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Glenn Greenwald has some analysis of a recent book luncheon Bush attended with a handful of neoconservative thinkers to discuss revisionist historian Andrew Roberts. Within the piece is the following quote:

The causes of rampant anti-Americanism do indeed include dislike of Bush. But there are others: the war in Iraq; anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian sentiment, laced with some covert anti-Semitism; and resentment of American power. Roberts urged the president not to concern himself with these anti-American feelings, since in a unipolar world the lone superpower cannot be loved. His advice: “Get your policies right and history will prove a kind muse.”

which was preceded by this gem:

On one subject the president needed no lessons from Roberts or anyone else in the room: how to handle pressure. “I just don’t feel any,” he says with the calm conviction of a man who believes the constituency to which he must ultimately answer is the Divine Presence. Don’t misunderstand: God didn’t tell him to put troops in harm’s way in Iraq; belief in Him only goes so far as to inform the president that there is good and evil. It is then his job to figure out how to promote the former and destroy the latter. And he is confident that his policies are doing just that.

Okay, first of all what fucking moron believes he can destroy all evil? That clearly points to the man’s megalomania. But what really bothers me about these two passages is that Bush doesn’t acknowledge that a president serves the American people. Not his historical legacy and not some divine presence, but ordinary people. And nowhere is this ever mentioned to him by his neocon enablers. No they talk about how we haven’t dropped enough bombs on non-english speaking people (who aren’t real people anyway in their view).

Isn’t it enough to just point out to everyone that Bush and the neocons worship at the altar of Leo Strauss, a man who said “those in power must invent noble lies and pious frauds to keep the people in the stupor for which they are supremely fit”. This quote is from an article Greenwald links to which discusses Strauss in more detail and seems to perfectly summarize the disdain that the current ruling class have for us wretched, disgusting, ordinary people. Here’s what I consider the uber-relevant bit from the rest of the Strauss piece:

There have always been those who deluded themselves into thinking that they were akin to gods who are entitled to rule over ordinary mortals. But no one has described this mentality more brilliantly than Dostoevsky, when he created the figure of the Grand Inquisitor. In his short story of the same title, Dostoevsky imagined that Jesus has returned to face a decadent and corrupt Church. As head of the Church, the Grand Inquisitor condemns Jesus to death, but not before having a long and interesting conversation with the condemned man. Jesus naively clings to the belief that what man needs above all else is freedom from the oppressive yoke of the Mosaic law, so that he can choose between good and evil freely according to the dictates of his conscience. But the Inquisitor explains to him that truth and freedom are the sources of humanity’s greatest anguish and that people will never be free because “they are weak, vicious, worthless, and rebellious.” He declares that people can be happy only if they surrender their freedom and bow before miracle, mystery, and authority. Only then can people live and die peacefully, “and beyond the grave, they will find nothing but death. But we shall keep the secret, and for their happiness we shall allure them with the reward of heaven and eternity.” The Inquisitor explains that the “deception will be our suffering, for we shall be forced to lie.” But in the end, “they will marvel at us and look on us as gods.”

To say that Strauss’s elitism surpasses that of the Grand Inquisitor is an understatement. Undeniably, there are strong similarities. Like the Grand Inquisitor, Strauss thought that society must be governed by a pious elite (George Bush the second and the Christian fundamentalists who support him fit this role perfectly). Like the Grand Inquisitor, Strauss thought of religion as a pious fraud (something that would alarm the Christian fundamentalists who are allied with the neoconservatives). And even though Strauss was sympathetic to Judaism, he nevertheless described it as a “heroic delusion” and a “noble dream.” Like the Grand Inquisitor, he thought that it was better for human beings to be victims of this noble delusion than to “wallow” in the “sordid” truth. And like the Grand Inquisitor, Strauss thought that the superior few should shoulder the burden of truth and in so doing, protect humanity from the “terror and hopelessness of life.”

All the similarities between Strauss and the Grand Inquisitor notwithstanding, the Straussian position surpasses the Grand Inquisitor in its delusional elitism as well as in its misanthropy. This shows that while one need not be a religious thinker to be misanthropic, religion is an excellent vehicle for implementing misanthropic policies in public life.

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In case there is any remaining doubt that Fox news is just ultra right-wing neoconservative propaganda, here is Roger Ailes (aka Fat Bastard). And you know what, if Al Gore and Michael Moore’s weight is fair game, then this tub of shit certainly should be as well. I think Jabba AND Pizza the Huts had better complexions and jowel configurations than Ailes.

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I noticed a smear starting to emerge in the right wing blogosphere about Edwards and Israel. As per usual there appears to be an incestuous twisting of a single story in to a larger, twisted narrative. Let’s map this sucker out.

It all begins with this piece from Variety:

There are other emerging fissures, as well. The aggressively photogenic John Edwards was cruising along, detailing his litany of liberal causes last week until, during question time, he invoked the “I” word — Israel. Perhaps the greatest short-term threat to world peace, Edwards remarked, was the possibility that Israel would bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. As a chill descended on the gathering, the Edwards event was brought to a polite close.

Support for Israel in the U.S. has lately become bafflingly multi-cultural, representing an alliance between diaspora Jews, traditional Zionists and evangelicals. Support from Christian zealots, who now represent about one third of Israel’s tourist business, is welcomed even though, according to evangelical doctrine, Judgment Day will bring the ultimate destruction of Israel and death to most of its residents.

The Economist observed this week that “knee jerk defensiveness” of Israel ultimately will erode support for that country around the world, even among Jews. Only 17% of American Jews today regard themselves as “pro-Zionist,” the magazine points out, and only 57% say that “caring about Israel is a very important part of being Jewish.” And Jimmy Carter only exacerbates these mixed signals with his recent perorations that Israel must “give back” territories to the Palestinians.

So according to the Economist, nobody is fond of the Israel taking a reactionary stance, including Jews. Which says to me that IF Edwards denounced the notion of Israel attacking Iran that he wouldn’t be alone in holding such an opinion. This, however won’t shield him from the right wing attacks on him for daring to criticize Israel. If you plug your nose and wade thru the right-wing blogosphere, you’ll find an incestuous circle of sites all linking to this NRO piece:

Really? Israel is the biggest threat? Not Ahmedinijad? Not al-Qaeda? Not a coup attempt in Pakistan? Not a complete breakdown in Iraq drawing in the Saudis, Turks, and Iranians?

But then I read this:

WASHINGTON John Edwards’ presidential campaign wants to make it clear that he doesn’t consider Israel a threat to world peace.

A spokesman for the 2008 Democratic candidate issued a statement today denying such a report on Variety.com.
Columnist Peter Bart reports that Edwards told a Hollywood fundraiser last month that the possibility that Israel would bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities is perhaps the greatest short-term threat to world peace.

Edwards’ spokesman Jonathan Prince says the article is erroneous. He says Edwards says one of the greatest short-term threats to world peace is Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon.

So if this article is correct, then the Edwards campaign is actually fueling the bullshit tough talk on Iran now. I really don’t know what to think here, but I’m either very unhappy with John Edwards’ talk on Iran or how the media is portraying his position on Iran. Some clarity is needed, as I agree with democracy arsenal:

With that said, it is tough sometimes to interpret Iran quotes, as we found out yesterday. Let’s say, for example, if someone says: “any type of military action against Iran should be an absolute last resort and every effort should be made to avoid confrontation,” or “we have no intention of attacking Iran” and then they say something like “all options should be left on the table,” then those two statements, while different in tone, are not necessarily contradictory. The argument could be made that its possible to believe both things simultaneously.

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