jazzoLOG: Why Have Liberals Been Afraid?    
 Why Have Liberals Been Afraid?12 comments
picture15 Sep 2006 @ 09:09, by Richard Carlson

The soul that is attached to anything, however much good there may be in it, will not arrive at the liberty of the divine.

---St. John of the Cross

The hermit doesn't sleep at night:
in love with the blue of the vacant moon.
The cool of the breeze
that rustles the trees
rustles him too.

---Ching An

The trouble is that you think you have time.

---Zen master

The picture's of Daytona, in 1957.

Yes, we accuse Rove/Bush of keeping the masses in cowering fear, but who's scared? My redneck neighbors have decals on their pickups pissing on fear. Their kids tool through the woods on their 4-wheelers with nary a care everyday. Those folks Support Our Troops with flags waving, trusting the security of the heartland to the War on Terror. The biggest horror of kids at school is if pizza gets taken off the cafeteria menu.

Yesterday I emailed a link OU Prof Bob Sheak had sent along to an article at TomPaine by Robert L. Borosage. [link] My friend Paul Quintanilla left a couple of comments about it here in the entry just below, but concluded with these questions~~~

14 Sep 2006 @ 22:43 by Quinty @68.226.88.25 : And yet another thing -

Why haven't the Democrats abopted Borosage's strategy?

After all, the idea of a "Manhattan project" for clean and self-sustaining energy resources has been around for a long time. The biggest argument, I guess, against it being cost. But we have no problem throwing billions away monthly on a wasteful war. For that we have unending funding.

(For the simple minded - dare I say? - violence is always an easy solution. By exerting a superior force of arms you can be sure to win. No questions asked. That is the current course we are on now.)

And the other approaches Borosage raised are fairly obvious too. But do many Democrats still feel they are too hot politically to handle? Does Bush's ship have to sink further before they may become palatable? What are the Democrats afraid of? Of the unknown? The future? Of getting it wrong? Of not being loved?

Then they don't deserve to lead. But then who do we got?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Others have been asking similar questions lately...including some members of Congress and even Colin Powell (finally!) who've seen through Bush's legislative attempt to be sure he and his people never can be tried for war crimes. [link] When TruthOut sent us to Bill Fisher's blog yesterday to reminisce about the radio commentators of the McCarthy era [link] , I realized as someone who was a teenager at the time how much like those days this country has become again.

One commentator Fisher didn't mention was Fulton Lewis Jr. I imagine Paul Harvey considers him something of a mentor. He broadcast everyday on the Mutual Network, one of whose stations I happened to work for after school. My sophomore high school year, WJOC was "honored" with the arrival of his son, Fulton Lewis III, for a few weeks. He apparently was training to take over his father's work and he broadcast over the network to the entire country every evening from our little station. During the day Fulton tooled around town in his sports car and visited the school libraries. Imagine what he found! Dirty communist books. I think Catcher In The Rye (1951) was one. Lewis III began a series of stories about the corrupt, unAmerican schools in Jamestown---a public school system that previously had been considered among the best in New York. The Superintendent of Schools was named Carlyle C. Ring. His son Gordy was a classmate of mine and a friend since kindergarten. Following Fulton's scathing series on how the Reds are in all the libraries...and the desired public panic, Dr. Ring was forced to resign. Shortly afterwards he died of a heart attack.

Today Fulton Lewis III, and probably his father, are forgotten. Carlyle Ring eventually got a school named after him that I see is listed at GreatSchools.net. [link] But at the time Dr. Ring's career and life depended on them, liberals were hiding under desks. And today we face a similar, and maybe worse, challenge. The current London Review of Books carries a column by NYU historian Tony Judt. Professor Judt's opinions are hotly contested around the world, but here he writes an answer of sorts to Paul's question about liberals...and challenges us to revive our fighting traditions.

LRB | Vol. 28 No. 18 dated 21 September 2006 | Tony Judt

Bush’s Useful Idiots
Tony Judt on the Strange Death of Liberal America

Why have American liberals acquiesced in President Bush’s catastrophic foreign policy? Why have they so little to say about Iraq, about Lebanon, or about reports of a planned attack on Iran? Why has the administration’s sustained attack on civil liberties and international law aroused so little opposition or anger from those who used to care most about these things? Why, in short, has the liberal intelligentsia of the United States in recent years kept its head safely below the parapet?

It wasn’t always so. On 26 October 1988, the New York Times carried a full-page advertisement for liberalism. Headed ‘A Reaffirmation of Principle’, it openly rebuked Ronald Reagan for deriding ‘the dreaded L-word’ and treating ‘liberals’ and ‘liberalism’ as terms of opprobrium. Liberal principles, the text affirmed, are ‘timeless. Extremists of the right and of the left have long attacked liberalism as their greatest enemy. In our own time liberal democracies have been crushed by such extremists. Against any encouragement of this tendency in our own country, intentional or not, we feel obliged to speak out.’

The advertisement was signed by 63 prominent intellectuals, writers and businessmen: among them Daniel Bell, J.K. Galbraith, Felix Rohatyn, Arthur Schlesinger Jr, Irving Howe and Eudora Welty. These and other signatories – the economist Kenneth Arrow, the poet Robert Penn Warren – were the critical intellectual core, the steady moral centre of American public life. But who, now, would sign such a protest? Liberalism in the United States today is the politics that dares not speak its name. And those who style themselves ‘liberal intellectuals’ are otherwise engaged. As befits the new Gilded Age, in which the pay ratio of an American CEO to that of a skilled worker is 412:1 and a corrupted Congress is awash in lobbies and favours, the place of the liberal intellectual has been largely taken over by an admirable cohort of ‘muck-raking’ investigative journalists – Seymour Hersh, Michael Massing and Mark Danner, writing in the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books.

