Saturday, September 16, 2006


When LI was toiling away, learning philosophy back in Grad school, I pretty much focused on Western philosophy. That’s a vast amount of material there, bucko, and I figured that if – by the time I was doddering on the lip of the grave – I understood some of it, that would be enough of an achievement.

But such projects belong to the long ago of academia. Since LI became a pirate intellectual – or, less boldly, a dilettante eclectist – we operate under the proud slogan: fuck the context, show me the beef. Or something like that.

Which brings us to Mencius’ marvelous question, which is quoted in Yi-Fu Tuan’s Dominance and Affection: the making of pets: “Mencisu asked, “Is it right to force water to leap up?” He was taking the position that human nature is inclined to act in certain ways and not others, using the movement of water as an analogy. “Water,” he said, “will flow indifferently to east or west, but it will not flow indifferently up and down.” Now of course, he added, “by striking water you can make it leap up over your forehead and by damming and leading it you may force it up a hill, but do such movements accord with the nature of water?”

It is one index of the fundamental disposition of modernity, over the last three hundred years, that this question simply has no discursive space in which it can be uttered. The discovery of the nature of water is a project we can all recognize, as part of science. But the idea of respecting the nature of water thus discovered forms no part of the world of ideas and actions we inhabit. Mencius’ question is simply weird. We have so little sense that there might be a nature to be respected, there, that we can only view the question as an analogy for the one nature we do respect, human nature, as Yi-Fu Tuan says. And as the Sayings of Mencius, I should add, also say. Even when Mencius uttered the question in China, the questions was such that it had to be normalized. And remember, the Chinese invented the prototype of industrial power.

Which returns me to the intermittent theme of this blog, over the past year: what I’ve been calling the war culture. Well, an anonymous commentator last week poked a little fun at my penchant for using that term. And it is true, I use the term culture too indiscriminately. The Bush culture. The war culture. Etc. My use of culture is meant to emphasize the connection between a systematic, but not formalized, way of thinking and a systematic way of doing. By contention has been that the system of production we deal with every day, beyond its characteristics as capitalist or socialist, has certain uniform characteristics that flow into the great project of perpetual aggression. One of those characteristics, I think, is the conceptual outlawing of Mencius’ question. It makes no sense to apologize to water for damming it up, or making it flow up over our heads. Mencius must be crazy to think that – or he is thinking of human beings, and making an analogy.

Well, I’ll return to that question later. (And no, I am certainly not going to argue for deep ecology, to prefigure my ponderings). But here’s my stylistic solution to my tiresome use of culture all the time. Instead of war culture, I’m going to steal a leaf from Ryszard Kapuscinski, who uses the sterling, scary word Imperium to denote the Soviet Union. So instead of talking about the Soviet occupation of his hometown in Poland in 1940, he talks of the arrival of the Imperium. I am now going to baptize the war culture “Mars”. As in the God of War and the planet. Since Mars is planetary, and since it is my nutty idea that the state is subordinate to war in our present arrangement of things, I think Mars is entirely appropriate. Also, it has a nice, sci fi ring to it. Mars. I can hear the intro movie music swelling!

PS PS, here is the entire quote:

Kao Tzu said, ‘Human nature is like whirling water. Give it an outlet in the east and it will flow east; give it an outlet in the west and it will flow west. Human nature does not show any preference for either good or bad just as water does not show any preference for either east or west.’

‘It certainly is the case,’ said Mencius, ‘that water does not show any preference for wither east or west, but does it show the same indifference to high and low? Human nature is good just as water seeks low ground. There is no man who is not good; there is no water that does not flow downwards.

