tornado aftermath: they're going to put it back together.
There's a gaping hole in the documentation of most American natural
disasters. We get to see the damage the day after. The TV journalists
pose in front of the wreckage of people's lives.
have to imagine the network correspondent in khaki; he's long gone.
They cover the story in accordance with their own traditional values --
Are the people weeping and scavenging the ruins for pitiful reminders
what they've lost, like photographs and crushed tricycles? Is FEMA here?
president visited? Yes? The government will provide. Mission
accomplished. And all go home to await the next catastrophe.
If you look at the volume of documentaries produced by the various
channels that proclaim a nonfiction mission, it seems impossible that
they could have missed anything. They're all over dinosaurs, guys who accidentally shoot themselves in the head with nailguns, the
pyramids, climate change, brand new old footage of the Titanic, bigfoot, shark week, UFOs, the origins of the universe,
Atlantis, Hitler, volcanoes, Nostradamus, the ugliest ever catfish, serial killers and why women marry them, asteroids aiming at earth,
the history of mud, more Hitler, fixing gigantic things that are broken,
hummingbirds, Nostradamus and the 2012 apocalypse, Roman sexual deviancy, the menace of pythons in the
everglades and bears in the suburbs, why Jesus was just a nice guy who got crucified, duplex trans-gender operations, frozen mammoths, Jack the Ripper, base-jumping and other suicidal hobbies, still more Hitler, the Loch Ness monster, the manufacture
of microprocessors and toothpicks and skateboards, Satan, things that melt, aggressively fat meter maids, ghosts, stalactites, women unexpectedly having babies in the ladies room, the absolute final word forever on Jack the Ripper, everything in the world you could possibly imagine about Princess Diana, why Darwin was so incredibly right
about everything and the Bible not so much, celebrity ghosts, shark month, stone-age Amazonian tribes
with breasts, mail-order brides from Russia and how they died, how much we love the Brit royals, angels and why they don't exist, what the world will look like after the pestilence called
Man becomes extinct, the Jack the Ripper we never knew until this newest latest revelation, African tribes with breasts, AND a great many of the more arduous strains of
blue collar American life -- crab fishing, coal mining, logging, sewer
cleaning, hog slaughtering, Alaskan everything, the difficulty of being a professional urban vagina on meth-amphetamines, wrinkled moms who live with a hundred cats and never throw out the trash, plus innumerable treatments of the
general awfulness of the south, with a special emphasis on the
underground railroad, dead jazz geniuses, and hick spouses who kill each other using their Bibles
What you never see, though, is what happens after the news networks fly
home to New York after a natural disaster. Well, except for
post-Katrina New Orleans, where everybody sat and waited for the
federal government to fix everything and, uh, are still waiting.
The word "except" is key here. The experience of New Orleans after
Katrina is clearly the exception. There is a zone of the United States
called Tornado Alley that rips whole towns to pieces every year. And
guess what? Those towns rebuild themselves. Year after year, decade
after decade. HOW EXACTLY DO THEY DO THAT?
Think about it. You've seen the splattered houses, churches, hospitals, and
stores. Places where it's hard even to figure out which pile of rubble
to be Main Street. But the people who are from there don't leave, and
they rebuild their lives. Yeah, I know there's government money and
loans and such that figure in, but let's face it, the work is done
primarily by the so-called 'ordinary' people we last saw standing on
the splinters of their homes and thanking God
that most of their neighbors are still alive.
I want to see the process. I want to see the bulldozers and backhoes
that clear away the flattened houses and shattered trees. (Where do
they put all the refuse?) I want to see how these communities that no
longer exist except for the people who lived in them come together and
start building anew on the cleared ground. I want to see the churchless
church suppers, the pitching in of nearby less damaged counties and
towns, the ad hoc schooling that goes on in the absence of
air-conditioned classroom buildings and hardwood basketball gymnasiums,
the families living with families while they struggle through how long
(?) without income, the mayor making deals with contractors and banks
and farmers, the doctors who set up clinics at the only gas station still standing, the women who run the food and clothing banks to keep body
and soul together for parents and children while the town comes slowly
back to life.
