The Times Exec Editor, Bill Keller, has noticed that "history . . . is back." As it turns out, the forward motion of time and events as perceived by the human mind didn't actually halt upon publication of the notorious essay--you know which one--by Francis Fuckyomama in the halcyon year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-nine. For his many faults and failures of intellect, Bill Keller is far from the sort of moron that his paper routinely employs, being several orders of magnitude brighter than his average editorialist, and certainly a lot smarter than the majority of the population of the newsrooms from whence he cameth, and thus do we suspect, Reader, that he may have been aware of the ongoing-ness of history all along. I sense a dry irony in his mention of "those inseparable twins, freedom and prosperity," and I have to believe that a guy who made his career by observing the swift collapse of the Soviet empire from the inside has got some kind of appreciation for the cruel indifference of Mr. History to anyone's claims of permanence. The evident shock with which most of our governing class has reacted to America's inability to control the totality of global human existence suggests an even more severe divorce from reality than I was previously inclined to assign them, and I was already convinced that these were some crazy-ass deluded motherfuckers. Their sense of limitless self-importance is the attitude of infants. A sense of externality, an understanding that a world exists outside of oneself, is central to maturation and individuation. Maybe Stanley K. was right in 2001. Increasingly our social evolution appears to be taking us in the direction of giant babyhood, post-intellectual, a timeless collectivity of directionless desires--mute, impotent, without identity, universally extraneous.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
So far, the international economic consequences of the war in the Caucasus have been fairly minor, despite Georgia’s role as a major corridor for oil shipments. But as I was reading the latest bad news, I found myself wondering whether this war is an omen — a sign that the second great age of globalization may share the fate of the first.Oh noes, it's the end of globalization! Great-grandpa summered on the Crimean, and all I got was this stupid pipeline. Um.
If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, here’s what you need to know: our grandfathers lived in a world of largely self-sufficient, inward-looking national economies — but our great-great grandfathers lived, as we do, in a world of large-scale international trade and investment, a world destroyed by nationalism.
In the Krugster's authorial voice, I detect a mixture of preemptive eulogizing and told-ya-so schadenfreude. The Krug believes in some kind of managerial materialism, and he believes, as he says explicitly at the end of the column, that the precondition for a lasting global order is for big governments to act "sensibly." No shit. The Krug's history leaves a little something to be desired. Was fin-de-siècle-through-Great-War really the first age of "large-scale international trade and investment"? How about the great Mercantile era in the 18th Century? How about the Silk Road?
Meanwhile, the English gentleman in the Krug's Keynseian anecdote could indeed pick up the phone and order anything in the goddamn world while sipping his Earl Grey. This may have had something to do with being in the inheritor class of a nation that held one quarter of the planet's land surface in imperial bondage. The "first era of globalization" was the high point of European colonialism, and what is in fact meant by Keynes' observation that a European could "adventure his wealth in the natural resources and new enterprises of any quarter of the world" is that Europe could extract natural resources and cheap labor from its colonial possessions. Well, maybe things haven't changed so much.
The Krug goes on to fret:
[If] Russia is willing and able to use force to assert control over its self-declared sphere of influence, won’t others do the same? Just think about the global economic disruption that would follow if China — which is about to surpass the United States as the world’s largest manufacturing nation — were to forcibly assert its claim to Taiwan.And here, between the lines, we see the neoliberal understanding of this "globalization" argot they're so fond of tossing around the playground: America ascendent, Europe complaint, Russia reduced, and China cheap. You really can't beat that "self-declared" dig for sheer Americo-exceptionalist audacity, as if our "sphere of influence" (i.e. everywhere) arose out of the primeval imagination of the creator god back when he was parting the waters and scattering the sky with stars.
Democratic Partisans seem proud of their efforts to discredit hatchet-man Jerome Corsi's Obama-is-a-secret-Muslim-cokehead (were that it were so!) tome. This time they're "hitting back," undeterred and undaunted, unlike that John Kerry asshole, who was against the (Vietnam) war before he was for it, or for it before he was against it before he was for it once again. A real Nam vet never woulda let that slant Malkin shit all over him like that; he'd'a shot her right in the black pyjamas. Yee-haw. J.K. just sat around chewing his pound of flesh and suckling on Teresa's (flip the R, emphasis on the second syllable) magnificent, munificent teat.
