Category Archives: Kill Whitey

I’m glad we’ll never make THAT mistake again

I don’t think I’ve ever linked to Jim Henley’s finest post:

So many publications have expressed such overwhelming interest in the perspectives of those of us who opposed the Iraq War when it had a chance of doing good that I have had to permit mutliple publication of this article in most of the nation’s elite media venues – collecting, I am almost embarrassed to admit, a separate fee from each. Everyone recognizes that the opinions of those of us who were right about Iraq then are crucial to formulating sane, just policy now. It’s a lot of pressure, so please forgive anything glib or short you read herein: between articles, interviews, think-tank panels and presentations before government agencies and policy organs I’m not permitted to mention, I’m a little frazzled.

On the bright side, and I can confirm that my experience has been similar to those of my fellow prophets, being the object of so much attention, being repeatedly quizzed by eager interlocutors on the same basic points, encourages one to distill one’s thinking to its essence. As Kenneth Pollack asked me the other day, “What the fuck was so special about you, anyway?”

“For one thing,” I said, “I am not sprawled on a sidewalk next the McPherson Square Metro Station, hoping to cadge enough quarters to enjoy the rare treat of laundering the vomit out of the only shirt I own, praying all the while that decent people do not recognize me beneath the matted beard and tangled hair.”

“But my thigh hurts!” He said.

“Shut up,” I consoled him, “or I’ll kick it again.”

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When all you have is a hammer…

Jesus Christ.

(via Unqualified Offerings)

UPDATE:  Robert Farley at LGM has a slightly longer and more thoughtful response than I:

Long story short, it’s quite likely that an invasion would cause a lot more people to die than are likely to die sans intervention.

The idea of a threat of an invasion in order to force SLORC compliance with international aid efforts is a little bit better on its face, but collapses when subjected to scrutiny. The primary interest of the regime is survival; it cares more about survival than the lives of the Burmese people. Allowing itself to be forced at gunpoint to accept international assistance strikes me as considerably more dangerous to regime survival than to simply allow the disaster to run its course. The regime, undoubtedly, also has a strong sense of the difficulties that any invasion would face, especially one with a humanitarian objective. In other words, SLORC has a) reason to believe that the international community is bluffing, and b) strong incentive for calling that bluff. Again, the threat of military intervention in the short term is likely to lead to more, not fewer, dead Burmese.

As I hate war, it is with a heavy heart that I shall start a bunch of them.

I’ve heard a disturbing number of people, all of whom I know to be otherwise sane, tell me that they think John McCain would make a good President, or even tell me that they might vote for him. This is nuts. He would be an awful President. Of course, you wouldn’t know that by watching the news or reading the paper, because the narrative of John McCain among the political press is that of the Saga of Commander Maverick of the Straight Talk Brigade. Never mind that the guy has no coherent domestic policy, nor does he seem particularly interested in one. Never mind that his foreign policy, which is supposed to be a his strength, seems to be nothing more than Bush’s “Obey, or be destroyed,” applied even more widely.

I’ve been trying to figure out how I wanted to approach building my own little counternarrative for you, my audience, because I love all eight of you, and want you to be thoughtful, skeptical consumers of political media. If along the way I can convince you that the contemporary Republican Party is a cancer on the American body politic, so much the better.

Anyway, my quandary is solved: Ezra Klein reminded me that it’s McCain week at the American Prospect. The first article, by Matt Yglesias, is called “The Militarist.” Ezra comments, in part, thus:

He was humble. Bipartisan. A nice guy, liked by partisans on both sides of the aisle. An instinctual moderate who’d constrain America’s foreign policy ambitions and ably manage our finances. He was George W. Bush, and despite what the press said, he was none of those things. Rather, the truest understanding of Bush’s candidacy came from those who had read his policy plans. The shockingly regressive tax cuts, the dismissive attitude towards international treaties, the inattention to our unraveling health care system, the denial of our energy problems — it was all there. The press assured us that those plans were just election-year pandering. Turned out they were his governing agenda.

Similarly, John McCain, we’re told, is a moderate. A nice guy. Respected on both sides of the aisle. Conscious of the limits of American power and the constraints of our fiscal situation. His plans? That hugely regressive tax cut, radical dismantling of the health care system, appetite for endless war? Oh, you know how elections go.

Bullshit.

Ezra’s own article is about McCain’s godawful health care plan.

