Democrats are the ones redefining what being an American means. They're the ones who say that the only way to be patriotic is by questioning everything the administration does and calling people who support them "chickenhawks" and "war-mongers."

He has spawned a national siege mentality that fluctuates on the security alert scale between "Code Yellow" and "Code Orange."


Without feeling under siege, how else can we account for the fact that most Americans believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the World Trade Center disaster...

Anyone who believes that is an idiot, and anyone who believes that "most Americans" believe it is an even bigger idiot. Bush never said that Hussein was responsible for 9/11. He quite clearly stated that Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda were to blame. Have you been reading The Onion lately?

...that we are safer because U.S. soldiers pulled the bedraggled fallen dictator out of a filthy hole in the ground?

Actually, we should feel safer, because he's telling us the locations of terrorists who were attacking our soldiers. I feel safe knowing that the people defending my freedom are safe.

Bush can get away with this cynical game because too many Americans have no sense of what being a real citizen of a democracy means.

I'm not even going to get into that whole "America is a republic, not a democracy" argument, but I'll let this sentence represent how I feel.

Poll after poll indicate that most Americans have been willingly duped into believing half-truths and outright lies.

How many times must I use the phrase "cognitive dissonance" on this blog? These people honestly don't believe that most Americans disagree with them, so they rationalize it by claiming that The People™ have been "willingly duped into believing half-truths and outright lies." Did it ever occur to you that you could be...GASP! WRONG?!

What else explains the fact that most of us trust Bush's leadership despite evidence that he dissembled to win support for the war in Iraq and that he has no discernible postwar exit strategy?

Did you miss that whole thing about writing an Iraqi constitution and leaving by June of 2004, or does that not count? You can't have an exit strategy until you accomplish the mission, jackass.

Real citizens demand the truth because they know that the first principle of living in a democracy is their obligation to know the truth.

Unless "the truth" supports the claims of Republicans, in which case, they've been duped by fraudulent intelligence.

Real citizens do not wait for their elected officials and their opinion leaders to tell them what they need to know. Instead, they seek what they need to know, demanding the truth when they ask for it.

...Writes an opinion leader who was asked by nobody in particular to tell them the truth, as he seems to be trying to do. Need I say it? I must!

...Hooray for consistency!!!

We have allowed Bush to routinely mislead us, thus relinquishing our obligation to know.

If you "know" that he misled us, then it seems like we weren't misled. Oh, I get it. He's talking about the "sheeple" that only watch Fox News and listen to Rush Limbaugh. You can almost smell the elitism.

The most obvious result - which we will regret for a generation - is the secrecy with which the administration surrounds itself. Such secrecy has led to the erosion of the country's civil liberties on a scale not seen before.

Such as...? I have the same freedoms I had before. In fact, I just started this blog in September, so I actually have MORE freedoms than I did before Bush took office. I hope the brownshirts don't find me!

As writer Marianne Means points out, the "Bush administration has removed millions of documents from public view, stiffened resistance to press inquiries and stonewalled congressional requests for information."

It's called "classified information," and it's been around since man invented the written word. I guess we can't allow government access to personal information that could help prevent terrorism, but we should let everyone see what information the government has, even if it could give away sensitive intelligence.


Let's hear it for journalistic integrity.

...therefore, have no reason to give a damn about the public interest, and the public, through acquiescence, does not seem to care much about its own interest. We should be demanding that someone in the Bush administration tells us the truth.

It seems like that's all people are doing, including yourself. Once again, the mythical liberal hero must come to the aid of the poor, uneducated commoners who have been fed a string of lies by the Evil Conservative Empire.

Someone, perhaps the trusted Colin Powell, should have told us that Iraq had not purchased "yellow cake" from "an African country..."


We were told that Iraq SOUGHT URANIUM!!!!!! Nothing about purchasing yellow cake was ever mentioned, except in the news.

...that no credible evidence suggested Hussein had stockpiles of WMD...

"NOTE: Miles and miles of documents found in Iraq DO NOT count as credible evidence."

...that Bush was hell-bent on going to war.

I like a president who stands up for what he believes in.

The best comments I have read on the relation between the public interest and democracy are those of Israeli commentator Ze'ev Sternhell: "What is the nature of the public interest and who serves it better - someone who exposes the truth about government actions, or someone who helps whitewash the facts? Is the public interest better served by someone who hides behind an administrative hierarchy and clings to dry regulations, or by someone who decides to act in breach of the regulations and thereby ensures that the public is informed about crucial facts?

I still can't get over how funny it is that they can't accept anything that comes straight from the administration as fact. If it's impossible to gain credible information from a firsthand source, why should I listen to anything you're saying? Shouldn't I get someone to "expose the truth" instead of taking it at surface value?

"It's worth reminding those who may have forgotten that the government is a trust owned by the ordinary citizen and that those who hold government positions are no more than trustees. Therefore, to know the facts is not only the right of the citizen, it is his duty and obligation, so that he will be able to carry out his role as owner of the trust. In a democracy that is worthy of the name, the citizen is active day in and day out: His role is not confined to casting his vote every few years. It follows that without the free flow of information, democracy is voided of most of its content."

Hey, no arguments here. The problem is the way we apply these ideas when we believe that everything the government says is a boldfaced lie.

Unfortunately, much of the press - the White House's natural and necessary adversary - has been steamrollered into giving the president a bye when we should be all up in his face.

Apparently, you've forgotten about...


Except for a few court stances on environmental issues and the Democrats' refusal to confirm the most extreme of Bush's judicial nominees...

"NOTE: Extreme=Christians and conservative minorities."

...the wrongheaded arrogance of this administration goes virtually unchecked.

Who's the liar now? People just like you are questioning the administration every day. There are 9 people who want Bush's job, and they question him every time they get behind a microphone. Do you want a democracy or a frickin' pep rally?

Where is what the legendary Walter Lippmann referred to as the "indispensable opposition"?

Hmmm...last time I checked, they were on the campaign trail. You might want to look in Iowa or New Hampshire.

For 2004, more citizens need to resolve to be part of the indispensable, loyal opposition to protect the public interest.

Once again, we have the statement that the only true patriots are those who oppose the president. Not just question, mind you, but OPPOSE.

I guess that means Saddam Hussein is a national hero.

Posted by CD on December 31, 2003 09:23 PM
Semi-Intelligent Comments

Excellent job, CD!!!!

Posted by: Susie at January 1, 2004 09:53 AM


Posted by: CD at January 1, 2004 05:16 PM

BRA-FRIKKIN'-VO!!!!!!!!! You nailed every point beautifully!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at January 3, 2004 09:14 PM
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