I may hate America, but goddamnit, I can't imagine living anywhere more hilarious.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Other than a random round of skeet shooting a while back, I haven't pulled a trigger in a very long time. I'm a lousy shot, and my night vision sucks, so prowl away, friends. That is to say I'm hardly locked and loaded for the gun-rights fight, although I'll note that if liberals really wanted to ban guns, they could try to ammend the Constitution, rather than pretending that it says something other than what it plainly says.
But guns, even by proxy, put me in a revolutionary mood, and since La Greenwald and others want to know whaddawedo?, let me just say this about that: My preference is to watch America slide under the waves. My affinities for the nation in which I live are purely sentimental; my affinities to its institutions are increasingly weak, bordering on nonexistent. Some bad things will happen; some good things will happen. As has usually been the case with the dissolution of this or that political entity, most folks'll go right on leading their lives of quiet desperation, pace Roger Waters, for the truth is that individual existence is not so overdetermined by the State as either the State or its bitter anklebiters (e.g., IOZ) would have you believe. In the great circus of human history, our society amounts to a fart in the monkey car; in the biological history of the world, we amount to less than that. Reformations are for chumps. The Church got corrupt and what did the world get? Martin Luther. We'd've been better off sticking with the Curia. The risk of burning at the stake seems to me to be altogether better than the low jowls of the barking high priests of the Evangel who right now pollute our airwaves and brainwaves. I see our empire hastening its own end, and therefore feel no especial desire to knaw any warts off its fast-aging body. Attached though I am to certain luxuries afforded by my nation's pseduoenslavement of a good portion of the rest of the world, the truth is that I contemplate a slightly more hardscrabble life as a citizen of the Free Nation of GreatLakesia with a fair amount of optimism, and wouldn't mind trading in my blue-covered passport, if push came to hug.
Update: Shameful typo corrected.
Addington and Yoo beat 'em like a rented mule. Well, wouldn't you be contemptuous of Congress too? I certainly would. "What do you mean by 'implemented'?" Fuck me. Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism. Take it away, Tacitus:
So corrupted indeed and debased was that age by sycophancy that not only the foremost citizens who were forced to save their grandeur by servility, but every exconsul, most of the ex-praetors and a host of inferior senators would rise in eager rivalry to propose shameful and preposterous motions. Tradition says that Tiberius as often as he left the Senate-House used to exclaim in Greek, "How ready these men are to be slaves." Clearly, even he, with his dislike of public freedom, was disgusted at the abject abasement of his creatures.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
A few weasel words from there, but Obama is totally cool with the precedent of the government giving a slip of paper to a corporation allowing them to break the law. He's cool with the premise of "we were just following orders" that was shot down at Nuremberg being revived. He's cool with if the President does it, then it isn't illegal. He's cool with a bunch of the other really dangerous aspects of the bill, including the vacuuming up of every communication that leaves or enters the United States without even the caveat that they be related to terrorism. He's cool with a national surveillance state.Yeah. Wow. Who could have predicted that the next emperor would refuse to preemptively repudiate powers that would accrue to his person upon coronation? What an unprecidented event in the history of men and nations! What an unlikely political development! What an extraordinary break!
Just plain cool with it.
-dday chez Digz
You know, back when Republican President Harry S Truman and his cabinet lay the foundation of the modern security state, one might be pardoned for believing . . . I'm sorry. What? He was a what? Oooooooooh. Well, sic. Back when Hiroshima Harry was laying the support beams for the modern security state, people were fond of citing the Red Menace as a reason for knuckling under to temporary tyranny--and it was always assumed to be temporary--until the threat passed. Now we have new "security threats," and to everyone's Casablancan shock, shock, they function precisely the same way in the domestic arena: to justify and apologize for the increase in central state power. Barack Obama's entire campaign is centered on his princely, Messianic image. He's like a mellifluous Tudor, and his call for us all to gather at the bosom of a grand, national, post-identity community from whose teat we may drink and be nourished, body and soul, is ghoulish and disturbing. More ghoulish and disturbing?--that our dday thinks Obama is reneging on the principles of the Nuremburg tribunal and is going to vote for him anyway. Well fuck, wait till he gets around to the Geneva Conventions, and so on.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty is inapplicable in cases of rape, even if you rape a baby. Perhaps the appropriate punishment would be to be raped. By a baby. A dead baby.
