Thursday, June 17, 2004

Late Edition

Well, I was late getting to the papers today; we were bizzy-bizzy-bizzy at the store all day (which is a good thing). So all the news is stale. But maybe you missed these:

Salon has a lengthy paper on anti-Americanism, from a lecture delivered to intelligence analysts. Full text is here: LINK. The link requires that you be a Salon subscriber or watch an ad to access, but this report is well worth it.

Choice quote:

What we face here is not merely skepticism but also burning rage, a passionate antipathy that, although far from uniform, does seem ubiquitous. Even now, however, America's critics continue to distinguish between the U.S. administration, which they fear and despise, and the American people, with whom they feel sympathy.

But the pictures from Abu Ghraib prison may have finally changed that. If the American electorate, knowing what it knows and, above all, having seen what it has seen, proceeds to reelect George W. Bush in November, the moderating distinction between the American administration and the American people will be eroded or perhaps erased -- with what violent consequences no one can predict.

I'm sure there are some 'who cares what foreigners think about us?' readers out there - read the whole thing to find out why it matters. Also in Salon, an article about three new books psychoanalysing Bush. From a discussion of Frank's book:

Bush's parents dealt with Robin's death by squelching any expression of grief; there was no funeral and they played golf the day after she died. This, according to Frank, is a key example of the family's approach to all such painful emotions, and the result was to distort and cripple the psyche of their firstborn son. Frank provides an elaborate description of how the healthy process of psychological "integration" is supposed to work, some of which is based on such unconvincing Kleinian theories as the "good mother" and the "bad mother." But in general, his thesis is credible: If a child's parents teach him that his feelings of suffering, fear, weakness and rage are so unacceptable that they can't even be acknowledged, he is likely to spend his life projecting those feelings onto other people and punishing them for it. It's one of the ways bullies are minted.

and later:

Now (ostensibly) sober, George W. toes the family line, and when he's not letting off steam geopolitically, he uses the outlets favored by his mother, a less-discussed but probably more significant influence on his character. By most reliable accounts a truly scary piece of work, Barbara Bush is known around the Bush home by the nickname "the Enforcer." (A family friend described her to George W. biographer Bill Minutaglio as "the one who instills fear.") Barbara seems to be the source of George W.'s penchant for teasing, that overtly chummy but covertly hostile technique he especially likes to use on the press, who alarm and intimidate him. The animosity swirling beneath the placid surface of the Bush family keeps leaking out in little puffs of chilly spite disguised as jokes, whether it's George W.'s cracking wise about his mother's cooking, referring to his wife as "the lump in the bed next to me," or telling the press that a daughter recently hospitalized for an emergency appendectomy might join the family for a Florida vacation, but "if not, she can clean her room."

... and you thought your family was dysfunctional...

Finally, Slate has an article on 'torture-lawyer' Gonzales and his strange rulings prior to his WH job.

Curiously, it was in his role as legal counsel to then-Gov. Bush that Gonzales penned yet another memo pertaining to international law, only in that case his advice was designed not to avoid death sentences, but rather to expedite them on Texas' heavily populated death row. On June 16, 1997, Gonzales first showcased his proclivity for torturing international law when he sent a letter to the U.S. State Department in which he argued that, "Since the State of Texas is not a signatory to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, we believe it is inappropriate to ask Texas to determine whether a breach … occurred in connection with the arrest and conviction" of a Mexican national. Or, put another way, he asserted that an international treaty just didn't apply to Texas.

The Republic of Texas, indeed. (If the US signs a treaty, following it becomes the law of the land, in case you missed that point.)


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