Monday, April 30, 1990

"Mirror, mirror . . . ."

Narcissism

'About three years ago, I wrote a several part essay related to Erich Fromm's timely and wonderfully insightful book, The Heart of Man (1964). The essay wasn't very good; I am drawn back to Fromm's book again, because we are being led to ruin by people beyond the pale of sanity and goodness.

So, tonight I read through chapter four again, "Individual and Social Narcissism," to see if there was anything that might shed light upon our present condition. These passages resonated for me tonight:

"From the Renaissance onward, two great contradictory forces, group narcissism and humanism, have each developed in its own way. Unfortunately, the development of group narcissism has vastly outstripped that of humanism. While it seemed possible in the late Middle Ages and at the time of the Renaissance that Europe was prepared for the emergence of a political and religious humanism, this promise failed to materialize. New forms of group narcissism emerged, and dominated the following centuries. This group narcissism assumed manifold forms: religious, national, racial, political. Protestants against Catholics; French against Germans; whites against blacks; Aryans against Jews; Communists against capitalists; different as the contents are, psychologically we deal with the same narcissistic phenomenon and its resulting fanaticism and destructiveness.

"While group narcissism grew, its counterpart -- humanism -- also developed. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries -- from Spinoza, Leibniz, Rousseau, Herder, Kant, to Goethe and Marx -- the thought developed that mankind is one, that each individual carries within himself all of humanity, that there must be no privileged groups claiming that their privileges are based on their intrinsic superiority. The First World War was a severe blow to humanism and gave rise to an increasing orgy of group narcissism: national hysteria in all of the belligerent countries of the First World War, Hitler's racialism, Stalin's party idolization, Muslim and Hindu fanaticism, Western anti-Communist fanaticism. These various manifestations of group narcissism have brought the world to the abyss of total destruction.

" . . . Whether the danger of total destruction, the ideas of the neohumanists and the bonds created between all men by the new means of communication will be sufficient to stop the effects of group narcissism is a question which may determine the fate of mankind."
. . . .

"Only if man can do away with the illusion of his indestructible ego, only if he can drop it together with all other objects of his greed, only then can he be open to the world and fully relate to it. Psychologically this process of becoming fully awake is identical with the replacement of narcissism by relatedness to the world."
. . . .

"Not one group, class, religion, but all of mankind must undertake to accomplish tasks which allow everybody to be proud of belonging to this race. Common tasks for all mankind are at hand: the joint fight against disease, against hunger, for the dissemination of knowledge and art through out means of communication among all peoples of the world. The fact is that in spite of our differences in political and religious ideology, there is no sector of mankind which can afford to exclude itself from these common tasks . . . ."

I ponder these words and compare them with the actions of the ultra narcissists.

Picks of the week:

I'm the Decider (Koo-Koo-Ka-Choo)

"I am the Egg Head, I'm the Commander, I'm the Decider . . . Koo-Koo-Kachoo"

Bush challenges hundreds of laws

"President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution."

'Nothing prepared me for Bush': Robert Scheer has reported on every administration since Richard Nixon. But as he says in this interview, he never expected the lies and cynicism of Bush II.

"Even with the best of intentions, even when they're very smart and knowledgeable -- as opposed to George W., who is neither -- it doesn't seem to matter. All they are proving is their ability to manipulate, to think superficially, and to exploit national security issues rather than deal with them."

'At some point, reality has its day': Al Gore on why America -- and even George Bush -- is close to a tipping point on global warming

"Al Gore has launched his new campaign—this one to battle the effects of global warming. At its center is a new film, 'An Inconvenient Truth,' which stars Gore and has been winning surprisingly positive press. It opens May 24. The former vice president, who has abandoned a relatively low profile to promote the movie, spoke to Eleanor Clift about the environment, technology and politics in America."

Imagine a world in which the elected president was in office.

Although my absolute disdain for BushCo has fueled my drive to keep reporting on the hubris of all things Bush, the biggest story facing us is the loss of the planet as a habitat for life.

