Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
September 16, 2011 - September 9, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Required Post

The Phillies

A CLASS ACT. Let's get the disclaimers out of the way at once. Yeah, most of you don't and won't care. Not your team, right? And anything can happen in the playoffs (as Phillies fans know better than anyone). It's been a traumatic summer weather-wise, and the country is in deep crisis. So who cares about baseball? Philadelphia and South Jersey, that's who. I can't not do this post. With 14 games to play -- half a month of the season -- the Phillies are 12 games up on the Atlanta Braves (so good they're only a game behind the other two division leaders, who are 5 1/2 and 7 games ahead in their divisions), and they've already clinched a playoff spot -- the first in the major leagues to do so.

You've got it. I'm going to bore you with numbers. But first I'm going to give you some of the back story, which is just as amazing. The Phillies won the 2008 World Series with hitting and prodigious homerun power backed by indifferent pitching. They returned to the World Series in 2009 with essentially the same combination and lost to the Yankees. Last year, they got dusted in the pennant series by the incredible pitching of the San Francisco Giants, who went on to win the whole shebang. This year will be the fifth straight division title for the Phillies, and most of the teams in the playoffs will be different from last year. Things change rapidly in baseball. The World Champion Giants won't even make the playoffs. But the Phillies will be there. With a team that is almost 180 degrees different from the one that won the World Series three years ago. Winning has become a Phillies tradition. Rebuild on the fly and keep going.

On the fly? That's a cue to acknowledge that the Phillies are also responsible for the Philadelphia "Dream Team" Eagles we keep hearing about. After years, even decades, of playing football on the cheap, Eagles management this year suddenly sallied out into the free-agent market and spent $250 million on all-pro level talent. Why? The Phillies. Who sell out every home game in beautiful Citizens Bank Park, second in the Bigs only to the Boston bandbox called Fenway Park. Philadelphia is in danger of becoming more baseball town than football town. Being good enough is no longer good enough for the Eagles. Because the Phillies are better than good enough. They're astonishing.

Now for my numbers drill. (Anything can happen in the playoffs, yada, yada...BUT...) This has been an absolutely extraordinary season for the Phillies. They won the 2008 series with batting firepower. This year they're winning with pitching and fielding. They're seven games ahead of any other major league team in win-loss record. They lead the major leagues in earned run average with a staggering 3.00 team ERA (Most Hall of Fame pitchers have higher ERAs than that.) They lead the major leagues in fielding, with the fewest errors of all teams. Despite an absolutely middle-of-the pack team batting average, they are second only to the Yankees in run differential; that is, the difference between number of runs scored and number of runs allowed. Their six starting pitchers have a combined earned run average of 2.78 and a .667 win percentage. The Phillies have won 65 percent of their games. And they've done all this with a host of injuries, including half a season lost to one of their "four aces." (So they found a new ace, Vance Worley, a rookie with an 11-2 record and an ERA of 2.92.) In fact, it's been a rarity that the complete Phillies starting lineup has been on the field together. Big chunks of the season have been lost to Phillies stars Chase Utley (2B), Jimmy Rollins (SS), Placido Polanco (3B), Roy Oswalt (P), Brad Lidge (P), and lesser ills have frequently sidelined Shane Victorino (CF) and Ryan Howard.(1B).

But they win nonetheless. By any measure, the Phillies are a phenomenon. At home, their fans are so astute about baseball they know how to rattle an opposing pitcher into walks and, at times, off the mound altogether. On the road, there is always a sizeable contingent of them decked out in Philies gear and rooting for their team. In Washington, DC, and Florida, there have been times when Phillies faithful outnumbered home team fans. In New York, they're a significant rooting minority against Mets fans. Although, I'll note, in Phladelphia, it's common to see both Phillies and Mets jerseys together, drinking beer without fisticuffs or other violence.

It's what baseball's supposed to be. The only reason I mention it. Go Phils.

P.S. I can't end without acknowledging... The Phillie Phanatic. THE. BEST. MASCOT. IN. PROFESSIONAL. SPORTS.

And this:

Simply the best. Ask anyone.

Refutation and Honesty

I'm surprised it doesn't burst into flames at his touch.

CALL ME COCKROACH PUNK. Every single-- excuse me. This calls for the periods of emphasis so popular with today's cool kids. Every. Single. Paul Krugman column is refuted within hours of publication. All of them. Not since sunrises and sunsets has a phenomenon been so consistent and reliable. Krugman declares the media must censor conservative economics as a matter of principle? The sane half of the blogosphere rises as one to smack the demagogue down. Krugman accuses Republicans of creating "climate of hate" that gets Gabby Giffords shot? Easily exposed as lunacy, and even Krugman himself refudiated his own point a few months later. I won't link to his many Keynesian rants, all of which are refuted almost immediately because Keynes was refuted so thoroughly in his day-- let alone in ours. Until a few months ago, there was a whole site called Krugman is Wrong. The man is never not proven wrong.

