(Illustration: The Dick, George Jr., and Rummy posture-preen serious — found here)
As a sixth-grader, I was near-about convinced the United States of America was the greatest country in the history of the world. In 1960, we Americans figured our shit didn’t stink.
Mainly and just-about all due to our elders telling us so, inbred from the beginning. In a quick snatch, however, the JFK killing, the Beatles, and, Viet-fuckin’-Nam, were cold, hard slaps of realism to America’s facade face. History was screaming: Wake up, assholes!
Fifty-four years later, though, seemingly now a nation of dumb-ass sheep. History the most-strange animal alive — captures actual nature and blends right and wrong into wrong. When I was in sixth-grade, Native Americans were “Injuns,” and John Wayne and his boys killed ’em by the truckload — nowhere in my fevered 12-year-old brain could the word, “genocide,” be associated with the beloved America.
In reality, the American Dream was a melting pot of horror, glossed over by material wealth, for some. The rest groped in the dark for an always-fleeing lie of a shadow manifested in that dream, and over the course of time, became near-mindless sheep, though, clueless and dumber-than-normal.
Maybe even imbecilic.
A most-strong view of this came last week from Errol Morris as he made the media rounds for his new documentary, “The Unknown Known,” about you-know-who — Don H. Rumsfeld — and which opened in theaters on Friday, and mostly illuminates Rummy’s horror-handling of the Iraqi war. I haven’t seen it, but did catch Morris on Stephen Colbert, and via small clips posted on political blogs. Overall, it seemed Morris pretty-much viewed Rummy as delusional as shit, pathological and dangerous.
The last graph from the Washington Post‘s version of the ‘Unknown Known‘ tour:
“We have a picture of our democracy [that] may be an illusion,” the filmmaker said.
“I never had much patience with the idea that it’s all economic, or that it’s all power politics.
“I think I come closer to how I feel when I ask Rumsfeld about Shakespeare.
“To me, the world is Shakespearean. Rumsfeld is constantly denying that anybody in government acts because of jealousy, greed, ambition, hatred. .?.?. I think history is crazy.
“I think we are crazy. We create this veneer of seeming rationality over the craziness.
“But one thing that I think is clear in this movie is that the craziness keeps poking through.”
Crazy, huh, and what else…?
In another stop on the tour, Morris, in this conversational-interview at ReasonTV, figured the problem is maybe we’re all pretty dumb.
Asked by Reason editor Nick Gillespie whether the world is lost in an Alice in Wonderland delusion, and how could the American media/public put up with Rumsfeld’s bullshit-evasive words, like the numerous ‘unknown knowns‘ euphemisms he uttered-up for weeks a decade ago, Morris answered truthfully:
“Do you really want an answer?
We’re all morons.
“You want the big words?
“Blah blah blah?”
History makes us that way — although before-hand there were tons of noise about how horrible an idea was an invasion of Iraq, the US acted the cruel moron and did it anyway. Yet in Morris’ answer is the key — all tied into Rumsfeld’s being obviously oblivious to his most-particular role in the tragedy-continuing-nightmare that’s Iraq today.
Which brings us to the three clowns pictured above, August 2004 — America’s real morons. The Dick, the most-powerful/influential vice president in US history, and most-likely, the nastiest; George Jr., maybe the most-pathetically dumb president ever; and Rummy, Alice-in-drag, down-the-rabbit hole warrior of bullshit. No small wonder this country is now up to its collective eyeballs in problems. What could one expect after eight, ugly years of arrogant incompetence?
And deeply-unconscious of reality.
Take George Jr. (Please!). The boy has a big-time art show in the works, expanding on his creativity after leaving the presidency. The exhibit started yesterday at George Jr.’s so-called library and museum back in Texas — supposedly portraits of Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin, the Dalai Lama, and so on, plus other little creative/artistic personal artifacts.
And to kick the whole shebang off, George Jr. appeared Friday on the Today show, briefly interviewed by his daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, who’s a contributing correspondent for the show.
And like Rummy, portrays a guy totally incoherent to life, and doesn’t at all understand his place in the vast cog of horror-dumb — not a sliver of known-knowledge (h/t Missy Comley Beattie).
This new display is a direct offshoot of George Jr. being ‘outed’ as a clown-creepy, water-colorist by a hacker last year — one example at left (found here) — and the former president got a great dose of way-ironic vapors on the Today show.
“I was annoyed. It’s an invasion of one’s privacy,” he said.
“And yeah, I was annoyed. And nor do I want my paintings to get out.
“And I found it very interesting the first painting that came out was the one I painted of myself in the bathtub,” he added.
“I did so because I wanted to kind of shock my instructor.”
Such blather does make George Jr. such a dumbfounded asshole.
And most-journalistic-telling: The TPM graph above, the very-last one in CNN‘s story on Bush’s artistic exhibition. As opposed to critic Jason Farago’s lede in the Guardian on Friday: Many good artists do bad things. Cellini and Caravaggio were both murderers; Schiele and Balthus had a thing for young girls; and more than one contemporary artist I could name has been tied up with tax evasion troubles. So just because a painter has – for example – the blood of up to 136,012 dead Iraqis on his hands does not, in itself, prove that he lacks talent.
And that talent? Says Farago: It is futile to gaze at these paintings and discover anything of importance about Bush’s foreign policy, or even much about Bush’s post-retirement life. Or if they do, they say only this: both the painting and the policy reflect a man untroubled by outside judgment, certain beyond any doubt of his rectitude and self-worth.
