Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Fall Of The House Of Bush

Even The Dour Poe Looks Happy Beside The Besieged Bush.

“And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.

But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch's high estate.
(Ah, let us mourn!–for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him desolate!)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed,
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.”

“The Haunted Palace” poem from Edgar Allen Poe's “The Fall Of The House Of Usher”

Patience is a virtue. So too can one's being incredibly busy. Both of those factors figure into this story, as I'd actually begun to write this tale two weeks ago . The main “arc”? Merely the brutally obvious unraveling of the world around President George W. Bush like it was a stray thread-yanked whirlwind of revelation to even his staunchest defenders that his presidency was not the lovely burnt sienna toned painting they'd deluded themselves into believing it was,...but rather, the earthy, brown bed-shit of a two-term disaster.

The bullet points of the tale?

T'was to begin with the embarrassing, five-hour FBI raid on the home and Office of Special Counsel, Scott Bloch, whose “job” was to investigate federal whistle-blower complaints, and other deeply internal Federal probes of in-house wrong-doing. Issues like digging about for “Hatch Act” (of 1939) violations by one Karl Rove, who in his possible (and patently obvious) law-breaking was using federal monies and employees as a taxpayer financed, campaign workforce—patently illegal under the “Hatch Act”.

And then some...via TPM:

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents raided the Office of Special Counsel here, seizing computers and documents belonging to the agency chief Scott Bloch and staff.

More than a dozen FBI agents served grand jury subpoenas shortly after 10 a.m., shutting down the agency's computer network and searching its offices, as well as Mr. Bloch's home. Employees said the searches appeared focused on alleged obstruction of justice by Mr. Bloch during the course of an 2006 inquiry into his conduct in office.


Bloch's agency is a little known one that is charged with investigating whistleblower complaints, Hatch Act violations, and the like -- but who is himself being investigated for retaliating against whistleblowers and politiciang his office. The Office of Personnel Management's inspector general has been conducting that investigation since 2005. The feds are apparently investigating whether Bloch tried to obstruct that investigation by deleting his hard drive, among other things.

To give you an idea how fraught this investigation is with unique issues. Bloch is not only busily investigating the White House for political briefings Karl Rove and his aides made to various agencies, but he's also conducting an investigation of the politicization at the Department of Justice and issues related to the U.S. Attorney firings -- a probe that he complained was being blocked by the DoJ. Of course, he can't do much to block the DoJ investigation of him.

When Eliot Ness and his G-Men roll up into a Bush appointee's office, shut down the in-office network, knock out the e-mail system, and grab everybody's computer and the file server, then hit his house and grab his shitty Dell Inspiron with every piece of porn and Pure Prarie League music in it because they caught wind that he'd been clumsily calling “Geek Squad” guys to purge files from all of his and his staff's computers—that is a big-ass deal. This is the kind of stuff that was dealt with in the heady “We are the grown-ups!” years, in the dead of night, by shady people called in on the Red Cheney-Devilphone™ to bring the shredders and lead-lined safes to clean up a messy situation.

Those days are long gone, as months are short, scores left unsettled are coming a' cropper, and fewer and fewer seem to fear the hoarse, feeble quack of our crutch-wielding duck of a president.

Feds bustin' in the door and snatchin' ever'thang from a Bush appointee?

Could that have possibly gone down in 2003? '04? '05, '06, or even early '07?.

Yeah, I thought not.

The story's second bullet point was to be the odd, open-air bus-crushing of another Bush-picked toady-in-trouble, one Lurita Alexis Doan. You remember Doan, don't you? She was the Powerpoint-hypnotized head of the Governmant Services Administration busted for the aforementioned crime of using her office as a de-facto arm of the RNC as opposed to a free-standing government agency. When caught out there on her CLEAR violations of the “Hatch Act” she was reduced to a laughable, spluttering paranoid mess in front of Henry Waxman's congressional committee. She was a textbook case of Bush's “Heckuva Job” cronyism exposed at its worst. Unable to be defended. Rank in its stupidity. And of course...tolerated up until this month in spite of clear evidence of wrong-doing, even after being told to resign or face criminal charges. This is the kind of person Bush used to snigger at us all about as he backslapped them and told the world how Jonas Salk and MLK weren't fit to wipe these people's posteriors. No more.