The collapse of liberal self-confidence in the contemporary US can be variously explained. In part it is a backwash from the lost illusions of the 1960s generation, a retreat from the radical nostrums of youth into the all-consuming business of material accumulation and personal security. The signatories of the New York Times advertisement were born in most cases many years earlier, their political opinions shaped by the 1930s above all. Their commitments were the product of experience and adversity and made of sterner stuff. The disappearance of the liberal centre in American politics is also a direct outcome of the deliquescence of the Democratic Party. In domestic politics liberals once believed in the provision of welfare, good government and social justice. In foreign affairs they had a longstanding commitment to international law, negotiation, and the importance of moral example. Today, a spreading me-first consensus has replaced vigorous public debate in both arenas. And like their political counterparts, the critical intelligentsia once so prominent in American cultural life has fallen silent.

This process was well underway before 11 September 2001, and in domestic affairs at least, Bill Clinton and his calculated policy ‘triangulations’ must carry some responsibility for the evisceration of liberal politics. But since then the moral and intellectual arteries of the American body politic have hardened further. Magazines and newspapers of the traditional liberal centre – the New Yorker, the New Republic, the Washington Post and the New York Times itself – fell over themselves in the hurry to align their editorial stance with that of a Republican president bent on exemplary war. A fearful conformism gripped the mainstream media. And America’s liberal intellectuals found at last a new cause.

Or, rather, an old cause in a new guise. For what distinguishes the worldview of Bush’s liberal supporters from that of his neo-conservative allies is that they don’t look on the ‘War on Terror’, or the war in Iraq, or the war in Lebanon and eventually Iran, as mere serial exercises in the re-establishment of American martial dominance. They see them as skirmishes in a new global confrontation: a Good Fight, reassuringly comparable to their grandparents’ war against Fascism and their Cold War liberal parents’ stance against international Communism. Once again, they assert, things are clear. The world is ideologically divided; and – as before – we must take our stand on the issue of the age. Long nostalgic for the comforting verities of a simpler time, today’s liberal intellectuals have at last discovered a sense of purpose: they are at war with ‘Islamo-fascism’.

Thus Paul Berman, a frequent contributor to Dissent, the New Yorker and other liberal journals, and until now better known as a commentator on American cultural affairs, recycled himself as an expert on Islamic fascism (itself a new term of art), publishing Terror and Liberalism just in time for the Iraq war. Peter Beinart, a former editor of the New Republic, followed in his wake this year with The Good Fight: Why Liberals – and Only Liberals – Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again, where he sketches at some length the resemblance between the War on Terror and the early Cold War.[1] Neither author had previously shown any familiarity with the Middle East, much less with the Wahhabi and Sufi traditions on which they pronounce with such confidence.

But like Christopher Hitchens and other former left-liberal pundits now expert in ‘Islamo-fascism’, Beinart and Berman and their kind really are conversant – and comfortable – with a binary division of the world along ideological lines. In some cases they can even look back to their own youthful Trotskyism when seeking a template and thesaurus for world-historical antagonisms. In order for today’s ‘fight’ (note the recycled Leninist lexicon of conflicts, clashes, struggles and wars) to make political sense, it too must have a single universal enemy whose ideas we can study, theorise and combat; and the new confrontation must be reducible, like its 20th-century predecessor, to a familiar juxtaposition that eliminates exotic complexity and confusion: Democracy v. Totalitarianism, Freedom v. Fascism, Them v. Us.

To be sure, Bush’s liberal supporters have been disappointed by his efforts. Every newspaper I have listed and many others besides have carried editorials criticising Bush’s policy on imprisonment, his use of torture and above all the sheer ineptitude of the president’s war. But here, too, the Cold War offers a revealing analogy. Like Stalin’s Western admirers who, in the wake of Khrushchev’s revelations, resented the Soviet dictator not so much for his crimes as for discrediting their Marxism, so intellectual supporters of the Iraq War – among them Michael Ignatieff, Leon Wieseltier, David Remnick and other prominent figures in the North American liberal establishment – have focused their regrets not on the catastrophic invasion itself (which they all supported) but on its incompetent execution. They are irritated with Bush for giving ‘preventive war’ a bad name.

In a similar vein, those centrist voices that bayed most insistently for blood in the prelude to the Iraq War – the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman demanded that France be voted ‘Off the Island’ (i.e. out of the Security Council) for its presumption in opposing America’s drive to war – are today the most confident when asserting their monopoly of insight into world affairs. The same Friedman now sneers at ‘anti-war activists who haven’t thought a whit about the larger struggle we’re in’ (New York Times, 16 August). To be sure, Friedman’s Pulitzer-winning pieties are always road-tested for middlebrow political acceptability. But for just that reason they are a sure guide to the mood of the American intellectual mainstream.

Friedman is seconded by Beinart, who concedes that he ‘didn’t realise’(!) how detrimental American actions would be to ‘the struggle’ but insists even so that anyone who won’t stand up to ‘Global Jihad’ just isn’t a consistent defender of liberal values. Jacob Weisberg, the editor of Slate, writing in the Financial Times, accuses Democratic critics of the Iraq War of failing ‘to take the wider, global battle against Islamic fanaticism seriously’. The only people qualified to speak on this matter, it would seem, are those who got it wrong initially. Such insouciance in spite of – indeed because of – your past misjudgments recalls a remark by the French ex-Stalinist Pierre Courtade to Edgar Morin, a dissenting Communist vindicated by events: ‘You and your kind were wrong to be right; we were right to be wrong.’

It is particularly ironic that the ‘Clinton generation’ of American liberal intellectuals take special pride in their ‘tough-mindedness’, in their success in casting aside the illusions and myths of the old left, for these same ‘tough’ new liberals reproduce some of that old left’s worst characteristics. They may see themselves as having migrated to the opposite shore; but they display precisely the same mixture of dogmatic faith and cultural provincialism, not to mention the exuberant enthusiasm for violent political transformation at other people’s expense, that marked their fellow-travelling predecessors across the Cold War ideological divide. The use value of such persons to ambitious, radical regimes is an old story. Indeed, intellectual camp followers of this kind were first identified by Lenin himself, who coined the term that still describes them best. Today, America’s liberal armchair warriors are the ‘useful idiots’ of the War on Terror.

