So our next veep is Laura Roslin?
Friday, August 29, 2008
And yet Buchanan is right that almost every prime-time convention speaker has behaved as though President Bush's greatest crimes of the past eight years have involved lost jobs and climbing oil prices. On the streets of Denver, they are protesting Guantanamo, wiretapping, and water-boarding. But inside the hall, you'd think it was just another recession year.Dahlia Lithwick is one of those smart, witty writers whose inability to grasp the nature of the country in which she lives, despite all the evidence splayed (flayed?) before her eyes, ears, and intellect persists. The Democratic Convention, just for instance, has locked down the affected portions of the city as if under martial law, complete with circling helicopters, as well as your favorite and mine, "free-speech zones." Razor wire, blast barriers, and more than four dozen "agencies" coordinating "security." The people protesting illegal detention are being illegally detained at the behest of the people Lithwick expects to address illegal detention. Must we point out again that when a gulf appears between talk and act, the acts reveal the true belief? Yes? Yes.
-Dahlia Lithwick in Slate
Individuals arrested at the Democratic National Convention will be processed at an industrial warehouse with chain-link cells topped by razor wire, a facility some have compared to the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.
Groups planning marches, concerts and other events during the Aug. 25-28 convention dub the center "Gitmo on the Platte," for the nearby South Platte River...Video footage of the north Denver warehouse on Denver's KCNC-TV showed coils of razor wire topping chain-link cells. A sign read: "Electric stun devices used here."
-via Chris Floyd
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Okay, so why have none of you cocksuckers told me that Snuggles McCain is on Ambien? What do I not pay you for, huh?
Dudes and dudettes, I once partied a little too hard and so, come three-thirty AM or so, chased a pair of Ambien with a shot of Beam. Oh, I feel asleep all right. When I woke in the morning, I was laying in the yard cradling a blue Whole Foods bag full of empty wine bottles due for recycling as if it were a fucking teddy bear. I had something resembling a henna tattoo on the back of my right hand. That turned out to be Sharpie. Stumbling back inside, I discovered on the prep table in the kitchen an empty pack of Marlboros. On one side was a neat row of cigarettes, sans filters. On the other side was a neat row of filters, sans cigarettes. Also on the table, my pruning shears. Jesus Christ, why not just elect a thirteen-year-old with a robotripping habit?
Democracy, too, is a religion. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses.The extremes to which a bunch of mooks who despise their country in all its specifics will go to defend its generalized honor never ceases to amaze me, and I am in general very difficult to amaze. I grew up, and my folks still live, in pre-apocalyptic, post-coal Appalachia--Fayette County, PA. Hillary Country, for all you Barry O. fans. Child of privilege though I was, Dad knew how to play to local political necessities, and unlike most of the other local scions, who lopped off to Shadyside or Mercersburg, I spent my un-formative years truckin' around with the local yokels, getting stoned, drinking Natty Ice, bashing mailboxes with baseball bats, furtively jerking each other . . . Well, what happens at Ohiopyle stays at Ohiopyle.
Across the street from the bar, two dozen protesters under the watchful eye of a statue of Adolph Coors waved American flags, blew air horns and revved motorcycle engines. "Al Jazeera is terrorism," announced one sign. "Go home, Al Jazeera -- Voices for al Qaeda and bin Laden," proclaimed another. The protesters had shirts printed up for the occasion, saying "Buffalo Rose/Tokyo Rose" in English and Arabic, although they botched the Arabic translation.
One biker covered his T-shirt in thoughtful, handwritten messages, such as "Islam Sucks" and "Al-Jazeera: Anti-American Pond Scum."