‘Now in the case of water, by splashing it one can make it shoot up higher than one’s forehead, and by forcing it one can make it stay on a hill. How can that be the nature of water? It is the circumstances being what they are. That man can be made bad shows that his nature is no different from that of water in this respect.’
- Translation of D.C. Lau

Friday, September 15, 2006

Br'er Rabbit

One of the great American stories, one of the primal stories, is the story of the Tarbaby. I can’t see how you can understand this culture if you don’t know that story. I can’t see how you can understand this culture if you don’t appreciate that story. That it was ripped off by a cracker newsman (albeit a, for the time, moderate cracker newsman) in Atlanta doesn’t matter in the slightest – this story obviously comes from a genius oral source. Uncle Remus, Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Ralph Ellison -- the recording angel of history will gather very few positives about Southern civilization when all is said and done.

Well, to refresh y’all’s memory, this is the beginning of it:

“One day atter Brer Rabbit fool 'im wid dat calamus root, Brer Fox went ter wuk en got 'im some tar, en mix it wid some turkentime, en fix up a contrapshun w'at he call a Tar-Baby, en he tuck dish yer Tar-Baby en he sot 'er in de big road, en den he lay off in de bushes fer to see what de news wuz gwine ter be. En he didn't hatter wait long, nudder, kaze bimeby here come Brer Rabbit pacin' down de road--lippity-clippity, clippity -lippity--dez ez sassy ez a jay-bird. Brer Fox, he lay low. Brer Rabbit come prancin' 'long twel he spy de Tar-Baby, en den he fotch up on his behime legs like he wuz 'stonished. De Tar Baby, she sot dar, she did, en Brer Fox, he lay low.

"`Mawnin'!' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee - `nice wedder dis mawnin',' sezee.

"Tar-Baby ain't sayin' nuthin', en Brer Fox he lay low.

"`How duz yo' sym'tums seem ter segashuate?' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.

"Brer Fox, he wink his eye slow, en lay low, en de Tar-Baby, she ain't sayin' nuthin'.

"'How you come on, den? Is you deaf?' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. 'Kaze if you is, I kin holler louder,' sezee.

"Tar-Baby stay still, en Brer Fox, he lay low.”

The contrapuntal repetition of and variation on "Tar-Baby ain't sayin' nuthin'" and “Brer Fox, he lay low” kills me. It is, to borrow Barthes’ phrase, the punctum here – that complete and unexpected joy of a thing so perfect in itself that explanation can only operate on it the way oxygen operates on silver – giving it a dulling verdigris. It is music of the highest order the American language has to offer. Its effect has worked on me since I was seven, I think. It owns real estate in my heart that will remain there until alcoholism and senility wash away all my cares and woes.

I bring this up because LI strongly identifies with Br’er Rabbit. Many are the Tar Babies we heat ourselves into attacking. We stroll down the road – or, at least, scroll through the internet – looking out for political stories and finding dozens, dozens of offenses that cause our blood to bile. Why, yesterday, we wasted a good hour looking up things about Telos, the journal, because the Telos site has put up the American equivalent of the Euston Manifesto. Why, you might ask, would LI bother? Because something in the look of the thing just drives us crazy, that’s why. That Tar Baby stays still while we ask it all kinds of questions: what the fuck you talking about, Islamo-fascism? And what the hell is this thing about “the left”? And on and on – the bric a brac talk of politics, out of which think tankers have woven a magic web of distractions that keep those interested in power, in the way we live, occupied with lifelong trivialities. For once you enter into that talk, you are doomed to fight with decoys, only decoys, until you exhaust yourself. And sometimes that goes on for forty years.

"'I'm gwine ter larn you how ter talk ter 'spectubble folks ef hit's de las' ack,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. 'Ef you don't take off dat hat en tell me howdy, I'm gwine ter bus' you wide open,' sezee.

So we reared back and was going to bus open the whole stinking manifesto/Telos site/lefty crapola fiesta when we stopped for once -balanced on one foot, a brick in one hand - and thought about life. As in, there are more important things in. The Br’er Rabbit in us was kicking its hind legs so rapidly they formed a blur, but we held onto its long ears and gradually, gradually, slowly, we pulled out of that utter waste of time.

the decline of the liberal papers

There were zip environmentalists in the old gold rush days in Sacramento, warning about the dangers of gold panning and such. But if there had been, they’d of been given a good listen to, then tied to the horses, dragged to the trees, and properly strung up. Boom times don’t like naysayers.

