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May 16, 2006 - May 9, 2006

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


The MSM are winning.

It's called Chinese Water Torture. It works.

NOSTALGIA. The princelings of the blogosphere are proud, perhaps justifiably, of the impact their new form of media has had in recent years. They brought down Dan Rather, they helped reelect George W. Bush in 2004, and they have played a part in the steady erosion of the credibility and circulation totals of major newspapers like the  New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Boston Globe. They see themselves as a potent new political force climbing atop the crumbling ruins of the Mainstream Media.

The only problem with this view of media matters is that it's wrong. Think back to September 12, 2001. Imagine that an omniscient seer had told you then that four-and-a-half years later, the U.K. and Spain would have experienced al Qaeda attacks in their own countries; France's appeasement-oriented government would have been rocked by Islamic riots in Paris and other cities, Denmark would have had its citizens and embassies targeted for Islamic terror attacks on account of political cartoons portraying Muhammed; Russia would have endured a deadly hostage siege by Islamic terrorists at a school full of children; and in all that time, the United States would not have experienced a single additional terror attack on its own soil. Imagine the seer had told you further that the United States would, in the same period of time, wage and win two wars in the middle east, overthrowing the Taliban in Afghanistan and midwifing the formation of a parliamentary democracy there, then driving Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and bringing that destitute country to the verge of its first parliamentary government, elected by nation-wide vote and backed by a western-trained police force and a non-Baathist army, while Saddam himself sat in the dock awaiting the verdict of his trial for crimes against humanity. Imagine he had told you that American combat deaths in these two wars over three years time would not have exceeded 5,000. Imagine that he also told you the American economy would have fully recovered from the 9/11 attack in this timeframe, returning to employment, interest, inflation, and growth rates rivalling if not exceeding those of the Clinton years, despite wartime budget deficits and huge increases in gasoline prices caused by the inevitable uncertainties in the middle east, while the socialist economies of Europe stagnated or shrank. Then imagine that he told you George W. Bush's approval rating just six months after his reelection would stand at 29 percent.

Would you have believed him? Would you have believed that the predicted accomplishments could be achieved so speedily, if at all, in the post-9/11 world? And would you have believed that a man who led such bold endeavors would be the least popular president in modern history save for Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter?

Yet that is the case. And here, courtesy of CNN, is the unkindest cut of all:

The poll of 1,021 adult Americans was conducted May 5-7 by Opinion Research Corp. for CNN. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Respondents favored Clinton by greater than 2-to-1 margins when asked who did a better job at handling the economy (63 percent Clinton, 26 percent Bush) and solving the problems of ordinary Americans (62 percent Clinton, 25 percent Bush). (Watch whether Americans are getting nostalgic for the Clinton era -- 1:57)

On foreign affairs, the margin was 56 percent to 32 percent in Clinton's favor; on taxes, it was 51 percent to 35 percent for Clinton; and on handling natural disasters, it was 51 percent to 30 percent, also favoring Clinton.

Moreover, 59 percent said Bush has done more to divide the country, while only 27 percent said Clinton had.

When asked which man was more honest as president, poll respondents were more evenly divided, with the numbers -- 46 percent Clinton to 41 percent Bush -- falling within the poll's margin of error. The same was true for a question on handling national security: 46 percent said Clinton performed better; 42 percent picked Bush.


Wouldn't we all like to go back to the paradise of pre-9/11 America?

How could this have happened? Bungles, scandals, corruption, and bad luck? Well, in case anyone has forgotten this elementary fact, every presidential administration has its share of bungles, scandals, corruption, and bad luck. These are the whales, sharks, and other monsters that swim ceaselessly in the political ocean. But the ocean itself -- the medium in which the monsters swim -- is the MSM. In this context, the blogosphere is no more than the foam on the whitecaps stirred up by the vast currents and movements in the ocean below. And while the bloggers were fighting their various and diverse battles in the name of truth, justice, and common sense, the MSM ocean was harnessing its entire immensity on just one story, told an infinite number of times, in every possible inflection, from every direction, and with the deadly persistent accuracy of a dripping tap: George W. Bush is no good.