Oh no, not Barry O. He's got surrogates out surrogatin' and a fancy new website called BarackObamaIsNotaSecretMuslimandWillNotStealYourWhiteWomen.com. They're gonna push back, hit hard, destroy, crush, defeat.
Actually, they're going to betray a stunning ignorance, in this advertising day and marketing age, of the nature of--shit, the existence of--cognitive bias. They really seem to believe that if you can show how 50% of Jerome Corsi's end notes are circular refernces to A. Jan Marcussen's shocking exposé of the Antichrist, National Sunday Law, that his attributions are questionable, his quotations selective, his historical and biographical assertions tendentious, his purpose specious, and his claims of scholarly objectivity impossible, then, by god, Grandma and Grandpa and the good people of the heartland will stop worrying that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim.
The reason that this isn't going to happen is that the American people, like most people, are morons. They are incapable of examining their biases and preconceptions. They are statistically innumerate; they can read but have no critical capacity; they are deeply susceptible to repetition. Arguing with an American about whether or not Barack Obama went to a terrorist day camp is like telling a bull not to gore you. He will not understand. "But the timeline . . ." you say. "But the documents . . ." He gives not two shits about the timeline, nor the documents, nor the footnotes, endnotes, introductions, prefaces, publisher, or political affiliations. When MediaMatters goes on Larry King to rebut Jerome Corsi, here is what the average Larry King audience member hears, assuming he remembered to turn on his aid: "Obama . . . Muslim . . . Madrassa . . . Muslim . . . Obama . . . Cocaine . . . Obama . . . Muslim . . . Drugs . . . Obama." That is the sum total of the information that he is able to absorb and sythesize out of the conversation that has just transpired in front of him. He might as well be listening to this dude.
The way to counter John McCain's campaign to convince America that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim is to tell America that John McCain is a baby-fucking pederast and his wife is a pill-popping slut. Only one is true, but who cares? Flap the cape and spin, bitches.
Condemning as unacceptable what he called Russia’s “bullying and intimidation,” President Bush on Friday said Russia must withdraw its troops from all of Georgian territory and said the United States would stand with Georgia in the conflict.The inanity and impotence of the American government's current anti-Moscow rhetoric reverses the old Marxian truism. What began as farce now evolves into tragedy. A North American power currently occupying two Asian nations (and with both current presidential candidates pledging escalation in Afghanistan) gives Russia pompous moral lectures and demands it reverse course and repent. We are the world's pedophile priest. Meanwhile, heard on NPR:
-Reported in the Times
President Bush Wednesday promised that U.S. naval forces would deliver humanitarian aid to war-torn Georgia before his administration had received approval from Turkey, which controls naval access to the Black Sea, or the Pentagon had planned a seaborne operation, U.S. officials said Thursday.
-Reported by McClatchy
American ill-considered interference in the Russian Near Abroad is not without consequences. Georgia’s misfortune starkly illuminates the consequences of American commitments and pledges of American power — made under both Democratic and Republican Administrations. One can not escape the reality: geopolitical overextensions become hollow very quickly. With real consequences. America was and remains essentially an amphibious geopolitical construct. Throughout history, amphibian power has never successfully penetrated the Eurasian World Island — of which Russia is the heart.
And you know that you're over the hill
When your mind makes a promise that your body can't fill
Doin' the old folks boogie
And boogie we will
'Cause to us the thought's as good as a thrill
When asked whether more fighting could erupt, the Russian commander answered with an ominous question.Or the Chinese take Ulan Bator, or India the Aksai Chin? We can all take over everyone and everything!
"If the American president can take Baghdad, then why can't the Russians take Tbilisi?" he asked.
The Secretary of Defense said something interesting. He said that Russia's actions served a two-fold purpose: to punish Georgia for attempting to "integrate with the West," and to warn its other near neighbors against overly close relations with Western powers and NATO. "My view is that the Russians — and I would say principally Prime Minister Putin — is interested in reasserting Russia’s, not only Russia’s great power or superpower status, but in reasserting Russia’s traditional spheres of influence." A third goal, which The Stiftung notes, is to demonstrate to those Western powers the severe limits of their ability to interfere within those spheres. In other words, Moscow is expounding a Monroe Doctrine in central Asia--it just happens to be expounding it all over Georgia's face. Open wide, baby.