Sounds good to me

And it came to pass that global capitalism became too clever for itself by half, and stopped working so well, and threatened to pull itself into a bit of a death spiral.

So people are talking bailout.

Here’s my proposal. I offer it at no charge to any member of Congress, presidential candidate or editorial writer willing to bear the calvary of getting the stink-eye next time at Harry Cipriani. If it becomes necessary to bail out the monoliners to prevent a depression, there will be terms. For once, the highly-paid beneficiaries of a taxpayer-financed bailout will not get off scot-free.

Congress shall specify that no bailout will take place unless and until (a) every bailed out monoliner and (b) every financial institution holding a bailed-out policy certifies that its employees have voluntarily agreed to accept a 25% federal income tax surcharge on every dollar earned above $200,000 for a period of 5 years. A young hotshot earning $300,000 would see $25,000 added to his tax bill. An elder pulling down $1 million would owe an extra $200,000. Since some of the biggest Wall Street multinationals are policyholders, and since this would apply to every one of their employees over $200,000, we could be talking about a lot of people and a lot of money. It could even go some way towards making the bailout pay for itself.

Politically, it’s a winner. Fiscally, it’s sound. It’s extraordinarily well-targeted to precisely the assholes who got us into this mess in the first place.

The only problem being, of course, that politicians are howling black holes of financial and psychological neediness, and depend on precisely the assholes who got us into this mess for their money and social validation. Ah, well. Consequences are for the poor, anyway.

(via A Tiny Revolution)

Evolving understandings of the term “last refuge” in contemporary scoundrel studies

Since I didn’t post yesterday, making my planned week of daily posts a success for exactly one day, I’ll give you two today.

Here then is a link I’ve been meaning to post, to a review by Rick Perlstein of Jane Fonda’s War: A Political Biography of an Anti-war Icon, by Mary Hershberger. A little bit of American mythology, like George Washington and the cherry tree, or Al Gore’s lying habit, or whatever.

Terribly, horribly banal

John Holbo writes:

Possible slogan for ‘08: ‘Anybody can make a mistake. To really screw things up requires a Republican.’ Maybe with a cute kitten, wearing a Goldwater button, barely clinging to a clothesline. And I’m talking slogans for the Republicans here. The Republican party is in some danger of becoming the party for those who don’t care about the harms of epic misgovernment. It may be that the Republican party is now the party of those personally more enriched than harmed by epic mismanagement (privileged island in an ever-rising ocean). And the party whose philosophy is, perversely, pseudo-confirmed by every fresh revelation of mismanagement. Did FEMA screw up following Katrina? Then David Brooks wrote a toldja so column about how government can’t solve our problems. And so he did. (What is the Republican incentive to do something right when doing it right means missing an opportunity to dance with the ones what brung you; and when doing it wrong will just produce a laudatory David Brooks column? Talk about perverse incentives.)

which reminded me sort of tangentially of this Kung Fu Monkey post about the exploit in American government:

This just hammers home my realization of what the Cheney Administration — and yes, damn you this is the first time I’ve indulged in that neologism, and the first time I think it perfectly appropriate — what the Cheney Administration has discovered. They have found the “exploit” within the United States Government. As I watched Congressmen and Senators stumble and fumble and thrash, unable to bring to heel men and women who were plainly lying to them under oath, unable to eject from public office toadies of a boot-licking expertise unseen since Versailles, it struck me. The sheer, simple elegance of it. The “exploit”.

The exploit is shame.

Our representatives — and to a great degree we as a culture — are completely buffaloed by shamelessness. You reveal a man’s corrupt, or lying, or incompetent, and what does he do? He resigns. He attempts to escape attention, often to aid in his escape of legal pursuit. Public shame has up to now been the silver bullet of American political life. But people who are willing to just do the wrong thing and wait you out, to be publicly guilty … dammmnnnn.

which reminded me, somewhat tangentially, of this post at A Tiny Revolution:

But the people who work for the New York Times, ABC, and NBC aren’t nuts, nor is Matt Drudge. Their actions are completely rational. They’re just doing what their bosses want them to do, because they want to keep their jobs.

It’s true they seem nuts if you believe their constant yammering about how their only motivation is the search for Truth and Beauty. Likewise, Saddam seemed nuts if you believed his constant yammering about his only motivation being his luv for Iraq. And Bush seems nuts if you believe he’s motivated by luv for America.

