Monday, October 29, 2007

The Devil Next Door

We overheard Bush deliver a speech last week. We were passing by a TV tuned to Fox News. The President spoke eloquently of "those who suffer as a result of the human rights abuses on the island some 90 miles from our shore." We stopped, confused. Then we realized he meant that portion of Cuba which the U.S. is not leasing, and kept walking.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Naked At The Monolith

Phil Nugent talks about Bush:
Bush's presidential career demonstrates that some are born despotic, some achieve despotism, and some have despotism thrust upon him. I think that Bush had it thrust upon him; I really do think that he ran for president partly just to appease his Oedipal issues and partly because he needed to do something with his life and he didn't think he could pass the written test to become a pirate. I think that his original vision of being president was that he'd play golf and work out and read to kiddies and throw the opening pitch at the World Series for four years while the country ran itself, and every once in a while he'd go somewhere and read a text to a crowd that would then cheer for him. 9/11 must have impressed the poor little guy the way a solar eclipse would have impressed a caveman; he knew that God was sending him a message, and he must have decided that the message was that he would now have to be a Great Man, but it didn't make him any smarter or more capable.
He goes on to write more about Rudy Giuliani, with which we also agree. However, this struck us as the newest and most potent insight.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

None of the People, None of the Time

Matthew Yglesias doesn't get it:
This is a big structural failing of the American elite. It reflects in part the fact that conservative elites have refused to play the role of honest brokers, the preference of the right's main institutions to propagandize their audience rather than seeking to inform them with an honest, factually accurate presentation of the hawkish view of Middle East policy. It also reflects a large failure of our non-ideological institutions, a completely inability of "the establishment" to succeed in setting national discourse on an even keel. And last it reflects the fact that for several years the main opposition institutions in the United States -- most of all the Democratic Party -- failed for years to aggressively push back. For the year months or so after 9/11, "respectable" folks were expected to spend more time and energy worrying about marginal leftists than about the dangerous radicals peddling made-up facts who just so happened to control the institutions of government.
(1) Of course the establishment spits propaganda. That's what makes them the establishment.

(2) Is it really on the Right's "main institutions" that are guilty of this? Never the Left? The Democratic Party never seeks to sway public opinion in order to further its political agenda? Follow-up question: how many cells in Guantanamo Bay has Nancy Pelosi closed this week?

c/o Ioz

Thursday, October 18, 2007

August 1968

IOZ waxes poetical after someone defended the DailyKOSsacks with that hoary chestnut: "at least they're TRYING something!" We lack IOZ's gift for doggerel - and that's some inspired verse, truly - but we can steal, and steal, and be a villein:
"August 1968"

The Ogre does what ogres can,
Deeds quite impossible for Man,
But one prize is beyond his reach:
The Ogre cannot master speech.

About a subjugated plain,
Among its desperate and slain,
The Ogre stalks with hands on hips,
While drivel gushes from his lips.

- W.H. Auden
The burden of proof falls on the so-called progressives. We don't have to prove our thesis that the Democrats secretly want to continue the war in Iraq, and expand it further into Iran - that thesis is impeccable. Rather, you have to prove that the Democrats want to end war, curb imperial expansion and bring American soldiers home.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Greatest Lover, Horseman and Economist

From our friends at Cafe Hayek, some excellent quotes from Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter:
The capitalist achievement does not typically consist in providing more silk stockings for queens but in bringing them within reach of factory girls.


Humanity does not care for freedom. The mass of the people realize they are not up to it: what they want is being fed, led, amused, and above everything, drilled. But they do care for the phrase.


Politicians are like bad horsemen who are so preoccupied with keeping in the saddle that they can't bother about where they go.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The End of the Innocence

Who Is IOZ?: Secure in His Person
The case of Khaled al-Masri is indicative of this point. An innocent man was kidnapped, spirited away to a secret American prison in Afghanistan, degraded, abused, tortured, and then dumped in the middle of another foreign country. The executive condones it. The Congress accedes to it. The courts ignore it out of deference to the executive. Through what mechanism will a free Republic be restored? Through the courts? The Congress? The Presidency?
Cheer up. Life under Augustus was still pretty good, and almost indistinguishable from a real Republic.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Who Is IOZ?: The Devil You Know

Ioz on the true "radicals"
If Digby, DailyKos, and the rest of Donkle Netrootsia were as serious as they endlessly claim to be about ending the war in Iraq, about truly yanking the center of American politics a few centimeters to the left, about getting the Democratic party as an institution to represent their milquetoast democratic socialist agenda, then they'd do precisely what that "coalition of influential Christian conservatives" is doing: threaten to bolt the party; threaten to support a third party; threaten to stay home. If they were serious about it, they would indicate in certain terms to the party-in-Congress that their majority is contingent on their effectuation of a particular agenda. But dear lord, then Cokie Roberts might call them radicals, or worse, leftists! Someone call for the smelling salts.

Digby, DailyKos, and the rest of the Netrootsia isn't serious about ending the war in Iraq. That much is patently clear. Against efficacy they weigh respectability, whose measure is a Congressional majority and respectful copy by Tim Russert's staff writers. Ennobling, isn't it? Respectability wins every time, because respectability brings institutional authority. "Dirty hippies" is the grossest of self-flattery. The real dirty hippies are the black-masked anarchists, the sign-waving ANSWER kids who the imagined leftwing of the Democratic party roundly condemn for daring to bring up the School of the Americas or IMF shock-therapy economics at an antiwar rally. The real dirty hippies don't care what Katie Couric calls them.
We were at the thousand-strong rally outside UMass Boston in 2000, protesting the lack of inclusion of third party candidates. We were among maybe eight or ten libertarians. All the rest were ardent socialists, anti-corporate guerillas or just well-read college students with a free evening.

And as embarassing as we find their Marxist politics, it pains us further to think that any of them might be voting Democrat today.