Old Solomon said there's nothing new under the ever rising and setting sun, but yesterday may have proved him wrong. On September 15th, Krugman's latest column went up on the New York Times website. The refutation of a key part of that column appeared September 14th.

Another reason to loathe liberals….they are (kind of) making me defend Ron Paul.

Behold the fools at Gawker talking about Paul’s answer to a question about caring for the uninsured at the CNN debate on Monday.

...this whole thing begins with an absolute lie about what Paul actually said.

This is an unbelievably sad story, and it proves that Ron Paul was serious when he said (to audience applause) at Monday’s CNN-Tea Party debate that society should allow uninsured people to die.

That would be abominable if it weren’t for one small, slight, little problem, he said the EXACT OPPOSITE.

BLITZER: But he doesn’t have that. He doesn’t have it, and he needs intensive care for six months. Who pays?

PAUL: That’s what freedom is all about, taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to prepare and take care of everybody –


BLITZER: But Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?

PAUL: No. I practiced medicine before we had Medicaid, in the early 1960s, when I got out of medical school. I practiced at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio, and the churches took care of them. We never turned anybody away from the hospitals.

Paul Krugman's column "Free to Die," published a day later:

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Representative Ron Paul what we should do if a 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance suddenly found himself in need of six months of intensive care. Mr. Paul replied, “That’s what freedom is all about — taking your own risks.” Mr. Blitzer pressed him again, asking whether “society should just let him die.”

And the crowd erupted with cheers and shouts of “Yeah!”

The incident highlighted something...

Thus ends Krugman's account of the exchange. In classic lefty ass-covering fashion, he doesn't explicitly say Ron Paul wants the uninsured to die. Neither is he breaking a sweat to dispel that impression.

Proven wrong before he opens his mouth. Refutation preceding the man's hypothesis. That's a slam-dunk for the forces of good. But that triumph might make it easy to overlook the most interesting part of his latest missive.

The incident highlighted something that I don’t think most political commentators have fully absorbed: at this point, American politics is fundamentally about different moral visions.

Miracle of miracles: Krugman is correct about something! Naturally, he finds a way to be almost wrong. Krugman's vision can't really be called moral. It's more accurate to say he has a standard for what dishonesty can be excused.

Look how deftly he has to prance and dodge around what he's really advocating­. "Protecting citizens against the worst." "Covering the uninsured." "Government intervention in the name of compassion." This is spin that makes the classic euphemism "friendly fire" sound as transparent as the Berenstain Bear cubs explaining that they didn't break the lamp. We're talking about stealing from Americans to pay the bills of other Americans. If Krugman were honest-- well, yes, an honest Krugman is a silent Krugman, but stay with me-- If Krugman were honest, here's how his piece would read:

In the past, conservatives accepted the need for stealing from Americans to pay the bills of other Americans on humanitarian grounds. Don’t take it from me, take it from Friedrich Hayek, the conservative intellectual hero, who specifically declared in The Road to Serfdom his support for “a comprehensive system of social insurance” to protect citizens against “the common hazards of life,” and singled out health in particular.

Given the agreed-upon desirability of stealing from Americans to pay the bills of other Americans, the question then became one of costs and benefits — and health care was one of those areas where even conservatives used to be willing to accept stealing from Americans to pay the bills of other Americans, given the clear evidence that stealing from Americans to pay the bills of other Americans would not, in fact, cost very much money [um, sidebar: WHAT THE FUCK?]. As many observers have pointed out, the Obama stealing from Americans to pay the bills of other Americans plan was largely based on past Republican plans, and is virtually identical to Mitt Romney’s stealing from Americans to pay the bills of other Americans reform in Massachusetts.

Now, however, stealing from Americans to pay the bills of other Americans is out of fashion — indeed, lack of stealing from Americans to pay the bills of other Americans has become a matter of principle, at least among the G.O.P.’s base.

And what this means is that modern conservatism is actually a deeply radical movement, one that is hostile to the kind of society we’ve had for the past three generations — that is, a society that, acting through the government, tries to mitigate some of the “common hazards of life” through such programs as stealing from Americans to pay the bills of other Americans, stealing from Americans to pay the bills of other Americans, stealing from Americans to pay the bills of other Americans and stealing from Americans to pay the bills of other Americans.

Krugman's not dumb. OK, I take it back. He's a Keynesian, which is in essence another word for dumb. But he's astute enough to know when theft is theft. He just thinks it's acceptable theft. Because poor people can't help being poor and need their bills paid, and screw the rich (class war is why he can not only not accept the immorality of his views, but the factually proven inefficacy of them as well).

