Saturday, September 20, 2014

Our Mess, But Not Our Fight


This is the America where I grew up.  These really were the terrifying debates political leaders and ideological lunatics used to have and I am not nostalgic for that aspect of that world in any way.

These days, these are the debates we have: whether President Obama is an uppity, pusillanimous fraud (and possible Sekrit Mulim) who won't roll the US Army back into Iraq in force because he wants Murrica Destroyed At All Costs --
Obama's ISIS Policy is a Total Joke

So I checked the e-mail again, and I can guarantee what's gonna happen. When I quote an e-mail asking me, "Why aren't you doing X?" then the, "Why aren't you doing Y?" crowd shows up, and the next crowd asks, "Why aren't you spending more time talking about what Obama's doing in Syria with ISIS and ISIL?" I'll tell you why. Because I don't think he even cares what he's doing!

This is an absolute joke. John Kerry gets up there and says absolutely inane things. He was taken to down by Bob Corker yesterday, sent Boxer shuttering away in tears. We got the sound bites coming up. Kerry doesn't know what he's talking about. Hagel doesn't know what he's talking about. The generals know what they're talking about, and they're actively being ignored.

This isn't about beating ISIS, is why.

This is all because Obama's poll numbers are falling.

I'm not gonna get roped into talking about this the way the soap opera writers demand that it be talked about. "Can this revive the Obama presidency?" Screw that! That's not what this is about. We're sending 3,000 troops to fight Ebola? We won't send 3,000 troops to protect our border! We won't send 3,000 troops there -- we won't admit that that's what we're doing -- to stop terrorists that want to wipe us out.

We're gonna send the Iraqi army and the Syrian army, who are supposedly somehow gonna become loyal to us? What the hell? It's stupid, folks. It is asinine. The generals know it's stupid, but they can't just out and say it. They're getting as close to try to tell everybody how literally wacko this is out actually saying it because they can't be insubordinate. But, for crying out loud, Barack Obama, commander-in-chief?

That's scary...
-- Rush Limbaugh
-- or whether President Obama is Worse Than Boosh!
Back To The Bush Years … ?

...The party that was primarily responsible for the years of grinding, bankrupting war, a descent into torture, and an evisceration of many core liberties is now regarded as superior to the man originally tasked with trying to recover from that experience. The political winds unleashed by a few disgusting videos and a blitzkrieg in the desert have swept all before them. And we now hear rhetoric from Democratic party leaders that sounds close to indistinguishable from Bush or Cheney.

Boss Limbaugh is, as always, absolutely consistent: all Liberals are Commies or Commie dupes and Obummer is our traitorous Kenyan Messiah, while all Conservatives are made of unalloyed patriotism...as long as they obediently toe the Limbaugh Party line.  But in at least one important sense, America's Most Famous Gay Catholic Conservative Independent Libertarian Blogger is perfectly consistent. too  Pick any day on the calendar in the last 15 years and you will probably find Andrew Sullivan hysterically overreacting to something.

How well I remember how people like me were instantly relegated to the status of fifth columnists because our least productive British import thought we Murrican Liberals insufficiently patriotic.

How well I remember when OMG!OMG!OMFG! Barack Obama was pretty much definitely gonna lose because of a bad debate performance!
...
To be given a gift like the Romney 47 percent video is a rare event in national politics. To get it in the fall of an election should have made an Obama victory all but assured.

But Obama threw it all back in his supporters’ faces, reacting to their enthusiasm and record donations with a performance so execrable, so lazy, so feckless, and so vain it was almost a dare not to vote for him. What he has to do now is so nail these next two debates, so obliterate Romney in both, that he can claw his way back to victory. But if he manages just evenly-matched debates, let alone another Romney win, he’s a goner...
How well I remember back when Alec Baldwin Must Be Destroyed, but leave Phil Robertson alone!
... I’d much rather have dinner with Phil Robertson than Alec Baldwin. Engaging fundamentalists on this subject is one of my favorite activities. And I’d much sooner engage than condemn.
I wonder where that engage-don't-condemn spirit has gone now that Mr. Robertson has signed onto the Christopath version of the ISIS "join or die" policy?


