Wednesday, June 30, 2004


Martin Van Buren, our cloggie 8th President, has a blog.

And what a blog!

I think I stole the link from Wonkette.

In other Presidential Parody Blog News, Bill Clinton has a blog, which works rather less well than Matty Van's.

Still, the standard of blog parody remains with the anonymous genius behind Richard Perle's Musings.

Edit -- Apropos parody, WTF is up with this guy? It must be some misguided leftist because I can't see a wingnut or hawk pulling off this sort of subtle (by net standards) parody. Pretty fuckin funny though.

Thank You

Brett Marston, for linking to the blog Oligopoly Watch. I'd never seen it before, and most interesting it is.

Speaking as someone who thinks Hayek got it exactly wrong (it's not government control over economy that inevitably leads to fascism, rather it's "categorical" privatisation that inevitably leads to authoritarianism and crypto-fascism), Oligopoly Watch is a nice addition to the required net reading that includes General Glut, Brad DeLong,Angry Bear, and Paul Krugman.

Oligopoly Watch is excellent for its content, the leitmotif of which is that the Sherman Antitrust Act becomes by the day both in spirit and practice more meaningless. But, yes, I have a bitch about it.

On the site's "about" page there's this ..well, disclaimer of sorts:

Are oligopolies sinister? Very possibly. But I think it's more useful to see how and why they work than simply rail against globalism and greed. While there are hatefully crooked businessmen (take any set of former Enron or Tyco executives for a start), most oligopolies are based on struggles for survival, not a result of innate evil. Like those proverbial sharks moving forward, businesses either grow or fail, and since most mature markets have limited growth potential, companies often grow by buying other companies. If nothing else, it's fascinating to see how they do it.

Why can't he rail AND analyse? I profoundly object to a study of what, after all, has human consequences, with such a profound disinterest, as if Oligopolies were as innocuous as distant stars or rock formations. I'm not asking anyone to be shrill, nor do I demand that everyone use the vulgar language that several bloggers (almost all of these are of Academe) object to. On the contrary, a moral assessment (or a cultural assessment) can be easily employed, with analysis, in measured tones. The style's up to the blogger/pundit; the obligation (pro or con), however, remains.

More specifically, I dislike how he gives them what constitutes an excuse, "they must grow or die", which explicitly buys into the social darwinist construct that causes all these problems to begin with.

Everybody's Linked To It to underline my own awesome unoriginality, I will too.

The Poorman's Poker Game with Dick Cheney

I would quote some of it, but nahhh. Just read it. Trust me, it's hilarious.

Tee Hee

In the spirit of my encomium of TBOGG, I salute Seb, the proprietor of Sadly, No! in his utter destruction of, well...

the hottest new conservative writer on the web so book mark this page and you can say you knew him before he was famous!

by which I mean, THE Justin Darr.

Was Seb mean? Possibly unfair? Fuck, noMaybe, but the beauty of a Sadly, No! "expose'" is that it is written with a boffo laugh, never a cruel sneer.

(No, the cruel sneer comes with norbizness's one-liner in the comments section: "Well, we now know that Vladimir Putin was visiting hookers in Philadelphia in the early 70s." Cruel, yes, but considering Darr's picture, Jebus Christ it's funny.)

I confess that I want to be like Seb when I grow up. I wish to excell at digging out from the bottom of the gooey and fly-ridden dumpster of the net the most retarded "conservative sensations" possible, and fuel their rise to stardom in my own especial way. Seb is a showman, brandishing before the camera of the blogosphere his golden needle of wit with which he deflates the most distended of fucktards whose rapid contractions, though doubtlessly causing flight, morbidly delight the room with a flatulent demise so like that of an untied balloon sculpture.

Secret Message to Seb: For this purpley-prosed, ridiculous (though sincere) homage, you'd better gimme a link, biatch.

Transparency, You Sumbitches!

The editors of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wag their fingers in the Bushies' faces.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged last week that he had approved holding a suspected Iraqi terrorist off of prison books. The Pentagon blamed bureaucratic inertia for leaving the man in secret detention for seven months, in violation of international law. Human Rights Watch says the man is one of 13 terrorists held as "ghost" prisoners outside the sight of the International Red Cross.