Or by The Rape Bear.
His Eminent Grace of Salaciousness, Samuel Alito, frothed poetic in a dissenting pastiche of Les 120 Journées de Sodome, set in the Republic of Salò in the last, waining days of Il Duce.
Whatever one thinks about these goings-on, it does get me, from time to time, just what a prurient people we are.
Let me add on to Jim Henley's adding on.
The Bantustanizing and regional ethnic cleansing of Iraq, along with policies of bribery and Berlin-Wall-building, have indeed suppressed some of the more spectacular violence in Iraq, and so long as the ethnoreligious and political factions remain locked in mutual antipathy but unwilling to abandon their current positions of strength and stability, a situation that allows the construction of a permanent, garissoned American presence may obtain. But what happens when the relative reduction in deadly violence shows itself to be so durable? Well, it seems to me that by the demands of neighboring host governments and through their own accord and desire, the millions of refugees start to return.
Won't that be interesting.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
M. IOZ: Senator McCain, thank you for coming.
JOHN MCCAIN: Thank you for coming.
IOZ: You're welcome. What? Nevermind. Senator McCain, we appreciate having you.
MCCAIN: Well, I'll tell you, IOZ, I just flew in from Washington, and boy are my arms tired.
IOZ: [Laughing] I think I've heard that one before.
MCCAIN: Why are you laughing, young man? I was in a cage for twenty-years with my arms chained behind my back.
IOZ: Oh, I thought.
MCCAIN: You thought what?
IOZ: That you were making a joke. You know, that you flew here by flapping your arms.
MCCAIN: Firstly, son, people can't fly by flapping their arms.
IOZ: It was a joke.
MCCAIN: Not to me it wasn't. In any case, I flew in on Cindy's plane.
IOZ: I thought you weren't doing that anymore.
MCCAIN: Doing what?
IOZ: Flying on her private plane.
MCCAIN: Who said I was?
IOZ: Sir, you did.
MCCAIN: I never said that.
IOZ: Senator, you just said--
MCCAIN: I never said that!
IOZ: Senator McCain, what will you do about the economy?
MCCAIN: Well, IOZ, there is really only one choice, and that is victory. And I intend to defeat the economy, even if it takes fifty, a hundred years.
IOZ: A bold plan. On a related issue, energy prices are on the rise, and America is more dependent on foreign oil than ever. What should we do, and what can we do.
MCCAIN: You know, IOZ, I remember a time when a gallon of gasoline cost a buffalo nickel and a rhubarb pie was the nicest present a girl could give to her fella, and if I'm ever going to remember that time again, someone's going to need to remind me. Some, including myself, have said that offshore drilling will neither produce the fuel we need nor lower cost to consumers, and all of them were wrong. My position, which I have consistently held over the entire course of my political career, is that where there is a shore, there should be a drill. You never know. That's one thing I learned as a prisoner of war. You never know.
IOZ: Senator, how will you win the war in Iraq?
MCCAIN: With winning, IOZ. This war, which I have resolutely supported from its beginning, I have opposed from the start. Not because it was the wrong war to fight, but because it was a war wrongly fought. But now we have a good strategy. My strategy. And we're going to pursue it for as long as it takes to see that this strategy is pursued for as long as it takes.
IOZ: Senator, you've been in politics for a long time, and you have a reputation for straight talk, but some people would like to get to know the man behind the Senator. So tell us, sir, what is your favorite animal.
MCCAIN: A 1989 Cutlass Siera.
MCCAIN: Earl Grey.
IOZ: Thank you, sir. That was fun. We'll wrap up with one more serious question. Some religious conservatives still doubt your faith and stances on social issues. What can you do to assuage their fears?
MCCAIN: IOZ, they say there are no atheists in foxholes. Well, there are no atheists in POW camps either, unless you count the commies who were in there with me. Actually, who really knows what the gooks pray to. Ancestor worship, that kind of thing. Pretty strange. I've always believed in God, and God's always believed in me. I come from a generation when you didn't wear your religion on your sleeve, although Mr. Patterson at the soda fountain wore a thing like a garter on his shirtsleeve. I always figured him for a homo, but I guess he never touched any of the boys. Just made ice cream. Ice cream floats.
