by Andrew Bard Schmookler
Confronting the Paradox
The goal is no less than to defeat the evil that, in recent years, has
risen to ascendancy in America. Finding the optimal strategy for
achieving this is no small challenge.
In part, itâ€™s a challenge because, in matters of the spirit, the reality is always so complex and many layered that it is beyond our capabilities to understand fully. In part, itâ€™s because when a cultural system has been so swept up into pathology as ours has lately in America, the disease is likely to have infiltrated even the thoughts and feelings of those who wish to cure the system. It behooves us, therefore, not to be driven by our impulses but to think and proceed with care.
One of the complexities of the present challenge is that we are now called upon to accomplish two things simultaneously which are in contradiction with each other. On the one hand, we must wage and win the battle against the Bushite forces, taking away their power, discrediting them in the eyes of the public, driving the evil spirit they represent back into the recesses of the American cultural system. On the other hand, we must erase the deep and destructive imprint these forces have left on America, and an important part of that imprint is the pervasiveness of conflict and division in our social and political processes.
We must, that is, both wage war and build peace.
On the one hand, there is good reason for the passion that many of us feel about going after these Bushites to bring them low. We are rightly enraged at their lies, their crimes, their arrogance, their wanton disregard of any value other than sating their lust for power and wealth without limits. It is doubtful that any holders of the highest offices of the land have ever, in the course of more than two centuries of American history, been more deserving of impeachment. And so lawless has this administration been that even impeachment may not satisfy all the rightful demands of justice.
The political firmament shook briefly post-November 7 raising hopes change would follow the Republican's drubbing at the polls and the Democrats regaining control of both houses of Congress for the first time since the GOP sweep in 1994. Presumed new House speaker Nancy Pelosi stopped the tremors making it clear no substantive change will be on the table when when the 110th Congress convenes on January 3. Instead, she announced to those paying attention it'll be business as usual (as it always is) as she intends to work with the president in a spirit of bipartisanship and not be "obstructionist" even though Republicans for past 12 years never returned that courtesy or even made a pretense of doing it.
Pelosi made it clear the Democrat victory will be just another betrayal of the electorate that sent her and the Democrats a strong message it voted for a mandated populist anti-Bush, anti-war agenda it won't get. It's always for the same reason - because those controlling the political process in Washington owe their allegiance to the interests of wealth and power that select and fund them and of which these officials are a part. The Democrat (anti-populist) Leadership Council (DLC) made that position clear when it participated in a November 10 post-election made-for-television spectacle in the Oval Office so the whole world could watch their new congressional leadership line up in a shameless public display of partnering with a criminal enterprise in the White House posing as a legitimate government they've been complicit with all along. Should anyone understanding how things work in Washington have expected anything else?
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Arabs, at least at the non-official level, were quick to hail President George W. Bushâ€™s mid-term electoral defeat and the humiliating downfall of his war architect Donald Rumsfeld, but cheering the Democratsâ€™ victory has yet to wait and may not be voiced at all.
Why hailing Bushâ€™s defeat? Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, Jim Hoagland, of The Washington Post had part of the answer:
â€œBush lost more than a midterm election and a cantankerous defense secretary on Tuesday. He also abandoned any lingering chance of remaking U.S. foreign policy into a radical force for democratic change in the Middle East and elsewhere,â€
... thus dumping his â€œnewâ€ and â€œgreaterâ€ Middle East plans as well as regime change schemes for the region to the dust pins of history at a high cost for Arab and American lives and billions of wasted dollars of U.S. taxpayers.
Another part of the answer has a lot to do with the Arab hopes that a change in the U.S. administration may lead to ending the U.S.-British occupation of Iraq and to a more balanced policy vis-Ã -vis the Arab-Israeli conflict; but Washington gave Arabs no time even to hope.
Dear Members of the 110th Congress:
May I offer my congratulations to those of you who are newly elected.
To those of you who were re-elected or whose seat was not contested in this election, my best wishes.
Herewith, let me serve notice on behalf of the American people: you are no longer a rubber stamp.
You live and work in a world far removed from that of the American citizen. Yours is a world filled with wheel-greasing lobbyists, back-stabbing cohorts, more legal mumbo jumbo than Jarndyce v. Jarndyce And always in the background thereâ€™s that droning noise from your hard to please but easy to foolâ€¦ some of the timeâ€¦ constituency.