Yeah, I knew that much, but the editorial mentions a juicy bit that is news to me:
The deception is not surprising in light of one of the memos that Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are seeking. A Jan. 4 memo by the top legal adviser to Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez is titled, "New plan to restrict Red Cross access to Abu Ghraib."

Conclusion: Tattoo, Esq. has given advice to Lt. Gen. Ricardo Montalban, co-host of Fantasy Iraq, to the effect that the visiting Red Cross should be given an especially good illusion of the happenings at Abu Ghraib.

Further Conclusion: Someone please cancel this fuckin series.

You're Really Good At What You Do, Man

The inimitableTBOGG annihilates lawn chair warrior Michael J. Totten. Even corrected, TBOGG's post perfectly underlines Totten's already amazing propensity to make an ass of himself.

In short TBOGG's style is baroquely ad hominem; it's completely unfair, absolutely hilarious, but totally true.

The Weirdest Hagiography Yet

Edmund Morris in the New Yorker

He was a natural athlete, with a peculiarly graceful Algonquin gait that brought him into rooms almost soundlessly. No matter how fast he moved (that big body could turn on a dime), he was always balanced.

One recalls how elegantly he choreographed Mikhail Gorbachev up the steps at the 1985 Geneva summit: an arabesque of dark blue flowing around awkward gray.

"An arabesque"? *BARF*

On the other hand,

Reagan redux did not care whom he bored, as long as nobody tried to stop him. His famous anecdotes, recounted with a speed and economy that were the verbal equivalent of balance, were persuasive on the first, and even the fourth, telling. But when you heard them for the fourteenth, or the fortieth, time, always with exactly the same inflections and chuckles and glances, you realized that he was a bore in the sense that a combine harvester is boring: its only purpose is to bear down upon and thresh whatever grain lies in its path. Reagan used homilies to harvest people.


I don't think this is true:

Actually, Reagan never required makeup, even when he was a movie actor.

Oh yeah? Well, I distinctly remember my best friend in 5th grade coming to school in one of those "I Ran Into Ronald Reagan At The Mall" tee shirts.

And this isn't quite right either:

Several of my cards itemize the President’s deafness. People who sat to his right imagined that they were privileged. In fact, he heard nothing on that side, having blown an eardrum during a shoot-out scene in one of his old movies. His left ear was not much better, so he relied increasingly on hearing aids, although their distortion pained him. One learned not to sneeze in his presence. When the room was crowded and voice levels rose, he would furtively switch off his sound box. I could tell from a slight frown in his gaze that he was lip-reading.

Come on. This ignores his brother's well-known testimony that Reagan would switch off his hearing aid and begin to doodle or play with his fingers when he didn't want to listen to anyone -- and not in a crowd, but in a meeting.

Rumors of the President nodding off during meetings were unfounded: he never napped during the day. But this did not stop him joking that his Cabinet chair should be labelled “Reagan Slept Here.”

Oh for God's sake, Morris. IF there was any time that Reagan told the truth, it was in these little instances of self-deprecation. I'll take the rumours, of which there are many, over your idolatry any old day.

Anyway, there's more, not all of it bad, in the article.

Eugene Volokh Is A Fascist Piece Of Crap

Via Atrios, Jim Henley's take on Herr Volokh.

See also here and here and here.

Brett Marston, in his respectable but, to me, maddening style of even-handedness uber alles, allows that he "suspect[s] that [he] disagrees with Volokh on the significance of the principles themselves", but nonetheless defends Volokh's use of the "50,000" example as a legitimate means of "staking out the ground covered by Supreme Court decisions." While Marston may be correct in this, it's not the point. The point is Volokh's obviously filthy motive in trotting out his defense of authoritarianism -- er, I mean his "example" -- and what, in turn, this advocacy looks like when compared to Volokh's well-known jurisprudential and political ideology: Volokh is being incredibly inconsistent at best; more likely, he's a hypocrite.

The obvious conclusion, one not borne of professional loyalty nor of partisan indulgence is Atrios's:

"I've never really understood why anyone takes Eugene Volokh seriously -- just another oxymoronic libertarian authoritarian. "

You Silly Bastard

The, uh.. entities at Fafblog have really outdone theirselves.

"That's true," says me. "Spam comes in a handy can while ham comes packaged in inconvenient pig form."
"In the future we will get spam from special improved spam pigs," says Giblets, "which I call 'spigs'."

