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The Man Who Would Be Bush

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Posted on Apr 15, 2008
McCain and Bush
AP photo / Ron Edmonds

By Robert Scheer

Are Americans unusually stupid or is it something our president put in the water? As millions surrender their homes and sacrifice other standards of our nation’s economic and political reputation to the caprice of the Bush-Cheney imperium, a majority of voters tell pollsters that they might vote for a candidate who promises more of the same.

Assuming that likely voters are not now thinking of yet another Republican president simply because John McCain is the only white guy left standing—an excuse as pathetic in its logic as the decision four years ago to return two Texas oil hustlers to the White House because they were not Massachusetts liberals—must mean that tens of millions of Americans have taken leave of their senses.

If not the white-guy syndrome, why would even a shocking minority of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama supporters say they prefer McCain to the other Democrat? How otherwise to explain the nation’s widespread bipartisan rejection of the Bush presidency and yet a willingness to let McCain continue in that vein?

To be sure, as a senator, McCain has exhibited flashes of independence on behalf of taxpayers, as in his support of campaign-finance reform in which he partnered with Democrat Russ Feingold. McCain’s investigations of the military-industrial complex’s shameless exploitation of terrorism fears set a high standard, as in exposing the air-tanker scandal that dispatched a Boeing exec and a former Pentagon employee to prison. But his political ambition is showing. Although he previously harshly criticized the enormous waste in the Iraq occupation, today, as a presidential candidate, he opens the door to a hundred years of taxpayer dollars tossed down the drain in Iraq. The man who was tortured now hugs a leader who authorized the same.

By so unabashedly embracing the most glaringly failed U.S. president ever, McCain has surrendered the right to be considered an independent candidate, judged on his own merits and personal history. A vote for McCain is a vote for that rancid recipe mixing religious bigotry, imperial arrogance and corporate greed that he had stood against in the run-up to the 2000 presidential election when he challenged George W. Bush, but to which he now has capitulated.

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Too harsh? Then consider just how tight the space is between the rocks of our failed Mideast policy and the hard place of our impending financial disaster. The sudden out-of-control spike in the cost of oil—the key short-term market variable, the specter that stokes inflation fear and limits moves to avoid recession—is not a natural disaster or in any realistic way the result of inefficiency in the use of energy. What more than doubled the price of petroleum in the short run was not that too many of us bought Hummers, but rather that the political stability of the region that contains the bulk of that oil was deliberately and recklessly roiled.

In the name of fighting the 9/11 terrorists, the Bush administration overthrew the one Arab government most adamantly opposed to the Saudi financiers of that son of their system, Osama bin Laden. Instead of confronting the royal leaders of a kingdom that supplied 15 of the 19 hijackers, we invaded a nation that supplied not a single one. While Bush overthrew Saddam Hussein, who had no ties to the hijackers, he embraced the leaders of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the only three nations in the world that had diplomatically recognized and supported the Taliban sponsors of al-Qaida.

Consider that historical marker at a time when the UAE and Saudi Arabia bankers are buying major positions in distressed U.S. financial and other key corporate institutions. I know, it all sounds too conspiratorial, like imagining that we might wake up from this national nightmare and discover that the CEO of Halliburton, who replaced Dick Cheney when the latter selected himself to be Bush’s vice president, now has his headquarters in Dubai, tucked safely into the obscenely oil-revenue-rich UAE that our troops were sent to Iraq to protect.

There is no national outrage, or even seriously sustained media interest, over the fact that Cheney’s old company profited enormously from ripping off U.S. tax dollars going into the Iraq occupation. Nor is there even much curiosity about the shenanigans of Halliburton, which is doing business with Arab oil sheiks at a time when the U.S. banks these Middle Eastern oil interests bought into are moving to foreclose on American homeowners.

It’s just the sort of egregious betrayal of the trust of the taxpayers that Sen. McCain would have gone after, before he sought to don the soiled robes of the Bush presidency.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By NABNYC, April 16, 2008 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

People are horrified of the possibility of feeling pain, sadness, loss, embarrassment, and fear.  They will do terrible things to themselves to avoid having to feel those things.  Even commit suicide to avoid having to experience fear and pain. 

McCain offers the public what Bush did:  machismo b.s., encouragement to feel a sense of anger and violence against others:  g-d-it, we’re not gonna let no terrorist run us out of Iraq.  g-d-it, if work is slow we’ll get 2 jobs, or 3 jobs, but we’re not going to sit around and whine about it. 

People will jump into anger and embrace violence as a way out of fear and pain.  The unattended toddler wobbles on the edge of the swimming pool, the parents suddenly notice the toddler is missing then see her out back in danger, run out and embrace her, then start screaming in anger:  don’t you ever do that again.  Anger is okay.  Fear, pain, not okay.

