February 1, 2007Mad Dog Bush -- The more you learn about Bush the harder it is to escape the conclusion he's really insane, and dangerous. The incident reported Tuesday of him hopping on a tractor and menacing a bunch of reporters with it is one of the more bizarre Bush incidents of many. (see Holly Baily, Newsweek) The guy has only been arrested a few times in his life, most of the time he gets off because his family is one of the richest oil families in the world, still sitting on interest from Nazi money. He's been pulling wild stunts his whole life, and getting away with almost everything. Now because he's The President, there's a sort of polite hiding of the eyes by the press of his more vulgar behavior. They have not yet come to terms with the fact that his uncouth antics are not some aberration. That's really him. That's who he is. He's not the abstract divinely ordained wise leader called The President. He's anti social. He's never believed laws and restraints appy to him. They never really have.
Try to figure out what he was up to. You really can't, he's so weird. There are so many incidents that never had an explanation, that the world just stood dumbfounded before for a while and then just moved on. Like the time he went on the air to announce that he had begun bombing Iraq and sat there before the broadcast driving his fist into his palm and chanting, "Feel good! Feel good!" What was that?
Then there was the time when he turned up with a huge, swollen red blackeye and some halfcocked explanation about choking on a pretzel while watching a football game, fainting and crashing his head on a coffee table. Obviously the world was never going to get the truth on that one and there were 10 crimes and scandals breaking every day, so why dwell on it?
What the hell was he doing flying around Nebraska on 9/11 when he was in Florida when it happened and the crisis was focused in Washington and New York? Why did he sit in that damn classroom so long that day when the incident that supposedly justified his gang's trashing of the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions was taking place, and he was the damnPresident of the United States? And what did he mean in those speeches when he talked about seeing the first plane hit the World Trade Center on TV that morning? What the hell is up with that guy? Did he dream that up? Or did he really see some transmission of that event? With these guys you just never know. That's part of their modus operandi, to keep everyone confused and offguard all the time. It has worked for them. It's not great for the rest of us.
Who hasn't seen the pictures of him giving the finger to TV cameras or other cameras? There are plenty of them. He thinks that's pretty cool, giving the finger. It expresses his feeling of superiority to the rest of the world. F you.
The stories about Skull and Bones, the secret society of him, his father and grandfather and John Kerry and many other of the weirdest ruling class brothers. The stories of this outfit are so strange most people just tune them out right away when they hear them. Virtually untinkable stuff like grave robbing (gathering skulls for "The Tomb", the group's headquarters). The initiation rituals involve stripping down, lying in a casket and confessing one's sexual secrets. This is the official stuff. The informal activities we can only imagine. (Ron Rosenbaum, Scum at the Top)
And you've heard no doubt the reports from his childhood buddy about how they used to stuff firecrackers into frog's mouths and throw them up in the air and watch them explode. Oh to be young! (New York Times )
George W. perhaps more overtly than his father or brother because of his own personality disorders, his learning disabilities, the lost years of cocaine use, represents the real id of the Bush family, the ruling class mutants, inbred, insulated aristocrats.
And then if we get into the stuff that is only rumor, you really drop off the end of the earth. It's useless to go into it. The confirmed stuff is already so far beyond comprehension it just draws a blank with most people. These are some extremely sick people. Ron Rosenbaum, Scum at the Top
February 4, 2007
Cheney and the Libby Trial -- Brent Budowsky, one of the original writers of the law against revealing the identities of CIA covert operators, has an amazing perspective on the Plame case. "When we were writing the original law, not one of us, could have ever imagined that identity disclosers would be high officials in the U.S. government. The law was aimed at people very hostile to the U.S., who were acting in a manner that helped the KGB." What is emerging in the trial, apart from its purpose of ascertaining whether Libby is guilty of lying to the FBI and prosecutors, is that Dick Cheney was orchestrating the whole job of discrediting Joseph Wilson, who had discredited the administration's claims for the necessity of going to war. Budowsky writes, "This is not what Vice Presidents do. This is more than an attack on his enemy Wilson. Most of us who have had high government positions have faced these situations, and launching a counter-attack could have been done far more discreetly and professionally. Plus: the naming of the Plame name, at the very least, created harm to national security and was an unpatriotic act. The minute the Vice President, Libby, Rove, knew Valerie worked at the Agency in a Bureau that insiders would know immediately was highly sensitive, without any doubt triggered red lights, immediately." Why, asks Budowsky, would Cheney take such a chance with violating a felony and compromising national security? Then answers, "My theory, with substantial evidence to back it up, is that the danger of Joe Wilson was not the damage that Wilson's view did to the Administration policy. It was the danger that Wilson's work would unravel a long term, well planned, highly deceptive campaign that preceded Joe's involvement to deceive the country to drive us to war." Guess so. Not a Suspect -- Tony Blair was questioned again by police. He was the first sitting prime minister to be questioned by police. Now he's the first to be questioned by police twice. He's already got a jump on the next contender. Associated Press This business report, Playfuls.com, looks at "Blair's Dilemma: Respected Abroad But Vulnerable At Home". "Like many politicians," the article says, who have