September 19, 2008

Train wreck …as metaphor, from Wikipedia:

The term is sometimes used metaphorically to describe a disaster that is foreseeable but unavoidable.

I sing to you of the presidency of George W. Bush:

  • I sing to you of hanging chads and a Supreme Court putsch…
  • Of the black day, September 11th, and a leader caught in the headlights of history I sing…
  • Of Hank Kissinger, proposed for a truth-finding commission, a divine oxymoron, I do raise my voice…
  • Of bullhorns, and tyrant mayor wannabees, and bloody shirts innumerable waved in flapping breezes unending…
  • Of “Swiftboating” skillful, I marvel and sing…
  • I sing to you of “Kenny Boy Lay” and Enron…
  • I sing to you of Dick Cheney intoning on the free market as emails plot market skullduggery…
  • I sing to you of fraudulent yellow cake and weapons of mass destruction unfound…
  • I sing to you of smoking gun mushroom clouds, and preemption extraordinary…
  • Yea, I sing to you of shock and awe gone shockingly awful…
  • Of Abu Ghraib…
  • Of Baghdad looting…
  • …and of Mission Accomplished I sing…
  • I do sing of Brownie doing a “helluva job” in the Crescent City…
  • Of torture made legal…
  • Of habeus corpus suspended…
  • Of secrets unknown and unknowable…
  • Of science denied, and malarky made policy…
  • Of history denied, I sing…
  • Of Ken Delay…of partisan firings unjust…of regulation defanged I sing
  • And lo, I now sing of economic meltdown, the fitting finis to a sing-song dirge I do sing…

Let us chant together with Clio, History’s muse:

worst president ever!
Worst President Ever!


“A dagger at my heart…”

August 21, 2008

Once again (see this post) I return to the story of mass arrests in NYC – peaceful protesters, or people not even demonstrating, hauled into the precinct station, some of whom were held for days.  Only two people tried – acquitted of course – in proceedings that surely must have been absurd to witness given the evidence available that totally undermined all of NYPD’s claims. Everyone else released, no charges.  Why were they arrested?  HYSTERIA!

The New York Times has been following, and sometimes editorializing about the process by which the lawsuits against the city are being settled.  Today, it describes how at great cost in legal fees and staff time, after much stalling and stonewalling, the city is paying out millions of dollars to settle claims related to its violation of civil rights.  Of course, the NYPD admits no wrong doing – state organs never do.

The article quotes the fellow shown in the picture above:

Then they started arresting us, one by one. At that point, I got emotional — I could not believe in my country, in my city, I could get arrested for doing absolutely nothing and standing on the sidewalk,” Mr. Shirazi added.

Are there any lessons from the day? The Law Department said the $2 million payout did not mean the police had done anything wrong. “This settlement was reached without any admission of liability on behalf of the city and the individual defendants,” said Ms. Halatyn, the city lawyer.

The Police Department did not respond to a request for comment on the settlement.

Mr. Shirazi said that as he was being handcuffed for the first time in his life, he told the officer that the plastic cuffs were squeezing him. “He said, ‘You should have thought about that before you came out this morning.’ It was like a dagger in my heart, that a police officer of my city would come up with anything like that.”

In what does patriotism and love of country consist?  Following orders motivated by unthinking fear or hallowing and practicing the ideas that gave it rise in the first place?

McClellan book signing at Walter Reed Hospital

May 31, 2008

Wouldn’t you love to see that headline? Scott’s new memoir, in which he regrets his involvement in the “culture of deception” that led our country into “an unecessary war” on false premises is getting a lot of attention these days. Imagine – Free first edition copies of his new memoir to be distributed with signatures to recovering and disabled veterans at the Army’s Walter Reed Medical Center. Bring your latest artificial limbs, and he’ll sign them too! Those without hands need not worry – Scott will not be offended inf you don’t offer to shake and let bygones be bygones.

Well, I guess the devil made him do it…

Touché !!

February 20, 2008

I am an intellectual!

The Republican “intelligentsia” likes to see itself as the “party of ideas.” Their “public intelllectuals”, the type I refer to as swaydos, (pseudos, if you’re not in the know), are much lauded. William F. Buckley, whom I’ve yet to hear construct an argument that isn’t based on innuendo, snide insult, and dogmatic assertion of troglodyte opinion is the father figure to these wannabee “scholar-statesmen.” William Kristol, now on probationary assignment as water carrier for the conservative cause on the opinion pages of the New York Times, a paper he described as treasonous not long ago, is another star in this cerebral firmament – or is it penumbra?

