Monday, June 29, 2009

an open letter to my town

hey town. what's up? yeah me too.

listen town. I've been here a while now. yeah I know. not as long as you. yeah that probably makes me a bit of an upstart, feeling full enough to talk about you and your problems. yeah, I'm not the first to do this, am I?

won't be the last either. but no matter.

what I wonder, town, is just what you're up to these days. if you were a person I'd think it time to send you to Rimrock or Betty Ford, 'cuz you're fucking wasted on something, dude. and you're not even bothering to climb out of that bilge you're stewing in.

and I want to know why.

ya see, town, I've been in the pit myself. a lot of times. and a few of those times it was me who put me there, not someone or something else. me. and how I reacted to my surrounds.

so what's bugging you, town? what about your current state of ...uh... affairs is bugging you? it's something. or things. I'm betting things. you're pretty damned stewed.

could it be you've been a bit of a couch potato lately, town? eating, drinking, burping, farting, napping, sleeping, eating more, drinking more, burping and farting a hell of a lot more. you remind me of Jabba the Hutt, or Fat Bastard, or that incredibly fat and obnoxious dude at the end of Monty Python's Meaning of Life.

small wonder your mayor is a lot like those three I just mentioned. but I'm sure there's no connection.

town, you used to be a good pal. fun to hang around. pretty much up for anything, without a whole lot of jerks hanging around to ruin the fun. no crowds, that's what I mean. and especially not crowds of uptight yuppie douchenozzles, or proto-yuppie mini-sodas and dakotas. used to be a guy could ride his bicycle anywhere, no gigantic SUVs driven by braindead bimbos on their bluetooths blabbing to betties and bridgets about boobs boys blowjobs bankaccounts barberedpussies and bioaccessory bichomos who will run you right off the fucking road while they are spitting stupidity into their cellphone.

and then there's the priapic professionals you seem to be welcoming as if you were some Wall Street bond trading house. you know who I mean here, town. I mean those asswipes driving sports sedans from Europe that cost at least $75k. the cardiac surgeons, dermatologists, plastic surgeons, psychiatrists, architects that you have given free rein. your junior stormtroopers don't seem too intent on handing out speeding tickets or other traffic violation summonses to these Sons of Arrogance, who are bested only by the zombified bimbos I mentioned earlier when it comes to outright road danger on your streets.

but the stormtroopers don't mind them. hell I hear some of your ossy-furs snort coke with some of these overpaid fratboy upscalers you're building houses for all around your perimeter, big shouting screaming commanding places with 6-car garages, 21 rooms, and million-dollar security systems where the fratboy "professionals" and fratboy coppers snort coke and watch their boy-boy porn vids cribbed from NAMBLA friends.

yeah, town. you're really moving up the social ladder.

I like the way you've taken care of the less fortunate, too. you know what I mean here, right? no, no, no. not the Poverello Center. that's not you, remember? no, I'm talking about the "low-income housing" that's really for people who know how to use creative accounting to make about $50,000 of their annual income disappear -- but only on paper, right, and only for the purpose of qualifying for your "low-income housing." it's funny, town. all your "low-income" residents in your "low-income housing" are pretty well-off. someone skeptical might even guess your "low-income housing" is a big lie.

the real low-income housing is over where I live, or down on Felony Flats. it's not any of the City's "low-income housing." not even close.

sounds to me like a con job, town. but hey, I can give a guy a break. maybe in a weak moment you listened to someone -- a "consultant" perhaps -- when you were busy being plied with whatever juice you've been on lately. maybe that "consultant" told you that you need cosmetic low-income housing for this purpose or that, probably to boost your "national profile" to get more mention in magazines, on TV, in radio spots, et cetera. 'cuz ya know, that's really what's important.


not substance.

and hey -- while I'm on that point -- can you explain one of your fetishes to me?

oh sorry. you do have a lot of them, that's right.

