Monday, January 30, 2006
Just sayin'...Posted by C

Something Democrats could use to respond to W's justifications for illegal spying on Americans: "What the president (or AG, whatever) is saying is that he has to subvert the constitution in order to save it."
Framing...Posted by C

I posted some time ago about operantclassical conditioning in political discourse: George Bush and his partners in crime used "9/11" and "Saddam Hussein" in the same sentence so many times that a large swath of the U.S. population thought that Iraq was involved in 9/11. Not because anyone had outright said so. Just because our brains work that way.

Let's try the same strategy. From now on Democrats should never say the words "War in Iraq" without prefacing it with "The President's" or "George Bush's."

The war is unpopular. And it has been a failure. Let's hang it around his neck.

I don't think Republicans are going to even try to counter it. They can't very well respond with, "It's not his war; it's our war."

If they do object to the characterization, the response is simply: "Oh, so you don't think the president wants to take responsibility for going to war in Iraq? Why not? Wasn't it his decision?"
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Just sayin'...Posted by C

People who think the President should be able to throw American citizens in jail without charges or access to a lawyer, establish secret CIA prison camps, torture people, and spy on Americans without a warrant might also like to change the name of our country to the United Soviet States of America.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Psychoanalysis...Posted by C

Digby, and a number of commenters, mentioned how they can't stand to hear Bush speak. And I so relate, but it reminds me...

When Reagan was our President, I couldn’t stand to listen to him, either. And I couldn’t understand why anyone else could stand to listen to him. Then I came across a book called Thou Shalt Not Be Aware, by Alice Miller.

Miller, a psychoanalyst, was asking-- and answering-- the same question about Adolph Hitler. Her conclusion: the ordinary people who bought Hitler’s snake oil were responding to the voice of their fathers. Their fathers were despots. Their fathers were the undisputed masters of the household; their word was law, and they were brutal in the application of corporal punishment. (Those were the social conditions in Germany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.) It was comforting on a deep unconscious level, in a time of national distress and economic uncertainty, to hear a voice that contained no uncertainty, that claimed absolute authority, and that vowed punishment.

Now many of us in the Reagan era, and most of us now, were raised as much or more by TV than by our dads. To a great extent, we’ve been socialized by actors. As a people we are comforted on a deep unconscious level by a leader's voice which has an air of confidence, whether or not the words have any relationship to the "truth." We don’t want earnestness; we want someone who can work a crowd; we want someone who can spin an exciting yarn about "terror;" we want someone who projects the image of authority-- with a swagger, with cowboy gear, with a derisive smirk for his opponents or detractors.

And members of the media are not immuned. Instead of fact-checking, they are cheerleading. They loved Bush landing on that aircraft carrier in his flight suit (staging, costuming). They don’t mind if he lies, as long as he looks "presidential."

This would all be funny, if it weren’t so dangerous. It looks like we’ll continue to allow a group of thugs to plunder the economy, steal from the poor and middle class to give to the rich, send other people’s children to fight illegal and immoral wars, and stomp on the constitution-- as long as they look and sound good doing it.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Framing...Posted by C

Impeachment is the correct solution to the failed and corrupt presidency we find ourselves saddled with. The problems with impeachment are 1) that it has been used so recently in a frivilous manner and 2) that the Republicans control both the House and Senate. Thus, framing the issue so that it will gain support and ultimately succeed is more difficult than it might otherwise be.

But it's not impossible.

Here's a shot at the framing:

1) The founding fathers, in their wisdom, created the impeachment mechanism precisely so that it would be used when appropriate and necessary.

2) We cannot reject the option of impeaching Bush for egregious criminal behavior just because impeachment was used opportunistically by Republicans against Bill Clinton for denying he had sex with Monica Lewinsky.

3) We don't have in our system the option of a "no confidence" vote, which Bush would certainly fail.

4) Thus, it is our duty to start impeachment proceedings as the only remedy for a presidency that brazenly ignores international agreements, treaties, and even U.S. law; that sees it itself as above the law.

5) If it were mere incompetence in the handling of the Iraq war or Hurricane Katrina, or if it were just the cronyism that has resulted in unqualified people occupying so many government posts, then impeachment wouldn't be the proper action. It is George W. Bush breaking the law-- purposely, flagrantly, repeatedly-- that not only justifies, but requires that impeachment proceedings be put in motion.

6) It is the detainment of people without charges and without access to lawyers; it is the secret CIA prisons in former Soviet bloc countries; it is the sanction of torture; it is illegal eavesdropping on American citizens that requires impeachment as the only remedy. These are only the certainties, only the crimes that are most easily apparent. But they are more than enough.
Friday, January 06, 2006
Personality of lawlessness...Posted by C

(Re-posted here from comments over at Hullabaloo).

W doesn't just believe the presidency is above the law. He believes that he, personally, is above the law.

I don't think that it's simple sociopathy. It's hard for me to imagine that a true sociopath with family wealth at his disposal would not be caught up in smaller fetishistic diversions that would keep him away from politics.

It's likely in part a function of privilege. Believe it or not, some of the sons and daughters of privilege actually believe they are not just luckier, but, rather, better than those lower born. Not all the privilged are so inclined, and not all of them that are go the next step and believe that the law does not apply to them.

But some do.

(Now, lest I be accused of simple rich-bashing, there are poor people who believe they are above the law, too, but due to their lack of privilege, they usually get jailed rather than recieve MBAs from Yale.)

W is like Raskolnikov in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, thinking that the law does not apply to exceptional individuals like himself. (W, however, will never be racked with guilt nor atone for his sins. In fact, W may very well believe that God is on his side, that he has been chosen by God to be above the law.)

W laughs when he breaks the law. He laughs when he lies. He laughs at those who won't break the law or lie, and relishes the advantage he has over them. He is utterly unrepentant.

The nation, the whole world, is there for W and his friends to plunder. Laws are no more than the rules of some game: there to inhibit the rubes, and to be broken by him whenever it suits him and he can get away with it.

Now W occupies the highest office in the land. We can only hope he is too bored with the whole thing to dissolve Congress and cancel elections in 2008.
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