Monday, December 24, 2012
Tonight, at my church's Christmas Eve service, the small choir in which I sing will be performing a Joseph Martin cantata, "The Winter Rose." (Look on YouTube -- there's all kinds of videos or performances by big choirs, with orchestras and dancers and all. That's not us -- we're a dozen or so voices, accompanied by piano.) It's an odd thing ... we've been rehearsing this at the weekly choir practice for a few months now, but as the time gets closer, I'm finding it more and more difficult to sing my part, here and there, because my voice wants to choke up and I want to kind of tear up. I need to try to get a good grip on myself this evening, because there's only three of us singing bass, and it isn't good if one-third of the bass kind of drops out for a phrase or two.
This is, in many ways, an ugly and frightening world in which we live. And this blog tends to focus, almost exclusively, on that sort of thing. I do not apologize for that -- I think we Americans, in particular, tend to be fed (in the information sense) on dangerous crapola and myths that serve bad purposes, to which the only possible antidote amounts to angry shouting. But God is real, and He is good, and I love Him ... not as I should, and not as would be ordinate to His nature; but in my small, cold, poor way, I do. Let's love each other. Let's be Christ to each other. And a merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Yes, I'm sickened and appalled, just as we're all officially supposed to be. But right now, what sickens me are the uses to which the regime -- surely, a manifestation of detestable evil -- puts the pathetic bodies of the dead. In this case, it's not hard to see that they'll be used as a means of further diminishing the liberties remaining to we serfs, and to enhance the powers of our rulers. No great surprise there.
But I'm also thinking about other bodies. Other children's bodies. But not in Connecticut. I'm thinking of ones in Afghanistan, and Iraq, and Yemen, and Pakistan. I'm thinking about the Peace Laureate's hired torpedoes (sorry, I must have meant "our heroes in uniform") who kill children ... brownish ones, with funny names ... to advance the alleged US "national interest" in the filthy international games of wealth and power and dominance and advantage. Or to bolster the political standing and tough-guy image of the clowns in American political offices, jackass and elephant alike. Or for the sporting satisfaction of our heroes in uniform, soon to be seeking jobs in American "police forces" ... sleep well, Mr. and Mrs. America!
My, how the state does nourish itself on dead bodies: foreign and domestic alike. Revolting.
Of all the humane and eloquent words mouthed by the Peace Laureate, which do not apply at least as well to the last twenty or thirty underage Muslim victims of drone attacks, ordered by this same Official Comforter? What did he say about the American schoolchildren that isn't at least as true of the collateral damage that he so cheerfully inflicts overseas?
Sow the wind -- reap the whirlwind.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
You shall not murder.I'm thinking right now of our just-resigned CIA director, General David Petraeus, the man with the exquisitely Roman-sounding name. (Why couldn't his parents have chosen "Caesar" as his first name?) Transgressing Exodus 20:13 made him a household name, a great military hero. Transgressing Exodus 20:14, on the other hand, is a scandal that makes him unfit for refined company.
You shall not commit adultery.
Is this a great country, or what?
Saturday, November 10, 2012
To all those now hailing the re-election of Barack Obama as a triumph of decent, humane, liberal values over the oozing-postule perfidy of the Republicans, a simple question:
Is this child dead enough for you?
This little boy was named Naeemullah. He was in his house -- maybe playing, maybe sleeping, maybe having a meal -- when an American drone missile was fired into the residential area where he lived and blew up the house next door.
As we all know, these drone missiles are, like the president who wields them, super-smart, a triumph of technology and technocratic expertise. We know, for the president and his aides have repeatedly told us, that these weapons -- launched only after careful consultation of the just-war strictures of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas -- strike nothing but their intended targets and kill no one but "bad guys." Indeed, the president's top aides have testified under oath that not a single innocent person has been among the thousands of Pakistani civilians -- that is, civilians of a sovereign nation that is not at war with the United States -- who have been killed by the drone missile campaign of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
Yet somehow, by some miracle, the missile that roared into the residential area where Naeemullah lived did not confine itself neatly to the house it struck. Somehow, inexplicably, the hunk of metal and wire and computer processors failed -- in this one instance -- to look into the souls of all the people in the village and ascertain, by magic, which ones were "bad guys" and then kill only them. Somehow -- perhaps the missile had been infected with Romney cooties? -- this supercharged hunk of high explosives simply, well, exploded with tremendous destructive power when it struck the residential area, blowing the neighborhood to smithereens.
As Wired reports, shrapnel and debris went flying through the walls of Naeemullah's house and ripped through his small body. When the attack was over -- when the buzzing drone sent with Augustinian wisdom by the Peace Laureate was no longer lurking over the village, shadowing the lives of every defenseless inhabitant with the terrorist threat of imminent death, Naeemullah was taken to the hospital in a nearby town.
This is where the picture of above was taken by Noor Behram, a resident of North Waziristan who has been chronicling the effects of the Peace Laureate's drone war. When the picture was taken, Naeemullah was dying. He died an hour later.
Is he dead enough for you?
Dead enough not to disturb your victory dance in any way? Dead enough not to trouble the inauguration parties yet to come? Dead enough not to diminish, even a little bit, your exultant glee at the fact that this great man, a figure of integrity, decency, honor and compassion, will be able to continue his noble leadership of the best nation in the history of the world?
