The River

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Good stuff from madperc


So the mainstream news media knows all about You, collectively, the Time-You on the cover of the magazine, and knows that You are most apt to pay attention to them when they find ways to show you You.

Here’s the rub: They are selling You a version of You that must necessarily be false, because it requires them to tell you about You. So this past week, You wanted to know all about the personality and history of a mass-murderer, maybe because it would help You to identify troubled individuals of his kind in the future (I think he’s rather unique, but also typical, in that he played the Culture that played him, and actually won, albeit posthumously), maybe so You could see that there were steps that could have been taken to prevent this, and then You could have something to do about this - You could help change the system to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. But they don’t want You doing anything beyond watching them and learning exclusively from them about You, until a kind of symbiosis is achieved, You and them, depending on each other for the daily basics when it comes to the ideas and events that order our world.


The vast machine

For just a moment I thought that the Bush Admin was being smart (not that it matters now, any more than hitting the brakes helps after you have gone over the cliff).

I thought that they might have started this "Gated communities" (and you're right, that is a vile euphemism) plan with the intention of letting Malaki flex his political muscles at which point the US would back down leaving the impression that Malaki really was in charge of his country, that he could force the US to back down, that he wasn't into sectarianism and that he hoped to get Iraqis to live together in peace. Thus increasing his legitimacy and maybe keeping his government together.

No such luck I'm afraid. The US forces are still playing it dumb as a post on the strategic level. Now they've shown that Malaki isn't just a pointless puppet, he isn't even a favoured pointless puppet.

*slow clap*

I suppose it makes sense if you think that controlling the Iraqi population while you suck out their oil is the plan, but I am increasingly convinced that there isn't a plan, evil or otherwise, there is just vague flailing around in the dark.

Honestly, elect idiotic idealogues and you see what you get?

Comment by Rafar on Chris Floyd's Ghetto Blaster: Bush Accelerates Concrete Cage Plan for Baghdad


"We have a new type of rule now. Not one-man rule, or rule of aristocracy or plutocracy, but of small groups elevated to positions of absolute power by random pressures and subject to political and economic factors that leave little room for decision.

They are representatives of abstract forces who have reached power through surrender of self. The iron-willed dictator is a thing of past.

There will be no more Stalins, no more Hitlers.

The rulers of this most insecure of all worlds are rulers by accident. Inept, frightened pilots at the controls of a vast machine they cannot understand, calling in experts to tell them which buttons to push."

—William S. Burroughs, “No More Stalins, No More Hitlers,” from Dead City Radio, Island Records, 1990; and Interzone, Viking Books, 1989.

(thanks to J Alva Scruggs for a copy of this recording)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hope I can get out to see this one before it leaves the theaters.


h/t madperc

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Killer culture

Quite a deal for $11 -- a veritable smorgasbord of decapitations, impalings, attempted rapes, car chases, explosions, good and bad acting and well-endowed women in very short shorts.

-- Lou Lumenick, Some Grind of Wonderful New York Post

This is a quote from one of the reviews of "Grindhouse" posted at Rotten Tomatoes, a site that gathers movie reviews from newspapers and websites from all over the country.

The movie is the latest from Quentin Tarantino, the movie director who has made millions feeding sadistic fantasies to the American public. His latest movie, which I have not seen and will not see, prompted the above reviewer to let his readers know that for $11 they could relish realistic scenes of horrific violence, and that, indeed, that is the reason to go see it, and the reason it was made in the first place.

Of the many reviews Rotten Tomatoes has posted on this movie, 81 percent have given it a thumbs up. Eighty-one percent. Judging from the subject of the film (an homage to cheap, violent films from the 70s), Tarantino has kept his ironic detatchment, but otherwise has dropped all pretension as to having a story to tell. Let's face it, fans, he says, we're sadistic and we're proud of it. It means we're bad, macho, cool.

Just like the advertising you consume everyday, the TV you watch, the corporate-sponsored sports, you have the smarts to understand you are being lied to, manipulated, hyped. You are hip to it. It doesn't affect you and doesn't really mean anything. Well, except on the meta level, of course, the way it is all massaged, pitched, spun, and, most importantly, the numbers, i.e. who is making a killing.

But the violence that fills our theaters and TV screens, do you think, maybe, there is any connection to what happened to Kathy Sierra? To what happened at Virginia Tech? To the non-reaction of the public to the sadism of the Bush Administration, if you don't count calculations of which defense and security stocks to buy?

Watching movies such as "Grindhouse," and the ever-more grotesque representatives of the horror genre such as "Saw" or the action genre such as "300," desensitizes us from our own humanity. These flicks achieve their mesmerizing power by reducing the human experience to a savage binary: kill or be killed.

In such reduced circumstances, we must know, we become desparate to know: Who are the victors? Who survived? Who can we idolize?

Quentin Tarantino?

Yeah, he's killer.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"Gonna raise me an army, some tough sons-of-bitches

I'll recruit my army from the orphanages"

-- Thunder on the Mountain, Bob Dylan, Modern Times

The estimable Chris Floyd has penned a great review of a recent Dylan concert in London.

Of the concert, Floyd concluded, "A better judgement on the modern times of the Bush Imperium is hard to imagine." Same is true for Chris's work at Empire Burlesque.

Mike, I hope you are able to catch this one.

Can we count this as progress?