Well, the rules have changed. In the legendary words of Screaminâ€™ Jay Hawkins, â€œI put a spell on you, because you are mine.â€ We The People of the United States of America are mad as hell and weâ€™re not going to take it anymore! And you, members of Congress, have been elected to do our bidding. We pay your wages.
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Paul J. Balles argues that the Democrats' gains in the US mid-term elections will not lead to a change in US policy in the Middle East. He cites Democrat leaders' unconditional support for Israeli crimes and for possible aggression against Iran.
Anyone who believes that the election of a Democratic majority in Congress will make a difference in US foreign policy has either been playing ostrich or supporting the poppy fields.
The Democrats not only choose to cow-tow to the Israeli lobbies, but they fail to resist the "end-time" evangelists, eliminating any possibility of a Democratic majority making a difference in Congress.
Anyone watching the post-election speeches by the new speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, would have heard her mention that she was raised a catholic, and from that developed her moral values.
That speech sounded like an appeal for support from the larger population and not the 40 million evangelicals who support everything that Israel says and does. It also momentarily side-stepped her earlier pronouncements of support for Israel to AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).
That Pelosi had been lured into the snake pit became unequivocally clear when she attacked Jimmy Carter for writing a book mentioning Israeli apartheid. Jewish organizations in Washington heaped praise on her for her straight-A record on Israel.
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When Dick Cheney woke up on Wednesday mourning, his entire world had changed. The House and Senate was in control of the Democrats, Bush Seniorâ€™s buddy Robert Gates had taken over at the Pentagon, and his most-trusted ally, Don Rumsfeld, had been thrown overboard.
Cheney knows that the story about a â€œDemocratic sweepâ€ is utter nonsense. He knows who operates the voting machines and how get the results he wants. The normal procedures for rigging the election were simply put on hold.
He also knows that the Justice Dept had sent out over 80 attorneys to various parts of the country where the Republicans anticipated legal challenges after the elections, but there were no legal challenges. Someone decided that there would be no fight at all, even in the close senatorial races where recounts might have made a difference.
Is anyone gullible enough to believe that Republican big-wigs have given up cheating as avital part of their strategy for winning elections?
I doubt it. Add a comment
â€œIsrael has not fully acknowledged the value of working together with Australia in Asia. Itâ€™s a way for us to cooperate with and enhance our position in countries neighboring Australia.â€
Naftali Tami - Israeli ambassador to Australia
In a recent interview published in Haaretz, Naftali Tamir, the Israeli ambassador to Australia, articulates a perennial need for â€˜whiteâ€™ collaborators that has defined the Zionist project since its inception.
He speaks bluntly of an Israeli partnership with Australia, founded on racial solidarity, to â€œenhanceâ€ Israeli influence over East Asia. Only perhaps in the nineteenth century could a Western diplomat have spoken so plainly about race as the basis of a political alliance. Infinitely better armed against their Arab victims, the Israelis have no need for caution. They can dispense with diplomacy, with political correctness.
The Israeli ambassador feels no compunction in speaking the language of racial stereotypes. â€œIsrael and Australia are like sisters in Asia,â€ he says. â€œWe are in Asia without the characteristics of Asians. We donâ€™t have yellow skin and slanted eyes. Asia is basically the yellow race. Australia and Israel are not â€“ we are basically the white race. We are on the western side of Asia and they are on the southeastern side.â€
Savages we call them because their manners differ from ours.
Just returned from a trip to China, where he was soliciting assistance for his countryâ€™s nuclear energy program, Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak announced on November 9 that the execution of Saddam Hussein would cause further turmoil in Iraq and increase anti-American hostilities across the Arab world. With the question of his succession the number one topic of discussion among Egyptâ€™s political elites these days, Mubarak is clearly trying to make himself look less like a US quisling in order to aid the imminent grab for power of his son, who was in Washington a few weeks ago for â€˜off the recordâ€™ talks with members of the Bush administration. But the prospect of Saddamâ€™s hanging must also make Mubarakâ€™s silk necktie seem uncomfortably tight. After all, one false move â€“ or a change in Washingtonâ€™s ideas about Egyptâ€™s future -- and he could well find himself vilified by US-controlled media paving the way for regime change and a show trial in Cairo.