Pretty-much identical to Rummy’s pathological profile — Duh!
George Jr. in that repose couldn’t ever be expected to understand the hypocrisy of feeling “annoyed” at being hacked, and the hacking-horror of a legacy he left this country. All the disclosures from Eddie Snowden this past year on the worse-than-Orwellian NSA, stemmed-from, or received a direct-punch from, all the surveillance operations literally stitched together by his people on his watch.
Real asshole core of George Jr.’s whole time in office was The Dick, a long-time buddy of Rummy.
These boys have been together since the mid-1970s — as this photo at left suggests.
After all this time, though, The Dick became the heavyweight of the two.
And more efficient for wet work on “the dark side.”
Mark Danner at the New York Review of Books has compiled a series of insights into what made The Dick the biggest asshole this side of Karl Rove — with way more clout.
Nearly 10 years ago to the day, George Jr. had a problem — a super-secret surveillance program, which was on its face unconstitutional, and borderline illegal, was about to expire. Danner explains the program, which now sounds way-familiar:
The Terrorist Surveillance Program, then known to the handful who were aware of it only as “the Program” or by its code name, “Stellar Wind,” was a highly secret National Security Agency effort — eventually revealed by The New York Times in December 2005 and then in much greater detail by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last June.
Among other things, Stellar Wind empowered the agency to assemble a vast collection of “metadata,” including on the telephone calls and e-mails of millions of Americans, that its analysts could search and “mine” for information.
No news here, move along — then the comic darkness of idiots:
The second revelation: John Ashcroft has been in intensive care for nearly a week.
Though Ashcroft is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States — and though it is the attorney general’s signature that is required to recertify Stellar Wind — no one seems to have thought it relevant to tell the commander in chief.
No matter; Bush telephones intensive care, insists on speaking to the heavily sedated Ashcroft, and tells him he is sending over his chief of staff and White House counsel “to talk to him about an urgent matter.”
What follows is the famous Hospital Room Showdown, the great melodramatic set piece of the Bush administration, which features, as Barton Gellman describes it in the superb Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency, “men in their forties and fifties, stamping on the brakes, abandoning double-parked vehicles, and running up a hospital stairwell as fast as their legs could pump.”
And all to get Ashcroft, IV-festooned and who “looked half dead,” to sign-off on Stellar Wind. But he couldn’t, he wasn’t then the AG, his deputy, James Comey, was acting AG because of Ashcroft’s hospitalization — George Jr.’s buffoons lost, but he signed it back into law anyway (Read details of the ‘Hospital Room Showdown‘ here).
Cheney’s chagrin was deep:
On its face this argument seems sophistical: Ashcroft, as he suggested from his hospital bed, had been able to do little if any legal research or consultation before he first certified the program, and in any event the requirement that it be recertified every forty-five days was meant to allow for reevaluation of it and the emergency conditions that supposedly required it.
Cheney’s refusal to accept the lawyers’ refusal was in effect an admission that he believed the president hadn’t needed the lawyers to begin with; their approval of the program was so much decoration draped over the bedrock of the president’s “Article II powers.”
Cheney believed in a “unitary executive,” believed quite literally that “the executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”
He believed that the various post-Watergate hearings of the mid-1970s, the Church and Pike committees and others — he had watched their progress as the thirty-four-year-old chief of staff in President Gerald Ford’s White House — and the laws that had followed their exposé — had “neutered” the intelligence agencies, had “put the gloves on,” and that a vital part of the Bush administration’s post–September 11 mission, his mission, was to take those gloves off.
One of those “gloves” was the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 — the law Comey and now Ashcroft believed that Stellar Wind’s sweeping warrantless metadata collections violated.
The president had approved Stellar Wind on October 4, 2001, a few weeks after the September 11 attack, and given the temper in Washington and in the country at that time he likely could simply and easily have amended the law.
“We could have gone to Congress, hat in hand, the judicial branch and the executive together,” Royce Lamberth, then the chief FISA court judge, tells Gellman, “and gotten any statutory change we wanted…. But they wanted to demonstrate that the president’s power was supreme, and the judiciary was just a tagalong when necessary, but not appreciated.”
They didn’t want to change the law, that is; they wanted to circumvent it, and so demonstrate that, in the face of the president’s wartime powers, the law didn’t matter.
And a lot of shit didn’t matter. And wouldn’t matter to this day if little Eddie Snowden hadn’t arrived on the scene. The New York Times couldn’t raise the stink level as much as Snowden — mainly because of physical evidence.
As Rummy once pontificated:
“Now what is the message there?
The message is that there are no “knowns.”
There are thing we know that we know.
There are known unknowns.
That is to say there are things that we now know we don’t know.
But there are also unknown unknowns.
There are things we don’t know we don’t know.
So when we do the best we can and we pull all this information together, and we then say well that’s basically what we see as the situation, that is really only the known knowns and the known unknowns.
And each year, we discover a few more of those unknown unknowns.
It sounds like a riddle.
It isn’t a riddle.
It is a very serious, important matter.
There’s another way to phrase that and that is that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
It is basically saying the same thing in a different way.
Simply because you do not have evidence that something exists does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn’t exist.
And yet almost always, when we make our threat assessments, when we look at the world, we end up basing it on the first two pieces of that puzzle, rather than all three.”
And from that pure bullshit comes the America of right now — we have evidence all three of you assholes are war criminals. Even history tells us so.