Why is it so difficult for societies to understand this about those in authority? I suspect it’s connected to family dynamics. It’s less scary to believe dad loves you, but is acting crazy, than to accept he’s not crazy but genuinely doesn’t care whether you live or die.

Which reminded me of everything Arthur Silber’s ever written.

And here’s where I end up: I blame Leni Riefenstahl. She was so damned good at her job that the putrefying body of the German republic appeared on film as a terrible bronze god. So now when a democracy goes rotten, we expect to see Triumph of the Will, not cable news.

If you don’t like the laws, ignore them. Failing that, buy some new ones.

Also via Avedon, Jay Rockefeller, Democratic Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman, lies to try to get the Get Out of Jail Free Act passed for the telecom companies who helped the Bush administration illegally spy on Americans without warrants, from its beginning (it turns out that the Bush administration – and this is true, I am not making this up – actually began on some date before September 11th, 2001*).

Anyway, Glenn Greenwald** has some thoughts on the matter:

And that really brings us to the heart of the matter. Rockefeller, Hiatt and their friends plainly see themselves — along with the telecom executives and lobbyists who flatter and feast them and are their peers and colleagues and friends — as our elite vanguard. They know best, and when they break the law, it is for our own good. “Laws” are for the masses, to keep social order, to ensure that the Rockefellers and Hiatts can rule in peace and telecom executives can develop their extremely profitable relationships with government agencies without being bothered by “unfair” disruptions, such as court proceedings when they break the law.

“Punishment” for lawbreaking is not for them. Rockefeller — with his wise and genetically implanted noblesse oblige — has looked at everything in Secret and knows that there was nothing wrong here. And that’s all we need to know. We should place faith in his Judgment that there need be no further examination of what his telecom contributors did. No court proceedings or judges need look at any of this because Jay Rockefeller has adjudged, in secret with Dick Cheney, that telecoms should be protected. Just marvel at these self-loving, patronizing assurances:

Over the past year, the Senate intelligence committee has examined this issue, along with the need to bring the warrantless surveillance program within the law. We closely studied the facts, the documents and the alternatives to liability for the companies. Ultimately, we concluded that if we subject companies to lawsuits when doing so is patently unfair, we will forfeit industry as a crucial tool in our national defense. . . .

Unfortunately, immunity for communications companies has become a cause celebre for opponents of the surveillance program as a whole, and that has led to widespread confusion.

The growing anger over efforts to protect lawbreaking telecoms is nothing more than a “cause celebre.” We’re just “confused,” misdirecting our unbridled, unsophisticated rage to the poor, innocent telecoms. It is up to the Serious Rulers — Rockefeller and Hiatt and Cheney and Jamie Gorelick — to protect these executives from the wild masses who are starting to become restless with their childish, confused ideas about how telecoms shouldn’t be given license to break what we used to call “the law.”

Now why would a legislator, of all people, argue in favor of selective disregard of the law?  I can’t think of any reason.

*Although it has not yet been disproved that 9/11/01 is the date that Rudy Giuliani sprang like Athena, fully-formed, from the end of a policeman’s baton.

**Humming to myself, “Oh, no!  There goes NRO!  Go, go Glennzilla!”

Second quote of the day

Via Shakes:

What does our poll show about the black vote in the Democratic race?

Well, it shows that black voters respond to other things besides race.

Another white guy who thinks it’s remarkable that black people live and think, just like you and me. I always get this image in my head of them running around like the end of Soylent Green:

“OMG black people are made of people! THEY’RE PEEEEEEEOPLE!!!”

And this is the guy who wants to be dictator

From a diary by litigatormom on Daily Kos, a portion of the 60 Minutes interview with The Commander-in-Chief:

    PELLEY: Do you think you owe the Iraqi people an apology for not doing a better job?

    BUSH: That we didn’t do a better job or they didn’t do a better job?

    PELLEY: Well, that the United States did not do a better job in providing security after the invasion.

    BUSH: Not at all. I am proud of the efforts we did. We liberated that country from a tyrant. I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude, and I believe most Iraqis express that. I mean, the people understand that we’ve endured great sacrifice to help them. That’s the problem here in America. They wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that’s significant enough in Iraq.

    PELLEY: Americans wonder whether . . .

    BUSH: Yeah, they wonder whether or not the Iraqis are willing to do hard work necessary to get this democratic experience to survive. That’s what they want.