experienced this anomaly of being respected abroad, but under fire at home. In a way, it's appropriate for a business publication to look at Blair's situation in an apolitical context, as if being prime minister were just a job of being "a politician". But without the political dimension of Blair's circumstance it sounds like a chance event. It's not such a mystery that he's under fire at home. In the case of his being questioned by police, he's involved because the alleged crime was committed by one of his closest associates. But that's a relatively small offense compared to the main reason he's so out of favor with his countrymen. It is, of course, Iraq. Because he led his country into the horrible partnership with George Bush in one of the most destructive blunders in modern times -- and on "bad information" to be polite about it. And it won't be over till a long time after the perpetrator has left office and is retiring into his new career in investing. The Brits were dragged into the fiasco without the help of the American media brainwashing machine that has Americans so punch drunk. They are not happy as a result with their illustrious prime minister. Too bad. He was a promising young man. It's really soured in the Bush years. As far as his being "respected abroad," it's not readily apparent how true that is. In the U.S. they love him because of the propaganda about his being portrayed as America's only great international supporter on Iraq, but primarily because the guy can speak English and they miss that in the U.S. Some still recall the lost art of speaking in intelligible sentences. Blair is a very talented performer, a very impressive man. And up to a point his accomplishments were rather dazzling whether you were for him or against him. He just got on board an ill-fated ship and it's putting a shadow over his earlier promise. Keith Olbermann is quite amazing. Considering he's on network TV news he is a phenomenon. This is a few days old, but well worth the wait. Check out this clip of his destruction of Bush's claims in his State of the Union Address to have foiled many terror attempts. You can see the clip or read the text at Truthout Let's See What He Does with It -- The Financial Times gives a three-pointed view of Chavez in light of his have taken on the power to rule by decree for the next 18 months.
February 9, 2007Scooter Versus Everybody -- The desperate Libby defense is so impoverished for solutions it's making a target out of Tim Russert. Because the TV newsman's story contradicts Libby's, as do many others, the defense is trying to say Russert is framing Libby, as if all this problem is really about the evil Tim Russert. According to the SF Gate, "Russert spent most of Thursday responding to questions about his credibility, including accusations by the defense that he had a personal bias against Libby and that he misled a federal court about an interview he gave to the FBI about the Wilson investigation." With the White House trying to make Libby a scapegoat to protect Rove, the defense alleged earlier, it makes it look like all these witnesses are involved in a conspiracy to get Libby. Because of what great motive? Bias. They're all biased against the Scooter. John Farmer in the Newark Star Ledger, wrote, "As the trial wends its way through the dogged and deeply damaging examination of witnesses by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and the colorful efforts of defense attorney Ted Wells to put everybody but Libby in the dock, it's increasingly clear that the real villain is Cheney."
February 11, 2007
A Break in the Clouds -- According to Democracy Now, "A group of prominent British Jews have launched an organization to counterbalance what they perceive as uncritical support of Israel by major Jewish institutions in the UK. The organization, called Independent Jewish Voices, or IJV, includes well-known public figures in Britain's Jewish community, including Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter and fashion designer Nicole Farhi."
Furthermore, says Democracy Now's Juan Gonzales, "The IJV declaration states that 'those who claim to speak on behalf of Jews in Britain and other countries consistently put support for the policies of an occupying power above the human rights of an occupied people.' Reclaiming what they call the Jewish tradition of 'support for universal freedoms, human rights and social justice,' members urge other Jews to express their views about Israeli policies without fear of being labeled anti-Semitic, self-hating, or disloyal."
Democracy Now posted an interview with some amazingly intelligent and articulate British Jews from this new organization. It is refreshing to hear their common sense point of view about all this nonsense between Jews and Palestinians on the West Bank and in the Occupied Territories. It's a call for rationality from a group of people who are deeply devoted to the survival of Israel, but are also deeply devoted to principles of humanitarianism upon which Israel was founded, and therefore denounce the policies of the Israeli government to the extent that they violate those principles.
In violating those principles, the government undermines Israel's standing in the world, and thereby becomes itself a threat to Israel's survival. Some of those interviewed characterized themselves as "secular" Jews, but whether or not the organization itself could be characterized as secular, it is good to see some very solid advocacy of some basic, universal principles -- not based on religious or ethnic differences but on universal commonalities.
The group specifically aimed a dart at the issue of using the charge of antisemitism to attack anyone who disagrees with the policies of the government of Israel. Antisemitism, the group says, is a very important issue and the struggle against antisemitism is undermined when it is used as a weapon to suppress dissent and discussion.
The interviewees pointed out their frustration that in Britain debate on the matter was stifled using the antisemitism or "self-hating Jew" labels (i.e. reducing everything to a race issue), while in Israel itself the debate is quite open and all points of view are vigorously represented. This is indeed a tragedy that is also taking place in the U.S. and it is good to see it addressed so effectively by a group with unexceeded authority on the subject.