A long excerpt, I know, but it's not a short post. And quite difficult to find a place to "cut off" when excerpting. Please read the whole thing.
Thursday, November 08, 2012
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
So, I looked in there today, figuring (after yesterday's orgy of voting) that I'd be treated to some crude triumphalism. I was not disappointed. Man, is everything wonderful today! It's an all-blue country, for sure. Fortunately for the commenters, the House of Representatives remains nominally in evil GOP hands. As the Empire continues its slow-motion collapse, then, it won't be difficult to lay the blame on those red-tinged miscreants.
Certainly, the same thing happens in the scarlet wing of the War Party; if I'm not mistaken, there was a short period during the Dubya regime in which both White House and Congress were nominally red. And I'm sure there was plenty of elephant hubris to be seen online. Probably because I used to self-describe as a "conservative," I seem to get more pleasure from viewing blue excess. As I say, a guilty pastime.
I just wish it were possible to do the following simple experiment. Get some volunteer political partisans, red and blue: a statistically-significant sample of each sort. Get them to agree to live in an isolation dome for, let's say, a decade. No newspapers, no broadcasting, no internet goes into the dome, except through the busy hands of the experimenters. The experimenters would provide to the subjects a daily Dome Newspaper, which would contain all the news, complete and truthful, but with the names and formal political affiliations redacted: replaced with "person A" and "person B," affiliated with ... what shall we call the parties? Maybe the Vice Lords and Gangster Disciples? (I started to write "Crips and Bloods," but I believe those two already have blue and red associations. An interesting thought, that!) Anyway, after the ten years' experimental period was up, ask each volunteer to say who was who, and what party was in power when. Unless I'm greatly mistaken, they would be correct at no better a rate than would result from random guessing.
Folks, there's only one party. And it keeps you fascinated and diverted by this sock-puppet show it puts on, continually: a blue sock on one hand, a red one on the other. And that's the way it's a-gonna stay.
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
A couple of days ago, I spent the morning with a congregation of the like-minded in order to worship, together, the Lord Jesus.
Today, I've already been asked several times whether I've attended the High Holy Day of the Cult of Democracy. No, I say, I don't do that, emailing my link to a couple of folks. Diversity's a good thing, isn't it? Isn't that what we're so often told? I think, in many cases, the tellers don't really believe it. That, or their idea of "diversity" differs pretty sharply from mine.
Still, I'm sure I'll turn on the Magic Talking Satan Box tonight and entertain myself with the results. Just because I don't vote doesn't mean I can't root. And, I tell you, I'm really rooting for Obamney. Man, if that chowderhead Rombama wins, we're in a whole lotta trouble, fer sure! And if you're not sure which one's Obamney, and which is Rombama, well ... welcome to the club.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
I got home late and, as I stood in the kitchen, packing my lunch for today, I turned on the Magic Talking Satan Box (or, as some would say, the television).
There, the flickering phosphors revealed the two-dimensional likenesses of a couple of one-dimensional men. One is Prexy, and apparently wishes to go on being such; the other desires to displace the first.
I logged approximately five minutes of "debate" time. During this time, I learned that either Amur'ka "stands with" Israel, in some absolute and unconditional fashion, or that Amur'ka is Israel. No doubt the distinction is somehow crucial, to the finely-calibrated mind.
I also learned that it's important what you do with your mouth, while your opponent is speaking (but you're still being shown, via split-screen). What you do is, you assume a sort of facial rictus that both these blots on the landscape would no doubt call a "smile." In the one case, it's an entitled sort of smirk; in the other, it's a coprophagous stunt with the lips and teeth that reminds me of the frozen snarl on the mouthparts of the road-killed possum that I got too good a look at while riding my bicycle last weekend.
That was enough. I have now absolutely fulfilled my obligation to duh-mocracy for 2012.
Monday, October 08, 2012
Meanwhile, I'm indebted to LewRockwell.com for passing along an amusing image:
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Oh, wait, we already did that, didn't we? Didn't we pretty much see to it that last year's New Hitler, Moammar Gaddafi, was
I mean, what could go wrong?
Or maybe regime change in Iran? Again, what could go wrong?
Or, uh ... just thinking out loud here ... ahhh ... we could ... maybe ... mind our own business? Come home?
Nah. Sorry. It's a non-starter, I know. Forget I mentioned it, please.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said the United States had forfeited its moral right to stop Israel taking action against Iran's nuclear program because it had refused to be firm with Tehran itself.Sure, Bibi, I'm right with you, except for the "forfeited" part -- after all, you can't forfeit what you never had. And, the way I see things, since Israel is a foreign country, about the only thing we have any business stopping Israel from doing would be invading the US. OK, Bibi, I'm pretty much with you so far. Go right ahead:
In comments which appeared to bring the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran closer, Netanyahu took the Obama administration to task after Washington rebuffed his own call to set a red line for Tehran's nuclear drive.You're right as rain, Bibi; if I had my way -- oh, wait! I do! -- the US would -- I mean, will now -- completely mind its own business and not even suggest, not even hint, that foreign country Israel may not attack / invade / destroy foreign country Iran. You've gotta do what you've gotta do, as you see it.