McCain offers a simplistic if idiotic world view.  He is a dottering old man whose only claim to fame is that he flew airplanes and dropped bombs on villages full of people, and he got shot down and captured.  His glory comes from having enthusiastically participated in a war of aggression by the U.S. against an extremely poor nation that never did a thing to us.  He celebrates the 2 million Vietnamese we killed, and wishes we had stayed longer and wiped them all out.  He’s a madman.

But isn’t it easier to embrace the machismo than it is to look at the truth?  Our politicians are running a con.  They’re all corrupt, all on the take, all spend most of their time collecting bribes and selling their votes, and lieing to us about it.  We have pissed away billions, our economy has been looted and destroyed, and we have betrayed our children and grandchildren by allowing these criminals to take control of our government.  And by not doing anything to throw them out. 

Hillary also offers b.s and machismo—killing ducks, engaging in evasive action to foil the snipers. GI Jane camouflage.  That’s her way of reassuring the public that she loves war and killing too. 

Obama’s more real.  He says we need to all get involved, we need to get serious. 

McCain and the Clintons are united in poo-pooing everything Obama says.  They want the public to just let them continue the corruption, keep things the same.  I guess we’ll see.

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By tyler, April 16, 2008 at 10:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m sorry, I can’t even look at this man without being creeped out by his odd grin and tiny, girlish hands.  Does nobody else pick up on this?  That should be the driving force not to vote for him, his creepy, strained grin and his mutant small hands.  And don’t nobody tell me that his hands are small because their growth was stunted by having his arms repeatedly broken in vietnam, he was a fully grown (if you can call him that) man by that point.

Vote NO to john mcCain’s girlish hands!

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By Michael shaw, April 16, 2008 at 10:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ernest it seems to me your representation is of better service then the article you comment on. You are right on the money, literally. The real reason people are swayed the way they are is exactly because of the corporate owned parroting media, an important cog in the odious machine as Savio once called it. Sadly though and as always, the messenger will be killed by the very entity he so justifiably exposes. After all, what can possibly be more radical or subversive than the truth?

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By Eric L Prentis, April 16, 2008 at 9:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The President Bush tale-of-woe sandwich: “Recession to begin his presidency (2001), recession to end his presidency (2008) with a whole lot of lying, double dealing, corruption, runaway gas and food inflation, massive federal budget deficits, plunging value of the US dollar, shirking of government regulatory responsibility, abandonment of hurricane Katrina victims, setting himself up as a king through the profuse use of signing statements, war mongering and torture placed in-between.” The lovers of America could not possibly want President Bush’s policies continued, Mr. McCain should not be elected US president.

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By proletariatprincess, April 16, 2008 at 9:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The dumbing down of America, the anti intellectualism, the phoney anti elitism, the pretense of classlessness, the deskilling of jobs and the senseless glorification of low expectation “folkiness” has resulted in young Americans glorifying ignorance and stupidity. A lack of passion and interest in the real world….a pursuit of happiness and fun to the exclusion of all other interests. 
I know this sounds like the anciently familiar condemnation of the younger generation, but this time in history
it has it has been the result of a willful and effective effort of unprecidented propaganda and marketing.  No other generation has been exposed to such overwhelming exposure to consumerism sold with the most provactive sexual imagery.
Im told repeatedly not to upset myself with the troubles of the world…cant do anything anyway.  Doom and gloom isnt fun, Im told.  In this new Dark age, is it possible to simply ignore what is happening all around us?  Disturbingly, it is for some.
A little off topic, but I just want say how much I enjoy Truthdig and especially Bob Sheer’s articles.  I recieve the San Francisco Chronicle so I wouild miss his weekly opinion piece, but the commenters on this site are extraordinary and I wouldn’t want to miss a word of that.  Thank you to all of you for your thoughtful and insightful contributions to this site.

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By cann4ing, April 16, 2008 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

The anomaly of widespread opposition to the disaster that is the Bush regime and support for McCain embodies what Noam Chomsky refers to as the “democracy deficit”—the significant gap between the policy preferences of the electorate and the elites who purport to represent them.  So long as the information dissemination function is entrusted to an institution that is hostile to democracy (the corporate media), the American public is repeated deceived into voting not on the basis of policy but on the carefully-erected PR images. 

As Chomsky observed in “Failed States,” “when assigned the task of marketing candidates, the PR industry…resorts to the same techniques as in marketing commodities.  Deceit is employed to undermine democracy…”  The level of deceit is so successful that the majority of Bush voters not only supported the Kyoto protocols but actually believed that Bush did as well.

Ever since the Keating Five scandal of the late ‘80s, both McCain and the corporate media have worked tirelessly to erect an “image” of McCain as a maverick and a moderate.  There is no truth to that image.  On foreign policy, Mad Dog McCain is to the right of the neocons.  While McCain has, on occasion, actually admitted that he is ignorant on economics, the policies he does advance mirror those of the Bush White House.  He claims to be the scourge of special interest, yet there are more corporate lobbyists inside his campaign than in any other. 