The dauphin and the Maverick continue to underscore their own ridiculousness by mounting the rostrum to proclaim that "this aggression will not stand, man," declaiming to the flourish of trumpets and the clash of bayonettes that Russia's actions are "unacceptable" and that Russia "must" do this and "must" do that, before pirhouetting like the little ballerinas they really are into immediate disavowals of actually making Russia do anything at all: "We want to avoid any armed conflict, and we will not have armed conflict. That's not the solution to this problem. But we have to stand up for freedom and democracy as we did in the darkest days." Hollow words from a gang that can't even get a hospital ship through the Bosporus. (Guess Turkey's still pissed about that autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, or something.) And obviously we would never dream of a military response, even were it feasible, since "bullying and intimidation are no way to conduct foreign policy." I'm sure they'll be relieved to hear that in Tehran.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Everyone is laughing because, obviously, we have invaded two nations in the last several years, but what I find more piquant and hilarious is the idea that because we live two thousand odd years since the maybe-birth of a Galilean Jew, ergothereforedoncandsoforth . . . what? The definitive characteristic of living in the 21st century is that it is . . . no longer the 20th.
Still, this could be fun. In the 21st century, beets do not bleed on the cutting board. In the 21st century, liquids become compressible and gasses occupy a fixed volume. In the 21st century, the market for human feces increases in inverse proportion to the popularity of short-play vintage records. In the 21st century, strong nuclear force steals gravity's lunch money and buys a Faygo at the soda machine.
Now you try!
With fair regularity, major dailies and weekly newsmags like to run some demographic mashup informing us that "Ethnic and racial minorities will comprise a majority of the nation’s population in a little more than a generation." This kind of hackery always brings a smile to my face, redolent as it is of the evident conviction among certain Caucazoid-Americans that all Others share some kind of magical minority affinity for one another, if only an antipathy for, uh, Whitey. The idea that third-generation Chinese, first-generation Guatemalans, and pre-Revolutionary African-Americans, all combined, constitute a meaningful demographic category to be set against white people is perfectly ludicrous, unless, perhaps, you are a white person, in which case "perfectly ludicrous" pretty much has it covered, nay? I mean, not to get all Gramsci an' shit here, but there's hegemony, and there's hegemony. So there're going to be more Messicans rollin' around in unregistered pickups? Whatthefuckever, dude. Roman landscapers were slaves, too.
More viable for no individual, certainly. I just mean that multiethnic empires, though they tend to be shorter-lived than the local cultural substrates they attempt to negotiate or alter (for it is culture that tends to create and recreate political reality), are incredibly effective at holding power internally and externally, whereas Balkanized microstates (and I do not use either word in a derogatory sense) tend to be gobbled up by those empires. Now I suppose you could make a claim that the yoke is worn by both master and slave or something, but I'm not an adherent to some doctrine of equivalence. In the long term, cultures may win out (but only when those enclaves are part of a wider network) over the state, but in the short term the state wins. And you can point to many multiethnic empires such as the Ottomans and the Russians as evidence of some inherent cruelty, but I'd say the ancient Persians have a lot on the nationstate; home rule was offered for many, but the military expenses benefited from an economy of scale and thus, the over all cost of war, a perpetual burden, was lower on the citizens as a whole.This was in response to my prodding pokery: "More viable for whom?" And that was about the viability of empires. And this is a good response worth thinking about.
Oh, and that brings me into the disproportionate military expenditures of smaller nations. I can already hear you laughing, pointing to the United States and its notorious military budget, but I'd say that's a result of culture and political influence rather than necessity. Quite frankly, a large state doesn't need a large military, unless it has purposes other than repelling invaders and maintaining its sovereignty.
If we're doing an ideological A/S/L, I have to say that Rand holds nothing for me. Chambers' demolition of Atlas Shrugged hits the mark, if you ask me. As for what I am... Well, I hesitate to name drop, not wanting to sound like an undergraduate. I've read some shit. I believe that the international sphere is fundamentally without rules or morality and perhaps even causation. I don't take this as reason to love the strong for their strength, however.
-Cüneyt, in our comments at "Liberalventionism"
As a matter of clarification, because I was far from clear in that post: I hardly advocate the Balkanized ethnic microstate as the preferred sociocultural or politicoeconomic or someotherinventedcompoundadjective arrangement. I do propose that it is one of a multitude of viable systems of social organization. Cüneyt's point about large states and empires gobbling up smaller ones is true and well-taken, but the converse is also true: the history of empires is also a history of provinces peeling off as the empire's attention drifts, as competitors harrass the borders, as new tribes migrate in, as demographics change. For most of our history, very large political entitites (usually just a few at any given moment) have coexisted with many smaller ones, who drift in and out of vassalage, who get conquered or do not, or who simply exist beyond the horizon of Rome's interest, such as it is.