Incidentally, I have not yet noticed any other reporting on this in major news channels besides Democracy Now. It would be very sad if this story is considered unreportable. This dissenting point of view cannot be suppressed forever.
In Other News
No Show -- On Sunday's Meet the Press one of the talking heads (the HeadBlast staff is now furiously researching the name of the alleged head) referred to the Libby trial as a "show trial" that is not important to the American people. I found it a deeply offensive comment. Lying to a federal grand jury, and to FBI agents are crimes. No one can say it is lying about nothing, a matter of personal discretion, in this case. But the lying is itself a crime. In this case the underlying crime about which the lie was told, the obstruction of justice took place allegedly, was about uncovering a secret agent of the U.S., a felony. And in this case the uncovering was done for the purpose of smearing and discrediting a dissenter. This is no show trial. Tell the Truth -- Some would say that an elected official has a higher standard of behavior to maintain than a common criminal. If Cheney has not yet be charged with the crime of revealing the identity of an undercover agent, does that mean he is justified in ignoring the allegations that are arising from the Libby trial about his complicity in the crime? New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is saying that Cheney owes the people an explanation. He's written up a series of questions that need to be addressed. Looking for a Reason -- The Bushies are looking for an excuse to attack Iran. Working against a credibility problem as a result of the collapse of every excuse they gave for the last war, they will pull out every possible card in their hand. Underestimating their determination, their willingness to go to any length to gain their objective would be unwise. See Newsweek Warm and Fuzzy Giuliani -- Ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani will appear in a spread featuring a moment of lust with his third wife, who is easily young enough to be his daughter. Ever campaigning, Giuliani must think somehow these pictures will show a human side of him that he rarely showed as the cold, authoritarian mayor of New York. Somehow the idea that the old goat still has a sex life is supposed to make him more appealing, apparently. Giuliani also did a skit on Saturday Night Live dressed in drag with Donald Trump planting a kiss between his fake breasts. (Read about it in Chicago Tribune) How all this is supposed to help his campaign for president is mysterious, but if it works it's a very sad statement about America. More a concisce history of Giuliani's unseemly married/unmarried life, see here. Giuliani's Marriage Revisionism -- According to New York Newsday, during a recent campaign trip, his third wife was next to him for every photo op, and "he called her a 'partner' whom he leaned on for everything from getting through 9/11 and prostate cancer to understanding the science behind possible anthrax attacks. Giuliani didn't mention that when Nathan helped him after his cancer diagnosis in spring 2000, he was, in fact, still married to Donna Hanover, and that the revelation of his illness came amid the messy public breakup of his second marriage." Newsday didn't mention that the philandering that disrupted his second marriage, the one in progress when he was mayor, was not with Nathan, but with another girlfriend. How Was She to Know? Hillary Clinton campaigning for president in New Hampshire received a question on whether she thought her vote to authorize Bush's attack on Iraq was a "mistake". (See Associated Press) She refused to use the word "mistake" and said it was the administration that made the mistakes. She is saying she authorized Bush to use force if necessary, and of course Bush didn't live up to his responsibility to try other courses of action first, because obviously he couldn't attack Iraq fast enough, he was frothing for that war. So Clinton is off the hook in the sense that she gave him authority which could have been reasonable if he were a reasonable man. "If I knew then what I know now," she says, she would not have done that. Unfortunately it's an unsatisfying answer. We do not need people who can parse their excuses very carefully and precisely to avoid blame. What was required then, as now, was leadership, the courage of convictions. It would have been easier to have worked to prevent this catastrophe than trying to undo the damage at this point. To say she just took him at his word, "didn't know" what he was really up to is more than a little disingenuous. She was smart enough to know, had enough information to know, had the resources to find out enough to know, and so on and on. Plenty of others knew. There is little excuse for why she passed her opportunity to be a Profile in Courage then, but expects us to think she will rise to the occasion next time around. Not very convincing, Ms. Clinton.
February 14, 2007Honest George -- Republicans, like Giuliani and minority leader John Boehner, love to compare Bush to Lincoln and talk about how Bush's doggedness through setbacks in Iraq is pretty much the same as Lincoln's in the Civil War. What a riot! Imagine, with a little revisionistic tweak, you could make it work. Abraham Lincoln Jr., son of President Lincoln the First or "Lincoln 16", himself the heir to a big banking family that financed European wars, was just itching for a war with the South, which his father had previously attacked on false pretenses and sworn to "bomb back to the stone age," but had left the job undone. So Abe Jr. decided to come up with some reason to go back in and flatten it. Abe II and his boys couldn't think of a good reason to attack, but they got started anyway thinking they could come up with a pretext easily enough in due time. No ruler itching for a war ever let a lack of justification stop him. Then when a couple of buildings were bombed, Abe II and his men, used it as a reason to attack the south. They never could find a connection between the bombings and the planned victim of their attacks, but it didn't matter because by then Abe II was a "war president" and the country didn't care anymore why the war started. He would go down in history as one of the greatest presidents and all his buddies would get rich and live happily ever after. Yeah, Bush is really just like Lincoln.