Thursday, March 18, 2004

Bye For Now

I'll be on hiatus due to employment necessities and so will not be blogging for at least a month and a half, probably two.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Let It Bleed, He Says

Poly sent me this link from her local paper last night, but it seems like I skimmed this very essay this weekend somewhere on the net. Anyway, somehow it elicited a sense of deja-vu.

The American Elections, the Future of Alliances, and the Lessons of Spain


"The United States' strength, to a crucial extent, has rested on its ability to convince other nations that it was to their vital interests to see America prevail in its global role. But the scope and ultimate consequences of its world mission, including its extraordinarily vague doctrine of "preemptive wars," is today far more dangerous and open-ended than when Communism existed. Enemies have disappeared and new ones - many once former allies and even congenial friends - have taken their places. The United States, to a degree to which it is itself uncertain, needs alliances, but these allies will be bound into uncritical "coalitions of the willing."

But the events in Spain over the past days, from the massive deadly explosions in Madrid to the defeat of the ruling party because it supported the Iraq war despite overwhelming public opposition to doing so, have greatly raised the costs to its allies of following Washington's lead.

Several points. There will be a democratic backlash that was already inevitable among those nations who have allied themselves with US vis-a-vis Iraq. I predict that many of the superreactionary Republicans in this country will call Spain's new government "cowards," dulling but also brightening the greater insult intended: the Spanish who elected them are cowards or just "easily demoralised," and by the way democracy sucks. But the outgoing party of Spain was NOT elected on a War On Islam mandate. Indeed, the Spanish government's stance on Iraq was massively unpopular, and so Train Bombings or not, faced a reprieve at the ballot-box.

But Spain won't be alone. John Howard's similar stance in Australia is massively unpopular, as was and is Blair's in Britain. Italians aren't as fond of Berlesconi post-Iraq as they were before. The Poles have a deeply unpopular government, though it seems that on the issue of Iraq the electorate is fairly evenly split. I think these leaders, including Bush, who have abused their mandate will all pay at the ballotbox, with the possible exception of Blair, who has no savoury opposition, and Kwasniewski of Poland, whose Prime Minister has been removed and who so recently extended his middle finger of diplomacy to the EU, giving delight to largely nationalist Poles who wish to have their EU-cake and eat it too.

Now to his point of alliances. I agree the world is entering an era of short-term alliances the likes of which we have never seen in modern times. I also agree that the US is greatly disrupting the natural axis of Western Democracies with its unilateralist ways. But then the natural axis could and would not be as strong as the old "Free World" alliance was, because militant Islam is not the monolith that communism was. As the Western enmity and Communist distrust bestowed on Nasser, Nehru and Tito showed, it was a much easier choice in those days of being not only a fish or a fowl, but a certain KIND of fish or fowl.

Nowadays, a more reserved allegiance, a more tenuous alliance is the natural state. The US is not used to this, obviously, but like the spoiled geopolitical child it is, it thinks tantrums (unilateralism) can solve this mild impasse. Of course militant islam is a far more incorrigible brat, but the parodox is that its tantrums unfortunately strengthen its (internal, non-state) alliances. This is of course easily explained by the fact that the America is built on a different model than is militant islam, and thank god; pity the leaders of America aren't aware of the fact, but then as Senator Borah once said of another war, "you don't fight Prussia by Prussianizing the United States."

"So long as the future is to a large degree - to paraphrase Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld - "unknowable," it is not to the national interest of its traditional allies to perpetuate the relationships created from 1945 to 1990."

No shit. Oh it was in their interest -- it's in all Western governments' interests to fight jihad -- but they can't trust US enough anymore, post-Iraq, to sign a blank cheque of alliance, much less an alliance on the model of the Cold War, which is what the United States unrealistically expects.

"If Bush is reelected then the international order may be very different in 2008 than it is today, much less in 1999, but there is no reason to believe that objective assessments of the costs and consequences of its actions will significantly alter American foreign policy priorities over the next four years.


As dangerous as it is, Bush's reelection may be a lesser evil because he is much more likely to continue the destruction of the alliance system that is so crucial to American power. One does not have to believe that the worse the better but we have to consider candidly the foreign policy consequences of a renewal of Bush's mandate.

Now it gets really interesting. The old manoeuvre of Don't Stop The Bleeding Because Only When He's Dead Will We Know The Worst. Or, put another way, Bush sucks so much that he will sabotage American unilateralism permanently. Therefore it may be wise to vote him in so that he may thoroughly discredit the neoconservative policy that sneers at every supranational institution (the UN, the EU, NATO when it suits US) and every good-natured but sensibly skeptical offer of support from our friends (like Canada, or Mexico before Fox was bribed). Since Bush and His whole Hee Haw gang are so thoroughly retarded it's guaranteed that he will continue his policy of destroying the remaining goodwill the world has for US post 9/11, the goodwill that is (was) aided by common interest. His unilateralism and cowboy stupidity will eventually drive off everyone who has stayed with US through Iraq, if the democracies at home don't pull them from the alliance before it. Therefore, after 2008, the United States will be forced to behave itself and act thereafter multilaterally.

Obviously, this wouldn't be an issue were Dennis Kucinich or Howard Dean not so demonised by the press and so "electable" or at least viable candidates opposite Bush. Mr Kolko, the essay's author, correctly notes that a Kerry presidency would of course be better and somewhat salvage our friendships, but the precedent would still be set for Bushisms of the future. Also, as the establishment candidate of the Democratic Party, Kerry can't be trusted to not occasionally venture into unilaterism himself. Certainly, Clinton did.

But let me be a bit selfish for a minute. What Kolko does not describe is the effect Kerry would have on the internal affairs of the United States. Kerry would better handle the economy; Kerry would kill the Bill of Rights-annihilating Ashcroftism stone dead; Kerry might whore himself out to various special interests, but those interests would not be the Oil-Defense Industry Complex that greases Bush's already thieving and hawkish policies.

Mr Kolko has an interesting idea, and I'd like to see US a) get back on track to a proper response against terrorism and b) destroy the "credibility" of neoconservatism forever. But I don't know if it's worth another four years of erosion of my rights, or worth the potential depression Bush may put US in. Kolko's thesis truly asks an American to "think globally." I don't know if I'm up to the task, in this context.

Spanish Bombers Identified

Jihadists at least, probably al-qaeda.

But here's an analysis of the statement of responsibility e-mailed to a British Arabic Newspaper. It argues that the claim is bogus.

It May Be "Irreversible" Now


They'll never listen, though. The Crapitalist Globalistas won't acknowledge it until it gets to the point when tumours develop from stepping outside to pick up the morning newspaper, when Britain becomes a glacier, when people at my latitude have to run the a/c in December, when everyone is forced to bathe with bottled water and eat Soylent Green.

But then maybe they are waiting on a Duncan McCleod to invent a "climate shield" like in that shitty Highlander sequel?

Ok, Rummy

You can bomb this guy if you like. But only him.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Share Intelligence? Well, if We Only Had It. Er, I Mean, If You're Not With US, You're Against US


Was it VooDoo?

A couple of articles on the grisly mass-murder in Fresno. Here and here.

Creepy, sad, and, sorry to say, morbidly interesting in a "Silence of the Lambs" sort of way. A black man in dreds, a "spell" cast on his followers, coffins. A sociopath's take on voodoo?

Also, how were these children born here without someone knowing that their grandfather was also their father? The incest angle is, of course, universally disturbing. Forget the reference to Buffalo Bill: this seems like an urban, bloodier version of Deliverance.

Spain Arrests Five Suspects


Three Moroccans and two Indians. NOT Basques.

Perhaps Not of The Blight of His Times

Consistent sluggers like Fred McGriff may find their reputations rehabilitated by baseball's steroid controversy.

As well they should be. McGriff and his closest equivalent, Rafael Palmeiro, are currently undervalued by both the "common fan" and sabrenerds; though I don't expect the latter to change their opinions, the former may reasses those hitters who showed consistency -- infering that they didn't "juice" -- from the pre-steroids late 1980s through the current age where 50 home runs per year is a total to shrug at.

Obviously the point is that McGriff didnt benefit from the cheap home run era, yet he cannot be slagged off easily, for he was a bonafide power hitter through the mid-to-late 80s. His totals are fairly consistent throughout. Just this consistency is a weapon to hold against those who wish to minimise the effect of steroids on power hitters by instead blaming the inflated numbers on new bat material, watered-down pitching skills, or smaller ballparks. One may safely assume that McGriff employed new bat technology as it became avaliable; McGriff was opponent to the same pitchers as were other sluggers; McGriff played in fairly neutral parks throughout his career.

Of course this is "unscientific," easily explained away by the steroids-apologists, but those who have grown fed-up with cheating in baseball can at least probably safely champion Fred McGriff as a "what if?" example to those of the future who will wonder just how pronounced the effect of steroids was on Home Run numbers in this blighted era.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Alan Dershowitz Got His Wish

Recently released from "detention" at Guantanamo, a Brit claims he was tortured.