"The world tells Israel 'wait, there's still time'. And I say, 'Wait for what? Wait until when?'" said Netanyahu, speaking in English.
"Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don't have a moral right to place a red light before Israel," he added, addressing a news conference with Bulgaria's prime minister.
Netanyahu has been pushing Obama to adopt a tougher line against Iran, arguing that setting a clear boundary for Iran's uranium enrichment activities and imposing stronger economic sanctions could deter Tehran from developing nuclear weapons and mitigate the need for military action.
Oh, and speaking of the US minding its own business: you know that annual $3 billion in US aid to your crappy little country? That's history, as of this moment. Don't interpret that as some kind of arm-twisting, though; we're through subsidizing you, whether you make war on your neighbors or not. And I certainly hope you weren't assuming that we'd make war on Iran, just because you do. That sort of foolishness is also all done with.
You see, Bibi, my country's broke. That money we've been shipping to you? That was borrowed anyway, and that nonsense has to stop, and I mean stop yesterday. Believe it or not, there's American citizens right here who don't have money or jobs or anything, and ... well, you know, charity begins at home, as the old folks say. You know that vast standing army we've been sending to the Middle East for, well, no good reason at all? That was wrong; but, even if it wasn't, we're broke and can't pay for stupidity of that kind any more. (Truth to tell, we never could, but that's water under the bridge now.) So we're reducing our military, and our military spending, to a level commensurate with the actual defense of actual US territory, which means we don't need about 95% of it.
They say every cloud's got its silver lining. And there's one good thing about being insolvent: it makes foreign policy a rather simple business. Refreshingly so, I think.
It's a whole new world out there, Bibi. So don't worry about any red lights from spoilsport old Uncle Sam; there won't be any. Knock yourself out, bud.
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Or maybe in Louisiana, consoling the victims of the recent hurricane?
Wait -- here's an idea! She could go to Afghanistan to review and inspect the Afghan security forces that our Troops have been heroically training. They seem to need a stern talking-to about not being a bunch of naughty Talibs and al-Qaedas and turr'rsts and all that.
But no. She's flitting back and forth to China, embarrassing herself (if that's even possible) and such small fraction of her fellow Americanoes as may still possess a working brain:
In a short, frustrating visit to Beijing, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was stood up Wednesday by the future leader of China and delivered a stern lecture on China’s rights in the South China Sea.You have to love those scare quotes around hegemony. I mean, what would you say is being maintained, when US functionaries are sorting out disputes among east Asian countries concerning east Asian matters? Last time I checked, there's no US territory anywhere near the South China Sea -- not even if you count Hawaii as such, which I'm not much inclined to do. But that's another discussion. In any case, I'm sure what we're maintaining isn't hegemony, which would be bad; it's probably our full-spectrum dominance that's being maintained. Which is a good thing, since we use it to give the gift of Duh-mocracy.
Both China and the United States aired their differences about how to handle the uprising in Syria.
During the third stop in her nearly two-week sweep of Asia, Clinton had hoped to meet with Vice President Xi Jinping, who is expected to get the nod next month to succeed Hu Jintao as China's president.
Xi also canceled meetings Wednesday with the Singapore prime minister and Russian officials, claiming a back injury. Nonetheless, the no-show at the session with Clinton was widely interpreted as a snub.
In advance of the visit, Chinese state media lashed out at Clinton, ridiculing what it said were her efforts to maintain American “hegemony” in the Pacific. Beijing particularly resents U.S. efforts to mediate China's competing claims with neighbors — Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, in particular — to barren islets and reefs around its waters.
Whether the lucky recipients want it or not.
In fact, maybe especially if they don't want it. It's more fun that way, you see.
Monday, August 27, 2012
All of this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king. Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. The king reflected and said, "Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?" While the word was in the king's mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, "King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whomever He wishes." Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws.Yes, I know the possibility of heavy weather combined with your native security mania to bring out the inner Keystone Kop in your party leadership. I know you started out hungry for red meat, in the form of a Santorum or a Huckabee or something similar, and now you're reduced to crossing your fingers for an exceedingly pale substitute who finds it very difficult to conceal his contempt for you. And, yes, your candidate for the Senate from Missouri, Todd Akin, is proving to be ... an embarrassment? A liability? A nuclear meltdown? Something like that.
This is something that I share with you, by the way; I also don't think abortion should be legally available for the "hard cases" of rape or incest. I would think, though, that a principled opponent of legal abortion wouldn't be driven to inventing some kind of reproductive wack-biology as a reason; one could, after all, simply point out that rapists themselves do not face summary execution without due process; why should their children? Having an unsavory father shouldn't be a capital crime, it seems to me. Of course, not everyone will agree; most, I'm sure, will not. But it's an opposition that can be coherently defended, if you oppose abortion because you think the weak, the helpless, the orphans should be defended, not slaughtered. On the other hand, if your opposition to abortion is more an excuse for you to indulge your natural inclination toward slut-shaming, then maybe babbling about "legitimate rapes" is something that will come naturally to you.