But beginning around Westphalia and coming to full, terrible fruition in the middle 20th century came the full division of the world into "sovereign" nation-states. Everyone must belong; it's a universal necessity. One of the worst things in the world is to be a "stateless person," passportless and without identity. "Breakaway regions" immediately re-form themselves as new nation-states. Where a central government proves incapable of constraining the centrifugal forces at work in its socieity(ies), we call it a "failed state," and often rush to reestablish some singular territorial authority.
The question is not: should everyone live in an ethnolinguistic microstate? but rather: why must everyone live in a nation-state? Uniformity and universalism are the roots of tyranny.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
This 3:00 AM phone call business puts me in mind of a similar geopolitical situation
I a friend of mine was recently involved in. Transcript below.
[phone rings. Caller A picks up.]Ready on day one, baby. Ready on day one.
CALLER A: Hello?
CALLER B: Hello? Hello?
CALLER A: Hello? Can you hear me?
CALLER B: Can you hear me? Hello?
CALLER A: Hey. Yeah. Yeah. Hi. Who is this? It's like three in the morning?
CALLER B: You know who dis is.
CALLER A: No man. No. Wait, who is this?
CALLER B: Man, you know who dis is. You just called me.
CALLER A: No way, man. I'm fucking sleeping.
CALLER B: I know you did. I got dis number off my girl Aiesha's phone.
CALLER A: I don't know any Aiesha.
CALLER B: Man, that's my girl Aiesha. I musta give you that number when my Cricket got cut off last month. Listen what you tryin' to do?
CALLER A: I'm not trying to do anything. Who is this?
CALLER B: It's your boy.
CALLER A: What's your name?
CALLER B: I don't say that shit over the phone, man. What's wrong with you.
CALLER A: You'll talk about cocaine on the phone, but you won't say your name?
CALLER B: Man don't say . . . fuck, man. What's wrong with you?
CALLER A: No, what's wrong with you. Listen, I'm hanging up.
CALLER B: So you don't want nothing?
CALLER A: Where are you?
CALLER B: I'm down the crib.
CALLER A: Yeah. Cut me out two. I'll be down.
[line goes dead]
Kevin Drum does me a favor by exposing, if accidentally, the hypocrisy and incoherency of the liberal case for intervention and wholly contingent defense of self-determination.
I supported the independence of Kosovo, for example, and I'd argue that circumstances there fully justified it. No liberation movement is ever pristine, the KLA among them, but Milosevic's treatment of Kosovo's Albanian population was simply bloodcurdling. There's just no comparison with South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which may have chafed under Georgian rule but suffered nothing in the way of Kosovoan levels of violence and ethnic cleansing. Russia's persistent provocations in the Caucasus may have been partly inspired by anger at Western support for Kosovo's independence, but it's implausible to argue that the cases are really parallel.This account of the series of events leading to Russia's invasion of Georgia is argument-serving, but even were that not the case, the ethical rubric laid down here is awfully strange. South Ossetia may have "chafed under Georgian rule," but since there were no concentration camps, grin and bear it. That rule essentially obviates every independence movement of the last three centuries, going right back to our own American Revolution. Well, the counterargument might go, there is also a difference between seeking political self-determination and mere ethnic nationalism, but that, I contend, is a distinction without a difference, a privileging of arbitrary affiliation over cultural inherency, and a self-serving rationalization to justify one's own historic rebellion without committing to any consistent defense of the right of people to decide who will rule them and how.
None of which is to say that Mikheil Saakashvili was smart to let the Russians to goad him into giving them an excuse to invade. He wasn't. But that still doesn't mean that we have to blindly follow identical policies in every region. Maybe independence for Kosovo could have been handled more smoothly, but it was nonetheless pretty strongly justified by events on the ground. Russia's tit-for-tat demands for South Ossetian and Abkhazian independence aren't.
In any case, here the point is moot, because South Ossetia didn't secede; it didn't embark on a war of independence. There may or may not have been some geurilla activity in the region, and it's certainly true that the Russian habit of issuing Russian passports to ethnically Russian Georgians was a calculated provocation, but the precipitating event of the current conflict was the decision by Georgia's foolish and corrupt president to stage an internal invasion of the territory, and that blunder was in turn encouraged by our goofball American policy of pledging to defend free peoples (read "pro-American") here, there, and ev-er-ee-where, although we lack the desire, will, or wherewithal to do so.
