Thursday, September 20, 2007
With friends like the Democrats, who needs enemies?!
House Republicans are introducing a resolution to condemn an ad that MoveOn.org ran in The New York Times, referring to General David Petraeus as "General Betray Us" and accusing him of playing politics with his statistics regarding the surge. The ad was frequently referred to by Republican members at yesterday's committee hearing with the general."The despicable attack MoveOn.org launched against General Petraeus today should be condemned by all Members of Congress, including the Democratic leadership," said House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH). "I urge Members on both sides of the aisle to join in support of this resolution so the House speaks with one voice rejecting the character assassination tactics employed by this extremist group."
House Democrats are introducing a resolution to condemn an ad that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ran on television, falsely accusing John Kerry of lying about his service in Vietnam. The ad was frequently referred to by Democratic members at yesterday’s campaign rally in support of Kerry.
“The despicable attack the Swift Boat veterans launched against Senator Kerry should be condemned by all Members of Congress, including the Democratic leadership, and President Bush,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). “I urge Members on both sides of the aisle to join in support of this resolution so the House speaks with one voice rejecting the character assassination tactics employed by this extremist group.”
Democrats successfully pushed through, by a 72-25 vote, a resolution condemning an advertisement by the 527 group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
So you know what would have REALLY peeved the Republicans? Resorting to their own tactics. I know there will be some of y’all who say we shouldn’t stoop to their level, but you know what? We have to fight back and we can’t continue playing this higher ground bullshit that encourages the Republicans to hit us below the belt and kick us while we’re down. So there is a Republican senator who is placing a hold on giving the public access to presidential records while Senator Tom Coburn shows his love for the troops by placing a hold on a Veterans’ Suicide Prevention Bill. Why? Because Coburn can’t resist pandering to the NRA at the expense of the lives of veterans. You see if they were to be screened for risk of committing suicide, they might be denied a handgun. (Wow! It really seems like Coburn WANTS psychologically damaged veterans to purchase guns. Ignore the straw man argument, it’s what Republicans do.)
So the Democrats could have placed a hold on it, but not revealed who did so. That would have really pissed off the Republicans who would have sanctimoniously pontificated about having openness in government, something they have conveniently forgotten when they were in power. But the Democrats are weak, and as so, the Republicans can’t help but to rub their hands in glee while they continue to fuck over the troops with the acquiescence at best or at worst the compliance of Democrats who fall into the trap of those infuriating words, “Support the troops,” which has been framed as Support President Bush or else you want the TROOPS DEAD and you want Osama Bin Laden and SADDAM Hussein to have won. Support the troops means you support General Petraeus’ partisan hackery while supporting the GOP’s attempts to FILIBUSTER a bill that would have given troops equal time at home as in the front. Supporting the troops is now supporting Coburn’s attempts to kill legislation that would help suicidal veterans in favor of the NRA. Supporting the troops means not doing anything about the terrible conditions at Walter Reed because it might embarrass Resident Bush who is more of a troop than our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. (when’s the last time you heard a Democrat or the media talk about it? Yeah, I thought you couldn’t answer.)
How much media attention has Coburn’s hold on this really crucial bill gotten? Zero, I bet. The media doesn’t want to dispel the notion that the Republicans are the only ones who support the troops. Do they ever report on stories such as this? Probably not.
BTW, WHAT HAPPENED to the Democrats' refusal to bring this resolution to a vote? Oh, that's right, the Democrats caved in, as usual...
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Bush's Jesus Complex
I am arguing that it doesn’t matter that Bush is bothered by the fact that the people really do hate him. Once his advisors confirm it, it only reinforces his belief that he is a religious figure, he is the Man of God sent by God to do His will, which is supposedly to bring democracy to the
Bush clearly has a delusion of grandeur. David Corn touched upon this so-called
President Bush is holding private meetings "over sodas and sparkling water" in which he asks trusted advisers -- "Why does the rest of the world seem to hate
? Or is it just me they hate?" America
Notice how he’s turning himself into a martyr figure. Much like how the crowds who sang Hosanna when Jesus entered into Jerusalem turned on Jesus a few days later, he sees himself fallen from high above when he enjoyed 90% approval ratings in the days after 9/11 to now where only the hard-core base made up of the corporate and financial elites and the sheep who blindly follow him because he is a Man of God or because he is a Republican who would protect humanity from the evil scourge known as the homosexuals.
To some, "Bush seems alone, isolated by events beyond his control, with trusted advisers taking their leave and erstwhile friends turning on him."