It isn't FEMA that does all that. It's American people hewing together
and working their asses off to make miracles happen.
We know it happens. Despite
all the lamentations about New Orleans,
Mississippi -- every bit as hard hit as the Big Easy -- quietly went to
work and pulled off the standard American recovery while the Big
Easyites wanted somebody else to do it. Why is theirs the only story worth covering?
I'm absolutely certain people by the
millions would watch a series about such a recovery. It's a black hole in the media
depiction of "the bitter ones who cling to their guns and religion."
Because that's not all they cling to, and we all know it. They cling to
each other, help each other, work for each other, and give new life to
Are you listening, History, Discovery, NatGeo, Green, Current, TLC, and company? I
need another fantasy science documentary about brightly feathered
dinosaurs. If you're using CGI, you don't know. You're just guessing.
What I need is a glimpse of facts that don't require any guesswork.
Average Americans routinely, habitually, come back from the brink. Why
can't you get off your high horse and show us that?
Affirmation from commenter Patrick:
I knew from the moment the storms ended
(I live in North Alabama) that the people here would pull themselves
back up. I actually got nervous when FEMA came in and the president
came for his photo-op. My first thought was, "Thanks but no thanks. We
need to stick to the people who understand the problem, not ones who
will only contribute to it." I'm proud of the people in my community
for getting through this with grace and dignity, and that's coming from
a guy who is often very hard on his fellow Alabamans. Just stay out of
the way. No cameras needed. We don't want your pity. Just let me get to
You see. My only point: we want to see, too. Need to see. All of us.
I mean, I know it seems like it should be a private thing, but it's gone beyond that. The rest of the country needs to remember how this country works. And not one micro-second of it is pity. It's learning.
Monday, May 09, 2011
The new Fox News "ace' foreign
correspondent: Peter Doocy.
Sorry for the tiny picture. He may get bigger in time. Show me.
UGH. AND THE LIBS
TALK ABOUT HYPOCRISY. A bad day. A day when I do
despair of America. But one more time, credit where credit is due. For
once, Hotair has been pretty much on
point with its areas of focus. Let
me count the ways, large and small, that I am disgusted by the current
scene. Some will have links. Some won't. If you can't verify the
linkless ones on your own, to hell witcha. These all from the past
week, in no particular order.
The Republican frontrunner, Mitt
with the decision not to release Osama death photos. Never mind that
the righteous libs who defend this decision were hammer-and-tongs in
favor of releasing all the Abu Graib photos, the only conceivable
purpose of which was to tar all American troops in combat with the
crimes of a few, so that they would be in greater danger from the
mythical "moderate muslims" who have already swarmed the Arab Street
to denounce (and deny) the "murder" of a muslim martyr. And never mind
death of bin Laden is not remotely akin to the deaths of innocents
which have been celebrated by Arabs of all stripes from the beginning
hostilities against the U.S. As we've said before, there really aren't
any "moderate muslims." There are just three types of muslims: open
jihadists, passive-aggressive jihadists; and a handful of American
(patriot) muslims who will probably be killed eventually. Not that any
the MSM, or even Hugh Hewitt, ever notices. And it's way too late to
get Mitt Romney a spine transplant.
Juan Williams, who owes his whole current income and career to Fox
News, insists on referring to enhanced interrogation techniques as the popping out of eyeballs and severing of hands. He also
referred -- without rebuke --
on Fox News Sunday to the "murder"
of Osama bin Laden. Golly, Juan. We know you have an advocacy job to
do. We'll never call you an asshole or punch you right in the face for
spouting outageously false lefty propaganda on camera. We'd never do
anything to make your kids feel uncomfortable about you at their prep
schools on Parents' Day.
A street survey in New York City showed us that teenage New Yorkers don't
even know who Osama bin Laden was and what he did. Hooray for
government schools. Hooray for NYC parents. Hey. How is this even possible? uh, how did Obama
get elected in the first place?