The big problem with my revised Krugman column is that, sadly, he overestimates "the G.O.P.'s base." If only that moral shift were the fiat accompli Krugman dreads it is. Too few Tea Partiers and registered Republicans (and too few Americans) understand the immorality of compulsory social safety nets. Most want new spending programs curbed, but still want the free money they've paid into. Marco Rubio, elected through Tea Party activism, gave one of the most disgraceful defenses of Medicare on record. Hayek's views on socialized risk can only be called a shameful. But hey, if we can pardon W.E.B. DuBois for enthusiastically prasing Hitler back in the '30s, we can give Hayek a pass. Not everyone we find in history will be as enlightened as we are. Or as enlightened as we need to become.

Krugman is supposed to be a luminary on the left. We've struggled and strained to defeat them for years, only to see that they're nothing we can't handle. Our faulty moral code is the real challenge. The problem was never liberals insisting on Social Security and Medicare-- it was conservatives slumping in acquiescence to it. We have to do better.

It doesn't take a political science degree. It just takes some hard honesty. Here's a clip from The Rick Emerson Show from March 2009, when the city of Portland announced it had secured taxpayer money for a new soccer stadium. Emerson's political theory is... only half-informed, let's say. But he holds no one's bags.

The pull quote:

"But really, if you wanna be consistent about it, why don't you take me to a soccer game, and why don't you tell Tim he has to pay for it, whether or not *he* wants to go to the game."

"Oh, don't be angry. I've been paying for other people's...[has to think about it] things, ever since I've been a taxpayer."

The honest response to that would be, "But you shouldn't have to."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

9/11/11, Part 3

An American Passion

SALVOS & SPLINTERS. As I told you, I had a bad day yesterday. Helk lecturing me about the impotence of writing. Intramural nonsense. And this email exchange with a friend I'm loathe to lose. He said in his subject block, "Powerful Stuff."

Does 9/11 Truth Have A Chance?

By Paul Craig Roberts

September 11, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- -- In the US on September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of 9/11, politicians and their presstitute media presented Americans with “A Day of Remembrance,” a propaganda exercise that hardened the 9/11 lies into dogma. Meanwhile, in Toronto, Canada, at Ryerson University the four-day International Hearings on the Events of September 11, 2001, came to a close at 5pm.

During the four days of hearings, distinguished scientists and scholars and professional architects and engineers presented the results of years of their independent research into all aspects of 9/11 to a distinguished panel consisting of the honorary president of the Italian Supreme Court who was an investigative judge who presided over terrorism cases and three distinguished scholars of high renown and judgment. The distinguished panel’s task is to produce a report with their judgment of the evidence presented by the expert witnesses...

The NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology, a government agency) reports on the twin towers and building 7 are fraudulent. Witnesses at the Toronto Hearings proved that building 7 was a standard controlled demolition and that incendiaries and explosives brought down the twin towers. There is no doubt whatsoever about this. Anyone who declares the contrary has no scientific basis upon which to stand. Those who defend the official story believe in miracles that defy the laws of physics...

Many other powerful points were made at the conference that I will not report, at least not at this time, because the revelation of malevolence is so powerful that most readers will find it a challenge to their emotional and mental strength.

There's more, of course. A lot more. The friend who sent me this is Lloyd Pye.We have quarrelled over this subject repeatedly for years. I keep telling him not to bring it up, but he can't help himself. So I responded thus.

Sorry, Lloyd. This is politics dressed up as science. Key graph:

"In recent years in America, scientific and scholarly authority has come into disrepute among Christian evangelicals who object to evolution and among anti-intellectual Tea Party adherents who object to “elitists,” that is, objection to knowledge-based persons whose knowledge does not support Tea Party emotions."

What the fuck do Christian evangelicals and the Tea Party have to do with 9/11? Nothing.

The reason I referred to "siloes" and put you in that category is that too narrow a focus blinds otherwise smart people to rank absurdities. I continue to be amazed that you can be taken in by this absolutely preposterous conspiracy theory.

I reiterate: tell me a coherent narrative of what happened that day if it was an "inside job" without requiring literally thousands of accomplices (demolition crews, air traffic controllers, "nano-thermite" manufacturers, veteran airline pilots, politicians, military, journalists, etc, etc). There is absolutely no precedent in recorded human history for conspiracy on such a scale. Sure, there are conspiracies; the ones that succeed have a tiny handful of people in the know. And even if such a titanic conspiracy could have been planned and pulled off, the risk of discovery (some greedy pawn blowing the whistle) alone would have made it an unthinkable gamble. It's ludicrous on its face.

ESPECIALLY BECAUSE THERE WAS NEVER ANY NEED TO BRING DOWN THE TOWERS. Americans would have been equally galvanized to action by the fact that two commercial airliners flew into the towers, killing hundreds in multiple horrible ways, including the jumpers who committed suicide because they could not escape the fires. Where's the value-added?