Coherence, it seems to me, is prominent among the things that the Nebuchadnezzars of the GOP lack, as they eat grass out in the Fields of Foolishness, getting rained on and growing bird-claws. Now, I do not claim to know that this is God's doing; for me to claim such knowledge would be blasphemous, and I think blasphemy is a pretty serious offense. But I do have to wonder, from time to time. Consider Romans chapter 1. It's a favorite of evangelicals seeking to justify their rejection of homosexuality and other forms of sexual immorality, and yes, that really is there. But Paul is rather more comprehensive, as we see starting in verse 28:
And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.I do not mean to suggest that the GOP is more enthusiastic than the Democratic Party in its embrace of the catalog of unrighteousness against which Paul wrote. The Two Major Brands are, in my estimation, identical twins with respect to such things. The distinction that I see is that the GOP markets itself to gullible believers in a way that its opponents don't do so much. And so it seems to me that if God is really picking primarily on the elephants, maybe it's because they've represented themselves more as the Party of God (sort of an American Hezbollah, maybe?), and perhaps God is indulging an ironic sense of humor. Or maybe not -- as I've said, this is all speculation on my part, perhaps leaning more toward pure whimsy.
Back to my fellow believers: what, if anything, am I suggesting? Should you flee from the elephants to join up with the donkeys; trade your red shirts for blue? To quote the apostle once again, much more briefly: may it never be so. Instead, may I suggest turning to the Old Testament for counsel in relating to the politics of this modern world. From Isaiah chapter 52:
Depart, depart, go out from there,Your mind is a gift from God, and its proper use is to love Him; and He's been revealed perfectly in the person of Jesus. Return to your first love. Delight in His teaching. Spit out that grass; come back from the fields, and back to your right mind. And, by the way, even Nebuchadnezzar can serve as a model:
Touch nothing unclean;
Go out from the midst of her, purify yourselves,
You who carry the vessels of the Lord.
But you will not go out in haste,
Nor will you go as fugitives;
For the Lord will go before you,
And the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
"But at the end of that period I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever;
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt, and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride."
And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
But He does according to His will in the host of heaven
And among the inhabitants of the earth;
And no one can ward off His hand
Or say to Him, 'What hast Thou done?'
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Monday, August 20, 2012
A GOP freshman congressman from Kansas apologized last night for a nude swim in the Sea of Galilee last summer during an official trip to Israel.Well, to some Christians, no doubt. Possibly to those believers who also consider Dollywood to be a holy site. But anyway:
Rep. Kevin Yoder issued a statement after Politico reported the FBI investigated the incident, which included drinking and involved several lawmakers and top congressional aides.
The Sea of Galilee is a holy site to Christians. The Bible says it is where Jesus walked on water.
The trip was paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation. The Kansas City Star said the organization spent $20,087 for Yoder and his wife's travel, lodging, meals and other expenses for the Aug. 13-21, 2011, trip, according to records kept by Legistorm.com.Well, as long as none of these guys casts a vote in the future which could throw doubt on his status as a fully-loyal vassal of the nation* to which they owe their first and unconditional allegiance, no problem. I mean, boys will be boys. If any ever stray from the reservation, though ... hangin's too good for 'em, and it has nothing to do with their swimwear. Somehow, I'm sure there's no danger of that.
Cantor's chief of staff, Doug Heye, said in a statement to Politico and CNN that the House majority leader "dealt with this immediately and effectively to ensure such activities would not take place in the future."
Tiffany Quayle, the wife of Arizona GOP Rep. Ben Quayle, told CNN in a statement that she and her husband were on the trip but they "were neither party nor witness to any of the inappropriate behavior" described in the Politico article.
The Politico story also named Republican Reps. Steve Southerland of Florida, Tom Reed of New York, Jeff Denham of California and Michael Grimm of New York as taking part in the swimming, although Yoder was the only one who was said to be naked.
*Hint: name of nation spelled without the letter "U."
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Someone on the radio had been explaining that the Republican Party is toast ... how it is that their opposition is a poor black guy, presiding over a dead economy, but the GOPpers are so brain-dead and bereft of first-rank political talent that they're about to lose -- again -- to O'Patches. The Republican braintrust: Angry-Pants McCain, last time, and Mittens the Plastic Mormon this time. Probably true, I thought, and ... yeah, that's okay. Good thing about this election is that one of these clowns assuredly loses it. Bad thing ... the other one wins. But, you take the bad with the good: what's your alternative?
But then I thought about the poor, stupid, hopeless GOP, and I thought: what if the Republican Party simply went out of business? No more RNC, no more fundraisers, no more conventions, no more candidates. Just: "You win. We're done."
Seriously: I wonder what would happen. Anyone have a theory?
I doubt it would be nearly as good for the Democratic political machine as one might, at first, think.
Nope, it won't happen. I don't think the death of either caucus of the War Party is anything our supervisors would ever permit. Kind of a fun thing to think about, though.
Thursday, August 09, 2012
America, once regarded by the Syrian opposition as a natural friend in its struggle for greater freedoms against a regime long at odds with the West, increasingly is being viewed with suspicion and resentment for its failure to offer little more than verbal encouragement to the revolutionaries.I interrupt this excerpt for a moment so I can call your attention to this opening sentence. To you or me, words are ways to convey an idea to a reader. But to a propagandist, words are more like weapons or drugs; they are used purely to produce a desired effect in the reader. The Washington Post is a great big grown-up prestigious newspaper, is it not? When it tells us that the West is being upbraided "for its failure to offer little more than verbal encouragement," we have to think that the writer and his editor are propagandists, and that the dictionary looks to them like an ammunition box.