Another study, undertaken by government experts in Detroit, revealed
that 48 percent of the residents of that city can't read --
out government forms or employment applications, decipher prescription drug
instructions, or understand solicitations to the government programs
designed to help them. I wonder who they'll be voting for in the next
presidential election. No, I don't. I only wonder how they'll find the
buses that take them to their polling places.
Don Imus, suddenly reversing his clicheed stance on Obama ("he's a good
guy but he doesn't know what he'd doing") 180 degrees purely because of
kill. "I thought he didn't know what he was doing, but I was obviously
wrong about that." uh, saying yes to a military operation doesn't
exactly make you Socrates. Unless, like Imus (er, scroll),
you're Dummocles, the man who has one dumb unchanging opinion about
everything that ever happened. But
once Imus says something, you can absolutely count on the fact that he
will repeat it, repeat it, repeat it, until we're all sick to death of
it. I'm not going to be able to watch him anymore. Depressing.
thinks it's cool that Condi Rice argued idiot MSNBC host Lawrence
O'Donnell to a standstill, although some of us remember -- in the blood
is thicker than water department -- that Condi Rice went all squishy
the 2008 presidential campaign because she admired Obama so, despite
his unrelenting villainization of her boss and the man who made her a
worldwide celebrity, George W. Bush. Thanks, Condi. Good show. Loved
with Alec Baldwin on 30 Rock. So so sweet. What a rock of
principle. For a celebrity.
Fox News continues to decline in quality and credibility, as if
consciously boosting the claims of the liberal plutocracy that they're
a joke. This morning, F&F host Gretchen
Carlson used the word
"poignant" as if it meant "pointed" in characterizing Chris
Wallace's best question during an interview with National
Security Adviser Donilon. Fellow host Brian
Kilmeade, on a similar
point, spoke of the difficulty of "disseminating between" rather than
"discriminating between" administration positions on waterboarding and
shooting an unarmed bin Laden in the head. Meanwhile the interns in
charge of the F&F chyrons remain in open warfare with the interns
in charge of the F&F news crawlers. Where the chyron says
(correctly) "protesters," the crawler insists (incorrectly) on "protestors." Where
the crawler says (correctly) "al Zawahiri," the chyron, for day after
day, announces (incorrectly) "al Zawahri." Often simultaneously on
screen. And nobody ever corrects the
errors. My favorite crawler: "No group has yet to take credit
for the attack..." Diagram that one, Doocy. And speaking of Steve
Doocy, F&F weatherman turned loose-cannon political wag, am I
the first to point out the disgrace of the rocketlike, nepotistic
his son, first-year college grad Peter Doocy, who just this Mother's
was tossed to by an FNC host to explain the difficult relations between
the U.S. and Pakistan? Sorry. Whenever they do that, now and in future,
I will -- as I did yesterday -- switch channels directly to the TruTV
classic, "It Only
Hurts When I laugh," which is much less embarrassing to watch or
get caught watching. Fox
News has indeed made itself
a joke. Are you listening, Roger Ailes? Or just laughing your way to
I wouldn't have been as hard on Rush Limbaugh as I was last
week if I'd
realized no one else -- NO ONE ELSE ON EITHER SIDE OF THE AISLE --
would notice that his "incredibly gutsy call" was actually a
no-brainer. If he'd passed up the opportunity to kill bin Laden with
positive proof that he had done so, the fact would eventually have
leaked, and the American people would never have forgiven him. Other
presidents might have had some
choice. Obama had none. What was the meaning of all those 'Birthers'? They thought he might be a muslim sympathizer. Why did it take 16 hours to decide to do what he absolutely HAD to do?