McCain was reprimanded by the Senate ethics committee for accepting free air travel on Charles Keating’s private jets and then interfering with federal banking regulators, actions that cost U.S. taxpayers $3.4 billion when Lincoln Savings & Loan went bust.  He got off lightly given the blatant conflict-of-interest that arose because Keating had been in a partnership with McCain’s heiress wife, Cindy, in a real estate venture.

In January of this year, the NY Times published an against-the-grain article that revealed that despite the reprimand and claims at reformation, McCain hadn’t changed.  McCain accepted free travel on corporate jets belonging to several media moguls Lowell Paxson and Rupert Murdoch, then misused his position on the Senate to intervene on Paxson’s behalf when Paxson was seeking to acquire a public access channel.  But the only portion of this story that was given any coverage on cable was the issue of whether the Times had overstepped itself by alluding to a possible affair between McCain and Vicki Iseman, Paxson’s lobbyist.  The issues of McCain’s dishonesty and hypocrisy were ignored.

The problem isn’t that the American people are inherently stupid.  It’s that every time they turn on their TV, seeking the nightly “news,” they are bombarded with propaganda.  Welcome to Orwell’s Oceania.

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By Den Long, April 16, 2008 at 8:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

you wrote: 
“Are Americans unusually stupid or is it something our president put in the water?”

duh!  let me see ...  remember 2004?  we were up to our eyeballs in Iraq.  The CIA said Iraq had nothing to do w/ terror.  The 911 commish said Iraq had nothing to do w/ 911.  But the (stupid) American people re-elected King George because we wanted revenge on Iraq for 911. 

Sorry folks but we deserve what we got!  George Bush has made America into “The Bad Guys”

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By Bill Blackolive, April 16, 2008 at 8:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Americans are unusually stupid and had often elected psychotics, till we get to the present, who will attack Iran and spill hell upon this land.  I was innocent, myself.

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By Louise, April 16, 2008 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

When I mentioned a few years back that we would soon see oil rigs springing up all over the landscape, I was laughed at. Everyone thought I was kidding. When I commented that Pakistan would eventually be recognized as a greater threat than Afghanistan or Iran, same reaction. When I said we would see shortages similar to what we experienced during WWII people began to fear for my sanity. When I cautioned people to avoid the trap of easy money by using over inflated real estate equity, I just made folks mad. When I suggested that Bush was capable of starting a nuclear war, I was told to shut up. And when I mentioned the debate on the bankruptcy bill and the health care bill, I was greeted with a blank stare.

Point being, I have time to pay attention. Most folks don’t. And having the time, I also have the good fortune to be able read the facts that lead to problems in all periods of our history. Most folks don’t. So they put their faith and trust in their “leader” believing since he/she was chosen by them, he/she will always protect their best interests. Of course that’s true only when and if the chosen is honest, and they know what “our” best interests are. And since most of us are to lazy to let them know, they often go off in a direction contrary to where we want them to go. And when that happens, we blame them. For not being able to read our minds, I suppose.

This peculiar human condition works against us, but works very well for “bad” people. Bad people never become leaders because they want to lead. Bad people become leaders because they want to be followed. Confused? Anyone can get caught up in the desire to solve a problem. But it’s much easier to give up personal integrity to a group who will elevate your value and shield you from actually having to solve that problem. While at the same time making sure the good PR keeps getting dumped on your followers. Perhaps that’s a good definition for politicians.

Lifetime commitment to a “notion” often controls peoples thought process. In the best of times, they don’t look back. In the worst of times they don’t look forward. Catching up versus survival.

When we struggle to make the mortgage payment and discover we didn’t take out enough withholding. We blame taxes for our woes. Who’s running the show when that pain sets in becomes the one to blame. When we end up getting more back than we thought was coming, we do the same thing, only in this case it’s credit.

That ridiculous oversimplification is at the very core of the peculiarities we see every election cycle.

Now, republicans have that fact down to a fine art. They have become so proficient at it, all they need do is say the word, taxes, and folks jump to their side. We scratch our heads and wonder how can people be so stupid? But the reality is the people are trapped, not stupid. And the worse things get, the firmer the trap.

Perhaps when things get so bad that even “Rich Uncle” is scared they’ll pay attention. Meanwhile poor folks rarely offer input. Extreme poverty tends to lead one to focus on things other than the economy. Because either way it makes little difference to them. The same can be said for extreme wealth. Fun and indulgence are far more important than paying attention to what the government is doing. That’s what they pay their attorneys and brokers and accountants to do.

When they start jumping out of windows, maybe the middle class will take note.

Meanwhile, folks who believe the Reagan Myth will look with some hope at McCain, because they really know absolutely nothing about the man. But he’s one of those guys, in that group, that they believe has tried hard all these years to do something about taxes. And right now, that’s all that matters. Next month it will be something else.

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By G.Anderson, April 16, 2008 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

Mr. McCains own personal attributes mean very little, neither does what he wants to do.

The most important salient fact of this election, personality aside, is that The Republican Party is destroying this country.

Forget about the personality contest that this election as become.

If the Republican party retains power then the dismanteling of our rights will continue.