It's the Bush administration's special approach to accountability: stand staunchly beside an administration official as the allegations pile up and his or her credibility dwindles to nothing, and then months later -- long after the administration could derive any credit for the deed, and it is widely assumed that they are content to let the official fester in office for the duration -- the official abruptly and inexplicably resigns. So it was with Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales. And yesterday General Services Administration chief Lurita Doan stepped down.

But Doan, who gained mucky prominence for her clueless cronyism, wants everybody to know that she's not stepping down voluntarily. She was fired. And not only was she fired, but she was fired because she refused to cave to political pressure. Or something.

“I would rather get fired for something I believe in, and a cause I was willing to fight for, rather than to believe in nothing worth being fired for.” That's what Doan told Government Executive Magazine in an email last night. It's far from clear precisely what this "something" she believes in is.

Under fear—and that's really all it was—of deeper, more embarrassing investigations as he fades into the post-power phase of his presidency, Bush canned Doan's ass like Aunt Luberta's syrupy peaches. What made the firing doubly damaging was its un-typically messy handling. Normally the members of Bush's “Losers Brigade” are eased out the door, borne aloft on a sedan chair with rose petals and florid lies strewn before the press eunuchs carrying them out. This was an ugly departure, missing only building security flanking her on the walk-out and a pat-down for filched Post-Its™ and boxes of Sharpies™ at the front door. Although, it wouldn't surprise me if there's a shitty Xerox of Doan's White House ID card photo with a hastily scrawled “Do Nott Let In Bildeng!” on it behind the security desk at 1600 Penn.

Those two recent incidents were my main bellwethers indicating the spreading cracks in the foundation of “The House Of Bush”. Then there was to be a window-rattling return to the newly smoldering potboiler of Karl Rove's legal troubles with the resurgent Don Siegelman case as handled by our own Hubris Sonic:

WASHINGTON -- The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday subpoenaed President Bush's former chief political adviser, Karl Rove, to testify about whether the White House improperly meddled with the Justice Department.

Accusations of politics influencing decisions at the department led to the resignation last year of Bush's attorney general, Alberto Gonzales.


Let the 45 day countdown begin. It was a mistake for Rove to leave the White House, he has little protection now and can get no help from the president's lawyers. They didn't release Siegelman because they thought he was guilty, it must have been really obvious to the appellate judge that he was railroaded.

Rove has since tried to hide behind plans for a legalistic stall, and even been forced to do his favorite thing in the whole wide world—outside of skulking about maternity wards for wriggling, downy-haired snacks—which is to go back and re-tell a story when his web of lies tightens about his scrotum.

While watching him flinch and squirm from those constricting canards pinching at the short n' curlies, other Bushian roof tiles and siding have begun peeling from the edifice at an alarming rate.

We saw the brutal volleys from the Obama camp, and most shockingly—the press—after Bush's noodle-armed serve of the “appeasement issue”, idiotically injecting himself into the presidential campaign. Obama's verbal nad-kick crossed Bush's eyes something fierce, and then doubled over Dubya's reluctant pal McCain with the deft tying of ol' McGollum™ to his previous statement regarding diplomacy, and to the electoral boat-anchor that is Bush. Worse still, it even prompted a few reporters to go punch up “the Wiki” where they found out about Grampa Bush's “Charles Foster Kane”-ish craven cuddling up to history's murderous little paper-hanger. Accounatbility? Ow! Owwww! Owwwwweeeeeee!

I dashed out of the house yesterday morning, watching only the local all-news station for the weather, so I missed much of the morning's TV, although while walking east on 23rd street to an appointment, the big screen TVs in the appliance store had an interesting and additional depressing Bush news flash that made me laugh, and probably made Bush chuck a Moussy bottle at the ol' Philco.

