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March 26th, 2005
04:37 am
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Bizarro Bush
Let's talk about the nominations El Presidente has made so far this year. I've heard of three ... and I'm noticing a disturbing pattern emerging.

There was the position of Ambassador to the United Nations. The pick: John "There is no United Nations" Bolton.

There was the position of Fish and Wildlife Service director. The pick: Matthew J. Hogan, top lobbyist for a competitive trophy hunting group.

There was the position of Undersecretary of State, one of the nation's top foreign diplomatic posts. The pick: Karen Hughes, one of his spinmeisters with roughly zero actual foreign experience.

This is cronyism of the highest order ... but, well, for anyone who's actually been watching Bush, that's nothing new. This is appallingly stupid ... but, well, for anyone who's actually been watching, etc.

No -- the pattern I'm noticing is far deeper than that: Is it just me, or has Bush crossed the line from indifference to active perversity in his nominations? Seriously. This is beyond cluelessness here, it's walking into Bizarro World.

Bizarro government am sending ambassadors to NONEXISTENT ORGANIZATIONS! Bizarro United States am having neighbors INSIDE ITS BORDERS! Bizarro Wildlife Service am TROPHY HUNTING endangered species FOR FUTURE PRESERVATION!

I guess the advantage of it is that, once you realize you've walked through the looking glass, Bush's nominations become extremely simple to predict. To prove it, here are my Extremely Official Prognostications for some other positions he's going to need filling as retirements or Deviations From Official Party Line occur:

Health & Human Services Director: Catbert
Secretary of Education: Gene Ray
Council of Economic Advisers chair: "Baby Doc" Duvalier
NASA Director: Charles K. Johnson
Secretary of Labor: Beetle Bailey
Science and Technology Adviser: Samuel Lapp
Agriculture Secretary: Wiley Brooks

On the up side, maybe he'll have to pick a new Secret Service head.

Current Mood: mischievousmischievous
Current Music: "Moonart," Chi A.D.
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From:summer_jackel
Date:March 26th, 2005 03:51 pm (UTC)
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oh, gods. You're right. We am the bizarro government.
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From:aeto
Date:March 26th, 2005 04:09 pm (UTC)
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I just think of it this way...

In 2 years, there's another big national election, where a large portion of the senate and house come up for re-election. I hope he *does* screw things up royally between now and then, so we can turn the tides a bit there, leaving him at least a bit of a "lame duck."

Or am I being optimistic?
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From:baxil
Date:March 26th, 2005 10:43 pm (UTC)
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That was the theory for 2004. :-/

It didn't work then ... but there's reason for optimism, I hope. He is grounding himself against the political "third rail," his approval ratings are continuing to sink, and the GOP coalition is showing some serious stress fractures.
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From:roaminrob
Date:March 27th, 2005 05:54 am (UTC)
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I disagree. If anything, I think the GOP continues to grow stronger.

The Dems went with Howard Dean to organize and lead up the 2008 elections. I like the guy, I happen to think he would have been a fine leader, but politically, he's damaged goods.

IOW, I think the Dems have already set the GOP up for another victory in 2008.
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From:paka
Date:March 26th, 2005 07:36 pm (UTC)
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My theory about the Bush administration's actions is that they have hired on Zach de la Rocha, formally of Rage Against the Machine, as a consultant (this explains why he's not performing these days). Surely, if anyone knows what's going to piss off liberals, it'd be Zach, right?

Every week or so, Zach compiles a report, suggesting what would be ludicrously over the top, heavy handed and ridiculously offensive. The Administration then has a chance to review and act upon the report.
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From:lysana
Date:March 26th, 2005 08:04 pm (UTC)
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Mind explaining how someone who hunts, therefore someone who gives a damn if the animals stay healthy, isn't qualified to helm the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, which happens to deal a lot with hunting?
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From:baxil
Date:March 26th, 2005 10:41 pm (UTC)
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I figured this would come up.

