All articles, tagged with “go boom”

a hero to most

As a nearly content-free followup to my last post: I finally ran across a Reagan obit that satisfied both my sense of outrage and my need for style. Ladies and gentlemen, whether you like it or not: Tom Carson.

speaking ill of the dead

Hunter S. Thompson was, I believe, born to write Richard Nixon’s obituary.

I’m not sure if any journalist alive or dead can be said to have the same dibs on Ronald Reagan: frankly, most of the American media spent the 80s in a cocaine- and alcohol-fueled haze, and there’s not a one of them who escaped untouched by shame.

But when a genuinely monstrous man passes, and the official media is dutifully reciting its pre-approved script of amnesiac twaddle, someone needs to step up to the plate. Ladies and gentlemen, Mister Greg Palast:

For my own part, I will say only this:

When I was a much younger lad in Ann Arbor, Michigan, my family played a (very) small part in helping shelter a family of refugees from El Salvador. The kids were my own age: we played together, hung out, did normal kid stuff. I had lost my father to cancer. They had lost their uncle to paramilitary death squads who yanked him out of his house at 3am in front of his family, never to be heard from again. The sound of footsteps in the hallway would wake them, screaming, out of a sound sleep. It put my issues in perspective then. It still does now.

The thugs who ended their childhood were armed and paid for by my government, by direct and conscious policy of Ronald Reagan and his administration. What happened to them was not only normal for the time and place, it was mild compared to what some suffered. They say we should only speak good of the dead. Well then: Ronald Reagan is dead. Good.

a heartbreaking work of staggering somethingorother

More than one person has commented that Bush the Younger has, unlike his father and strangely like Ronald Reagan, the uncanny ability to drive his political opponents insane merely be being there.

Now, to a certain extent, I think that this line of thought is somewhat disingenius: Bush 43 inspires more vitriol than Bush 41 because the Shrub, on the whole, pursues more despicable policies than his father, and the accusation that his critics are motivated by some irrelevant existential dislike of the man is little more than a (surreal) transposition of hip-hop’s pseudo-crime of “playa hatin’” into the realm of allegedly serious political discourse.

But then again…

Juan Cole is the Professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History at the History Department of the University of Michigan. He is, without a doubt, one of the foremost experts on the history and politics of the contemporary Muslim world, in addition to being a prominent translator of Arabic literature, and is part of the very, very short list of sources I tend to turn to when I want to hear an analysis of current events in the middle east from someone who indisputably knows what the fuck he is talking about.

Professor Cole maintains a weblog of regular observations about mideast policy on his personal site, and to put it mildly, he’s less than completely impressed with the Shrub’s recent performance there. Indeed, Dr. Cole is, for entirely understandable reasons, extremely angry with our beloved President. How angry? So angry that it seems that George Bush has driven one of the foremost American academic authorities on the middle east…

…to filking.

Grapple not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, indeed. Let this be a warning to all of you. (Of what, I confess, I have no idea.)

Is this really the only planet I can live on?

From the AP wire, pointed out by TPM:

LONDONU.S. soldiers who detained an elderly Iraqi woman last year placed a harness on her, made her crawl on all fours and rode her like a donkey, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s personal human rights envoy to Iraq said Wednesday.

The envoy, legislator Ann Clwyd, said she had investigated the claims of the woman in her 70s and believed they were true.


Clwyd said the woman has recovered physically but remains traumatized.

“I am satisfied the case has now been resolved satisfactorily,” the envoy told British Broadcasting Corp. radio Wednesday. “She got a visit last week from the authorities, and she is about to have her papers and jewelry returned to her.”

Well. It’s certainly nice to know that our dear president finds this behavior “abhorrent.” Now, would it be impertinent of me to ask when the fuck heads are going to roll, how many heads are going to roll, and how far they will roll? Because it kinda sorta seems to me that a little bit of that might be called for here.

Remember: we have known about this since February.


My illustrious representative in the House, Charles Rangel, has just issued a press release confirming that the Reverend Sun Myung Moon is the messiah.


If you’re a New Yorker, please spread this story around. If you live in his district (Harlem, East Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, some bits of the UWS), you should really call them (212-663-3900) and ask (as politely as possible), what the fuck?

(“Moonies? Weren’t they just some thing from the 70s?” I hear you ask. Sadly, no.)

they called me mad at the Sorbonne…

I’ve finally figured out how I’m going to retire early. It’s a plan so cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel. Observe!

Step one: Install BlogADs and Google AdWords on my little site.

Step two: Once a week, at a minimum, make a post that suggests that the denizens of are one or more of: Nazis, totalitarians, uncouth, racists, idiots, psychopaths or madmen. Be sure to link to one LGF post at random so they notice it in their referrer logs.

Step three: ???

my vs lgf

bm vs lgf

Step four: profit!

gone fishin’



No further comment necessary, I think.

haven’t we been here before?