IOZ: Senator, I want to thank you for your time.
MCCAIN: No, thank you.
IOZ: Well then. Okay.
Doc Dobson apparently went after Barry O for his "fruitcake" interpretation of the Bible. It seems that Obama said that some of the revelations in Season 4 blantantly contradict things we learned in Season 1, and they could really use a dedicated continuity guy on the writing staff, whereas Doc Dobs is totally like, it's all part of a prescripted reveal, and it all makes sense, you asshole, why don't you go back to jerking off to Lazarus Long fucking his own mother, you dweeb. Religion is so charming. The Bible is evil, and it's also crazy! I mean, shee-it, even if you toss out the apocryha and the Gnostic texts and the recently rediscovered "lost" gospels, you still have a crazed, monomaniacal, diet-freak, genocidal sky-god sending his whacked-out millennarian offspring to rock the world with a series of formidably nonsensical babblings, puntuated by an occasional injunction to be nice to poor folks and lepers, and to give all your shit away, tune in, and drop out. The Hindus at least look at the world on a longish timeframe. How far are we into the Kali Yuga right now?--a hundred million years? Jesus and the rest of the Western dudes were the Weekly World News of their time. The world was always ending just . . . about . . . NOW!, which is why they were all so hep to casting off their wordly possessions, etc. The Apocalypse of John, which Ingersoll called the "insanest" book, is so kooky that it even offended Martin Luther, and he was the kind of guy who used to say that the Jewish house of worship was a whore and a slut, so you know he had a pretty high bar for offense. Read the Book of Job some time and tell me that the god it evisages isn't nuttier than a late-summer squirrel. Ask yourself what that soft-focus porno is doing in the middle of the Good Book. Watching politicians fight over the correct interpretation is like listening to my old college roommate and his buddy debate the nature of Tom Bombadil--sort of endearing, but mostly embarrassing.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
But here is the difference between McCain and Obama -- and Obama had better pay attention. McCain is a known commodity. It's not just that he's been around a long time and staked out positions antithetical to those of his Republican base. It's also -- and more important -- that we know his bottom line. As his North Vietnamese captors found out, there is only so far he will go, and then his pride or his sense of honor takes over. This -- not just his candor and nonstop verbosity on the Straight Talk Express -- is what commends him to so many journalists.I'll hardly dispute that Barack Obama is an unprincipled opportunist. He's a Senator running for President! What else would he be? But does the above excerpt (or the whole article) by Dick Cohen make a lick of sense to you? The paragraph just prior to the first excerpted is a catalogue of John McCain's changing positions on matters grand and mundane. But the bottom line of his integrity has something to do with being a war prisoner, so, yeah, uh, anyway, well. Meanwhile, Obama's integrity exists purely in the realm of his policy positions. Doesn't that seem a wee bit contradictory? By which I mean incoherent. By which I mean fuck-all stupid.
Obama might have a similar bottom line, core principles for which, in some sense, he is willing to die. If so, we don't know what they are. Nothing so far in his life approaches McCain's decision to refuse repatriation as a POW so as to deny his jailors a propaganda coup. In fact, there is scant evidence the Illinois senator takes positions that challenge his base or otherwise threaten him politically. That's why his reversal on campaign financing and his transparently false justification of it matter more than similar acts by McCain.
A presidential race is only incidentally about issues. It's really about likability and character. Obama is, to paraphrase what he said about Hillary Clinton, more than "likable enough" -- in fact, so much so that he is the most charismatic presidential candidate I've seen since Robert F. Kennedy. But the character question hangs -- not because of any evidence to the contrary and not in any moral sense, either, but because he is still young and lacks the job references McCain picked up in a North Vietnamese prison. McCain has a bottom line. Obama just moved his.
John McCain was engaged in the killing of Vietnamese via ariel bombardment. He got shot down, and they treated him badly. The reason that they treated him badly is because he was engaged in the killing of Vietnamese via ariel bombardment. There seems to be a mindset, if that is the word, that imagines John McCain's imprisonment as an event sui generis, that he somehow came to be imprisoned. I'm no apologist for torture; obviously I abhor it. But John McCain wasn't some Pashtun taxi driver snatched and sold for ransom. He was, to quote the neologism, an enemy combattant.