Fortunately, there are plenty of people who do know a thing or two who can get a good letter published in the Times. I reproduce in full the wonderful response of Todd Gitlin to Kristol’s latest mental drivelling. He correctly cites a prime technique of the right-wing fustigators (love that word, got it from Carlyle!), i.e., attacking “the left,” “liberals,” “academics,” and so on for expressing opinions they deplore without giving a single example:

To the Editor:

In order to impugn “the quality of thought of the Democrats’ academic and media supporters,” none of whom he names or quotes, William Kristol drafts George Orwell, who wrote in 1942 that “a permanent and pensioned opposition” suffers a deterioration in “the quality of its thought.”

By Mr. Kristol’s reasoning, the belligerent right that was out of power from 1932 into the 1970s should have been terminally shriveled by the time it came to power with Ronald Reagan in 1981. Perhaps its long exile explains the ruinous fatuousness of such manifestoes as the declaration on Sept. 20, 2001, that failure to invade Iraq “will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism” — a declaration by William Kristol and fellow conservatives.

Todd Gitlin
New York, Feb. 18, 2008

The writer, a professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University, is the author of several books about politics.

Master of Stupid

December 5, 2007


Thomas Friedman, the idiot savant is at it again.  Today, in the New York Times, in a column called “Intercepting Iran’s Take on America,” he has written a “satirical” column on what the leaders of Iran must be thinking about us, including:

First, 9/11 has made America afraid and therefore stupid.

It is, I believe, at least the second time he has voiced regret over the 9/11 induced “stupidity” of America’s body politic.  Hmmm…interesting.  As I recall, he was one of those who was rooting for the war in Iraq, saying we had to act “a little bit crazy,” etc. to root out the terrorists.  When it comes to stupidity, he should speak for himself only.  I won’t say he’s as bad as David Brooks who frequently sounds as if he just arrived from Mars, but he is remarkably shallow and glib.  Basically a journalistic shill for the powers that be…for the moment.

Victory Strategy Anyone?

September 12, 2007

There is a lot of talk about how W has no “exit strategy” for Iraq, and, of course, how he had no strategy at all when he invaded. On the other had, supporters of the war, like McCain, say we must not “lose Iraq,” or did he mean China?…ooops, he’s not that old! Others say we are on track for successs, for victory, i.e., Victory! Just give the ‘strategy’ a chance to succeed.

I have to wonder, what is the Victory Strategy? That is, how will we know when we have won, and what will we do then? Do the supporters of the war honestly think, if they have their way, that we will win and leave the country a stable parliamentary democracy, in one piece, that will be friendly to the US and hostile to our enemies, and won’t require the presence of tens of thousands of American troops funded by billions of dollars a year? Is that the Victory Scenario? It was six years ago, but now?

Or do they imagine that after another three or four years like this one, and untold piles of cash, Iraq will have a nominal central government that appears to keep the lid on secessionist fighting, and that has reduced sectarian atrocities to an “acceptable” level, mostly because various regions have been “cleansed” so that they are ethnically homogeneous? And that we will continue to pour money into the place and maintain large numbers of troops there so it doesn’t blow apart or get swallowed by Iran or Turkey? This seems to be the best that they can hope for.

And if this best-case Victory comes about, what is our “strategy?” What do we do with this victory, this ally, this burden? I guess we just maintain our presence there indefinitely, like in Korea. This is what some call “projecting American power.” Others call it Imperialism, but whatever you call it, the return on investment seems rather paltry.

General Pyrrhus, shown in the picture, knew about this bind. And he usually won his battles! He is said to have remarked after one of them, “Another such victory, and I shall be ruined.”

GWB Down the Memory Hole…Again

August 22, 2007

Greetings from the Ministry of Truth!

Here’s one from the memory hole: George Bush speaking today at a VFW post about his “policy” in Iraq. He drew a parallel between the consequences of the American withdrawal from Vietnam and what he claims will happen if we leave off fighting in Iraq. Here is one piece of evidence he presented:

“In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge began a murderous rule in which hundreds of thousands of Cambodians died by starvation, torture, or execution.

Just for the record, it was several millions of Cambodians who died under the insane regime of Pol Pot, but who’s counting? Not GWB, for sure. More important, it was the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia that put a stop to the Pol Pot regime’s murder, not that they (ancient enemies of the Khmer) were totally altruistic in their aims in removing him from power. Quite a stretch to claim that it was the Vietnamese Communists that caused the atrocities in Cambodia. Of course, it did happen after we left, but isn’t that a co-inky-dink? Most historians agree that it was America’s involvement in Vietnam that caused, one way or another, the destruction of Cambodia.