From today’s Washington Week in Review roundtable, Barbara Slavin of USA Today speaking:

“There’s another aspect. People keep saying “Oh, isn’t this like Vietnam, this is reminding me of Vietnam.”

I think they’re wrong.

Unfortunatly, it’s looking more and more like Lebanon.

As you recall, the Israelis invaded Lebanon in 1982. They were greeted with… actually they were greeted more enthusiastically than we were greeted. They were greeted with roses and rice by the Shi’a community in the south. Before long Hizbollah arose, to attack the Israelis, to attack the Americans: we had kidnappings of journalists, of foreigners; suicide bombings. It’s not a pretty picture.”

Pardon me for taking a moment here to quote, um, myself:

Iraq does look suspiciously like a past conflict, but Vietnam isn’t it.

About twenty years ago, an advanced western-style army swept into an unstable but still holding-together middle eastern country, ostensibly to protect themselves from an imminent threat, but really because the people orchestrating the attack believed that it was the first step in completely and positively reordering the politics of the entire region. The loud and repeated objections of the rest of the world were blithely ignored. They did this with confidence partly because of promises from a group of rebels on the inside who’s strength and support turned out to be largely illusory once they arrived. They romped to an easy formal military victory, but shortly thereafter found themselves unable to actually control the country they’d conquered, and became sitting-duck targets in the middle of a multi-way civil war where the only thing the various factions could agree on was dislike of the invaders. A few of the native leaders who were interested in cooperating with the occupiers were quickly assassinated by other factions, and the remaining ones lost interest as a result.

Sound familiar yet? To my eyes and ears, Iraq in 2003 is starting to look painfully similar to Lebanon in 1982. And surprise surprise, there’s good ol’ reliable Ariel Sharon stuck right in the middle of both of them.

The second time, not as farce, just a bigger, messier tragedy. Are we having fun yet?

To review: The Lebanon invasion didn’t go completely pear-shaped for the Israelis until, some time after their initial (and easy) victory, their hand-picked President-elect for Lebanon, Bashir al-Jumayyil, was assassinated, and his brother and successor, Amin, realized that his life wasn’t worth squat if he was seen as cooperating with the Israelis in any substantive way. At that point, the game was effectively over, and it was merely a matter of ritually watching the balls drop as Syria ran the table: the Israelis had to content themselves with pushing the PLO into Tunisia, and Begin and Sharon’s dream of a re-ordered mideast political map died a hasty death. All for the cost of one bullet.

Would anybody care to take any bets on the lifespan of the first “independent” Prime Minister of Iraq?

Would anybody care to speculate on the likely motives and plans of the coterie of Iranian Shi’ite theocrats just across the border, who have recently had a hard time riding herd on their (well-educated and chafing) population, but who have just been handed a huge natural constituency right next door?

Apparently not Abdel Basit Turki, nor Iyad Allawi; both members of the Provisional Government who resigned in haste today. Somehow I doubt they’ll be the last.

And it’s not even summer yet.

[Edit and postscript: Josh gets it.]

Janus’ other face.

All Europe contributed to the making of Kurtz; and by-and-by I learned that, most appropriately, the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs had intrusted him with the making of a report, for its future guidance. And he had written it too. I’ve seen it. I’ve read it. It was eloquent, vibrating with eloquence, but too high-strung, I think. Seventeen pages of close writing he had found time for! But this must have been before his—let us say—nerves, went wrong, and caused him to preside at certain midnight dances ending with unspeakable rites, which—as far as I reluctantly gathered from what I heard at various times—were offered up to him—do you understand?—to Mr. Kurtz himself. But it was a beautiful piece of writing. The opening paragraph, however, in the light of later information, strikes me now as ominous. He began with the argument that we whites, from the point of development we had arrived at, ‘must necessarily appear to them [savages] in the nature of supernatural beings—we approach them with the might as of a deity,’ and so on, and so on. ‘By the simple exercise of our will we can exert a power for good practically unbounded,’ &c., &c. From that point he soared and took me with him. The peroration was magnificent, though difficult to remember, you know. It gave me the notion of an exotic Immensity ruled by an august Benevolence. It made me tingle with enthusiasm. This was the unbounded power of eloquence—of words—of burning noble words. There were no practical hints to interrupt the magic current of phrases, unless a kind of note at the foot of the last page, scrawled evidently much later, in an unsteady hand, may be regarded as the exposition of a method. It was very simple, and at the end of that moving appeal to every altruistic sentiment it blazed at you, luminous and terrifying, like a flash of lightning in a serene sky: ‘Exterminate all the brutes!’

—Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Draw your own damn conclusions; I’m too depressed to connect the dots for anyone today.

na na na na…

…hey hey hey, goodbye.

So now the operative questions become:

1. How desperate is Sharon?

2. How stupid is the Israeli electorate?

Unfortunately for Arik, having the witnesses assassinated probably isn’t a viable option for him right now. But he’s certainly living in a, ah, target-rich environment as far as creating explosive distractions.