Saturday, October 16, 2004

The reality-based community

I know every blogger is saying this but you must all read the Ron Suskind NYT Magazine piece about Bush’s incredible belief that his “instincts” are always right. I hadn’t realized that the “faith-based presidency” was predicated so explicitly on the complete rejection of empiricism. Suskind says that after an earlier piece, a senior Bushie told him that people like him were “in what we call the reality-based community,” but that the US acts, and in so doing creates its own reality. “We’re history’s actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” Reminds me of a quote (this is approximate, from memory): “A man of action can always find a philosopher to explain afterwards what he did.” Benito Mussolini.

While reading another, less subtle article about Bush’s brain, asking “Has Bush Lost His Reason?”, I suddenly realized that Shrub, in his petulant refusal to brook disagreement, reminds me of the little kid with god-like powers who everyone is afraid to contradict in Jerome Bixby’s story “It’s a Good Life,” which was the basis of a Twilight Zone episode, and look, someone put it on-line.

Speaking of people unlike you or me, the London Sunday Times has a story on the notes of a US Army psychiatrist who interviewed Nazis awaiting trial at Nuremberg. Goering told him that the Holocaust went against his “chivalric code”: “I revere women and I think it unsportsmanlike to kill children.” This is also why Republicans oppose abortion but support the death penalty: hunters and fishers throw back the small ones, in order to kill them later. Rudolf Höss, the commandant of Auschwitz for 4 years: “I don’t know what you mean about being upset about these things because I didn’t personally murder anybody. I was just the director of the extermination programme in Auschwitz.” The same standards will be used to promote Gen. Sanchez after the elections.

Kerry may have forgotten about Poland, but Poland wants to forget about Iraq and start withdrawing troops; it’s official now. And just when Bush wants to shift casualties to other COW countries (coalition of the willing). So it’s poor Britain’s turn yet again to send soldiers with silly hats

into harm’s way. Something like 650 soldiers will be moved from the relatively calm south to Baghdad, and put under American command, so that American troops can invade Fallujah yet again. In Britain, this is widely seen, and resented, as being driven by the American election.

Perhaps only in Germany: a restaurant for anorexics will open in Berlin, called Sehnsucht (“Longing”).

Halliburton has been dodging US sanctions on Iran by using foreign subsidiaries to sell it oil-drilling equipment. The Cayman Islands subsidiary is just a front, with correspondence to it forwarded to Houston.

Bob Harris, frequent contributor to the This Modern World blog, now has his own blog, Check it out. Like me, he sees Lesbian-gate as a deliberate distraction: “pick one non-inflammatory, coherent, compassionate sentence, and try to blow it up into a freakin’ sign of Kerry’s lack of compassion and communication skills. ... Classic Rove. You almost admire the skill. The same way a bullet aimed at your chest might glint in the sunlight just before impact. Nice workmanship, you can think, just before it hits you.” And earlier, on the elder Cheneys’ attitude towards Mary: “Closet. Undisclosed location. Whatever you want to call it is fine.”

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