But, to go on:
In the nearly 17 months since Syrians joined the clamor for change that swept the Middle East last year, Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans have voted in elections, chosen new leaders and embarked, however messily, on democratic transitions.Well ... I guess that doesn't sound like propaganda, does it? The clamor for change that swept the Middle East. Oh, my. And how delicate we are: however messily. Well, here's how messily "however messily" was.
Syria, by contrast, is hurtling ever deeper into an all-out conflict with no end in sight, “and all we get is words,” said Yasser Abu Ali, a spokesman for one of the Free Syrian Army battalions in the town of al-Bab, which lies 30 miles northeast of Aleppo.
The rebels say they don’t want direct military intervention in the form of troops on the ground. But they have repeatedly appealed for a no-fly zone similar to the effort that helped Libyan rebels topple Moammar Gaddafi last year and for supplies of heavy weapons to counter the regime’s vastly superior firepower, say rebels and opposition figures.
When the regime falls, as the rebel battalion spokesman assumes it eventually will, Syrians will not forget that their pleas for help went unanswered, he said.
“America will pay a price for this,” he said. “America is going to lose the friendship of Syrians, and no one will trust them anymore. Already we don’t trust them at all.”
As Orwell said, in his essay "Politics and the English Language:"
In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, "I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so." Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:
"While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement."
The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as "keeping out of politics." All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer.Anyway, let's see if I've got this straight. Free Syrian Army "spokesman" Yasser Abu Ali tells us that he and his confreres are mightily ticked that our supervisors have not yet begun murdering his Syrian opponents as wholeheartedly as he'd like. He says that if our supervisors don't start killing soon, he and his associates won't like us. But then, he says, they already don't like us. So, here's an idea: since we've already paid the price by forfeiting the bloody-handed esteem of the Free Syrian Army, how about we just, you know, kind of ... sit this one out? Let's just call in and say we're not coming to the war today, because we're feeling too well.
Yes, I know. Not happening. But I can still dream, can't I?
Monday, July 23, 2012
Well, not Australian foreign minister Bob Carr, that's for certain. Nor, to be sure, Mr. Willard "Call Me Mitt" Romney. Nor any healthy, well-adjusted, right-thinking person anywhere, it would seem:
Australia’s foreign minister says he wasn’t criticizing America when he spoke of a nation “in decline” during a private conversation with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.Yes, but someone must be talking about American decline. Some traitorous swine must be spreading defeatism. Not Mr. Carr, and not Ambassador Beazley ... but they report that there is such talk. So, who's the bad-mouther? Where did they hear such talk?
Foreign Minister Bob Carr and other Australian officials said Monday that Carr was praising American economic strengths during Sunday’s meeting. The meeting was kept secret until Romney shared Carr’s comments with donors later in the day.
“He said America is just one budget deal away from ending all talk of America being in decline,” Romney said, while addressing roughly 250 donors at San Francisco’s Fairmont hotel. “I said, ‘Can I quote you on that?’ and he said, ‘Yes.’”
[ ... ]
Australian officials released a statement Monday clarifying Carr’s comments, which were made during the first meeting between a senior Australian official and Romney since he became the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee.
“The foreign minister’s remarks represent a considered assessment of the U.S. economy and an antidote to talk of U.S. declinism,” said Kim Beazley, Australia’s ambassador to the United States.
Ummmmm, yes, OK. You're right -- I'm guessing they (Mssrs. Beazley and Carr) are readers of this blog. The very Chestnut Tree Cafe itself. Never knew I had so influential, so connected, so highly-placed a readership.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Former Vice President Dick Cheney took Lockheed Martin Corp.'s side Tuesday in a private meeting with Senate Republicans saying that the projected defense cuts totaling $500 billion could be "devastating" to military modernization and planning, Bloomberg reported.
Lockheed Martin's chief predicts he may have to fire 10,000 workers under across-the-board federal spending cuts. The defense industry and its Republican allies in Congress are increasing their volume this week in a concerted push to avert the defense cuts.
Wait a minute ... $500 billion in spending cuts ... let's see, that's $5.0E+11 ... and that loses 10,000 Lock-Mart jobs ... that's 1.0E+4 jobs ... divide 5.0E+11 by 1.0E+4 ... okay, that's 5.0E+7 dollars per job. Fifty million freaking dollars per job? Yes, O yes, that'll devastate the economy all to death, of course. Good thing we're all innumerate; otherwise, we might catch on. Can't have that.
("Hey, who's gonna win American Idol this time?")
Here's some more arithmetic. There are about 314 million people in the US, as of today. More to the point, the Census Bureau says there are about 114 million households. $500 billion is $4400 per household. (It would be an even larger amount per taxpaying household, but ... never mind.) Can you, yourself, think of a better way to spend your $4400 than putting smiles above the blood-dripping multiple chins of Dick Cheney and the CEO of Lock-Mart? I'm pretty sure I can think of many ... including making a small pile of hundred-dollar bills out on the back porch and setting fire to it.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Rose asked Mr. Obama, "Do you believe his presidency would be a disaster, because this is a man who's been a successful businessperson. Does that disqualify him or make him appropriately a candidate for a political office? How do you take the measure of his business experience?"Now, you know me -- I certainly have no dog in this staged, scripted, sham fight. Mittens or the O-bomber? I can't tell the difference anyway, because there isn't one. Still, there's something very comical about Our Glorious Current Leader, he of the truly microscopic resume, sniffing judiciously at pretty nearly anyone else's curriculum vitae. A good laugh is something we all need these days ... so thanks, Barack!