For the record: I was attempting (even if not very clearly) to draw a distinction between hunting and competitive trophy hunting as two entirely different ... well, animals. I am: a) aware of your stance on hunting; b) don't actually disagree with you as much as our one prior tangle has left you thinking; and c) would have probably scuttled the post entirely if he hadn't been on such an extreme fringe of the "hunting" group.

Hunters can, in fact, be excellent wildlife stewards. I've read some fascinating articles -- although I can't track down the links just at the moment -- about how the environmental movement is finding what many leftists would considers to be unlikely allies among hunters in the West, since both groups are worried by the Bush administration's stance toward habitat and wilderness preservation, and have been increasingly discovering common ground. I'm heartened by the rise of groups like the Nevada Outdoor Democratic Caucus and the stands of groups like the Montana Democratic Party, which I think will provoke some much-needed discussion.

But if you read the initial link I provided -- granted, it's a press release from an animal welfare group, but I had no reason to doubt the basic facts -- Hogan is not (just) a hunter, he's a lobbyist for a group that supports fenced hunts; whose former president has talked approvingly about "reducing game to possession"; offers members tips on how to shoot animals for tax deductions. A group that (per the links above) appears to have a history of offering trophies for shooting lists of animals including endangered species, and applying a great deal for permits to hunt endangered species.

I searched the SCI Web site for about an hour and I can't find a list anywhere of the animals required for their Grand Slams/Inner Circle/etc trophies, which is a little disturbing (are they deliberately hiding it? Or is my Google fu just weak? Do they want to keep it secret because their record books do list endangered species?), but it also means I have no immediate neutral-party verification for that last one.

(They also slammed John Kerry for his endorsement by the group that I originally linked to, so that does provide an alternate perspective on the bad blood with HSUS here.)

So anyway. I believe this is roughly the same difference between criticizing an education nominee for being Christian and for being a Dominionist.

Do you think we can find common ground on this? Do you believe there's a distinction to be drawn between sport hunting and competitive trophy hunting? That it's fair to be concerned about a lobbyist for an organzation that has pushed for relaxed endangered species importation laws for decades now being in charge of those laws? If not, we can agree to disagree, but I don't want my view to be taken as a black-and-white Hunters Good/Hunters Bad issue.
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From:lysana
Date:March 27th, 2005 06:27 am (UTC)
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Here's the deal. You said nothing about the issues involving walled hunts and such before this. Competitive trophy hunting can be done with non-endangered species, so it's insufficient to me as a dividing line between reasonable and unreasonable approaches to hunting. I might find it vaguely silly, but it's more a matter of being confused by extravagance. It's along the lines of how I find the notion of owning a Lamborghini as a commuter car a bit dumb but within a driver's rights so long as he's not breaking any laws in the process. And I'm of mixed sentiment if the animals are raised for the purpose of being hunted, since I'd think it hypocritical of myself to have no problem with farmed minks but complain about farmed trophy animals. If they're dealing with animals on the endangered species list who were not raised for the purpose, I have a big issue with that.

And yes, neutral sources would be good to determine what they're providing and rating for those hunts. I distrust the HSUS almost as much as I do PETA.

Your second question is answered by me as "not quite, allowing for the noted caveats." The third is, "yes, if a neutral source says he did."
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From:wanderdragon
Date:March 27th, 2005 03:42 pm (UTC)
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Bax, you need to listen to Steve Earle's new album, "the Revolution Starts Now," if you haven't already.. Catch me online sometime and I will send it. It features such songs as "Rich Man's War" and "Condi, Condi."
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From:kevynjacobs
Date:March 27th, 2005 06:12 pm (UTC)

Two more Bush appointments for you

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Bush is also going to appoint two more important posts soon:

Surgeon General: Mary Baker Eddy
Chief of Protocol: Howard Stern

(Freely stolen from "The Darkness Has Come" by John Tully, http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0325-32.htm )
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