Curiously to me then, my family, to whom this nation had given everything, was ambivalent about its blessings, skeptical about its uniqueness, fond of foreign cultures and cuisines, and uninterested in the chest-thumping, penis-pumping nationalism of locally popular holidays like Flag Day. Oh, we liked America just fine; liked how big and scenic it was; preferred it to Nicaragua or Zimbabwe or North Korea. After 9/11, Mom and Dad even put up a little American flag, although by the time I came home for a Thanksgiving visit, it had come down. Meanwhile, the families I knew in decidedly different circumstances, with one parent out of work and the other toiling for under ten bucks an hour, living in a double-wide, cursing the boss, cursing Washington, clucking miserably at the evening news . . . these managed to evince a xenophobic nationalism bordering on monomania. My grandmother loved airplanes, and used to take my brother and me to the Latrobe Air Show every year. In the late nineties the newly in-production B-2 stealth bomber made an overflight, and I watched in something between hysterics and horror as an immensely fat, trucker-capped man in an American-flag
This is not to suggest that the well-to-do are beyond nationalism. Most of them are not. The rest of the American flags in my neighborhood were far larger and stayed up much longer. But I am unfascinated by the lower end of the upper class getting off on the pro-corporate bellicose Americanism of whichever party. It makes sense that this would be so. On the other hand, there seems an astonishing capacity among those most shit on and most deprived to actually give a fuck, to such a degree that a foreign news gang can rouse them to screams and threats, even as a mere twelve miles down the road their own conational betters continue to chart the course of their ruin.
This election is truly interminable, and would be better settled by drawing straws or a Greco-Roman wrestling match or strewing poultry entrails on the floor of the Senate chamber. Last night the Donk upped the anty in the couple of minutes of speeches that I caught, raising the old "one of the most important elections of our lifetimes" with a mountain of "one of the most important elections in the history of our nation." What're we going to call 2012: the Second Coming? The Singularity? In fact this has so far proved to be one of the least significant campaigns I can recall, with the Democrats making broad, if milquetoast, appeals to some very vague and entirely rhetorical notion of social justice while striving to appear modestly less militant even as they pimp their chimerical toughness, while Republicans proclaim that the free-market rising tide will lift all boats, decry a non-existent Democratic socialism, and rattle the decorative saber at an increasingly uncowed world. These have been the precise dynamics of every American Presidential contest since Jimminy Cricket beat Pardon-Me Ford . . . at least. Saieth The Stiftung:
Nothing on Guatanamo, illegal and unconstitutional torture, nothing about Russia beyond platitudes about Neocon solidarity with Georgian freedom-loving activities, nothing about NATO expansion, nothing about China, India beyond a roll call of rising powers, and so on. No specifics about Iraq (and glossing over Biden’s vote for the war, too). No talk about restoring the constitution and balance between an Imperial Regime in both domestic and foreign affairs.This must be moderately en plaisantant, because The Stiftung Strauss knows that on these issues the Donk shares the same bellicose know-nothingism as his cross-aisle rival. Democracy good; Putin bad. NATO = Democracy. China = TBD. Inda = N/A. In the eyes of Washington, Iraq is now thankfully winding down, and with fewer BOOM!s comes fewer headlines. Why would they mention something that The People are so ready to forget? The invisible masters have issued their directive to the new would-be managers: Make. This. Go. Away. As for the constitution and forswearing the Roman trappings of the imperial presidency, that is the least likely outcome of all.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
So. My boy Glenn goes to Colorado for the annointing. There he discovers that the people who pay for the Democratic Party pay for the Democratic Party. He notices that AT&T, the corporate sponsor of the convention, has pasted its logo all over the Democratic Party's signage, which is, of course, what corporate sponsors do. He extrapolates that wealthy industries may have undue influence on the party, that the party agrees to immunize the telecoms from legal actions, for instance, because the party is the beneficiary of a little fiscal largesse. He discovers that the party doesn't particularly care what he, Glenn Greenwald, thinks, nor what Amy Goodman of Democracy . . . any . . . hang on . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . minute . . . now thinks, nor what any of the callow, pudgy, middle-aged losers rockin' to the golden oldies and waving signs from the convention floor think, because none of you motherfuckers is rich, bitch. Perhaps it even occurs to him that these very same entitites give money to the Republicans as well. Perhaps it occurs to him that industry provides well-paid sinecures for ex-officials who tire of palace life. Perhaps it occurs to him that government and corporate industry are sides of a coin in our glorious, post-Soviet system of State Capital.