I was also taken aback by this reference -- I first heard it on Fox News Sunday, by newly
chastened NPR mouthpiece Mara Liasson -- to an "Arab Spring." Again, no
denunciation by the assembled elite conservatives. It's a ludicrous
turn of phrase. Yeah, I'm sure all us elite conservative contributors
to Fox News Sunday know that Mara is fighting for her NPR life, and we
also feel sorry for the allergies that make it necessary to cut away
from her when she can't speak, and she is such a nice woman, BUT -- what we're
looking at in the Arabic middle east is hardly a push toward
Jeffersonian democracy or even Lech Walesa's Solidarity-type populism. Every well
organized political faction on the scene with a chance of taking power
from the ancient autocrats is more kindred with the Ayatollah Khomeini
and his "Arab Eclipse of Civilization" than with anything we'd
recognize as a push
toward individual feedom. The Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hizbollah,
these are the forces of "democratic" rebellion that want to green the
Arab deserts. Their idea of liberation is worldwide submission to
sharia (i.e., annihilation of the Jews, honor killings of female
relatives, clitorectomies, burkhas. overt female illiteracy, tacit male
illiteracy, and a permanent shortage of wives achieved by murder that
creates an endless pool of idiot adolescent killers of the "infidels"
who can get laid in this
lifetime. Cool.) But it would be
impolite to mention that, I guess. What with Mara's cough and all. But
it does beg the question. Even Mara must know that "spring" comes with
its own share of ills that must be treated before they become crippling
or fatal. Or. Not.
I could go on. Obama on 60
Minutes taking credit for his "gutsy call"
without being asked a single question about why his Justice Department
prosecuting CIA interrogators who were acting legally and
acquired useful information that helped kill Osama bin Laden. Fox News interviewers
failing to challenge ex-CIA flack Michael Scheuer who claimed, without
on-screen objection, that three administrations have "lied" to the
American public by misrepresenting bin Laden's hatred of the U.S. as
anything but a desire to get our troops out of Arab countries. "He
doesn't care at all who we are and what we think," Scheuer said with smug finality. Is
that so? Then what of the worldwide push for sharia? And... oh forget
it. Scheuer has books to sell, and he's a Fox News analyst. Frank
Luntz, another Fox News analyst, pretending
that there was anything
significant about an orchestrated second-string Republican debate
South Carolina. News flash to genius Luntz: Nobody cares about
Herman Cain. He's a more polite and admirable version of Donald Trump.
He is not a presidential candidate. Meanwhile, the president's
reelection campaign is already in full swing, with all the usual
uncritical support of the MSM.
The new media are already as corrupt as the old media. And the ones who
should be leading the charge are bunkered
in fantasies that have
nothing to do with either governing or fixing what's wrong.
Which is why I gave credit to Hotair up top. We've had our differences,
God knows, but perseverance is a virtue, and Ed
Morrissey has assembled a list of "Obamateurisms" that could and
should be the basis for real Republican campaigns:
Not a hat-tip but hats-off to Ed. This time he said it best.
Cheer each other up. You won't make a dent in my pessimism today.
Friday, May 06, 2011
challenging than it sometimes seems.
CULTURE ON CABLE -- WITH ADS. I
saw this documentary
on the new Ovation Channel and just finished explaining to Mrs. CP why
it couldn't be a post. Irrelevant, elitist, niche-oriented. But it is a post. It's the story of how
the musical "Phantom of the Opera" became the single longest running
theatrical production and most successful entertainment property in
history, playing to more than 100 million patrons for ticket prices
easily ten times (and more) what any movie can command. At a time when
we're falling hook, line, and sinker for a success story in the killing
of bin Laden, it's worthwhile to consider the weird combination of
brilliance, accidents, egos, false starts, reversals of fortune,
bonehead mistakes, high risk intuition for good and ill, and, well, luck (unless it's fate instead) that results in spectacular
I should explain that we saw Phantom
on Broadway, and Mrs. CP was absolutely transported. Which was my whole
intent in planning it. Nothing prepares you for the array of talent it
represents -- actors, singers, dancers, set design, costume
design, music, special effects, and emotional immersion in a
theatrical experience beyond compare.
