Friday, February 04, 2005

And SOTU This Must End: The Hug, the Kiss, and the Right Royal Buggering

Hardball With Chris Matthews (MSNBC)

Was the emotion real and the spontaneity faked? It matters to Chris Matthews.
MATTHEWS: I guess the only question is whether that Iraqi woman was prompted to go up and hug Janet Norwood by some staffer.
O‘DONNELL: Oh, who cares?
MATTHEWS: Who cares?
REAGAN: I don‘t know that that...
MATTHEWS: I think some people care.
REAGAN: Yes, I don‘t know that—I wouldn‘t go that far.
MATTHEWS: It‘s a question. It‘s an open question. I think the emotion was spontaneous.
MATTHEWS: It‘s a question as to how much P.R. went into that thing.
Goodness! PR at a State of the Union address?!While Matthews was pondering the spontaneity of the hug between the mother of the dead US solider killed in Iraq, Janet Norwood, and the Iraqi woman, Safia Taleb Al Souhail, others were trying to find out just who "the Iraqi woman" is and how she wound up being featured at the State of the Union address. And a few interesting items have googled to the surface so far.

This cursory investigation demands a deeper look into Ms. Sofia Taleb Al Souhail. Held up as a shining example of why we've spent $200 billion and wasted 1,500 lives and counting, it looks upon first glance that she doesn't live in Iraq, has been affiliated with right-wing organizations, her father was killed in Lebanon while planning a coup against Saddam, and her family claims the US was complicit in his assassination (Daily Kos Diaries).


Just why did Bush plant what the New Haven Register called "a hearty smooch" on Joe Lieberman's face? Was it for Condi? Was it for Alberto? Was it for just being Joe? Many have commented on how, from certain angles, the kiss was reminiscent of the Michael and Fredo kiss-of-death scene in The Godfather. It was striking. But I think Bush the WASP got his rituals mixed up; he thought he had "made" Lieberman, initiating him into the Republican mafia (combinato--made).


Finally, Matthew Yglesias, among other, raises the "D" word -- default. As in the US government defaulting on all the Treasury bond IOUs stuffed into the Social Security trust fund shoebox.
The White House is now emphasizing that private accounts do not, alone, constitute a solution to whatever Social Security's problems are. The White House has repeatedly defined Social Security's move into cash flow imbalance starting in 2019 as the problem. One can dispute whether or not this is, in fact, problematic. It is clear, however, that it only is problematic if you think there's something problematic about paying the money back.
Clink the link above for more analysis, links, and commentary. And start pinching your pesos.

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