Honestly I have known popper-snorting teacup poodles who were less prone to instant and sustained freakouts that Mr. Sullivan.  But he writes about weed and beards and the Pope 'n stuff, so shine on you crazy diamond.  And anyway we're all much too busy to dwell on any of' the foofaraw's of yesteryear, because right now We're Going To War With Iraq!  

Just like Dick Cheney!  

Except, of course, that is not exactly true, is it?

Look, there are 101 reason to think going back into Iraq for any reason is a deeply stupid idea. Perhaps terrible -- period -- or perhaps just the least terrible of all the terrible options which are available to us thanks to the Bush Administration's decision to kick the hinges off the Middle East's Pandora's box because WMD and Freedumb!  

And there is another, entirely different list of reasons why it is a terrible idea to further erode the by-now-quaint-and-virtually-defunct 18th century notion that Going To War is a thing that Congress is supposed to do.  Or debate.  Or signal its preferences using a series of nods and eye-blinks if the normal processes are too rigorous for it to rouse itself from political catatonia.  Or in some way just do something other than running the fuck away from the job we elected them to do.

And that's the thing -- debating and deciding on the lethal and costly matter of war and peace is the the very minimum we should reasonably expect from our elected officials, and yet time after time too many of them take the coward's way out.

Also, for the record, if you are of the opinion that the United States military is for defensive use only and should never be deployed anywhere on Earth for any reason other than defending Unites States territory, treaty obligations and citizens, well that is a perfectly honorable position.  I would strongly disagree, for some of the same reasons that Howard Dean cites here, but I would respect anyone who holds firm to that position regardless of circumstances.  

But having listened to President Obama, I haven't heard any of the blunderbuss-of-lies approach that characterized Bush's Operation Clusterfuck.  There is no fictional enemy this time: ISIS is not currently a threat to the United States, but it is real and evil and aggressive.  There is no talk of a home-by-Christmas cakewalk this time,  There is no one suggesting that Iraqi oil revenues will pay for it this time,  There is no White House being run by oil executives this time, drooling at the the thought of the revenue to be ransacked from a country they and their cronies carved up long before 9/11 ever happened.  There is no one standing up for torture and secret prisons this time.  There is no one -- no one -- suggesting that this problem can be solved by colums of American tanks or battalions of American soldiers.  

And then, of course, there is this:
Iraq's prime minister says no to foreign troops

...
Al-Abadi, a Shiite lawmaker who faces the enormous task of trying to hold Iraq together as a vast array of forces threaten to rip it apart, welcomed the emerging international effort, but stressed that he sees no need for other nations to send troops to help fight ISIS.

"Not only is it not necessary," he said, "We don't want them. We won't allow them. Full stop."

Al-Abadi's comments provided a sharp rebuttal to remarks a day earlier by the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, who told the Senate Armed Services Committee that American ground troops may be needed to battle ISIS forces in the Middle East if Obama's current strategy fails.

"The only contribution the American forces or the international coalition is going to help us with is from the sky," al-Abadi said. "We are not giving any blank check to the international coalition to hit any target in Iraq."
...
It's a hard thing to look at chaos sweeping the region and reconcile ourselves to the fact that, while this is our mess, it is not our fight.  

For what it's worth, I believe that the policy of the United States should be to lend the sovereign government of Iraq whatever reasonable assistance it asks for, but otherwise stay the Hell out.

And for what it's worth, while I believe that President Obama's policy in Iraq will, at best, be slow and frustrating and costly and damaging to the Constitution and, in the end, may fail, I do not detect any Neville Chamberlain in it, just as I see no Dick Cheney there. 

I Asked For A Sign


And this is what I got (photo of the sky above my neighborhood.)

Hmm.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Professional Left Podcast #250 -- UPDATE

ProfessionalLeft
"Meanwhile, 250 episodes later, Freedom Cows!"
-- driftglass




Links:

  • Jeffrey Sachs Bashes Krauthammer and David Brooks: ‘Every Single Column, Wrong’
  • Republican Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL) on Healthcare:  "By repealing this law, we can begin to build on some of the good provisions in the law...


