Saturday, September 02, 2006

Death [sic] of a President [sic] 

More4 risks US ire with Bush assassination film

A risky thing, that ole U.S. ire.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fascism now 

The references to U.S./Israeli fascism have to be made now with much more precision and seriousness. It is not a joke or exaggeration or threat or premonition to talk of fascism now. There are of course all sorts of differences between the current regime and previous instances of fascism. But at this point it is only fascism in its previous appearances that can provide us with the precedent necessary for thinking about the present. Any mentions of "constitutional democracy," or even "market-based democracy" or the "liberal state" or the "imperial state" are moves in the wrong direction. We need to look to pre-WWII Germany and Italy to find analogues for the current mad, hyperbolical, demented repression of reality in political discourse. The repression is so palpably absurd that the reality remains right at the surface, always announcing itself and always fueling ever-more absurd and fantastic and exaggerated denials of itself. And the dynamic of denial and hyperbole gathers its own pleasurable momentum and becomes a kind of virtuoso art performed by grinning clowns. The whole show, of course, is paid for by a bunch of bloody and hilarious gangsters who have expanded the state into a military-industrial-corporate syndicate, which owns the media and funds the universities and strangles civil society--a syndicate whose influence extends into the realm of the dead.

Matt Taibbi's column in Rolling Stone:

"Now where was I? Oh right, our complete annihilation at the hands of fundamentalist Arabs. I was thinking about this on August 22nd, and some very smart people -- even smarter than me -- thought it was very possible that Iran or one of those other merry pranksters in the Middle East could have made a big move and vaporized every one of us. But August 22nd has passed, and that hasn't happened. Yet . . . Hezbollah could push the "Launch" button while I'm enjoying some chips and dip and watching that cantankerous House on TV. Maybe it won't happen, but you never know. And by 'won't happen,' I mean the Hezbollah/launch part, not the chips and dip part. Me, some French onion and a bag of Ruffles is so happening."
-- Glenn Beck, anchor, CNN Headline News

It's hard to imagine anything that better encapsulates the spirit of life in America under George W. Bush than prime-time CNN pseudo-prophet Glenn Beck's recent warning about the end of the world. A dire warning about Armageddon, strategically issued during election season, that includes -- a plug for Ruffles!

Beck is the new hotness in the world of O'Reilly-Hannity-esque shrieking TV windbags; a former drug addict who is a late convert to Mormonism, Beck's shtick is that he's a conservative but not a Republican, allowing him to claim a kind of objectivity while he does things like fantasize about murdering Michael Moore and call Nick Berg's dad Michael a "scumbag." His TV come-on is part comic, part carnival barker, and one if his favorite themes is End Times -- he's a strong believer in the literal second coming of Jesus and, between cornball jokes, never wastes any opportunity to remind his audience that the end is nigh.

Coupled with the horrifying on-air persona of Headline's eight-chinned Court TV exile Nancy Grace, who gives periodic angry news updates during Beck's program (Grace was apoplectic when John Mark Karr was allowed to wear regular clothes on his flight to Colorado), Beck's 7 p.m. slot on Headline has to be one of the weirdest news programs in American history.

Or is it? There have been indications lately that this whole End Times business is fast becoming more than a crazy hobby among the mutant-evangelist set, and is actually playing an important role in Middle East politics, specifically in guiding America's Israel policy.

End Times had its coming-out party in the mainstream media via a now-notorious editorial penned in the Wall Street Journal on August 8th by former Princeton scholar Bernard Lewis. In it, Lewis posited that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was planning a "cataclysmic event" on August 22nd (the same date Beck was focused on), because that was the date that corresponded, on the Islamic calendar, with the 27th day of Rajab of the year 1427, said to be the date when Muhammad flew on a winged horse to heaven and back. Why that means anything, you'll have to ask these people: None of this stuff ever makes any fucking sense to me at all.

Anyway that seemed to start the ball rolling on the August 22nd front. From there, a whole host of ostensibly serious commentators started appearing on American television braying horrible warnings about the coming end of the world. Worse still, some of them claimed real ties with the White House. Chief among those was probably John Hagee, a San Antonio pastor whose End Times credentials have already been reported in many outlets (among others, by Sarah Posner of Alternet).

The significance of Hagee is that he chairs a group called Christians United For Israel (CUFI) which believes that the U.S. must unite to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran to precipitate Armageddon, followed by the more desirable Second Coming of Jesus. Hagee would be just another sweating evangelist lunatic if it weren't for the fact that his group has the ear of the White House. RNC chair Ken Mehlman took time out from bashing Ned Lamont to speak at CUFI's inaugural banquet in Washington in July, and both Sam Brownback and Rick Santorum also addressed the group. Meanwhile, Hagee at the banquet reportedly read out greetings from Ehud Olmert and George W. Bush himself, who apparently said, "God Bless and stand by the people of Israel and God Bless the United States."

If that weren't scary enough, the Washington Post on August 4th published a story by Dan Froomkin suggesting that a certain Joel C. Rosenberg, another prominent subscriber to the August 22nd theory, had been invited to the White House. Rosenberg told Froomkin that he had spoken to a "couple dozen" White House aides on February 10th, 2005, and had been in touch with some of them ever since. Rosenberg said the meeting came after an unnamed White House staffer called him and said "A lot of people over here are reading your novels" -- novels which presumably include the recent The Ezekiel Option, which is about, God help us, a White House staffer who urges a highly religious president to bomb Russia and bring about the End of Everything....