I am sure that the Biblical scene in which Jesus after praying in the garden goes back to his devoted apostles and is grieved to see them sleeping is going through Bush’s delusional head. I’m sure he sees himself just as abandoned by his friends and us the American people as Jesus felt when he was walking up to Calvary, accompanied by no one except those closest to him, which was about three people including his mother. I’m sure Bush sees himself going to his own crucifixion with the jeering crowds spitting on him and heckling him as he stumbles to the ground and in the polls with that overwhelming cross to bear.
"I find him serene," Kissinger said. "I know President Johnson was railing against his fate. That's not the case with Bush. He feels he's doing what he needs to do, and he seems to me at peace with himself."
It doesn’t matter that he’s only at 26% or 31% depending on which poll you believe. The more he perceives the people hate him, the more the belief that he is a latter-day Jesus sent by God to save the American people from the Satanic terrorists who want to overthrow the American government and from those damn homosexuals who want to seduce our children into participating in the unholy Bacchanalia that is sure to come when gay marriage is legalized, is reinforced. Since he is a religious figure, he cannot bend to the polls like most politicians who pander to the whims of the American people. No, he is above that. He is a Man of God whose mission is to obey God who votes Republican and supports war in the name of corporate profits, who supports sacrificing our young men and women to the Almighty Dollar. He cannot abandon his Surge in Iraq because this is God’s will and more importantly, he like Jesus must be patient with us ignorant followers much like how Jesus was patient with the disciples who must have frustrated him with their stubbornness and naivety.
Realize how dangerous this rhetoric really is. Realize how dangerous this is when a faux president installed by a junta of robed activist judges believes himself to be infallible in the face of undeniable failure in
This is not the only example, but this infamous incident shows how much the Religious Right which claims to be the only legitimate moral arbiter of
Do you remember when Tom Delay was going on every news channel to proclaim that the liberals like Hitler were using the Big Lie to “persecute” him? Do you remember that scene which made us spew forth the bile in our throats when the Reverend Rick Scarborough put his hand around Tom Delay and said these infamous, blasphemous words?
"God always does his best work right after a crucifixion."
Yes, who can forget one of the most corrupt figures in American politics being compared to his own Savior, being made into one who was being martyred by the Democrats who did not know that Republicans were infallible gods whose motives should not and cannot be questioned?
If I offend some of you with the religious language and all the Jesus talk, I am doing this to illustrate a point and to show that this article further shines a light in the dark abysses of Bush’s soul.
I did a paper once on Creon and his hubris in proclaiming himself to be above divine law when he insisted on refusing Polynices burial, even after the blind prophet Tiresias basically gave him a choice of following the sanction of the gods or facing a fall greater than any man or woman could bear. Except that Creon mocked the power of Hades and even Zeus, showing contempt for Death. I see the same mentality in Bush in that he sees himself above the law and above our standards of justice, except that instead of just believing that divine law does not apply to him, he believes that he is a god himself, or at least the god’s prophet sent to save this land from evil. He doesn't outright say it, but he mocks his god by betraying the principles of his supposed favorite philosopher, Jesus, whether it's through his lies and deceptions or by perverting justice. It doesn’t matter that commuting Libby’s sentence was obstruction of justice, because Bush is a godly figure who dispenses justice. Always quick to be those who would cast the first stone especially against minorities on death row convicted after dubious trials in which their lawyers did virtually nothing, Bush suddenly becomes the merciful Jesus who would rather spare the guilty than to harm a hair on her head?
I leave you with this quote from Antigone.
“when he weaves in the laws of the land, and the justice of the gods that binds his oaths together he and his city rise high-but the city casts out that man who weds himself to inhumanity thanks to reckless daring. (Antigone, 409-415)
Let us be the city or in our case the nation that casts out the man who has lost all sense of humanity in the delusional belief that he is a god, not subject to earthly law or that damn piece of paper, the Constitution.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Bush spits in the face of us all and commutes Libby's prison term...jail is only for the rest of us
CNN IS SAYING that this “avoids the political aspects of the situation.”
NO FUCK THAT! The Democrats should NOT let Bush get away with this one. They should treat the situation as if Bush had pardoned Libby instead of just commuting the prison sentence. The fine is just a slap in the face. How much do you want to bet that the Libby defense fund will pay it?