In fairness, America’s bellicose intellectuals are not alone. In Europe, Adam Michnik, the hero of the Polish intellectual resistance to Communism, has become an outspoken admirer of the embarrassingly Islamophobic Oriana Fallaci; Václav Havel has joined the DC-based Committee on the Present Danger (a recycled Cold War-era organisation dedicated to rooting out Communists, now pledged to fighting ‘the threat posed by global radical Islamist and fascist terrorist movements’); André Glucksmann in Paris contributes agitated essays to Le Figaro (most recently on 8 August) lambasting ‘universal Jihad’, Iranian ‘lust for power’ and radical Islam’s strategy of ‘green subversion’. All three enthusiastically supported the invasion of Iraq.

In the European case this trend is an unfortunate by-product of the intellectual revolution of the 1980s, especially in the former Communist East, when ‘human rights’ displaced conventional political allegiances as the basis for collective action. The gains wrought by this transformation in the rhetoric of oppositional politics were considerable. But a price was paid all the same. A commitment to the abstract universalism of ‘rights’ – and uncompromising ethical stands taken against malign regimes in their name – can lead all too readily to the habit of casting every political choice in binary moral terms. In this light Bush’s War against Terror, Evil and Islamo-fascism appears seductive and even familiar: self-deluding foreigners readily mistake the US president’s myopic rigidity for their own moral rectitude.

But back home, America’s liberal intellectuals are fast becoming a service class, their opinions determined by their allegiance and calibrated to justify a political end. In itself this is hardly a new departure: we are all familiar with intellectuals who speak only on behalf of their country, class, religion, race, gender or sexual orientation, and who shape their opinions according to what they take to be the interest of their affinity of birth or predilection. But the distinctive feature of the liberal intellectual in past times was precisely the striving for universality; not the unworldly or disingenuous denial of sectional interest but the sustained effort to transcend that interest.

It is thus depressing to read some of the better known and more avowedly ‘liberal’ intellectuals in the contemporary USA exploiting their professional credibility to advance a partisan case. Jean Bethke Elshtain and Michael Walzer, two senior figures in the country’s philosophical establishment (she at the University of Chicago Divinity School, he at the Princeton Institute), both wrote portentous essays purporting to demonstrate the justness of necessary wars – she in Just War against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World, a pre-emptive defence of the Iraq War; he only a few weeks ago in a shameless justification of Israel’s bombardments of Lebanese civilians (‘War Fair’, New Republic, 31 July). In today’s America, neo-conservatives generate brutish policies for which liberals provide the ethical fig-leaf. There really is no other difference between them.

One of the particularly depressing ways in which liberal intellectuals have abdicated personal and ethical responsibility for the actions they now endorse can be seen in their failure to think independently about the Middle East. Not every liberal cheerleader for the Global War against Islamo-fascism, or against Terror, or against Global Jihad, is an unreconstructed supporter of Likud: Christopher Hitchens, for one, is critical of Israel. But the willingness of so many American pundits and commentators and essayists to roll over for Bush’s doctrine of preventive war; to abstain from criticising the disproportionate use of air power on civilian targets in both Iraq and Lebanon; and to stay coyly silent in the face of Condoleezza Rice’s enthusiasm for the bloody ‘birth pangs of a new Middle East’, makes more sense when one recalls their backing for Israel: a country which for fifty years has rested its entire national strategy on preventive wars, disproportionate retaliation, and efforts to redesign the map of the whole Middle East.

Since its inception the state of Israel has fought a number of wars of choice (the only exception was the Yom Kippur War of 1973). To be sure, these have been presented to the world as wars of necessity or self-defence; but Israel’s statesmen and generals have never been under any such illusion. Whether this approach has done Israel much good is debatable (for a clear-headed recent account that describes as a resounding failure his country’s strategy of using wars of choice to ‘redraw’ the map of its neighbourhood, see Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy by Shlomo Ben-Ami,[2] a historian and former Israeli foreign minister). But the idea of a super-power behaving in a similar way – responding to terrorist threats or guerrilla incursions by flattening another country just to preserve its own deterrent credibility – is odd in the extreme. It is one thing for the US unconditionally to underwrite Israel’s behaviour (though in neither country’s interest, as some Israeli commentators at least have remarked). But for the US to imitate Israel wholesale, to import that tiny country’s self-destructive, intemperate response to any hostility or opposition and to make it the leitmotif of American foreign policy: that is simply bizarre.

Bush’s Middle Eastern policy now tracks so closely to the Israeli precedent that it is very difficult to see daylight between the two. It is this surreal turn of events that helps explain the confusion and silence of American liberal thinking on the subject (as well, perhaps, as Tony Blair’s syntactically sympathetic me-tooism). Historically, liberals have been unsympathetic to ‘wars of choice’ when undertaken or proposed by their own government. War, in the liberal imagination (and not only the liberal one), is a last resort, not a first option. But the United States now has an Israeli-style foreign policy and America’s liberal intellectuals overwhelmingly support it.

The contradictions to which this can lead are striking. There is, for example, a blatant discrepancy between Bush’s proclaimed desire to bring democracy to the Muslim world and his refusal to intervene when the only working instances of fragile democracy in action in the whole Muslim world – in Palestine and Lebanon – were systematically ignored and then shattered by America’s Israeli ally. This discrepancy, and the bad faith and hypocrisy which it seems to suggest, have become a staple of editorial pages and internet blogs the world over, to America’s lasting discredit. But America’s leading liberal intellectuals have kept silent. To speak would be to choose between the tactical logic of America’s new ‘war of movement’ against Islamic fascism – democracy as the sweetener for American involvement – and the strategic tradition of Israeli statecraft, for which democratic neighbours are no better and most likely worse than authoritarian ones. This is not a choice that most American liberal commentators are even willing to acknowledge, much less make. And so they say nothing.