"The beatings were not as nearly as bad as the psychological torture - bruises heal after a week but the other stuff stays with you. "

The Mirror has an exclusive interview with the released man.

"He said detainees were shackled for up to 15 hours at a time in hand and leg cuffs with metal links which cut into the skin.

Their "cells" were wire cages with concrete floors and open to the elements - giving no privacy or protection from the rats, snakes and scorpions loose around the American base.


A diet of foul water and food up to 10 years out-of-date left inmates malnourished.

But Jamal's most shocking disclosure centred on the use of vice girls to torment the most religiously devout detainees.

Prisoners who had never seen an "unveiled" woman before would be forced to watch as the hookers touched their own naked bodies.

The men would return distraught. One said an American girl had smeared menstrual blood across his face in an act of humiliation.


So that's why Rummy and Ashcroft are so adamant in impeding or refusing the requests of lawyers, international observers and the fucking Red Cross for access to "detainees." Geneva Convention, my ass. Oh no, the only people who broke that were the Iraqi retards who showed POWs on television (like we did to Saddam, but that's different).

More On Madrid

"Official" ETA/Batasuna denial here.

Al-qaeda angle discussed here.

Spain mourns "Our September Eleventh"

The Irish Examiner points out that the attack in Madrid was exactly 911 days after September 11.

300-400 Poisoned In Kurdistan

"(Al-Taakhi) – Since yesterday until now numerous people have been admitted to the hospital of Dhawk Province from Khank assembly which is close to Dhawk city. 300-400 cases of poisoning arrived at the hospital from the Khank assembly"


From a Different Point of View

The Chechen Press prints a story whose particulars are pretty strange to this pair of Western eyes, but whose conclusion brings forth a vague feeling of recognition.

Though this accusation has an old date, it was news to me:

"You may still remember information spread by Russian mass media ("Commersant", Gazeta.Ru, etc.) of 31 January 2002 that Bombay police started a search of the "Chechen seaman two meters in height with a scar on the right cheek", who, ostensibly, was preparing an attempt on the commander-in-chief of the US Navy, Vice Admiral James Metsger, to be committed during to meeting of the latter with the Indian Naval Commanders."

The author then goes on, in a strange (probably poorly-translated) sarcastic tone, to strongly imply that this story was fake, a smear by the Russians (the scar-faced thing is pretty silly, a 40s noir Hollywood charicature that would be laughed at in America) to include Chechens in with Pakistanis (hence earning India's wrath) and in with the Taleban (hence earning America's and Britain's wrath). But the story died. Nonetheless, as I interpret it, the Russians continued along this vein by claiming that most of those "combatants" "detained" at Guantanamo were in fact Chechen. But since the release of some "detainees," the Russian charges look even more suspect:

"The Americans have not much jibbed and given out eight citizens of Russia. Earlier tony Blear [sic], who had not insisted on it, had to take the British Talibans from Guantanamo, but in his anti-terrorist reports he does not stresses this fact. As to Moscow, it has turned out that not the North Caucasus prosecutor's office but the one of the Volga basin territory administration should have been charged with the case of "Russian Talibans", as among the extradited Talibans there were only two natives of the North Caucasus, and even not of Chechnya, but of Kabardino-Balkaria. The others were from Tatarstan and Bashkiria. And there was one even from Siberia. But one cannot tell for certain who was more disappointed with the absence of Chechens among the extradited captives of Guantanamo - Fridinsky or Tony Blear [sic].

Who knows how much of this to buy. I just post it because it's from a point of view denied most in the West, and above that, about a Theatre of the War on Terror than not many Americans think about.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

"Protect The Children!"

This should get Kyle's mom, Helen Lovejoy and Bill Bennett worked up real good.


(Poly sent me this link.)

Not the Basques But Al-Quaeda


It does make more sense.

And if it is bin Laden's group, then this is probably the tip of the iceberg: I can't see them targeting Spain like this unless it's as a warm-up to something else. They hate the Spanish, true (And just now I wonder, considering that bin Laden planned 9/11's date as "historical revenge" for the Turks being turned back at Vienna, is today's date significant vis-a-vis Spain's war of expelling the Moors?), but why them and not the Italians or Brits or Poles? There are other, more visible allies of the United States than the Spanish. But the Basques of ETA have never been this bloody before, so I don't think it's them.

Last I saw the death toll was 170 or so. It's very sad.

That "Giant Sucking Sound"

So Ross Perot warned of NAFTA. Despite the "successes" of NAFTA, the ideologues can't be content with just de facto slave labour in Mexico, oh no. They have to have it in Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua etc. too!

Thus, the CAFTA pact, the latest from the Learned Society of the Invisible Fist.

Sadly, several "Liberal" naughties, including John Kerry, insist that Central American workers be guaranteed a certain amount of protection before signing on to the bill. Tsk. This will not do. What fun is there, after all, in closing an American Factory and moving it to Central America if you can't pay those workers 30 cents an hour, force them to work by inhuman schedules, and subject them to conditions that would incite an honest OSHA inspector to frothing paroxysms?

And so the Fair Traders are slurred as "isolationists" by the Free Traders, a tactic that worked so well in combating those evil war protestors who were so suspicious of the veracity and motives of the Bushies. "Isolationist" used to be a decent word; now it's as demonised as "Liberal." As Confucius said, the first step to take in controlling the state is rectifying the language (of course, he can be forgiven, since he was honourable, whilst of course the Invisible Handers can't be and are not); since the Free Traders take this advice so well, why not combat them or pre-empt them on the same grounds before they make every neutral term applicable to the opposition just as loaded as those above? I therefore recommend "Free Traders" be interchangable with "Economic Fascists;" "Conservative Christians" can and should be freely substituted with "Cultural Fascists;" "Fortune 500 CEOs" with "Plutocratic Fucktards;" "Republicans" with "Putrescent Reactionary Pigfuckers;" and so on. You know, since "Liberal" equals "Commie Scum" and "isolationist" equals either "Saddam-lover," "America-hater," or, in the economic context, "Moronic Luddist Bought By Labour Unions." What's good for the goose...

Exhuming Meese

Janet's boob got the Puritans in full swing; now even cartoons are being forced to "clean up" their act.

In Their Own Words

"Environmentalists are a socialist group of individuals that are the tool of the Democrat Party. I'm proud to say that they are my enemy. They are not Americans, never have been Americans, never will be Americans."

- Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Alaska Public Radio, 08-19-96

"I don't understand how poor people think."

- George W. Bush, confiding in the Rev. Jim Wallis, New York Times, 08-26-03

"Get rid of the guy. Impeach him, censure him, assassinate him."

- Rep. James Hansen (R-UT), talking about President Clinton, as reported by journalist Steve Miner of KSUB radio who overheard his conversation, 11-01-98

"Why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it's gonna happen? It's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

- Barbara Bush, said on 'Good Morning America' the day before the Iraq war started, New York Times, 01-13-03

More Here (Link Via Eschaton.)

They're Pals, You See

"Immediately after 9/11, dozens of Saudi royals and members of the bin Laden family fled the U.S. in a secret airlift authorized by the Bush White House. One passenger was an alleged al-Qaida go-between, who may have known about the terror attacks in advance. "



A Liberal group is spending 5.1 million dollars to attack Bush, which is to be expected. But now the Log Cabin Republicans are going to run their first ever tv ad, and it will criticise Bush too.

What I wonder is this: as Thuh Preznit slips farther down the polls, how long will it be before the mainstream fasc-- umm, Republicans accuse the Log Cabin Reps of being a Liberal fifth column? Of course the superChristians already suspect as much, but I mean the more traditional I Want To Keep My Money Republicans, rather than the I Want To Persecute People variety.

Duh, Liberal.. Duh, Massachusetts..Duh, This Is Gravy

Many among the rightwing think Kerry will be a pushover because he can be easily compared to Michael Dukakis, the failure of '88. They mean that he can be easily tarred and feathered by Limbaugh-like attacks: "tax and spend elitist" and so on, banking on the idea that people are just as stupid and tautological as themselves, and so will slur any Democrat from Massachusetts as an effete pinko.

Great strategy! Please stick to it!

But, alas, some wingnuts are too clever and, perhaps, too evil, to think such a strategy will work. The Kristolmethodists at The Weekly Standard are a case in point:

"Republicans often liken Kerry to Michael Dukakis, the wimpy Democratic presidential nominee in 1988. But perhaps it's Bush who should worry about falling into the Dukakis trap. Bush and his team seem to assume opposition charges won't hurt because, of course, voters will know the charges are unfair and disingenuous. It's Kerry and his adviser Bob Shrum, with their relentless attacks, who are following the example of Bush's father and Lee Atwater. We know who prevailed then."

Actually, I don't think it matters if Bush "fights back." The only thing that will save him is a timely instance of Wag The Dog, probably in the capture of Osama bin Laden, which I fully expect him to attempt if not commit.