Schools should be places of safety and sanctuary and learning,” Bush said.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The last political post

Screw the media circus. It's demeaning. Period. Just don't go there. Ignore it.

Screw the politicians. They know less than nothing. Just trying to keep ahead in a ruthless game. Many of them enjoy it. Cruel, mean, stunted, absurd -- that's their worldview, and they're leading the world's richest country, so it's gotta be the only one worth considering.

Screw the United States of America. It has one goal, everything else spins off that. The goal: let's you and him fight. That's it. You need weapons? We'll sell 'em to ya. Is your fighting killing and maiming innocents and scaring the folks back home? We'll sell 'em security products. Can't reach your enemy? How 'bout some planes? Need fuel? I'll go ahead and supply it, since ya'll are so busy. Your land? The survivors can still live on it, long as you sign the resources over to us. No? Hey, those SOBs across the river just insulted your God/women/government/lifestyle/accomplishments and they are the only things that allowed you to survive that last lil fire fight. Just happen to have some assault rifles, cheap, that is, if you have the balls to use 'em. Made in Vietnam. Besides, you can't lose with God on your side. Think of the glory.

Dulce Et Decorum Est, Pro Patria Mori
by Marc Lord

A beautiful, heartfelt memorial for Kurt Vonnegut.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

One for the Ministry of Truth files

Washington Post caught fixing the "facts" around the story

Reuters reports the discovery of a factory in Iraq that produced "explosively formed penetrators" (EFPs).

The Washington Post removes the fact from it's version of the story, inserts Bush administration propaganda blaming Iran for supplying EFPs:

One of the bombs was an explosively formed projectile, a particularly deadly type of device which Washington accuses Iran of supplying Iraqi militants.

Atrios has the scoop and the supporting links.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Not perfectly obvious; definitely worth commenting on

The Wicked Eunuch: Chomsky on 9/11

By Tom Breidenbach


...the jig is up when he reasserts that ham-fistedly theatrical claim echoed among the doctrinaire—that 9/11 doesn’t matter—Chomsky raises the ante with a further asinine (if revelatory) provocation, contending that even if the attacks were an inside-job, “who cares? …it doesn’t have any significance.” Just like the JFK assassination, “People get killed all the time.”

Here, cold-blooded arrogance is the only mask sufficient to the intellectual authoritarian’s impotence. Though it’s disguised as consummate reasonableness, this “analytical” butchery emulates the physical carnage it envies. His pedantic sadism compensating for his historical irrelevance, Chomsky signals (however momentarily) a response to the possibility of 9/11’s state-sponsorship that’s far more craven and servile—if nevertheless predictable—than mere paralysis: an alignment with the attackers whomever they may be based in denial of their crime’s even mattering! This opportunistic concurrence with the killers, a squirming and obsequious capitulation to or veneration of their power is betrayed by a flippant readiness or unconcern (at least on the part of this moneyed old man and his “radical” discipleship) for whatever conflagration or apotheosis 9/11 might portend. The ugly armchair bluff (or is he leveling with us?) of this cynical fossil should sober those inured to his hagiography.



Fortunately, Chomsky’s anxiety here may reflect that the “fundamentalist” rationalism he represents is being effectively countered by a dynamic and nuanced historical empiricism (under)represented in the academy by (among others) Peter Dale Scott, the elder statesman of “deep politics” (the term Scott coined), a field of study that remains largely alien to that still-predominant strain of pedantry preferring the self-congratulatory pieties of its own hall of mirrors to the rigorous and detail-laden discipline of that class of intellects threatening not a moment too soon to supplant it.

The rest at Abdiel's Room.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Re: Conspiring motherf*@%ers

Uncle $cam at American Samizdat brings up an excellent Paul Levy article, The War on Consciousness.

An excerpt:

The powers that have taken over our country will do anything in their sorcerer’s bag of tricks to distract us and keep up the illusion that they are protecting us so as to maintain power. These banking and corporate pirates are willing and more than ready to intimidate, buy off, or destroy any and all critics. It is important for us to realize the depth of evil we are dealing with here – they are willing to kill as many people as needed to accomplish their aims. It is shocking to realize that the very entity that is supposed to be protecting us – our government – is the very thing from which we need protection. It is shattering to realize that our leaders are genuine psychopathic criminals who are trying to take over our planet, impose full-spectrum dominance, enact a new world order and centralize power and control. Instead of this being a conspiracy theory, the evidence is all around us, as it is everywhere we look if we have the eyes to see beyond the carefully crafted and disseminated spell that is being perpetually woven all around us.

What is happening in our world has more the “feeling” of an invasion from a parallel universe than a physical coup d’etat. This is because the intrusion is taking place on the plane of mind, and only secondarily on the physical plane. If we could stop this covert incursion into our minds it would be much easier to mitigate the outer wars that plague our world.

These criminals clearly have way more power than we do in terms of guns, tanks, media and technology, but they are no match for us if we activate the inherent brilliance of our consciousness – a force with unlimited potential. Part of the spell they are casting is that there’s nothing we can do, that we are powerless to stop them from doing whatever they want, like when Cheney mentioned it doesn’t make a difference what Congress or the American people want, this administration is not going to be stopped from sending more troops to Iraq.



Trillions of dollars are missing from the US government.

What's going on?

My goodness, this was years ago. Just a small accounting error.

Bin Laden! Terror! War! Boom!

WMD moved to Iran!

Am I a scumbag? My goodness, yes!