Da' money goes here:



UPDATE:

"Anonymous" suggests this timeless classic to honor Kay Bailey Hutchison's inability to recognize various "Christie"'s from quite a long way away...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Whoa



The paper sculptures of Li Hongbo

Because we all need to be amazed at least as oftern as we are appalled

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Washington Post Once Again Fails To See That Which Is Right In Front Of It



The WaPo reports that David Brooks unloaded his $4 Million Dollar House That Hack Bought for just under $4.5 million.
New York Times columnist David Brooks sells his $4.5 million home in less than 48 hours
A tidy addition to the Brooks Nest Egg indeed; perhaps enough so that he can finally tell the Sulzberger dynasty "Fuck You!", give up the back-breaking drudgery and endless hours of exhausting research that are synonymous with writing 800 words of whatever-he-wants for the New York Times twice a week...

...and finally embark on that long trip across American so he can touch Indians.

Just like they did in Easy Rider!



Further down the column, the Post notes that while speculation regarding the dissolution of Mr. Brooks' marriage has continued for a year and a half, America's most ubiquitous moral scold and peripatetic Conservative lecturer on the importance of everybody else getting with the program and preserving our sacred social institutions at all costs, ain't answering any of your god damn nosy questions about his god damn marriage, thank you very much god damn it:
Brooks purchased the home with his wife, Sarah, for $3.95 million in July 2012. A year and a half later, the Reliable Source reported that the couple, married for 27 years, were divorcing. Currently there are no records of the Brooks divorce on file in D.C. court, and David Brooks did not return a call for comment.
So there you have it.

Dead end.

Brick wall.

Every possible lead exhausted; every possible source run down.

I mean, what is there left for a dogged reporter to do?

Except, perhaps, bothering to look at any publicly available video of  Mr. Brooks' before November 2013 and any video of Mr. Brooks' after and checking out his left hand.

You know, the hand where the wedding ring goes?

When The Chickens Came Home To Roost Carrying Ebola

brooks_david2

And then one day The New York Time's Prince Prospero began to suspect that partying behind high walls with a thousand wealthy friends may not be sufficient to keep the Red Death at bay after all. And so, in defense of a kingdom which he had, in fact, long since abandoned for the safety of his castle, he fearlessly leaped into action by tossing off another of his trademark columns-from-nowhere in which unspecified "people" with various "ideas" have done "stuff" which has kinda "fucked things up and shit".

Today's subject: two of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse  --
The most obvious example is the fight against jihadism...

The most egregious example is global health emergencies...
By now, longtime readers know that whenever Mr, Brooks dives behind his favorite sofa and starts ventriloquizing his column in the really, really, really passive voice, the "people", "ideas" and "stuff" to which he is obliquely referring as the reason(s) why things are fucked up and shit will invariably turn out to be 1) "Conservatives like David Brooks", 2) "Terrible Conservative ideas which Mr. Brooks has championed at one time or another" and 3) "specific, disastrous Conservative schemes manifested from the terrible Conservative ideas which Mr. Brooks has championed at one time or another."

But I get ahead of myself.

So, Mr. Brooks, pray tell, why are things so fucked up and shit?

Because we live in City B, obviously!
Imagine two cities. In City A, town leaders notice that every few weeks a house catches on fire. So they create a fire department ― a group of professionals with prepositioned firefighting equipment and special expertise. In City B, town leaders don’t create a fire department. When there’s a fire, they hurriedly cobble together some people and equipment to fight it.
Man, I hate those smug bastards in City B, with their “fire departments” and “roads” and “non-toxic drinking beverages” and such!

So, Mr. Brooks, pray tell, how did things get all fucked up and shit in City A anyway?
A few generations ago, people grew up in and were comfortable with big organizations ― the army, corporations and agencies. They organized huge construction projects in the 1930s, gigantic industrial mobilization during World War II, highway construction and corporate growth during the 1950s. Institutional stewardship, the care and reform of big organizations, was more prestigious.
And then, through some mysterious and inexplicable process which no one understands but for which certainly everyone is equally at fault, all of that good City A stuff  just ...sorta... melted... away.
We like start-ups, disrupters and rebels. Creativity is honored more than the administrative execution. Post-Internet, many people assume that big problems can be solved by swarms of small, loosely networked nonprofits and social entrepreneurs. Big hierarchical organizations are dinosaurs.
It other words, while "we" were all spanking Uncle Fester to internet porn playing Candy Crush on our iPads the highways fell down because no one wanted to wear a necktie and spend their 9-to-5 worrying about tax revenue and how much labor and cubic yards of concrete it would take to, say, keep the highways from collapsing.