(As an aside notice the "wimpy" epithet given to Dukakis when it was in fact Bush senior to whom the label notoriously adhered. Good old revisionism. Also, the moral equivalence of Kerry's and his advisor's attacks to Bush Senior's, which included the demonicly unfair Willie Horton ads. But wait. Don't the Kristolmethodists consider Kerry's attacks unfair? Ahh, after all these years, an admission. Or else they just forgot their point, which would also be typical.)

Whoring Out the White House: *Gasp* A Bipartisan Phenomenon After All

"WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush opened the White House and Camp David to dozens of overnight guests last year, including foreign dignitaries, family friends and at least nine of his biggest campaign fund-raisers, documents show."

Yes, and...

"Some guests spent a night in the Lincoln Bedroom, historic quarters that gained new fame in the Clinton administration amid allegations that Democrats rewarded major donors like Hollywood heavyweights Steven Spielberg and Barbra Streisand with accommodations there.

That scandal and Bush's criticism of it is one of the reasons the White House identifies guests. In a debate with Vice President Al Gore in October 2000, Bush said: "I believe they've moved that sign, 'The buck stops here,' from the Oval Office desk to 'The buck stops here' on the Lincoln Bedroom. And that's not good for the country.""

Link (via Political Wire.)

Somehow I doubt that Bush's whoring will elicit the same sort of apoplexy that Clinton's inspired.

Those Crazy Canuckistanis

"PORT COQUITLAM, B.C. - B.C.'s provincial officer of health said he can't rule out the possibility that human remains were among meat processed at a farm now at the centre of Vancouver's missing women case."


I didn't exactly have this in mind when I wrote this entry.

The Portable Curmudgeon

"Don't knock, boost!" pleaded President Warren Harding. Well, fuck a bunch of that. We need more people to deconstruct, slash, poke holes through, belittle, and make fun of all that is certain or prevailing.

Thus, Defending the Right Not to Have a Nice Day.

Speaking curmudgeonly if not as a curmudgeon, I'm not so much for jumping to cynical conclusions about individuals as I am groups. To paraphrase Nietzsche, madness is rare in individuals (though the fact that he himself was one of the rarities confuses things a bit) but in groups insanity is the age-old rule. So that's one thing in favour of a curmudgeonly disposition.

There's an exception, however, to the amnesty given individuals: it's the lesson learned from Suetonius, that otherwise decent individuals almost invariably become depraved when given power -- or a pulpit, I'd add.

Knowledge and progress can't come from many yay-saying responses to the powerful or the punditry. A critical or sarcastic climate is the best environment to subject to these factions.

So, give me some shit, readers, just as I give shit to others.

To those who would say, why surely its better to affirm than deny, better to create than destroy, I'd say that it's a service to knock away what is false or fake or inferior in the context of ideas and art. As such, parody, satire and critical demolition (none of that constructive touchy-feely crap) function as necessities -- as well as great fun.

Edit -- apropos of the above, I especially recommend the latest destruction of Republican stupidity and hypocrisy from the geniuses of Sadly, No.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

McCain on Paranoia

"Get on the damn elevator! Fly on the damn plane! Calculate the odds of being harmed by a terrorist! It's still about as likely as being swept out to sea by a tidal wave!"

"Suck it up, for crying out loud. You're almost certainly going to be okay. And in the unlikely event you're not, do you really want to spend your last days cowering behind plastic sheets and duct tape?

"That's not a life worth living, is it?"

Link (Via Marstonalia.)

This makes too much sense; it flies in the face of the paranoia pushed by the Administration. Senator McCain might get a private rebuke from the RNC if he keeps that crap up.

Dying Since '89; Dead Since 9/11; But He Can Still Sell His Corpse

"Well, pre-emption is a word that gets me terribly excited, I have to admit."

"The American left, you would think they didn't give a sh-- what happened to their comrades in Iraq as long as George Bush didn't benefit from it."

"Grover Norquist, the most intelligent and humorous of the Republican strategists,"

"..there are limits, and Mr. Dean managed to find them in only a few weeks of cocky, half-baked and spendthrift posturing. This is not a time when the United States can afford even to flirt with the idea of an insecure narcissist and vain windbag as president."

"It would be as if the Republicans suddenly started talking, as that great veteran Robert Dole once did, about all the conflicts in American history as "Democrat wars." That didn't fly, if you recall, though it would have been a fair description of Vietnam."

"As with most senior Democrats, Kerry's revolving-door record with lobbyists and donors is one to make Cheney and Bush look like amateurs: As with all Democratic primary seasons there is an agreement to forget this collectively in the interests of "change." That's why Lucy in "Peanuts" has become a great national character."

"Well, umm..actually I had been in alliance [before 9/11] with some of the people who are now called neo-conservatives, people like Paul Wolfowitz, who I rather admire, I must say."

Another Chinese Riddle

Poly sent me this story from the Sydney Morning Herald which warns of the coming wave of "40 million Chinese bachelors" and what a society of such skewed sexual demographics may expect of their affect.

"Such serious gender disproportion poses a major threat to the healthy, harmonious and sustainable growth of the nation's population and would trigger such crimes and social problems as mercenary marriage, abduction of women and prostitution."

Well, it's not just that. Chinese culture finds itself in a quandary like that of the Yanomamo. The latter's ecological conditions are different, to be sure, and there is a chicken and egg factor to consider in the comparison, but regardless the result is a self-perpetuating male-chauvinist society. Warfare takes care of the excess male population of the Yanomamo; god help us all if Chinese culture provides the same answer to the same structural problem. But I think I see the likely solution, which is indeed hinted at in the quote: slave labour prisons. Such an answer would take care of two cultural needs, removing excess volatile young males from the general populace, and also utilising still another pool of availiable cheap labour with which the culture can further "industrialise."

In other words, the material conditions are perfect for the perpetuation of the authoritarian regime which rules China.

But the "Christian" alternative is equally hopeless if not having the special virtue of being utterly moronic: no birth control or family planning.

So, easier said than done, I admit, but the only thing to do is to destroy the old Confucian preference for the male-passed "family name," the cause, at least in the Chinese zeitgeist, of the male dominated heirarchy. Through this, strict family planning will still be practiced, as it must, but parents will be satisfied with a girl or boy. Fat chance.

Maybe the one worthy gift Global Capitalism and Western Culture can give the Chinese is its utter indifference to "family" names or surnames. Our names are increasingly meaningless, and though this is sad and unnecessary in our culture, to the Chinese such indifference could be a godsend.

The Shorter Immanuel Wallerstein

The United States has been hoisted by its own petard in the case of the WTO specifically, and in the case of Free Trade dogma, generally.

How satisfactory.


Ann Coulter's Beauty Secret

Ahh, the joys to be found in World O'Crap's archive. LOFL.

"'The way I like to think of it is: red states are red corpuscle states, brimming with life and vitality. While the blue states are blood cells depleted of oxygen, the same way the Democrat party is depleted of ideas and morality. If American values and ideals are to survive, we must confront our political opponents, rip out their throats with our sharp incisors, and feed upon the warm blood flowing from their ruptured arteries.'"

Stern Versus Bush

audio clips.

Link via Atrios

Better late than never, Howie.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Kissingerism: Alive and Well

Cargo Plane Detained In Harare.

Zimbabwe Seizes US Plane With 64 Mercenaries.

First Chavez in Venezuela, which hasn't quite worked yet. Then Aristide in Haiti, which was pretty easy. Now they're going after Mugabe who, of the three, is the genuine thug. The CIA's plainly been very busy lately. Pity they never could put this sort of effort into, you know, stopping people from crashing airplanes into buildings.

But then when James Baker III said immediately after 9/11 that such a security breach was caused by the post-Watergate investigations (take that, Church and Pike Commitees!) and subsequent "weakening" of intelligence agencies, I knew what to expect: the return of, in Lyndon Johnson's words, "a goddamned Murder, Incorporated."

A Rich Ally, But Don't Expect Too Much

Warren Buffett is a politically conservative billionaire, yet is countering those among the administration and his fellow tycoons who have lately been attacking him from the right. What does this mean? Well, among other things, that the business world and the rulers of this country aren't even so mainstream as to be conservative -- they are in fact classic reactionaries.

Buffett the other day released Berkshire-Hathaway's annual report, and in it his chairman's letter rebutted a Treasury official's insult, condemned greedy CEOs as well as corrupt and incompetent fund managers, and rightly exposed the intent of the Bush adminstration's Reaganesque tax code.

Some highlights from Buffett's letter (which is in .pdf format):

"On May 20, 2003, The Washington Post ran an op-ed piece by me that was critical of the Bush tax proposals. Thirteen days later, Pamela Olson, Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy at the U.S. Treasury, delivered a speech about the new tax legislation saying, 'That means a certain midwestern oracle, who, it must be noted, has played the tax code like a fiddle, is still safe retaining all his earnings.' I think she was talking about me.