It doesn't have to be true, it doesn't have to be fair, it doesn't have to be consistent in its terms. All that matters is that it is repeated with uniform constancy: drip, drip, drip. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. Change the headlines, seem to change the subject. Abu Ghraib. European disdain. Tom Delay. Katrina. Deficits. Valerie Plame. Gas prices. Karl Rove. Death in Iraq. Angry mothers. NSA wiretaps. Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, the lede is always the same. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. George W. Bush is no good. Forget the good news, bury the accomplishments or ignore them altogether. Drip, drip, George W. Bush is no good, George W. Bush is no good, George W. Bush is no good.

It took the MSM three years to bring George W. Bush's approval ratings down from their post 9/11 high to 52 percent on election day 2004. It's taken them just 18 months [corr. per Tim] to bring him down another 20 to 25 points. They never forgot their mission. While the princeling bloggers pissed and moaned about Harriet Miers, and immigration, and federal spending, the MSM kept on dripping out its one story, and now they are within reach of their goal -- Democrats restored to the majority in both houses of Congress and the stage set for the vengeful impeachment and dismissal from office of the most courageous president in modern times.

We're just one bubble among the tens of thousands in a single patch of foam on the MSM ocean. Who are we to stand in the way of the American tidal wave of nostalgia for the great Bill Clinton presidency? We can only submit. Here are a few of the moments we're sure everyone wants to savor again and again, like fine wine, from the days when the President single-handedly created a booming economy, took care of everyone's needs, minded the national security faultlessly, and was so thoroughly honest in all his dealings with the American people.

Poor Bill.

Campaign Finance Integrity.

Personal Honesty.

Caring for Ordinary People.

The Once and Future Clinton.

Nostalgic Souvenir.

Another Nostalgic Souvenir.

Feel better now? Well, who wouldn't?




Saturday, May 13, 2006


The Man with Two Faces

Mel Gibson when he was a Scot. Little did we
know he was advertising for the blue states.

STAR POWER. This is interesting:

Film star and director Mel Gibson has launched a scathing attack on US President George W Bush, comparing his leadership to the barbaric rulers of the Mayan civilisation in his new film Apocalypto.

The epic, due for release later this year, captures the decline of the Maya kingdom and the slaughter of thousands of inhabitants as human sacrifices in a bid to save the nation from collapsing.

Gibson reveals he used present day American politics as an inspiration, claiming the government callously plays on the nation's insecurities to maintain power.

He tells British film magazine Hotdog, "The fear-mongering we depict in the film reminds me of President Bush and his guys".


It's hard to know what's going on here. InstaPunk isn't here, but he would have some kind of answer, definitive and clearly argued even if it were wrong. Unfortunately, we have to respond as best we can, which is to suggest a list of possible explanations for Bush-bashing by a man who produced and/or starred in Braveheart, The Patriot, and We Were Soldiers, all of which films make it clear that there are wars which do need to be fought and enemies who do need to be opposed:

He made so much money with The Passion that he is now rich enough to empathize with 3rd World hatred and envy.

He's had so many kids -- two dozen? -- that he's got father's brainrot: none of my sons should die for their country.

He's tired of being snubbed by Sharon Stone, Susan Sarandon, Madonna, and Barbra Streisand at Hollywood parties.

He's spent too much time hanging around with his old Lethal Weapon co-star Danny Glover, who hates the U.S. as much as Harry Belafonte does.

He does still believe in just wars, but who in his right mind could believe that it's just to fight back against Christian-hating muslims who murder their wives for getting raped and slaughter thousands of civilian women and children for no reason whatsoever in hopes of deflowering 21 virgins in the afterlife?

He has an irrational soft spot for Saddam Hussein, who reminds him of the character he played in Payback.

After making Bird on a Wire, he got close to Goldie Hawn's daughter Kate Hudson, who rehabilitated his political sensibility to the point that he now understands George W. Bush is responsible for everything wrong in the world.