While using a slide-rule presumably.

Except, of course, this is emphatically not how it happened.

Whoever the “we” are in this latest chapter of Mr. Brooks' sprawling, revisionist project  it does not include me or anyone I know.  Because whatever charms and virtues the “disruptors” may have in the abstract, pout here in the Real World, “we” never held a plebiscite to decide that disruptors would take the place of government (from Richard Sennett in 1998):
The dizzy life of Davos man

Yet I had an epiphany of sorts in Davos, listening to the rulers of the flexible realm. "We" is also a dangerous pronoun to them. They dwell comfortably in entrepreneurial disorder, but fear organised confrontation. They of course fear the resurgence of unions, but become acutely and personally uncomfortable, fidgeting or breaking eye contact or retreating into taking notes, if forced to discuss the people who, in their jargon, are "left behind." They know that the great majority of those who toil in the flexible regime are left behind, and of course they regret it. But the flexibility they celebrate does not give, it cannot give, any guidance for the conduct of an ordinary life. The new masters have rejected careers in the old English sense of the word, as pathways along which people can travel; durable and sustained paths of action are foreign territories.

“We” never voted to run up staggering deficits on purpose so that “we” could use those deficits as a sledgehammer to smash the last remnants of the New Deal and the Great Society once and for all.

And whatever the fuck “many people assume” – pre or post-internet – there was never a referendum on the question of whether or not “we” should, say, dismantle the American Middle Class by massively deindustrializing our major cities, smashing labor unions and shipping millions of good manufacturing jobs overseas.

Because despite what Mr. Brooks' precious reportage-from-nowhere would have you believe, decisions like these which radically altered the basic social contract that held our fractious nation together did not just precipitate out of thin air. Rather they are the proud bastard offspring of 40 years of Conservative think tanks, Ayn Rand fetishists at the Federal Reserve, voodoo economics and right-wing talk radio. 

They were proposed and ratified by virtually no one except members of the small coterie of anti-government Conservatives and pro-feudalism oligarchs in whose service which Mr. Brooks has loyally spent his entire career.  Letting snarling, insatiable, Hobbsean capitalism off the leash was touted as a bracing cure for everything that ails this old world -- from global disorder to poverty to environmental disaster -- by virtually no one but the Conservative media machine and the corporate Democrats who tack relentlessly with every prevailing breeze.  The premeditated destruction of our capacity for self-government was cheered as a welcome revolution by virtually no one but David Brooks' Republican party. 

 The conditions of endemic dysfunction and disrepair about which Mr. Brooks is now freaking out --
“When the boring tasks of governance are not performed, infrastructures don’t get built. Then, when epidemics strike, people die.”
-- are nothing more or less than than the American Conservatism Mr. Brooks has touted his entire adult life operating at peak efficiency.

Where do you think the pig-ignorant mobs come from, David?  The ones who are whipped daily into  raving, gun-waving, tyranny-shrieking frenzy by the normal, quotidian work of government?

And who do you think is doing the whipping?

Every fucking bit of it derives from Conservatism's "Government Is The Problem" Prime Directive which has been carefully assembled and deployed one lie, one slur, delusion and one straw man at a time over the course of many decades, by every member of the Conservative Brain Caste, from Rush Limbaugh working the intellectual slums, to David Brooks whispering to the elite, to Conservative think tanks grinding out white papers and Conservative media tirelessly catapulting that Ol' Debbil Propaganda....and all of it funded by a stretch limo clown car full of crackpot billionaires.

And every step along the way, fighting a lonely, rear-guard action in defense of the American Dream against wave after wave of lavishly funded Conservative sedition , you will the Dirty Fucking Hippies.

The slow motion destruction of the United States government by tax cut, relentless paranoia-mongering, deregulation and the outsourcing of everything to the private sector is the greatest Conservatives engineering project in history, David.

It's your Panama Canal.  

Your masterpiece.

So stand up and take a fucking bow.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mama Said To Knock You Out



Although I was married to an attorney for a number of years, I myself am not a lawyer,  I am completely unlettered in the field. And yet even I, a complete naif, know that the First Rule of Writ Club is to never, ever put a witness on the stand -- or on teevee -- and ask them a question to which you do not already know the answer.

