Archive for October, 2005

Stark Raving Mad Presidents

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

I found a discarded copy of this in paperback form. The headline over the cover is: “What Would Happen if the President of the USA Went Stark-Ravind Mad?” A political thriller circa 1965, perhaps worth a read, perhaps not… I really don’t know. It’s worth a gander, I suppose.

But… we kind of have the answer now. It predates Nixon. We had the answer to the question with Nixon. Kissinger took the fabled button away from Nixon, and in the final days of the Nixon Administration, everyone in the administration was under the order not to follow through on any bizarre orders from the president. Problem solved.

But… what would happen if the President of the USA went stark raving mad? Well… Nixon. Take two.

According to Daily News, “Bush usually reserves his celebrated temper for senior aides because he knows they can take it. Lately, however, some junior staffers have also faced the boss’ wrath. ‘This is not some manager at McDonald’s chewing out the help,’ said a source close to the White House. ‘This is the President of the United States, and it’s not a pleasant sight.’ The spectre of losing Rove, his only truly irreplaceable assistant, lies at the heart of Bush’s distress. But a string of political reversals, including growing opposition to the Iraq war, Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath and Harriet Miers’ bungled Supreme Court nomination, have also exacted a personal toll. Presidential advisers and friends say Bush is a mass of contradictions: cheerful and serene, peevish and melancholy, occasionally lapsing into what he once derided as the ‘blame game’.

They describe him as beset but unbowed, convinced that history will vindicate the major decisions of his presidency. At the same time, these sources say Bush, who has a long history of keeping staffers in their place, has lashed out at aides as his political woes have mounted.” One “Bush insider” is quoted as saying, “The president is just unhappy in general and casting blame all about. Andy (the chief of staff) gets his share. Karl gets his share. Even Cheney gets his share. And the press gets a big share.”

Actually the funny thing about this article is that this is the most credible source for a type of news item that had been peeking its way through such Internet sites as the Capitol Hill Blue, not particularly credible sources, describing erratic behaviour on the part of the president.

But… Stark Raving Mad? We’ve arrived at a milestone of 2,000 American soldiers dead on the fields of Iraq. A number that does not tell the story: it’s a narrow definition — if you get the soldier out of Iraq and he dies in a VA hospital — it doesn’t count. (And never mind the wounded.) It’s… relatively small number, I… guess. Certainly World War Two had a much greater block of casualties. But there is the rub, which exposes a great myth of American’s historical attitudes toward war: Americans accept great numbers of casualties, and their approval of wars are unwavering… IF IF IF they feel the war is just. It just so happens that such wars are the exception to the rule. (Hence, we need the Powell Doctrine… get in quick, don’t lose lives.)

But I haven’t gotten to the “stark raving mad” part of the equation. Which is: Iraq is the Central Front of the War on Terror. There was a decision made to make Iraq “the Central Front of the War on Terror.” Iraq the place is arbitrary in the equation. We may as well have made Norway the “Central Front of the War on Terror”. We move in and conquer some piece of middle east land FULL OF INNOCENT PEOPLE… terrorists move in.

“Flypaper Strategy” works just as well against IRAQI CITIZENS as it does against American citizens.

Interesting how that works, isn’t it?

(OH. We could also go back to the Woodrow Wilson Administration, and a president incapicated and becoming sicker by the day. In that case, his wife was defacto president. I don’t really know what the case was with Reagan and his early stages of Alzheimers — perhaps he had delegated away enough responsibilities that it simply didn’t matter.)

I Do Get Comments. To the Doc Hastings Watch. To the Lyndon LaRouche Watch.

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

Aaaaaaaagh! To think that we had a decent human being and intelligent
thinking human being in Jay Inslee whom we traded in for Doc Hastings
apparently to punish Jay for being the deciding vote on the assault
weapons ban. For the love of God, will someone please run against him? I
mean, someone with some charisma? Please?