I mean the fetish with "growth". the BIG fetish.

your roly-poly patrician, Mayor Fat Bastard, is always beaming about our "growth" -- maybe to distract from his own waistline, maybe to feel unity because of his waistline, maybe to suggest that everyone needs to be bigger than they are? I don't know. I know only that when Mayor Fat Bastard also brags on your quality of life, he's not talking about the great things I've mentioned above. he's not bragging on the pedophile police snorting coke with your vaunted "professional" class. he's not bragging on the stupid vain princesses of Southgate Mall who run over children, pets, pedestrians, bicyclists, and smaller vehicles as if they were failed sorority pledges. he's not bragging on the huge glut of red-light runners, stop sign-ignorers, 35mph-over-the-limits drivers... is he? is he talking about the endless traffic and noise and pollution caused by the "rush hours" in the morning and evening? I doubt it.

but hey -- maybe you're proud to have a rush hour. maybe that makes you feel like you're catching up to Spokane or something. shit, if you try just about 2% harder, you can outpace Boulder -- and I know how Mayor RolyPoly would LOVE to have that status!

hey, town.

if you wanted to be Boulder, why didn't you just go to Boulder?

if you wanted to be Seattle, why didn't you just go to Seattle?

why are you turning this setting into something else? why are you ruining its individual qualities in favor of McEverywhere?

I think I know why.

I have some advice for you, town.

1) you don't have to eat everything put in front of you.
2) you don't have to drink everything put in front of you.
3) you don't have to smoke everything put in front of you.
4) "rich" people don't know better than you.
5) "big cities" are not better just because they're bigger.
6) bigger isn't better.
7) "professional" is a synonym for "arrogant asshole," not for "admirable person"
8) if you would rather be somewhere else, then please go there. some of us like it here.

thanks old pal. hope you enjoy things in Chicago. pack a big van, I don't think you'll be wanting to return.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

we are the world!

the unmistakable aroma of self-congratulation becomes even more noisome when the thing for which the self-congratulators take credit is something completely outside their influence.

in case you have been sleeping, on Tuesday the Uber-Donkle approved a massive $106 billion new defense allocation from our already crippled US Treasury.

this, hot on the heels of a multi-tiered, multi-sectored "bailout" of a whole lot of businesses across the country.

one might start wondering when and where POTUS 44's oft-proclaimed, frequently-cited change (from the course of Bush-Cheney) will arrive, and how it will reveal itself.

or, one might start imagining that, if not for the aggressive blogging of a whole lot of pwog-weasel bloggers, the whole danged Donkle would have sold its soul for the carrion piles mounting --courtesy of US Military, US mercenary contractors, and US client state goons-- in Afghanistan, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Pakistan.

but hey -- let's not be too hasty. apparently the Mighty Pwog-weasel Blog-weasels prevented it from being a total sellout.

witness, here's Jeremy Scahill:
Tuesday’s vote came after an intense campaign by progressive bloggers, activists and anti-war Congressmembers Dennis Kucinich, Lynn Woolsey and Jim McGovern to get the 39 Democrats needed to block war funding to vote against it. This was made possible due to a roller-coaster-like series of events in the weeks and days preceding the vote.
gee whillikers, Mrs Cleaver! your dress looks lovely!

why thank you Eddie Haskell, you always say the nicest things!

and here's another Donklebot offering a nearly identical episode of patting-one's-self-on-the-back... David Swanson, yesterday:
We have citizen heroes too, groups and blogs and individuals who raised their voices and organized against this bill, including but not limited to: Action Center For Justice, After Downing Street, Air America, Alternet, American Friends Service Committee, the Backbone Campaign, Nick Baumann, Blue Mass Group, Brave New Films, Jennifer Brunner, Brendan Calling, Burnt Orange Report, Buzz Flash, Calitics, Cindy Sheehan, Code Pink, Common Dreams, Daily Kos, Dday, Declaration of Peace, Democracy Now!,, Digby, Docudharma, FireDogLake, Bruce Gagnon, Green Mountain Daily, Glenn Greenwald, the Hip Hop Caucus, Howie Klein, Humanists for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Jeremy Scahill, Just Foreign Policy, The Nation, Cynthia McKinney, Michigan Liberal, Linda Milazzo, Michael Moore, Military Families Speak Out, My Left Nutmeg, Not Larry Sabato, Open Left, Out of Iraq Blogger Caucus, Patriot Daily, Peace Action, Peace No War, Progressive Democrats of America, Jason Rosenbaum, Coleen Rowley, Santa Cruz Progressive Email List, Square State, Jonathan Tasini, True Maine Blue, Doug Tudor, United for Peace and Justice, US Labor Against the War, Veterans for Peace, Voters for Peace, Joan Wile, Win Without War, Marcy Winograd, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, World Can't Wait, the Young Turks.
Swanson seems to think that if a blogger speaks, Congress listens.

