Friday, February 18, 2005

So, So Sick

I have the flu. Though I wish I felt like going out and coughing on some Republicans, I feel so shitty that I'm not even up to "crushing the infamous" through modest biological warfare.

I seriously doubt I'll blog again until next week, but when I do, I'll try to respond to the comments left for my last post. Until then, here's what everyone else is doing:

Bush's nominee for Director of National Intelligence is John Negroponte, currently our Grand Vizier and puppetmaster in Iraq, formerly butcher of Central America. Kos has more on the subject. Jim Lobe, wrongly in my opinion, thinks Negroponte's nomination is a possible check against neocons. Actually, Negroponte's Ends Justify The Means deathsquad enthusiasm in Central America is pure neoconservatism, and Lobe's own article shows how Negroponte first made his name by attacking Henry Kissinger, that master war criminal and all-round butcher of Southeast Asia, from the right. Negroponte's Honduras in the 80s was a staging ground by which the United States encouraged deathsquads in Honduras proper, and in surrounding countries. More here and here.

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onegoodmove has the Daily Show clip about blogs and the Guckert scandal. With regard to the latter, Kos is worth reading, and notes that the MSM is finally getting involved.

Related: Instayokel's hypocrisy.

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Labor Blog shows how Wal-Mart gets to vet the Department of Labor's press releases.

More Wal-Mart news here.

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Over at the Washington Note, Steve Clemons comes to a truth buried in a story, about how the Japanese would like to cease funding our military on their own land, that, well ...

Part of the truth is that the United States nearly always asks for an increase in the "sympathy budget" and Japan always seems to lobby Washington with its intentions that the amount will be decreased, since Japan seems to want to get permission from the White House that the decrease is ok. So much for Japanese sovereignty. (My Emphasis)


This fact is why so many around the world hate our guts and rightly so. Anywhere we have a base, local soveriegnty is destroyed, which is why militant Saudis don't want US on their soil, nor do many Euros, nor do the Iraqis. One either understands this through empathy, or one is a jingoist pig. Here's a test to sort the sheep from the goats, so to speak: who would tolerate a foriegn country's military base on United States soil? It's no different that what they feel when the US intrudes on their soveriegnty. Now, the "defense" to the double standard argument is "American Exceptionalism", which holds that since we are so resolutely good, any country not willing to cede their soveriegnty (and it need not be of the military kind -- this works with economics as well) to US must be evil. In other words, to circumvent the obvious condemnation on grounds of double standards, one must have an unreal, ahistorical idea of the United States; one must go beyond textbook notions of nationalism and patriotism and adhere to jingoism. Hence the rightwing has been and always will be the "my country, right or wrong" types where we skeptics are more like John Quincy Adams, "[disavowing] all forms of patriotism incompatible with Eternal Justice".

Matthew Yglesias has more on the subject. Of course, not all rightwingers are such jingoists, though most of them are. An exception was that super-Tory H.L. Mencken, who would not take the "Liberals hate America" line that is de riguer among the reactionaries nowadays:

The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who loves his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.

Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.


From the reactionary point of view, the first best target for "hating America" has always been Noam Chomsky. Yet Chomsky neatly falls into Mencken's description of a radical who actually loves his country more than others do. Chomsky, and those like him (which would include me) merely wish that their own country would live up to the standards it claims to revere. As such, Chomsky didn't and doesn't care as much that some other country is morally depraved as much as he cares that his own is. Reactionaries twist this simple fact to say that Chomsky would "prefer" jihadism or communism or whatever, when actually he does not, but instead prefers that his own country does not become monsterous (and it has) when it attempts to battle such forces. Give me this kind of patriotism any day over the alternative, which ranges from the overtly fascist Hannity style of flag-waving idiocy to the less-obvious but equally fascistic stylings (anyone against the Iraq War is "objectively pro-Saddam") of Instayokel, who together take an especial joy in seeing their own country soiled by politicians and pundits of a particular ideology who embrace every force opposing human decency not to mention the Bill of Rights: torturers, death squad-enthusiasts, concentration camp-apologists, shameless imperialists.

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James Wolcott destroys the simpering Michael Medved. Wolcott's beautiful destruction is a follow-up to this post where he first ripped Medved and Harry Stein, two wingnut cultural commisars, and correctly fingered Norman Podhoretz as the Typhoid Mary of this particular brand of far-right culture-crit, a rough template of which is as follows:

1. Pretend that there is a monolithic over-culture put in place by pinko-fag-commie-appeasers.

2. Adopt a position of underdoggery in critiquing this invention; in other words, let loose with the delusions persecution.

3. Claim that "true" (which is to say, the only) American virtues like consumerism, piety, red-blooded heterosexuality, and patriotism are in danger of being subverted by said over-culture.

4. Assume that all artists are as much ideologues as yourself. As such art is not a reflection of life nor is it a testament to human imagination, but is, instead, only propaganda which serves an ideological cause.

5. Stir, adding extra self-pity as needed.


Alicublog has always been good on this subject. Here are some examples. See also his post here, if I may self-advertise.

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Meanwhile, Dr. Sebly F. No makes short work of wingnut darling Mark Steyn.

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The Poorman hilariously evicerates the 101st Keyboarders Brigade in what is easily the best blog post so far this year. And it amounts to the biggest feather yet sent to Jonah Goldberg whose literal and figurative cubicle should by now resemble a Tyson plant.

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Blind nut = squirrel. Or, blind squirrel, nut. Either way, it works. Bush's choice in the Ukraine (who was so chosen only because Russia backed the other guy) turns out to be as anti-Bush in practice as one can be. This is about the only instance of "positive" blowback I can think of, because Dear Leader definitely does not share the good government philosophy of Yushchenko, and could not have anticipated it. Yushchenko cleaning up graft and privatisation schemes? What kind of commie pinko crypto scumbag is he?!

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Jeff Greenfield channels Steve Sailor and goes all eugenicist on us. Yes, physical traits are inherited and as such groups that have lived together for a long time tend to resemble each other. In turn, one can make physical generalisations which only doctrinaire PC-ers object to. For example, it's not racist to suppose the average African has a high amount of melanin in his skin. Nor is it anymore sexist to say that the average man has more upper-body strength than the average woman than it is sexist to say that women are more like to have bigger (and functional) breasts than men. But what can't be said, factually or ethically, are generalisations with regard to hardwired group intelligence or group "personality" traits, which is what Greenfield goes on to nearly do, and what Sailor has made a cottage industry of.

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Results of the Sexiest Blogger Contest are -- have been -- up, with Ms Lauren of Feministe crowned (deserving) winner. Had I known, I would have nominated Majikthise, the pneumatic Wonkette (of course), Josh of Fagistan and Richard Perle (no, I'm just kidding about Mr. Perle. Really). I would have also sneakily nominated myself, or bribed someone else to do so, bought my victory, and then have launched such a triumphalist flurry of posts that the average Koufax winner would be shamed in comparison.

Anyway, apropos Ms Lauren, whose blog makes for excellent if heavy reading, I wonder what she thinks of the arguments marshalled and contradictions underlined in article. She's blogged about the same subject before and it paid some interesting dividends, but I wonder if she'd give it a deeper treatment this time around.

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In the neo-liberal/free trade/libertarian/globalist nutjob chronicles today, there's this story, which is an example of the dynamic I describe in the last paragraph of this post.

Bonus link: See also Oligopoly Watch (again) for a background on this dynamic at play in Brazil.

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That's all for now, but as I wrote this post I started some new antibiotics, and if I feel better may blog a bit more in this scattershot vein (no extended thinking on a single issue now, thanks) later today.

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