The Truther scientists have their cause-and-effect sensors on ass-backwards. If there are unexplained physical phenomena associated with 9/11, the invitation is not to level murky conspiracy charges no one dares to turn into a cogent narrative (and they absolutely refuse to do so because the laughter would be immediate) but to say, "Hey, we just had an unprecedented event. No one ever flew two airliners into two 110-story skyscrapers before. What happens in that event that we couldn't have anticipated? Maybe we have to research an entirely new branch of truly huge scale catastrophe physics."

It's an idee fixe. People hate George Bush. I get that. But they can't even confront the impossible contradiction in their own muddled heads: on the one hand, they hate and revile him as a silver-spoon lunkhead who should never have been allowed anywhere near the presidency; on the other hand, they harbor dark suspicions that he was the greatest criminal mastermind in the history of life on earth. Because let's face it, if this was an inside job, it has succeeded, and there can be no mightier act of coldly brilliant treason than this.

I told you I wanted to stop talking about it. because I didn't want to have to say this to you. But on this subject, you're being as dumb as a box of rocks.

My apologies.

Affectionately as always,

Haven't heard back from him, naturally. One of the reasons I did the Splinters post. Increasingly, I have the sense that there's something so powerful at the heart of 9/11 that it causes a division of souls. Something about meaning. And the ones who are afraid of meaning scuttle from the center of the event like cockroaches from the light. Imagine Ground Zero as an empty circle surrounded by the fleeing frightened who absolutely must cut it down to venal human size. It's a vicious conspiracy. It's exclusively a New York thing. It's chickens coming home to roost. It's a judgment of God. It's off limits to anyone who didn't lose a husband, a wife, or a child. I hinted at this in the closing of my Splinters post:

It should be a transformational spiritual experience that enables us to feel sorrow, anger, hope, beauty, and eternity all at the same time with no sense of internal contradiction.

Now Lake, whom I shared this idea with, has challenged me to explain myself:

And now the third 9/11 post, which only you are equipped to write, can be posted. Please post it if you're willing, the metaphor is rich.

Which I will now do.

During the 9/11 broadcast remembrances, I saw a show called "Heroes of the 88th Floor." It was about two ordinary(?) Port Authority cops who were close to the 88th floor of the North Tower when the plane hit. The first hour of the show documented the fact that these two men evacuated the 88th floor, five floors below the strike, and then began moving upwards, to the 89th, the 90th, and the 91st floors. The fires were so bad they had to break through doors with fire axes and put out fires as they went with wall-mounted fire extinguishers. They died, of course. But there was also the story of those they set free into the stairways and their progress to safety, which was equally marked by heroic individual acts, compassion, and extraordinary cooperation. The first hour ended with footage of the arrival of the NYFD, disembarking from their firetrucks laden with heavy uniforms, oxygen tanks and rescue equipment. Their job was to climb the very stairs we had just seen clogged with escaping civilians.

That's when I turned it off. Too much. Having seen the crush in the stairways, and knowing what was going to happen, it was too much to think of these over-burdened men ascending to certain death because it was their duty. Which they did.

I clicked off the TV and went to sleep. But it was more doze than sleep and I had the kind of dream that you're actually watching as you have it, aware that it, well, means something. I saw the towers, both of them, from top to bottom, and I saw the movement of everyone inside as lights, moving down, moving up, all of them moving in the direction of life. Like an Escher animation (suggested by Helk's weird video? Maybe.) But the up and down is not that of cowards versus heroes. It's rather a symphony, the cycle of life and death that sustains families, communities, civilizations. There are the fathers and mothers who move downward because their responsibilities are grounded in earth and must go on. Then there are the guardians, our own human angels, who move always, irresistibly upward because this is their destiny, their calling. Whether they ever knew it or not, they were living their lives for this moment, and they become the elect among us.

Why I reject the splinters. Utterly and absolutely. 9/11 wasn't a New York thing. It was an American thing. The twin towers were their own city, populated by every walk of life. Not just brokers but cooks and electricians and security guards and minimum-wage secretaries, and in the crisis they all came together. There were few stories of panic, Most often there were stories of people who put their own personal safety second and did what they could to help each other.

The miracle of the towers is that so few people died. That's a triumph of American values and individual American character.

There is goodness in us. That's the lesson. It's not a catastrophe so much as a parable. The Civil War was a catastrophe. 600,000 dead.  9/11 was a symbolic event. Symbolic of what?

The Islamic jihadists wanted to take down the pillars of American might and dominance. But what do the pillars really represent? I suggest they represent Liberty and Personal Responsibility, two things Islam does not and will never have. Islam does not mean Peace. It means Submission. They thought an act of terror could frighten us into submission. It did not.