Itinerant hack-for-rent Howie Kurtz apparently never hearda such.

Here is the result (h/t Crooks and Liars):


The primary viewership for Fox News are old, cranky, poorly-informed white people who want those nice young men and ladies on the teevee machine to be perky and well-groomed and tell them just what they want to hear. To slightly misquote General Sternwood from "The Big Sleep", Fox News viewers exist largely on faux-controversy heat like a new born spider, and as such must be induced to keep right on believing that what they are getting from Fox News is the rill dill (to slightly misquote Sarah Palin) -- the Pure Quill, unfiltered by all of those Libruls who secretly control the media.

They must continue to believe in the immersive fiction of the superiority of their information, rather than the ugly reality that they are cage-fed morons mindlessly sucking down raw Conservative propaganda laced with news-flavored gobbets of bullshit. And as such, nothing that reminds them that Fox News is a ruthlessly for-profit enterprise can be allowed to get in front of the camera. It all falls apart otherwise, which is why any business which is built on illusion knows that the illusion must be maintained at all times. 

It's the reason why the actions and movements of Disney theme-park actors are so carefully choreographed.

And its the reason you do not put someone in front of a Fox News camera who knows damn well how the business of making of the teevee sausage works and is delighted at the chance to slap the smug off of Mitah Kurtz's face and tell his audience the real rill dill.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Morning Comin' Down


I can't say it's true
And I won't say it's not.
But there's been talk.


-- The Quiet Man
Congratulations, you have now heard almost everything there was to hear at The Mouse Circus this week.

Almost.

If you need to know more, renowned internet quitter Tbogg has unquitted long enough to explain why everything you see on the NBC Death Ship --



-- sucks like Cygnus-X1 and will continue to do so, taking everything down with it, including its little sister MSNBC, forever:
...
There are many children with famous names at NBC/MSNBC who could have been chosen — Mika Brzezinski, Willie Geist, Mark Halperin, Jenna Bush Hager, Chelsea Clinton (who recently left to give birth to a campaign prop, so I am told), Abby Huntsman, Ron Reagan Jr., Ronan Farrow, Meghan McCain (since departed) — but they chose Luke.

Probably because they thought he might attract the all-important youthful no-socks-and-boat-shoes-wearing-bro demographic, although more likely, he’ll draw your grandmother who thinks he looks like a nice young man with good manners and he probably calls his mother daily and his pants don’t sag off his butt and he doesn’t look like he listens to that hippy-hop rap music and smoke drugs and why can’t you be more like him and put that damn cell phone down and look at me when I talk to you?

The other reason is that, by bringing Luke on board, they are effectively getting his dad, Tim Russert, back.

Luke likes everything that his dad liked...

And then, just to drive his point home with a 20 pound sledge, he inflicts this on his readers, because he is a terrible, terrible, person:



That one worthwhile moment on "Meet the Press" was the presence of Bernie Sanders, a real live Liberal Senator from the American state of Vermont who is notable for A) his unabashed support of all of those awesome, cask-strength Dirty Hippie issues that make a lot of Corporate Dems cringe and a lot of Republicans start talking about seceding, B) the only filibuster in living memory which was actually used to educate, persuade and uplift and, C) his accent, which, legend has it was, was accidentally swapped at birth with that of the bastard son of a Brooklyn longshoreman.

Senator Sanders was in fine voice today --



Chuck Todd asked Sanders if he was okay with left supporting billionaires participating in the process or if his issue was with the entire process.

Sen. Sanders said, “Chuck, I think Citizens United will go down in history as one of the worst Supreme Court decisions ever. I think it is opening up the road to oligarchy in the United States of America, where the billionaires like the Koch brothers….left or right, but it’s mostly right let’s be clear.”
I would love to see Bernie run in the Democratic primaries as a proud, fighting Liberal.

But before anyone cracks open the Cold Duck and declares a rebirth of the Algonquin Round table, let us remember that even back in Ye Olde Gregorian Dayes of Meet Thee Press,  Fluffy would periodically try to inoculate himself against being burned in effigy every week by the Dirty Hippies, by tossing a sop to the Liberals, such as here when he invited Subcommander Markos on his show.  



