An open (and final) call for whistleblowers
So far, nobody has offered to bet against my assertion that we will witness a Pardon Tsunami during the weeks after an Obama victory. Almost certainly, President George W. Bush has promised scads of get-out-of-jail-free cards to those who busily ripped off this great nation during the last eight years. A gang of kleptos and political hatchetmen who rightfully fear the resurrection of the U.S. Civil Service -- including all the auditors, FBI and Justice agents, inspectors general and so on -- suddenly unleashed from their neocon leash-holders.
Newly inaugurated President Barack Obama won’t have to start a witch hunt, something that isn’t in his character anyway. He need only allow our public servants to return to doing their jobs, and indictments will flow, like a river that’s been locked far too long behind a glacier.
That is... unless Bush issues the promised pardons.
(Open to question: will he arrange things so that someone will pardon him?)
Now there’s an interesting dynamic, here -- an example of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. How can any of the people expecting executive clemency be sure that W will keep his word? After all, the larger the stack of pardons, the bigger the penalty, in political terms, to be paid by both the GOP and Bush’s remaining public stature (such as it is). If the stack gets high enough, the Republican Party might never recover... and Bush might have to move to Dubai. Hence, some of the promises may just be no more than empty words, meant to keep mid-level people silent till the election. Anyone who is counting on such a promise ought to consider how reliable it may be, after November 4.
There is an alternative, to squeal before the election. It should offer some appealing aspects for your run-of-the-mill neocon klepto or enabler to ponder.
Notably, George Bush isn’t the only one who can offer get-out-of-jail-free cards! Rep. Henry Waxman can grant immunity for testimony given under oath, for example. And President Obama will be able to pardon, too. Above all, there is often forgiveness, public acclaim and hero status for the first fellow who abandons a gang of criminals, because of an attack of conscience.
Also, do not count on a presidential pardon - even if you get one - to be perfect protection. First, Congress might try a gambit I’ve recommended - using sort of an “inverse signing statement” to corner the definition of a pardon so that it only covers acts that are openly avowed and admitted in cooperative sworn testimony. Then there is the matter of civil damages. You might have to flee the country, anyway.
Key point: the truth is going to come out. This is the diametric opposite of the Clinton Era witch hunts, when relentlessly-fixated partisan searches wound up not turning up anything palpable, at all. (Not a single Clintonian was ever even indicted for malfeasance in the performance of official duties.) Instead, this time, Democrats will barely have to lift a finger, while civil servants do it all. And the rats who are slow to leave the sinking ship will be treated as rats, by a disgusted America, forever.
Conclusion: pay heed you henchmen out there. The next week may be your last chance to join (and help) the winning side of history. Don’t blow it.
Oh. Long ago I offered bets on whether Al Qaeda would try another election-influencing gambit There have been some clumsy web postings and trial balloons. But unless Osama issues a tape (and even then, perhaps), the net response this time may be a wary shrug and a yawn.
Thoughts on the Palin Soap Opera
It’s not so much the amounts ($150,000 spent on the candidate’s clothes, plus permanent stylists following her around). Those who already like her will rationalize that it’s much harder for a female candidate to keep up a fresh appearance and helping her is a legitimate expense (even if it’s 2-3 X what the average American makes in a year.) No, the real killer is where she bought the clothes. Nieman Marcus and Saks.
Oh, I get it. New York elite stuff is fine -- in its place. Insist that the country be ruled by a kakocracy... but it’s another thong when it comes to unimportant things, like a doctor when you’re sick, a lawyer when you’re in trouble, a scientist and engineer to re-invent your cars... or some gay designers to help you look better than Joe Plumber. City slicker expertise is okay, in its place. So long as the smartypants don’t presume to suggest ways to actually guide a great and complicated republic.
Cheryl had an insight about all this, one that lets Sarah Palin off the hook, just a bit. She calls Palin “Eliza Dolittle” and sees her as the small-town country girl who is grabbed up and re-made by a bunch of cynical men, as in “My Fair Lady,” told what to say and to whom and dressed and coached for a part that is way over her head. Hm. Cool perspective!