This blind spot obscures and risks polluting and obliterating every traditional liberal concern and inhibition. How else can one explain the appalling illustration on the cover of the New Republic of 7 August: a lurid depiction of Hizbullah’s Hassan Nasrallah in the style of Der Stürmer crossed with more than a touch of the ‘Dirty Jap’ cartoons of World War Two? How else is one to account for the convoluted, sophistic defence by Leon Wieseltier in the same journal of the killing of Arab children in Qana (‘These are not tender times’)? But the blind spot is not just ethical, it is also political: if American liberals ‘didn’t realise’ why their war in Iraq would have the predictable effect of promoting terrorism, benefiting the Iranian ayatollahs and turning Iraq into Lebanon, then we should not expect them to understand (or care) that Israel’s brutal over-reaction risks turning Lebanon into Iraq.

In Five Germanys I Have Known, Fritz Stern – a coauthor of the 1988 New York Times text defending liberalism – writes of his concern about the condition of the liberal spirit in America today.[3] It is with the extinction of that spirit, he notes, that the death of a republic begins. Stern, a historian and a refugee from Nazi Germany, speaks with authority on this matter. And he is surely correct. We don’t expect right-wingers to care very much about the health of a republic, particularly when they are assiduously engaged in the unilateral promotion of empire. And the ideological left, while occasionally adept at analysing the shortcomings of a liberal republic, is typically not much interested in defending it.

It is the liberals, then, who count. They are, as it might be, the canaries in the sulphurous mineshaft of modern democracy. The alacrity with which many of America’s most prominent liberals have censored themselves in the name of the War on Terror, the enthusiasm with which they have invented ideological and moral cover for war and war crimes and proffered that cover to their political enemies: all this is a bad sign. Liberal intellectuals used to be distinguished precisely by their efforts to think for themselves, rather than in the service of others. Intellectuals should not be smugly theorising endless war, much less confidently promoting and excusing it. They should be engaged in disturbing the peace – their own above all.

Footnotes

1 HarperCollins, 288 pp., $25.95, June, 0 06 084161 3.

2 Weidenfeld, 280 pp., £20, November, 0 297 84883 6.

3 To be reviewed in a future issue.

Tony Judt directs the Remarque Institute at New York University. He is the author of The Burden of Responsibility: Blum, Camus, Aron and the French 20th Century and, most recently, Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945.

copyright © LRB Ltd, 1997-2006
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12 comments

15 Sep 2006 @ 16:38 by Quinty @68.226.88.25 : Are we at a turning point?

Is the Left trashing Liberals once again? Or are the people Judt properly describes Neocons? Hitchens, for example, lost credibility on the left long ago. And no true liberal or leftist would think the New Republic is “liberal.” For those of us who remember how well it covered the Vietnam War this is sad.

But there is indeed an eerie similarity between Israel's unending bellicosity and the current US model. And since Israel has been at it much longer, going back to Ben Gurion, it makes one wonder if it is the US’s leaders who are imitating Israel's. I wonder, at times, what liberal Zionist Jews think of joining hands with Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly when unconditionally backing Kadima? Olmert, Bush, and Blaire all deserve each other. But do we deserve them?

Tony Judt’s piece was excellent.

Are we at a critical point now, here in the United States, where if this "Islamo fascism" fantasy takes hold we will genuinely enter into a century of unending global strife and warfare? Bush has already proclaimed that his “Long War” will be the dominant struggle of the 21st century. Will the American people believe it, and thus make it so?

And what will this struggle be a cover for? US imperialism? There is no defined goal except victory. Over what? The hearts and minds of more than a billion Muslims worldwide? Or will this “Long War” only be another manifestation of the world gone completely mad? We have seen that before too.

I remember Fulton Lewis! Nothing changes, does it? Yes, there fascists among us: right here at home, many of them attempting to concoct a new global enemy. To bring us down into their own darkness.  



20 Sep 2006 @ 07:35 by jazzolog : Here's One Who's Not Afraid!
I don't think I've heard of Nancy Greggs before, but this entry of hers at a site called DemocraticUnderground is getting emailed and posted all over the place right now. I owe my thanks for it to an online friend in Florida, who in the past has asked to remain anonymous because of the job she has. Hmmmm, if the Bushies pull off this election, we all may have to become anonymous and underground~~~

Let Me See If I've Got This 'RIGHT' ...
Posted by NanceGreggs in General Discussion: Politics
Sat Aug 26th 2006, 08:43 PM
Let Me See If I've Got This RIGHT ...
By Nancy Greggs

I’m supposed to believe that the man who sat in a classroom reading a kids’ book for seven minutes AFTER he was told the country was under attack, who was warned repeatedly about imminent threats against the country and chose to ignore them, who has traipsed off on vacation every time there is a domestic or international disaster, is a decisive man-of-action with the fortitude to run a nation.

I am supposed to believe that God himself chooses my nation’s leaders and that, in His infinite wisdom, he chose a lying, thieving, self-absorbed, pro-torture, pro-war, lazy frat-boy jerk like George W. Bush.

I am supposed to believe that the same man who used family money and influence to duck military duty, who has failed at every business venture he ever tried, who never did an honest day’s work or accomplished anything of value in his entire life, is fit to be Commander-in-Chief.

I am supposed to believe that a man who ignores the Constitution he swore to uphold, breaks the law with abandon, repeatedly lied about the reasons for going to war, its cost, its duration, and even its goals, is honest and trustworthy.

I am supposed to believe that the escalating violence, chaos and deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are a sign of progress.

I am supposed to believe that a man who, by his own admission, does not read newspapers, who only meets with and listens to ‘yes’ men, who refuses to speak before any group that is not hand-picked from his staunchest supporters, is in touch with the realities of the world.

I am supposed to believe that sending US soldiers into combat without proper equipment or a viable military strategy, while decreasing their pensions and their benefits, is a patriotic display of supporting the troops.

I am supposed to believe that gutting the funding of social programs aimed at assisting the poor, the sick, the hungry and the homeless is the outcome of good Christians being in office, and that torturing, maiming and killing innocent civilians is “doing the Lord’s work”.

