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Showing posts from November 14, 2004
LI has been pondering our backlog. We’ve poured out at least a thousand posts over the last three years. Andre Gide liked to preen himself in his journal to the extent of revising and publishing it as he went along. What’s good for Gide is surely good for LI. Vanity is the writer’s better angel. In our case, we are going to publish, on Saturdays, selected former posts, exposing our track record in the hope that where we went altogether wrong and where we were presciently right amounts to evidence of real intellectual work. There is also, of course, the mad chance that some marvelous coincidences between past apercus and present disasters will leap off of the screen. Here’s one we published on November 20,2001. The coincidence we like here is that: a., the same blank has been thrown up by the military in Iraq, and has been servilely acceded to by the U.S. Press, again showing the current vileness of the 4th estate; b., the sense that something wasn't quite right with the bombin
Lately, our editorial service, RWG communications, is getting far fewer customers than it did this summer. We aren’t sure why – maybe it has something to do with the disgracefully untechy look of our site, which you can check out here . But we did recently get hacked – in a very curious way. The case begins with our early flight back from Albany Wednesday. LI is not an early riser. Our preferred time of arrival in the realms of waking is around 9:30 a.m. In the order of pain, for us, having to get up at four to catch the six o’clock flight is the equivalent of an icewater enema. A real pain in the butt. So, we were stumblingly tired by the time we unlocked our apartment door here in Austin. We picked up the mail and actually opened all of it. Now, usually we don’t open all of our mail – things that look like bills usually go to the trash immediately. If you start encouraging people to send you bills by actually opening them, you have only yourself to blame. We violated this
The American media coverage of Fallujah is the usual amalgam of bubble gum, nylon and lies. On NPR the announcer, describing the escape of Zarqawi, called him responsible for most of the insurgent attacks – he’s a regular mastermind of the crime in Gotham, apparently. Since the era of the crusade makes contradictions all right, the announcer went on to say that few foreign fighters were killed in Fallujah. Elsewhere, the general in command of the destruction of the city was so wrought up by the killing and destruction that he announced that the back of the insurgency has been broken. See your tax dollars at work breaking spines on this site . It is good to count the many ways in which this war is strictly about business. Since many who still argue for the occupation as a liberation have petrified themselves around the carcass of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, endlessly arguing the inarguable fact that Hussein was a criminal mass murderer while avoiding looking at what the
To a philosophical student of politics, however, Irish history possesses an interest of the highest order. It is an invaluable study of morbid anatomy. – William Lecky (LI wishes that Lecky’s prejudice against the Irish hadn’t produced such a beautiful phrase, since we’d like to use it about the U.S.A. We can only, weakly, substitute the name of one nation for the other.) … The political posts on this site are conceived to fit, ideally, into one of two modes: the polemical or the analytic. Therein lies a problem, both for LI, and, in general, for those who attempt to see the political things themselves (to the company of which LI flatters ourselves we aspire, and even sometimes succeed in joining). In the analytic mode, Bush is simply Bush, a president. His mental capacity is a variable that can be filled in by a man with a much greater mental capacity – that is, Bush’s ideas can be defended or proffered by much smarter men than Bush. In one sense, Bush shows a high mental
Trainspotting the cattle cars… The writers of Pierrotsfolly are pursuing the noble cause of unmasking, via the Net, the torturer’s assistants who manage a supposed private company, Premiere Executive Transport Services, which transports prisoners to various pain centers on a standby basis. According to the info on the site, there are certainly reasons to believe that the company is another Air America – a CIA cutout. The case cited -- the transport of prisoners from Sweden to Egypt for a session with the electrodes -- show how uncompetitive America is in this market. According to an NPR report on the Passaic facilities used to store immigrants who are being deported, Homeland Security has created its own little Abu Ghraib in New Jersey. We can now take your hungry, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free, and feed them to our attack dogs, our sadistic prison guards, our homegrown Doctor Mengeles, and the whole consort of those who are willing to give, well, somebody
“I thought I knew Chile well, I had friends and acquaintances on the left and the right. Yet nothing had prepared me for the metamorphosis that the country went through in September 1973. People were absolutely silent, as though they had been struck dumb, cowed as much by a sense of failure as by the prevailing atmosphere of fear and repression. I travelled up and down the country, to find that there was in fact no resistance to speak of, certainly no civil war. Most people were exhausted by the previous three years of daily political struggle, and simply surrendered to the new regime. The first crimes of Pinochet's terror squads were committed against those who had given themselves up voluntarily. For more than a decade, they ruled Chile as though it was an occupied country.” – Richard Gott, New Statesman In the Keynsian 60s, the think tank honchos turned to Sweden when they wanted to find a model of the welfare state. In the 00s, we imagine that the Bush gang are looking to Ch
In 1921, H.L. Mencken wrote an essay entitled "On Being an American" that begins: "Apparently there are those who begin to find it disagreeable -- nay, impossible. Their anguish fills the Liberal weeklies and every ship that puts out from New York carries a groaning cargo of them..." Mencken then pithily catalogues his own judgment of the poltroonish, goose-stepping American and his faux culture, including this passing swipe at American foreign policy: it is "hypocritical, disngenous, knavish and dishonorable." But he ratchets up the complaints only to say why he would live nowhere else: "here, more than anywhere else that I know of or have heard of, the daily panorama of human existence, of private and communal folly -- the unending procession of governmental extortions and chicaneries, of commercial brigandages and theroat slittings, of theological buffoneries, of aesthetic ribaldries, of legal swindles and harlotries... is so inordinately gross and