So how did it all come to pass? Talented people doing what they do, TA
DA. Hardly. It was a long and frequently painful process. Andrew Lloyd
Webber had a score with no lyrics. He cobbled together a first act
performance at a personal theater on his own estate, and the lyricist
he chose for that preliminary performance was committed to humor and
what we'd call "camp." There's a video showing the audience laughing
throughout. It was enough to secure some initial investors, but the end
result that finally hit the stage would cost more than two million
pounds, a ton of tabloid controversy, and the firing of a legendary
director, the first leading man, the first lyricist (a veteran traded
for an unemployed youngster), the music director,
and nearly the composer, too, who announced less than seven days from
the opening that he was withdrawing his score from the production. His
tantrum was defeated only by his inability to carry the record-breaking
poundage of the score out of the theater.
And that's not the half of it. The man finally chosen to play the
Phantom was Michael Crawford, known throughout the U.K. as a physical
slapstick TV comic
who sang in a near falsetto that engendered gusts of laughter but
nothing like musical praise. And the leading lady was
Andrew Lloyd Webber's own wife, who was regarded by critics as more
wife than talent. (Indeed her initial understudy
eventually took her place and went on to become the most beloved
leading lady the show ever had in its London run.)
The problems in its shakedown preview performances were so various,
constant, and grave that the London press dreamt up the meme "Curse of
the Phantom," meaning that the fictional character behind the play was
so unhappy with the proceedings that he was haunting and sabotaging the
entire production. The now famous scene in which a boat glides
through the waters under the Paris opera was controlled by a remote
radio device like those used to pilot model airplanes; the remote
control used the same frequency as the London Fire Department, and
whenever there was a fire alarm, the boat took off in odd directions,
once nearly into the orchestra pit, restrained only by the main force
of Michael Crawford, who couldn't sing the key "Phantom of the Opera"
number because he was so out of breath.
Crawford became a problem himself. He plunged himself into the character
from the moment every day when he began hours of makeup to transform him
into the egomaniacal persona he was playing on stage. With all the problems,
he took to summoning everyone from musicians to dancers to stagehands
to his dressing room, where still in Phantom makeup, he shouted
imprecations about their incompetence that could be heard throughout the theater.
What was the real problem? The extraordinary ambition of the
production. Every single aspect of theatrical resources was being
stretched to the maximum. The set was more spectacular, the costumes
more intricate, the effects more complex, and the roles more demanding
behind the omnipresent masks than anyone had attempted before.
The end result was an utter triumph. Princess Diana attended the final
preview and it went like clockwork. The show never looked back, but
many lives were never the same. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sarah Brightman
divorced about a year into production. All the ones fired along the way
never got over it fully.
Success is a messy business in any collaborative effort. Something we
should maybe remember when we 're holding the top man accountable -- be
he Bush or Obama, or even Clinton or Carter -- for everything that
doesn't go according to plan.
In retrospect, it all seems inevitable, fated for success. But what's clear in the history is that Phantom could have crashed and
burned a dozen times or more. It didn't. Was that luck? Destiny? Or human
determination in pursuit of a vision the creators couldn't abandon no
matter how rough things got before fortune finally turned in their
STILL DOESN'T. Neither of the big-ticket items today. Not the
Ground Zero visitation by a president who couldn't be bothered to
attend 9/11 ceremonies in 2009 or 2010. I gave him the credit
he was due, but this is campaigning,
cynical and exploitative. Sad for him that he's bungled everything
after his initial speech, all the shifting and confused stories told by
the White House staff, the revelation of electronic intelligence
gathered at the scene that should have been kept secret rather than
boasted of, and the refusal to release the non-secret that there's
photographic evidence of bin Laden's death. Who paid for this hit? We
did. Why can't we see what we paid for?
Likewise, not the Republican presidential debate being trumpeted by Fox
News. I don't care what any of them has to say at this point in time,
because it's just a circus or a beauty contest, your pick. Don't need
to see them carping at one another when none of them has yet stepped
forward to articulate a plan to fix what's wrong at home and abroad.
And now they all seem generally timid about mentioning Obama's gross
incompetence because he accepted a fait accompli on an item of old
business brought to fruition by the momentum of a previous
administration he blames for everything but cancer. Please. Campaign
positions aren't terribly effective when all they make you want to do
is throw up in disgust. Leave me out of it.