now of course, this sort of delusion is not new. Markos Moulitsas Zuniga built a Donklebot Blogparadise on the premise that he was so well-connected his blog would bring certain Mighty Donkeys into power despite the odds favoring Stubborn, Powerful Elephants. in fact, Mr Zuniga would be the first to tell you, he's an incredibly powerful force in Federal politics. it's almost like Uncle Sam won't budge until Zuniga says something -- and then, Sammy just jumps as high as he possibly can, without even asking how high he should jump. that's the power of the mighty Mr Zuniga.

people who have been following federal political machinations since the start of the Bush-Cheney era should remember the piece written by Ron Suskind for the NY Times in 2004, where Suskind allegedly interviewed a member of the Bush team, who told Suskind:
'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
naturally, people in the pwog-weasel blog-weaseldom could not let such a statement stand idle. no sir. no ma'am. nope.

so what did they do? did the mighty Donklebots mount a campaign to expose this toady's fantasy of "create our own reality," did they try to bring the sycophant back to earth with reference to what are the true facts on the ground, in play?

no sir. no ma'am. nope.

no, they decided to create their own reality. to make up their own fantasies, and trumpet them as facts.

that's how the partisan mind works. reality isn't something to be observed or followed.

no sir. no ma'am. nope.

reality is to be created, for the purpose of continuing the eternal Us vs Them war, the pivotal Superest Bowl of All Time. the contest is Donkey vs Elephant. facts and reality are irrelevant. the contest is all. they are slavish followers of UCLA Bruins football coach Red Sanders:
winning isn't everything. it's the only thing.
so who cares if a bunch more bodies are piled up for the Grim Reaper? do the Donklebots care?

no sir. no ma'am. nope.

they're busy congratulating themselves for persuading the Donkle to approve a $106 billion war budget.

oh wait. they're not doing that? they're congratulating themselves for "pressuring" a total of 32 Congresscritters to "oppose" the $106 billion gift to defense contractors?

how'd I miss that? dang, I must have been sleeping at the switch.

please, wake me when they make their own "reality" that resembles the one where they acknowledge their impotence.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

an interview of Christopher Lasch from 1991

I just finished reading The Culture of Narcissism and found myself in agreement with Lasch. I bought that book about 15 years ago at a used book store in Morristown NJ, along with another of his books called The True and Only Heaven, which I plan to start later this week. because I got curious about him, I googled him and found this 2-part interview from 1991. Lasch died from cancer in 1994.

the following excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on Lasch makes me realize why I found myself agreeing with him:

During the 1960s, Lasch identified himself as a socialist, but one who found influence not just in the writers of the time such as C. Wright Mills but also in earlier independent voices such as Dwight Macdonald. [5] Lasch became further influenced by writers of the Frankfurt School and the early New Left Review and felt that "Marxism seemed indispensable to me". [6] During the 1970s, however, he became disenchanted with the Left's belief in progress and increasingly identified this belief as the factor which explained the Left's failure to thrive despite the widespread discontent and conflict of the times.

At this point Lasch began to formulate what would become his signature style of social critique - a syncretic synthesis of Freud and the strand of paleoconservative thinking that remained deeply suspicious of Capitalism and its effects on traditional institutions.

* * *

By the 1980s, Lasch had poured scorn on the whole spectrum of contemporary mainstream American political thought, angering liberals with attacks on progressivism and feminism, and arousing distrust among conservative intellectuals who recognized (as was not always obvious, given his scathing critiques of liberals) that he thought even less of them. Liberal journalist Susan Faludi dubbed him explicitly anti-feminist for his criticism of the abortion rights movement and opposition to divorce. [10]

so anyway, here's the interview --

Saturday, June 13, 2009

it's not murder if you call it "war"

one of the true puzzles of my life has been the manner in which people ignore the fundamental truth about war's inhumanity -- the fact that war involves mass murder, which is never condoned by any society when practiced outside the confines of what is labelled as "war."

why do human societies condemn murder?

as far as I can tell, it's because of a melange of autonomy (self-determination extending to a right to control one's fate and eventual death) and respect for human life. in America there are only three situationsFN where one human may kill another human and not be punished criminally for that killing:

1) war

2) self-defense

3) abortion

situation (2) has never required a lot of puzzling for me. if someone is using lethal force against me, I am entitled to protect myself and, if necessary, to use lethal force in return. of course there are contours to self-defense, but these are mainly about the propriety of one's assessment of the need to use lethal force, and more specifically, they concern the appraisal of the threat posed to the one using lethal force in self-defense.

