Does the cognitive dissonance ever get to be too much? Bush warns Iran he’ll “respond firmly” if they interfere in Iraq! We’re honestly in full-on crazy mode, people — we have over 100,000 troops in Iraq and our government threatens to overthrow the Iranian regime every once in a while. Shockingly, the Iranians plan to fight back. Some people wonder why I’m so worried we’re going to get into a war with Iran. No doubt after we bomb we’ll be doubleplus outraged that Iran has the gall to retaliate.
Check this out. It’s so absurdly wrong that one can’t even say exactly what’s wrong with it. Roughly, he thinks that if he weren’t wrong, then he’d be right, and therefore he isn’t wrong.
Earlier this month, the Bush administration announced it was submitting its warrantless domestic spying program to the FISA court for its review. The move was judged by the media to be a “major change,” an “about-face,” and a “sharp reversal.”
But details of the administration’s actions have remained “sketchy,” and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales offered few clarifying explanations in a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Bush has said, “Nothing has changed in the program except the court has said we’ve analyzed it and it’s a legitimate way to protect the country.”
In an interview this weekend, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman John Rockefeller (D-WV) said he believes the administration is trying to hide something. He added, “[The administration's action] is not acceptable to me…simply because I can’t trust what they say.” Rockefeller explained, “In the end, every single wiretap has to have a warrant. No, I don’t trust what they’re doing.” Watch it:
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Sure it’s amusing that some Finnish guy has written a novel comprised entirely of SMS messages but it’s the final graf of the AP story that has the real news: “Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen recently made tabloid front pages after reportedly having broken up with his girlfriend with a text.” That’s seriously cold. And mixed with Finland’s record of pro-Nazi and pro-Soviet foreign polices makes me wonder if we’re taking the Finnish threat seriously enough. It seems to be a country run by madmen. I was actually in the Helsinki Airport for an incredibly long layover once and it seemed frighteningly clean, even by Nordic standards.
Sebastian Mallaby contrasts McDonalds’ success at adapting to the rise of anti-McDonalds’ sentiment around the world with the way the United States just keeps becoming more and more hated:
But McDonald’s has changed in more appealing ways as well — ways that reflect the problem-solving grit of American business. It has listened to its health critics and adapted: It sold 304 million pounds of mixed greens in 2005, and the U.S. operation claims to be the nation’s largest purchaser of apples. The company has bent over backward to demonstrate its interest in the environment and animal welfare; it has teamed up with the University of Miami to improve conditions for tomato pickers and with Conservation International to acquire its fish sustainably. Meanwhile, the franchise has kept up with evolving tastes: It has revamped the easy-wipe decor; its coffee is less watery.
It’s a fair enough point, though government-to-business analogies are always problematic. Then Mallaby ends with a kicker. “American business succeeds in the world because it morphs, shape-shifts, learns from its mistakes; it is too paranoid, too anxious to please its customers, to stick with formulas that aren’t working,” he writes, “The question posed by last week’s BBC poll is whether American government can mimic that agility.” Well, what a nice center-right I-used-to-work-for-the-Economist way of putting things. Business good and nimble, government clumsy and inept. But of course the problem here isn’t that “American government” has proved reckless and stubborn and trashed America’s global image. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley, etc. have done these things. They’ve ordered the unilateral invasions. They’ve ordered the kidnapping and torture and indefinite detention. They’ve abrogated the treaties and refused to sign the others. There’s not an abstract government problem here, there’s a concrete Bush administration problem.