Mr. Obama said, "I do not think at all it disqualifies him. But I also think it's important if that's his main calling card, if his basic premise is that 'I'm Mr. Fix-It on the economy, because I made a lot of money.'"
Rose said, "But that's not what he's saying."
"Well, no, that is to - to some degree," Mr. Obama said. "What he says is he understands the economy and the private sector."
Rose said, "And they built businesses and they bought businesses and made them better."
"Well, they invested - they invested," said Mr. Obama said. "So that's his premise. I think it is entirely appropriate to look at that record and see whether, in fact, his focus was creating jobs and he successfully did that. And when you look at the record, there are questions there that have to be asked."
Mr. Obama suggested that the Romney campaign still has work to do in explaining what the presumptive GOP nominee's "theory is about how to grow the economy."
"This is the nature of running for president," added Mr. Obama.
Why do we Amur'kins lap up stories like this one so hungrily? I would suggest that folk like Mr. Paterno, and the young mother whose name I can't recall who drowned her kids in the back seat of a car sent into a lake, are actually meeting a real need: our need to feel morally superior to someone. Here am I, Mr. Everyone. No matter what my flaws and weaknesses might be, I can still think: "At least I'm not Sandusky! At least I'm not McQuery! At least I'm not Paterno!"
"At least," indeed. That's getting to be a pretty low "least," don'tcha think?
Thursday, June 28, 2012
So, the Supremes didn't save us from the Socialist Scourge of Obamacare. And the news tells us that we have one Supreme in particular to thank or blame for that:
The opinion by the chief justice is likely to surprise his liberal critics and his conservative admirers. He played the decisive role in rejecting the Republican-led legal challenge to the Democrats’ most ambitious social legislation in decades.I wonder if this will make Mittens pause, even for a moment, before telling the GOP base that they'd best get out and vote for him this fall, so that eee-vill judges don't get named to join the Supremes. Really, he doesn't need to worry. The reason the Republican "base" is the base is that they're superbly adapted to being on the bottom, underneath those who make their livings exploiting the base's room-temperature IQ.
And meanwhile, once again: be sure to vote, now. Voting changes things! Just ask the GOP faithful who elected the guy who appointed "Swing Vote" Roberts. What was his name, now? Rhymed with "bush," didn't it?
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
The governing board of The American Mechanics Association proposed at its annual meeting to push for legislation to require prescriptions for certain automotive supplies. The AMA has long recognized that the average consumer lacks the competence to decide what services and remedies should be applied to his motorized vehicle.There's more; it's all good. And IOZ is properly grateful to our government for protecting us against evil goings-on amongst the gladiatorial class:
In the present situation, anybody can buy oil, filters, anti-freeze, transmission fluid, drive belts, windshield washer cleaner and myriad other items with no authorization required. Most items such as tires, wiper blades, water, compressed air, car wax, fuses, trim items and, of course, gasoline would remain over-the-counter items under the proposal.
It has long been a concern of many mechanics that consumers use the wrong oil or improperly dispose of anti-freeze or dump used filters in the garbage, causing untold environmental damage. The AMA stressed that this is a very real and immediate crisis and that its proposal has nothing to do with money, as some of its detractors are already alleging.
Yesterday, one of the greatest athletes of our time was convicted of 51 counts ranging from rape to the corruption of minors. Roger Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young award winner with one of the longest and most storied careers of any pitcher in the hundred-year history of major league baseball, was accused of using his position and influence to groom young boys for eventual sexual predation. His crimes outraged the nation, and public sentiment ran hotly in favor of a swift trial and a harsh punishment. There is no more pressing issue for our nation than the safety of our children, and I, for one, want to thank God that the Department of Justice, the Obama administration, first responders everywhere, and our fallen heroes were able to rise to the occasion and, through hard work and perseverance, bring this monster to justice.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Recent revelations about clandestine U.S. drone campaigns against al Qaeda and other militants are not part of two major leak investigations being conducted by federal prosecutors, sources familiar with the inquiries said. Most detailed information on the drone wars, which were initiated by the George W. Bush administration but expanded by President Barack Obama, is highly classified, officials said. But Obama and top administration officials, including White House counter-terrorism chief John Brennan, recently have been alluding more openly to drone operations in public remarks, and detailed news coverage has been widespread. The CIA has not filed a "crime report" with the Justice Department over reports about Obama's drone policy and a U.S. "kill list" of targeted militants, an action which often would trigger an official leak investigation, two sources familiar with the matter said. They requested anonymity to discuss sensitive information. By contrast, the CIA did file a "crime report" following publication by the Associated Press last month of a report disclosing the foiling of a plot by Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to attack an airliner using a newly designed underwear bomb, sources said.We're reading a news story about investigations into leaking, and the news story itself is the product of leaking about the leaking investigation. Can't this be made a little more meta-? Maybe someone should investigate the leaks about the investigation, and someone else should leak some "sensitive information" about that investigation. And so on and so on. Life surely is complex in organizations that keep hit lists for murder, like the Gambino family, or Murder Inc., or the US government.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
A top US envoy has dismissed as "absurd" a reward of 10 camels for information about President Barack Obama's hideout by Somali militants.
