Tuesday, May 29, 2007

looks, dresses, acts, talks and votes like a Republican

* Cindy Sheehan checks out:
"The first conclusion is that I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican Party. Of course, I was slandered and libeled by the right as a “tool” of the Democratic Party. This label was to marginalize me and my message. How could a woman have an original thought, or be working outside of our “two-party” system?

However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the “left” started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used. I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of “right or left”, but “right and wrong.”

I am deemed a radical because I believe that partisan politics should be left to the wayside when hundreds of thousands of people are dying for a war based on lies that is supported by Democrats and Republican alike. It amazes me that people who are sharp on the issues and can zero in like a laser beam on lies, misrepresentations, and political expediency when it comes to one party refuse to recognize it in their own party. Blind party loyalty is dangerous whatever side it occurs on. People of the world look on us Americans as jokes because we allow our political leaders so much murderous latitude and if we don’t find alternatives to this corrupt “two” party system our Representative Republic will die and be replaced with what we are rapidly descending into with nary a check or balance: a fascist corporate wasteland. I am demonized because I don’t see party affiliation or nationality when I look at a person, I see that person’s heart. If someone looks, dresses, acts, talks and votes like a Republican, then why do they deserve support just because he/she calls him/herself a Democrat?"

* digby:
"Yes indeed. It's just the latest in a long line of fatuous slogans that are determinative in making huge decisions in our political life. We are in the midst of an intellectual crisis in this country where certain dogmatic and incoherent beliefs are allowed to dominate the discourse in spite of the fact that they are demonstrably false. It's one of the most difficult problems we face.
So, we are stuck trying to work out reality based solutions in a political world that operates as if it is underwater. You can sort of see the vague outlines of what's in front of you, but it's distorted and wierd and everything moves in slow motion. For instance, one of the big questions that rarely gets asked by anyone is why in the hell we are "funding the troops" with emergency supplemental spending bills like this year after year in the first place? Why would a vastly powerful and wealthy country such as ours be unable to plan for the troops' basic necessities in a defense budget in the trillions? It's absurd, ridiculous, and yet everyone accepts the fact that the troops could be left foraging for food and bullets in the middle of Baghdad, and the only question is whether the Democrats and the President are to blame because they failed to pass a bill before Memorial Day.
You see, the Pentagon is so strapped for cash --- every single year --- that they have to come begging for more money just to put shoes on the troops' feet. They do this on purpose so they don't have to cut any of that juicy delicious Military Industrial Complex pork. We know this. It's on the record, easily found in 30 seconds worth of Googling. But because of this absurdly cryptic, symbolic way we have of communicating in this country now, not to mention the ownership of our politics by big money interests, we aren't even allowed to bring it up. The yearly "supplemental" battle is really just the latest administration blackmail demand for more taxpayer money for their contributors, with Bush holding a gun to the troops' heads and saying "don't make me do it." We are arguing about a solution for a problem that wouldn't exist if the president didn't create it each and every year.

But that is such an obscure point that it isn't even relevant. Instead of questioning why we are funding anything in this clearly opaque and illegal way, we are stuck in this confusing feed-back loop of PR, marketing and spin, struggling forward to 2008 trying to see through the dirty political water to what is actually going on. It's difficult.

The only thing I know for sure is that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are not going to withdraw from Iraq. They are playing a rough game and would rather see the troops die without bullets and body armor than admit in any way that their occupation is a failure. The Democrats remain somewhat paralyzed in the face of such sociopathic intransigence (who believes Cheney won't pull the trigger?) and the media remain unwilling to report this in any but schoolyard terms. So, the country must debate this under water --- and that makes us feel helpless and panicked as we watch more people dying in this useless ridiculous face saving exercise.

I don't know what we can do other than just keep building, building, building the pressure until it's unthinkable for Republicans to win their next election supporting this "war." Making the argument falls mainly on us, the activists and the grassroots --- and we are going to take a beating from the media for our trouble. Maybe, if we're lucky, we'll be able to come up for air in 2008.

How we fix the intellectual crisis is another problem and don't have the faintest idea how to do it. I just got Gore's new book. Perhaps it has some pointers."