So. In. Other. Words. These political insights are equally available to anyone who takes a couple of bong rips and sits on his ass watching Bulworth. What is he doing in Denver except validating the spectacle as some kind of legitimate, meaningful democratic process, and why does he insist that he's still going to vote for this gang? I begrudge no man his scam, and I hope Glenn is making bank on book and blog alike, but seriously, they pay him for this?
Europeans don't understand America, or else regard it with false naïveté. You don't hear many wondering how the Russians can be so high on Putin, and yet Iain MacWhirter, who's supposed to be some kind of experienced political reporter, can't figure out how Americans could elect a nutjob imperialist after eight years of nutjob imperialism. Why, it's almost as if America is a nation of nutjob imperialists.
But that is not precisely true. Mencken famously said that the American and the Russian were of the same piece, naturally ignorant, superstitious, and prejudiced. We're a nation of serfs and peasants, like any self-respecting empire. Foreigners who wonder how Americans can be so credulous, ignorant, xenophobic, nationalistic, ad inf. have clearly never been inside one of our schools . . . let alone one of our churches. Why would America elect Whacko McCain when it could elect the Smooth Talker? Five words: Nigger with a funny name. I swear to you, World, that it really is that simple. That we can scratch our chins and wonder if it might be so is a testament to our own self-misapprehensions. Doesn't anybody read Kushner:
I hate America, Louis. I hate this country. It’s just big ideas, and stories, and people dying, and people like you. The white cracker who wrote the national anthem knew what he was doing. He set the word 'free' to a note so high nobody can reach it. That was deliberate. Nothing on earth sounds less like freedom to me. You come to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean. I live in America, Louis, that’s hard enough, I don’t have to love it. You do that. Everybody’s got to love something.Sometimes I wonder if I ain't the only one paying attention.
Via Cernig at C&L
On February 19:
Kosovo won the recognition of the United States and its biggest Western European allies on Monday, while earning rebukes and rejections from Serbia, Russia and a disparate mix of states the world over who face their own separatist movements at home.Yes. A good thing it didn't serve as an invitation or a precedent.
One day after the tiny Balkan province declared its independence, the world had its chance to choose sides. While some countries had made their decisions months in advance, that did not diminish the drama of whether a newly birthed nation would be welcomed into the fold or rejected.
Major European powers, including France, Germany and Britain, along with the United States, officially recognized Kosovo, even as officials took pains to point out that it should not serve as an invitation or precedent for other groups hoping to declare independence.
On August 27:
Russia on Tuesday formally recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the two enclaves in Georgia whose separatist aspirations stirred the fierce conflict this month.This has been another episode of What Goes Around, Comes Around.
The step, which goes beyond Russia’s military operation and is intended to consolidate its military success into permanent political gains, is viewed as highly provocative in the West, which has insisted on the preservation of Georgia’s territorial integrity.
It drew immediate condemnation from the United States and its allies.
Acting a day after Russia’s Parliament unanimously supported the enclaves’ request to secede, President Dmitri A. Medvedev announced that he had signed decrees recognizing the two territories’ independence. He blamed the Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, for causing the bloodshed and forcing Moscow’s hand.
He said it was clear that the warring sides could never again live together, and South Ossetia and Abkhazia had to be independent.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Dennis P. hits the high notes, and Radley Balko reminds us that Joe Biden is a drug-war simp and dedicated supporter of the prison-planet police state. Personally I'm tickled by the fact that the Donk veep candidate is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the finance and credit industries in this year of populist know-nothingism on the campaign trail. I remember when Proggie Netrootsia was givin' the ol' "push back" against the terrible, unjust, no-good, very bad "bankruptcy bill," of which Loudmouth Joe was a prime mover. You have to hand it to the Donk, though. Its mind is supple, man.
So this is probably more up Thoreau's alley over at UO, but really? I'm not talking about the do-they or don't-they believe in evolution angle. Whatever to all that. I'm talking about the fact that these kids are 16 and 17 and appear to have no functional knowledge of heredity, say, and don't know chemistry, anatomy, etc. Is it my imagination, or does the Florida high-school biology curriculum belong in a 3rd- or 4th-grade science class?