Because the twin towers were not an American Mecca. They were just one more thing we can do.

9/11 belongs to every American in every walk of life. That's who showed up that day. All of us. Why we shouldn't run like cockroaches to the dark but proclaim the incredible beauty of our way of life. And never apologize for what that means. Because what it really is is a kind of American Passion. From death comes life and infinite vitality.

Then, of course, there are the miracles. But miracles are a lot harder to believe than preposterous conspiracy theories...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How you can help.

XOFF NEWS. Just a public service announcement.

Change of Plan

SCOOP. I won't kid you. I've had a rough day. But the upshot is that I'm back. Brizoni is done here. He banned Helk, then yielded to pressure from me and an old marine and pettishly rescinded his ban. Which rankled. He fumed. Worst of all, he did not post, which left InstaPunk floating like a dead site for days under the headline "Goodbyes." So I posted. Which caused Brizoni to email me:

You're going to get it now.

Whereupon I let him have it:

Stop it. I'm trying to protect you. You leave a farewell up there for days with nothing new and invigorating, let alone your banning snit.


Don't think for a moment of sniping at me. Think of entertaining and illuminating your audience.

I acted fast because sometimes that's what you have to do. It's called being there. Because people are always checking in. Not waiting for you to be brilliant, but to BE THERE.

Put me out of your head. I've given you multiple post ideas you were too busy to entertain, all of them intended to promulgate continuity. But you were too busy "writing" even to talk to me. Yet there is no writing at the site.

Get over your stage fright. Write, goddammit.

And don't bother attacking me. It will only lose you more audience. Even your heroic jawline can't prevent that. I'm pretty good looking myself.

To which he replied:

It's coming.


Decided NOT to use this line: "If that's the case, go masturbate with Helk, using your holy tears as Vaseline." I'm a uniter, not a divider.

So I said:

Hell. Use it. Be my guest.

Then you'll be free of the hell of Instapunk (what you really want) and I'll be back in it. Traffic will then rebound.

And you can explain to your girlfriends how you once had a chance to be a writer but threw it away for a fag joke.

Go ahead. I'm getting tired of boys who act like teenage girls. I can do another eight years if the best you can offer is snot and really fucking stupid resentment.

And I meant it. I wanted to give younger voices a chance, particularly because my temper is shorter these days than it should be. But now I draw a deep breath and resume my duties. William O'Blivion may be right. Perhaps it's all doomed and done for.

But I'll be here when it happens and as it happens. We can't leave such events to spiteful children. If there has ever been a time for adults, it is now.

The one change I will make is the one my old marine friend GW insisted on: he said, "There is no point in another site, or even one more post, that doesn't bear your real name." He's right.

My name is Robert Laird. And InstaPunk is MY blog.

Monday, September 12, 2011

9/11/11, Part 2


Moving, I admit. Very. But silence also means things not spoken of.

THE NAME GAME IS ALWAYS OFF-PUTTING. What do I mean when I talk of splintering? That each of us devolves to one predominant emotion that is somehow isolating. Apotheosis speaks of spite. Eduardo speaks of being sick of sadness as if sadness were irreconcilable with rage. It's all part of the splintering. Precipitated by the slow withdrawing from MSM view of the images that seared our hearts in the first place -- because they might offend the survivors. The first splinter.

Other splinters? Loss of heart. Loss of faith. Conservative/libertarian neo-isolationism, the first since Republicans wanted to give Hitler a free pass in Europe. Not our business. Transference in the form of Bush Derangement Syndrome. He was more than clever in realizing that we could not garrison the U.S. to keep ourselves safe by purely defensive means. He chose a strategy akin to the Allied decision to fight Hitler in North Africa because they couldn't fight him anywhere else. So Bush fought in Iraq to keep them away from here. And (omg) he was right. Al qaida streamed into Iraq to fight the Great Satan and died by the thousands, draining their blood and treasure. More splinters. Bush was the problem of terrorism. He was creating enemies we hadn't had before. Really? If we were just nice to the jihadists, they would be nice back. Like they were in London and Madrid, etc, etc. So we dismissed him from office, hated, ridiculed, endlessly maligned, entirely forgetting that the next great big attack on American soil never happened.

Splinter. The one called total denial. "Hey, let's start completely over with a brand new dude who will make everything awful right by making fine speeches."

Total nervous breakdown. Call it Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. We just wanted out. Sure, we cheered the president who stood on the pile at Ground Zero and promised justice, but now we're having nightmares and disturbing psychotic rages we can't explain. We don't like death. We don't like Guantanomo. We don't like severe interrogations, so much so that we begin to pretend every item of information obtained under duress is automatically untrue. (Hello. Does anyone know how police detectives obtain confessions?) We make up a brand new constitutional right that extends the protections of American citizens to everyone on earth, even those whose mission is to destroy us and our constitution. Right. We're officially crazy now. Can't we all just bail to Oz? Yes we can.