Toffler meets Dali.

"In the future humans will conduct all contact through the internet," says me. "All jobs will be e-jobs, all friends will be e-friends, all sex will be e-sex. Sperm and ova will be joined electronically to form e-babies."
"Porn stars will have e-sex with millions of strangers a day," says Giblets. "They will be constantly pregnant, even the men, but will be genetically engineered to reproduce only through budding."
"The president will be a giant satellite dish shaped like the president," says me. "He will have all of America's hopes an fears transmitted into him several times a day, an use use amazin new technologies to transform them into delicious hope-and-fear-flavored combo meals."

At long last magical realism has come to the blogosphere. Fafblog's "Arkansas" is to the blog what Vidal's "Duluth" was to the novel, a sort of "apres-post structuralism..." the blog entry "elevated to the square or cube."

Like I Was Saying: More Trouble With "Principle"

From the comments section at Pandagon:

There's no way for progressives to win the Big Argument about the role of government without challenging the reactionary idiocy that all results of the capitalist economy are by definition just. The basic goal of the New Right has been to persuade everyone, even the poor, that rich people deserve to keep their money as a matter of principle. Well, guess what: the moral claim of 45 million citizens to basic health care is greater than the moral claim of a few thousand rich kids to inherit the entirety of the fortunes they had nothing to do with getting in the first place. Does that make me imperfectly committed to property rights? Yes. Tough shit, Sully. The disparity between the material wealth of the rich and poor in our society can't be justified by some Protestant Work Ethic appeal to their moral desert.

We have every right as a people to set up basic systems to gather wealth progressively from the population to fund common programs, and, yes, to redistribute that wealth to correct the inevitable injustices of rapacious markets. We've tried it the libertarian way, and in the 19th and early 20th centuries American business proved itself totally incapable of voluntarily ameliorating the mass misery caused by their profiteering.

This is a moral argument, but also a practical one. We've already tried it the Neo-Liberal/Libertarian way, and it was the mother of all fuckups.

Yes Yes Yes

The Answer Guy, Tim, has an excellent post up, nearly essay-length, arguing for socialised medicine.

Note that its tone is not ideological but rather wholly pragmatic. It is a moral appeal but moreover, a reasoned and practical one as well. It confirms what I've thought for a long time: that the Hard Left has the moral as well as "substantive" high ground on this issue, yet it has not been able to make any progress on it since Clinton's failed intiative in the early 90s.

Our (I'm with Tim) great obstacle is not something as concrete as Clintons, something like the lobbying power of the AMA; the obstacle is the hegemonic and pervasive cult of ideology of the Neo-Right, the "conventional wisdom" that government can do nothing right, that the private sector is always superior as a rule. Eyes glaze when Leftists point to Canada and Western Europe as worthy models on this issue.

I suggest a new mode of attack. The Right has always attacked socialised medicine as a representation of the "lost cause" of socialism, the point ostensibly being that government control of such a sector is merely the reinstitution in practice of a discredited ideology. This is powerful because most Americans wrongly equate socialism with communism, and with regard to Western Europe either conflate the two isms or ignore the fact of social democracy altogether. I suggest that we argue then on practical grounds, as Tim does, but compound this with an attack on the Rightist ideology which supports the status quo. In short, WE are not the ideologues, THEY are, and speaking of failed ideology, read your history books on late 19th century America.

There must be some kind of Jungian race-memory that remains which will register the horrible times of the Gilded Age, when laissez-faire reigned. This is proof of THEIR ideolgical failure; THEIR cause deserves the wastebasket of history as much as anyone's. So let's argue the merits of socialised medicine on practical criteria, and may the best arguement win (which ours will).

With the failure of the ideological war in Iraq, the zeitgeist intensely favours pragmatism. Now is the time for the Left to be very very bold to thoroughly annihilate the anti-New Deal mentality that has strangled the country for 30 years.


Yeah, I've been slacking off. Work's not been as hectic, so I've had time to blog, so there's no excuse. I'm just lazy.

So anyway, while I spend my last day recovering from intense sunburn and the effects of silly and suicidal watersports (as well as sit here and pray my farmhouse doesnt burn down due to the effects of yesterday's local brownout), I thought I'd try to ketchup.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Rush and Marta: The Halcyon Days

Tales of Ribaldry from the Compuserve Closet. Oh my.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

One Rat Jumps Ship

So long, fuckface: Otto Reich resigns.