10 states sue EPA over global warming

"The states, joined by environmental groups, sued the Environmental Protection Agency over its decision not to regulate carbon dioxide pollution as a contributor to global warming."

The US contribution to global warming and its resistance to do something about it will unite the rest of the world against the evil empire.

White House EPA pick decried

"Pointing to Wehrum’s five-year record at the EPA, the groups say he has helped undermine air pollution regulations, jeopardized public health and advocated for the interests of polluter industries. Wehrum was counsel to his predecessor at the EPA, Jeffrey Holmstead, before becoming the acting assistant administrator of OAR in September 2005."

Can the US and the planet endure 2 and 1/2 more weeks of BushCo, let alone 2 and 1/2 more years? I think not.

Bush says he tried to avoid war 'to the max,' explains how God shapes his foreign policy

"Bush also explained, in unusually stark terms, how his belief in God influences his foreign policy. 'I base a lot of my foreign policy decisions on some things that I think are true,' he said. 'One, I believe there's an Almighty. And, secondly, I believe one of the great gifts of the Almighty is the desire in everybody's soul, regardless of what you look like or where you live, to be free.'"

Consequently, the US will wander in the desert for a long, long time.

America's blinders

"Now that most Americans no longer believe in the war, now that they no longer trust Bush and his Administration, now that the evidence of deception has become overwhelming (so overwhelming that even the major media, always late, have begun to register indignation), we might ask: How come so many people were so easily fooled?"

Bush brandishes jail time at critics

"So far, the answer should send chills through today’s weakened American Republic. Bush and his team – faced with plunging poll numbers and cascading disclosures of wrongdoing – appear determined to punish and criminalize resistance to their regime."

A projection of his own fears . . . he and his should be in prison.

Bush's imperial presidency

"The Bush administration has pushed hard for limitless powers to spy on, imprison and torture American citizens in the name of 'security.' Is this really what America stands for?"

If it walks like a duck . . . .

FBI secretly sought data on 3,501 people in '05: Agency ramped up use of approach that requires no court approval

"The FBI secretly sought information last year on 3,501 U.S. citizens and legal residents from their banks and credit card, telephone and Internet companies without a court's approval, the Justice Department said Friday."

Feds move to dismiss lawsuit challenging spy tactics

"The lawsuit, brought by the San Francisco-based Internet privacy group, Electronic Frontier Foundation, does not include the government but instead names AT&T Inc., whom the group accuses of colluding with the National Security Agency to make communications on AT&T networks available to the spy agency without warrants."

In leak cases, new pressure on journalists

"But the Bush administration is exploring a more radical measure to protect information it says is vital to national security: the criminal prosecution of reporters under the espionage laws.
"Such an approach would signal a thorough revision of the informal rules of engagement that have governed the relationship between the press and the government for many decades. Leaking in Washington is commonplace and typically entails tolerable risks for government officials and, at worst, the possibility of subpoenas to journalists seeking the identities of sources."

Just in case main stream media isn't pliable enough already.

Push to cut benefits for vets who get VA and Social Security compensation

"Vets’ Commission Chair, General Terry Scott wants to study if vets should get VA compensation and Social Security disability at the same time with the aim of reducing benefits. In an unconstitutional move, he asks Congress to interpret its own law so he would have the power to launch study."

Taking the president to court

"As the Washington Post reported last month, as the Republican budget bill struggled to make its way through Congress at the end of last year and beginning of this year (the bill cuts critical programs such as student loans and Medicaid funding), the House and Senate passed different versions of it. House Republicans did not want to make Republicans in marginal districts vote on the bill again, so they simply certified that the Senate bill was the same as the House bill and sent it to the President. The President, despite warnings that the bill did not represent the consensus of the House and Senate, simply shrugged and signed the bill anyway. Now, the Administration is implementing it as though it was the law of the land."