"Alas, my 'fiddle playing' will not get me to Carnegie Hall - or even to a high school recital. Berkshire, on your behalf and mine, will send the Treasury $3.3 billion for tax on its 2003 income, a sum equaling 2% of the total income tax paid by all U.S. corporations in fiscal 2003. (In contrast, Berkshire's market valuation is about 1% of the value of all American corporations.) Our payment will almost certainly place us among our country's top ten taxpayers. [...]

"I can understand why the Treasury is now frustrated with Corporate America and prone to outbursts. But it should look to Congress and the Administration for redress, not to Berkshire. Corporate income taxes in fiscal 2003 accounted for 7.4% of all federal tax receipts, down from a post-war peak of 32% in 1952. With one exception (1983), last year's percentage is the lowest recorded since data was first published in 1934.

"Even so, tax breaks for corporations (and their investors, particularly large ones) were a major part of the Administration's 2002 and 2003 initiatives. If class warfare is being waged in America, my class is clearly winning. Today, many large corporations - run by CEOs whose fiddle-playing talents make your Chairman look like he is all thumbs - pay nothing close to the stated federal tax rate of 35%.

"In 1985, Berkshire paid $132 million in federal income taxes, and all corporations paid $61 billion. The comparable amounts in 1995 were $286 million and $157 billion respectively. And, as mentioned, we will pay about $3.3 billion for 2003, a year when all corporations paid $132 billion. We hope our taxes continue to rise in the future - it will mean we are prospering - but we also hope that the rest of Corporate America antes up along with us. This might be a project for Ms. Olson to work on.
[Emphases Added.]

Oooh. Plainly Mr Buffett knows whose bread is buttered by the administration; his last quoted comment show he knows that the buttering is intentional. Of course everyone else in America knows that corporations don't pay their fair share, but those who actually run the corps live with a sense of entitlement or live in a state of denial -- and sometimes both simultaneously.

There is so much in this certain to get under the skins of the Rulers. For one, Buffett says the unsayable, that he hopes his company's taxes continue to rise in the future; no matter the capitalist common sense of this wish (that higher taxes mean his company made more money) it's considered the ultimate faux pas to state anything resembling an acquiesence to the concept of taxes. It implies that corporate taxes are necessary; worse it implies that taxes aren't inherently immoral. Tsk tsk. As if this isn't enough Buffett is also saying that many corporations aren't paying even the paltry tax rate in which they are bracketed due to the virtuoso manipulations of loopholes and other accounting tricks. He, with a wink and a nod, acknowledges the winks and nods of the Administration when it allows these tricks.

The grandfatherly Omaha billionaire didn't like Enron, and he seems to know that Enronisation is the hallmark of the Bush Administration -- short-term looters whose criminal habits have been encultured into the corporate community; Mr Buffett's smart and cautious, and knows that abuses eventually lead to a massive correction, hence like a Progressive he's for Good Government over business, but as a means to thwart rather than effect socialistic safeguards. His worry is that since Corporate America is left to pretty much police itself, it had better do a damned better job of it, before the government steps in.

This is pure conservatism: warning his corporate brethren whose greed for greed has gone too far and for too long. But the reactionaries don't like conservative warnings: there's nothing laissez-faire about restraint, after all. Most don't understand the concept of "unseemly;" many don't understand the meaning of "law-abiding."

Later, he teases Thuh Preznit over inviting himself to a share of the credit for a Buffett success-story. "'Victory,' President Kennedy told us after the Bay of Pigs disaster, 'has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.' At NFM, we knew we had a winner a month after the boffo opening in Kansas City, when our new store attracted an unexpected paternity claim. A speaker there, referring to the Blumkin family, asserted, 'They had enough confidence and the policies of the Administration were working such that they were able to provide work for 1,000 of our fellow citizens.' The proud papa at the podium? President George W. Bush." That Buffett made the cautionary but good-natured slap come from the mouth of JFK must have been especially galling to the reactionary fucktard readers at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

But enough of the 2003 Annual Report. The point is that because Buffett is a conservative Democrat, owns a considerable chunk of the "liberal" Washington Post, vociferously advocates an inheritance tax, generally makes himself a nuisance on other tax issues, writes incredibly fat cheques to the antichrist organisation Planned Parenthood, excoriates his fellow CEOs, and eschews the typically ostentatious lifestyle of his class, he's a significant pain in the ass to the reactionary Bush Adminstration. They wish they could ignore him, they wish they could convert him, they wish they could enlist him (as did Ahnold, in rare fit of cerebral cortex activity); but they can't because he refuses, and still worse the Bushies can't squash him because, according to the October 6, 2003 issue of Forbes, Buffett is worth 36 billion dollars, second only to Satan himself, Bill Gates.

Therefore we may take some measured pleasure in Buffett; God knows Progressives have little else in the business world to take pleasure in.

I have a copy of the extremely sympathetic Buffett biography Of Permanent Value, which I speed-read a couple of years ago. Flipping through its index after reading the B-H Annual Report, I found some passages that may be salient:

"I have absolutely no complaint about these taxes. ..we work in a market-based economy that rewards our efforts far more bountifully than it does the efforts of others whose output is of equal or greater benefit to society. Taxation should, and does, partially address this inequity. But we still remain extraodrinarily well-treated." (1993 Annual Report)

"If we don't solve [arms control and population growth problems], we don't have a world." (Channels Magazine, talk to Particia Bauer, 1986)

Buffett avidly reads Bertrand Russell, not Lord Russell's mathematical works but, "The philosphical ones, [l]ike Has Man A Future?" He was a supporter of Russell's anti-nuclear Pugwash Group. (pp 471)

"Buffett said he favors a 'progressive consumption tax' to replace the federal income tax. The schedule would allow people to pay for basic living expenses and to deduct what they save or invest. They would pay taxes on the rest of the money they spend on consumption." (pp 124-5)

Well, this is self-serving; it targets the consumer for the benefit of the "producer." But the allowance for basic living expenses is nice, even though the tax-free savings proposal is a freebie to the banking industry. Still,

"As the amount spent on consumption increases, the taxed amount would increase... I personally would prefer to make it steeply progressive as a matter of social equity."

The porcine squeal you just heard was the reprehensible Bush Thug Grover Norquist calling Buffett a Nazi. "Social equity" is not a phrase often kindly or honestly uttered by the Corporate Elite, if uttered at all. It's Buffett's pragmatism that is revealed in this proposal -- also, his long-term thinking. One doesn't fashion a stable society by continually and vindictively fucking the poor. Though Buffett's plan clearly benefits himself and his kind to a great extent, it's not all take and no give. It offers an explicit benefit to the poor, which is more than can be said of the mendacious claims by the proponents of the flat-tax.

In fact, though I can't quite be enthusiatic about Buffett's fiscal proposals, I have to admit that it's incredibly conscientious coming from a man whose father was a member of the vile crypto-fascist John Birch Society.


Warren Buffett is a likeable little old man, without pretention, possessing a pithy writing style, full of midwestern good sense and classic American middle class values like caution and thriftiness. Leavened with this are the not so American traits he has: wit and ..well, shall we say, a French taste in marriage arrangements. This makes him interesting; his good sense, whistleblowing and reactionary-baiting commentary further the appeal. But he is not George Soros, the Progressive's Billionaire, even though the crappy state of the dollar has forced Buffett into the business of foreign currency arbitrage, Soros's speciality.

Buffett's company owns a large share of Coca-Cola, which has been a naughty company indeed in Southeast Asia; it owns Fruit Of The Loom, which, if I remember correctly, uses Chinese sweatshop labour; it owns PetroChina Limited, which is self-explanatory in its unsavoriness; it owns or owned one of the de-nationalised British utility companies, though I don't remember if it was one of those that contributed so oleaginously to Tony Blair's early Clintonisation. With such holdings, about which he apparently has no moral issue, Buffett can never be the Progressive's Capitalist. But he can be the Progressive's Conservative, and in milieu so desolate, surely that is something.

Not With A Bang, But With a Whimper

China has decided to abolish taxes on its farmers, ending a 4,000 year-old tradition.

I'm happy for Chinese farmers, but unhappy about what this says culturally. This policy shift indicates the havoc globalism is wreaking upon Chinese culture -- that the agrarian sector is a) so insignificant revenue-wise that the government can afford to eliminate the taxes but also b) that the government also wants, desperately, to avoid a mass exodus from rural areas to urban and, relatedly, wishes to keep a certain amount of farmers in their professions so that China will be guaranteed a definite supply of grain.

It had better.

I dislike it that an alien ideology can destroy a 4,000 year-old tradition in a matter of a few decades, even if the tradition is as quotidian and unpleasant as a specially-targeted tax.