Eventually I’m going to compile a profile of the 5 Democratic candidates who have run against Richard “Doc” Hastings in the general election. (A google search of the 1998 candidate shows that my page picks up him as #1, and thus I guess I am the foremost expert on the political career of Gordon Allen Pross… undoubtedly the most obnoxious of the batch of Hastings candidates.) Actually, I think [partisan] political blogs should do that: ie: dig into the political history of their local (or, in my case, I have a connection to the locality) of their political representatives and fill in that vacuum of lack of information.

Jay Inslee factoid of the day: my father voted for Jay Inslee in the 1992 primary for the bizarre reason that his law firm supported local broadcast of PBS’s Mystery. (Inslee is currently the Representative of an area of Washington more conducive to his politics… he was nationally noted in 1998 for winning a race where he explicitly campaigned by making a stand against Bill Clinton’s Impeachment a central issue of his campaign.)


People are nuts. It’s like these people don’t realize that Larouche is screwed for eternity. Sure, Bush may be insane, but do something WORTHWHILE to remedy the problem, not advocate somebody everyone is shunning!

Great. From my Doc Hastings Watch to my Lyndon LaRouche Watch! Okay… I note a small bit of disjointation with seeing Ann Coulter representing this fellow’s “Worst Right-winger” and LaRouche as his “Worst Left-winger”… I don’t really know how to classify LaRouche, and will point to his hatred of the 1960s as the downfall of American culture as a signage pointing to his rightwing nature.

Odd Sales Pitch

Monday, October 24th, 2005

In consideration of the new efforts to “make Portland just feel safer” (or however it is Mayor Tom Potter put it) and the curfew of the South Park Blocks:

I’m walking through that area. Someone calls out to me, “Hey… wanna buy some weed?”

My answer is a stern “NO!”, and a continual walk without a change in stride.

He then hums a little jingle. “Might as well. Might as well.”

I’m puzzled here. Is that an effective sales technique. As in, do used car sales-people hum, during a bind “might as well, might as well.” (Though maybe for the clientelle of illegal narcotics it is perfect: we’re assuming a passive personality that decides to purchase the items through a process of osmosis.)

Um. Used car-salesperson? Here’s a tale. I was with my dad, I was maybe eleven years old, he pulled into a car dealership to look around. The car we were getting rid of was, at this point in time, falling apart and was in horrible condition. So, he’s chatting with the salesman. I’m in the car with the windows pulled down. And here’s the conversation.

Used Carsalesman: “Yeah, we can get you a good deal on this car.”

It’s the example of when you say what you’re supposed to be thinking and thinking what you’re supposed to be saying, but… um… yeah.

Back to the drugs… I guess this is the “for” example of the anti-drug measures. At a later time, I may go into an anecdote that shows my personal “against” side. We’ll see.

of the new Mad Magazine

Sunday, October 23rd, 2005

I occasionally leaf through Mad Magazine. A good stable of cartoonists: Sam Henderson, Evan Dorkin, Ted Rall, Sergio Aargaones is still kicking around and seems to be shined on with a bit more a spotlight, Peter Kuper… Bill Wray, if you must.

Despite the fact that it is always Evan Dorkin, via his blog, that clues me in to take a quick look-see through the magazine, I never recall anything I see from him. Ted Rall’s pieces, however, stand out in my mind.

They are political cartoons that dwell back onto high school. A different target audience, but not dumbed down.

A boy is walking the halls in his school with a t-shirt that says “Britney Sucks”. A school administrator tells him that he needs to change the shirt. Why? Because it is too distracting to the school environment. He can express political opinions, though, so he shrugs, crosses out “Britney” and wears a t-shirt that says “Bush Sucks”.

The confused entanglement of school politics, and the interpretation of the First Amendment that you nervously allow any and all political speech (or risk a lawsuit by the ACLU), but can’t abide speech concerning frivolity (nobody is about to take up a suit against expressing hatred of Britney Spears).

Or… we have a discussion concerning the Homecoming Week. “Every year we have the same pointless game, and are sworn to pledge our school spirit. We cheer on our school. Swear hatred to the rival school. Hold huge bonfires and engage in the same ritual. The ridiculous thing is that it’s so arbitrary — if we lived across town, we’d be the other school cheering on the destruction of our rivals, this school.” And then we see the kids walk up to an Army Recruitment table.

