Bush on the Bus

If Dick Cheney isn’t F-you-ing Democrats on the floor of the U.S. Senate, George W. Bush is flipping off teenage boys in East Lampeter, PA, as the Bush-mobile swings through town and the residents come out to greet their sovereign Lord:

"The action got started off right when we arrived on the scene, and seven or eight teenage guys decided to ‘re-enact’ the prison abuse scandals in Iraq by stripping down to thongs and making a human pyramid, while donning black hoods. The police officers on the scene immediately tackled them and led them out in handcuffs. It will be interesting to see how that plays out in court."

I wonder what they’re charged with: sunbathing without a permit? Illegal simulation of a Madonna music video? Now here’s an antiwar movement that even Andrew Sullivan can learn to appreciate.

Oh, but these kids were just getting warmed up:

"Now comes the good part. After waiting around for about 45 minutes, the motorcade passed by us again. A few police cars, followed by a van or two, drove by. Then, a Bush/Cheney bus passed, followed by a second one going slower. At the front of this second bus was The W himself, waving cheerily at his supporters on the other side of the highway. Adam, Brendan, and I rose our banner (the More Trees, Less Bush one) and he turned to wave to our side of the road. His smile faded, and he raised his left arm in our direction. And then, George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States of America, extended his middle finger.

"Read that last sentence again: I got flipped off by George W. Bush."

Yes, the Bush bus tour sure is mixing it up with the masses and showing what a regular guy the president is, roughing it in the wilds of Pennsylvania, and penetrating darkest West Virginia, where, in Charleston, he was met by more of his happy subjects:

"A husband and wife who wore anti-Bush T-shirts to the president’s Fourth of July appearance aren’t going down without a fight: They will be represented by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union as they contest the trespassing charges against them Thursday morning in Charleston Municipal Court.

"Police took Nicole and Jeff Rank away in handcuffs from the event, which was billed as a presidential appearance, not a campaign rally. They were wearing T-shirts that read, ‘Love America, Hate Bush.’"

Mr. and Mrs. Rank had tickets, and entered the event legally, but apparently weren’t in what we call nowadays a "free speech zone" – outside of which the Constitution no longer has effect. Nicole Rank, who was working for FEMA, was told the next day that she is "no longer needed," but the couple, based in Corpus Christi, Texas, are staying in the area to fight the charges.

The president is losing a lot of supporters: I mean, I doubt the Ranks are Republicans, but even Francis "The End of History" Fukuyama wants to see an end to George W. Bush’s presidency:

"Famous academic Francis Fukuyama, one of the founding fathers of the neo-conservative movement that underlies the policies of US President George W. Bush’s administration, said on July 13 that he would not vote for the incumbent in the November 2 US Presidential election.

"In addition to distancing himself from the current administration, Fukuyama told Time magazine that his old friend, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, should resign."

Once a rising young star in the neocon firmament, Fukuyama signed a 1998 letter to then President Clinton, sponsored by the Project for a New American Century, urging him to take out after Iraq, and another one shortly after 9/11, urging George W. Bush not to be distracted by Osama bin Laden when he should really be going after Iraq, Hezbollah, Syria, and the Palestinians – oh, and don’t forget that "a serious and victorious war on terrorism will require a large increase in defense spending."

But people can always change their minds – yes, even at the End of History.

It can be pretty frustrating, living in George W. Bush’s America: people are going a little crazy, in an amusing sort of way. Like the guy who – pissed off at the intrusive idiocy displayed by airport security, had some Epsilon-Minus Semi-Moron waving a wand at him and decided to just drop his trousers, then and there. He wasn’t wearing any underwear.

Undergarments are so 9/10-ish – I mean, these days, you never know when you’re going to be stopped and searched. So why not make it easier on Homeland Security?