The bottom line is that the Republican party is a threat to our Democracy.

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By fat ellen, April 16, 2008 at 8:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One of the reasons some Democrats might vote for McCain (and I might if Hillary is the nominee—I am a 68-yr-old white female who lives in Ohio)is that they might expect a new Congress to keep McCain from accomplishing his agenda.

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By SuGee, April 16, 2008 at 7:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Mr. Scheer for another accurate and useful article.  The reason that George (The War Criminal)Bush pre-emptively attacked Iraq was to move the U.S. military bases out of Saudia Arabia per the Saudi Royal Family’s request/demand.  Remember, according to the author of Plan of Attack, the war criminal told the Saudi Prince/Ambassador/good buddy that he was going to attack Iraq.  There are at least four permanent military bases/U.S. towns smack dab in Mesopotamia.  McSame was a prisoner of war for a reason.  He was indiscriminately bombing North Viet Nam when he was shot down.  The only thing that he understands is using the military to settle anything.

George W. Bush has been a criminal his entire life.  According to PETA he blew up frogs with firecrackers for fun and games as a child.  Then his adolescent buddy, Mr. Throckmorton stated in an editorial in the NYTimes in the summer of 2004 that George would shoot frogs as they exited a local pond after a rain with a 22 rifle, because he was old enough to be given that tool(?).

The fact that our economy is tanking and yet there is no money to assist in a jobs program and the latest housing protection bill is actually saving such corporations as the airlines and investment banking execs. The assistance in saving anyone’s house demonstrates how effectively the boob tube has indoctrinated the public.  The whole program has been very efficient in dumbing down our younger population.  I just sat through a twelve week program, talking with a number of these young people who irresponsibly procreated and didn’t bother to even finish high school.  The fact that our current war criminal president and his alcoholic father figure,“Unka Dicky”, are attempting to plan an attack on Iran again demonstrates who their friends are, as Mr. Scheer so eloquently stated.

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By Eric Barth, April 16, 2008 at 7:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think that John McCain is an opportunist who, rather than staking out positions and sticking to them, tests the winds and tacks back and forth when he deems it necessary. How else to explain his rejection of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Bob Jones, et.al, and then publicly appearing with the despicable charlatan John Hagee in San Antonio. Governor Rick Perry and Senator Kay Baily Hutchison weren’t shy about appearing with Hagee either during that meeting. Robert Sheer is correct about the pull of ambition to be President trumping everything else. The same is happened with Hillary Clinton once it became apparent that she wasn’t just going to anointed standard bearer. The disgusting patronizing and pandering to the Reagan Democrats and/or downtrodden and struggling people of Pennsylvania by Ms. Clinton and the Rovian attacks on Barack Obama demonstrate her ambition to be President. It’s all very heady stuff, but I hope the country can make it through this very frightening period of its history.

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By Blueboy1938, April 16, 2008 at 6:53 am Link to this comment

When frightened, humans can make irrational decisions, if they become convinced those decisions will protect them.  Change can be seen as a threat under the best of circumstances.  In the midst of an economic meltdown, coupled with a war and the dread of an insidious world-wide enemy, hyped as inimical to the “homeland,” and creation of world-wide enmity, clinging to the familiar can be reassuring to some.  Witness Linus’s “security blanket.”  He panics with even the threat of it’s being taken away.  Unfortunately, turning to someone who offers “more of the same” flies in the face of the current facts:  The current administration has entangled us in an unnecessary war, driven up the national debt precipitously, allowed unregulated financial institutions to get themselves and many of us into untenable positions, and trampled on human rights in the name of “security.”  McCain figures, “What the hey! It worked for Bush.”

In passing, I would like to note with admiration Cyrena’s reaching her 3,650th post.  That’s equivalent to one post a day for ten years!  At about an average of six inches per post, her contributions to the blogosphere here, if laid end to end, would at least extend about .34 miles.  Congratulations, Cyrena!

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By Aegrus, April 16, 2008 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

Well, there is more to the argument, Fish. Don’t you think a certain policy and ethical righteousness has been indoctrinated into the Democratic and Left-Leaning circles of this country as well? The only thing missing, as far as I can see, is the clear vision of real issues to impact. The Republicans have “God, Guns and Gays,” but the Democrats have…? Tax increases on the wealthy, civil rights and environment?

My point being, of course, real progressives seem to focus on social issues on unequal terms. Finding two progressives or democrats who feel exactly the same on every issue is really difficult because we are fed this individualist ego complex and diversity worship. While, of course, these things aren’t of an evil nature, to conclude either really helps a cause of winning elections and influencing culture is a lie.

Really, it is a uniform vision of life missing from anti-Right Wing movements. Largely because we have so many varied degrees of progressive. The most liberal progressives are completely pacifist, organic-vegan and pro-socialism. Many people from these movements don’t consider outsiders to have anything in common with them, and they are seen as strange to the moderate Left. We don’t have real uniform belief in old institutions the way our opposition does, and everyone is too caught up in their personal philosophy to unite under real causes because every fringe organization has their own cause to fight for.