But I do have a suggestion about what you can watch. Granted, you can't
watch it today, as I did, because it's already been aired for the only
time today, but you can at least look forward to it. (Netflix has it.)
It's a movie called Doomsday. Sound appropriate?
The Comcast blurb for the FX showing promised a combination of 28 Days Later, The Road Warrior,
and Escape from New York.
Right. Except that that's exactly what it is. The cast includes Bob
Hoskins, Malcolm McDowell, a gang of barbarian Scottish punks, some
medieval knights, a Bentley Mulsanne, a Brit who looks like he could be
Denzel Washington's earnest younger brother, and a kick-ass action
heroine named Rhona Mitra (who also had a role in Stargate Universe). It won't
be for everybody -- what with a couple of decapitations and some
incidental cannibalism -- but it's the kind of dark dystopian picture
the Brits still do so well.
And it's the kind of picture that suits my current mood. Check it out.
Maybe it'll cheer you up too.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
OF THE GUARD. Things don't always work out the way you expect. I
grew up in a
house with two dogs (usually) and a cat (sometimes). The dogs were
smart, German shepherds and various terriers, who were always in charge
one way or another. Everything changed when I married Mrs. CP. As I've
written before, sighthounds aren't always the sharpest knife in the
drawer, and it's a comforting thing not to be constantly outsmarted by
willful pets. Except that nothing ever really goes according to plan.
Life with Mrs. CP also means cats. I've told you about Izzie the
Bengal, who's a handful, and I'm pretty sure I mentioned the three
ferals too, including the sad fact that one of them recently died. Penny.
was the in-between one. Cassie remains completely feral. She lives in
the garage and hides, hides, hides. Mrs. CP announces a sighting as if
she's seen a wonder. "I saw Cassie," she says. Which means she's still
alive. Hooray. The ferals were all from the same litter. Cassie,
Penny, and Mickey. Penny tried to bridge the gap, came into the house,
occasionally consented to be petted, but somehow escaped into the out
of doors and was lost to us for a month. We could see her, slowly
starving to death outside (feral doesn't mean you know how to hunt),
but she couldn't bring herself to come inside. When she finally did she
was skin and bone and Izzie sensed vulnerability and attacked and
attacked. Penny regained some weight but never her health. She died
some months ago in the living room. Maybe the most beautiful of them
all. I will never forget her huge startled eyes and the white flash on
her chest. Even more, that she sometimes let met stroke her, which felt
like an extraordinary privilege. Miss her.
Sighthounds. Blah blah. Molly the beautiful. Andrew
the dour. Raebert
the impossible. I know I haven't provided an update about this monster
lately but he's huge and he has eaten everything in his path. Plus, he
insists on carrying everyone else's bowls into the dog yard and
arranging them in some configuration of his own. When it comes to
mischief, he never ever ever ever
stops. He barks constantly. He can't resist messing with the greys or
the cats. He's gorgeous and completely incorrigible.
But he's not the pack leader. That would be Mickey.
I didn't really realize it until we got Elliott, whom we've introduced
Elliott's mom was afraid that he was such an alpha cat nobody
else could live with him. Turns out she was almost right. Except for Mickey.
But I probably wouldn't have realized all this if it weren't for
Elliott. Who is definitely an alpha cat and very very smart about dogs,
even giant dogs like Raebert
and tornado dogs like our pug Eloise. He just
stays cool. But he does pick fights. In the first week he got into it
with "Sugar Ray" Izzie (a draw), and then he squared off with Mickey.
Who weighs twenty pounds and doesn't care who you think you are.
Cutting to the chase. Elliott likes to hang out. So does Mickey. They
take turns. But what I've been realizing more and more is that Mickey
shows up for a purpose. Yeah, he likes affection. But what he really is
is the Man. He's there when it's time for the dogs to go outside, when
it's time for them to be fed, even though he has no set dinnertime but a
constant bowl of catfood he can dip into anytime. Mickey is the pack
leader. He tells me when something needs to be done for the others.
Go figure. He's a feral. It took me years to gain his trust. Now he
trusts me, tells me what to do, and purrs when we understand each
other. Life is a beautiful thing.