Apparently John McCain was so deathly afraid of being seen by the wider public with the two-term tragedy Bush at a downgraded fundraiser in his home state! (moved to a private home in Arizona making it a gold-plated “Tupperware” party instead of the planned big-room event), that the only extant visual evidence evidence of it was blurry “Bigfoot”-grade video of Bush and McCain sitting in the back of a limousine at the Phoenix Airport.

About 15 seconds worth, thank you very much.

How embarrassing is that? It's “What's Eating Gilbert Grape” embarrassing, that's what. With McCain in the neurotic Johnny Depp role and Bush in the part of the house-bound, “Oh-my-God-we-can-not-be-seen-with-her-she's-a-mess!” mom. Minus mom's good-hearted-ness and any reason for sympathy, that is.

And then I stopped at a diner for a light breakfast and almost Danny Thomas-ed my coffee over what I saw on the large TV screen near the door.

Little Squatty McMelon's incendiary new book “What Happened” was being discussed—in grave tones as the tome evidently gives Mr. Bush the grand, slow tour of the chassis-view of a Greyhound Americruiser.

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan writes in a new memoir that the Iraq war was sold to the public with a “political propaganda campaign” led by President Bush, aimed at “manipulating sources of public opinion” and “downplaying the major reason for going to war.” McClellan said Vice President Cheney was “the magic man” who steered policy while leaving no fingerprints.


News of McClellan’s tell-all book seems to have soured White House officials’ impression of him. Current Press Secretary Dana Perino said McClellan was obviously “disgruntled”, while Fleischer said he was “heartbroken”, and Bartlett called the book “total crap”.

MSNBC’s Kevin Corke reported this afternoon that White House officials, on background, went even further, calling McClellan a “traitor” and likening him to Benedict Arnold. He said the White House was “upset,” substituting that word for a word he said he could not repeat on television:

CORKE: I have heard on background they are upset. I’m using the word upset because that’s not the word they used, and it is not the word I can say on TV. Another person said they are flat out angry about what transpired here. I heard the word “traitor” and “Benedict.” I think another person said to me, not far from here, it was like a shot to the gut when you are not looking. […]

O’DONNEL: Quickly Kevin, a White House staffer said to you on background—they used the word “traitor”?

CORKE: “Traitor.” Absolutely. And I raised my eyebrows, and he said, It is what it is.

That sound you heard wasn't thunder. It was the fucking chimney on the house falling down. “Boom!”

Not the roof just yet—but a major part of “Manor Bush” is severely structurally compromised.

McLellan's rough Sacajawea-dollar dropping on his mouth-breathing boss, wasn't totally out of the blue. We caught wind of this last November and dealt with it when juicy details about the book leaked out.

What—if I may paraphrase Mr. McLellanthe fuck happened?

I think it was this:

McLellan was put out in front, every day for months without so much as a fly-swatter to fend off questions about the veracity of his boss and peers at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. His job was to beat the wolves back, and to change the tenor of the story around the leak and the subsequent lies about it.

I believe he knew he was lying for the boss, but that they were “good soldier” lies of necessity.

Unfortunately, the sordid mess he was tasked with smoothing over was impossible to finesse, and he became identified personally with the stumbling and bumbling in the cover-up. He was clearly frustrated with this particular project, and on several occasions pretty much threw his hands into the air in exasperation and resignation over what was a hopeless situation for him. He of course, left before the Libby trial and its negative verdict, but the damage had already been done. His inability to spin bug-eaten straw into 14-karat gold was held against him, I think. His being unable to stand and lie with the cool authority of Tony Snow—and thus take some heat off the White House—made some in the White House not like him. “How dare he not effortlessly play the 'true believer' role as we need him to!”

“Fuck him. He's dead to us.”

Note that McLellan got no hook-up at FOX, or at the Journal, or any other bastions of walk-in wingnut welfare.