We are divided, and that is why we fail. Too many issues are fought for under pretense and for counter-culture reasons. People are vehement in too many different causes. Saving the whales or the kiwi, organic farming or sustainable farming, local-centric business or globalized fair-trade, stopping arms trade abroad or banning all firearms in the city.

Every one of these ideas is rooted in validity, but it is because everyone takes one issue over the other and disconnects from the big picture in lieu of their own opinion that we fall flat when it comes to passing legislation. Not to mention that these causes are like the Right’s donation to starving kids in Africa for five-cents a day. It’s intangible issues, which we really don’t feel or see on a day to day basis that make up most of the issues Progressives fight, and it is difficult to convince people they are making any difference or that these causes are worth fighting for when they never see results.

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By troublesum, April 16, 2008 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

Is it against the law to spend campaign funds on botox?  McCain must be having it trucked in.  He looks like he’s been drinking it by the gallon.  Anyone who didn’t know that the republicans were going to win this one must have been out of the country for the past 20 years.  It’s all about reversing what the majority wants.

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By Shenonymous, April 16, 2008 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

That “shocking minority” could well determine the outcome of the election.  I believe they do not quite understand the “misery they know.”  I believe it is a delusion and those deluded do not know they are really suffering, we do, those who are lucid about the reality about us.  Americans as a people, the whole population will not engage in reflection, as hoped.  They are incapable without some extraordinary hot poker stuck up their collective asses, such as American Idol generates.  That is the extent of their thinking ability.  We are also deluded in thinking this is the greatest country on the planet.  It is utter conceit.  So exactly how are you going to overcome the odds of voter tampering, election fraud, and just plain hoi polloi self-deception?  It is the latter one I am most concerned with.  Maybe billboards across America with “How is the war in Iraq helping me?” might work, since self-interests always have an edge over community-interests.  We need some clever graphic design artist to get the message across and a lot of money to make the signs and rent the billboards.  Money, it seems, can be the great equalizer here.  Oh, and someone to lead the charge!  Which candidate can do that and capture the paltry imagination of the public?  Both Democrats have discouraging platforms.  McCain is not an option.  What?  Who?  Have we really lost our will?  We are in a pickle.

I was once told that among evils, one has to choose the lesser.  Ain’t that the truth?

Every single day now, we are hearing in the news the same schizophrenic reports:  the crises in Iraq and the Middle East in general, especially with the thumbscrews they are putting on the oil guzzling world (especially Americans, so we think), pitted against the ghastly economy and decimated social programs Bush has caused and with which he is now leaving us.  Is it even thinkable that McCain would be able to take that over? How about over our dead bodies?

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By Alex, April 16, 2008 at 6:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

‘..sacrifice…our nation’s economic and political reputation to the caprice of the Bush-Cheney imperium.’ Let’s not forget that the Iraq War Resolution and NAFTA were championed by BOTH parties. Perhaps the greatest sin committed by us ‘unusually stupid’ americans is not seeing the two-headed monster for what it truly is.

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By TDoff, April 16, 2008 at 6:08 am Link to this comment

Well, cyrena, when a vast majority of a society bases it’s version of ‘reality’ on figments and foibles, and then, on a daily basis, functions amorally, disaster looms.
Or, in the case of the ‘christian’ US, is upon us.

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By Teresa Navés, April 16, 2008 at 5:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

PRESS RELEASE

A conference: “THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ AND INTERNATIONAL LAW: THE COUSO CASE” will be held at the School of Law and Economy (University of Lleida) (Catalonia, Spain) on the 17th and 18th of April.

The conference is sponsored by the University of Lleida (Catalonia Spain) and by the Red Cross.

Further information at http://www.dpub.udl.cat/jornadairaq/es/index.html
The complete conference program is available at http://www.dpub.udl.cat/jornadairaq/es/programa.html

The information is provided both in Spanish and Catalan and the proceedings will be published in an book edited by Albert Galinsoga, Professor of International Law and coordinator of the Conference.

Among the participants are Ignasi Guardans, member of the European Parlament; Javier Couso, and other professors of law, writers and journalists.

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By JimM72, April 16, 2008 at 5:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ABC news last night gave approx 15 seconds to the mass carnage in Iraq on Monday.
It led off with the Pope’s visit-if he had any spine he would not associate with Bush, nor celebrate his birthday with one responsible for mass murder and chaos. Some religious leader he is.

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By cyrena, April 16, 2008 at 5:24 am Link to this comment

Part 1 of 2

I have to agree with TDoff that it is not an either/or phenomena, nor has it developed overnight. I can’t explain the change in McCain, since Mr. Scheer points to several obvious events from the past political life of John McCain. It’s like he’s done a total reverse, and the only thing that actually makes any sense at all to me, is that he’s suffering from the same disorders that have affected millions of Americans in the times that we live in. Nobody wants to address this, since it’s ‘not supposed to happen’ to THEM, (or ‘us’) but the bottom line is that dementia, and other similar disorders are becoming epidemic in an aging society. We can call it Alzheimer’s disorder, even though that was the name originally given to those with EARLY on-set dementia, as opposed to the standard dementia that affects many humans as we age. However, EARLY on-set is 40’s 50’s, even 60’s. John McCain is NOT a youngster, and so it could be a combination.

