Sunday, February 6, 2011

Our Alzheimer's President Turns 100, The New DC Madam, Will I See Mubarak In September?

Tarek Masoud
Eugene Robinson

"It has often been said in recent days that the United States can do nothing to affect the progress of democracy in Egypt, but the military’s dependence on American money and matériel suggests that this is untrue." - Tarek Masoud
"Bargains with the devil never end well. For decades, successive U.S. administrations have embraced autocratic, repressive regimes in the Arab world -- and now, as we see in the bloody streets of Cairo, it's time to pay the price." - Eugene Robinson

This year the worm-eaten corpse of Ronald Reagan turns 100 years old, and like a creepy version of Weekend at Bernie's, conservative extremists are trotting him out for another display. I'm waiting for the new head of the GOP to tell us about the first miracle of healing credited to Ron, so there can be a race towards canonization between Reagan and the last pope. Together, their mythologizing is one of the largest public relations bunch of malarky I have ever heard... Or, as his official biographer put it: "The sentimental colossus his acolytes are trying to erect today, with gilded pecs, red-painted smile and an NRA-approved pistol in each manly fist, bears no resemblance to the man I knew: in private a person of no ego and little charisma, in public a statesman of formidable purpose." Politicians today who never met Reagan are trying to polish up the public performances , while anyone who ever met him in private knew that he was nothing like that.

Speaking of mythologizing, here's a link to the full article by Edmund Morris, the official biographer of Ronald Reagan, trying to dispel such rumors that Reagan was a bad actor... "I asked him once if he had any nostalgia for the years he was nuzzling up to Ann Sheridan and Doris Day on camera. He gestured around the Oval Office. "Why should I? I have the biggest stage in the world, right here!" The five myths Morris tried to dispel and doing quite a bad job if it, were:
1. He was a bad actor.
"Well, yes and no."
2. He was but a movie-set soldier in World War II.
"It's true that Reagan spent virtually all the war years flying a desk at the First Motion Picture Unit, USAAF, in Culver City."

3. He was warm-hearted.
"No... Reagan intimates have confessed to me that they were never sure he knew who the hell they were."

4. He was only a campaign Christian.
"He attended few church services as president. But on occasion, before critical meetings, you would see him draw aside and mumble prayers."

5. He was an "amiable dunce."
This is where Ronald Reagan and Sarah Palin share the same characteristics. Not big on reading, often getting the facts wrong, yet able to focus on the lowest common denominator as their audience, and charming them as well.

The 800 pound gorilla that everyone wants to ignore is that Ronald Reagan was our first Alzheimer's president, and it manifested itself while he was in office, something that his three youngest children have said publicly. What is wrong with this picture: today's mentally ill right wing extremists putting someone with dementia up on a pedestal as someone to be admired and commemorated.

Speaking of right wing extremists, the NY Times reports that Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas,  announced that she is "stepping aside as chief executive of the conservative organization she founded, but intends to keep ties to a new alliance between that group, Liberty Central, and the Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty." Liberty Central is a tea party group that Virginia founded because she cannot find a real job in Washington that would put her name in the public's eye. It hasn't done anything, hasn't planned or produced any events, is just another empty shell that hires a couple of secretaries to pick up the mail and answer phones. The next step is to register as a lobbyist, so that you might rake in some big conservative bucks...

A few days later, the Times then reports that: "Ms. Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court, will be a consultant to Liberty Central, is rebranding herself as a lobbyist and self-appointed “ambassador to the Tea Party movement.” Gee, who could have seen that one coming... Oh, well, as along as she doesn't try to cash in on being married to a Supreme Court Justice.

"Virginia Thomas, the justice’s wife, said on, a Web site for her new political consulting business, that she saw herself as an advocate for “liberty-loving citizens” who favored limited government, free enterprise and other core conservative issues. She promised to use her “experience and connections” to help clients raise money and increase their political impact. Ouch. First of all, who doesn't love liberty? Who doesn't want to be an advocate for liberty, only about a few hundred million people that are citizens of the US. By taking an abstract concept and turning it into public relation's market-speak, she's trying to narrow it down to those who agree with her are the liberty-loving citizens, while those who think she's a kook must be anti-liberty. It cheapens the discussion, as if liberty were a commodity, like beef, and she is serving a special today of creamed, chipped liberty on toast...

More worrisome is her public promise, that if you pay her money, she will use her "experience and connections" with her husband to help their cause. This sure sounds like a form of prostitution to me, and should be illegal. Yep, Supreme Court Justice and his wife arrested and jailed for forming a political prostitution ring, and all so that she can be thought of as a player in Washington DC...

"Ms. Thomas’s effort to take a more operational role on conservative issues could intensify questions about her husband’s ability to remain independent on issues like campaign finance and health care, legal ethicists said." To what issue will this come? Have we just watched the coronation of tea party royalty, or does this bode a deeper problem that has taken hold at the foundations and manifests itself throughout the rotten structure? After all, remember what happened to the last high priced pimp in Washington Dc, Ms Deborah Palfrey: "A federal jury convicted Palfrey of racketeering and money laundering for her operation of Pamela Martin & Associates, an escort service that catered to Washington clients like Senator David Vitter..."

He waxes desperate with imagination.

Let's follow. 'Tis not fit thus to obey him.

Have after. To what issue will this come?

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Egypt's Hosni Mubarak has negotiated with the powers that be to let him stay in power until September, long enough for things to quiet down and let his thugs find the so-called leaders of the democratic movement and beat the crap out of them, send them to a US site for rendition... The excuse being given is that there must be a gradual transition of government here, which is pure BS, as anyone on the street can tell you. The irony here is that countries like the US. Germany, and Israel are all trying to make change behind the scenes because they don't have faith in the democratic process.

After Barack Obama has given a cautious statement in favor of the protesters, he is fair game to get slammed in public. Sarah Palin tried to slam him, but she got the basic facts wrong that she sounded garbled and confused, once again making me thank everyone for not voting her into office... Dick Cheney also praised Mubarak, but that is to be expected, one dictatorial mind praising another.

So, as it stands right now, the Egyptian revolution has won, but it may lose a few months down the road. The one group that has the most at stake outside of Egypt are the Palestinians. For over 20 years, they had been getting support from the Arabic countries in name only, because a country like Egypt will not actively support the creation of a democratic state where the citizens can vote and have basic human rights, all the while suppressing those same things in their own country. If the reforms actually go through, then countries like Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Syria maybe more supportive of the Palestinian people, who have been totally screwed over by their own leaders and Israel these past 30 years...

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