Oh, don’t go anywhere, because I haven’t even gotten started yet …

I am supposed to believe that a president who acts like an ill-mannered, oafish, mindless buffoon in public, both at home and in international settings, and a vice president who tells a colleague to go f*ck himself in the course of conducting the country’s business, are both deserving of respect.

I am supposed to believe that spying on US citizens, quashing free speech, and suspending laws that govern detention and confinement without just cause is preserving the tenets of democracy.

I am supposed to believe that alienating our allies, isolating ourselves from the world, refusing to use diplomacy instead of aggression, and causing people around the globe to hate us is the best way to protect my country from violent attack.

I am supposed to believe that no-bid contracts awarded to companies owned by members of this Administration, its families and its cronies is pure coincidence, and that secret meetings resulting in policies that enrich their supporters to the detriment of hard-working Americans is good and honest government.

Hold on, because there’s MORE of this crap ...

I am supposed to believe that outsourcing American jobs, under-funding our educational system, and plunging the country deeper into debt with every passing day will lead to a stronger, more competitive nation in the years to come.

I am supposed to believe that the same people who left NOLA to drown, who refuse to secure our borders, who refuse to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, and who initiate policies that incite anger and violence the world over are protecting my country from harm.

I am supposed to believe that an Administration whose policies make basic medical care and life-saving drugs unaffordable for millions of Americans is pro-life.

I am supposed to believe that elected representatives who voted for the Bankruptcy Bill, tax breaks for wealthy individuals, and tax subsidies for multi-billion dollar corporations are looking out for their constituents.

Along with all of the above, I am also supposed to believe that selling authority over our ports to foreign nations, selling our national lands to private interests, and selling our children’s future by burdening them with debt for decades to come is in the best interests of our country.

Drum roll, please -- here's the BIG FINALE ...

I am supposed to believe it is safe to board an airplane with a hold full of uninspected cargo as long as no passengers are in possession of baby formula, that a group of men in Britain were about to take down ten airliners without tickets or passports, that seven men in Miami were going to blow up buildings in cities they didn’t have the money to get to, that one lone guy in New York was going to take down the Brooklyn Bridge with a blow-torch, that if we leave Iraq every terrorist in the world is going to come to the US and fight us in the malls and the supermarkets, that the ‘Liberal media’ simply forgets to cover the lies, cover-ups and corruption of this Administration and its party members, that voting for a Democrat in Connecticut sends shockwaves of unbridled encouragement throughout the Muslim world, that a bunch of PNAC members whose predictions have been proven totally wrong in every instance should be dictating policy to my government, that our military isn’t stretched too thin and they are just recalling those who have already fulfilled their duty because they’ve got too much time on their hands, and that George W. Bush spends his summers reading CAMUS and SHAKESPEARE.

Oh, if only I were GULLIBLE, ILL-INFORMED, EASILY LED and TOTALLY STUPID – what a FINE Bush supporter I would have made!

http://journals.democraticunderground.com/NanceGreggs/78  



20 Sep 2006 @ 16:21 by Quinty @68.226.88.25 : Pinch yourself,
(not you necessarily) wake up, and you'll see Nancy Greggs is right.

But there are just a lot of folks who refuse to wake up. So what can we do? I mean, there is a radio station out here at night which harps on the illuminati and space ships. They actually find people who call in who have been "abducted" or taken on a small journey out there. Who describe what the spacepersons (notice how PC I am?) are like.

Now, once we win "the war between civilizations" - George has promised us we will (in a hundred years or so) - then maybe we can take on Evil in outer space? How long will it take us to win that one? It should keep Halliburton busy anyway, even if Dick Cheney doesn't live long enough to see it.

Common sense may not be so common after all, right?  



21 Sep 2006 @ 01:40 by jobrown : I just
keep sending info to all friends I know are intersted in the Trurth and they send to other of their friends, who they trust wanting the Truth etc; a sort of people's life-line, if 'you' wish. And I myself have made the DECICION that The Good will win even rather sooner than later. The more people whi make that DECICION, the better the chances -and the time frame will shorten up -but we have brace us, the ride will be somewhat bumpy! I realized that the SECRET to ANY manifesting is whether we make a decicion -or not! I realized, I can't put my panties on without DECIDING to do so! I can't take single walking step without decicidng to do so. I can't do/manifest anything unless I decide in its favor!

Tje other day I stumbled upon this article why John PaulI was murdered. Here is the conclusion: John Paul I was killed for the following reasons:

--He wanted to clean up the Vatican Bank which was later riddled in 1982 with scandals revealing the Vatican hierarchy's filthy connection with Freemasonry, the Mafia, the CIA and its real purpose of bringing financial destruction while advocating wars and genocide worldwide. Note: Italian and French reports connected and named over 150 high ranking bishops and cardinals who were active members of Freemasonry, including the P2 Masonic Lodge and many other secret and dark societies.

--He was against passionately against the policies of the New World Order and the Illuminati, as well as wanting to diminish the power of the Jesuit General, better known as the Black Pope, who is the real leader of the Vatican.

For this he was killed on the 33rd day of his papacy, the number 33 being an occult symbol that good will never defeat evil and the disguise and duplicity of the Vatican will never be uncovered.

"...the number 33 being an occult symbol that good will never defeat evil... ".
Now, isn't this interesting?!... considering that ALL but (only) three of ALL American Presidents have been 33:rd degree Masons! They seem to know something about the power of DECIDING!!! Deciding to go for evil alone!.... So I decided to counter them with MY decicions! Wanna join me?  



21 Sep 2006 @ 09:30 by jazzolog : The Brainwashing
starts at home, Vax. Before we ever get them in kindergarten...or even pre-school...they've been in front of the TV much of their lives. They've been to church or whatever the worship place might be called. They may have had tobacco, caffeine, booze and who-knows-what in the womb. The public schools have enough enemies in this country today, without blaming us for more. Not that we're blameless, God knows: we're like the other beggar services now, whoring ourselves for funding.  