Al-Shabab made the mock offer after the US announced rewards of $3-7m (£2-4.5m) for various militant commanders.
The al-Qaeda linked group offered chickens for information about US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Johnnie Carson became the first top US official in two decades to visit Mogadishu over the weekend. When asked about al-Shabab's offer at a news conference, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs said: "The question is so absurd it does not deserve a response." He said his trip to Mogadishu, which lasted a matter of hours, was to note the "significant progress" made against al-Shabab. However, the al-Qaeda group still controls much of the country. After the US put bounties on the heads of al-Shabab commanders, senior militant official Fuad Muhammad Khalaf announced: "Whoever reveals the hideout of the idiot Obama will be rewarded with 10 camels, and whoever reveals the hideout of the old woman Hillary Clinton will be rewarded 10 chickens and 10 roosters," he said after Friday prayers.
Mr Carson also announced that the US would impose sanctions on anyone standing in the way of the political process now under way. "The kind of action we must take against spoilers range from visa sanctions to travel sanctions to asset freezes," he said.
This item just makes me wonder so many things:
- Assistant Secretary of State "Johnnie Carson?" Really? I wonder if he was accompanied by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Eddie McMahon? If not, we can only shake our heads regretfully over the missed opportunity.
- Was "senior militant official" Fuad Muhammad Khalaf awarded his rank for his way with words (which is impressive): "the idiot Obama," "the old woman Hillary Clinton?" If so, I have to wonder what lower standard a junior militant official must meet? Maybe his speeches start out with "a priest, a rabbi, and a horse walk into a bar" or some such. Anyway, thanks, Fuad -- I really enjoyed a chuckle today.
- If anyone's acquainted with Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson (aka "The Great Carnac"), maybe you could ask him where "the way of the political process now under way" lies, exactly, just so I can be sure I'm not standing there. He didn't exactly mention extrajudicial death-by-drone in his list of "the kind of action we must take," but we all know that for our wonderfully murderous current prexy, all options are perpetually on the table. And if the dark suits have decided that they're no longer amused by their semi-minority puppet and shift the strings over to the Mittster, nothing will change ... except to get even worse. Is it not ever so?
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Well, cheer up! $4 gas isn't here to stay ... $5 or $6 may be coming soon! That's all right, though, it's all in a wonderful cause:
President Obama ratcheted up the pressure on Iran Friday, deciding to implement previously announced sanctions that will be the toughest to date.Yes, folks, President O'Bomber is not about to devastate any key voter blocs in any battleground states, as he gets the Likud Party solidified behind him. It's almost surprising that he doesn't replace Joe Biden in the Veep slot with Bibi Netanyahu ... except that it isn't surprising at all -- for Bibi, that would be a big step downward. Besides, it would be like replacing a puppet with its operator. It just isn't done.
The decision declares that world oil markets can be adequately supplied even if a significant portion of Iran's 2.2 million barrels a day in oil exports is taken off the table.
"There is a sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products from countries other than Iran to permit a significant reduction in the volume of petroleum and petroleum products purchased from Iran by or through foreign financial institutions," Obama said in a statement.
The sanctions, announced late last year, are aimed at getting Iran to give up its nuclear program -- a program Iran says is for peaceful purposes but many suspect is intended to produce a bomb.
The decision was widely expected.
"It's hard to imagine the White House would have invited the political ramifications of stalling on Iran," said Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners. That could have been "devastating for key voter blocs in battleground states."
So, the "expectation" was more sanctions against Iran. Worked great with Iraq, didn't it -- always assuming that's what you want: another glorious ten years' sand war, ending in a destroyed country and another half-million or so dead wogs, many of them women and children. Another giant murder spree, with American "progressives" excusing their semi-beige figurehead at every turn ... amazingly, it's enough to make me nostalgic for Idiot Bush, under whom the lefties were sort-of kind-of antiwar. And the "expectation" got us to $4 on gas prices. Now, the expectation has to be changing to frank, out-and-out, Straits-of-Hormuz-closing war ... gee, I wonder where prices might be going?
Sorry about that, peace-loving Americans ... but when you're determined to murder a million Persians because you've got the biblical King David confused with yarmulke-wearing pols on both sides of the ocean, you've got to pay the price. Hope the Chinese don't decline your VISA card this time. Good luck!
Monday, March 05, 2012
You have to wonder, when foreigners see the bright-eyed face of this particular senile clown, knowing that he was the presidential nominee of one of the two major branches of the War/Corporate Party as recently as '08, what they must think of you and I? No, World, I did not, in fact chew lead paint chips by the pound as a child. But I can surely understand why you might feel like asking. I do kind of wish that some of you were powerful enough to bring us a little bit of Regime Change here in the States. (And if any of you Asian bankers are reading ... maybe you can.) "Operation American Freedom." It's an idea whose time has come!