We hang out, too. He's enormous. And his eyes are the size of saucers.
He's handsome. We have three cats who act more like dogs. They know
their names, they come when called, and, well, isn't that the
definition of a pack, even if the dogs aren't always as responsive?
They think they're
laughing at us uneducated dummies.
don't know how dumb they look to us dummies.
Pete] "So now is a great time to end the Terrorist Recruitment
Project/Government Empowerment Project that is American foreign policy.
If you love the state, go ahead and disagree. Actually, it will end.
Doing it proactively and now would ensure it doesn't end because
government checks to soldiers are no longer any good (per IP's
admission that inflation IS coming.)"
Phooey. You're a broken record on the
foreign policy polemics. And btw, love your reference to my "admission"
that inflation is coming. If you took the links, you'd find that I
started "admitting" it in January
2009, with specific reference to Obama's massive new federal
spending orgy in his very first month in office.
And weary of having to make posts like this.
(To which there was never any response from its addressee.)
I'm in favor of youthful idealism until it becomes rigid, blind, and
liturgically repetitive. Which is when, however smart and well read it
is, it ceases to be intelligent or capable of learning. It becomes
mindless cant. There's an arrogance at work which assumes that we just don't get how much smarter
they are than we are, that if only they could drum another 5,000 words
of reason into our dim brains we'd see the world the way they do.
There's never any listening going on.
Which is why I don't expect any listening to this, either, but it's
time to lay out a few basic truths that don't accord with the purist
model of the Paulistas.
Conservatives don't like the Federal
Reserve, either. We entirely understand your objections and the
economics of your argument. But doing away with it isn't going to
happen except as the end-product of a long process of political
discourse and legislation based on much less abstract objectives.
Similarly, we have no objections whatever to shutting down huge cabinet
departments/agencies like education, energy, EPA, the IRS, etc. We
agree. It's not that we don't understand your zeal for revolution. It's
that we live in the real world. The American people have to be
convinced, not stampeded by yet another contingent of intellectuals who
are certain they know better than the rest of us what's "good for
them," as determined by the smarter folks.
When you start talking about foreign policy, you are almost literally
shooting yourselves in the head. The last worst moment in conservative
history was not McCarthyism; it was the isolationists who insisted we
had no business intervening to stop Hitler (You could look it up...).
But we did have to stop Hitler. Even if all you are is a pure Randian
capitalist. An economy built on conquest is not about prosperity and
trade. It's about looting and theft and extortion, tribute and slavery.
In other words, what happens in the rest of the world matters a lot,
expecially if you're the world's largest economy. You can't afford to
let it descend into barbarity and chaos. Not if you care about the
things you claim to care about -- freedom, liberty, self-determination,
and let me smoke dope if I want to. Since 1900, it has been impossible
for the United States to turn its back on the world and pretend that we
can go it alone without paying attention to all the madmen, fanatics
and feckless destroyers at large on the world stage.
The Paulista response to what is obviously and inevitably an
intricately interrelated world economy is to put their fingers in their
ears and shout "la la la la la la la" whenever anyone mentions that
the United States is a net importer of energy, that virtually no
sophisticated American consumer products can be produced without parts
or assembly from dozens of other nations, and that there are irrational
agents of chaos and destruction who would be quite pleased to see the
edifice of contemporary civilization reduced to the subsistence level
of sixth century medievalism. Which kind of means we have to have a
foreign policy. And a competent military.
To proclaim belief in unfettered capitalism and yet turn your back on
all the explicitly hostile and/or predatory threats to America's
enjoyment of capitalist benefits is to be supremely, almost incredibly, stupid.
When the middle east declines into endless civil war that halts oil
production, when the two Koreas embark on nuclear war over ancient
grievances, when India and
Pakistan embark on nuclear war over Kashmir, when Russia reinstates the
policy of using nuclear extortion to make money in the hotspots of
tribal fury and genocide, when the U.N. ratifies the nuclear
annihilation by Iran of of Israel... guess what? The United States will
also be impoverished and devastated.