Of course, there's another more disturbing possibility, which is that Mel Gibson really is the anti-semite critics of The Passion said he was. We don't like this one because InstaPunk defended him from this charge. But unless you're a liberal Democrat who is a priori committed to the idea that every use of American military force is a crime, it's very difficult to justify the assertion that an American president is "fear-mongering" when he seeks to protect Americans from avowed, ruthlessly savage enemies -- unless you happen to agree with those enemies that the world's problems could all be corrected by driving the Jews into the sea.

As we said, we don't like this explanation. InstaPunk is a Scot, and he has told us many times that the two peoples on this earth who are the most alike are Scots and Jews -- both have overachieved in terms of their contributions to civilization relative to their population, both are tribal and argumentative but reluctantly fair in their social organizations, both have a history of fighting wars against long odds, and both are reviled for being unattractive in their financial dealings. (In fairness to InstaPunk, we should note his asterisk to the last point, which is that the lavishly admired Quakers are far more unattractive when it comes to money matters than either Scots or Jews, but the only people who know this are the ones who have done business with Quakers -- they tend to suffer in embarrassed silence.) It's sad indeed that we must now concede the possibility Mel Gibson is as crazy as Matt Stone and Trey Parker represented him in South Park.

The larger lesson is that movie stars are not political savants. They are people who spend inordinate percentages of their lives envisioning how they look to still and motion picture cameras. You probably couldn't say that about Locke, Washington, or Lincoln.

It's too bad about Braveheart, though. Sad to think that all those fine speeches are nothing but the roar of the greasepaint. So be it.




Friday, May 12, 2006


The da Vinci Follies

The figure at Jesus's right hand (our left) is, according to The Da Vinci Code,
not the apostle John but Mary Magdalene. Only Leonardo knows for sure.

MYSTERY. Suddenly, Christian theologians are all het up about The Da Vinci Code, which sold 40 million copies as a book without attracting nearly this much ire. Now that it's a movie, though, the fur is flying. The Roman Catholics are officially dismayed:

ROME (Reuters) - Three top Vatican cardinals have bemoaned the religious ignorance they say fuels worldwide interest in the best-selling novel "The Da Vinci Code," whose film premiere is due on May 17.

Speaking out amid a publicity countdown to the premiere, the Vatican's culture minister, Cardinal Paul Poupard, said the book seriously twisted Church history but most laymen did not have enough religious knowledge to separate fact from fiction.

"The Da Vinci Code" has aroused fierce criticism from Christian churches because it says Jesus Christ married his female disciple Mary Magdalene and fathered a child with her but the Vatican hushed up the truth.

The Greek Orthodox Church is furious:

The Greek Orthodox church reportedly criticised the best selling "Da Vinci Code" thriller, the film of which comes out in the coming days, as offensive and mistaken.

The semi-official Ana news agency said that a leaflet to be distributed to churchgoers at all Orthodox churches next Sunday states "From a religious and historical point of view the content of the book is wholly false."

"The work attacks and undermines in a treacherous manner religious knowledge," said the leaflet, produced by the church's supreme body, the holy synod.

Before people lose their heads altogether, it seems like a good idea to review the evidence and put this over-the-top controversy to rest. Did Leonardo paint a woman sitting at the right hand of Jesus in his fresco "The Last Supper"? Maybe. What does that prove? Leonardo didn't know everything. He designed a tank and a helicopter but forgot to design the 1,000+ horsepower engine they both need to operate. What does that tell you? Besides, he lived in the 1400s himself, which means he didn't have any more firsthand information about Christ than we do.

Less, actually. One of the first rules of argumentation is that if you want to convince anyone of anything, you have to compare apples to apples. The da Vinci Code is a movie. Therefore, the only appropriate evidence we should cite in analyzing it is other movies. And, dare we point out, Leonardo never saw a movie about Christ, not even the silent version of King of Kings. We're in a much much better position to figure this thing out than he was.

I don't recall hearing a lot of serious objections to the great spiritual film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. If you'll remember, Harrison Ford found the actual Holy Grail  in that movie and used it to heal Sean Connery of a gunshot wound. Would the Holy Grail have that kind of power if Christ had conned everybody about getting killed and then sneaked away to live a life of leisure in the wine country of France? I think not. Sean would be a goner.