Eh, I wish I could really gloat, but I know better. These neocon rats seem to, perversely, have nine lives each. Reich, like Abrams, Poindexter and Perle, should have been given the institutional death penalty -- by never being allowed to hold a government job again -- after Iran Contra. But, noooo.. I only hope that the coming election and Bush's utter criminality vis-a-vis torturegate functions as d-con to the whole sorry neocon lot.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Good News!

The most awful, certainly on a sonic level but more on a cultural one, band in recent times, has broken up.

The bad news is that overwrought stealth-Christian Scott Stapp will now go on to contaminate The Tea Party.

Meanwhile, Tremonti and company will continue their "Aesthetic of Tesla" revival under another name.

Oh, There's Blood On Their Shoulders, Too (Part 1)

For Fascism, there is conquest and the awfulness of the holocaust; for Stalinism, there's the Ukrainian Famine and the gulags. What of neo-liberal capitalism? Well, first, what of liberal capitalism? Of course one knows about its imperialism -- the ethnic cleansing and then full-blown genocide of American Indian, the slaughter in the Phillipines, etc, but often these are dismissed as growing pains or American eccentricity or incompetence (pace Niall Ferguson). But the ideology of the industrialists of Belgium, Britian, America, France, Germany and Italy are the real culprits here; the fault should not just lay at desks or thrones of villians like Theodore Rex or King Leopold.

Indeed, the example of India is usually extolled as indicative of the "good nature" of protoglobalism (and therefore an endorsement of its neoliberal apotheosis, under which we now suffer), often with a gratuitous mention of Marx's contemporary endorsement of Britain's Indian adventures. Only for the sake of argument will I concede India, but what, then, does it say that only one country had been successfully, from the welfare of its natives point of view, transformed -- that one country did not have a large portion of its population murdered, or "just" exploited and/or enslaved? Or artificially partitioned in such a way that, when colonialism went from hard to its modern soft version, massive ethnic strife didnt take place (though India of course massively fails this last test)?

Actually, the hardened ideology of proto-global capitalism was the mother of all fuckups from the start; like any cause that turns the formerly pragmatic and cautious into True Believers, men of "principle", who had discovered "laws" of nature upon which their ideology was built and self-perpetuated, became depraved for a cause, for a "principle". The sangfroid with which they dealt with the human carnage they wrought was made possible only because their characters were so perforated by "adherence to principle."

With this in mind, AJP Taylor, in his essay "Genocide", slapped a metal ruler upon the wrists of so many ignorant True Believers. The essay, and his general argument, deserve a reprise.

"When British forces entered the so-called 'convalescent camp' at Belsen in 1945, they found a scene of indescribable horror; the wasted bodies of 50,000 human beings who had died from starvation and disease. Kramer, 'the beast of Belsen', and his assistants were hanged for this atrocious crime. Only a century before, all Ireland was a Belsen. Nearly two million Irish people died of starvation and fever within five years; another million fled, carrying disease to Liverpool and the New World.

Thus Taylor compares the victims of the Holocaust to the human debris (potato-diggers and drunkards, all) of Ireland. Comparisons to the Holocaust are already a big no-no in world of Recieved Opinion; comparing the victims of the Holocaust to the victims of the Irish famine will therefore be deemed gratuitous. But if one can see beyond his own tribalism, the comparison is valid, and at any rate, neither Taylor nor I claim there is categorical moral symmetry.

Taylor then goes on to briefly relate the history of the crop failures; he does this with considerable irony and even sarcasm at the expense of those clinical historians who termed this and other human catastrophes as "natural." Then he dispenses with levity and lets them have it, only then to get into the meat of his argument, laying blame where it belongs:

"...The dead are dead. They have become so many figures in a notebook. But they were once human beings, and other human beings sent them to their death. The blight was 'natural'; the failure of the potato crop was 'natural'. After that, men played a part. There was food avaliable to save the Irish people from starvation. It was denied them. Nor did Ireland stand alone. Ireland was at this time part of the United Kingdom, the wealthiest country in the world. The British Government had insisted on undertaking responsibility for Ireland. When crisis arose, they ran away from it. The men in Whitehall were usually of humane disposition and the bearers of honoured names: Lord John Russell; Sir Charles Wood, later first Viscount Halifax; Sir Charles Trevelyan. These men, too, were in a sense victims. They were gripped by the most horrible, and perhaps the most universal, of human maladies: the belief that principles and doctrines are more important than lives. They imagined that rules, invented by economists, were as 'natural' as the potato blight. Trevelyan, who did most to determine events, always wanted to leave Ireland to 'the operation of natural causes'. He refused to recognise that only the gigantic operation of an artificial cause - the exertion of British power - prevented the Irish people from adopting the natural remedy and eating the food which was avaliable for them. Like most members of the comfortable classes of all times, he regarded the police and the law courts as natural phenomena.

[My emphasis]

He's quite right. Not only did the Natural Lawyers, in their adherence to "principle", fail to curtail human misery, they exacerbated the famine through a fidelity to contradiction they refused to acknowledge: if "nature" caused the famine, "human nature" also provided the remedy, which was the rebellion of the starving Irish who would have annexed all availiable foodstuffs of their British Overlords -- and if bayonets were employed to stop them (the threat of which actually DID stop them), the Irish would have been 'natural' in barbequing and eating the bayonet-wielders. Natural Law and 'natural law' dictates that the starving acquire food by any means necessary. Hence Taylor's point that this sort of "natural" response was thwarted by the entirely artificial presence of British force.

"...The British rulers of the 1840s were no worse than those who later sent millions of men to their deaths in two world wars; no worse than those who now plan to blow all mankind to pieces for the sake of some principle or other. But they were also no better. Though they killed only two million Irish people, this was not for want of trying.

Now Taylor hammers the ten-penny nail into the coffin of the Society of the Invisible Hand; he effects this by quoting Jowett:

"I have always felt a certain horror of political economists since I heard one of them say that the famine in Ireland would not kill more than a million people, and that would scarcely be enough to do much good."

Of course nowadays

"[t]he successors of these economists are in the same spirit. They preach the virtue of a little healthy unemployment, and do not rely on the whip of starvation only because it has been taken from their hands. If the particular crime comitted in Ireland.. could not happen now, it is not because present-day statesmen are an improvement on their predecessors. It is because the common conscience of mankind no longer allows statesmen to live up to their principles.

[Again, my emphasis]

One is reminded of these "successors", the Free Traders, who decry the "principle" of agencies like USAID dumping taxpayer-paid domestic grain on starving nations. Of course such gifts aren't always the charity some take them to be, but the point is that the Free Traders don't object morally, they object because of their arbitrary "principles" which they self-flatteringly call "laws." While it is true that though the United States has often bestowed gifts of food on poor starving nations, it is often to serve a cynical aim, which was to alter native tastes and to establish a future market whilst also placating the farmer voting bloc at home (See Earl Butz, Richard Bell, and Richard Nixon). There is a legitimate complaint to be lodged against this sort of cynicism, even though the act itself is necessary and humane. Yet the Free Marketers only complain because the credits to buy this excess grain are given or cheaply loaned to the starving country -- the starving, like anyone else, must pay market price or perish! But I am getting ahead of Taylor.

"Here was the peculiar tragedy of the Irish famine. The common conscience failed to work, or at least did not work effectively. It is easy to understand how Trevelyan and the rest thought they were doing their duty. They were handling human beings as ciphers on a bit of paper. They looked up the answers in a textbook of economics without ever once setting eyes on the living skeltons of the Irish people. They invented a distinction between those who were starving because of the potato blight and those starving from normal distress. They excused the Irish for being hit by the blight once. They condemned them for persisting in planting potatoes after blight appeared -- as though the Irish could do anything else.

Remember what the reactionaries in the 80s said regarding the Ethiopians? "Why dont they just move?" Though this was said more often out of ignorance and bigotry it was also the Invisible Fist's "principle" bubbling up through garden-variety ethnocentrism. But then,

"[m]ost of all, these enlightened men feared that the whole social structure would topple down if men and women were once given food which they could not pay for.


...Everything combined against the Irish people. Ignorance played a large part... No enterprising newspaper correspondent described the horrors in Ireland for the English press... Nearly all Englishmen regarded Ireland as an inferior version of England, inhabited by lazier and less efficient people."