Why? Because the single dumbest thing about all you Paulista
isolationists is that you've forgotten that the beginning of what we
call foreign policy is trade.
If there's no one to trade with, there's no route to long-term
prosperity. You're just sharing general scarcity and swapping
spit with each other.
You get all fired up about the "waste" of military spending. How do you
explain away the Marshall Plan? We rebuilt Europe after World War II so
they could trade with us.
They're richer, and we're richer as a result. Anything
'capitalist' in there you might recognize on a good day amongst your
I'm guessing you're uncomfortable with the idea of American Empire.
Yeah, we are an empire. Fact of history. But
we're the kindest and gentlest empire in the history of life on earth.
We have not imposed ourselves and laws on everyone else. We have
encouraged them to be free, to compete with us, and to become rich
through our mantra of individual freedom and rights,
But you insist you have a monopoly on the idea of freedom. Live and let
die. Cool. There are no moral imperatives except when it comes to the
Federal Reserve and the IRS. Cool. Fine if Israel disappears in all the
excitement about the end of the Federal Reserve... I get it.
Fed up, Pete. If you don't start thinking outside of the Ron Paul box,
I will begin to despair of you. Fact.
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
What would be
hanged upside down in a public square.
Don't get me wrong. I want to see a bin Laden picture. Because I'm
InstaPunk and want to see the bastard's dead body. But it's not proof
I'm after. Proof isn't possible in the way pundits and politicians are
talking about it. I just want to gloat. Others pretend they have
Apparently we've embarked on a new silly season. Senators are gravely
disapproving of a swift burial at sea, as if it created some kind of
problem that can't be fixed. Talk show hosts are offended that bin
Laden received a muslim burial in accordance with the 24-hour rule
Islam prescribes. Facebook brainiacs are sure there's something, well, fishy about the whole thing. (Other than Osama "sleeping with the fishes." Ha.)
I'm out of patience with all this crap. And it is crap.
A few things to think about before you join in the general grumbling.
If Islamic terrorists want to believe that Osama bin Laden wasn't
killed by U.S. Navy Seals, nothing will ever convince them otherwise.
That's the nature of conspiracy theories. They subsist on preconceived
assumptions, not evidence. Just look at the 'Truthers' and 'Birthers.'
There is no factual evidence they will ever accept as refutation of
Same goes for all of you who think this was a trick of the Obama
administration. What would be enough to convince you? The body publicly
displayed like Mussolini's, or Bonnie and Clyde's bullet-riddled flesh
propped up in coffins, so that throngs can file past and spit on the
& Clyde didn't mind, did they? And nobody thinks they survived,
Where would we do that, though? At Ground Zero? But most of you have
to Ground Zero, have you? So should we arrange a road show and ferry
the decomposing corpse of bin Laden from state to state, city to city,
town to town, hamlet to hamlet, and fairground to fairground? So that you can be convinced? Even then,
what would it prove? There's just a dead man dissolving, and are you
really an expert at confirming the identity of the deceased?
Of course you aren't. Nor do you perform DNA tests or deconstruct
Photoshop frauds or measure facial dimensions or conduct autopsies.
A DNA report and a photograph are all you're ever likely to get, and
anything beyond that would be more than you're equipped to assess in
any scientific terms resembling proof.
Meaning, if you think it's all
an Obama trick, there's nothing that will ever convince you otherwise.
Just like the Islamic terrorists.
Are we good so far?
Now, finally, the controversy about giving the man a muslim burial. Get
over it. I'm InstaPunk and I've got no problem with it. What's the
whole point of our 'War on Terror'? That we're the civilized ones and they're the barbarians. I don't
need to feed his body to the pigs unless I believe in their false scripture and faith in
a child-molesting, murderous, genocidal false prophet whose descendants
are determined to wreck the world. I'm content to let him meet his
Maker and account for what he has done at the Seat of Judgment.
If you thought about it, you'd be content too. But I'm sure some of you
who haven't thought about it will be eager to pretend you're thinking
up a storm.