for example, if a 5-year-old child walks up to me and points a squirt gun at me, it is not proper for me to determine that my life is in mortal danger, and so I would not be justified in killing that child as an act of "self-defense." why? well, it's because there are ways to defuse the threat of a 5-year-old wielding a squirt gun. one such way is to simply accept that being squirted with water is not life-threatening -- unless it occurs in the situation of waterboarding, but I'm not suggesting a 5-year-old child's use of a squirt gun is tantamount to waterboarding. I'm just saying that waterboarding is an exception to the idea that being squirted with water isn't lethal.

conversely, if an adult male approaches me wielding a machete and shouting words of threat, threatening corporal harm and even death, I may well be justified in defending myself with lethal force.

this self-defense notion seems to be what underlays the recasting of murder as simply "war" -- that when someone makes war upon you, you may defend yourself with equal force and threat.

what if the "war" is imagined only? for example, what if a country is developing nuclear power? is it legitimate to assume that such development is being done for the sole purpose of creating nuclear weapons? and then if so, is it also legitimate to assume that such nuclear weapons are being created for use against the USA?

or is it possible that, given the extensive nuclear arsenal held by the USA, a foreign country may believe it needs to have its own nuclear weapons for protection against the USA's wielding of such weapons?

* * * * * * * * *

when I was in college I was required to take two semesters of philosophy. the second semester class was graded both by periodic written exams, and a terminal oral exam. in the oral exam we were questioned about euthanasia, abortion, and the death penalty. the grading professors basically looked for a continuity of thoughts and principles. for example, if a student supported the death penalty but not euthanasia, the professors would inquire on the reasons for why there was an inconsistency.

at the crux of the professors' inquiries was the notion that human life is valuable, and the professors wanted to know why that valuation could be variable. what would compel a person to say euthanasia is wrong, but the death penalty is proper? if human life is valuable, why is it less valuable when it is taken as punishment for a crime? what justifies the devaluation?

* * * * * * * * *

recently my e-friends over at Dead Horse posted some thoughts on abortion. my comments thereafter prompted a rather strange circumstance where I was assailed as if I were one of the "cultural conservatives" who make up what Jerry Falwell called "the Moral Majority." I would imagine the reason for this attack was that I suggested abortion is a form of murder.

in my travels as an intellectual I have found it startling when self-styled "progressives" and "liberals" assess the situation of abortion. rather than inquiring on whether the termination of a fetal life is murder, the focus is quickly shifted to the woman's right to "control her body." notice the startling feature there, reader -- by shifting that focus, the fetus is dehumanized, and treated as if it were a virus or bacterium that needed to be eradicated. it is devalued. it is considered to be nothing but an inconvenience for the terribly beset pregnant woman who is carrying the fetus. what warrants such treatment?

the only situation I see where that type of treatment is even arguable is where the woman has become pregnant involuntarily -- rape, in other words.

in the absence of rape, pregnancy doesn't arise without voluntary acts leading to impregnation, and specifically that would be vaginal intercourse with the man ejaculating inside the woman's vagina. such intercourse doesn't arise without conscious affirmative acts by both the man and the woman. and if it's not rape, then both parties have culpability in creating a new human life.

at the present point in American society, there are plenty of avenues available to a man and woman who seek to join in sexual activity including vaginal intercourse, but who do not want to create a human life as a product of that intercourse. men can use condoms, men can withdraw before ejaculation, men can have vasectomies. women can use diaphragms, women can use spermicidals, women can use "the pill." and then there's the somewhat Las Vegas-styled method approved by His Papal Holiness -- the rhythm method, which requires anticipation of menstruation, an imprecise thing by anyone's standards.

it's sufficient to say that there are a number of avenues available to a couple who want to fuck without creating a baby. hell, I've used a few of them myself! and in my experience, they work!

and yet somehow, in the minds of "liberals" and "progressives," the creation of a human life via fucking is negligible if the woman later decides she'd rather not be pregnant. somehow, the focus immediately shifts to the woman's right to "control her body." and the fetus is not recognized as a human life, but rather, as just part of the woman's "body." or, probably more accurately, the fetus is considered a foreign invasion against her body, something making war on her body, and the war must be repelled with lethal force!

voila! abortion is justified as self-defense!

what justifies this quick swing away from human life? when a woman desires pregnancy, as soon as pregnancy is confirmed it's frequently common to hear of the pregnant status referenced as I'm having a baby. when the baby is desired, its presence and status as a human are noted rather quickly. it's not just a blastomere that can be discarded on a whim, not when it's desired. I've had many friends who tried repeatedly to conceive a child, who were distraught and crushed when the child was miscarried. why is that? what makes it different than when the miscarriage is arranged via abortion?