Reading about the Washington Post op ed page hiring Bush speech writer Michael “axis of evil” Gerson to balance out such well known doves as Krauthammer, Mallaby, Hoagland, Will and company, I was reminded of how simple, in a sense, is the driver behind the war on terror. To put it in terms of the headlines of the Greater Washington Organization:

“2005 Wrap Up: Washington, DC Region’s Economy is Hottest in Nation”

And to think, things were looking grim back in 2001, after 9/11. Back then, the Post reported (November 16,2001):

“Although the Washington region is likely to escape the recession that appears to be settling in across the country -- in part because of war-related spending by the government -- growth in the District has been halted and may soon turn negative. Business activity is shifting to the suburbs, sped by disruption and the image that the capital is becoming "an armed camp," said Stephen S. Fuller, a George Mason University economist. Washington Post, November 16, 2001.”

Oh, the little tinkle of war related spending, just getting on its baby legs. So cute! and being a cute baby, we naturally wanted to feed it so that it would grow up big and strong. We didn't want to do stupid things, like, oh, invest in energy R and D -- which according to the Scientific American this month is the lowest it has been, both public and private, since 1980. And a good thing, too -- what does energy have to do with anything? We have real problems. The Iranians, for instance! So the American public, always a sucker for baby wars, went out and spent and spent and spent to make baby happy. And what makes baby war happy makes D.C. happy:

“Looking back over 2005, a brief analysis of key economic indicators confirms what most Washingtonians already know: the region’s economy, encompassing Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia and Suburban Maryland, is leading the nation in nearly every major indicator.

Federal Government Contracting Driving Growth

Record federal spending, which has increased significantly in the Greater Washington area since 9/11, continues to be the engine driving the current economic upswing. At an Economic Conference today, Stephen Fuller, PhD, Director, Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, announced that the U.S. Government spent $339 billion nationally in federal procurement in fiscal year 2004. More than 15 percent ($52.6 billion) of this national total stayed in the Greater Washington region. This represents a 19 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.

Which sector is benefiting most from the increase in federal dollars? The area’s technology sector has been the winner for the past few years. According to Dr. Fuller, the government accounts for more than 70 percent of the sales of technology products and services in Greater Washington.””

This tells us, or should tell us, a lot about D.C. based media. Since Bush, one of America’s truly awful president, might be the best president the D.C. region has ever seen, he and his kind are adored by such as the managers of the Washington Post. His administration has practically sprinkled the lawns of the best and brightest with green. Papers are essentially boosters, and what they boost most is what puts money in the pocket of their city’s powerful.

Hence, the, on the surface, puzzling decision of the Post to point the middle finger at their subscribers. Face it, Eastern newspaper readers lean slightly left – they are a liberal crowd. And, all things being equal, the Post should be a liberal newspaper. It was for many years. Your standard Democratic party supporting paper, licked into shape by the New Dealer culture that stayed in D.C. But that culture is, simply, dead. The new culture is New War culture - the long war, the beautiful beautiful long war. Men are men in the long war, and federal spending is federal spending. And the Washington Post is as helpless not to follow that culture (exemplified by the D.C. region’s newest most prominent citizen, Tom Delay) as a sunflower would be to turn away from the sun.
And so we will continue to get the funny split between an increasingly conservative paper, a puzzled and outraged subscriber base, and a Post company that will no doubt finding better media profitmakers than its flagship newspaper. In a better era, where entry costs weren’t prohibitive, it would be a great time to start a D.C. paper. But the decline of papers is directly related to their monopoly of their markets. It is sorta funny: the liberal blogs like to say, bitterly, that the media operates as a stenographer for the White House. With the hiring of Gerson, they've just cut out the middle man.