Nearly the worst possible thing that can happen to a country so over-populated as China is mass migration from rural to urban areas. Yet as the government's action indicates, the threat is taken seriously as well it should for the process is happening before everyone's eyes. And it's more than a food-supply security issue; do people really wish for a Beijing of 40 million people, all of them owning a car and otherwise consuming like Americans? If this happens, not only will it be the deathnell for China's ecology, but also for the world's resources. Yet we in the West are hypocrites if we wish to deny the Chinese what we, after all, consider a right.

India is going through the same thing, though is further along than China.

What such cultural shifts, the threats of which are nearly immeasurable, should elicit are radical reappraisals of how we live, and the morality and practicality of allowing global capitalism to take root not only in authoritarian countries, but in delicately balanced cultures whose massive populations depend on sometimes spartan self-sufficiency, especially among its rural classes.

Only a true misanthrope would wish to introduce macro levels of "conspicuous consumption" to these societies.

Connecting the Dots

As I read Frank Rich's excellent thrashing of Mel Gibson, I couldn't help but seize upon something buried in this paragraph of fine analysis:

"If you criticize his film and the Jew-baiting by which he promoted it, you are persecuting him — all the way to the bank. If he says that he wants you killed, he wants your intestines "on a stick" and he wants to kill your dog — such was his fatwa against me in September — not only is there nothing personal about it but it's an act of love. And that is indeed the message of his film. "The Passion" is far more in love with putting Jesus' intestines on a stick than with dramatizing his godly teachings, which are relegated to a few brief, cryptic flashbacks."

All this is, of course, spot-on. But notice how Rich terms Gibson's threat: as a "fatwa." I agree with Rich's terminology; any threat of bodily harm or death, to a single person, from a religious authority, need not be in or from a muslim milieu to be termed a fatwa. The conditions for a threat to be as serious as a fatwa is not the prevaling faith of a given country, but the amount of the faith -- the degree with which its nature is fundamentalist. I'm sorry to say that the United States qualifies on all levels. Consider the likelihood that some skeptic or Jewish pundit who has attacked Gibson's movie will be hurt or worse by Christian fascists; consider then how strenuously that criminal would be prosecuted by the likes of John Ashcroft.

The concept of fatwa was of course introduced to most Westerners when the Ayatollah Khomeini issued a death sentence on the magical-realist novelist Salman Rushdie; issued on the grounds of "blasphemy." Now I wont say that we are that bad: no Christian thug, to my knowledge, put a contract on Graham Chapman for The Life Of Brian. But sectarian hatreds were invigorated by 9/11, kept at high pitch by the Iraq war, and now are being deeply manipulated by Gibson's phenomenon of a movie. Again, I wont be in the least surprised if some Falwell-loving type consummates, if that is the right verb, a fatwa on one of the "liberal media" types who've argued rightly that the movie is ahistorical porn. Unfortunately it may only be then that we'll see we have a "clash of cultures" here and a war against religious fascism to fight in our own country -- always a security priority over rich-in-resources garden variety Stars N' Stripes-burners in Mesopotamia.


"These geeks used to be called Trekkies, but now insist on the less derogatory term Trekkers, which is the image control equivalent of adding a koala bear to the Nazi flag."

Thus Seanbaby pauses to obliterate Star Trek nerds before going back down his list of the various cliques of doofi, in his classic article Dork Storm: The Annihilation.

Of those our author waylays, the one group that to me hits rather too close to home are the Star Wars nerds, something I have more or less been since age 4. Still, I don't dress up unless it's Halloween; and the example set by my brother's rabid geekiness for everything Lucas quite keeps me in line.

But where oh where are sabremetricians in Seanbaby's list? They are about the only fair game among sports fans for Seanbaby's special treatment, one would think, and this is in itself is a problem.

Though math nerds are often socially inept retards (thus the pocket-protectored cliche), when combined with sports-love (a la sabremetricians) they still can't be meaningfully worse than drunken boors (such as your blogger) who infest sports bars and bleachers; nor can they be fairly made fun of more than garden-variety jogging-suit-wearing fatties who have every banal sports factoid memorised.

As that Onion article (which I can't find) demonstrated, walking sports databases and walking sci-fi databases have little to feel uppity about when considering the other.

But anyway... the beauty of -- and even, perhaps just maybe, the intent of -- cruel humour is being unfair. Seanbaby spared sportsgeeks this time; maybe he's a 49ers or Giants fan, or maybe he just didn't have room for sportsdorks in a top ten list. Whatever; it's his prerogative, which he makes damn fine use of, because he gives no quarter.

Fair Warning

Though it now turns out I may stay home for another week, it is probable that I'll have to leave again for an extended period of time. Anyway, I'll be blogging whatever interests me until then.

If I get work here, I'll stay with the blog; if I am forced to get work there, then all bets are off.


Sunday, March 07, 2004

Wife's Best Friend?

Mr Blair may be embarassed in the coming weeks.


"when Mr Blair returned to London from a visit to President George Bush's Texas ranch, he immediately phoned Ms Caplin. "She told me Tony said that war against Iraq was inevitable and that he had to make good use of the next few months to win public support.

"When people were arguing whether the United Nations would get involved or not, I knew that the war was going to happen no matter what.

"Robin Cook [former UK foreign secretary] and Clare Short [former Blair minister] were both correct when they said Tony had signed up with the US for war and nothing would change his mind."

Just when poor Tony thought he was in the clear.


Here is a story that can be used as a nice micro-example of how the forces of global capitalism affect identity politics.

"In Tesco, the biggest supermarket chain in Poland, care has been taken to label many items Polski Produkt, appealing to the Poles' feisty determination to remember who they are, especially when under the yoke of the EU."

I remember reading a Polish correspondent not too long ago who commented on the rise in nationalist feelings and antisemitism in Poland, since the agreement to join the EU specifically, but since communism's fall generally.

Centrifugal forces react when centripetal forces extert.

Of course the Poles are better off under the EU than they were alone, and definitely better than when they were a Soviet Satellite. Still, these little reactions - some ugly and severe, others cute and nearly meaningless -- show what happens when supranational capitalism takes hold.

The Poles can count themselves lucky, however, because at least the EU spreads their legal protections with their economic "hegemoney," which is a damn sight more than the United States does. Put another way, when BMW or IKEA invades the new EU countries, they'll have to behave in a way US corporate invaders refuse: when Exxon-Mobil, say, invades a Caspian Country, it demands the protections it's given in America, but of course refuses to abide by the restraints guaranteed by American Law; hence corruption, pollution, exploitation; hence the massive "outsourcing" trend in American business.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Blog News

I've got some things fixed, I think and hope; also, I've added several links in the side columns, and have fixed a few that I noticed were dead or redirected.

If you find a dead link, please tell me via e-mail or in the comments threads.

For eventually selfish reasons (though not, hopefully, self-indulgent ones), I'm trying to stay on top of things and generally take this blog more seriously, which I admit may be an irony, since in doing so I might be more irreverent and obnoxious.

I know the picture links have been dead for a while. I'll try to get them fixed as soon as I can.


Oh, I think I've Solved The Permalinks Issue

Knock on wood.

Same As He Ever Was

Duh Preznit's ol' teechur is spillin thuh beeans on his former C student:

"At Harvard Business School, thirty years ago, George Bush was a student of mine. I still vividly remember him. In my class, he declared that 'people are poor because they are lazy.' He was opposed to labor unions, social security, environmental protection, Medicare, and public schools. To him, the antitrust watch dog, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Securities Exchange Commission were unnecessary hindrances to 'free market competition.' To him, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was 'socialism.' "

No Rockefeller Republican, Dubya. I suppose it's nice to see that he didn't have to grow into being a Reactionary Pigfucker, he was always that way. Those New Dealers, they hated Our Freedom. Naturally the underlings try to flatter Duh Preznit's filosofee:

"Recently, President Bush's Federal Appeals Court Nominee, California's Supreme Court Justice Janice Brown, repeated the same broadside at her Senate hearing. She knew that her pronouncement would please President Bush and Karl Rove and their Senators. President Bush and his brain, Karl Rove, are leading a radical revolution of destroying all the democratic political, social, judiciary, and economic institutions that both Democrats and moderate Republicans had built together since Roosevelt's New Deal."

Karl, cut that gal a check. Laura, send a dinner invitation to Judge Jancey Broom, she seems like our kind of peepul.

Anyway, Thuh Preznit sure puts his philosophy into practice, and this is greatly aided by his penchant for finding just the right folks to get the job done; people like:

"In June 2003, Bill Moyers said that 'Karl Rove has modeled the Bush presidency on that of William Mckinley (1897-1901) and modeled himself on Mark Hanna, the man who virtually manufactured McKinley. Mark Hanna saw to it that Washington was ruled by business, railroads, and public utility corporations.' President Bush's tax cuts have given over 93% of their benefits to large corporations and well-to-do households with over 250,000 dollars of annual income (about 10% of the U.S. households)."

Well, yeah. Doesn't it make sense?

Foreign war to gain Imperial possessions and insure pathways to or outright control of certain and "essential" natural resources?


A war which was instigated by a cabal of manipulative backroom fucktards and academic or patrician geostrategists?