Jesus Christ.

(via Steve Gilliard)

Oh, that’s just beautiful

Keith Ellison just got elected to the House of Representatives from the 5th District in Minnesota. This is a bit of a milestone, because he’s the first Muslim ever to be elected to Congress. As he is a Muslim, he’s decided to be sworn into to office on the Q’uran. This is mostly a symbolic decision, because the official swearing-in takes place with the new Representatives doing it all at once in the same room, with no religious texts involved. But individual reps will then often have private swearing-in ceremonies as well, which are good for photo ops and stuff.

Anyway, Representative-elect Ellison’s decision to be sworn in on the Q’uran had prompted the usual shitbaggery from the America for Americans crowd.

First, Dennis Prager:

Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison’s favorite book is. Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don’t serve in Congress. In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath.

Devotees of multiculturalism and political correctness who do not see how damaging to the fabric of American civilization it is to allow Ellison to choose his own book need only imagine a racist elected to Congress. Would they allow him to choose Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” the Nazis’ bible, for his oath? And if not, why not? On what grounds will those defending Ellison’s right to choose his favorite book deny that same right to a racist who is elected to public office?

Oh, you read that right. Advocates a religious test for office holders, and compares the Q’uran to Mein Kampf. Awesome. Thanks for defending America, Dennis, and making it safe for adherents to the religious text that includes the story of Lot.

Shitbag number two is Glenn Beck, who, I must note because I am nothing if not fair to the boorishly anencephalic, made these comments before the whole Q’uran thing:

BECK: OK. No offense, and I know Muslims. I like Muslims. I’ve been to mosques. I really don’t believe that Islam is a religion of evil. I — you know, I think it’s being hijacked, quite frankly.

With that being said, you are a Democrat. You are saying, “Let’s cut and run.” And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, “Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.”

And I know you’re not. I’m not accusing you of being an enemy, but that’s the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way.

ELLISON: Well, let me tell you, the people of the Fifth Congressional District know that I have a deep love and affection for my country. There’s no one who is more patriotic than I am. And so, you know, I don’t need to — need to prove my patriotic stripes.

Watch the video. Ellison laughs it off, and is far more gracious than I think I’d have been able to be. “I’m not accusing you of being an enemy, but, y’know, prove it.”

Third, Congressman Virgil Goode, Democrat of Virginia (nah, I’m just playing, of course he’s a Republican):

Dear Mr. Cruickshank:

Thank you for your recent communication. When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran. We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country. I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped.

The Ten Commandments and “In God We Trust” are on the wall in my office. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Koran. My response was clear, “As long as I have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, The Koran is not going to be on the wall of my office.” Thank you again for your email and thoughts.

Sincerely yours,
Virgil H. Goode, Jr.
70 East Court Street
Suite 215
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151

Immigrants? Clinton? Worry about precious bodily fluids resources? It’s like he’s got a checklist.

Okay, so, in the face of all that disingenuous bigotry and gratuitous xenophobia, it comes to pass that Keith Ellison will, nonetheless, indeed use a Q’uran for his swearing-in photo op.

Thomas Jefferson’s Q’uran.

What's my name?

God bless America.

(Extended) quotation of the day

From some guy on blogspot:

There’s this attitude out there where one’s foreign policy abilities are judged by whether you supported the right wars, with people like Peter Beinart checking off their little lists. The foreign policy hawks see supporting wars as courageous acts, as if sending other peoples’ kids off to die and voting for massive defense budget increases requires courage instead of a healthy possession of sociopathic tendencies.

Wars are failures. A primary purpose of sensible foreign policy is to stop them. When wars happen, our foreign policy has failed. That isn’t to say there’s never a point when they’re necessary or justified, but that point is simply an acknowledgment that the people in charge failed.

God frowns

Via BoingBoing, some truth for God’s youth:

The Church of God is made up of seven separate eras, recorded in Revelation 2 and 3. Today we live in the Laodicean era (Rev. 3:14-21)—the seventh and last era of the Church. Last century was, for the most part, the time of the sixth era, Philadelphia.

Okay, that’s harsh. I mean, sure, they’re not doing great, but they spent all last season languishing with a disgruntled T.O. But why hate? They’ve offloaded T.O. onto Dallas, so now he’s Parcells’ problem. I’d say he’s Bledsoe’s problem, but really, Bledsoe is also Parcells’ problem.