It is hard to imagine a liberal paper appearing in D.C. for the foreseeable future. However, it is easy to see that the Dems, who still don’t get it, will be in for a nasty surprise if they actually do capture the House. The Post will be doing “investigative” reporting to discredit them from the moment they arrive. They threaten the Gold Rush.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Ann Richards is dead. Those who aren’t Texans might have a moment connecting name to face, or more than a moment. But those who are Texans will be … shocked, I guess is the word.

Here are two anecdotes about the former governor from the Houston Chronicle obituary:

“After voting early one afternoon at the Travis County courthouse, Gov. Ann Richards held up her Department of Public Safety detail to admire a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Richards carefully studied the bike, admiring its shiny chrome in the October sunlight, its size, shape and color.
When a reporter queried the governor about what she was doing, Richards replied: "I am trying to decide whether I want a cruise, or a Harley for my 60th birthday."
It was a short news story, accompanied by a photograph, that got noticed by the motorcycle company's moguls. Within hours of publication, Richards had a letter offering her a Harley-Davidson.
Richards, 73, died Wednesday after a six-month battle against esophageal cancer. Her death prompted others to praise her legacy to Texas and her well-known wit that made her national political star.
Richards' former press secretary Bill Cryer of Austin, recalled the whole Harley-Davidson saga.
"Right after that story, she came into my office and said, 'You're going to have to learn to ride a motorcycle with me.' So, she and I spent every Sunday (the next) August, learning how to ride a motorcycle, out on the Department of Public Safety headquarters' parking lot," Cryer said. "She got her license, and I got my license. And I still ride a motorcycle."
On her 60th birthday, Richards went to the DPS and passed the test for her motorcycle license. She donated the Harley-Davidson to the DPS' motorcycle safety training classes.”
And here is the second one:
“Richards -- and many other Democrats -- used to frequent a small Mexican food cafe on Congress Avenue, Las Manitas.( Republicans go there now.)
Once, Richards ordered a cappucino, and the waitress apologetically explained that they only had coffee. True to her generous spirit (and selfish to her love for cappucino) Richards bought the owners of the small restaurant a beautiful, copper cappucino maker.
There is an official portrait of Ann Richards next to the cash register at Las Manitas. With her irreverent sense of humor, Richards signed it: "Thanks for all the great food. Love, Meg Ryan."”
It isn’t that LI unequivocally loved Ann Richards – we know how responsible she was, in the early 80s, for developing Travis County. And at one time that was still a very sore topic. But shit, I’m tired of grudges - beware of the carcinogenic quality of memory. She may have been the last Democratic Texas governor in this state, or at least for the next fifty years. And she was one of those Dixie governors – the populist governors, like Earl and Hughie – for whom politics was inseparable from appetite – not like the pinheaded ideologues of today, not the policymaking wonks, not the exercise freaks, the people Burke despised, the theoreticians. This shouldn’t pass from the world without a few tears.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

introducing the LI sockpuppet

A recent post on ufobreakfast convinced LI that we were falling behind the times. The middle aged man, in this busy, blogorific epoch, is nothing without his own sockpuppet -- a loveable pseudonym/imaginary friend that can lick his ass and attack his enemies.

So we've been auditioning sockpuppets.

YOURTHEBIGGESTGENIUSEVER turned in a very fine comment on our Kiss me post: "this journalism, not unlike Moses' ten commandments, will change all of human history." However, YOURETC. forgot, in a post that doesn't really get to the heart of our brilliance, that the ten commandments are not journalism. Moses, like Norman Mailer in The Armies of the Night, was a new journalist, and so he reported on himself in the third person in Exodus. However, there is a difference between journalism and what journalism reports -- or at least, that is what they taught me at the Deep Eddie bar I hang around. I don't want to have to be correcting my sockpuppet, otherwise what is the point? So, alas, we told YOURETC to set up his own blog and get a few links from Instapundit.