The plot of the book revolves around the hijacking of a Russian passenger plane. When the hijackers steer the plane towards the White House, the Jesus-loving president MacPherson waits until the last minute before blowing it out of the sky, then weeps for the 173 passengers aboard. Naturally the whole world turns against the United States for this monstrous act, and when ultranationalists seize Russia in a coup in which they are joined by, who else?, France and Germany in denouncing the American "aggression."

Eventually the entire world bands together under the auspices of the U.N. to declare war (with the Antichrist's million ground troops on horseback, no less) on Israel, and only a plucky and intrepid White House aide named Jon Bennet, who comes back to Jesus in the book, realizes (after a half-baked Da Vinci-style Biblical investigation) that history is following the apocalyptic script of Ezekiel. He must tell the president! But it is too late, as both sides destroy each other in a fiery nuclear battle that is presented in the book as a sort of highly satisfying, orgasmic rhetorical release....

All of this silly horseshit wouldn't normally inspire anything but laughter in anyone older than four, except for one thing. Joel C. Rosenberg, born into an Orthodox Jewish family but a convert to Christ at seventeen, is a former senior advisor to Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu....

Rosenberg was on Fox numerous times throughout this summer's Israeli-Lebanon conflict, warning of a cataclysmic attack by Iran. He appeared on Neil Cavuto's show on August 16th and claimed that the Iranian president was saying that "the end of the world is rapidly approaching and that it's his mission to bring it about by destroying Israel." At no time did he mention that he himself was the author of apocalyptic novels....

speakingcorpse adds:


'repression' is the wrong word for fascist denial of reality. if it were real repression the liars and the audience would have some emotional investment in the denial, and the hyperbolic denials would have tinge of hysterical impetus to them. but they don't. because everyone knows the truth--the liars and the lied-to. the pleasure is in the lying and being lied-to, and knowing it. the liar indulges his own power to lie in your face, and, more his power to turn the bloody murder of thousands into his own personal grinning clown show. And the lied-to enjoy being reminded that they are safe, that they are thousands of miles away, watching the blood pour out of merely televised bodies, looking at the blood and calling it "red-paint" like the stuff pasted on the faces of the grinning clowns. the lied-to have no choice but to indulge in their utter mindless passivity as a kind of perverse weak masturbatory 'pleasure.'


it is a cult. it is a clown show. it is a murderous plot. it is a corporate ploy. it is a secret conspiracy.

the abandonment of thought, by the very conspirators themselves, and also by their victims and collaborators, is dissimulated by a cult that is also a clown show. it is a hilarious joke that everyone can laugh at, on the inside, as long as no one says that it is a joke--or as long as no one reminds the performance and the audience that the show makes real blood. it is a nuremberg rally as seen on reality television, with a news-anchor/entertainment personality telling you what is going on, until his own head is severed and used as a ventriloquist dummy by a devout Mormon who is on the verge of relapsing into drug addiction, but until then is subsisting on smoothies from Dunkin' Donuts, which is owned by the same company that owns Lockheed-Martin, which has a tactical nuclear weapon trained on the stadium, and on several similar sites around the world.

he made that post his bitch 

All the 'sphere is abuzz with Olbermann's smackdown of Rumsfeld tonight. Which is as it should be I suppose. Although well-deserved, the polemic was bizarrely self-conscious. If you're going to channel Murrow, you should probably avoid pointing out that you're channelling Murrow.

Maybe that's being too hard on Olbermann though. One simply cannot show up to a public meta-image fight these days without ritualistically invoking some historical analogy. Original thought and phrasing simply will not cut it. It's interesting that WWII is always invoked in these battles to see who can conjure the greater bugaboo and hero icons. Apparently those are the last events of which adult Americans have any shared memory, any consensus reality. So when doing battle with your enemies the key is to find the appropriate historical figures that correspond to the "goodguy" and "badguy" feelings, and then tie those faces to contemporary persons.

In the end Olbermann's rant, stirring as it was, still leaves you with the feeling that you've been watching shadows on the wall; that the source of the malaise persists unnoticed and unhindered.

By way of contrast, an enjoyable gem via Digby:

It's often claimed that George W. Bush has asked for no sacrifices in this time of war. On the contrary, he's asked us to sacrifice our humanity and our compassion. He's asked us to sacrifice our privacy and freedom, and our respect for our fellow citizens. He's asked us to sacrifice every irreducible ideal - and there were few enough of them, God knows - on which this country was founded, and whatever fragile steps we've taken towards implementing them under the law. He's asked us to sacrifice any religious truth that would interfere with the dreary, mechanical pursuit of redundant wealth and false security. He's asked us to sacrifice our souls and our conscience, in exchange for his snake-oil promise that we'll never have to suffer the consequences of our own inhumanity. He's asked us to sacrifice our present for his future, and our future for his present.

Bush admits that he didn't respond appropriately to this disaster, and we know that this failure - if it was a failure, and not a policy, or a whim - killed people by the hundreds, if not thousands or tens of thousands. In a "civilized" country, Bush would've resigned in disgrace by now. In an "uncivilized" country, he and his goldbricking cronies at FEMA would be hanging by the neck from lamp-posts. But only in a soulless country - one that's turned its back, essentially, on itself - could there be any possibility of letting him remain in power.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tuesday Cat Blogging 

Slow news month.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Words What Signify Things 

Let it be recorded that the following is a headline from the New York Times online (or "digital") newspaper:

Year After Katrina, Bush Still Fights for 9/11 Image


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