As for the idea that we cannot just go around supporting independence movements willy-nilly because that would be "an admission that people of different ethnicities shouldn't really be expected to live together"--isn't it about time to admit that, perhaps, they shouldn't? Why, for instance, is it more morally admirable or politically practical for culturally and linguistically Russian people to live in an enclave within another, culturally distinct nation, rather than exist either independently or within the body of the Russian nation itself. Why is the multi-ethnic nation-state unit more desirable to liberals than the monoethnic, autonomous enclave? What imperative prevents us from allowing that through conquest, cooperation, and migration, the tribes will change, coalesce, break apart, adapt, adopt, etc., as they have for all of human history?
The liberal has no real replies to these questions, except to resort to a bowdlerized Hobbesian argument about perpetual warfare and misery in the absence of centralized authority. That argument is profoundly ahistorical. Warfare surely occured prior to the nation-state, prior to the age of empires, prior to large-scale societies, prior to agriculture. We are a violent species. But it was no more prevalent in any prior epoch, and certainly the more modest resources of smaller social networks made it impossible to wage war on the scale of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Likewise, most of the ethnic conflicts of the last several centuries have occured not where autonomous ethnic groups lived in near proximity, but where colonial and imperial meddling had forced them into political power-sharing arrangements within cobbled-together nation-states.
For those who want to write in response that talking about the massive devolution and dissolution of nation-states is preposterous and unrealistic, I reply in advance: yes, that's true. But no more preposterous and ridiculous than "national governments can and should treat ethnic minorities with respect and fair-mindedness." Because from the Cherokee to the Ainu to the ethnic Albanians, we know how well that's been working out.
Let us examine Harold Meyerson:
China is something else again. If ever there was a display of affable collectivism, it was filmmaker Zhang Yimou's opening ceremonies, which in their reduction of humans to a mass precision abstraction seemed to derive in equal measure from Busby Berkeley and Leni Riefenstahl. (Much of Berlin's 1936 Olympics, we should recall, was choreographed by Riefenstahl to fit the fascist aesthetics of her film "Olympiad.") The subject of Zhang's ceremonies was a celebration of Chinese achievement and power, at all times stressing China's harmonious relations with the rest of the world. Its masterstroke, however, wasn't its brilliant design but the decision, during the parade of the athletes, to have Chinese flag-bearer Yao Ming accompanied by an adorable 9-year-old boy who survived the recent catastrophic earthquake that killed many of his classmates, and who returned, after he had extricated himself from the rubble, to save two of his classmates. When asked why he went back, the NBC broadcaster told us, the boy said that he was a hall monitor and that it was his job to take care of his schoolmates.With Georgia (a democracy, with caveats) invading a secessionist province and Russia (a democracy, with caveats) invading Georgia, and the United States (a democracy, with caveats) occupying Iraq and Afghanistan and eyeing up Iran (a democracy, with caveats), and India (a democracy, with caveats) and Pakistan (a democracy, with caveats), squinting at each other over the Hindu Kush, well, claims that "democracy" is naturally "benign" seem to be the height of absurdity. Meanwhile, what has this got to do with hall monitors?
That answer may tell us more than we want to know. He could have gone back because his friends were still inside. Instead, he went back because he was a responsible little part of a well-ordered hierarchy. For all we know, he might well have gone back even if he weren't a hall monitor, but his answer -- whether spontaneously his own or one that some responsible grown-up concocted for him -- works brilliantly as an advertisement for an authoritarian power bent on convincing the world that its social and political model is as benign as any democracy's.
The great foolishness at the heart of Western democratic evangelism is the belief in the uniformity of humanity, the idea that inside every gook is an American, as Mr. Kubrick memorably put it. It is the idea that underneath thousands of years of linguistic, social, economic, and cultural difference, we are all the same man. In America, we are routinely shocked to discover that this is not so. This eternally reoccuring and never-sticking realization is doubly pathetic because it is so resolutely non-reciprocal. It seems to us to be perfectly ridiculous to consider that within every American is a Confucian yearning for social harmony within an ancient and traditional hierarchy, and yet we assume without hesitation that every Chinese secretly yearns for biennial Congressional elections.
China presents a "challenge" only insofar as it resists our universalisms. I would no more want to live there than I would want to live in Iran, or Russia for that matter, but by admitting the minor fatalism embodied by the old expression "it is what it is," I find myself perfectly unperturbed by the fact that on this wide earth there are billions of other people who don't want to be me, that difference is not only real, but fine.
John McCain is all like, "We are all Georgian now," and Barry O. is all like, "We are now, each of us, individually and together, moving forward, neither as Georgians nor not as Georgians, but transcending Georgia, and embracing Georgia, and embracing the hope for the transcendence of Georgia, forever and ever, amen." Back and forth and back and forth." Wanna know what Bad Vlad thinks about all this? He doesn't. Give. A. Shit.
What, you're gonna kick him out of the G8? You're not gonna kick him out of the G8. He's supplying a quarter of Germany's daily fuel. A good portion to France as well. Winter's coming. Everyone wants their natural gas.
You're gonna "review" his WTO application? Really? I'm sure he's going to weep tears of blood if he misses the opportunity to watch China and India fuck with the US and EU over agricultural policies. How's the shoe feel on that other foot, The West?
The image of Russian tanks rolling into a small neighboring country is an unpleasant one, and the ass-kicking the Georgians are taking for their severe blunder in South Ossetia is regrettable insofar as they will surely bear a punishment far exceeding the offense, but watching some of the dim bulbs in our own society slowly awake to the impending alterations of the global neoliberal order is a palliative to all sorts of sadness and misery. I expect that over the next several months, heads are going to explode all over Washington Dee Cee. Meanwhile in Moscow . . .
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Gregory Djerejian has a good post on the current state of play in Georgia, along with some enjoyable slaps at John McCain and a knock or two at the feckless Obama gang as well. Djerejian hardly shares my political sympathies--antipathies?--but at least he's got the sense to look with dismay on an American establishment for whom "the horrors inflicted on varied Abkhazians, Ossetians and Georgians this past week (by both sides) must be seen from these provincial, grossly self-interested shores merely through the lens of the U.S. Presidential election." It's worth a read. Someone once wrote--I wish I could remember where--that the bardic Greeks really did think their ancestors were bigger, stronger, more heroic, and closer to the gods. Djerejian quotes George Kennan and that blood-sucking reptile Kissinger on NATO expansion and the likely response from an increasingly encircled Russia, and it occured to me that these men might have been villains, but what villains! Compared to the gang we've got now? Kissinger actually sounds like Doctor Doom. McCain sounds like Faye Dunaway with a headcold. Anyway, as noted at the Belgravia Dispatch, "Rather than talk and obsess about what we should do, it is the Russians, sad to say, who will determine the fate of Georgia in the coming days and weeks, and so we might take a moment or two and stop and think about what their next moves are likely to be." I predict that it will be impossible, that it is already inconceivable, that any significant actor in the American imperial apparatus will be capable of perceiving any series of events without conceiving of America as the primus motor.
That said, it was every Liberal's favorite, super-good, unimpeachable, totally excellent war that laid the groundwork for this type of action by Russia, if not necessarily this particular outcome. As Bill Clinton wagged the dog over Serbia, the Russians objected again and again, and the Western response was to tell them to suck balls. That was still Yeltsin's Russia: drunk, poor, weak, sick--a shell of its Soviet self. Was anyone paying the army? Did their nukes even work? Who gave a shit? And Russia just shook its big furry head and said, One a dese days there's going to be some independence movement, some secessionist gang sympathetic to us somewhere in Asia, and when that day comes, boy howdy, we are gonna bomb, and there ain't gonna be shit that you can do. Lo these not so many years later, and what came to pass came to pass. These are the consequences of a world gone intervention-mad. When you proclaim the right to intervene, everyone with an expeditionary force gets a gleam in his eye. So here we are. America. Condi Rice is MIA, off buying Ferragamo and playing minuets in the parlor. Bush is off playing fanboy at the Olympics. Cheney and McCain are left struggling mightily to raise a couple of hard-ons, AKA stuck with their dicks in their hands. Obama is, as always ready to expostulate in the tongues of angels and honeybees. Meanwhile Bad Vlad is in his shirtsleeves commanding the invasion from the front lines, judo-chopping enemies left and right, basking in the glory of national re-ascendence.
So, Congress, which side are you on? Are you with us for quality, affordable health care for all? Or are you with the insurance companies, working to preserve our broken system?Dear Jason,
-Jason Rosenbaum of the, oh Lordy, NOW!Blog
We are with the insurance companies, working to preserve our broken system.
What's hilarious about the NYPD plan to barricade and cordon off the WTC site from the rest of the lower Manhattan streetscape is that them turrists destroyed the towers with fucking airplanes.
Via Los Defeatistas
First of all, if I hear one more goddamn NPR emphemerite or CNN chattamite call the region the Caucuses, I'm going up to the top of the nearest book depository. Caw-CAH-sus, you nucular morons. It ain't in Iowa.
Meanwhile, are people really that confused about Putin? Is he really such a mystery? I mean, dude's a Russian. He's practically a fucking archetype. Civility stretched like thin skin over old barbarism. Iciness giving way to biting humor. Biting humor giving way to violence. Fatalism mashed up with unpredictability. The guy could've wandered straight out of a 19th-century novel, and yet everyone remains befuddled. Hey, America, there're these things called books . . .
Monday, August 11, 2008
And I know that if you love me too . . . what a wonderful world it will be . . . la la la la la la la
Stanely Fish explains how by teaching his students the troof, he avoids getting into politics. Seriously. His rigorous method, which he calls "academizing," analyizes political and intellectual issues by drawing from the thoughts and writings of a variety of pertinent contemporary and historical sources, and he asks that in their discussion and writing his students refrain from merely professing personal opinions and instead gather evidence examples, directly address oppposing arguments, marshall a coherent argument, and seek novelty and insight through sythesis. Evidently, he believes that this is a unique approach in higher education and in the humanities in particular. This leads me to conclude that Stanley Fish, "the Davidson-Kahn Distinguished University Professor and a professor of law at Florida International University in Miami, and dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago," never went to college.
And anti-tax extremism kills. Cindy Sheehan's anti-tax extremism led to the misery and suffering of millions of people in this country, broke families and communities, destroyed relationships, and nearly brought this country down to its knees. That is why we got the New Deal in the first place. Cindy Sheehan's anti-tax extremism directly led to Katrina and I-35. So, for the purity police to be claiming that Pelosi is all about death, suck on that.Cindy Sheehan: consubstantial with Herbert Hoober: a new deity is born: in nomine Herbert et Cindy et mirabile dictu.
-Eternal Hope at Kos
Cindy Sheehan, scourge of the Gulf Coast. Earthshaker. Firestarter.
I always thought that Cindy Sheehan was kind of a fruitcake, but evidently, and with all apologies to Leon Russell, she is in fact the Master of Time and Space.
I don't see what any of this has to do with Vietnam, Walter.
Well, there isn't a literal connection, Dude.
Face it, Walter, there isn't any connection.
What would you do on vacation, after all, without dental dams?!You know, we all used to joke that if we could suck our own cocks, we'd never leave the house, but lo these many years of yoga and a few successful, if rather painful efforts to effectuate that adage, I still go out on Friday night. Cue Kathryn Jean Lopez, crying havoc from the attic rooms of Wuthering Heights. Some Planned Parenthood sex-ed video featured a young gal begging off a friend's part in favor of self-stimulus. The tone is tongue-in-cheek, you'll pardon the expression. The comedy is poorly done, but it's not difficult. The implication is that everyone at this party is going to be hooking up, and this gal says no thanks, she's gonna rub one out instead. Masturbation is my antidrug. You get the dealio.
Kay-Jay, literal-minded to a fault, thinks that Planned Parenthood is actually advising teens to stay home and jerk off in place of social interaction, as opposed to, say, jerking off in order to relieve sexual tensions and frustrations that would otherwise iterate as condomless gang-bangs. I admit I find both poles, ahem, pretty silly as sexual politics, but as always, the National Review upstages all:
Whoa, there. So abstinence to Planned Parenthood means masturbation? No wonder they think abstinence education is a total waste of time. They can’t get their minds out from Down There. They can’t believe that if you challenge young people to want more than what they see on TV and in the movies, they’ll take you up on it. Planned Parenthood just doesn’t get it; abstinence education can never be about simply saying, “Here’s what you can do so no one gets pregnant but you can still get some sexual kicks.” It has to be part of a greater education: a character education. A physical education. A moral education.A sentimental education?
I find the notion that "we owe Georgia a serious effort to defend its sovereignty" because it assisted us in invading Iraq, deposing and executing Iraq's leader, and then pursuing a multi-year occupation of Iraqi territory, to be absolutely delightful.