Alert viewers will notice how Gregory took extra precautions against Markos running amok and biting people by positioning him within an extra strong Liberal containment field -- triply reinforced by Joe Scarborough, Ed Gillespie and professional Obama troll Tavis Smiley -- while Greggers guarded the Both Siders perimeter to insure that the conversation never veered away from Obama's abject failure to sufficiently reach out to those nice Republicans who were falling all over themselves to work with him. 

Oh if only he weren't so angry!  And partisan!  And black!

After which Greggers, per The Gingrich Rules. went back groveling for the approval of creatures like disgraced wingnut demagogue Newton Leroy Gingrich by giving them virtually unlimited, unfettered access to NBC 's once-proud Sunday morning public interest program.

Still, points to you Chuck Todd for remembering that Senator Bernie Sanders exists.

Down the dial it was Fox News' turn to point a camera at America's Most Dementedly Wrong Grandpa this week, but since no one but shut-ins, lunatics, those who died in the night during a rerun of "13 Hours in Benghazi: The Inside Story" and professional toxic waste handlers actually watch Fox News, I will leave it to the pros like Heather at Crooks and Liars to bring you up to speed on what was so important that the J.D. Salinger of basic cable pundit shows --



-- had to break his long silence and finally, reluctantly speak his mind:
John McCain was back on the air continuing to attack the Obama administration for not arming the Syrian rebels, but given the recent news that ISIS just struck a deal with these so-called "moderates," McCain might want to stop making statements like this one during interviews as he did this Saturday on Fox: McCain: I’ve Vetted Syrian Rebels, People Not Trusting Them Making ‘Excuses’...
And for people not swayed by that argument, McCain threw this out: you got anything better?

“Obviously, there are some risks, but what’s our other option here? If someone who says they can’t––they don’t want to do it because we can’t trust the Free Syrian Army, then what is your option, sir and ma’am, in how we are going to attack ISIS in an effective fashion?”...
They gave McCain's ferocious teacup poodle a platform too--



-- to keep him from chewing Chris Wallace's house slippers to confetti and pooping up the Fox News Green room:
Lindsey Graham Freaks Out At Obama's ISIS Strategy
And the inexplicably unincarcerated Karl Rove was on hand to efficiently reiterated almost exactly the same "Obama Lost Iraq!" Dolchstossified "history"
"...the notion, widely believed in right-wing circles in Germany after 1918, that the German Army did not lose World War I but was instead betrayed by the civilians on the home front..."
that Rush Limbaugh relentlessly trowels out the Pig People each and every week,

Carthago Delenda Est.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Memory Hole Is Deep And Wide



Jeffrey Sachs says what I would say if I had two minutes on national teevee:
“Unbelievable,” Sachs said, shaking his head. “Because who has been wrong more consistently than anyone in this country? It’s been David Brooks.”

Sachs, who appeared on the show to discuss a recent column arguing against US involvement in the fight against ISIS, clarified that he was only talking about Brooks’s foreign policy. But within that topic, according to Sachs, Brooks’ arguments led to unmitigated disaster. “Eleven years, every single column about this issue, wrong. ‘Go into Iraq.’ ‘Don’t be hesitant.’ ‘It’s all a great success.’ ‘We won the war.’”

“It’s unbelievable that this is the person we’re quoting,” he continued. “Krauthammer? Same way. Eleven years in spreading disaster. No solutions. This is what we say? This is the only thing the United States can do? Please.”
...
Of course, I would come packing actual quotes from actual David Brooks columns, or perhaps this short video I shot of David Brooks, live and in person, lying his ass off --


-- but in the end it would not matter.

As I have said a thousand different way in the +2,000 posts I have written documenting the towering wrongness of David Brooks since 2005, the puny fact that he has been horribly wrong about everything since forever will never be enough to dislodge him from his media throne, nor is there any force on Earth strong enough to pry the Sage of the Acela Corridor's many, terrible ideas out of his humble, humble hands.

Bad fish, this Elite Conservative Memory Hole. It's not like going down to the pond, chasin' malkins or tommycods.

This Memory Hole...swallow you whole.  Little shakin', little tenderizin', down you go

So welcome to permanent, despised exile from polite society, Jeffrey!

Beer is in the fridge.