Holy Roller of a President who claims God dictates his foriegn policy?


Foriegn Policy of the whole administration built by demagoguery of and pandering to racist, sectarian and tribalist hatreds?


Thoroughly corrupted by corporate money?


I've been saying that the Bush II administration most resembled McKinley's since, oh, at least the start of Gulf War 2. Why not make the similarity total by Rove emulating the Ohio greengrocer's role as backroom manipulator, Enforcer, donor liason, Master of Corruption, and campaign strategerist?


Rove = Hanna; Bush = McKinley; Graham, Jr = Strong; Wolfowitz = Root; DeLay = Lodge; Rummy = TR; Powell = Hay; Condi = Mahan; Perle = Brooks Adams.

Of course you have to allow for some entropy, for some of what Brooks Adams's brother Henry might have called "degradation", because obviously the modern analogues are both massively intellectually inferior to their century-old counterparts, and, adjusted for era, much more morally bereft. But it's still a decent analogy; for describing intent, design, manipulation factors, it's a farking bullseye.

Link via Atrios


Update --

I suppose Cheney and Rummy could both be TR, Cheney more because of his office and uber-hawkiskness. But then he's a behind the scenes guy, whereas TR was a notorious loudmouth, in Henry James's estimation, "the mere monstrous embodiment of unprecedented and resounding noise," which more than resembles Donald Rumsfeld. But TR just doesn't have a proper analogue here, or anywhere else for that matter.

Another player in the war-as-theft was Senator Albert Beveridge of Indiana, whose current equivalent is Joe Lieberman. Beveridge introduced the first child labor legislation, which no doubt would earn him Crazy Davey's enmity if only Davey knew. But anyway, although Beveridge was good on domestic issues, he was a shameless cultural bigot and hawk, a total apologist for Imperialism, which more than anticipates Lieberman's shameless enthusiasm of the current Imperialist adventure.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

"May I Shake Your Hand?"

Poly always sends me the most morbid stories. She knows I love to feed the little sicko inside me. :D

"In an effort to save the arm, surgeons amputated it and attached it to the patient's groin, which acted as a "nanny", "feeding" the arm with blood, Dr Pedro Cavadas explained. "


More Stuff I've Been Missing

Conservatives are shitty parents.

Oh yes!

World O'Crap details a fine example, but doesn't everyone but conservatives know this already?

So to speak more generally than World O', I offer:

For positive self-esteem, conservatives inculcate into their children some or all of the following:

--Worship of the "Protestant Work Ethic"
--Wholehearted acceptance of Social Darwinism
--Wholehearted skepticism of Scientific Darwinism, a.k.a. the Theory Of Evolution
--Good Ol' Racism
--The Puritan Rationale that God Takes Care Of Those Who Take Care Of Themselves
--Utter contempt for Science, especially those elements that may seem at odds with the Almighty Gods of Jesus/YHWH and Crapitali$m.

This provides a wonderful foundation of Identity Politics, so that the little tyke may know who he is, and may eventually look around at differences instantly knowing who the Baddies are.

But the world, especially outside America, is a naughty place indeed; so to protect this special youngster, many paranoias and senses of entitlement too must be instilled in little Jr. Hence:

--Everyone not like him is a Communist
--All communists seek only one thing : to steal his and mommy's and daddy's stuff
--All sex outside marriage is evil, especially the homo variety
--Though God will punish these Baddies eventually, it's our duty to soften them up for the Big Guy
--Baddies hate achievers; they hate excellence
--All achievers have worked hard; if they hadn't they wouldn't have achieved. Therefore, if you see them goofing off, thumb deep in their asses, enjoying permanent vacation, you mistake this lack of action. They are plainly THINKING hard, no doubt about how to achieve more.
--People of darker hues were not put on the Earth for us to abuse; it's counterproductive to abuse those meant to serve us.
--99 percent of films and television is made to turn you away from the God$. Therefore the only art worth consuming are the Left Behind books, the 700 club, and television commercials: all of which are the ultimate arbiters of truth.
--Gay people are subhuman, with the exception of Andrew Sullivan, whom we have agreed to let God take care of as long as Andy remains loyal.
--American culture is the greatest in World History, and so it's right to lay claim to the world's resources, even though American culture is Satanic, because of liberals, homos, and Hollywood.

What kid wouldn't be fucked-up from this shit? Obviously, the best he can hope for is asthma. Poor Professional Virgin (copyright, TBOGG) Ben Shapiro is bound to turn up like Bill Bennett some day, with a dominatrix's stiletto deep in his rectum, or more likely, preening in front of a mirror tucking his genitals between his legs singing the sweet strains of Q. Lazarus's "Goodbye Horses." Jesus, the sexual frustration/idiocy/hatred inflicted on these kids is thoroughly sadist.

I absolutely think that Dr. Laura IS the typical middle-class conservative parent, as well as their ideal. She IS her "children's mother" -- and Ben Shapiro's, and Instapundit's, and Crazy Davey's, Cal Thomas's, Eliott Abrams's, etc. ad fucking nauseum.

A Stupid Smear's Pedigree

The gratuitous smear contained in this post betrays the inherent paranoia of freeperism.

Needless to say, it bothers me.

Well, surfing the net last night I stumbled on this post at Sadly, No which gives a brief geneology of the smear, the origins of which lay in the reaction to the lyrics of the Antichrist himself, Eminem.

This of course perfectly meshes with the biases of the smear's latest circulator.

Missed This Too

Pandagon's 20 Most Annoying Conservatives of 2003

Shame On Me

For only finding now the funniest political blog on the net:

Sadly, No

A sample:

L. Brent Bozell: Curious Amalgamation of Dr. Zaius and Youppi

The Greatest Chain Letter

Check out his two worthy obsessions, Randian nutball Amber Pawlik and the hilariously unstable Adam Yoshida.

Amber's an especially prize find: she reads like Ann Coulter, but is even more bizarre (oh I didn't think it was possible either) in her writings on certain subjects, like sex. You see in Amber's world (Penn State), there's just too much cock and pussy talk. Too much cock makes a woman a lesbian, and so does too much vagina talk.

A worthy target, and Sadly, No is admirably merciless. But with Sadly, No's help and a strident pharmacological regimen, Amber may yet grow up to be a respectable maniac, like, say, Jane Galt.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Only In Texas

The Pro-Life folks have been pissed at the most evil organisation on the planet:

The GirlScouts.


I recently aggravated Duk-E about staying the night in Texas when he and his family went to the Razorbacks' Bowl Game this winter just across the line in Shreveport. He hates Texas as much as I do: I said in so many words that at least I still wasn't corrupted, nyah nyah.

I'm gonna make damn sure it stays that way. So unless I happen to get a plane ticket to Austin, which I consider the only enclave of civilization inside of Texas, I will never cross its stateline. Ever. As a native Arkansan, it's pretty much my right, duty, and privilege to hate Texas, but I want to be serious about it. I'll never set foot in the state of Texas.

An appropriate anecdote, which I can't verify the accuracy of: A professor once told me a story of former Senator and Governor Dale Bumpers (D) of Arkansas who said to a Texas politician after Texas had tried to steal some of Arkansas's water, "here's a straw, if you suck as hard as y'all blow, you'll be fine."

And of course there's JFK's famous advice to Jackie before the fatal trip to Dallas: "be sure to wear something nice to show up those cheap Texas broads."

I Told You So : He's a Right-wing Nutball

Wild-eyed crazy Davey is good for a laugh now and then; the context is a blog entry designed to show a) the "liberal" media and b) the alleged incompetence and/or gutlessness of the Democratic candidates. The fact to keep in mind is that he's denied being a part of "any" wing, and gets offended when I term Randian wackos like himself rightwingers:

"Remember all that liberal propaganda you were fed in high school about how the evil robber barons oppressed their workers, stuffing them all in sweatshops and unsafe factories and making them work 25 hours a day? (Until the noble Progressives intervened with their legislation and unions, of course.) .."

Oh he is clever in his mendacity: he's at his best smarmy quasi-honesty in the above quote, but it's only to turn it on John Kerry, who told Peter Jennings that "the workplace of America, Peter, has never been as unfair for the average American as it is today." So in order to disingenuously crap on the liberal of today, he had to let the cat out of the bag a bit in candidly crapping on the liberals of yesterday. What's up? Is he really admitting that the olden days were more unfair? No, he just wants to slam Kerry's hyperbole.

The point is that he sees the laissez-faire days as a paradise from which man was cast out by evil Progressives. But wait, that's not true either, for as he asserted in the infamous PETCO thread among other places on Primer, government regulation actually accomplishes nothing: unfair business practices are entirely market-corrected, or are solved by lawsuits. In other words, the Pure Food and Drug Act, which resulted from public outcry from the lurid descriptions of Sinclair's The Jungle, did not stop the meat processing plants of the glory days from selling canned rat droppings, only consumer pressure and the threat of product liability lawsuits did the trick. Right.