Sean's Grail Book is at least as convincing as Dan Brown's book.

The next bit of relevant evidence did arouse quite a bit of fuss at the time it was released, but even The Last Temptation of Christ didn't suggest that Jesus faked his way through the crucifixion. The Mary Magdalene plotline was there, but only to reinforce the fact that Jesus was a man even if he was God too. What's interesting about this is that it makes The Da Vinci Code look a lot like one of those clandestine remakes, not to say rip-offs, that copy some earlier movie and throw in a unique twist or two to make it seem new. Think of all the different variations of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Or the genealogy of Die Hard, Speed, Under Siege, etc. Who's got the authority here? Die Hard was probably on one of your cable channels within the last month, but how long has it been since you last saw Under Siege in the listings?


Willem Dafoe didn't escape to France.

I grant that the movie-going public has a short memory, but there is a clincher to the argument. An awful lot of people went to see The Passion of the Christ, which contains the most recent and the most realistic depiction of crucifixion. Who could watch it and seriously believe that  anyone could fast-talk his way out of that kind of predicament? It's called death by extreme shock, and you're not going to cheat it by popping a couple of aspirin beforehand and bribing a guard to let you out early.


NOT en route to the Riviera.

I rest my case. If you have any further doubts about the flimsiness of the da Vinci code premise, direct them to the people who know: Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Mel Gibson.

As for the cardinals and bishops, they should settle down. It's a MOVIE.




Thursday, May 11, 2006


Nerve.

Con-artist Laura Knight-Jadczyk. She's hiding in France.

BEANS. It figures. InstaPunk isn't here at present to defend himself. Which may explain why Laura Knight-Jadczyk chooses this moment to respond to an entry from March 11th. She says (scroll, kids, scroll) in the forum she inherited from fellow con-woman Nancy Lieder:

Poking around on the "instapunk" website is a bit confusing at first.  It seems to be a site devoted to the writings of pseudo-intellectuals focused around "The Boomer Bible" written by R.F Laird.  As you read around on the site, you get the uneasy feeling that this is some kind of cult.  You can find some details about this on Wikipedia.  But that doesn't tell us why they are connected with abovetopsecret.com

Then she proceeds to quote extensively from InstaPunk's precursor blog glovesoff.blogspot.com and concludes:

And so, finally, we understand the political connection of "instapunk" and "boomerbible" to abovetopsecret.com and project Serpo hoax and the related agendas.

Which pretty much reveals the very political agenda of the "instapunk movement."

Four funnies in the same posting. InstaPunk consists of pseudo-intellectuals. The people who like The Boomer Bible are a cult. InstaPunk is involved in a conspiracy(!!!) with a site called Abovetopsecret.com. AND there's something called an "instapunk movement."

All this from a sociopathic, phony anthropologist without portfolio who leads, and has consistently swindled, her own cult following by appealing to fantasies that must surely equal whatever paranoia is being promulgated by an organization named Abovetopsecret.com, with whom no one at Instapunk has ever had any kind of contact whatsoever.

Here's a challenge -- Laura, respond to any single InstaPunk entry, or combination of entries, with your superior intellectual firepower. Even those of us who are filling in will still be able to smash your arguments to a substance indistinguishable from salsa.

We're waiting.




Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Checking in.


UPDATE. I'm told some people emailed the site concerned that something serious had happened to me at the debate. Not true. I'm fine...

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...uh, where was I?... Oh. I'm fine...

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...Really.

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Be back soon...

Really.




Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Debate Concluded

The long road home.

PUNK WRITERS THINKING THINGS OVER. It was a more contentious affair than most had anticipated. There was much to consider and differences of opinion were keen. Assignments have been given for writing up the results, but candidly speaking, those assigned are not all at present up to the task, including some of the regulars at this site.


Many, to be honest, are still recuperating.

We shall try to fill in, as best we can, with the fare you have come to expect. Right now, though, it's time for our nap.




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