The rule of law does not apply to Republicans, so sayeth the Litterbox. What does this tell you about law and order conservatives who always cry about the law when it’s anyone except them. They should just drop the act already.30 months is too excessive?! So Bush had to commute the sentence? Hell, the Publicans or should I say the Rethuglicans wanted Clinton virtually executed for receiving a consensual blowjob in his office. So what you have here is Bush and the Republicans saying that no matter what Republicans do, they are not guilty, because if they are prosecuted under the law, it is only a political stunt meant to discredit them. So much for respecting the rule of law. Prison is only for the rest of us who cannot afford lawyers and who don't have conservatives in our law schools writing letters on our behalf.
John Aravosis over at AmericaBLOG notes that the Bush talk about letting justice run its course is all a bunch of bushit. Of course he is right, but also, Bush’s idea of justice is allowing Republicans to commit their crimes with impunity while his administration goes after Democrats on trumped-up charges such as those against ACORN, brought upon them by a partisan GOP HACK. Bush’s idea of justice works on the principle that Republicans are above the law, they are like gods whose motives we must never question, much less challenge in the court of law. It doesn’t matter that there is no evidence of a left-wing conspiracy to compromise our elections by committing massive voter fraud on a scale Republicans claim has never been seen before. It doesn’t matter that there is more evidence that Republicans sought to use their powers to suppress the vote.
This is a culmination of the GOP mantra that everything is a liberal conspiracy against them and that they are truly the victims and oppressed of the society. Our so-called resident-in-thief was only dispensing justice for that poor, downtrodden Republican who was dreading prison so much that he must have been praying like a good conservative Christian would.
"The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged," Bush said. "His wife and young children have also suffered immensely. He will remain on probation. The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect. The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant and private citizen will be long-lasting."and what about the families of those who go to prison for minor drug offenses like possessing marijuana? What about them? Do they not suffer too or is it only that Republicans and their families suffer when they go to prison? Is this not like the argument Bill Napoli had when he said only Christian virgins suffer the trauma of rape and therefore they should be the only ones who deserve the exception when it comes to rape and incest? Tasteless I may be for pointing that out, but I see the same elitist argument that common people who don’t belong in the favored class don’t suffer.
The fine doesn't matter, because the defense fund will probably cover it...Probation is nothing. If Bush thought the sentence was too excessive could he not have halved it or something? Why should it have mattered? Libby was probably going to go to the country club prison anyway where he would have enjoyed the meals Duncan Hunter claimed Club Gitmo got, yes lemon chicken, gourmet style.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Tuesday Topic #14
Has the era of invading a nation to install a new government been exposed as a failure?
I desperately want to say yes, but we live in extraordinary times. Our populace which had been cowed into believing everything that Bush said about Iraq having WMDs and the ability to nuke NYC in 45 minutes or less might be souring on Bush's invasion of Iraq, but I do not see any hope that they have finally disavowed Bush's belief that he could invade other countries and install democracies. We have a complicit media that claims to have learned their lessons from the leadup to war and has given us hollow, faux mea culpas designed to show us that they too have seen the light. Alas, it is not so.
Case point #1: Fox News (8/30/2006)
Case point #2: Neo-con magazine editor prays that we bomb Iran
Is there any hope that we will see past the attempts of the media to sell the administration's lies as gospel truth? No, because we've fallen for it, and we'll fall for it again.
Tin foil hat on...
So what happens if the administration decides to close Gitmo, transfers the prisoners to U.S. military prisons, but hires some of them to "break out" and commit acts of terrorism on U.S. soil? What if they then turn around and then blame Democrats for insisting that Gitmo and Abu Ghirab be closed? Would you put it past this administration to stage terrorist attacks so that they could foil them on U.S. soil to score political points to take back Congress and win the 2008 election for those guys who thumping their chests like cave men, who declared that they wanted to double Gitmo? This is purely a conspiracy theory talking, but we live in the age of the litterbox where conspiracy theories are closer to the truth than you think they are...
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
the problem with us aMEricans is that we do not have empathy for the "other." We have been raised to believe that America is and always will be right, that we always have the best intentions for the world, and that we have only altruistic intentions for the rest of the world. What history book covers the CIA coup in Iran in 1953? What history book covers the brutality in which we suppressed the Filipino independence movement right after the Spanish-AMERICAN War? Besides the universities, our students are not being told of the darker side of our history. It's not all to be proud of, but our students would not know that.