How familiar this sounds. But notice that aside the blame Taylor lays at racism/tribalism, he uses the phrase "less efficient" as a deliberate jab at one of the Liberal economists' favourite mantras, "efficiency", with which they have always ignored human costs. Indeed, if tribalism has been put in temporary abeyance by the descendents of these "economists" (note that their age-old slag on Latinos, "indolent and inefficient" has now been dropped because Latinos' powers of labour -- always great -- are now used by the Globalists in America in rather the same way their predecessors used that of Chinese and Irish immigrants), it is not because tribalism is morally abhorrent in of itself, rather it's because their artificial "principles" suffer unto them this rather ironic about-face. It's easy for them to have hated Mexicans when Mexicans held land that the proto-globalists wished to steal (and this theft was just as often rationaized on grounds of economic effieciency as it was on grounds of "security" and Manifest Destiny), yet now that Mexican immigrants perform menial duties for near-slave wages, they are considered paragons of efficiency. Likewise the Irish are now considered somewhat human, no longer crazy drunken Papists; yet this is not because of any moral reformation of the Invisible Hand, but because the Irish have long been economically assimilated. It's easy to forget the "drunken papacy" of a tribe when its modern nation-state is a tax paradise for these men of "principle" and when its waves of immigrants had a large hand in building the infrastructure with which the Invisible Hand enrichens itself and is empowered to "Ireland" the rest of the world as it seems fit (though of course conforming to "principle").

Next, I'll go through Taylor's pre-emptive demolition of the Globalists' argument that relief can be adequately given by private charitible organisations -- the Invisible Hand's position that governments should not be in any business that does not conform to economic "rules" and therefore that, if there is human misery it is appropriate that it only be dealt with by market forces or by charitible organisations.

Edit -- Consider this a draft. I've bitten off more than I can chew for the time allowed me. Instead of a Part 2 I'll just redo the whole thing, tie it to the second part and conclusion and post it whole. So long for a few days.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Nietzsche As Interpreted By Those On The Short Bus

Via TBOGG, I'm treated to Peggy Noonan's deep thoughts on nationalist masculinity:

But they do remind me of something that occurred to me one day about 30 years ago. I was watching on TV one of the great movies of the British new wave of the 1960s. I think it was "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner." I thought to myself: British acting is simply the best in the world, England is drenched in great acting now. Then I realized it had been for generations--Gielgud, Redgrave, et al. Then I thought: Hmmmm. The rise of England's acting class the past century seems to coincide perfectly with the fall of its power as a wealthy and powerful nation that made a difference in the world--an exploring nation, a conquering one.

I wondered if the loss of a kind of national manliness, or force, tends to coincide in modern nations with a rise in expertise in the delicate arts. Then I thought: I wonder if in general one can say of Western nations that the loss of one tends to be accompanied by a rise in the other. In the case of England I think that is so. I have wondered for 30 years if I would come to think it of America. I have not. But the rise of the young graduates who all want to communicate but have no idea what they want to communicate has me thinking about it again.
[Her Italics]

Where to begin? All I know is that Noonan's brilliant conclusion puts her in some fine company -- on the screen! Her thesis has been advanced by G. Gordon Liddy (both in his own insane self and as played by Harry Shearer) and, most ingeniously, in the character of Otto West, "ironically" played by a man especially skilled in the feminine "delicate" art of acting, Kevin Kline.

Word is that Kline based his character. precognitively as it were, on Kim du Toit, a manly man by any standard, even Peggy's exacting one.

"In The Navy"

Jeebus. Who knew that Bush could be so campy?


"Transfer of Power". "Sovereignty".

In case any poor sap actually thought that the Bush administration uttered these words with the intent of conforming to standard accepted meaning, Colin Powell has just disabused them of such notions.

No one can now ever say that the Bush people don't have a sense of fun. Obviously they mean "sovereignty" and "transfer of power" in rather the same heavy spirit of irony that the Nobel Comittee exhibited when it awarded peace prizes to the likes of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Kissinger.

It Still...

..sounds better in its original German; or, pace Michael Ledeen, in its original Italian.