21 Sep 2006 @ 16:09 by Quinty @68.226.88.25 : Interesting
about public schools.

Rather than strengthen and better them the far right here in the US wishes to destroy them.

It would seem, wouldn't it, that the logical approach would be to try to improve them. Rather than find reasons for not funding them. This is a most bleak and dark attitude. It condemns the poor to greater poverty and lost opportunities.

This attitude is similar to the right's attitude about welfare. Rather than attempt to find ways for helpiing the needy and ending poverty the right simply wishes to cut funding. They have their rationales, of course. Reasons, as we know, or should know, are always easy to find. Cut welfare moms off the dole because we don't want to encourage illegitimacy. That teaching the poor self reliance is good for them, a form of tough love. Or else they are all Cadillac queens sponging off the worthy tax payers: respectable citizens with jobs. And, of course the worthy rich who may do nothing but watch TV.

BS always offers an endless supply. And rather than discuss how to spend the money wisely in order to bring people out of poverty, or to improve the public schoools, or the environment, etc., the right condemns the efforts themselves. And doesn't believe in social programs though we know they can work. And if they don't then the logical nest step would be to find ways of improving them: in order to solve a large social need the private sector will never answer.

Public libraries have been "whoring" for at least a couple of decades, entering so-called "public private partnerships." Often conceding basic professional decisions to corporate sponsors in order to obtain basic funding. No one wants to pay taxes. Because, as any good American will tell you, taxes are basically evil.

I just did, about a week ago. I went to the state house here in Providence and wrote a check for my quarterly estimated income tax. I had a nice talk with a clerk there and left and walked down the hill and actually felt quite fine. Was I bleeding? Was I wounded? Did I begin to wonder where my next meal would come from? Did I go into a deep depression over this assault on my bank account?

No. None of that.

I actually didn't care, wasn't at all hurt, and would have gladly paid more if the money could go to good causes: such as public schools. I understand there are some schools with more than 40 kids in a class. How can anyone learn anything in such an environment? That teachers have to pay for necessary supplies out of their own pockets? That in some schools roofs actually leak when it rains.

So I committed a fundamentally UnAmerican act. I paid my taxes without pain. And walked away from the Rhode Island state house not caring about the amount of money I had made my check out for. Do you think there is any room for people like me in this country, people who gladly pay their taxes if they feel assured their money will go to worthy causes? Instead of war?

What the right seems to forget, I think, is that NOBODY believes in wasteful government spending. Not even the most liberal of liberal politicians. But that all spending is viewed as wasteful is a rhetorical technique which has become subcutaneous in our society. Many a citizen believes in this basic maxim as if it were a profound article of religious faith. Yet these same people, many of them, see nothing wasteful about spending hundreds of billions on needless wars.

Frankly, I wish some of that money would to our schools and libraries, where it's actually needed.

Now what's this about the Pope?  



21 Sep 2006 @ 16:23 by vaxen : jazzolog...
America, today, would seem to be a reversion to Hamiltonianism... the system known as British Mercantilism which is, purportedly, what the so alled "American Revolution" was fought for. Adam Smiths attack on British Mercantilism is worth a read in that regard.

Hamilton and the Federalists were traitors! But it looks like their failed attempt at instantiating the age old evil have now overcome, in this century, the dreams of freedoms' champions.

Vote them all out! That, of course, is no longer possible...

cf:

It would require a brutal, uncompromising dictator to overthrow the federal system and adopt a British-style consolidated, mercantilist empire. As Taylor wrote (p. 237): "It seems to be nature's law, that every species of concentrated sovereignty over extensive territories, whether monarchical, aristocratical, democratical, or mixed, must be despotick. In no case has a concentrated power over great territories been sustained, except by mercenary armies; and whenever power is thus sustained, despotism is the consequence." Furthermore, "the ignorance and partiality of a concentrated form of government, can only be enforced by armies; and the peculiar ability of the states to resist, promises that resistance would be violent; so that a national government must be either precarious or despotick" (p. 238).

(http://infowar.tribe.net/thread/dae4539f-8a00-47c0-bbe1-2926aaa4d80b)  



8 Oct 2006 @ 23:10 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : George McGovern

George McGovern was lampooned in 1972 as a joke. And the aura still lingers. A "liberal," McGovern has been marginalized as a "pie in the sky liberal." That seems to be his place today in American politics. Once branded, it's hard to change the focus. He lost quite large in the '72 election to Richard Nixon. Who today would we say was the better man?

McGovern, I think, has grown in wisdom over the years. Recently in Harper's he offered a blueprint for getting out of Iraq. Most of his suggestions reflect a sense of morality which is quite rare today in Washington, and which certainly can not be found in the White House.

On some points I think he may be a bit off. But in his case I'm sure he knows far better than I do. (That argument, as I'm sure you know, is quite a dangerous argument in politics. It has often appeared as the last refuge of fools and scoundrels supporting a monstrous and unneeded war: Vietnam, Iraq.) But in McGovern's case one should at least be cautious. Respectful. For here (unlike today's inhabitants of the White House) is an honest and thoughtful man.

McGovern's Harper's piece isn't available yet on the web. Here is a rough summary by Sherwood Ross. The best I could find. The original is far better, and Ross leaves out McGovern's sly inclussions of the various costs for his program: explaining that each 500 million or billion the components of his plan would need is the equivalent of a few days or a week or so in costs for the war. Ross also leaves out McGovern's heartbroken appeal to repair the archealogical destruction brought about by the invasion. It appears our troops smashed an ancient site to turn it into a helicopter pad.

BLUEPRINT FOR AMERICAN WITHDRAWAL FROM IRAQ PROPOSED BY 1972 DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE GEORGE McGOVERN

Submitted by davidswanson on Thu, 2006-09-28 03:11. Media
By Sherwood Ross

American and British troops in Iraq could be replaced over a phased, six-month period starting next January by a force of 15,000 men drawn from Arab or Muslim countries and paid for by the United States, former Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern proposes.

