Saturday, October 29, 2005

Kerry has a plan. Finally.

Senator John Kerry (D-MA) finally made the major speech of his life Wednesday night at Georgetown University in Washington,DC. This was the speech he should have made a year ago; if he had, he would be President now, but he didn’t and he isn’t.

My initial reaction was shock. Did he really say what he just said? Get out of Iraq now, and here’s the Plan? Maybe I better check my brain for loose wiring; I could swear I just heard Kerry take a position.

For those of you who missed it (which was easy to do, as most national media, including the big newspapers, have diligently not reported it or buried it on page 13), his position is this: bring home 20,000 troops over the upcoming holidays, convene a summit of all Middle Eastern countries to address Iraq security issues with multi-national agreements, and end the war within 15 months. There are some minor details, but in rough outline, that’s it. Jolly good so far, and it’s doable.

What’s the kicker? Well, first, it isn’t going to happen. Why? Because too many people, including several Democratic presidential hopefuls, want us to stay in the Mid East until into the far, far future, for “power projection” reasons, as well as to post a guard on the oil, whether they will tell you that or not. Additionally, liberal war hawks (especially Clinton, Biden and Lieberman) will be denied the dubious credit of “standing tall” unilateral interventions and the continuance of spilled blood in their quest to show off their machismo vis a vis “national security,” and fear that America will once again be accused of turning tail before another “insurgent” force (think Viet Cong, the South Vietnamese communist/nationalist guerrilla insurgents). There is also the hateful possibility of a unified Iraq nationalizing their petroleum industry, reducing American control in that field, and the very real threat of Iraq joining OPEC. With a continued US presence in the heart of the oil producing region, we can continue to hold the threat of potential military action over their heads until the oil is finally all sucked up (not too long now, as peak oil is about here) and we no longer have an economic reason to be there.

Some of these people honestly believe in continuing to throw American weight around, just as we did during the Cold War, and some are just anxious to display national-security “savvy” by forward-basing all that military hardware that they spent so many years lobbying for in return for campaign cash, and hey, a promise is a promise, even if it is to the highest bidder.

Unfortunately, the national security plan of this country is more or less set in concrete, and politicians on both sides of the aisle are in general agreement that American hegemony is here to stay; too many politicians are too beholden to military contractors and lobbyists to rationally rethink America’s real interests: a single-payer national health care plan, the rebuilding of American industry and bringing American jobs back home, an honest dialogue on race relations, an end to the unjust and crushing "war on drugs" that incarcerates millions of American citizens, a realistic approach to terrorism and its root causes, and the endemic, institutionalized, rampant and thoroughly embedded corruption of the American political process.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Bush may be crazy

“I don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure me out … I’m just not into psychobabble.”
-George W. Bush

That the Bush administration is a criminal enterprise is a theme that I have expounded upon at length in earlier posts and explains much of the obtuse actions on the part of Bush and his fellow travelers, especially his callousness when it comes to the poor, the underprivileged, and the politically disenfranchised. Greed knows no bounds, as they say. Still, I was assuming that his motivations were merely crass and the result of a kind of aristocratic blindness, the kind that affected Marie Antoinette, say. What I had not really considered was the possible pathology behind that self-centeredness with the potential disasters awaiting as a result of allowing someone like him to hold the reigns of almost ultimate power.

Bush is a child of privilege, used to getting his own way or being bailed out when his projects crash and burn, his path through life seemingly blissfully unencumbered by doubts or self-examination. I had assumed that he was just another bully, surrounding himself with others of his ilk, as bullies like to travel in packs, much like feral dogs. His selfishness, his “my way or the highway” could be seen as just the antics of a sheltered, protected brat, and brats are usually harmless. Being President, however, his bullying is potentially very dangerous for a whole lot of people, what with him being Commander in Chief, as the chickenhawks never tire of reminding us. It never occurred to me that he might be just plain crazy.

Back in June of 2004, Justin A. Frank, MD published a very interesting book, Bush On the Couch, which was a hot item in DC for some weeks, generated
a little heat in the press, then sank like a stone out of sight. Damn little was written in followup, even though Bush has on numerous occassions displayed erratic behavior to the point of unnerving the White House press corps, historically reluctant to wash Presidential linen in public.

Dr. Frank does a kind of remote-control psychoanalysis of Georgie, along the lines of the kind of psychological profiling that was done on Hitler in WWII and for other world leaders since, Sadaam Hussein included. This particular analysis was accomplished in much the same way that the FBI profiles serial killers and the like: from their actions, from the trail of clues and victims they leave and their communications with officials and others. With Bush, of course, we have lots of both, including books detailing his family, his mother’s biography and magazine interviews with other family members, as well as reminiscences from chums from grade school through Yale, not to mention a whole library of news tapes chronically his lurches, incoherent mutterings and Anglo Saxon fingering of the press.

Consider this: as a tender young lad, Georgie was fond of stuffing M-80s down the gullets of frogs after lighting the fuse. Said frogs would then explode. Wheee! While at Yale, Georgie invented the practice of initiating inductees into his fraternity by branding them. In later years, he dismissed this by claiming the burns were “mere cigarette burns.” (Not quite the truth.) Or this: when Georgie was, seven, his younger sister, Robin, died after a prolonged fight against leukemia. A tragedy for any family, and pretty emotional, no doubt leaving psychic scars on all concerned, yet, when Bush was recently in the presence of an Army mother who had lost her son in Iraq, he is quoted as saying, “I can’t imagine how you feel.” Hmm, well, maybe, if you’ve repressed your emotions so deeply that a rather major tragedy in your formative years is just plain forgotten.

Examples abound in recent legislative history of Bush’s callous disregard of the weak, the defenseless and of those not of his innermost circle. His well-documented gleefulness when turning down death sentence appeals while governor of Texas, every one of his political initiatives, the so-called No Child Left Behind Act, the Clean Skies Act, Social Security reform, the Iraq war, etc. as well as his public pronouncements, “You’re either with us or against us,” “fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here,” point to a certain social distain (note that they are all programs aimed at the underpriveleged, the disenfranchised or the weak, reducing benefits or eliminating the programs altogether) that is seemingly deliberate and yet unconscious.

So what’s the problem here? Being a selfish jerk really doesn’t seem to cut it. This guy is just plain vicious, monumentally so, and doesn’t seem to give a rat’s ass about anything except his wants, his morality (or lack of it), his exercise, his “private time,” and ‘if you’re not for him, you’re against him.’

Pretty sick? Yup. If someone in your family acted like this, you’d probably call the guys in the white jackets pretty damn quick.

Based on Bush’s personal and public history, Frank thinks that Bush is probably a megalomaniac, sociopathic (possibly borderline pathological), suffers from abandonment issues and compensates for his feelings of inferiority with delusions of power and invincibility. This bit is a hoot, I know, because, frankly, he does have power. Couple this with his documented drug abuse and untreated alcoholism (known as being a dry drunk) … but you get the picture. In others words, he’s one sick puppy and dangerous as hell. Because when megalomaniacal sociopaths are cornered, they hurt people even more. Their reckless behavior escalates, leading them into even more risky situations. You see, they want to get caught and punished

So where does that leave us, the nominally sane? Basically, out to lunch and shit out of luck when he finally snaps. Buckle up, folks, this ride ain’t over and it’s gonna get a hell of a lot more interesting before it’s done.