I won't go into Buchanon's blazing homophobia or even to his non-ironic use of the word "counter-revolution" (though it IS worth noting that at least Buchanon uses the word correctly and honestly, which should be a lesson to those mendacious pukefaces who use the word "progressive" and "revolutionary" to describe their atavistic laissez-faire economic agenda), rather I'm just going to ask if Buchanon knows the context of one of the quotes he's pulled from his proudly clenched cloaca:

We need the spirit of Jefferson, who refused to enforce the Alien and Sedition Acts, of Jackson, who roared: "John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it!"

Now the Jefferson reference is blameless if not entirely honest to the spirit of Jefferson's conduct as President, but the Jackson quote is either shamless or stupid, because AJ, notorious Indian-slayer, "roared" the quoted passage with regard to Marshall's decision that the Cherokee of Georgia could not be legally ethnically-cleansed from primo Georgia farmland, as Jackson had wanted. Of course, Jackson did it anyway, thence the Trail of Tears; is this the sort of Executive power that Buchanon admires? Does he want some stern President to cause a homosexual Trail of Tears? Or is he just ignorant of the context of the quote? Somehow, I think it's the former.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Whodunnit? (2)

The corpse of Christopher Hitchens defended Chalabi in a Slate article last week. As of right now, this is the salient passage :

As to the accusation that Chalabi has endangered American national security by slipping secrets to Tehran, I can only say that three days ago, I broke my usual rule and had a "deep background" meeting with a very "senior administration official." This person, given every opportunity to signal even slightly that I ought to treat the charges seriously, pointedly declined to do so. I thought I should put this on record.

If Hitchens's pattern holds true, his "senior adminstration" source is Paul Wolfowitz. Even if it's not I'm pretty sure it's an underling at the Pentagon, not at Cheney's office. My gut's telling me that this ass-covering through Hitch is coming through the DoD, and probably because they themselves are to blame for the whole debacle.

Notice the curious wording, also -- whether or not Chalabi passed secrets was then still, awful phrase, "plausibly deniable." But the "answer given" is that those secrets didnt threaten national security. Of course one wonders what Hitchens's question was, if one indeed was posed. At any rate, surely Hitchens's source knew that, IF Chalabi's crime did come out, its very nature would render Hitchens's proxy-denial ridiculous?

Even three years ago, I would have assumed that Hitchens wrote this in good faith. Now I'm not disposed to giving that benefit of doubt. Yet if his faith is good here, how can he feel about being used and lied to? Back when Hitch was still human Isaiah Berlin bullshitted him, which Hitch didn't take very kindly. Even now that he's a shill Hitchens still should realise that he's been used and made to look (even more) foolish. Now's your chance for redemption, old comrade...


Now that we know what Chalabi did the fun is speculating on who gave him the info.

Josh Marshall has a suspect, but won't name names. General Glut says it's Michael Rubin. But why someone so ...second tier? Chalabi apprently was appraised of the codes by someone who was drunk, but why would the drunk have to be his only source of info? Like Marshall says

One point that is key to keep in mind here is that if you know the way a lot of these guys treated Chalabi, how they thought of him, it's really not at all surprising that they would have shared this sort of information with him. It would, frankly, be much more surprising if they hadn't. Remember, this was Ahmed Chalabi, the 'leader of Free Iraq', the man of destiny around whom the democratic transformation of the region would turn like a wheel on an axle. could be several of them. But apparently the principal culprit, the drunk, is one who's spent a considerable amount of time in Iraq. Why not Doug Feith?

Heaven Forfend!

This is guaranteed to get David "Allende Deserved To Be Overthrown" Nieporent's panties in a wad.

(AP) A court stripped Gen. Augusto Pinochet of his immunity from prosecution Friday, paving the way for the trial of the former Chilean dictator on human rights charges.

*Gasp!* What a dangerous precedent! Henry Kissinger and Dear Ariel could be next! These human rights fuckos are only bitter and jealous of Pinochet's brilliant economic schemes!

The Shorter Michael Ledeen


This Italian reporter I admire says that two of the Iraqi insurgents (though I can't deferentiate -- every muslim is al qaeda) spoke perfect Italian. Therefore we know that terrorists are truly global and so we must expand the war.


This part is interesting, though (maybe this is what War and Piece was remarking upon):

"And I hope someone in the Pentagon has a contingency plan to secure the oil fields in the event that the CIA can't manage the Saudi situation, and the brave Abdullah and his children, brothers, sisters, cousins, and nephews race to the French Riviera."