* * * * * * * * *

if the legitimation of abortion is premised upon the woman's right to "control her body," why has the man's role in providing the human genetic haploid of a sperm suddenly minimized? why is the fetus simply "the woman's body" if she could not even become pregnant without the man's half of the genetic bargain? why does the man suddenly disappear from the equation?

he doesn't, of course. except in the minds of "liberals" and "progressives."

and if the woman's right to destroy a fetus is premised upon the fetus being part of the woman's body and exclusively such a part, where does the woman's control of her own body begin and end?

why can't a woman kill a newborn infant with the same legal immunity as when she kills a fetus? after all, the newborn baby came from the woman's body. shouldn't her right to control her body extend to the products of that body? isn't that the logical extension of the justification?

FN - Actually there's a 4th situation, and that would be when the police kill a "suspect" with a gun, or a taser. But this 4th situation is outside the scope of my inquiry.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

not the one in Arizona

aaarrggghh. 3 times I have quit this writing, only to be pulled back into it. I am starting to realize I have to write in order to maintain some packet of sanity. I need to purge. my friends shouldn't have to put up with my rants all the time. and like the prior times I quit, I find that I end up writing almost as much by commenting at others' blogs.

what pulled me back into the writing was POTUS 44's recent speech delivered in Egypt, and some discussion I saw on Charlie Rose related to that speech.

as to POTUS 44's speech itself, I found his arrogance to surpass that of POTUS 43, which is a considerable feat given how much hubris I ascribed to POTUS 43. what was arrogant? that's a great question, thanks for asking.

first was the fact that the tone of his speech, and the the tenor of its content, were highly ...shall I say... paternalistic. he was lecturing his audience, not giving a speech. he was chiding his audience, not informing them of where he would like America's international relations to lead. essentially, he was telling them:
here are the rules, you must follow them, you have no autonomy, you have no free will. you will bend to the will of America, and you will be grateful for it. you will ignore the hypocrisy of my message. you will come away from this speech thinking I am a noble man whose high station you should and will envy, not out of duty but because you respect me so greatly. you will respect me. I will not earn that respect, however. am I confusing you here? good. you're starting to get the drift. go with it.
why would I conclude that, when his words were so different, so full of... hope... for some sort of benevolent... change... in US/Arab relations and non-Muslim/Muslim relations? you're not alone in asking that. I asked myself that same question. that's how I do these things, I look at facts, and I wonder about what those facts indicate, what conclusions one may draw from them. when I come up with a plausible conclusion, I ask myself whether that conclusion really makes sense, whether it's defensible, whether there are alternative conclusions. so yeah, I've already asked myself.

the key to me was the point at which POTUS 44 said that a cornerstone of all religions and all peoples is the Golden Rule -- do unto others as you would have them do unto you. now, I'm not suggesting he's wrong to say the Golden Rule is a foundation of religions and societies. I think that point is obvious and undebatable. I think any society that survives a generation of reproduction learns that you have to follow some sort of code analogous to the Golden Rule just to survive. harmony among individuals of different perspectives requires a Golden Rule analog. how could it be different? there's only one way I can imagine -- a hive mind, a uniformity of thought on everything, an utter lack of disagreement. we don't have a hive mind here on Earth.

but POTUS 44's speech essentially mandated a hive mind in which all Arabs and Muslims must think exactly as POTUS 44 wants them to think.

he delivered it in the form of a lecture to children who have behaved badly and must be rebuked. his tone was almost like that of Jesus speaking to the Pharisees.

now maybe that doesn't shock you too much. maybe you don't pay much attention to the New Testament's teachings. maybe some faux-Christians have nauseated you so thoroughly that you have complete disdain for anything resembling Christianity. I'm not far from that point myself. I even spent 2 years as an adult trying to practice pretty faithfully as a Presbyterian, and came away finding Christianity full of problems -- but mainly those were problems of the people interpreting the Bible in selfish ways.

if you examine the New Testament just to see what kinds of moral lessons Jesus was trying to teach the various people he lectured on their moral wrongs, you ought to take note of the fact that he was a pretty sound moral philosopher. the hippie mantra of the late 60s, peace and love, is the essence of Jesus's moral message. non-violence. tolerance. mutual respect. love for one's neighbors, brothers, sisters, fellow humans.