Now, since the most famous sockpuppet at the moment is Lee Siegal's Sprezzatura, we did call up its agent, and Sprezzatura agreed to try out on the Tomatoes post. But Sprezzatura obviously has worked the New Republic route a little too much. His comment was, This post, as so many of your brave and brilliant posts, are like bullets in the back of the Israeli hating Islamo-fascists that I know you, for one, would give your wife and sacrifice your neighbors, and their dogs, and even their goldfish to stop. Thumbs up -- even better than Marty Peretz!

Personally, I don't think Sprezzatura was even trying. Supposedly he has been flooded with offers, and you know how uppity a sockpuppet can get. If you DON'T, I suggest you see that old Anthony Hopkins movie, Magic.

As Sprezzatura and his entourage walked out the door with LI's week's supply of cocaine (goddamn that little pissant!), another sockpuppet, Jesuslovesyourbigcock, walked in. At first of course we mistook him for spam, since spam is always either trying to enlarge our penis or get us to pour the treasures of our checking account into a sure thing investment. After showing us ID, Jesuslovesyourbigcock wrote, about the Marat post: You are my Rebel-in-Chief, LI - spermatic, decisive, a skinny A.J. Liebling. You are reaching the young people of America with your marvelous prose, and they are, figuratively, throwing down their swords, or at least giving up their fucking war gamer mentality, and turning them into plowshares.

Hot diddley! Now that's what I call sockpuppetry. On the spot we hired him -- which is why the cupboard is now totally bare of blow! Oh well, we hope it is worth it. Those in the LI community who have a cup of cocaine they can loan us should mail us ASAP.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Nine views of Jean Paul Marat (first part)

Création difforme de la société, Fille sourde de cette mère aveugle. Lie de ce pressoir, Marat c’est le mal souffert devenu le mal vengeur… "
- Victor Hugo

1. Of all those revolutionary lives in the 1790s, Marat's has the most symbolic narrative arc -- a hider in the sewers, a brief triumph over his enemies, the moderate Girondists, a death in the bathtub, apotheosis in David's famous picture. Its symbolic perfection is exploited both by those who find Marat a saint and those who find him an ogre. To Taine, he was obviously insane with delusions of gradeur – le delire ambitieux. To his Marxist biographer, Earnest Belfort Bax, he was, as he entitled himself, the “people’s friend,” although untutored in the ways of class – a transitional figure, in short, which nineteenth century Marxists loved the way Darwinians loved fossils of mammoths and pygmy horses. I think he is a prototype of that essentially modern figure, the Underground Man. After all, he literally did hide underground – in Paris’ sewers, waiting out a hunt mounted for him by the police. While hiding from the police is nothing new, there is something very interesting about Marat’s legendary descent into the sewer. He himself exploited it for its mythic resonances – as though he foresaw the romantic aura that would attach to it in the nineteenth century. On November 2, 1792, Marat writes:

“Freres et amis, c’est d’un souterrain que je vous addresse mes reclamations. Le devoir de conserver, pour la defense de la patrie, des jours qui me sont enfin devenus a charge, peut seul me determiner a m’enterrer de nouveau tout vivant pour me soustraire au poignard des laches assassins qui me poursuivent sans relache.”

[Brothers and friends, I am sending you these protests from the underground [literally – from an underground tunnel]. The duty to preserve myself for the defense of my country, with the days that I have left, are the only reasons that have determined me to bury myself once gain, alive, in order to remove myself from the dagger of cowardly assassins who pursue me without letup.]

2. This is unbelievably stirring, if you have the right historic sense for it. On a popular level, this is the release of a voice that will be exploited throughout the nineteenth century, in novel after novel. This is the Comte de Monte Cristo. This is the attitude of Les Miserables – or part of the mix of elements Hugo put into that novel. The more sinister undertone, in English novels, is borrowed by such covert master villains as Holmes’ great antagonist, Moriarity. And that voice will continue on in the twentieth century in film and comics, the dividing line between the hidden hero and hidden villain expressing the new moral uncertainties of politics in the age of capitalism – which is also, intrinsically, the age of contesting capitalism. In fact, Marat’s enemies didn’t believe a word of the underground story. “We know that Marat was in England, in consultation with Pitt, when it was believed he was hidden in the underground in Paris,” wrote Fantin des Oudards in 1801 – when the denigration of all Marat stood for had been going on for some time. To be in the underground could mean that you were anywhere – only the Shadow knows.