And NO! I’m not suggesting that everyone over the age of 65 or 70 must have some form of dementia, or that even the MAJORITY of us do. I AM saying that it is an issue not to be ignored in an aging population, and just because someone is a rich politician doesn’t make them immune. Regan developed this disease while he was in office, and that’s the reality. That however, only explains (and only partially) the issue with the major/drastic change in McCain.

As for the American public, I don’t know about ‘something in the water’. I believe it is more like ‘something in the ideological air’, and I believe that Barack Obama hit on it, when he talked about folks reverting to the religiosity and all the rest, based on the overall socio-psychology of the American public in general. Yeah, yeah, I know EJ Dionne is gonna say that I’m sounding like some sophomoric social-science student, but the fact of the matter is that it is very REAL! We are DEPRESSED!

We’ve had 3 plus decades of a society that consumes, consumes, consumes, and most of it has been fantasy and fairy tale. We’ve got Oprah and Dr. Phil, and an established media that has failed us in a very big way, aside from the limited few journalists and editors still around, who are willing to address substantive issues. The American public has either been dumbed down, or totally neglected, given bobbles and bangles and trinkets to entertain us and keep us from thinking below the surface of the reality that has been ‘spun’ for consumption. And when somebody comes along to expose what is beneath all of that, what happens? Well, look at Michael Moore..how much has he been hassled and obstructed? And any other person that comes to the fore, who is willing to acknowledge this, openly, such as…HEY, THE EMPEROR ISN’T WEARING ANY CLOTHES, we see what happens to them as well.

Far, far, far too many Americans are still in the ‘me era’ and the ‘I’ve got mine’ mentality. For those who DON’T have, and are losing more and more ground everyday, the human tendency is to cling to what was (at some point in their imaginations) ‘better times’. And so yeah, the white man syndrome comes right up. For far too many people, the world has changed far too drastically, and when we’ve not been able to ‘keep up’ or otherwise understand these changes and why they are happening, the standard thing is to retreat (if only in our own minds) to what we saw as better times, or ‘alternative scenarios’ that have been carefully crafted by the propagandists over an extended period of time.

And we hear it and read it everyday, right here on these blogs. The racism and the hate that has, if anything, INCREASED rather than DECREASED, because of the frustration and the sense of helplessness that has set-in over the past 8 years. Everyone needs some sort of an ideological scapegoat, and for those who have intentionally been isolated and left in the dark, the scapegoat always becomes someone or something OTHER than the real culprit(s).

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By cyrena, April 16, 2008 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

Part 2 of 2

How many Americans have any clue to the enormous sway that the Saudis hold over our lives and economy? We don’t. And when Robert Scheer, or Michael Moore, or Barack Obama bring these things to the light, how many want to shut them up immediately? What did the establishment do to Martin Luther King, Jr. when he forced these issues to the light?

And the more oppressed we become, the more we take refuge in the non-reality. Why do people abuse drugs or other substances? For the very same reasons that so many others retreat to their bibles, or what they call their ‘family values’. It’s an ideological escape from the misery of the reality, and the helplessness of the now distorted ideology that says, “We’re a ‘can-do’ nation’. Anybody that works hard and follows the rules and blah, blah, blah, can get ahead, and have the American dream. And as the LIE continues to force its way into the consciousness of more and more Americans, we cling to panaceas that ‘if only’ we just go back to what we foolishly believed were better times. But, we CAN’T. And not only is everyone else afraid to face the boogey man and/or slay the dragon, we get pissed when someone else is willing to lead the way or do it for us! Better to just ‘leave things be’ and accept our destinies as proscribed by the robber barons? I think NOT! What? Are we trying to avoid ‘rocking the boat’ when the ship is damn near sunk?

Still, for those who cannot accept that, be it out of fear or ignorance, we have what we have…this shocking minority of Americans who would actually vote for John McCain rather than the alternatives. They would rather remain in the ‘misery they know’ than to make any positive steps toward improving our collective and thereby individual environment or circumstances in life.


Anyway, this is an excellent piece from Mr. Scheer. I can only hope that Americans will reflect on what makes us continue to sabotage ourselves by putting the same robbers/thieves/gangsters and con artists in control of our lives, over and over again.

I’ve also posted a few excerpts from the below article by Bob Herbert, a long time NYT columnist, on another thread. I think it’s worth a read.

Losing Our Will
  By Bob Herbert
  The New York Times
  Saturday 12 April 2008

  I wonder what the answers would be if each American asked himself or herself the question: “How is the war in Iraq helping me?”