The Eagles have had a great start to their season, and while I don’t think they’re going to win any Superbowls this year, I also don’t think it’s fair to consign them to last century. I wouldn’t even count them out of the playoffs.

Also, who the fuck is Laodicea? Is this some expansion team? We don’t need that shit. The Texans are enough.

But we were talking about blogs. Blogs are totally unchristian:

The Internet—and more specifically blogs—has enabled everyone to have a voice on any matter. Now everyone’s thoughts are “published” for all to see. Whether or not it is effective, as soon as something is posted the person has a larger voice. It often makes the blogger feel good or makes him feel as if his opinion counts—when it is mostly mindless blather!

All right, that’s my word. Given the forum, here, I can hardly argue with that.

Ask yourself, “Do I have a tendency to want to have a voice?”

Ye-

This has grown so out of control it is routine for a person to start a daily blog entry with a single word that details his or her mood. A blog entry will start: “Current mood: ____” The level of shallowness and emotional immaturity this represents is astonishing! In the grand scheme of things, why would the world at large care?

That’s just offsides. Livejournal’s a big, fat, easy target, but lay off. Some of my best friends are Livejournalers! Not to mention some of the finest minds writing today. And where would you go for your Buffy slashfic if we didn’t have Livejournal? Jerk.

Stop and consider. The biggest mark you will ever make is to build God’s character and be born into the God Family. Blogging will not help you achieve this.

Totally. Writing every day, honing your craft, thinking about how you want to represent yourself — all these things are poisonous to being an effective evangelist for the Good News. Good point. Airtight.

Ask yourself: Why would you have the need to share personal things with people you don’t even know—i.e., the world at large?

Yeah, you didn’t see Jesus or the apostles running around talking to all sorts of people about– um…

If you post mundane details of your life, you are in effect saying that your life is important and that people should read about it. Also, whether or not you admit it, having a blog with your name, your picture and your opinions strokes the human ego—it lifts you up. It essentially advertises the self! Many teenagers say, “Listen to me, world, and what I have to say,” when they should be focused on changing and cleaning up their lives.

It’s like, you’re sharing the story of your life, when you should be witnessing about your life’s journey… um, to finding Christ… wait.

If you blog, are you sure you do not partially enjoy it because your carnal nature is inclined toward vanity?

Yes. My carnal nature is inclined toward fucking. Also eating, and drinking, and sleeping late. And fucking; did I mention fucking?* My cerebral nature, on the other hand, the intellectual part that still insists on calling my body Brother Ass no matter how many times I remind it that I’m an atheist? That part is totally inclined toward vanity. Also, whatever part it is that makes me fix my hair in the mirror. Vanity, vanity, all is etc.

All right, I’ll wrap this up. There’s some more business about how every time you talk it’s sinful, and speaking about your own life is ungodly, and even, I swear, an admonition not to use “OMG” because it’s shorthand for taking the lord’s name in vain. Basically, the whole damned article is about how adolescents shouldn’t be wrapped up in themselves. Right. Like fish should cut it the hell out with the whole water-breathing thing.

The article ends by saying this:

All that said, you can—and SHOULD—maintain friends the “old-fashioned” way, through actual personal contact, as well as letter writing, emailing or instant messaging (see inset) [and insert Mark Foley joke here].

God’s Church is growing quickly, with many young people coming aboard. Be sure to reach out and get to know them. You will benefit and so will they, as you continue on the path toward the kingdom of God.

If I may be serious for a moment, the internet — blogs most definitely included — has been a great way for people to “fellowship,” as American Christians verb it. Livejournal, which the article singles out as being evil and frivolous, is actually a hugely successful community-building tool, even for people who don’t write slash fic. This article chaps my ass because it doesn’t have anything serious to say to a Christian kid looking for someplace to share her experience and build her faith. It just wants her to shut up and obey.

Why do I, the atheist, care? Because this article isn’t about Christianity. It’s about using Jesus as the means to get kids to be ashamed of thinking about the world and how they relate to it. And if I had to pick the greater evil between a) blogging and b) smothering a kid’s self-awareness and curiosity while it’s at its most vigorous, I don’t really have to hesitate when I make that choice.

Although, seriously, when you’re writing, if you type “ur” instead of “your,” you’re going straight to Hell. There’s nothing I can do about that.

*Note: Mom, Dad — little joke. I don’t fuck, ever.