Yes we can. Yes we can watch in awe as a president of the United States wanders the globe apologizing for American sins. American sins? Really? Yes, we can suddenly tolerate Iranian nuclear weapons that will probably be used against Israel, because who likes the Jews anyway? Look at the Europeans; they've always known about the Jews. And speaking of Europeans, maybe we should be more like them and stop expecting people to take care of themselves because what's government there for anyway?

And what's with all this God stuff? The muslims, who may or may not be involved in some aspects of terrorism, believe in God too, and maybe it's God that's the real problem. Maybe we should start listening to Richard Dawkins instead.


Which devolve to Truthers and Code Pink and Breasts Not Bombs and what's so wrong with a wahabbi mosque a few blocks from Ground Zero because we just want everybody to follow the wisdom of the violent thug who said, "Can't we all just get along?" Can't we just bring everybody home and hope for the best?


Where we are now. Except that it should be better than that.

It should be a transformational spiritual experience that enables us to feel sorrow, anger, hope, beauty, and eternity all at the same time with no sense of internal contradiction.

But that would be another post.


THEY'RE LETTING ME GO. Some commenters checked in. My best attempts to respond.


What an incredible 8 years, IP. You'll be missed, and I hope some of us can find you still online somewhere.

Brizoni, I think you can do this. Please do this. Different but still great.

Also, how about that book?

All the best, IP, and Godspeed. Cheers and good luck, Brizoni. See you on the 11th.

All the best to you, too, Lake. I won't be silent. I just won't be here.

Will Ashbless

I'm confused. Can someone help me understand what all this is about?

IP: So Helk got all vicious and conspiratorial on you... Frankly, he's always seemed a bit wonky to me. I'd written him off as a fruitbat until you started speaking highly of him, and since I think you're pretty smart I was willing to give him some benefit of the doubt. Maybe you were wrong about him... 'Sokay, it happens to everyone sooner or later (and "being wrong" is probably the one area I've got more experience than you...). But why bail on the site over that?

I read the material on this site because the perspective is always provocative. And the writing is funny. And I loved "The Boomer Bible". Writers need audiences, and you've got one here. Now I could understand wanting to ditch all audiences altogether. Lots of writers have done that in the past, and I can't say as I blame them... I'm sure audiences can drive a person crazy. But why dump one if you are just going to go find another elsewhere? What about the 99.99999% of us that aren't Helk? Don't we count for something?

I don't have your gift for writing screeds against politicians, or firing rage and determination with your Scottish pipes. I live in Texas, which is going to go Perry anyways and sure as hell won't go for Obama even if the Republicans run an illegal immigrant skunk. So even my vote doesn't matter, much less my opinion. (Although I'd still like to see a Newt takedown of Big O.) But I like to read what you write because it helps me not to give up, like a flag waving way off there at the head of the column. I'm not going to be able to challenge someone like you when I think you're wrong ('cuz you're probably not, and even if you were I most likely couldn't prove it). Shit, I doubt I could even make intelligent conversation with you. But when you're not writing for this site any more, I'll be sad and we'll all be the less for it. Except for Helk, who'll get to pee anywhere he wants now.

I'm not leaving because of Helk. I'm leaving because there's no one left to persuade. Everyone's locked in, for reasons that aren't amenable to rhetoric, logic, or even historical context. Helk was part of my realizing that. I never meant to be here to preach to the choir, but the choir and the anti-choir are all that's left, and they're more pure of heart than I'll ever be. I'm irrelevant.

Will Ashbless

Rock on, Newt.

Actually, I feel the same way.


Out of the trench and into No Man's Land. Your comrades are with you.

Thanks, old friend. If you thought I was deserting, I couldn't live with it.

Peregrine John

Do? Same as ever. Press on, changing 1 mind at a time. Unless there's a chance to change a thousand at a go. Keep poking the giant in hopes he wakes before he's dead. Keep walking through the valley of the shadow, flipping off evil and daring it to come get us. Going into that good night, perhaps, but raging.


Me too.

Fred Drummond

I take it that "no" is not an option for a response. So, what Lake and Will A. said, then. Peregrine John - yes, one mind at a time.

Shammadamma, indeed.

But, damn, nonetheless. I'll be listening for the new drumbeat all the same, wherever it may be coming from.

Put your ear to the ground.


Wait, you mean THE Rolling Stones let IP sit in & jam on the drums?

/hella rumor to spread. On it!

For 30 years I have been the percussion behind Charlie Watts.


Good bye.

The Boomer Bible was great. But the underlying philosophy was never sound. Harry grew out of a culture that decayed from within for a number of causes, all probably connected, although it is difficult to trace the connection; all probably proceeding from what you could call the auto-toxic condition of the Protestant culture. We say that an organism has become auto-toxic when it is beginning to poison itself, when it loses vigor in its vital processes and accumulates secretions which continually lessen its energies.