Anyway, apropos the recent entry on Ledeen's infatuation with fascism, I'm reminded of what Christopher Hitchens said, tongue-in-cheek, about Nazi-enthusiast and certifiable crackpot David Irving : "he's not only a great fascist historian but a great historian of fascism."

Yeah, But..

War and Piece is a great blog, a sort of one-stop Chalibi store, though I have no idea why she thinks that anything by Michael Ledeen is "terribly interesting." Maybe she means for its mendacity?


The other day, David Frum joined in the rightwing chorus by calling Al Gore's Greatest Speech Ever "crazy." It's not enough, of course, that Gore is already marginalised by the "Liberal" media; no, he must be gratuitously smeared, especially when he tells the truth and makes the finest rhetorical attack yet uttered agains this godawful administration.

Now that the first wave of Project Let's "Eagleton" Gore has been unleashed, some reactionaries have deigned to actually consider what Gore said on face value. One can imagine, then, that considering their frothing diatribes and rants on Gore's sanity that the speech would have a multitude of errors, lies, miscontruals, disingenuous phrases, non sequiturs, infelicities, and so on? Right? I mean, what else could elicit such wrath? For an oh-so-smart reactionary like Frum, picking the chaff from Gore's speech should be as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, right?

Apparently not :

in the category of the bizarre, did you notice this odd passage?

Â?Kerry should not tie his own hands by offering overly specific, detailed proposals concerning a situation that is rapidly changing and, unfortunately, rapidly deteriorating, but should rather preserve his, and our countryÂ?s, options, to retrieve our national honor as soon as this long national nightmare is over.Â?

That sentence was immediately followed by this one: Â?Eisenhower did not propose a five-point plan for changing AmericaÂ?s approach to the Korean war when he was running for president in 1952.Â?

What do you suppose Gore was thinking as he uttered those words? Was Korea a Â?national nightmareÂ?? Does this former Democratic office holder really think that Harry Truman had put the Â?national honorÂ? at risk? Ronald Reagan used to irritate Democrats by claiming Harry Truman as an icon of contemporary conservatism. Is Gore conceding that Reagan was right?

That's the best that Frumbag can do? The man so intelligent that he and Richard Perle are alone qualified to offer a blueprint for the "End of Evil"?

Maybe there's just not enough hubris in tackling Gore's speech for what he actually said. Frum, after all, can only think big.

If not, perhaps, thinking big in his "analysis" of Gore's speech, he exerts bigtime torque in twisting something harmless and sensible into something ..well, to use his own word, "bizarre."

The point is that Eisenhower is seen by mainstream Americans as a perfectly decent candidate. Gore knows that, and he has to use an example of a Presidential Challenger doing the right thing vis-a-vis a war during an election year. Obviously he can't use the example of Richard Nixon, who did everything wrong that could be done wrong in '68 (and a personage for whom Frum and his gang are notoriously protective), he couldn't use McGovern from '72 even though he probably should, so he picked a neutral example, Ike, who did not meddle nor sabotage himself by offering detailed plans for Korea counter to Truman's.

As for the silly Reagan reference, the only reason Ronald Reagan would have said that, and for that matter, David Frum would resurrect it, is because both admire in Truman the decision to nuke Bad Guys -- that, and maybe Truman's participation in the immensely corrupt Pendergrast machine.

At any rate, trust Frum to make a mountain of this molehill -- and the fact that he did is a tacit admission that the really big charges Gore made are what -- unanswerable? I'm still waiting for a substantial rebuttal.

Above the Gore rant it's worth noting that Frum sneers at Amnesty International, which is nothing new but yet another reminder of why this bunch of fucktards sneered at a similar international body, the Red Cross. When speechwriters, politicos and hacks stick their pudgy fingers in the eyes of these organisations, it's no wonder that the troops on the ground follow suit and the result is utter contempt of Amnesty, HRW, and the RC -- and the international humanitarian laws whose compliance (or not) they monitor.

Frumbag: a fucking hack.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

A Little Old But..

I know it's been in the news a while, but some of the best reporting on the Abu Ghuraib prison scandal and other instances of abuse by American soldiers is collected at the Denver Post, here and here.