It’s a common realization amongst adolescent miscreants, this strange drive toward “school spirit” and its parallel notion in larger society toward patriotism. In school and with our school’s annual football game against the team that is figured that they might actually somehow beat (football record during my stay at my high school: 5 wins, 31 losses), it is innocuous enough. Clyde Lewis noticed it, and he noticed it as being a white-wash of deeper and darker crimes of the school. As for myself, my last year of high school had this weird incidence where a teacher I had trusted and liked for my high school duration made the bizarre comment, “You’ve been resisting dressing up in school colors for four years now!” An odd comment… To resist means that there would have to be a force pushing me in that direction.

(Actually, come to think of it, the drive for “school spirit” was always considered a problem by the administration, and student body elected lackeys. I don’t really know why. A week or so ago, I overheard a teenager from “Deepest Suburbia” say to someone “At my school, even the preppiest of the preppies have piercings and tattoos.” I sort of doubt that, but it does suggest manipulation of teenage popularity toward something that does not exist.)

Harriet Miers

Sunday, October 23rd, 2005

Via the Sunday Oregonian “quick quips” section of the Letters to the Editor thingamajing:

Liberals would send, without a separation of church scruple, the Revs. Martin Luthur King Jr., Jesse Jackson, or Al Sharpton to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. — Louis Sargent, Northwest Portland.

Hrm. That’s a basic lineage of degression: King to Jackson — who fancied himself the next coming of King, and then Jackson to Sharpton — who fancies himself the next coming of Jackson. But nevermind. Right now Martin Luthur King Jr has been de-politicized to a point where we can kind of gloss over some of his more — um — socialistic inclinations — and we can presume that he satisfactorily accomplished his dream of full integration… so just about every politician can announce that, yes indeed, they’d like him as a Supreme Court Pick… since he’s dead and that’s not going to happen.

Never mind. I don’t know if Louis Sargent is in mind with this radical street preacher I had conversations with over the Internet, name of Eldon Orr, who insists that Marin Luthur King, Jr. got his training at a “Communist Training School”, but by the time we get to Al Sharpton… I don’t see any reason he should get onto the Supreme Court. In Sharpton’s defense and in Harriet Mier’s offense, I don’t know who Sharpton’d be a crony of.

It is not Harriet Miers passing out M & Ms that makes me cringe. It is Bill Kristol and his ilk assuming they get to pick the court. Miers needs to withdraw and think Bill is God — as he does. Myrna Alberthsen, Southeast Portland.

Hrm. Here, at long last, is the manifestation of that supposed difference between the Republican voter and the Republican elite that George Bush Administration is waving as a threat to the batch of Republican senators running for president. Should Miers think that Bill Kristol is God, it would be a simple change from the current state of being — where she thinks that George is God.

Rush and Ayn Rand, again

Friday, October 21st, 2005

You know, I really haven’t the foggiest why I’ve posted a smattering of things on old Rush lyrics. As I’ve said: I don’t hate the band, though I don’t necessarily like the band. The only song I never want to hear again is “Tom Sawyer”. There was an amusing “mash-up” I heard with them a few weeks that I can’t find with any immediacy… And as bad as that proggiest of prog-rock songs you hear on “Rock Block Saturdays” is from the ultimate clunker of prog-rock pretensions, it’s amusingly bad.

But something struck me the other day while listening “Closer To The Heart” on classic rock radio. It’s the age old Rush questionThat’s all well and good, but what does this have to do with Ayn Rand?

And the men who hold high places
Must be the ones who start
To mold a new reality
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart
The blacksmith and the artist
Reflect it in their art
They forge their creativity
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart

Philosophers and ploughmen
Each must know his part
To sow a new mentality
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart
You can be the captain
I will draw the chart
Sailing into destiny
Closer to the heart

So, here’s the problem. Isn’t this collectivist in nature, describing the place each individual (the artist and the blacksmith and the philosopher and ploughman) must put themselves into to have society a’working? Granted, the “You can be the captain” line suggests the individuality of Randism… but that’s about it.

(And don’t miss Rick Emerson describing Bon Jovi here, a few posts down.)