Regardless of the antecedents of his imprisonment, the notion that it constitutes a "job reference" is curious indeed. The measure of a man's integrity is how closely his words match his deeds. Fortitude, courage, resistance, etc.--the virtues of a long-suffering prisoner are plenty, but not infinite. McCain may be the toughest sonofabitch there ever was, but that says not a thing about his honesty, fitness, candor, and merit.
Via Yglesias, etc., I see that:
"I haven't seen this much anger in a long, long time," said Billy Roper, a 36-year-old who runs a group called White Revolution in Russellville, Ark. "Nothing has awakened normally complacent white Americans more than the prospect of America having an overtly nonwhite president."Matt is dismissive, but this is clearly a veiled reference to Warren G. Harding, our first covert black president.
The spectacle of deep-seated white inadequacy, when it rears its pasty head, is something almost magnificent in its fearful absurdity. From the "Age of Discovery" onward, with only a few minor, partial interruptions, white, Christian peoples have dominated this world to a degree without precedent--we make the Mongols look like a flash in the pan. And despite the doomsaying from the cheap seats, your humble IOZ's contributions included, we've probably got at least a century to go before we really slide out.
White supremacy seems to me to be the most embarrassing sort of racial senescence--Grandpa insisting he can still drive the damn car, goddamn what the goddamn eye doctor says, goddamnit.
There are the DailyKoskyites of the world, party loyalists for whom membership constitutes identity. Insofar as there's any policy left in politics, they remain largely unaffected. Party failures are invariably chalked up to apostasy. They are always in the middle of a gaudy excommunication--the Lieb, Steny Hoyer, the "blue dogs", and so on. The idea that the True Church might be flawed, though, that's the worst heresy of all. These people are interesting as targets for water balloons.
On the other hand, there are folks like Glenn Greenwald or the troupe at Unfogged who in some manner see that the jig is up, but who steadfastly refuse (I don't believe it's mere failure) to grasp the obvious conclusion: that the behavior of the Democratic Party isn't explained by fecklessness, fear, weakness, political calculation, supineness, or insufficiently brassy balls. They aren't an opposition party failing to oppose, but a colluding body hiding behind a tissue of opposition in order to maintain the façade of divided government.
On matters related to the smooth operation of the National Security State, we are governed by an imperial consensus that's both broad and deep. What differences exist are procedural. To say that the Democrats failed to "stop the FISA bill" is to assume that the Democrats wanted to do it. To say that the Democrats fail to effectively combat the "theory of the Unitary Executive" is to assume that the Democrats oppose the Executive state. Both lousy assumptions.
When a person or an organization consistently and explicitly acts against its own stated interests and its own claimed ideological committments, you can be sure that those interests and committments are bullshit, that another game is afoot.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Vero possumus? Oh, In merda veritas. I am starting to get the feeling that he's angling to be carried into the Denver convention on a golden litter borne aloft by a thousand supplicant-slaves. Who will return the eagle of Caesar?
Sed pulchre, Democrate, ceves.
Other people cited al-Hurra's strange mix of programming: old documentaries with Arabic subtitles, a program about a Jewish singing group on tour in Australia, a show on the history of bluejeans.The Washington Post has got this long story about al-Hurra, the American-backed effort at an "objective" Middle-Eastern news source with a pro-American agenda--objectivity and explicit political bias being, of course, natural bedfellows. As the above quotation so hilariously demonstrates, however, al-Hurra's competetiveness has been thoroughly undermined by the fact that it's run just like an American cable news network. It hasn't got major foreign bureaus; it's got on-air personalities, but few real reporters; it lacks fluent and native speakers of foreign languages; it's rife with internal conflict at the managerial and executive level; its programmers believe that insipid human interest (a history of jeans!) interests their ever-diminishing audience more than news; etc.; etc.; ad inf.
-"U.S. Network Falters in Mideast Mission"
The news director didn't speak Arabic. It's really etraordinary. Can you imagine the Washington Bureau chief for France 3, say, who didn't speak any English. "In 2004, when an Israeli airstrike killed the spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, virtually all Arabic news channels interrupted their regular programming. Al-Hurra continued with a cooking show."
We're not a respectable network. We're a whorehouse network, and we have to take whatever we can get.