the fact that some moron like Jerry Falwell takes the Bible and turns it into some bizarre infallible foundation for a twisted message of greed and hatred, man that's the work of Falwell, not the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

if you had a friend named Binny who went around telling people a version of you and your personality that was utterly untrue, who is at fault for people getting the wrong impression? you, or Binny? who is spreading the lie?

anyway, back to Jesus and the Golden Rule.

on the global stage, the USA has spent a good part of the past 40 years playing games of

outright war
funding of insurgent locals
psychological warfare
sanctions and blockades
coups and assassinations

in the Middle East, primarily in Arab countries, affecting a whole lot of Muslim people. why has the USA done this? it's not because Arab or Muslim people attacked the USA. there's been no act of war upon the USA by any Arab or Muslim peoples as Arab or Muslim peoples. nobody has attacked the USA since Pearl Harbor. so there's no military aggression from Arab or Muslim people toward the USA in the last 40 years, nor in the 40 years prior, to suggest that the USA has any legitimate claim to a right to wage war on Arab or Muslim people.

so where has the USA followed the Golden Rule where Arab or Muslim peoples are concerned?

I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for someone to provide me with evidence.

if there's no two-way nature to the Golden Rule's application, then the Golden Rule doesn't apply. the reciprocity is essential to the Rule. and there's been no reciprocity between the USA and the Arab or Muslim worlds where the polar opposites of benevolence and murder are concerned. no US Govt benevolence has been shown toward the people of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Kuwait during the past 40 years. instead the USA has created all sorts of disruptive events in those nations. it has played them against each other, to the extent it could manage that. Iraq and Iran have plenty of experience with that notion.

what POTUS 44's speech is about is simple: America wants the oil and natural gas resources residing in quite a few Arab and Muslim people's lands, and it plans to take those resources. it will do so by force if necessary (cf. Iraq, 2003-present), but it will also employ other methods like economic sanctions, creation of political unrest, and --the one most likely to be seen employed over the next few years-- the use of proxy governments and their military power. the leading candidate for this proxy should be obvious to most, and its identity was made more obvious by one of the two focus audiences for POTUS 44's speech -- Muslims.

as to the problems I had with the Charlie Rose show... basically it's a simple problem. the whole premise of the show was to discuss POTUS 44's speech to Arab and Muslim people. there was no questioning of whether that speech was properly given, whether the USA had a right to lecture the Arab/Muslim worlds. the discussion was about how the speech will play out in those worlds. I don't know how people pretend to analyze a politician's speech and yet fail to analyze the assumptions made by the delivery of the speech, or the choice of audience for whom it's intended. what right does POTUS 44 have to lecture the Arab people? the Muslim people? he is not their leader.

but the discussion assumed POTUS 44 can legitimately act as though they must listen to and obey his commands.

so here's the essence of my problem with both POTUS 44's speech, and the Charlie Rose discussion thereafter. the USA and its sycophants (Mr Rose and his guests, a shining example indeed) are telling the world that the USA intends to behave as though it rules the planet.

I'm an American and none of that stuff represents any of my views. I want the USA to pull back all of its occupations and immediately cease all military and quasi-military (contractor, "intel," and black ops) acts around the world. I want diplomacy, not bullying. I want peace, not murder. I want love, not incitements to anger.

what would Jesus do? that's a question a lot of faux-Christians love to spout as a slogan of sorts. if you looked at the historical Jesus you'd have to conclude a whole lot differently than POTUS 44 or POTUS 43 concluded. you'd have to see that the USA is behaving in a way that deserves rebuke. you'd have to see that POTUS 44 is a Pharisee, as was POTUS 43. there's no other conclusion without distorting what Jesus said and tried to teach.

how ironic is it that POTUS 44 lectured the Arab and Muslim peoples as if he were Jesus and they the Pharisees?

it's not ironic at all, really. Joseph Goebbels used that tactic in his speeches employed to empower Hitler. Karl Rove used that tactic in advancing the cause of the people who employed POTUS 43 to be their public face.

this is the new method of American politics:

1) figure out what you intend to do that is morally objectionable

2) find a way to paint the nascent victims as being guilty of that which you are about to do to them

3) make public pronouncements that offer as a foregone conclusion what you have determined in (2) -- accuse your soon-to-be victims of that which you are about to do to them.

this Goebbels-Rove tactic has been used by American politicians to great success over the past 8 years or so. and it's also trickled down to the pundits, who employ it regularly.