I was going to write about the Niger uranium brouhaha, a labyrinthine scandal which has lately acquired a few more layers of complexity. The issue has been revived by the release of the Senate’s report – not to mention the Butler report [pdf file], over on the other side of the Pond – which supposedly debunks Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson’s debunking of Iraq’s alleged attempt to procure uranium from Niger. Or doesn’t, depending on whom you believe. In any case, all the hideously dreary details are hilariously condensed and summarized by my favorite team of analyst-pundits, Fafnir and Giblets:

"Fafnir is a broken-hearted Fafnir. For I was deceived. Deceived by the story of Joe Wilson who as it turns out lied about absolutely everything he said to anyone ever because there in the Washington Post last Saturday exists definitive proof that somebody somewhere has said that his wife, exposed CIA agent Valerie Plame, got him his job checking out if Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium from Niger.

"Poor foolish Fafnir! I had thought somehow this was all about how exposing the identity of a covert CIA agent is a federal crime but apparently it is really about how her husband is a big fat jerk who got a job by ridin his wife’s coattails. I don’t quite understand what that has to do with a criminal investigation but hipublican intellectual Jonah Goldberg does so that’s OK.*"

I resist the temptation to copy the whole thing. I mean, who am I, Glenn Reynolds or something, that I can get away with that by simply by adding "Indeed," or "Read the whole thing" or some other aphoristic jewel? However, I can’t leave that enigmatic asterisk just hanging there, now can I? So I’d better give you the footnote it refers to:

"*Joe Wilson could learn a lot from Jonah in fact. With his deep intellectual honesty and cutting-edge use of Simpsons references it is easy to see why Jonah Goldberg didn’t need nepotism to get him where he is today."

Fafnir and Giblets: they’re my kinda guys.

And these guys are kinda funny, too, in their own way:

"Three American vigilantes tricked NATO peacekeepers into helping with illegal raids, the security force said Wednesday, getting them to send explosives experts and bomb-sniffing dogs to check buildings in Kabul where they had detained suspects. A spokesman said the men, led by former U.S. soldier Jonathan K. Idema, seemed authentic – fluent in military speak, decked out in faux U.S. Army fatigues and claiming to belong to a nonexistent task force.

"’Their credibility was such that with their uniforms, their approach, our people believed they were what they said they were,’ said Cdr. Chris Henderson, a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force. ‘It was a mistake.’"

The Powers That Be are always putting the kibosh on spontaneity. Why should only the Proper Authorities get to detain people in foreign lands and commit unspeakable acts on them? Why not let ordinary Americans in on the fun? If Idema and his pals could only get together with those kids in Lampeter, I’m sure a good time would be had by all.

Afghanistan and Iraq may be veering out of control, but it’s getting wild and crazy on the home front, too. It seems the architect of the rebuilt WTC, now dubbed the "Freedom Towers," is suing the developer because his original design was changed. Uh oh. I’m for artistic integrity, and all that, but I sure hope he doesn’t react like Howard Roark, the architect hero of Ayn Rand‘s The Fountainhead, and blow the damned thing up. In the novel, the jury acquitted Roark after he gave one of those interminable Randian speeches, but somehow I doubt they’d be that forgiving in real life. Not these days, when checking The Fountainhead out of the public library could invite suspicion:

"So, what interests you in a story about some guy who blows up a large building?"

Gosh, I’m feeling pretty lighthearted these days; or is that lightheaded? But how else could I feel upon reading this entry in Laura Rozen’s blog, War and Piece:

"In the past few weeks, some well and some not so particularly well connected sources have basically told me they are convinced we are set to face more terrorist attacks, before the elections. One person I met with tonight from another country’s defense ministry told me, he knows we are going to face another attack. He doesn’t wish it, but there it is."

Rozen, a Washington-based journalist whose work has appeared in the Nation, The American Prospect, the Washington Monthly, and elsewhere, has proved to be a great source of information on subjects ranging from the most recent wrinkle in the Niger uranium story to the latest machinations of Ahmed Chalabi, and today I caught myself wondering if I should start stocking up on canned foods: tuna fish is probably best, I thought. And lots of bottled water….

Why shouldn’t I feel light-hearted – while I still can?

Read more by Justin Raimondo

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com, and a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He is a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and writes a monthly column for Chronicles. He is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].