In a wide-ranging article appearing in the October issue of “Harper’s” magazine, McGovern spelled out a comprehensive “blueprint” for the withdrawal of Coalition troops.

“Withdrawal will not be without financial costs, which are unavoidable and will have to be paid sooner or later,” McGovern wrote, in an article co-authored with William Polk, founder-director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. “But the decision to withdraw at least does not call for additional expenditures. On the contrary, it will effect massive savings.”

Current U.S. expenditures in Iraq cost about $246-million per day, a rate that continues to climb, and will come to about $100.4-billion in fiscal 2006, the authors write, adding one estimate puts the cost of remaining in Iraq another four years at $1-trillion.

McGovern and Polk urged the creation of a “stabilization force” from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, to be selected at the determination of the Iraqi government. The authors estimate that a force of just 3,000 troops from five countries would be sufficient to keep the peace.

At a cost of $500 for maintaining one man per day, the overall cost to support a 15,000-man army would be $5.5-billion, “approximately three percent of what it would cost to continue the war, with American troops, for the next two years,” the authors pointed out.

McGovern and Polk called for the “rapid withdrawal” of 25,000 armed “security” firm personnel and the phased withdrawal of the U.S. and British forces, said to number 120,000 and about 10,000 respectively.

They also called for putting a halt to work on U.S. military bases, the immediate release of all prisoners of war and closing of detention centers, payment of at least $25-billion to rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure, voiding of all oil contracts entered into during the U.S. occupation, and reparations to Iraqi civilians for lives and property. They also asked for creation of an international body to be named to arrange compensation for Iraqis tortured by Anglo-American troops.

The Harper’s article urged, again at U.S. expense, the rebuilding of damaged and destroyed hospitals and clinics and training their medical personnel, training a national police force, clearing the country of depleted uranium and land mines, and the rehabilitation of damaged historical sites. Personnel to clean up the ordnance could be recruited from among the “millions” of unemployed Iraqis, the authors said.
“We cannot prevent the reconstruction of an Iraqi army, but we should not, as we are currently doing, actually encourage this at a cost of billions to the American taxpayer,” the authors write. “If at all possible, we should encourage Iraq to transfer what soldiers it has already recruited for its army into a national reconstruction corps modeled on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”

McGovern and Polk go on to say that nearly half of more than 100 U.S. military bases in Iraq have already been turned over to the Government but as many as 14 “enduring” bases are being built “and should be stood down rapidly” due to their expense and also as they “symbolize and personify a hated occupation” to a population only two percent of whom consider the Americans as “liberators.” What’s more, the Green Zone in Baghdad should be turned over to the Iraqi Government no later than the end of 2007.

The authors also call upon the U.S. “to dismantle and dispose of the miles of concrete blast walls and wire barriers erected around American installations.” This could be accomplished for about $500-million and could employ many Iraqi workers.

Scrap Oil Contracts

The U.S. “should not object to the Iraqi government voiding all contracts entered into for the exploration, development, and marketing of oil during the American occupation,” McGovern and Polk wrote.

“These contracts clearly should be renegotiated or thrown open to competitive international bids” as the Iraqis believe their oil has been sold at a discount to U.S. oil companies and that long-term “production-sharing agreements” have been highly favorable to the Americans and could cost Iraq as much as $194-billion in lost revenues.

“To most Iraqis, and indeed to many foreigners, the move to turn over Iraq’s oil reserves to American and British companies surely confirms that the real purpose of the invasion was to secure, for American use and profit, Iraq’s lightweight and inexpensively produced oil,” McGovern and Polk asserted.
They said, “any funds misused or misappropriated” by U.S. officials from the sale of Iraqi petroleum “should be repaid” to the proper Iraqi authorities.

The authors compared their call to indemnify Iraqi war victims to the U.S. post-World War II “Marshall Plan,” which redounded to America’s benefit by energizing the European economy. They note the number of Iraqi dead have been put at between 30,000 and 100,000 killed “with many more wounded or incapacitated.”

“Assuming the number of unjustified deaths to be 50,000, and the compensation per person to be $10,000, our outlay would run to only $500-million, or two days’ cost of the war,” the authors said. And estimating the number seriously wounded and incapacitated at 100,000, the total cost for their compensation would be $1-billion.

McGovern and Polk called for creation of a “respected international body” to process the claims of, and pay compensation to, Iraqis who have been tortured or suffered long-term imprisonment. More than 3,200 prisoners have been held for longer than a year and more than 700 for longer than two years, they note, “most of them without charge, a clear violation of the treasured American right of habeas corpus.”

Finally, the authors urged the U.S. to find a way “to express our condolences for the large number of Iraqis incarcerated, tortured, incapacitated, or killed in recent years. …A simple gesture of conciliation would go a long way toward shifting our relationship with Iraq from one of occupation to one of friendship.”

The Harper’s article, “The Way Out of War,” is excerpted from the book “Out of Iraq”, to be published next month by Simon & Schuster. Co-author McGovern, the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in 1972, was defeated by Richard Nixon.
#
(Sherwood Ross is an American reporter and columnist. Reach him at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com)  



8 Oct 2006 @ 23:28 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : Another thing.....

"McGovern and Polk called for the “rapid withdrawal” of 25,000 armed “security” firm personnel..."

What Ross doesn't make completely clear is that these "security firm personnel" are mercenaries: collectively a large private army, as McGovern points out, under no government supervision. They can do as they like, and answer only to their employers. McGovern suggests in his Harper's piece that they can easily be disbanded by simply ceasing to pay them. And that they will then all go home.

25,000 of them. That figure is astonishing, don't you think?  