Monday, September 11, 2006

kiss me

Our readers will no doubt call to mind, on this day that seems especially appropriate to survey the ongoing war on terror, how often, and with what righteousness, the U.S. has threatened Iran and Syria for allowing insurgents to use their territory to access Iraq.

The Bush administration has also, lately, been in an upbeat mood about its contribution to the w-w-war on terror, to wit, the legalization of torture, and the extension of executive, judicial and penal power to the CIA. And one has to admit, this contribution almost exactly mirrors the soul of this administration: brutish, small, incompetent, and of a piece with the Dixie totalitarianism that runs, a rich vein, through our history: from the pro-slavery freebooters of the 1850s in Kansas through the lynchers of the 1890s to the segregationists of the 1950s.

Those who, like LI, believe the war on terror is a farce being performed by madmen, with various subject populations in walk on roles, found confirmation for that view in two articles this weekend. One, in the Washington Post, threw in the towel on the “Osama bin is on the run” line that has become a media’s mock Homeric epithet, forged in the fires of press syncophancy and always served piping hot to the hoi polloi who might, by some unwarranted exercise of the mental faculty, wonder where that dead or alive man is today. Dana Priest and Ann Scott Tyson’s article, “Bin Laden Trail Stone Cold,” was notable for one scoop:

“Intelligence officials think that bin Laden is hiding in the northern reaches of the autonomous tribal region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. This calculation is based largely on a lack of activity elsewhere and on other intelligence, including a videotape, obtained exclusively by the CIA and not previously reported, that shows bin Laden walking on a trail toward Pakistan at the end of the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001, when U.S. forces came close but failed to capture him.”

This scoop, by those who keep up with such things, should be combined with the information we already have about what the military did during the battle of Tora Bora and Rumsfeld’s claim, afterwards, reprinted in Philip Smucker’s book, Al Qaeda’s Great Escape, “We have seen repeated speculation about his [bin Laden’s] possible location,” he said, adding that the pieces of information “haven’t been actionable, they haven’t been provable, they haven’t resulted in our ability to track something down and actually do something.” Ah, a spoonful of the Rumsfeldian sugar makes the medicine go down – LI’s little conspiracy theory that Osama was let to escape to provide the Bushies with a terrorist on tap looks better every day.

Our theory combines with another of our theories – that letting Osama escape was premised on the Bushist fantasy that America’s strength, like that of a god, was such that we could always pull in the little rascal. According to Priest and Tyson, in a year in which the President is sore in need of an October surprise, he’s doing his best to get one:

“"The handful of assets we have have given us nothing close to real-time intelligence" that could have led to his capture, said one counterterrorism official, who said the trail, despite the most extensive manhunt in U.S. history, has gone "stone cold."
But in the last three months, following a request from President Bush to "flood the zone," the CIA has sharply increased the number of intelligence officers and assets devoted to the pursuit of bin Laden. The intelligence officers will team with the military's secretive Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and with more resources from the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies.”

The last three months our old rootin’ tootin’ Rebel in Chief suddenly flashed on that outlaw Osama, did he? Imagine that.

Mary Ann Weaver, in a NYT Mag article last year, has a very nice summary of what happened at Tora Bora and concludes thusly:

On or about Dec. 16, 2001, according to American intelligence estimates, bin Laden left Tora Bora for the last time, accompanied by bodyguards and aides. Other Qaeda leaders dispersed by different routes, but bin Laden and his men are believed to have journeyed on horseback directly south toward Pakistan, crossing through the same mountain passes and over the same little-known smugglers' trails through which the C.I.A.'s convoys passed during the jihad years. And all along the route, in the dozens of villages and towns on both sides of the frontier, the Pashtun tribes would have lighted campfires along the way to guide the horsemen as they slowly continued through the snow and on toward the old Pakistani military outpost of Parachinar.