A Mammon as Big as the Ritz



Of all the stories I have read about Ray Rice, I am surprised that no one has bothered to mention what his real job is.

First and foremost, Rice is that most revered of Randite moral beings, a "wealth creator".

A noble "maker" not a mooching "taker".

He is rich and famous because he generates sufficient cash flow for his employers, in a profession which ruthlessly winnows its employees based on earning potential.

And because Rice is a "maker" and not a "taker", by Libertarian/Randite dogma, he need not be constrained by conventional bourgeois categories of morality.  

Because he is rich, he is by definition superior to you.

Period.

This Week In Nothing New Under The Sun

toolz

How the faithful city has become a harlot,
She who was full of justice!
Righteousness once lodged in her,
But now murderers.
Your silver has become dross,
Your drink diluted with water.
Your rulers are rebels
And companions of thieves;
Everyone loves a bribe
And chases after rewards
They do not defend the orphan,
Nor does the widow's plea come before them.

-- Isaiah 1:21-23


Friday, September 12, 2014

Professional Left Podcast #249

ProfessionalLeft
"It's not a monster movie. It's a supernatural thriller."
-- Ed Wood




Links:


Da' money goes here:




In Which "The Nation" Quietly Joins My Cause



Being a stalwart publication with a respectable reputation, they approach it gently
If you want to put your finger on the problem confronting Chuck Todd, who made his much-ballyhooed debut as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, you don’t have to look much farther than the two “fun new features” introduced on the first show.
Todd said the recurring segment called “Who Needs Washington?” will explore politics beyond the Beltway, which this week meant interviews with mayors of cities that are “going it on their own with little of Washington’s help or dysfunction.” The second new feature is “What everyone in Washington knows but is afraid to say.” This week the thought that dare not speak its insight was “what Hillary Clinton’s really up to.”
But maybe what everyone on Meet the Press is really afraid to say is that Todd’s mission is at best inherently self-contradictory:
But they get there:
... The shows were dominated by companies like GE, Northrup Grumman and Archer Daniels Midland, who helped determine what policies and scandal werenot talked about on Sunday shows. Yesterday on MTP, Koch Industries ran its big national ad that says, in so many words, they’re so powerful you’re better off working for them than boycotting them.


The idea is that these corporations are above right/left politics, a delusion the news media helps perpetuate by repeating the false equivalency canard that both political sides are equally guilty of any wrong. This Sunday, Todd kept suggesting that it won’t make any difference if the midterm elections result in a Republican or a Democratic senate majority, because gridlock will rule the day...
Congratulations, "The Nation" magazine, and welcome to a life of permanent exile from polite society :-)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mr. "Axis of Evil" Is Still Full Of Martial Advice



Which he is still proffering from one of the many media platforms onto which he is still inexplicably invited.

The question before the nation is, “What is the benefit of this war to America and to Americans?”

That was the question the speech left unanswered. And the ominous suspicion left behind is that the question was unanswered because it is unanswerable—at least, not answerable in any terms likely to be acceptable to the people watching the speech and paying the taxes to finance the fight ahead.
I think it's adorable that one of America's most useless Iraq War cheerleaders is suddenly so overcome with concern over how much all of this war stuff is gonna cost the Murrican taxpayer that he just has to share his worries with the world.  










09.11.14

This is what I wrote back in 2006.

09.11.06


Five Years.

For all the now-forgotten Y2K prattle over when exactly it is that a century actually ends, there is no doubt anymore anywhere when the 21st Century began.

It began five years ago, roaring out of our nightmares and down out of the sky.

Everyone has their memories of that day. Private memories of smells and stares and sobs, and tribal, national memories that fused us all-too-briefly together in a way unlike anything I had ever experienced before.

There is no need for fancy writing to retell a story that has already become as familiar to us as the faces of our families. You saw three thousand people murdered same as me. Some of you saw it in an airport lounge. Some crowded around a television in a break room. Some at home, with three phones going.

Some of you had to sweep the ashes of the dead out of your homes, or wash it out of your hair. I can’t image what that must have been like, which is why ornate words fail.

This generation is not going off to fight a Nazi horde who have conquered Europe, or a Great Depression that has beaten us down into poverty and despair. Instead, living though these times is our destiny, and the outcome is not fixed in the stars or fated in our genes.