It is a pity that Mubarak did not cite the real reasons we should all object to the trial and death sentence of Saddam Hussein --- but this would have entailed far too much criticism of his American masters. As recipient of Washingtonâ€™s third-largest foreign aid hand out, Egypt is not expected even to nibble at the hand feeding it, let alone bite (Iraq, at $20 billion, gets the most, followed by Israel at some $2 billion. Egypt is close behind). And the circumstances of Saddamâ€™s trial expose an aspect of US foreign policy no one in the West seems willing to discuss, since it reveals such transparent hypocrisy with regard to the same much-vaunted rule of law that is so frequently brandished as an ultimate authority in the pursuit of Western goals.
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The big losers on Election Day were of course President Bush and the Republican Party, but there was another loser too: the conspiracy theory that had it that a slick operation run out of Karl Roveâ€™s office, and working in cahoots with the makers of the electronic voting machines increasingly being installed by voting districts around the country would steal the key elections electronically.
I always felt that this conspiracy theory was over the top, and that it moreover was having the pernicious effect of creating massive cynicism about elections that would keep many people from voting who otherwise might have.
There's no way to know how many people didn't go to the polls because they decided that it would be a waste of time, but I sure have heard plenty of people saying, over the past year, "What's the point? The Republicans are going to steal the election anyway."
Well, if they were ever going to steal an election, this would have been the one to do it to. The last thing a criminal president whose popularity is in the cellar needs is a Congress armed with subpoena power in the hands of the opposition party. Surely, if Karl Rove could have tinkered with the numbers on those voting machines in just a few dozen districts, or in states like Montana or Virginia where the margin was a few thousand votes, and where the key voter registrar officials were fellow Republicans, he would have done it.
Instead, we saw dozens of congressional races and a handful of key Senate races switch to the Democrats, and sometimes by the narrowest of margins.
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Now that a thumping smack has been delivered by American voters to the backside of the Empire building hallucinations of your sponsors, leaving you presidential future effectively bowdlerized, you are well advised to start learning to say â€˜pleaseâ€™ to lessen the pain of the remaining two years.
Learn to say Please Mr. President because with a whole bunch of Repub-mangled Congressmen let loose upon the Capitol Hill, your interaction with the Dem-dominated Congress will tend to be complicated and emotionally draining exercise for you. The â€˜pleaseâ€™ word will act like a balm to the political sores that you are likely to get from the chafing.
Learn to say Please Mr. President because control tactics such as threatening, shaming, or fear mongering will not get you what you want from now onward. What is more, regular use of words like â€˜please and â€˜thank youâ€™ might just numb the sting of being a political outcast and a sitting President.
Learn to say Please Mr. President while giving directions, making requests, or asking questions of this new Congress. Also, while you are at it, learn not to scowl, shake your finger and glare at the new house. That tends to have a goading effect on the addressees and that is not exactly what you want.
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Pennsylvania Republican senator Rick Santorum â€“ Golden Boy of the Christian Right, rabid homophobe, and Bush â€œyes-manâ€ â€“ was crushed in the 2006 election by a margin larger than anyone had expected.
Also on election day 2006, it was reported by the Associated Press that James Dobson, leader of the antigay Focus on the Family and close friend of disgraced Rev. Ted Haggard, â€œwill be one of the people overseeing counseling forâ€ Mr. Haggard. Later on November 7, Dobson bailed out: â€œI donâ€™t have the time.â€
And just after noon on November 8, 2006, time ran out for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in whom Bush had only recently expressed â€œtotal faith.â€ According to Bush, â€œAmerica is safer and the world more secureâ€ because of Donald Rumsfeldâ€™s leadership. If that were so, why the abrupt change following the election?
The entire world knew Rumsfeld was a disaster. Did â€œstay the courseâ€ GWB not just realize that? No one could be that stupid, not even George W. Could he?
Clearly Bush and the GOP are scrambling given Americansâ€™ overwhelmingly expression of dissatisfaction expressed at the ballot box. Dobson and the Christian Right are also running scared, as well they should. â€œHubrisâ€ and â€œdownfallâ€ are inextricably bound.
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