Bush sinks to 24% in state poll (Connecticut)

"President Bush's job approval rating in Connecticut plunged to a record-low 24 percent this month, one of the most dismal showings in the nation - and a number the president could find difficult to reverse anytime soon."

The other night on Countdown, which I highly recommend, Keith Olbermann said Cheney's national approval rating is 18%.

Halliburton collected $100,000 a day for a pipeline it never built

"For all those reasons, the project's demise would seriously damage the American-led effort to restore Iraq's oil system and enable the country to pay for its own reconstruction. Exactly what portion of Iraq's lost oil revenue can be attributed to one failed project, no matter how critical, is impossible to calculate. But the pipeline at Al Fatah has a wider significance as a metaphor for the entire $45 billion rebuilding effort in Iraq. Although the failures of that effort are routinely attributed to insurgent attacks, an examination of this project shows that troubled decision-making and execution have played equally important roles."

I heard a quote on the radio the other day, "War brings out thieves; peace hangs them." Let's hope.

GAO says government pesters wounded soldiers over debts

"The report from the Government Accountability Office, to be released at a hearing today, details how long-recognized problems with military computer systems led to the soldiers being dunned for an array of debts related to everything from errors in paychecks to equipment left behind on the battlefield."

And to think at the head of this mess is a deserter.

Tens of thousands in New York march against the war in Iraq

"A police spokesman declined to give an estimate of the size of the crowd, although organizers said there were 300,000 people. There were no arrests."

Bush rejects calls for tax on oil profits

"Bush's remarks suggested the former [ failed] Texas oilman is unlikely to take harsh action against oil companies despite public anger about the rising cost of fuel. Gasoline is averaging $2.92 a gallon across the country, up 69 cents from a year ago, according to AAA's daily fuel gauge report."

Gas is up 100% since the moron was selected.

Exxon Mobil profit rises on soaring prices

"Net income in the first quarter was $8.4 billion, or $1.37 a share, up from $7.86 billion, or $1.22 a share, a year earlier."

Wyden's long talk fails to persuade

"Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden seized control of the Senate floor for more than four hours Thursday in an attempt to reduce subsidies to oil companies.

"Enraging Republican leaders,his filibuster stalled debate on an emergency appropriations bill."

Bush's slide deeper than any one poll shows

Out of 31 states, that voted for Bush in 2004, only four now give Bush an approval rating higher than 50%:

Idaho 53%
Nebraska 51%
Utah 55%
Wyoming 54%

Impeachment talk reaches the mainstream

"The Wall Street Journal ran a story analyzing how a planned impeachment of President Bush will play out as an 'election issue,' including a helpful pie chart showing 51 percent of Americans support Congress in considering Bush's impeachment if he 'didn't tell the truth about the reasons for the Iraq war.' The Washington Post published a commentary acknowledging that support for impeachment is now 'reaching beyond the usual suspects,' and the Associated Press covered the spike in pro-impeachment resolutions from local officials across the country. Resolutions recently passed in Vermont and California, and this weekend Democratic Party officials in Michigan voted to urge local officials to pass another. Meanwhile, 14 Democratic candidates for Congress have announced their support for impeachment."

A cornered administration: Dangerous times ahead

"At a book signing on Friday at Columbia University, a number of journalists told me they worried that Bush, Rove and Cheney, if they thought they were going to lose the House in November and face serious investigations into their crimes and deceits, would do something treasonous, like launching a war against Iran, or perhaps allowing another major terrorist attack against a U.S. target, so that they could then clamp down further on domestic freedom and ramp up jingoistic support among their wavering base."

Prosecutors opt for wide probe of Rep. Ney

"Federal prosecutors signaled this week that they have decided to pursue a wide range of allegations about dealings between Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) and lobbyist Jack Abramoff, rather than bringing a narrowly focused bribery case against the congressman."