Never one to completely free himself from the "virtue of selfishness," Nieporent neglects to remind the reader of his conflict of interest: he's a lawyer.

Next we have a glimpse of the toe of racism creeping from his closet:

"Brit Hume asking Al Sharpton, without smirking, what to do about the chaos in Iran: 'As president, how would you deal with the situation in Iran?' (Next: asking Sharpton, 'As head of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory , what would you do to help advance research into fusion technology?')"

You see, Sharpton's too stupid to have any opinion on Iran, Crazy Davey's saying. What I think he means is that Sharpton is a single-issue guy, that issue is race, and so the Reverend is incapable of intelligent opinion on "peripheral" subjects. If this is an accurate description, then once again Nieporent is a pot calling the kettle -- literally, in this case -- black: for Nieporent himself is the ultimate single-issue machine, in his instance it's to a tribalist cause, yet none of his political enemies, to my knowledge, have accused him of letting this fact render him incapable of having intelligent opinions on other subjects. Of course, I must immediately add that when I say "intelligent opinions," I mean that they are often cleverly dishonest, ingeniously corrupt, or fascinatingly insane.

Terrorists as Mafioso

Terrorist Bombing In Arizona.

Brett Marston -- didn't you read about the cache of biological weapons found in Texas a few months ago? Of course the armament and paranoia of Christian White Supremacist Groups is nothing new; and the similarity between them and islamofascists is obvious on many levels. Since the two groups are peas in a pod in the eyes of most disinterested parties, what is therefore interesting is how the two groups are treated differently, and by whom.

"The administration seems to believe that racist domestic terrorist groups should be fought using the criminal justice system. I'm fine with that, but I hope that they're serious about enforcement, since it is still the case that the only verified WMD threats in recent years have come from domestic terrorists of the white racial supremacist kind. "

Right. These groups are Mafioso -- they are not national groups, they have no statist agenda. Rather, it's racist and/or sectarian. But so are the islamofascists. Yet we persue islamofascists as if they are a foriegn state, rather than as the international gangsters that they are. We have few pundits who argue a "clash of civilizations" with CWSGs, yet they abound in this "analysis" when speaking of all Islam, not just islamofascists. Why is that? Is it because CWSGs are provincial? Does parochialism excuse the terrorist possession of WMDs?

I think I know part of the answer: it's found with materialism. I obviously think that islamofascists should be persued by Intelligence Agencies and International and Domestic Justice Agencies, not national armies. But such investigation, persuit, and eventual adjudication does not net materialist gains, it only nets justice. Plainly, that will not do. The difference is that CWSGs don't have anything we want, other than their criminal selves. Islamofascists, on the other hand, sit upon the proverbial gold mine.


Edit -- I don't mean to sound like I'm trying to take Mr Marston to task; I'm just using his comment as a piggyback. I know I didn't make that clear the first time.

Sam's Legacy

Yes, I spent a summer working at Wal-Mart; easy but sucky work. Several friends worked there as well, one of whom getting severely sexually harassed and then discriminated against in the process.

Wal-Mart was never a truly good thing -- even in Arkansas, its home, many worried over its economic effects, as with the mom & pop stores it destroyed, the Ben Franklins and General Stores on town squares that Wal-Mart reduced to emptiness or flea markets. But most people shrugged, considering the prospect hopeless that they could do anything about it.

In a way, I think Sam Walton knew that by making his company adopt some populist policies (which I have no doubt he personally believed in), he could counter any amount of negative publicity. So populist thrift was publicised by pointing to the fact that Wal-Mart upper management frugally roomed together during business trips; thrift was also demonstrated by Sam's use of an old truck to get around, and it was well-known that he frowned on white-collar conspicuous consumption among his managers; populist protectionism was shown by Walton's "Made In The USA" slogan/policy.

But now all that's gone. Playboy, I think it was, ran an article last year showing how ostentatiously the management lives in Springdale, now that Sam's gone. Of course the "Made in the USA" policy has been scrapped in favour of the cheap products flowing into Wal-Mart stores from sweatshops of the slave-labour of China. Wal-Mart now has little left of its populist shield as protection from what it has always practiced: ill-treatment of its workers.

The Hegemo blogged an entry on how Wal-Mart's last populist defense (low prices for the consumer) is now falling to scrutiny. Low prices aren't really that low when tax payers have to cover the costs of Wal-Mart's shitty "benefits" package given their employees.

Courtesy of The Hegemo

The Hegemo runs a nice blog; she's from Cincinnati, as best I can tell, but is a rabid Canuckistanophile, which is very nice indeed. She's also Leftist, and has a nice sense of humour.

So anyway, I recommend her blog.

She had a guest blogger the other day, commenting on Mel Gibson's dreadful movie, whose take on it was especially interesting I thought :

" In the current Dominion of the United States, Gibson
gloriously combines the two qualities most needed to take office: Opie
and Opus Dei; Hollywood and a vicious nasty literalist doctrinally rigid


Two famous Hollywood actors made films based on their religious beliefs
in the past two years. John Travolta and Mel Gibson. Which one has had
an impact? Which one is being taken seriously as a cultural event and
which one was written off as "silly" and "pretentious". Now think about
the Passion of Christ again. It says a lot about contemporary America.

Me, I'm off to watch Life of Brian while it's still allowed."

That's just a little of it; the political deconstruction is quite good too.


This is why I was against the Iraq War. No, REALLY.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Ballot Box

Christopher Hitchens has recently been trying to save face over the fact that there were no WMDs by stating that the correct way to have dealt with Saddam was by presumption of guilt. Hence, we were wrong, but right to assume.

Okay then, but the anti-war left has equal right to assume that, given the pedigree of the Bush Adminstration, the "democracy" promised to Iraq is certain to be a sham or facade. I didn't want a puppet, but that's what we'll get, probably in the personage of Dr. Chalabi.

"The script is always the same. When the people won't voluntarily vote for the candidates we like, sooner or later, they end up staring down the barrel of a Suharto/Thieu/Marcos/Pinochet/Putin, a bloodless autocrat who kicks ass and does ribbon-cutting ceremonies for Pepsi. Our concept of democracy and choice is always limited to candidates who will not nationalize resources or protect markets and has no qualms about ignoring the opinions of the population. Which is something those of us who get the feeling that even our own elections here at home are meaningless charades ought to consider: Maybe they are."

That's right. In lieu of a real democracy in Iraq, what the United States actually wishes to install is a puppet for globalist capitalism, which, as the Chinese demonstrate, need not be related to democracy in any way. Real democracy can't be controlled by a foriegn country; hence, Iraq wont be allowed it, because the United States' aim is, precisely, control. Bush's vision for Iraq is Houston, Texas managed like Red China; until he realises that vision, we are bound to hear more stalling, with excuses like "conditions for democracy are not yet favourable in Iraq," when he actually means "the conditions of democracy are not yet favourable to Halliburton."

Though this dynamic might please frauds and intellectual prostitutes like Fareed Zakaria, it doesn't please real democrats. The Iraqis actually had a better chance of democracy if the Kurds & Shia had been armed and allowed to topple Saddam on their own, or wait for his impending death and the resulting certain implosion of the Ba'ath under Saddam's diseased sons.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

The Excuses are Wearing Thin

Oops, it appears that St. Barry Bonds is implicated in receiving steroids from the folks at BALCO.

Now the statheads are in a real dilly of a pickle, as Flanders would say, because the various excuses they have peddled in defense of their record-raping God are now falling down brick by brick.

First they said he wouldn't do it, and that it was libel to deduce or surmise that he did. It was a thought-crime, even. Ridiculous standards of evidence were insisted upon.

When confronted about bias the impression I recieved was that, no, they weren't defending Barry because it was Barry, it was about the principle.

Then more evidence piled. The attitude quickly shifted: well, MAYBE he did it, but it had nothing to do with his records, and its none of anyone's business if he did. People who accuse St. Barry are just on a witch hunt.

When skeptics like me would employ an argument roughly taken from the Hume/Sagan handbook ("extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", which I altered and, paraphrased, could be stated as "extraordinary achievement requires extraordinary scrutiny", myself and people like me were again sneered at, and offered anecdotes of Ted Williams having a nice OPS in his late 30s, Hank Aaron having great seasons late in his career, and to top it off, Lee Lacy (yes, Lee Fucking Lacy) having a nice year in his late thirties too. This was supposed to exonerate Bonds, who hit 73 Home Runs at age 36, an age when reflexes and strength are waning in ballplayers. 73 Home Runs. When pushed, these people would then employ an appeal to pseudoscience, by stating the eugenics case that Bonds's genes were just that much superior to everyone else's -- everyone else in the history of baseball, apparently.

But now the safety blankets are being removed from these Linuses by a grand jury. And how deafening are the squeals (I love it!). There are so many "I hate it if this is true" admissions, quite letting the cat out of the bag that their denial was based not on the bullshit principle so many first espoused, but actually on a most flagrant and childish form of idolatry.