  While the U.S. government continues to pour precious human treasure and vast financial resources into this ugly war without end, it is all but ignoring deeply entrenched problems that are weakening the country here at home.

  On the same day that President Bush was announcing an indefinite suspension of troop withdrawals from Iraq, the New York Times columnist David Leonhardt was telling us a sad story about how the middle class has fared during the Bush years.

  The economic boom so highly touted by the president and his supporters “was, for most Americans,” said Mr. Leonhardt, “nothing of the sort.” Despite the sustained expansion of the past few years, the middle class - for the first time on record - failed to grow with the economy.

  And now, of course, we’re sinking into a nasty recession.

  The U.S., once the greatest can-do country on the planet, now can’t seem to do anything right. The great middle class has maxed out its credit cards and drained dangerous amounts of equity from family homes. No one can seem to figure out how to generate the growth in good-paying jobs that is the only legitimate way of putting strapped families back on their feet.

The rest at the link.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041208C.shtml

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By TheRealFish, April 16, 2008 at 5:21 am Link to this comment

It was the politics of “divide and conquer” that began with Ronald Reagan, Pat Robertson, Newt Gingrich and a few other across the past 30 years.

That “Reagan Revolution” was all about splitting up people who hoped they could trust their political leaders not to betray their own country—not realizing that “trickle down” “voodoo economics” was all about empowering an emerging corporatocracy that is now in full flower.

And it was the politics of division, of polarizing Right against Left, of using red meat “social” issues to divide father against daughter, mother against son, sibling against sibling and neighbor against neighbor that created this dumbing-down of the electorate.

I believe that’s why we now see portions of otherwise thinking Democrats saying they would do the completely illogical and vote McCain instead of an alternative Democratic candidate we do not currently support.

Feelings have been brought to the boiling point for very many in Democratic (and independent) circles through this too-long Democratic primary season, and those feelings (as they almost always do when stirred too heavily) trump logic.

That’s why red meat, kitchen sink politics were turned-to by Republicans after their moral center was exposed back with Richard Nixon. They were a party in disfavor and disarray, were losing ground rapidly after Nixon resigned and particularly after Gerry Ford pardoned him.

Ronald Reagan showed them how they could maintain that corrupt moral center, while (illogically) waving the flag of some ill-defined, supreme morality through pushing red meat, silent majority, “God, guns and gays” issues.

The fact that, in this Democratic campaign cycle, the kitchen sink was uncorked to drain its brackish water over all of us, that the campaign has been reduced to tearing at red meat tossed our way, that our emotions begin to control our logical minds is all the explanation necessary.

In my cooler moments I would *never* vote for John McCain or any other Republican, though I found myself actually saying those words to friends some weeks ago. And why did those words ever pass my lips?

I was very, very angry. Very (pardon me) bitter. And why?

I saw a very desperate Democratic candidate uncork that kitchen sink (back around the Texas/Ohio primaries) when it became obvious her campaign was in disarray and losing ground; I saw those bits of red meat being flung carelessly about with apparent lust for something slipping from her grasp.

I saw someone whom I once respected resorting to the very tactics used against her and her husband (and the rest of an otherwise thinking electorate) for too many years, and I deeply resented it.

Of course, as any good student of Gingrich, “the Hammer” Delay or Rove, she was also able to state with certainty that black is white and red is blue and even convince her followers that this was true.

She uncorked the sink, the water splashed off Obama back on her, and she started crying about Obama throwing water at her. Once the chum is in the water, such distinctions become blurry and ill-defined… . Her followers and the red-meat-media all started attacking The Great Water Thrower Obama.

And, as Sherlock Holmes would say, “the game is on.”

And, after all (current statements notwithstanding), the Clintons argued for weeks that the only other “qualified” candidate is McCain. Combine that message to her followers with those Obama supporters who, like me, deeply resent her kitchen sink tactics and you arrive at those seemingly puzzling poll results.

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By stradivarius, April 16, 2008 at 4:51 am Link to this comment

Given that America’s schools have been starving to death for decades and this is the third generation of Americans who have been weaned on the nonsense spewed by their TV networks, is anybody really surprised that they elected GW Bush twice and now there is an excellent chance they will install McCain as his successor?

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By Sang Ze, April 16, 2008 at 4:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

McCain is obviously just another Bush, but he has no viable opposition. Who wants to vote for a couple of yahoos who jump around like frightened jackrabbits and have little of substance to offer? Who can support a party that cannot field a leader? McCain will win, of course. The media has already made that clear. And with McCain, we will sink even further into the morass his party has given us to the benefit of the few.

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By Shenonymous, April 16, 2008 at 4:34 am Link to this comment

Dr. your restraint describes the xmaspsychosis and quite rightly.  Which is why I described the politicopsychosis as lasting about a month.  But that one month could spell disaster like it did almost eight years ago and again almost four years ago.  So flippant as it may seem, we, all of us, had better have our heads on straight this time in that election booth.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, April 16, 2008 at 4:28 am Link to this comment

Naw, its American Presidential Campaign Tradition, like Christmas. 