Inspectors find more torture at Iraqi jails

"Last Nov. 13, U.S. soldiers found 173 incarcerated men, some of them emaciated and showing signs of torture, in a secret bunker in an Interior Ministry compound in central Baghdad. The soldiers immediately transferred the men to a separate detention facility to protect them from further abuse, the U.S. military reported."

Tehran insider tells of US black ops

"A former Iranian ambassador and Islamic Republic insider has provided intriguing details to Asia Times Online about US covert operations inside Iran aimed at destabilizing the country and toppling the regime - or preparing for an American attack."

Global Eye

"The plan is the culmination and codification of an ad hoc array of programs and powers that Bush has doled out to Rumsfeld over the years, including a series of executive orders signed after the 2004 election that essentially turned the world into a 'global free-fire zone' for the Pentagon's secret armies and proxy foreign militias, as a top Pentagon official told The New Yorker. 'We're going to be riding with the bad boys,' another Bush insider said. Yet another courtier compared it to the glory days of the Reagan-Bush years: 'Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador? We founded them and we financed them. The objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we aren't going to tell Congress about it.' The overriding ethos of the plan is brutally simple: 'The rules are, 'Grab whom you must. Do what you want,' an intelligence official told The New Yorker."

Really, what distinguishes von Rumsfeld, his peers, and superiors from Nazi war criminals?

Armed madhouse

"Don't be fooled by the fact that 'Armed Madhouse' is entertaining -- this is my most serious reporting yet -- connecting oil panic, Hurricane Katrina, Chinese currency, Venezuela's petrodollars, disappearing ballots, Thomas Friedman, more oil, and the murder of General Motors. These are dispatches from the front lines of the class war."

New book by Greg Palast.

Going to war with the morons you have

"Most of the grumbling about Rumsfeld seems to center on his two salient attributes; arrogance and ineptitude, the twin-axels of predictable failure. There isn’t one part of the 3 year occupation he hasn’t mishandled, mismanaged or completely bungled. His tenure at the War Dept represents the greatest collapse of leadership in the history of the republic."

Rumsfeld 'thrilled' by Iraq developments

"US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says he expects the US will be able to continue to cut its troop numbers in Iraq.

"Rumsfeld today called the recent political developments in Iraq a 'thrilling accomplishment'."

A democratic dictatorship

"No one can deny that we now live in a country in which the ruler has the omnipotent power to send the entire nation into war on his own initiative. To use the president’s words, when it comes to declaring and waging war against another country, he’s the 'decider.'"

Russian MoD says missile sale to Iran to go ahead

"Russia's defense minister confirmed Monday that his country will go ahead and supply Iran with sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles, news agencies reported."

Bird flu threat not so grave, CDC chief says

“'There is no evidence it will be the next pandemic,' Dr. Julie Gerberding, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said of avian flu. There is 'no evidence it is evolving in a direction that is becoming more transmissible to people.'"

The CDC obviously hasn't gotten the message from Rummy, and the MSM is still beating the fear drum. CBS radio was doing Chicken Little on Wednesday, and ABC is touting a scary drama about bird flu.

Leftist trio seals Americas pact

"The initiative - known by its Spanish acronym Alba - is being promoted as a socialist alternative to the Washington-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas."

I'm seeing a war against these countries in the near future. Venezuela will be attacked first . . . the most oil.

Price gouging -- don't get fueled again

"Under pressure to take immediate action to curb the rapid rise of gas prices, President Bush has only recently ordered an investigation into whether the price at the pump is being illegally manipulated. Yesterday, Bush said, 'We'll make sure that the energy companies are pricing their product fairly. If we catch them gouging, if we catch them -- unfair trade practices, we'll deal with them at the federal government. That's what you expect the federal government to do.' While these recent actions are a welcomed effort to demonstrate national leadership on the issue, Bush has for too long sat idly by as Americans have come under increasing strain from burdensome gas prices. A new CNN poll reports that 69 percent of Americans believe the price of gas is causing financial hardship to their families. When Bush came into office in January 2001, the average price of a regular gallon of gas was $1.46. Today, the price is $2.91, a 100 percent increase over the course of the Bush presidency. In just the last year alone, gas prices have increased more than 30 percent. Lawmakers have repeatedly called on Bush over the past year to investigate and punish price gouging. But because Bush has been resistant to those calls for so long, it is doubtful whether his recent pledges to act on price manipulation are merely political overtures or sincere efforts that will be carried through."