You are a product of Protestant culture. A WASP who wants to go back to the good old times when the WASP ruled. But WASP culture was the fertilizer of Harrys shit. And Harrys shit is the fertilizer of the Antichrist. And Obama is not the Antichrist. Obama is a joke.

But waiting for the Antchrist by the soundtrack of the Stones is not a good idea.

Come to your senses. Stop being pathetic. Your minions are a joke too. The USA is not great.

"The Boomer Bible was great. But the underlying philosophy was never sound. Harry grew out of a culture that decayed from within for a number of causes, all probably connected, although it is difficult to trace the connection..."

Thank you. My laugh for the day. Misunderstanding The Boomer Bible is easy. Proving that you are mentally incapable of understanding it in just three sentences is a record.


I suck sometimes, it is true. I would hate to think that I was responsible in some way for your leaving. Except I think you want to go. Finding the power to let go of a long-held habit is a terribly hard thing to do.

I have, since meeting you, advocated that you take a break. That you get out of the house and meet real people again. I still advocate this. I won't pretend to know you - I truly enjoy our conversations. Truly, I do. You can *always* depend on me to tell you the truth, my version anyway. And if my version is shown to be wrong, you can also depend on me to change my view. Immediately.

Sorry for coming apart at the seams. There is much that you necessarily do not know regarding what ails me. And I have a few thorns in my side right now. More than a few. And there is nobody to rescue me but me. There are no angels to crash through the walls and abscond with me to Rio. I have to do it on my own. Like a solitary punk with his back against the wall.

When I accused you of having been raised with a silver spoon in your mouth.... it was a comparison. I was raised by violent drunk narcissists. I was adopted by loving people, but I was raised by maniacs. This was great in terms of preparing me for the real world. It was not so great in terms of preparing me for being, well, nice. Especially the Writer in me. For it was the Writer who saved me from a pit of despair - it was the Writer who saved me from self-terminating visions.

And the Writer is a street fighter - when I was hungry and tired and homeless, the Writer would tell me that it was OK, that life was awesome, and that the hunger pangs were actually prayer-pulses. Not because I am some Christian idealist, but because, like you, I see the Mystery for what it actually is - Mystery.

Anyway. My rooster is crowing. I have been chopping firewood in preparation for the Winter. I planted four rose bushes yesterday. The sun is now fully risen and the coffee is loosening my resistance. I shall soon fire up the chop saw.

A saying: "Faith without works is dead."

What is work without faith? I suspect that it is robotic. Something to be avoided?

I love my little rooster. If I could I would teleport you here, just your vaporous spirit, so that you could meet him without perturbing the scene. That is what being a superobserver means to me - one who witnesses without perturbing:

Don't fret. I understand. We don't need roosters here because we have wild turkeys. All over the place. I'll explain one day.


The last day. A last post?

More than one. As you can see already. Truth about 9/11/11 is a book by itself.


We can DIY it.

Where were you? What changed for you?

I'd had the last couple of days off & was spending it with my mom, doing chores for her. I woke up late to hear her shrieking and running about the house, saying something awful had happened. It took awhile for it sink in.

She went to Ground Zero the next day, being a nurse and all. I volunteered for the Red Cross to do emergency psych work, then the USCG Auxiliary b/c I'm too old for military.

It shames me that its still a damned hole. We all said we'd never forget, we promised. That hole says fuggedaboutit.

As usual, it was an ironic setting. I was living in the house of an 18th century (1737) clockmaker in one of the oldest villages in New Jersey. I was in the tall room, where the grandfather clocks were made, when I saw the towers hit and the towers fall. I can also tell you exactly where I was when I saw men land on the moon and when I learned JFK got shot. A newer house. Maybe 1770. As I've said before, Jersey boy.

William O. B'Livion

It's been over for a long time anyway, there's only so much fighting the wind and the tide you can do, the tide and the wind and entropy wins in the end.

We're not the country we were--at all--in 1900. We (the country) don't believe in real freedom any more--the sort of freedom that means when you fuck up you die. We believe in the freedom to titillate our wibbly bits, to indulge our senses and to avoid the consequences. We all want to privatize the good and socialize the bad just like the "fat cats" on "Wall Street".

We've gone too far, gotten too soft. No one wants the truth any more, and like the cliche' goes "you can't handle the truth".

We're not pulling out of this one--one good writer with his heart in the right place and his brain on fire won't stop a 50 million people from voting for MORE theft.

There really isn't any hope left, just preparation for the hard times that follow.

Good luck and godspeed IP, You fought that fight better than I ever could. I tried it on Usenet and in person in the 90s, and like you got beat on like a drum. So fuck them. Protect yourself and your family. Enjoy the sunsets--as civilization burns the colors will get even more beautiful.