Take for example, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. How many of us think that it was a glorious show of might makes right and a justified action to save American lives? Do we ever think that there could have been another option? Perhaps we could have bombed an isolated atoll in the Pacific to impress the Japanese. Perhaps if we might have allowed the emperor of Japan to keep his throne as a ceremonial figure such as the monarch of England and had expressed our willingness to make this concession if you may to the Japanese, perhaps the lives snuffed out by the incinerating pillar of death and sorrow might have been spared. As Dong Long points out, the doves would have cast their lots with the most fanatical of hawks if the Americans had insisted on disposing the emperor. Perhaps if we had not spent the whole war dehumanizing the Japanese who appeared as monstrous vampire bats flying over to suck out the vitality of our country, we might see the other side and have empathy for them.
We see this dehumanization of the enemy or the other throughout our history, especially when it comes to war. Who can forget Colonel John Chivington's infamous words when he ordered his men to massacre the Cheyenne and Arapahoe at Sand Creek, "kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice." Who can forget the dehumanization of the Koreans and Vietnamese when we could not distinguish between the "friendlies" and the enemy (which would tragically lead to our troops massacring innocent civilians caught in the crossfire)? Who can forget the countless numbers of victims whose lives were destroyed in our everlasting quest for Manifest Destiny?
This is the tragedy of this war today as it seems like we are doomed to repeat the terrible decisions we have made in the past instead of atoning for our actions. Can anyone tell me the difference between what we are saying about the people of the Middle East to what Chivington said about the innocent women, men, and children his troops were about to massacre? Can anyone point out the difference about how we brutally dealt with the Filipinos who wanted us out of the Philippines just as the Iraqis desperately want us out of Iraq? We are bombarded with stereotypes of the people of the Middle East as vicious terrorists, suicide bombers, radical fanatics, "ragheads," "towelheads," etc. that we cannot see them as humans. This is why you can have ignorant and unfeeling cowards advocating for turning the whole Middle East into a concrete parking lot or whatever the phrase is. We cannot see that the Iraqis might WANT a democracy, but that they don't want it imposed at the point of a gun barrel. We cannot see that the Iraqis do NOT want their oil in the hands of multinational corporations and that they like any other country would want control of their own natural resources. We cannot see that the Iraqis who have lost children, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, etc. are turning against us because we promised them that things would be better than it was under Saddam.
It is pointless to ask us Americans how we would feel if another country invaded our country. Would we be not in arms becoming the freedom fighters we so despise in Iraq right now? You can't ask that question, because the answer will be, "No one has the strength to invade America. No one would dare invade." No, we can only see the Iraqis as an ungrateful childlike-people who much like a lion cub we are raising would someday turn on us, ungrateful and oblivious to the fact that we are "helping" them and "liberating" them. We cannot see that we are the aggressors and occupiers of an occupied country. If we did not condemn the French for establishing a resistance movement against the Nazis, then why do we not extend the Iraqis the same courtesy? Yes, that's right, because they are resisting us. Sympathy for the French Resistance or the Prague Spring rings hollow when we do not extend the sympathy for those whom we have been oppressing.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Peace should be a virtue...
Why is peace so reviled these days? Why is the very notion of peace enough to have the rabid, wingnut right froth at the mouth with self-righteous anger? I had blogged about how peace is now even being equated with Satan as a homeowner’s association in
Our National Litterbox, (I refuse to just call him president) says Jesus is his favorite philosopher. Yet, like the GodMen of
Must everything be a war? We have conjurations of faux and real wars designed to appeal to the men in us. Is this why the military is so afraid of having gay men and women serve in the military openly, because they supposedly go counter against the image of a masculine army trained in the arts of war? Even the media, mainly Faux made up a fictional War on Christmas so that Christian men could claim to be fighting on the sidelines safe in
Does this administration even care that our wounded veterans had to suffer through urine-soaked mattresses, belly-up cockroaches, mice droppings in their living quarters? Could this administration not spend money to fund treatment for our wounded vets coming home? Of course not, this is considered to be nurturing and caring, traits traditionally considered feminine in nature. The hyper-masculine ethos states that money should not be going into social programs designed to give a hand up to those stuck in poverty but to huge weapons, nuclear bombs, bunker-busters, new fighter jets, etc.
We have money to spend on new weapons that are not needed in this new so-called “War on TERROR” yet we cannot spend money to fund VA hospitals and to provide psychological treatment to the wounded. We cannot deal with Post-traumatic stress Disorder as the military brass with the consent of this administration wants to send our troops back into combat without any treatment. After all, a MAN should suck it up and ignore his wounds so that he could fight for the freedom of his country. Those who are expressing concerns about PTSD and their families are being unpatriotic and un-American. It is more of the cult of hyper-masculinity that Glenn Greenwald depicts in this excellent article. After all, if our Litterbox can land a fighter jet at 150 mph on an airplane carrier, then these men should seek to emulate the masculinity of our “Fearless leader.”