* thoreau:
"I would certainly not want the troops left without food, water, and ammo, but defunding isn’t about that. It’s about ending the program, and when there’s no more money to fight the Executive Branch would use the other accounts in the defense budget to fly the troops home. To think otherwise, to think that the Executive Branch would simply leave them stranded there, is to assume monumental incompetence and gross disregard for the well-being of the troops by the same leaders who…

Oh, now I see why the public opposes defunding. OK, point taken.

Seriously, I don’t get this at all. If Congress defunded any other program, we would all understand that they’re ending the program, not forcing it to continue sans cash. If Congress defunded, say, a publicly funded hospital, nobody would assume that the doctors are supposed to perform surgery with the old dirty scalpels and no anesthesia, because there’s no money to buy new scalpels and new drugs. Rather, the public would understand that the hospital will be closed. And the public certainly wouldn’t assume that the hospital doors would be shut and locked while the doctors and nurses are still trapped inside. Hell, if Congress defunded Amtrak, they wouldn’t stop the train in the middle of nowhere and let the passengers walk to the next station to catch a cab. It would be understood that train service would continue to the end of the line, at which point people would disembark and find other transportation. For any other program, we wouldn’t have to state the things I just stated about closing hospitals or trains or whatever, because it would be seen as blindingly obvious."

* Fred Kaplan:
"The topper, which (Bush) has recited several times before, is that if we fail in Iraq, the terrorists will follow us home. He uttered a few variations of the line this morning: "If we were to fail, they'd come and get us. … If we let up, we'll be attacked. … It's better to fight them there than here."

Clearly, this is nonsense, on three levels.

First, the vast majority of the insurgents have nothing to do with al-Qaida or its ideology. They're combatants in a sectarian conflict for power in Iraq, and they have neither the means nor the desire to threaten North America.

Second, to the extent that the true global terrorists could attack us at home, they could do so whether or not U.S. troops stay or win in Iraq. The one issue has nothing to do with the other.

Third, what kind of thing is this to say in front of the allies? If our main goal in bombing, strafing, and stomping through Iraq is to make sure we don't have to do so on our own territory, will any needy nation ever again seek our aid and cover? Or will they seek out a less blatantly selfish protector?"
I can't believe we even have to fisk this nonsense.

1 comment:

steven andresen said...

This came up, and this whole page has very good points,

"...Hell, if Congress defunded Amtrak, they wouldn’t stop the train in the middle of nowhere and let the passengers walk to the next station to catch a cab. It would be understood that train service would continue to the end of the line, at which point people would disembark and find other transportation. For any other program, we wouldn’t have to state the things I just stated about closing hospitals or trains or whatever, because it would be seen as blindingly obvious."

So, one wonders, why has this point about war funding become impossible to understand?

Maybe the point was made, and repeated by the few who argued that the funding should be stopped in order to end the war. I didn't hear them make this point, but say they did. I would imagine the people who want the war to continue would have drowned out that message, the basic point that if AMTRAK funding is cut, the trains don't stop in mid trip.

Most times, I think that it's all about who can yell the loudest, and those who own the loudspeakers, unfortunately, don't want the war to stop.

However, I think there's a deeper reason why people don't make sense.

I think we're engaged in thuggery. Deep down everyone realizes this. We have bought into the idea that the world is a violent place and the only thing we can do is use violence, secrecy, and deception in order to survive. The prevailing view is, we need to be thugs in order to maintain our standard of living...and as such, we cannot allow ourselves to think that anyone else, especially those not equally threatened, has the right to inform us about what we should be doing.

Those of us who are so committed to survival think that any effort to defund the war is equivalent to traitors taking our country away and stabbing us in the back while we're protecting the place.

The problem isn't that people can't see that if the hospital is "defunded in order to close it," the doctors and nurses won't be trapped inside when the building is locked up. Although, it's possible they may not see this nor apply the same principle to "de-funding the war in order to end it."

What they can't see is that there may be good sense in the argument that our interests are not best served by continuing to fund AMTRAK, or some particular publically-funded hospital, or in this case, the invasion and torture of Iraq.

Once we've decided to be the world's thug, it becomes impossible for us to see how we could step back from that commitment. There would then arise, if we did back off, the messy questions of what to do about the guilt, the blowback, and the destruction of everything we've up valued for absolutely nothing.

In order to avoid dealing with what we deep down expect should be our come-uppance, we ignore the good sense we're given that should otherwise change our minds.