And even before that, but it didn't take a genius to see it coming. Just a casual student of political history and human-fucking-nature:

(LM) I too, have come to if not a belief in "cyclical" patterns, a belief at least in "the law of averages". So much skullduggery -- and yes, patently evil acts have been perpetrated by this administration, particularly in the name of this war and all of the wrangling of people and facts involved in it that THEY'VE GOTTEN AWAY WITH, that the law of averages just seems to be coming into play now. They're the lean whip of a guy who had the fast metabolism seemingly forever, snarfing down burgers by the bagful -- shakes by the gallon, and now thirty-plus years old, BOOM!, the jello-shaking gut appears, he can't get up the steps anymore, and his chest is always hurting him now. Bad news is on the horizon for this "fella".


3.) A major whistleblower who produces documents detailing Bush admin misdeeds. Call me an optimist, but there's always somebody who just...breaks under conscience's weight.

There is always somebody who gives it up. Always. If not necessarily for conscience, at the very least to cover one's ass. McLellan was pooh-poohed as hyping the book based on a juicy editor's pull-quote or two at the time. Now? Not so much. He's got people running around the West Wing with their faces a rich “Buchanan Purple” in rage. Got 'em tossin' around words like “Traitor!”, “Benedict!”, and “Shot in the gut!”. It severely damages Bush's desperate legacy rebuild as he staggers drunkenly into the political sunset—brass-knuckle-clad cock-punching the reasoning for his horrific war from the deep, deep inside, and it also pimp-slaps John McCain's campaign dead in the grille as he's running on the prosecution of this heinous, misbegotten conflict. It ties McCain to Bush as surely as if he were Slim Pickens' Major Kong lock-straddling that big, dumb bomb all the fucking way down to the white-hot heart of a doomsday mushroom cloud.

This is NOT the way Bush wanted this thing to end. He was hoping for a “skate”. He wanted to ride out on a sea of platitudes, shaded by an election involving personalities that would distract from him. Steve back in the day always spoke of how he expected Bush to go out spittin' and shittin' with teeth a' grittin' as the hounds tore at his ass. I never believed that. Now, I'm not so sure. I think the skatin' away ain't gonna happen. And while I don't think there'll be an episode of “Cops” featuring a sweaty, tank-topped Bush being dragged off to the hoosegow, he will almost certainly not leave 1600 Pennsylvania intact. There will be bruises and scars.

Picture the belligerent drunk stumbling out of the bar at closing time.

He's on his way out at least. Loud and stupid, yes. But thank God that son-of-a-bitch is almost out the Goddamned door.

Then you catch a whiff of something awful, and realize he's shit in a booth. Not the bathroom—but a booth in the bar proper. Some heinous shit—pardon the pun. So instead of letting him just walk out the door on his own, the bouncer kicks him dead in the middle of his back as he staggers out for good measure. “Boom!”

McLellan's book and its subsequent firestorm is a bouncer's swift Size 13 in the back. A vicious move by a one-time friend. A one-time right hand man. And a sure sign added onto the rest of the exiting drink-tosses, face-spits, and leg-out trips that the end won't be pretty. He'll leave with his popularity at Nixonian levels. Nix-fucking-onian. His original posse, gone—save for Dick, and who the hell knows where his ass is these days. I'll bet there's a layer of dust on the swivel chair in his White House office. It leaves only a lonely “Baron” in a tumbledown manor. With parapets leaning and stones pulled free—letting in a chill wind. Echoes in an empty house. “The centre cannot hold, and things fall apart”.

The Baron sits bolt upright—there's a dagger in his back. Who would do such a thing?

There are numerous “Poe”-isms from his works that'd cap that off. Stuff from “The Raven”, or “The Premature Burial” come to mind. I like to close things like this out with musical codas. The obvious musical punchline would be The O'Jays “Backstabbers”. But I think another tune from the “City Of Brotherly Love” seems more apt...