Nov 10

Fickle Americans and “Gate Rape”

Attention, information, knowledge and awareness can be amazing things (photo from Jon Gruber’s flickr stream)..

Touchy Touchy

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Jul 10

Witness the Law-Enforcement-Intelligence Industrial Complex!

Shortly after 9/11/2001, the departed Dr. Hunter S. Thompson said the following (via Colin Horgan at True/Slant):

The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it: we are At War now “ with somebody “ and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives.

It will be a Religious War, a sort of Christian Jihad, fueled by religious hatred and led by merciless fanatics on both sides. It will be guerilla warfare on a global scale, with no front lines and no identifiable enemy. [ ¦]

HST “  September 12, 2001

We are At War now, according to President Bush, and I take him at his word. He also says the war might last for a ‘very long time’.

Generals and military scholars will tell you that 8 or 10 years is actually not such a long time in the span of human history “ which is no doubt true “ but history also tells us that 10 years of martial law and a wartime economy are going to feel like a Lifetime to people who are in their twenties today. The poor bastards of what will forever be known as Generation Z are doomed to be the first generation of Americans who will grow up with a lower standard of living than their parents enjoyed.

¦The 22 babies born in New York City while the World Trade Center burned will never know what they missed. The last half of the 20th Century will seem like a wild party for rich kids, compared to what’s coming now. [ ¦]

The first news they get in this world will be News subjected to Military Censorship. That is a given in wartime, along with massive campaigns of deliberately planted ‘Dis-information’. That is routine behavior in wartime “ for all countries and all combatants “ and it makes life difficult for people who value real news. Count on it.

HST “  September 19, 2001

Long wars, economic crises, and failing journalism?  The good doctor was more right than he could possibly have imagined.  I don’t think he specifically wrote of the birth of a law-enforcement intelligence apparatus, but given more time, I’m sure he would.

Perhaps that is why he choose to go out with a bang at a time of his choosing.  Consider his words as you read Dana Priest and William  M. Arkin’s Top Secret America in the WaPo, and understand that we will never see blue, green, or yellow ever again (on the Terror Chart), and know full well that Barack Obama will do no different.

Jun 10

Evil or Stupid? v. Epistemic Closure

When arguing with a teabagger, I think it’s a mistake to always ascribe to stupidity that which can be equally explained by malice (think of it as an Inverse Hanlon’s Razor).  As one of the ‘blue collar comedy tour’ types said, “you can’t fix stupid”.  In this case, I think they are evil, as in they don’t care if the facts are correct, so long as the facts conform to their worldview, and further that they are more than willing to lie and distort where needed.

There was a big dustup on the blogs about epistemic closure (as it regards to the Closing of the Conservative mind,  which originated in a back-and-forth between conservative columnists.  There was  one quote that stood out in the blogs and was oft-quoted [emphasis mine]:

Mark recognizes that when you  are at war, while it is important to get  facts right (and I think Mark did a darned fine job sourcing his book, giving you  the chance to criticize it), it is also important to inspire  the troops and to do so by distilling  the realities of  the fight into useful information. I frankly don’t know if every statistic  in Goldwater’s  Conscience of a Conservative  was correct or not. Nor do I know if every statistic or number  in Reagan’s  A Time For Choosing  speech  in 1964 was correct. I DON’T CARE. I know  the facts were  in the ballpark, and more importantly,  the principles were timeless and correct.

We all just need to admit that they are arguing in ‘bad faith’, and as such aren’t worthy of being engaged.  Ironically enough,  they are following Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals (affiliation with Communist Alinsky being a preferred Obama smear) to the letter, as illustrated via Roger Ebert.
See also,  truthiness.

Jun 10

Safe Predictions: “This is Obama’s Malaise Speech!”

The Usurper in Chief will be giving a speech tonight addressing energy policy, preempting your favorite summer re-runs.   From Republican Mark McKinnion:

Presidents should use the Oval Office selectively. It has the weight and bearing of the Pope giving a special Mass at the Vatican. It’s not the place to announce volunteerism awards. It’s not a place for updates. It’s a place to announce serious plans.

And that apparently is what Obama is  planning: demanding from BP an escrow account to make quick, fair payments to those affected by the spill, and from Congress energy legislation with a much broader scope than had been contemplated before the spill.

I will make one of the safest.bets.ever.   Every pundit, and particularly conservatives, will call it Obama’s Malaise speech, most likely before they even get the advance transcripts.

Just in case you were wondering about the origins of the phrase, I wrote a little something about why the public LIKED what Jimmy Carter had to say in his ‘malaise’ speech, that is until the political operatives, pundits, and press got hold of it:

You may recall that Jimmy Carter’s ‘Malaise Speech’ was  extremely well received by Americans:

Contrary to later spin, the speech was extremely popular. The White House was flooded with positive calls. Viewers polled while watching found that the speech inspired them as it unfolded.

To this day, I don’t entirely know why the speech came to be derided for a word that was in the air, but never once appeared in the text.  Still, the “malaise  label stuck: maybe because President Carter’s cabinet shake-up a few days later wasted the political energy that had been focused on our energy problems; maybe because the administration’s opponents attached it to the speech relentlessly; maybe because it was just too hard to compete with Ronald Reagan and his banner of limitless American consumption.

The press still hammered Carter, who incidentally  never used ‘malaise’ in the speech “ the phrase having originated from the Reagan campaign.   The mention of “malaise  in the press over time seems inversely correlated to Jimmy Carter’s approval ratings.   The ability of the Sunday morning blowhards and pundits to cause people to act against their own self interest never ceases to amaze me.

Moving away from a petroleum-based economy solves so many problems that one would think it to be a no-brainer.   It reduces our risk and exposure to uncertainties in the Middle East, is better for the environment, and would cascading effects for health, the economy, employment, and technology.   Of course, success under a Democratic President is unacceptable for Republicans; also, they “ and many Democrats “ are absolutely dependent on the Military-Industrial Complex, the Insurance and Banking industries, and Big Oil.   So, naturally, they will advocate an unsustainable status quo.

Mar 10

Yes, Ronald Reagan Belongs on Our Currency

Let me start off by saying that Reagan is the President of my youth, the President that as a child I trusted to keep the missiles from falling, who grieved the astronauts, and who “ at the time, I thought “ single-handedly defeated communism.   You can solidly put me down in the   “not a fan  column.   Yet I still think he deserves a place on our currency.


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