Though I figure there is also, within Palin, a very canny natural politician. Then there’s the scary bits. Heck, she’s large, I’ll admit that. She can contain multitudes. I just hope we’re never forced to worry and learn a whole lot more about em all.
The most effective (though least mature) argument to use with an “ostrich.”
I’ve tried hard to offer ways you might try to get that decent (or somewhat decent) but obstinate conservative uncle or aunt to wake up and see how thoroughly conservatism has been betrayed by the hijackers of their movement.
But time is short now (thanks bee to merciful God) and most of them already know all that stuff. Right now, the problem is that many somewhat-wakened ostriches are still having trouble wrestling their hand toward actually voting for the Democrat.
Oh sure, you can tell yours that Obama is going to win, anyway. Voting for him would help spank the GOP and make them go back to the drawing board. A landslide could ensure they won’t be obstinate about revising their message for next time, or seeking new blood.
You could even take the highest road of all, and make them watch this. If he or she has any soul at all, this one thing ought to close the deal.
At the opposite end there’s a cluster of reasons that may strike closer to home. So, I am going to dial down the maturity level here and offer a few arguments that go to the gut level, where many people make their political decisions (alas).
Tell em this: if they can manage to vote Obama this time, they will always in the future be able to say “Well, I voted for Obama in 2008. And hence --
“-- nobody can ever again call me racist.”
“-- I get to brag if he succeeds.”
“-- and if he fails, I get to say that I gave you *#*! democrats a chance, and you blew it!”
Especially number one. It could be a potent emotion-level argument. Even if (especially if) they really are _____, down deep. (Funny thing though: once the precedent is set... it tends to alter people’s thinking, from then on. See my short story “The Giving Plague.”)
For a far more mature view of the same general category of take on things... see an important essay on how Obama will transform the world’s perceptions of America. I just read a french language newspaper while in Montreal. (Yes I can read and speak another language, whoopee.) And there was a survey of opinions around the world on the U.S. election. The figures are staggering!
They want us back. They want U.S. back. And they see him as embodying our better nature.
There is no single act that America will ever do, that will more swiftly restore our popularity and leadership in the world.
== Funniest videos yet... and then the best ==
Look, it’s time to declare this what it is. A be-in!
It’s been a long time since the sixties and we’ve been so mired in culture war BS...and we’ll be nervous about this whole deal until weeks after Bho and Bide are safely in DC - ensconced forever far from each other (I hope) with separate Secret Service details.
Still... it would be a damned shame not to take note that this is also the funnest and funniest and most creativity-drenched election ever! Dang, these kids in Generation We are sharp!
I mean, it’s a raucous laugh-in, with Tina Fey on SNL and with Jon Stewart’s unbelievably above-average riff, with Jason Jones in Wasilla... (See it! Especially if you can find a version with Stewart’s deeply angry/hilarious framing remarks.)...
...but it is the burst of private and amateur videos and such that has proved almost overwhelming. (More below). We can thank Bush for this much. People really are feeling alive. More intensely patriotic and hopeful than I have seen in years.
Though, of course, again it does all come down to this.
== Links: ===
--- Obama, getting amusing at tha annual Smith Dinner -- comedy Obama, Part 1 and Part 2.
Fascinating insights from David Brooks, of all people:
Esquire is backing Democrat Barack Obama for president _ its first endorsement in the magazine's 75-year history. The LA Times has not endorsed a president since 1977.. but check it out.
A cute item by Ron Howard, with Andy Griffith & Henry Winkler.
Ever notice that Sarah Palin anagrams to "Sharia plan." So, clearly, she's the one who plans to institute Muslim law in the United States. Other anagrams include: a sharp nail a plain rash. Any chance of a numeralogical match with 666? Pleeeeeze?
Plus sundry links...
McCain’s Turtle Island story:
And finally, I am not proud to spread this. But I am desperate. And anyone who sees it KNOWS that there is something wrong. I know there may be mitigating factors and reasons. Still, something is wrong and it oughta creep anybody out: