Saturday, August 28, 2010
Man, the lipstick just won't take.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
It's gettin' so a businessman can't expect no return from a fixed fight. Now, if you can't trust a fix, what can you trust?
Mr. Salehi’s relationship with the C.I.A. underscores deep contradictions at the heart of the Obama administration’s policy in Afghanistan, with American officials simultaneously demanding that Mr. Karzai root out the corruption that pervades his government while sometimes subsidizing the very people suspected of perpetrating it.So, lemme get this, you'll pardon the expression, straight. Being on the official payroll of an agency of a foreign government doesn't count as corruption? I mean, we deported that sexy Russian chick for being in the employ of the FSB, and her job as a Russian spy apparently consisted of what your jobs and my job as American citizens consist of: updating our Facebook status and reading blogs, occasionally ALT+TABbing back to Outlook when the boss walks by. I mean, Mohammed Zia Salehi is bought by the CIA, and the Times writes a story speculating that he might be corrupt. How do you say oy in Pashtun?
I do enjoy that reporters Filkins and Mazzetti accept and amplify the idea that we are subsidizing people who may be corrupt. Because it could certainly never be the case that the US might be corrupting people via subsidy. And isn't subsidy just the most hilarious word in this context. Homework assignment: go back through the last two years of the Times and replace every description of the the Pakistani ISI "backing" or "supporting" or "funding" the Taliban/Afghan insurgency/al Qaeda with "subsidizing." Oh, LuLz, look, they are just like the USDA. OF TERROR!
Meanwhile, there's this:
“If we decide as a country that we’ll never deal with anyone in Afghanistan who might down the road — and certainly not at our behest — put his hand in the till, we can all come home right now,” the American official said.Sounds like a plan to me.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
To be honest, I was a little disappointed with the 9.12 Project, although this is funny:
Anyway, I was just thinking about it, and if memory serves, September 12, 2001 was the first day in my life when I had sex with two different people on the same day but not at the same time. Thanks, Osama! Unity!
Instead of unity, we have dueling marches; competitions over "sacred" grounds; debates over religion and language that never should have been invited to the party.Of every single human being who writes for a major American daily paper, I suspect that I would like Kathleen Parker the most. She sort of reminds me of my mom ("Be considerate; tend your garden; mind your own business; lend a hand; keep your clothes on and your hands to yourself; honor your family and your country; don't air your dirty laundry or vocabulary in public. And for God's sake, don't talk about religion. Oh, and resist spectacle").
But I can never wrap my brain around these popular paeans to "unity." First of all, what do you mean? If you mean what I think you mean, Kathleen, you mean: a politely centrist consensus that makes room for eccentricity but not radicalism, harmless iconoclasm but no real dissent. "Unity" involves an imaginary America that functions as if it were a great big town. It has its kooks and characters, it has its bad neighborhoods, it even has a few dark secrets, but you know, damn it, it's a damn nice place to live. People know each other around here. The kids are all right. We've got this nice committee together to beautify Main Street, which has been looking a little ragged ever since the big boxes moved in out by the mall. But you know, them Big Boxes aren't so bad, really. I didn't like it at first, but WalMart sells real cheap dog treats, I'll tell you. Anyway, I still get car parts down at Frank's Auto to support the local economy.
Yeah, anyway, America is a continental empire with a population of 300 million people. It extends from the Arctic Circle to the Tropics, from the Atlantic Coast to the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the most climatologically, geologically, meteorologically, environmentally, ethnographically, and culturally diverse "societies" ever found in the whole of human history, and despite the best efforts of our imperial minders to convince us otherwise in order to keep us plugged into the necessity of military and economic dominion over the whole of the world, we are necessarily heterogenous because there are so damn many of us. This is where anarchy looks at the aspirations of representative democracy and giggles. 300 million people! Gurl.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Digby issues one of the tackiest (and dumbest) hit jobs in her blurgh's sordid and incoherent history. Digby is a dick.
History: Ron Paul issues an unequivocal statement of support for the rights of Muslims in America. Not only that, but he uses the opportunity to roundly condemn Barack Obama's America's War Against Islam. Naturally this offends La Digs, because Paul catches liberals in the sweep of his condemnation. Liberals, you may recall, currently control the legislative and executive branches of our government, and they are directing Barack Obama's America's War Against Islam.
She is outraged, outraged that Paul's J'accuse contained some general economic prescriptions with which she disagrees. Oh. Um. Wait. IT DIDN'T. Dear Digby: do not imply things that can be disproven by following the links that you yourself provide. She says in effect that because Paul has elsewhere and otherwise said things about economic matters that she finds objectionable, ergo his strong statement in support of religious liberty and the rights of private citizens to conduct their own private business on their own private property as they see fit are to be discarded, are of suspect origin and motive. She tars him with the views of his adult son--"his boy"--which is more than mildly amusing since she was just bitching about some or other preacherman claiming that Obama was Muslim by bloodline. How dare they!? Lady, you are a fucking hack.
Paul says that the angry sentiments surrounding the Islamic center are being stirred up by all sides in order to distract from the ongoing theft of wealth and property for the purpose of making a few very rich people even richer. He's right. Digby, a tribalist, wishes to cast this issue once again as nobel Progressives defending religious liberty against the evil, yokel xenophobes of the right:
And anyway, as Greenwald points out today, this is a real issue whether we want it to be or not and it speaks to some very dangerous and important cross currents in American political life. It's not a distraction.Oh, bullshit. Total and utter. Can I just emphasize for the ten millionth time that it is not a conservative government that is currently waging war against Islam. It is not a tea-party protest that is bombing Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and who knows where else. It is not a conservative government that is trying a child soldier for war crimes in a secret trial. Ad infinitum. The popular sentiments shouted at "Ground Zero" are uncomfortable, but they aren't killing Muslims; they are, however, distracting everyone from the bankrupt American military project of killing Muslims. Their superficial anger at Islam is insignificant compared to Barack Obama's real and actual policies toward Islam, which is to bomb the living shit out of it every day.
On a more minor note, Digby doesn't seem to have any idea what a neoconservative is. She seems to believe that neoconservatives are advocates of laissez-faire classical liberalism when the exact opposite is the case. Neoconservatives are social moderates and social democrats on matters cultural and economic. Most of them started out as "liberals". That they became influential in the conservative government of George W. Bush, and that the policies of that supposedly conservative government were then adopted and expanded by the subsequent liberal administration, ought to tell you something about the nature of party divisions within the decision-making echelons of the American State. If, that is, you're not an idiot.
Actually, it's fascinating how closely the expression of anti-Muslim sentiment tracks with anti-Catholic sentiments from earlier in American history. I mean, when Glenn Beck says that mysterious wealth is funding the lower Manhattan Islamic center and implies that associated clergy are servants of a competing religious legal regime, you could just substitute in a few mentions of the Papacy and you'd basically have James G. Blaine.
Monday, August 23, 2010
I just want to point out that the people protesting the "Ground Zero Mosque" are being manipulated by powerful interests who seek to channel popular discontentment into a raving circus sideshow of racial anxiety, an ethnocentric brouhaha that distracts from the destruction of livelihoods, the persistence of disastrous wars, etc. I just want to point out that racism is an invention of the state. The agenda served by the anti-Muslim "controversy" has got fuck-all to do with Islam, or with the preservation of Constitutional rights, or with the privileges of property--at least, not with the priviliges of this particular property in lower Manhattan. It's an error to presume that the state necessarily fears a restive public.
It's difficult to express just how admirably evolved I find Johnny Weir's professed personal perceptions about human gender and sexuality and just how unfortunate I find his apparently consuming obession with contemporary fame. (La_Rana and I briefly discussed this via email; he cleverly suggested that Weir is the secret offspring of Gore Vidal, and I'm still giggling at the thought.) I don't have anything particularly insightful to add. The article is worth reading.