We can each choose to stand and fight where we can as best we can, or we can choose to lie down and let this beautiful, consensual hallucination called America die, but never doubt the choice is ours.

Five years ago the specific job of taking point on that mission -- of guiding us through our particular, bewildering tangle of culture, rage, modernity, technology, faith and globalization -- fell to George W. Bush.

And he has failed us.

He has failed this country in ways so numerous, comprehensive and catastrophic they would have been incomprehensible to us on September 10, 2001.

In a backwater era of threatened only by 11% inflation and small, faraway wars, Bush would have come and gone as another forgettable, one-term chief executive, like the whiskered what’s-their-names who pad out the 19th Century White House rolls. He would have been remembered primarily for the historical quirk of being the second man to follow his father by name and title into the White House, and he would have faded into the substrate of historical trivia, a relatively harmless nobody.

But instead he was here -- foisted on us by a minority of voters and a slim majority of judges -- in our hour of need, and for the last five years he has failed every test.

Every test of manhood and bravery.

Of competence and of compassion.

Of seriousness.

Of focus.

Of clarity.

Of leadership.

Of statecraft.

He stands tall today only among a hard core minority of hardwired acolytes and bigots and their panic-peddling media because only in the dark AntiAmerica of their imaginations does a creature like George Bush shine.

Only in their nightmare vision of a nation kept intentionally terrified and on its knees can a man like George Bush have stature.

He has -- in the space of five years -- lost American cities, treasure, credibility, armies and wars. Outside of Jefferson Davis in the last days of the Confederacy, how many American leaders can match a record of failure that spectacular?

Not since Gorbachev presided over the annihilation of Chernobyl, the bloody defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan and the collapse of his empire, has one human being been so present at the destruction of his nation’s institutions.

However the comparison with Gorbachev falls tragically short in two particulars.

First, Gorbachev inherited a decrepit system that was almost fully necroted and ready for the grave. Bush, on the other hand, inherited a nation that was prosperous, at relative peace, and which enjoyed a bottom-line of respect -- grudging or otherwise -- from most of the community of nations. Bush, on the other hand, has been instrumental in our downfall: it has been on his watch and with his wholehearted and energetic support that America was driven off the cliff and into cataclysm.

Second, I delighted in the fall of the Soviet Empire: the implosion of that stifling tyranny was all to the good. But I miss America. The America that could have been. The America whose ideals I adore. The America who, by drags and stumbles and sometimes at the point of a rifle, tried to move a little closer to a more perfect union.

George Bush is an insult to that America.

A living insult to our honored dead.

It has been an awful five years. Awful. Awful for the terrible losses of that day, and for the arrogant squandering of the rare opportunities those terrible losses bequeathed to us. And since fancy words fail, I fall back on music like I often do.

On this film of David Bowie in concert



for the words and music that most fit the way my heart feels when I see these images and think about the history of these last five years.


Pushing thru the market square,

so many mothers sighing


News had just come over,

we had five years left to cry in


News guy wept and told us,

Earth was really dying


Cried so much his face was wet,

then I knew he was not lying


I heard telephones, opera house,

favourite melodies


I saw boys, toys

electric irons and T.V.'s


My brain hurt like a warehouse,

it had no room to spare


I had to cram so many things

to store everything in there


And all the fat-skinny people,



and all the tall-short people



And all the nobody people,



and all the somebody people



I never thought I'd need so many people


A girl my age went off her head,

hit some tiny children


If the black hadn't a-pulled her off,

I think she would have killed them


A soldier with a broken arm,



fixed his stare to the wheels of a Cadillac



A cop knelt and kissed the feet of a priest,



and a queer threw up

at the sight of that


I think I saw you in an ice-cream parlour,


drinking milk shakes cold and long


Smiling and waving and looking so fine


don't think you knew

you were in this song


And it was cold and it rained

so I felt like an actor


And I thought of Ma

and I wanted to get back there



Your face, your race,

the way that you talk


I kiss you, you're beautiful,

I want you to walk



We've got five years,

stuck on my eyes


Five years,

what a surprise


We've got five years,

my brain hurts a lot


Five years,

that's all we've got

We've got five years, what a surprise

Five years, stuck on my eyes

We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot

Five years, that's all we've got

Five years
Five years
Five years
Five years