Tora Bora was the one time after the 9/11 attacks when United States operatives were confident they knew precisely where Osama bin Laden was and could have captured or killed him. Some have argued that it was Washington's last chance; others say that although it will be considerably more difficult now, bin Laden is not beyond our reach. But the stakes are considerably higher than they were nearly four years ago, and terrain and political sensibilities are far more our natural enemies now.

There is no indication that bin Laden ever left Pakistan after he crossed the border that snowy December night; nor is there any indication that he ever left the country's Pashtun tribal lands, moving from Parachinar to Waziristan, then north into Mohmand and Bajaur, one American intelligence official told me. The areas are among the most remote and rugged on earth, and they are vast. Had bin Laden been surrounded at Tora Bora, he would have been confined to an area of several dozen square miles; now he could well be in an area that snakes across some 40,000 square miles.

Defending its decision not to commit forces to the Tora Bora campaign, members of the Bush administration - including the president, the vice president and Gen. Tommy Franks - have continued to insist, as recently as the last presidential campaign, that there was no definitive information that bin Laden was even in Tora Bora in December 2001. "We don't know to this day whether Mr. bin Laden was at Tora Bora," Franks wrote in an Oct. 19, 2004, Op-Ed article in The New York Times. Intelligence assessments on the Qaeda leader's location varied, Franks continued, and bin Laden was "never within our grasp."

The NYT article that provides a sweet-n-sour chaser to Priest’s obituary for the Osama on the run meme is about Pakistan’s treaty with the Taliban, which might get in the way of flooding the zone – although, being a mere peapicker instead of the Rebel in Chief, I just don’t know.

“On Tuesday, the Pakistani government signed a “truce” with militants who have resisted Pakistani military efforts to gain control of the region, which is roughly the size of Delaware. The agreement, which lets militants remain in the area as long as they promised to halt attacks, immediately set off concern among American analysts.”

I love the concern business. Usually, I don’t know, such a thing would set off condemnation. Our vampiric V.P. would show his fangs on that show he does on Fox, “Cheney Shows His Fangs” – you know, it comes on right before “America’s Funniest Waterboarding Videos.” But here we have the measured responses of the mature republic we are.

“After two attempts to assassinate President Pervez Musharraf in December 2003 were linked to the tribal areas, Pakistani officials expanded the military effort to subdue the region. But after suffering heavy casualties in 2004 and early 2005, they began negotiating with local militants. Last year, Pakistan signed a separate agreement with militants in South Waziristan, but the move failed to slow the killing of government supporters.

“If you look at the number of deaths in the region, it’s not clear that they’ve dropped,” said Xenia Dormandy, former director for South Asia for the National Security Council. Signing such truces, she said, “is a potentially dangerous route to take because there is little pressure that you can bring to bear to make sure they can follow through on the agreements.”

"Two hundred miles to the south, the Taliban leadership is believed to have established a base of operations in and around the Pakistani city of Quetta, according to American analysts. Afghan officials say the Taliban used the area to plan and carry out sweeping attacks in southern Afghanistan in the spring.”

The amazing thing, to LI, is that the fraud of the war on terror is so threadbare. You don’t have to really rise from your reclining chair to connect the dots. We know how it was done, we know who did it, and we know how it goes on, and on, and on. This truly offends me. As the Al Pacino character says in Dog Day Afternoon says:
Kiss me! Kiss Me!
Cause I liked to be kissed when I’m fucked!

My motto for this all too sad day.

olivier blanchard and the free lunch: a comedy of errors

  The neolib economist Oliver Blanchard tweeted a very funny comedy bit, in which he played the part of “social democrat”. And he wrote: “As...