Smoking Dutch Cleanser


MoDo isn't bad today. I'd say something else, but it wouldn't really matter. You're going to read this either way.

Smoking Dutch Cleanser - New York Times
Vice President Dick Cheney bitterly complains that national security leaks are endangering America. Unless, of course, he's doing the leaking, tapping Scooter Libby to reveal national security information to punish a political critic.
President Bush says he will not talk about specific security threats to America. Unless, of course, he needs to talk about a specific threat to Los Angeles to confuse the public and gain some cheap political advantage.
The White House says it has done everything possible to protect the homeland. Unless, of course, it hasn't. Then it can lie to hide the callous portrait of Incurious George in Crawford as New Orleans drowned.
The attorney general can claim that torture and warrantless wiretapping are legal, and can mislead Congress. Unless, of course, enough Republicans stand up and say, as Arlen Specter told The Washington Post, that if that lickspittle lawyer thinks all this is legal, “he's smoking Dutch Cleanser.”
The president doesn't know the Indian Taker Jack Abramoff. Unless, of course, W. has met with him a dozen times, invited him to Crawford and joked with him about his kids.

Bush On The Bong
Bush taking a big hit of off the bong, filled with Dutch cleanser, no doubt.

Oh, ok, I'll say that I am not sure Ms. Dowd is correct with her assumption that the Muslim outrage re Denmark right wingers is directly linked to the inept administration currently ruining America's good name.

Worst President Ever

(image courtesy of

...The Bushies can continue to claim that the invasion of Iraq was justified because Saddam was a threat to our security. Unless, of course, he wasn't, and the Cheney cabal was simply abusing the trust of Americans to push a wild-eyed political scheme.

At the Bush White House, the mere evocation of the word “terror” justifies breaking any law, contravening any convention, despoiling any ideal, electing any Republican and brushing off any failure to govern.

Asked yesterday by Senator Susan Collins why the administration had reacted in slo-mo on Katrina, with “people dying, people waiting to be rescued,” Michael Brown replied that if FEMA had declared that a terrorist had blown up the 17th Street Canal levee, “then everybody would have jumped all over that and been trying to do everything they could.”

Instead of just going after the 9/11 fiends, as W. promised with his bullhorn, the president and Vice President Strangelove have cynically played the terror card to accrue power and sidestep blame. They have twisted our values, mismanaged crises, fueled fundamentalist successes and violence around the world, and magnified a clash of civilizations.

It used to take an Israeli incursion to inflame the Arab world. Now all it takes is a cartoon in Denmark.

A final absurd junction of dysfunction was reached on Wednesday, when Republican Party leaders awarded Tom DeLay with a seat on the Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department, which is investigating Jack Abramoff, including his connections to Tom DeLay.


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By the way, what's the true meaning of this comparison, "smoking Dutch cleanser"? I'm asking because I've been trying so hard to translate that into my own language, but even the Americans I have asked here don't seem to have the slightest idea about it. Could you possibly help me? I'd be very, very grateful. Thanks.
Fábio Maciel
Brasília, Brazil
South America

Good question, Fábio. I'm guessing it to be some sort of 'old timer' joke. has an Old Dutch Cleanser ad, but not sure why anyone would smoke it. Maybe it was a fad in the 1940s or something.

Dan Froomkin writes
"When Gonzales argues that the Constitution gives the president undisputable powers to conduct warrantless surveillance despite a statute aimed at requiring him to seek court approval, such an interpretation 'is not sound,' Specter said in the interview. ' . . . He's smoking Dutch Cleanser.'"

Best I can tell from a little Googling, Dutch Cleanser is an old-fashioned scouring powder -- possibly with hallucinogenic qualities when inhaled? So "smoking Dutch Cleanser" would appear to fall somewhere between "dreaming" and "smoking crack" on the expression-of-doubt spectrum."

Could you please tell me which is the meaning of the expression "paralyzing turf battles"? I need to explain it to some people around me, but so far I couldn't grab its real meaning.
Thank you very much.
Ben-Hur Macedo - São Paulo, Brazil

I'll take a stab, without context (where did you read the phrase?)

- 'turf battles' like rival gangs (or dogs, or other territorial animals) fighting over areas of control.

-"Paralyzing" in the sense of nothing else can be done while the turf battles are happening.

I read the phrase in a commentary by Maureen Dowd under the title "Smoking Dutch Cleanser". The paragraph is as follows: "The doofus who frittered away lives e-mailing colleagues about being a "fashion god" and wondering how he looked on television may have just been engaged in self-protective spin. Or has the Homeland Security Department simply created ANOTHER SET OF PARALYZING TURF BATTLES?"
Ben-Hur Macedo, São Paulo - Brazil

Yes, I would still try to explain as I did above. Did that make sense?

- 'turf battles' like rival gangs (or dogs, or other territorial animals) fighting over areas of control.

-"Paralyzing" in the sense of nothing else can be done while the turf battles are happening.

Or in other words, the Homeland Security Department was ineffective because everyone was more interested in maintaining control of particular responsibilities than actually 'doing' anything.

The phrase is a cliche/idiomatic phrase, often used to describe bureaucratic battles between FBI and CIA, or similar.

I've also been searching for the meaning of "Smoking D. Cleanser" - it was part of a test for translators at Brasil, and, thanks to you, it seems more clear now than ever. Nice efforts.
Karla Sant'Anna

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