9 Oct 2006 @ 10:51 by jazzolog : A Republican Who's Had It!
I love this column today by Douglas Cunningham, who is business editor for the Times Herald-Record which serves New York's Hudson Valley and the Catskills. What I'm noticing, besides all he has to say, is what a grand new hideaway rehab has become! As Harry Shearer put it in a new song last night, "Avoid the TV gab, Check into Rehab Rehab"~~~

Time to switch teams
Monday October 9, 2006

My father, until he died, maintained that the biggest mistake he ever made was voting for Harry Truman in 1948.

Truman, of course, beat Thomas Dewey, though the polls and media heavyweights all said the Republican would win. I think about this, and I think, "Oh, to make such mistakes! Oh, to have such a luxury!"

We have no such luxury today. Today, Washington, D.C., our capital, has become drenched in money, corruption and sex. Its tawdriness is unbounded, its morals are in the gutter, its corruption runs like a sewer.

So it is that we come to Mark Foley, the former representative from Florida. As well, sex creep, pervert and predator of male pages under age 18.

Could we not have a nice, normal scandal, something involving Dick Nixon, maybe? Too much to ask today.

Foley ought to do the country a favor and take a long walk on a short pier. Is there nothing that's beyond the pale?

I've had it. The Republican leadership in the House, beginning with Speaker Dennis Hastert, has got to go. As in now. I'm thinking we need to plow through four or five people right below Hastert, too. If the Republican members of the House had any guts, they'd have ousted these people last week. If the Republican leadership had any shame, they would have quit last week.

Apparently, not very many people these days have either, at least in Washington. Anyone who knew anything about the scandal, I want them gone. If the Republicans come to be known as the party that protects gay sexual predators, we're finished. I am not ready to abandon the party of Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater to the likes of Mark Foley.

The Hastert storyline is one in which there's no percentage. The most degenerate gambler wouldn't place a bet on Hastert and the rest surviving. The Hastert line is this: I take responsibility, but I've done nothing wrong. This is no worse than Democratic sex scandals. We, personally, have done nothing wrong.

Well, to start with, you did nothing about Foley. Do we need to know more? The Republican sex scandals are suddenly pure and virginal? Foley, to the pier. Hastert, to the bench.

Some of you then trot out, Oh, sure, it's a sex scandal that gets you upset. Everything else was A-OK.

No, it's not just that we understand this sex scandal, though it is awfully easy to understand. Pretty much everyone knows, on a visceral level, that what has gone on with Foley is deeply wrong.

The reason Republicans are bent out of shape is that this Foley scandal is the proverbial last straw. We've had it. The out-of-control spending. The earmarks. The graft with the lobbyists. The arrogance. The abrogation of principles that Goldwater, Reagan and others worked decades to spread.

The Republicans will lose the House in November. Absent big changes, I have to say they deserve to. I will help them lose it, because in my own congressional district, Pennsylvania's 10th, I'm voting for Democrat Chris Carney. As the campaign literature for Carney slyly notes, he's been married for 18 years to his college sweetheart.

Why might he note that? Because his opponent, and the incumbent, Republican Don Sherwood, engaged in a five-year affair in Washington with a mistress some three decades his junior.

My father had choices. The Republicans offer me candidates who can't even keep their pants on. I've had it.

Douglas Cunningham's commentary appears on Mondays. Reach him at dcunningham@th-record.com, or 346-3202.

http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061009/NEWS/610090325  



9 Oct 2006 @ 22:41 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : At least it's a step forward (perhaps?)
Seen as a token of GOPers who have jumped the fence, Cunningham's piece is heartening. Since Bush et al really have nothing (so it seems to me) in common with traditional Republican or Conservative values. They are quite radical.

In fact, I feel "conservative" nowadays. Like, say, conserving the Constitution?

Though traditional values on the part of this current zany crowd tend to be quite numbskull. All that floor scraping dreck over stem cells and gay marriage and flag burning and English first. (Get a life! I say.)

Bush et al have embarrassed their own party no end. If they had been more competent in their mad escapades they might be heroes today. But reality has never enjoyed a solid footing on the fabric of fantasies. One of Bush's bully boys (a proud philosoph) once scoffed at reality, with his famous condescension on "reality based" politics.

Cunningham's piece reveals some ugliness. That is true of all schlock. Mickey Spillane was not a bad writer because he couldn't write. He delivered the goods. His novels are bad because his own deeply ugly nature emerged. At the end of "I the Jury" Mike Hammer shoots a pregnant woman in the belly. She says: "How could you?" He answers: "It was easy."

We are neck deep in the big muddy at this time. How will it all turn out? Business as usual? Probably. Cunningham is a good voice for a continuing problem. But perhaps Bush et al have finally gone too far, and we may enjoy a temporary respite.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Yeah, Mike Hammer's line is echoed by Nicholson in The Departed. After assassinating a woman he remarks to his associate, "She fell funny." There's something sympathetic and even likeable about the monsters Jack creates on screen. He certainly is an icon of The Savage American, who apparently has evolved from The Quiet American. I wonder if he'll portray George Bush someday. That would be interesting---if it's a good script and director.

---Dick  



10 Oct 2006 @ 15:43 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : Nicholson as Bush?

Can you imagine Nicholson as Alfred E. Newman?

He would have to master a giggle. Now that's something to imagine: Nicholson giggling like Bush. Winking and smirking no matter what he talks about. Bombs dropping. Arms and legs flying. The price of pet goldfish at WalMart. All delivered with the same sententious tone of voice. They have nukes! They have jelly beans! They are good! They are evil! The nation's laundry needs more starch! We start bombing tomorrow!

And Nicholson's height would have to be cut down somewhat, since he appears to be a bit too tall to convincingly offer the same swagger. My father says that John Ford tought John Wayne how to walk. We saw Bush master his walking style when he became president. In the beginning they must have left the coat hanger in his jacket just to help him out a bit. Now he has it down cold. I'll say one thing for Ronald Reagan: at least his manly walk was convincing. Bush's walk makes him look like an embarrassing clown.

Can Nicholson capture all that? Is Bush to comically off kilter even for Jack Nicholson? No. someone like Mickey Rooney would be required to do Bush.

Nobody would believe it!  



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