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Six Americans working for publicly funded U.S. organizations promoting democracy in Egypt have been barred from leaving the country, provoking angry demands in Washington that Cairo's new military rulers stop "endangering American lives".You know, in the context of the history of Western involvement in the affairs of Arab states, and American invlovement in particular, you have to wonder about the meaning of weaselly euphemisms like "publicly funded U.S. organizations promoting democracy in Egypt." Just what the hell does that mean, anyway? What concrete, behavioral actions do you take, if you're a publicly funded U.S. organization promoting democracy in Egypt? Do you buy commercials on Egyptian TV? What do they say? "Be a democratic sort of Egyptian guy, and all the Egyptian women will go crazy over you?" I'm not at all sure I could blame Egyptians who might be wondering what these fine organizations are really up to. Funding terrorists, maybe? Perish the thought! We're Americans -- we don't fund terrorists! If we fund 'em, they must be freedom fighters. Or maybe democracy activists or something. But not terrorists, that's for sure.
Among those hit by travel bans - one of those targeted called it "de facto detention" - is a son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, as well as other foreign staffers of the International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute, officials at the two organizations said on Thursday.
The United States said Egypt should reverse them: "We are urging the government of Egypt to lift these restrictions immediately and allow these folks to come home as soon as possible," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
A month after police raided the Cairo offices of the IRI, NDI and eight other non-governmental organizations, it raises the stakes for Washington, which had already indicated it may review the $1.3 billion it gives the Egyptian military each year if the probe into alleged breaches of local regulations went on.
Some see it as a poor omen for Egypt's fledgling democracy following last year's overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.
John McCain, the leading Republican senator who chairs the IRI, voiced "alarm and outrage" at a "new and disturbing turn" which included a travel ban on Sam LaHood, the group's Egypt director and son of President Barack Obama's transport chief.
(Side note: there's my old buddy again -- State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland! Clearly, she knows she's working for the Obama regime: she wants those restrictions lifted, so those folks can come home. "Folks" ... no doubt about it, she got the memo. And read it, too.)
How is it that this "IRI" outfit is described as a "non-governmental organization," after being described as "publicly funded?" And it's chaired by John Freakin' McCain? And Ray LaHood's boy is the "Egypt director?" Yup, sure sounds non-governmental to me, yessir. Nothing to see here. Move along, folks, move along.
I have some free advice for those Egyptian "Islamists" who, being all evil and everything, are presumably holding our folks. Don't just travel-restrict them; detain them, indefinitely, without charges, in some warm-weather Egyptian paradise that you rename "Al-Gitmo." Don't let a lawyer or a court within hundreds of miles of them. Let 'em ride the waterboard while you inquire, again and again and again, about their nefarious activities. When they've said what you want to hear (and they will!), announce it. Then tell Washington that you'll close your Gitmo when they close theirs. As for young Mr. LaHood: after he's been imprisoned without charges for a decade or two, you'll have to decide that he's become radicalized, and can never be released, for fear that he'll "return to the battlefield" and do some harm to the Prophet's Islamic Republic of Egypt, or whatever you're calling it by then. It would have a certain pleasing symmetry to it, yes?
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
TEHRAN, Iran — Two assailants on a motorcycle attached a magnetic bomb to the car of an Iranian university professor working at a key nuclear facility, killing him and his driver Wednesday, reports said. The slayings suggest a widening covert effort to set back Iran’s atomic program.To avoid exasperating my fellow Murricans, I'll skip right over such niggling considerations as was Professor Roshan anyone's son, or anyone's brother, or anyone's uncle, or anyone's husband, or anyone's father, or anyone's friend? or was Professor Roshan a human being, created in the image of God. Much less will I try my countrymen's notoriously short patience by raising these same trivial speculations about "his driver," in whose case we're not even burdened with a name. No, like everything else in the world, it's all about us -- or, rather, it's all about the Israelis, but that's the same thing, right? Instead, I'll ask a bigger-scale question. Most Murricans -- not all, for sure, but most -- are probably willing to admit that installing the Shah, back in the 1950s, might not have been the very smoothest move ever made by Murrica. So how is it that we never, ever, ever seem able to learn even the tiniest little thing from our mistakes?
The attack in Tehran bore a strong resemblance to earlier killings of scientists working on the Iranian nuclear program. It is certain to amplify authorities’ claims of clandestine operations by Western powers and their allies to halt Iran’s nuclear advances.
The blast killed Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a chemistry expert and a director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran, state TV reported. State news agency IRNA said Roshan had “organizational links” to Iran’s nuclear agency, which suggests a direct role in key aspects of the program.
Natanz is Iran’s main enrichment site, but officials claimed earlier this week that they are expanding some operations to an underground site south of Tehran with more advanced equipment.
The U.S. and its allies are pressuring Iran to halt uranium enrichment, a key element of the nuclear program that the West suspects is aimed at producing atomic weapons. Uranium enriched to low levels can be used as nuclear fuel but at higher levels, it can be used as material for a nuclear warhead.
Meanwhile, forget all about this magnetic car-bombs business. Just wipe it right out of your mind. After all, the NFL playoffs are here, and the Super Bowl is imminent. And when terrorism revisits these shores (and I'm talking real terrorism here, the kind that's done against Murricans, not to be confused with putting bombs on professors' cars -- that ain't terrorism), we can once again be all hurt and confused and completely unable to imagine why anyone, anywhere could ever hate us.