A long time before the event, preparations are made.  You hear Jingle Bells 18,000,000 times, you get out all the decorations, lights and trees, you completely immerse yourself in and surround yourself with everything Christmas, in a numbed primal response, like Pavlov’s dog, to the tradition, the sounds, the smells, the excitement of Christmas.  You become a part of the frenzy.  Then, it comes, goes, and everything is the same, except, you’re a little bit poorer, financially, emotionally and psychologically. 

You don’t really hear Jingle Bells, it’s there, you recognize it, but you don’t pay much attention because you don’t have to.  You’ve heard it 18,000,000 times before.  And you know you’ll hear it again.  Even if you chose not to be a part, the drive is so strong and so deftly manipulated by Madison Ave., MMM and psychology genius campaign managers that you couldn’t resist.  But, what the hell, it’s tradition.  There’s not a lot out there to get excited about.

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By jackpine savage, April 16, 2008 at 4:23 am Link to this comment

Americans are “stupid”, per se, but we have certainly come to the point where we accept our mythology as revealed truth.  That changes everything.  We are the richest, most powerful, and freest country in the world because we believe it.  Once upon a time, a nation of people began to think that it was, truly, composed of supermen who had the right and duty to rule the world.

And while individuals may be intelligent, collectively people tend towards stupid.  People will do things as a group that they would never do individually.

“Experience is a dear school, but a fool will learn in no other.” ~B. Franklin

It certainly looks as though the American people are exploring post-graduate educational opportunities.

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By Shenonymous, April 16, 2008 at 4:22 am Link to this comment

Sorry for the weird list of reference items that appears at the top of my comment.  I was working on something else when the TD article came in.  Distractions can be linguistically deadly, but it wasn’t this time!  My apologies.

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By Shenonymous, April 16, 2008 at 4:16 am Link to this comment

concordances
dictionaries
thesaureses
diglossia used in translations
syntax
semantics

If you should search for an encompassing definition for psychosis, we find it is a broad description of serious emotional disturbances, often rendering individuals incapable of staying in contact with reality.  Symptoms of psychoses include hallucinations and delusions, lack of appropriate emotional response and sever impairment of judgment.  There is a type of acute psychosis that involves brief episodes lasting about a month most likely resulting from situational circumstances such as natural disasters like earthquakes and floods but can also arise from unnatural disasters such as political elections.  This can be called politicopsychosis.  It involves a structural deterioration of individual brains to the extent where reality is not distinguishable from figments of the imagination.  Delusional beliefs involve holding one or more non-bizarre, or false beliefs derived from deception, self-deception about the state of sociopolitical affairs. A person with delusional disorder can be quite functional and does not tend to show any odd or bizarre behavior except as a direct result of the delusional belief.  Drug theapy, electroconvulsive therapy, it is said, has been successful in treating this serious psychological disorder.

What Sheer said needs repeating not just here but over and over again everywhere so that reality may seep into the consciousness, shallow or deep, of those who are suffering the politicophychosis described above since there is no pill nor are there, unfortunately, any electroshock (ECT) machines available for general public use.  Sheer said, “By so unabashedly embracing the most glaringly failed U.S. president ever, McCain has surrendered the right to be considered an independent candidate, judged on his own merits and personal history. A vote for McCain is a vote for that rancid recipe mixing religious bigotry, imperial arrogance and corporate greed that he had stood against in the run-up to the 2000 presidential election when he challenged George W. Bush, but to which he now has capitulated.”

I am going to print that out, make copies, and distribute them as far and wide as I can afford.

TDoff, you could not have said it better either.  I’m grateful that someone with a brain was the first to make a comment here.

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By Jaded Prole, April 16, 2008 at 3:45 am Link to this comment

While one can never underestimate the American voter, the system that eliminates any candidates with moral integrity doesn’t help. There are many like myself who will just not vote for Hillary Clinton. Either way it would be “more of the same” but with Clinton you get some illusions.

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By TDoff, April 16, 2008 at 2:48 am Link to this comment

Both the ‘Stupid’ theory and the ‘D.C. Water’ theory would make a lot of sense to a rational observer, Robert. But it’s not an either-or situation. Both may be acting in tandem to produce voter dementia.

And where to find a rational observer? The republican party is obviously devoid of ‘rational’, and has been for years, while the democratic party, based on the current campaign, thinks ‘rational’ is a disease to be avoided, like plague or HIV.

Could it be that ‘stupid’ is contagious? That some global company is secretly bottling D.C. water and marketing it as ‘Elixir from the Highest Peaks’ nationwide? Could a plethora of fat cells be crowding out synapses and neurons among the general public? Is using Saturday morning cartoon shows as news sources lowering political comprehension? Does widespread illiteracy make republicanism seem intelligent by comparison? Or do folks just have a soft spot in their hearts for old lying farts at the end of their useful life?

That could explain the McCain phenomenon. Explaining Bush would require in-depth psychiatric analysis.

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