I think Orwell said that one should always consider a Saint to be guilty. Well, the statheads have made Barry a Saint. What goes up must come down in these affairs, because no one can truly embody that sort of perfection.

Bonds, who is a genuinely great ballplayer but not as great as THEY say he is, who is a certifiable asshole and who says things that can be genuinely taken as racist, will eventually get the asterisk that his record-raping deserves. So too will the stats of the equally deserving (but not equally sainted) Luis Gonzales, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire. Of all of them, the only one who, I think, may have approached (but not broken) the Home Run record WITHOUT being "steroided" was McGwire, a huge man by any standard and one who, unlike the others, actually put up impressive Home Run totals before the steroid era.

I'm very close to saying to the Bonds hagiographers, in Gore Vidal's phrase, the "best words in the English language after 'I win': 'I told you so.'"

And considering how rude and obnoxious many of them have been to me, and how many have cravenly prostituted their otherwise fine intellects in the service of beatifying Barry, I'm gonna fucking gloat.

"God Bless You, Mr. Pornographer"

Larry Flynt destroyed Bob Livingston, and helped smash Newt Gingrich. For that alone he should be given a Congressional Medal of Honor. But soon he is, reportedly, to spill the goods on our hypocrite President.


Bush apparently arranged for a girlfriend to have an abortion. Gasp. BEFORE Roe vs. Wade became law making abortion legal.

Of course I could care less other than it a) exposes the Preznit as a hypocrite and b) will disconcert the Christian Fascists who make up Bush's base, insuring that significant numbers of them will stay home away from the voting booths.

Thank God! (metaphor)

Larry Flynt, I love you.

Morbid But Fascinating

Lenin Undergoes Extreme Makeover

"Specially filtered lighting gives Lenin's face a warm glow. Botox, collagen and modern cosmetics aren't used, Denisov-Nikolsky said, with a polite harrumph. A mild bleach is employed to combat occasional fungus stains or mould spots on Lenin's face."


But anyway :

"A poll last month by the Public Opinion Foundation in Moscow found that nearly 60 per cent of Russians younger than 50 want Lenin to be removed and buried."

I hope they don't. Though I have no illusions about Lenin, what he initially fought for was righteous (because it was an INTERNAL revolution that overthrew a most despotic and antisemitic regime) until he went too far, as against the sailors of the Kronstadt. Of course everyone knows what Stalin did after. But the point is that he's so historically significant, even iconic. His uniqueness to the world is one thing, but as a national icon to Russia his importance is the main concern here. His significance merits an unusual monument, just as Cromwell's did in England. I just hope the Russians to make the mistake that the English did, who took Cromwell's body from its special intombment among the Kings at Westminster and promptly decapitated the corpse a year or so later, burying the body under a jail's floor (if I remember correctly).

Simply burying Lenin wont bury the monster, good and bad, that he created; but it will consign him to something he doesn't deserve, mediocrity.

The Vagina Mobile

The first female designed concept car is soon to debut, and I'm sorry to say that it seems like it plays to every cliche you'd think.

Its paintjob is effectively "scotchguarded". It doesn't have a hood. It automatically plans tune ups at the shop by wireless devices. It has gull wing doors.

I like some of the ideas; they are common sense. But some of it just seems like a parody. Of course, it's a Volvo, so it's bound to appeal to strictly Western upper middle class female tastes; more a product of culture than gender, naturally, but aren't all cars?

On the other hand, even though its design's origin is so constricted to class/culture rather than gender, it's still nice to see women breaking through another barrier. Autos, especially the designing and engineering of which, have always been considered male territory; in a way this is just as significant as Sally Ride.

Ronald Reagan: Terrorist

Right up there with Kennedy and Krushchev taking humanity in their hands during the Cuba Missile Crisis.

Farewell Dossier

"With thousands upon thousands of U.S. and Soviet nukes aimed at each other, someone thought that slyly contriving a massive explosion on Soviet territory would be a clever game to play. This was criminal stupidity. It also fits the definition for an act of war.

"That's right: The Reaganites brought about an explosion that rocked Siberia -- and they left America's calling card, just so there'd be no doubt!

"Safire notes with complacent satisfaction that the three-kiloton Siberian explosion alarmed U.S. security elites worried about a nuclear exchange. Did it occur to no one that the Soviets might have assumed it to be a nuclear attack?"

Well, Ronnie wasn't the type to care. If a nuclear exchange occured, it was God's will anyway. Besides, he and the Good Guys would go to heaven while the Russians and Western Liberals would go to the other place, where they belonged.

Here's another version in an Australian newspaper, The Age.

"The Dogs With Bees in Their Mouths, and When They Bark They Shoot Bees At You??"

90 Billion Bees Killed

You know, it's shit like this that makes me want to move home to the farm and go completely organic. It'd be pissing in the wind, sure, but I'd be doing my part.


Ive asked this before, and someone nice did try to help me but it just didn't work, so here I go again. Can someone tell me how to fix my freakin template so that I can add permalinks?

thank you gracias danke gracce dzekuje

Wolf Not Crying Wolf

Feminist Wolf on justice warpath

Well, I'm not Naomi Wolf's biggest fan, but I don't doubt her story.

For one, Professor Bloom, whose theories of literary cycles and of "fear of influence" frankly blow away in intellectual magnitude Wolf's dumbed-down Jungianisms and easy syntheses of higher feminist thought, hasn't threatened a libel suit that I know of.

For two, the tenured are notorious horn dogs, perhaps not anymore than any other profession, but, in my opinion, heretofore they have been given a free pass. Politicians like Packwood and Teddy Kennedy, athletes, and managerial types are consistently the poster boys of sexual harassment, and rightly so, but I'm willing to bet that the tweedy dorks of Academe as a whole are every bit their equal.

"When the 53-year-old Bloom leered and put his hot, heavy, boneless hand inside her thigh all those years ago, Wolf lacked the nerve to tell him to bugger off, which would surely have been a better response than throwing up in the sink, as she did."


On the other hand, "Camille Paglia, who was taught by Bloom, has harried Wolf for 'batting and bobbing her boobs in the face of men and making a profession out of courting male affection.'" This has a ring of truth to it. But I doubt it did when Wolf was an undergrad, when this harassment took place. I think Paglia's right that Wolf's a notorious opportunist, but, again, it doesn't pertain to Wolf's student years.


This has happened to someone important to me, and so I post the story. What's so bad about this, beyond the ugly power game that is played in garden variety sexual harassment, is that in a teacher-student context it can quash a student's interest in her subject, disillusion her in regard to her academic career in general, and, in extreme cases, can destroy her idealism, especially when the professor is an instructor in some of the philosophical or moral courses or studies, for instance the social sciences. In other words, it's not as likely that sexual harassment by a Chemistry professor will sour the student on science, but it is more likely that harassment by a respected Sociologist will sour the student if both share the same ideology.


Stone still rolling against death odds

"About Richards, Mr Demko wrote: "He should have passed away at 52. I'm not sure how he does it, but he defies all conventional wisdom.

"Among his other predictions, Mr Demko concludes that Ozzy Osbourne will die in 2013 aged 65; Whitney Houston, 40, will make it to only 59; and Michael Jackson, 45, will die at 76. "

Heh. Jackson's face, however, will live to 108.

Yeah Yeah

So I've been gone for a while.

I went back to Delaware again to stay a while with Alka and son. Had a great time. We took a trip to DC to see the Smithsonian, which I had wanted to visit since childhood. Took a roll of pics. We all flipped off the cretin in the White House, got a stupid 100$ parking ticket, and even did some exploring in tha 'hood.

The American Presidency exhibit pissed me off, however. I saw nothing of Jefferson's. Washington was predictably overrepresented. The only thing I saw of J. Q. Adams's was his cane, which was nice enough but I'd hoped for more. The Lincoln section, however, was impressive. I saw the life mask and the hat he wore the night he was assassinated, and it did, I admit, sort of awe me to be that close to something that historic, yet that quotidian. After all, it's only a stovepipe hat. But still...

Anyway, the modern presidents were seriously overrepresented. I'd rather see a board from Franklin Fucking Pierce's outhouse than see anything "historic" from Gerald Ford's term of office.

The model ships were really nice, especially the model of the Mayflower. The trains were cool, too. But the Natural History Museum was by far my favourite. The South American and Pacific Cultures collections were awesome, as were the Native American artefacts, especially the totem poles.

The dinosaurs were of course great, as I knew they'd be (and they had a predictable effect on the child: the boy loved them), but what I was particularly impressed by was the odd megafauna of the ice age -- not the mammoths, which everyone knows were impressive, but the fucking gigantic ground sloth.

The Air and Space museum was neat. The planetarium show was excellent. Disconcerting, though, were the huge nuclear missiles at the enterance. Ugh.

But anyway, it was a great trip and a wonderful experience. All of it. Kochamcie, Ala i Miscu i Kiecia.