Back in America, they're celebrating in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., tomorrow, and the Bushies' version of celebrating was to renominate Pickering a few days ago. He was the worst of the judges that Dubya nominated for a federal judgeship, and one of the ones who was not confirmed. This was mostly for his racist views, but now that the GOPpies have control of the Senate, he reappeared on the first list of candidates. Just goes to better reveal the hypocrisy of the Lott 'anti-racist' business. The GOP is still the favored party of the racist bigots, in spite of the pious mumblings about Lott. Obviously impossible to knew the truth when dealing with such a pack of chronic and pathological liars, but my guess is that the real reason Lott was dumped was probably for his incompetence in the handling of Jeffords a couple of years ago. Probably some desire to boost Frist into more prominence, too, mostly to reward his monetary services. Frist is a great little campaign fundraiser these days.
One of the more peculiar Web sites I saw recently was a Bushie conspiracy Web site. Unlike most of them, it didn't really claim to believe any particular theory or have access to amazing evidence of anything. This site was just listing the various and numerous theories and basically asking what it means when there are so many floating around out there. I'm not really sure what conclusion to draw. Perhaps there is some fire where there is SO much smoke, but I tend to think the excessive conspiracy theorizing is just the natural result of the excessive secrecy of the Bushies. They do not act like honest and open public trustees, but rather like criminals with lots of dangerous evidence to hide. Becoming suspicious is a natural response to such behavior. I don't really know if they are actually criminals, though they are surely sailing close to the legal lines. However they've certainly convinced me they have SOMETHING to hide. Actually, many things. Is it just embarrassing stuff that would weaken their political support? Or have they already crossed the lines into solid crimes? As a historian, I have to believe the truth will eventually come out, but even in cases where it has, as in the felony conviction of Admiral Poindexter, it hasn't prevented him from rising from his political grave and becoming a major player for the Bushies.
Now for the 'deep philosophical thought' of the day. "Sure, I'd like to see the world become a better place, but it's not my responsibility." Nor Dubya's. In my own case, it's just the reality thing, of course. I don't have any significant power over the world at large, and even if I somehow felt I was responsible for the state of the world, there's nothing much I could do about it. But more importantly, it isn't my responsibility in any moral sense--it's just not for me to tell ALL other people what to do, even in terms of making the world a better place. On the surface, it's rather different in the case of Dubya. In reality, he's just another human being, as weak and fallible as the rest. (Well, actually rather more fallible than most, but that's not a crucial point for the discussion.) However, he's ostensibly in charge of a very powerful organization, the United States government, which is certainly capable of exerting significant influence over the world at large. It's the deification thing again. People think that because Dubya apparently has so much power at his disposal, he should and therefore MUST be some sort of godlike being, and surely he could cure all of their personal and worldly problems if he'd only get around to it. Of course this peculiar rationalization works best when you sort of agree with or at least voted for him. However, the underlying reality is that it isn't Dubya's job to change the world. It's something ALL of us have to do. Dubya's actual constituency might be as much as 4% of the world's population. (And that's with the increasingly unlikely assumption that he has a significant number of international supporters to offset his large number of American critics.) Even if the Bushies' intentions were good and honorable, 4% can't dictate all things to 96%.
However, the increasingly clear evidence is that their intentions are anything but "good and honorable". For example, the latest plans for Iraq reveal that the Bushies are really invading simply because they plan to loot the country and charge Iraq (in oil) for the costs of the invasion and occupation. If there is ANY lesson to be learned from history, it is that wars are no longer profitable--these days the disruption of complex economic systems has to cause more economic damage than can be recovered from seizing the lands and assets of the conquered nations. Seems pretty obvious when you observe that most economic value is no longer coming from the ownership of land, eh? However, in the case of Iraq, it's obviously a shell game. If we're selling the oil to ourselves and paying ourselves with our own money, where is the "new wealth" supposed to be coming from? Quite clear that the only real beneficiaries will be the oil companies.
Mechanically, maybe what I should do is try to make entries after I've been reading the Japanese newspapers... I really want that focus on the outside perspective, and the Web doesn't provide it. The big news just now is the North Korean withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Pact. From what I can see from here, it appears that the Bushies want to play it down as much as possible, but it's not so minor from the Japanese perspective. The Japanese can too well imagine North Korea being provoked enough to nuke someone, and Japan happens to right there in harm's way.
The essential and incredible hypocrisy of Dubya continues to astound me. You'd think I'd be used to it by now? Of course the North Koreans are being criticized for breaking international treaties and trying to get nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Dubya is breaking and withdrawing from numerous international treaties and pursuing vast new weapons programs. How can he possibly pretend to be surprised when other countries do the same things he's doing? Even allowing for his essential stupidity, how is it possible for anyone to be so unwise? And wind up in the White House, too? Astounding.
Really like the spontaneity and configurability of this system, but don't like the security aspects... However pretty sure I'll go ahead and use this as the primary interface for this "historical impressions" part of the Web site. However, not really much to report in terms of historical impressions. Preparations for the "war" with Iraq seem to be continuing, though the pretext is getting weaker and weaker as the inspections continue to discover nothing. Lots of black jokes flying around, and one of the better ones had Dubya saying "Of course we have proof that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. We have the receipts!"
Is the Bushies' house of cards beginning to crumble? There have been a number of minor stumbles recently, but the image that keeps coming back to mind is of the new Senate Majority Leader Frist performing diabolical and fatal medical experiments on stray cats that he pretended to adopt. This really creates one of those vivid images that ought not to be associated with one of the main figures of "compassionate conservatism". Frist has "apologized" for his "young and irresponsible" mistakes, but it still creates a very strong afterimage that is quite distinctly different from the afterimage Clinton's apology left behind. I think this is quite capable of haunting him, of becoming a rallying cry that will greatly hinder the Bushies. The kind of problem that casts long shadows, and puts a different perspective on everything else. Was Frist really trying to help Africans when he did surgery there? Or were these just more learning experiments with reduced liability risks? Or maybe they were just acts of contrition for his old stray-cat-killing days? All sorts of unpleasant questions arise.
Really hard to believe that the Bushies would have picked Frist to replace Lott if they had been aware of this skeleton. This isn't like Dubya's own AWOL record which can mostly be controlled and manipulated in the media. This is something that Frist has publicly acknowledged, confessed to, and apologized for. Apologies notwithstanding, how many Americans really want the Senate to be led by someone who was EVER capable of such acts?
Losing two Senate Majority Leader's would be hard to regard as a victory, though of course all electoral politics is just a matter of timing, and plenty of time to recover before the next elections, sham though they may be. Was recently reading about how widespread the no-paper-trail electronic balloting has already become. It's already quite common enough to have influenced the last elections. Any power will eventually be abused, and right now the power of these electronic voting machines is controlled by the Bushies. Looks like the last major safeguard, the exit polling, will be permanently eliminated, too, according to the latest reports.