Good luck and godspeed to you, too, Mister Oblivion. Enjoying the sunsets is high on my list of priorities. Thanks, as always, for your wisdom.

A FINAL TIP FROM THE BOSS: The song above is from the ultimate album for men "in trouble." If you've definitely lost her, play it for yourself. If she's left and you think you might win her back, play it for her. Golden either way. The name of the album is Watertown, the secretest hit in the Philadelphia/Jersey heart of Sinatra country. Here are the songs presently available on YouTube.

Goodbye (above)

I would never leave without a gift from the heart. Even you men who think you will never need this gift will one day be grateful. As long as you don't forget. Trust me, she'll love it. Even if she thinks she hates Sinatra. This one will melt her heart even if it's made of stone. But only when it really matters.

The life you save could be your own, but the love you save could be YOUR life. Just don't tell anybody where you heard it first. In the interim, don't play it for her. Save it. When you need it, it's here: You always loved this secretly. Because that's the kind of guy you are.

Don't ever say I didn't do nothin' for ya.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11/11, Part 1

Opening Salvo

WHY SO MAD?. Some events are too big. They're so big that everyone's aware of them to some degree, which seems unifying, but what's really happening is a kind of shattering, a splintering that can reduce all the pieces eventually to dust. Ten years on, that's what 9/11 is threatening to become. It still holds great unifying possibilities, of course, but most of what we've seen is the splintering, which is accomplished subtly because the stage is so large and the actors so numerous. That's why no single post can do it justice. And why this is only the opening salvo.

Today's commemorative events comprised two separate media streams. There were the official ceremonies and the NFL's lavish pre-game pageants and on-air pontifications. What's interesting is that both made a show of being nationally inclusive while promoting under the surface a distinct exclusivity designed to make most of us feel subsidiary, if not irrelevant.

Were you moved by the NFL's uniform full-field flag displays? Every stadium got the same show, and to greater or lesser degrees the fans dutifully chanted "USA, USA, USA" after whatever rendition of the national anthem was foisted upon them. What could be more inclusive than that? Except that the marquee games, the games telecast nation-wide, were the ones in Washington, DC, and New York (er, New Jersey). where all this commemoration matters, you know, more.

It would be easy to miss were it not for the proceedings at Ground Zero, Shanksville, and the Pentagon, where the overwhelming, almost sole, preoccupation was with the naming of names of the victims. At Ground Zero it took thudding, numbing hours to name all the names, as if we were being dared to quit watching from sheer boredom.

The rites in Shanksville were similar -- naming of names, on and on and on, with some speeches thrown in. Less so at the Pentagon, but not enough to represent an utter departure. The highlight was a moving military drill in which a memorial made of benches representing each victim received an individual wreath for each bench from as many representatives of the military in full-dress uniforms.

Leave it to the most unsubtle and domineering of all the participants to fill in the blanks for us unwelcome outsiders. Mayor Bloomberg, the self-proclaimed emcee of all things New York, banned basically everyone but the families of Ground Zero victims from even attending the tenth anniversary memorial. Not even clergy and first responders who had flocked to New York's aid from across the nation were invited. The 9/11 event belongs exclusively to those who lost loved ones in the 2001 attacks by persons who should not be named so as not to offend them.

I didn't object the first time they devoted a 9/11 remembrance to the naming of names. But we're ten years in now. Does Pearl Harbor belong exclusively to those who were related to those killed in ships and planes on December 7, 1941? And what would it mean if someone suggested it did and went out of his way to turn his back on everyone else while pretending otherwise?

Here's the deal. 9/11 happened to all of us. We have all been paying the price for ten years. A very steep price, one that has changed all our lives forever.

And 9/11 and its consequences belong to ALL of us. Here's what I saw on Saturday night:

It didn't end with this clip. The emcee at the microphone asked us all to stand, to pray, and, no, not to chant "USA" for a moment or two but to sing the national anthem together. And we did. Every single word. With our hands on our hearts.

Tonight I watched the Jets-Cowboys game on NBC, which could not have been more obviously packaged by NBC as an allegorical showdown between New York and the unwelcome others, personified by "America's Team," whose hated leader George W. Bush was actually on hand to flip the coin before kickoff. New York won in the end, almost miraculously, which entirely suits the MSM narrative. But the game was a lot closer than they'd predicted. Almost as if they didn't entirely understand the depth and talent and resolve of America's Team. I never root for the Dallas Cowboys. But I had no choice tonight. And I take comfort in the fact that we threw a scare into the solipsistic core of the Big Apple. Is it too late to do the same on the subject of 9/11?

This immensely important moment in our history is being hijacked from us. You should be angry. Are you? Do you still have it in you?

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