GOP blocks measures boosting taxes on oil companies' profits

"While Republican leaders sharply criticize soaring gasoline prices and energy industry profits, GOP negotiators have decided to knock out provisions in a major tax bill that would force the oil companies to pay billions of dollars more in taxes on their profits."

Foreclosures soar 63 % over last year

"Colorado's foreclosure rate leapfrogged to highest among the states thanks to a 31 percent increase in new foreclosures from the previous month. The state reported 5,392 properties entering some stage of foreclosure in March, a foreclosure rate of one new foreclosure for every 339 households -- more than three times the national average."

Maybe so . . . but what about those Broncos?

Percentage of uninsured Americans rising

"The percentage of working-age Americans with moderate to middle incomes who lacked health insurance for at least part of the year rose to 41 percent in 2005, a dramatic increase from the 28 percent in 2001 without coverage, a study released on Wednesday found."

The ten worst corporations of 2005

BP

"In November 2005, BP said that it expects to spend as much as $8 billion in alternative-energy projects, including solar, wind, hydrogen, and carbon-abatement technology, over 10 years.

"It is running two-page ads in major U.S. newspapers touting itself as a leader in alternative energy.

"This is part of a high-energy campaign to cover up BP’s dirty tricks that flow from its oil business."

In deregulation of electric markets, a consumer pinch

"But data so far suggest that rates in deregulated states are rising faster than those in regulated states. That trend could expand as caps on retail electric rates, which have held prices down, are lifted in at least six deregulated states this year."

Enron was simply the mineshaft canary

Quotes from www.bartcop.com:

"What happens when Cheney gets an erection? George W. Bush gets taller." --Anonymous, Link

"Bush hates responding to the press, hates responding to political enemies. He thinks it's beneath him. He's got a stubborn streak." --Tony Snow, Bush apologist before he became Bush's apologist, Link

"Where Scott McClellan listlessly disseminated distortion, Tony Snow will do so with gusto." -- John Nichols, Link

"There was bombings today in Egypt." -- Der Monkey, a product of Yale, Link

"We're going to do something about energy. I aim to be a competitive nation." -- Dubya, who'd be our funniest president if it wasn't for all the blood, Link

"169: Number of days that elapsed between Dana Priest’s article on secret prisons and the firing of the supposed leaker. 1,014 and counting: Number of days that have elapsed since Valerie Plame’s identity was published without anyone having been fired." -- Think Progress, Link
"It's a good thing that they won for those intelligence stories because the Bush administration is investigating now and is threatening to subpoena and conceivably jail those reporters. So I think it's important that those stories be rewarded as something important to have done." -- Bob Schieffer, torn between his loyalty to Bush and being a reporter, Link

"I have been pleading with the American press corps for months to ask Bush one simple question: 'Are we, or are we not, constructing permanent military bases in Iraq?'" -- Sen. Gary Hart, Link

Senator, good luck getting this gaggle of whores to do their jobs. In six years, nobody's ever asked Bush how many times he's pled guilty to a felony. They're afraid of the little coward, for some reason.

"Rumsfeld has made some very serious mistakes. Very serious mistakes. I think history will judge him very harshly. Clearly not enough troops going in [to Iraq]. That was the biggest mistake. And a lot of mistakes would be covered under that." -- GOP Sen. Mike DeWine, running scared in Ohio, Link

"I don't think anyone imagined three years ago that things could be quite this bad today. The typical Iraqi dream has become to find some safe haven abroad." -- Riverbend, Link

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