An Elephant Always Forgets

The Alberto Gonzales testimony before the House Judiciary Committee didn’t approach the astonishing spectacle of our Attorney General forgetting 72 times — by the count of that patriotic American who sat behind Gonzo, keeping a running tally at the hearings — in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

I don’t know who that guy was, but, either party, I applaud your cojones, dude. On the other hand, Gonzo had his astonishing exchange with Congressman Robert Wexler, titled, perhaps: “Gee, I’m weaseling through a cross-examination.”

Still, Gonzo’s newfound mendacity only confirms what we already knew: that Elephants ALWAYS forget.

Especially after Nixon.

When Reagan was caught in Iran-Contra*, his deposed testimony contained so many “I don’t remember”s that, even factoring in the onset of Alzheimer’s (which is admitted), there still can’t be any doubt of the intentional use of the tactic. Oliver North had his “when the Commander in Chief tells me to do something, sir, I do it.”

* NOTE in “The Iran-Contra Affair 20 Years On” scroll down to:

In that connection, what follows is a partial list of some of the more prominent individuals who were either directly a part of the Iran-Contra events or figured in some other way during the affair or its aftermath …

And read the bios that follow.

At the time, none remembered that was Goebbels’ defense, too.

Last night, on Bill Maher, I witnessed the astonishing spectacle of Frank Luntz, the Republicans’ most cunning linguist — he of the “Death Tax,” and other Big Brotherish sloganeering — Frank Luntz sat in all his nebbish majesty, isolated from Arianna Huffington by Paula Poundstone, distancing himself like mad from the Bush Administration.

On the one hand, it was gratifying to see that the rats are deserting the sinking ship of state at deeper and deeper levels of GOP rationalization, but they conveniently forget that they were utterly complicit in “staying on message” with pre-printed talking points, every day, in our most nighmarishly 1984 scenario yet.

But then, Elephants ALWAYS forget.

The talking point last week was that the investigation of the mysterious purging of 8 United States attorneys was becoming even more mysterious, and everyone agreed that nothing illegal had occurred*, and the Democrats are spending HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS on this useless investigation.

This sort of obstruction continued even after Independent Counsel’s appointment. In the course of his work, Independent Counsel located large caches of handwritten notes and other documents maintained by high officials that were never relinquished to investigators. Major aspects of Iran/Contra would never have been uncovered had all of the officials who attempted to destroy or withhold their records of the affair succeeded. Had these contemporaneous records been produced to investigators when they were initially requested, many of the troublesome conflicts between key witnesses would have been resolved, and timely legal steps taken toward those who feigned memory lapses or lied outright.

Conclusion, Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh, Iran/Contra Report

I remember the Watergate spectacle of 33 years ago, and I watched the Nixonian stonewalling during the hearings (which, in the summer of 1973, I had the luxury of watching every day, and I did). Then, they bumblingly said things like “that statement is inoperative.”

But then, they didn’t have Frank Luntz working to polish their mendacity.

In 1997-1998-1999, it was “The Rule of Law” (Actually, in 1999 it was “WHY TOO KAY!!?!?”)

But, in the face of the most outrageous subversion of the law that we have ALWAYS agreed, Republican and Democrat, Jew and Gentile, North and South, must be fair and impartial; must operate with an iron integrity, and suddenly, this weasel Gonzales, his subferrets, and the Afghan Hound himself, George W. Bush (who was “a hunnert percent” behind Gonzales), well, they’re the law and order crowd, right?

They’re the ones who are “gonna bring INTEGRITY back to the White House.”

Alas, they’re also the ones who unleashed the “War on Terra.” But they’re fighting tooth and claw not to pull out of a failed war in Iraq, because they say “that would mean the terrorists win.”

Well, actually, they did, Elephants.

Osama bin Laden’s complaint against the United States was that we had an infidel base on holy soil (Saudi Arabia, keeper of the sacred sites of Mecca and Medina, of which, it is still a crime for a non-Muslim to enter—although perhaps no longer a CAPITAL crime).

And in 2003, we pulled our base out of Saudi Arabia.*

[* “This does not mean we have requested them to move”
Prince Sultan, Saudi Defence Minister]

We went from a surplus (you remember: “It’s YOUR money!”) to a deficit of 8 TRILLION dollars plus. The US dollar has lost a huge chunk of its value since 2002*. Gasoline prices have more than doubled since the “War on Terra” began.

[* In May 2002, a Euro was worth 89 cents, US. Today, a Euro is worth US$1.35 ($1.3529). Here’s the Zug Math Challenge: what percentage drop in the value of the US dollar does that figure represent? Winners will receive Virtual Prizes worth Millions of Virtual Dollars!]

