Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Minced Garlic: New Keith Olbermann Special Comment - Bush shoots for ‘Jaws,’ delivers ‘Jaws 2’

Somewhat pedestrian Special Comment by our anchor-hero Keith Olbermann last evening.

That is not meant to question the sincerity of Mr. Olbermann, or his anger. Well-written and well-delivered, it was, as teased earlier in the broadcast, about the "nexus of politics and terror, a subject well-covered in previous 'Countdown' programs ( The nexus of politics and terror revisited, The Nexus of Politics and Terror).

On the other hand, can't quite create a quorum of other mainstream news people who have called out the President on his lies as much, or as eloquently, as Olbermann has, either in his normal news reports and with his heralded Special Comments, and he honed in last evening on our Decider, aka Decision-Maker's, State of the Union Address.

(And he does give a nod to David Swanson, press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, "who has blogged about the dubious 96 words in Mr. Bush’s address this year and who has concluded that of the four counter-terror claims the president made, he went 0-for-4.")

"West Yorkshire in England has a new chief police constable.

Upon his appointment, Sir Norman Bettison made one of the strangest comments of the year:

“The threat of terrorism,” he says, “is lurking out there like ‘Jaws 2.’”

Sir Norman did not exactly mine the richest ore for his analogy of warning. A critic once said of the flopping sequel to the classic film: “You’re gonna need a better screenplay.”

But this obscure British police official has reminded us that terrorism is still being sold to the public in that country — and in this — as if it were a thrilling horror movie and we were the naughty teenagers about to be its victims.

And it underscores the fact that President Bush took this tack, exactly a week ago tonight, in his terror-related passage in the State of the Union.

A passage that was almost lost amid all the talk about Iraq and health care and bipartisanship and the fellow who saved the stranger from an oncoming subway train in New York City.

But a passage ludicrous and deceitful. Frightening in its hollow conviction.

Frightening, in that the president who spoke it tried for “Jaws” but got “Jaws 2."

Olbermann proceeded to go into Bush's claims, quoting, first, from the SOTU, then, debunking it with facts, quoting official sources.

At one point, in discussing the Los Angeles Liberty Tower claim, and referencing Roger Cressey, the former staff director of counter-terrorism for the National Security Council, now a news analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, Olbermann illustrated the absurdity.

"In our conversation, he put the “Library Tower story” into a category he called the “What-Ifs” — as in the old “Saturday Night Live sketches that tested the range of comic absurdity:

What if ... Superman had worked for the Nazis?

What if ... Spartacus had had a Piper Cub during the battle against the Romans in 70 B.C.?"

One-by-one, Olbermann hung up President Bush's boasting of foiling terrorism like a pinata, and then whacked away at it, with facts, causing, not candy, but the truth to spill out.

"What you gave us a week ago tonight, sir, was not intelligence, but rather a walk-through of how speculation and innuendo, guesswork and paranoia, daydreaming and fear-mongering, combine in your mind and the minds of your government, into proof of your derring-do and your success against the terrorists.

The ones who didn’t have anthrax.

The ones who didn’t have plane tickets or passports.

The ones who didn’t have any clue, let alone any plots.

But they go now into our history books as the four terror schemes you’ve interrupted since 9/11.

They go into the collective consciousness as firm evidence of your diligence, of the necessity of your ham-handed treatment of our liberties, of the unavoidability of the 3,075 Americans dead in Iraq.

Congratulations, sir.

You are the hero of “Jaws 2.”

You have kept the Piper Cub out of the hands of Spartacus."


Read or watch the video of Special Comment - Bush shoots for ‘Jaws,’ delivers ‘Jaws 2’

MSNBC Countdown with Keith Olbermann

The death of habeas corpus - Olbermann: ‘The president has now succeeded where no one has before’

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