Peace should not be a masculine or feminine value...it should be one we hold common whether we are male or female. By assigning it a gender, we cheapen its value and risk having our society which tends to prefer "masculine traits" over "feminine traits" glorify the death and carnage of war. Indeed, the GodMen video from ABCNews talks about how men love blowing things up. While that may be fine in Monster Truck rallies, let us not make blowing things up in war a spectacle much like the ones held in ancient Rome, where even naumachiae or mock naval battles produced casualties.
I believe in the immediate withdrawal of all foreign combat troops from the nation of Iraq. I believe in using my blog, in whole or in part, as a tool toward this end.
Friday, March 09, 2007
There were 300 men...against a million...ummmmmm not quite...
I do plan on seeing 300, the story of the Spartans' last stand at Thermopylae (Greek for the Hot Gates which don't really exist anymore), but I am interested in seeing how faithful the movie is to Herodotus, but reading Victor Davis Hanson's preview doesn't give me much hope (I am a purist and unabashedly so). I mean did the Greeks fight in the heroic nude as they are portrayed in black-figure vases and the yahoo.com promo against clothed "degenerate, effeminate" Persians?
I am also interested in seeing if there is any mention of the contingent of Thespians and Thebans. Of course 300 makes a well-rounded number, easy to remember, plus it's more oh I don't know, romantic I guess in saying 300 instead of maybe 750. Most likely, all focus is on the Spartans and all. I wonder if there will be any mention of the lone Spartan, Aristodemus, who missed the battle to his utter disgrace, which would not be made up by his almost-suicidal fanaticism and heroism at Plataea to make up for his disgrace?
I have to admit that I have not read the comic book inspired by Herodotus called 300, written by Frank Miller which the movie is based upon, but it's something to look forward to, once I get the time...along with Gates of Fire.
I saw the promo on yahoo.com touting that 300 Spartans faced death in the guise of millions of Persians. Herodotus gives the figure of 5,283,220 with half of them as combat troops. Considering the nightmares of logitistics Xerxes would have faced, it's really hard to believe the stories of rivers being dried up as the horses and men drank from them (Herodotus 7.108). But hey, the greater the odds faced by our Greeks, the more glory for them, right? Wouldn't that fit Herodotus' theme of how the Greeks faced overwhelming odds and defeated the slavish Persians who prostrated themselves daily to the Great King? And how can we condemn Herodotus for exaggerating if countless generals and soldiers have exaggerated the odds they faced in their victories and battles (the notable example in my mind being General George McClellan and his endless hordes of Confederates)? Besides, the greater the number of Persians Xerxes led to utter defeat, the greater and more spectacular his fall. After all, this was a man who lashed the sea after a storm, an act Herodotus condemned as utter hubris, which of course would lead to his downfall.
Arther Ferrill argues in Herodotus and the Strategy and Tactics of the Invasion of Xerxes that even Arrian who had extensive knowledge of military tactics and strategy was prone himself to exaggerating the numbers that Alexander faced. In this sense, the movie and comic book both keep faithful to the Greek tradition of pitting the Greeks fighting for their freedom against overwhelming hordes of Persians whose numbers seemed as endless as the stars.
In an interesting point, Ferrill argues that much of Herodotus' reputation as a total amateur when it came to military matters was due to this mathematical exaggeration. At first glance, his tendency to exaggerate the Persian army seems to serve to discredit him as a military historian. To support his argument, he cites Herodotus 7.173 where Herodotus argues that the Greeks, contrary to being afraid of Alexander of Macedon's warnings, were more afraid of the Persians outflanking them through another pass and in 7.177 where he states the Greeks chose
I'll see the movie eventually, once I get motivated enough to actually do anything other than sleep...P.S. I encourage you to read Herodotus. It is a rich history full of anecdotes such as Arion charming the dolphins with music so that they save him when he jumps overboard to escape his captors, divine intervention in the form of a rockslide saving Delphi, stories of ghostly Greek heroes rising up to slaughter the Persians, the clever thief who so impressed the king whom he stole from that the king offered his daughter in marriage...etc. After all, the movie should do more than just entertain, it should be an opportunity to explore the world of Classics...because everyone knows the CATS love Classics.
Arther Ferrill: Herodotus and the Strategy and Tactics of the Invasion of Xerxes: The American Historical Review, Vol.72, No.1.(Oct.,1966), pp.102-115. (Accessed through JSTOR)