“War on Terra” is how they pronounce it. They write “War on Terror,” which means one Ministry of Truth thing, but they call it the “War on Terra,” or, in the accepted language of academia for a thousand years and more, “The war on Earth.”

And that war’s been going very well for them.

They’ve denied that global warming existed for years. They’ve manipulated the scientific reports and been caught at it. They’ve purged the government of scientists, and, they’ve purged Justice, as well–if you realize that Pat Robertson’s law school, of whom 125 graduates are officials within the Department of Justice, is a fourth tier law school. That they are, however, reliably fanatical in their religious beliefs is assured.

But they claim that there was nothing to see in the legal purges at the Justice department, and now, that “Global Climate Change”* — a Frank Luntz coinage, in all probability — is, in fact possible, they are going to lead the parade.

The EPA Website:

Climate Change or Global Warming?

“The phrase ‘climate change’ is growing in preferred use to ‘global warming’ because it helps convey that there are changes in addition to rising temperatures.”

The National Academies

And the rats deserting the sinking ship conveniently forget that once, they manned the oars.

Oh, and they’re against Democratic “pork” in the $100 billion additional Iraq funding appropriations bill. If Oregon rural schools get their funding from the federal subsidy they were guaranteed, in return for ceding huge chunks of their counties to the “National Forests” that were created to stop the states from being logged off, well, if their schools can’t run (and no child is left behind), that’s pork. Bush says he will veto it. Because suddenly, he’s for fiscal discipline.

How can they sleep at night?

It’s easy: Elephants always forget.

You see, what Frank Luntz did, was to test out different phrases, words, slogans on “focus groups.” They used the statistical methods of audience test marketing, and applied them, using Skinnerian conditioning techniques.

But even Dr. Stangelove is running like hell from the collapse of the Bush Administration, who took the worldwide love of America from 9-11 and a budget surplus, and turned them into the fear and loathing of a growing number of nations around the world, and economic ruination for the country.

Our military is overextended and exhausted. Our treasury is depleted. Our jobs and industry have either moved overseas or been bought by foreign interests. Did you know that over 60 percent of the book publishing industry in the United States of America is owned by foreign corporations?

And the Republicans defend the cronyism, the corruption, the political purges and the incompetence that allowed the city of New Orleans to drown, and send a significant portion of her population into refugee status, temporary AND permanent?

But they own the radio stations, and their own Television networks, and they broadcast that it’s all the Democrats’ fault twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week in every major and minor city in the United States of America.

And people believe it.

Because Elephants always forget.

The poll that came out yesterday says that they’ve done their dirty work well: public approval ratings of congress have dropped significantly.


Is it because congress hasn’t done an amazing job of applying the brakes to an out of control government? Is it because congress hasn’t made ending this war a priority? Or is it because the wholesale slandering of the party, the representatives and anyone who thinks like them has proceeded at every step of the way?

Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week in every major and minor city in America.

I’d say that they are pretty effective at spreading the word. And no matter what last year’s catchphrase was, the true believers never have to hear that this year’s catchphrase is a complete repudiation of last year.

You might wonder how, in the face of monumental incompetence, a callous and criminal disregard for the truth, and an “MBA” Presidency that is perhaps the worst-managed government in the history of these United States … you might wonder how anyone can continue to believe the lies that they gin up and buy the snake oil that they bottle.

There can be only one explanation:

Elephants never remember.



© 2007 Hart Williams. Cross-posted from Zug - Hart Williams' Blog
The continuation of
Skiing Uphill and Boregasm, Zug is 'the little blog that could.'

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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3 Responses to An Elephant Always Forgets

  1. Darrell Prows says:

    People don’t vote for Congress, they vote for their members. There has almost always been a disconnect between the success of incumbents, and the public perception of the institution.

    It’s when people deeply want change that they vote for change, as we saw last time. Republicans are still associated with the status quo, and Democrats still represent doing something different.

    It’s sad to see the current Congressional leadership not playing a better game against the Whitehouse but even this Congress gets better numbers than the last one.

    Short of Bush ending all violence in Iraq, it still looks like the 2008 outcome is in the bag.

  2. Ginny Cotts says:

    Great post Hart.

    It brought to mind a joke that was circulating after Reagan’s Iran/Contra performance (I always refer to him as the Acting President- it was by far his best role.) The plan was to make a sequel to “Total Recall” with Reagan playing himself. Title: “Partial Recall”

    I think the elephants have lost their marbles. Probably from snorting something.

  3. harto says:

    LOL, Ginny. Thanks.