Shock Doctrine: Bush’s M.O.

In Naomi Klein’s new book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism she lays bare the truth behind George Bush’s Modus operandi in pushing through radical free-market reforms. The entire Bush Presidency has been about economics and the playbook was written by Milton Friedman.

Friedman believed in a radical vision of society in which profit and the market drive every aspect of life, from schools to healthcare, even the army. He called for abolishing all trade protections, deregulating all prices and eviscerating government services.

These ideas have always been tremendously unpopular, and understandably so. They cause waves of unemployment, send prices soaring, and make life more precarious for millions. Unable to advance their agenda democratically, Friedman and his disciples were drawn to the power of shock.

Shock and Awe was not just a clever turn of phrase. It was a peak inside their playbook!

In one of his most influential essays, Friedman articulated contemporary capitalism’s core tactical nostrum, what I have come to understand as “the shock doctrine”. He observed that “only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change”. When that crisis occurs, the actions taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. Some people stockpile canned goods and water in preparation for major disasters; Friedmanites stockpile free-market ideas. And once a crisis has struck, the University of Chicago professor was convinced that it was crucial to act swiftly, to impose rapid and irreversible change before the crisis-racked society slipped back into the “tyranny of the status quo”. A variation on Machiavelli’s advice that “injuries” should be inflicted “all at once”, this is one of Friedman’s most lasting legacies.

Video and text are posted from the excellent interview Amy Goodman did with Naomi Klein today over at Democracy Now

Goodman introduced the interview with:

Pinochet’s coup in Chile. The massacre in Tiananmen Square. The collapse of the Soviet Union. September 11th, 2001. The war on Iraq. The Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Award-winning investigative journalist Naomi Klein brings together all of these world-changing events in her new book

These are all examples of a society in shock and an open opportunity to advance this radical fantasy free market that Bush and his Neo Con advisors want. Unpopular and next to impossible to implement democratically they rely on shocking the body politic when it is most vulnerable.

From the very beginning Ms. Klein has had Bush’s number as evidenced by this blistering expose Baghdad year zero from September of 2004. In that article for Harpers she explains how “Economic Shock Therapy” would work in Iraq.

In one place on Earth, the theory would finally be put into practice in its most perfect and uncompromised form. A country of 25 million would not be rebuilt as it was before the war; it would be erased, disappeared. In its place would spring forth a gleaming showroom for laissez-faire economics, a utopia such as the world had never seen. Every policy that liberates multinational corporations to pursue their quest for profit would be put into place: a shrunken state, a flexible workforce, open borders, minimal taxes, no tariffs, no ownership restrictions. The people of Iraq would, of course, have to endure some short-term pain: assets, previously owned by the state, would have to be given up to create new opportunities for growth and investment. Jobs would have to be lost and, as foreign products flooded across the border, local businesses and family farms would, unfortunately, be unable to compete. But to the authors of this plan, these would be small prices to pay for the economic boom that would surely explode once the proper conditions were in place, a boom so powerful the country would practically rebuild itself.

With this new book -extensive excerpts available- she expands on the thesis and gets to the heart of what is behind so many of the perplexing polices of the Bush administration. Put simply in their minds “blank is beautiful” If an economy and society can be wiped out by whatever means, bombs, hurricane, tsunami, whatever, it creates the blank slate that allows them to execute Friedmans playbook. We could not understand why they would let New Orleans fall apart so completely in the days after the storm. The sad truth is that is exactly what the wanted. It did not make sense to us that they let Baghdad fall into chaos in those first few weeks of American occupation. It made perfect sense to those who wanted a clean slate to work with.

Some insight into why there was so little official interest in stopping the looting has since been provided by two men who played pivotal roles in the occupation – Peter McPherson, the senior economic adviser to Paul Bremer, and John Agresto, director of higher education reconstruction for the occupation. McPherson said that when he saw Iraqis taking state property – cars, buses, ministry equipment – it didn’t bother him. His job, as Iraq’s top economic shock therapist, was to radically downsize the state and privatise its assets, which meant that the looters were really just giving him a jump-start. “I thought the privatisation that occurs sort of naturally when somebody took over their state vehicle, or began to drive a truck that the state used to own, was just fine,” he said. A veteran bureaucrat of the Reagan administration and a firm believer in Chicago School economics, McPherson termed the pillage a form of public-sector “shrinkage”.

His colleague John Agresto also saw a silver lining as he watched the looting of Baghdad on TV. He envisioned his job – “a never-to-be-repeated adventure” – as the remaking of Iraq’s system of higher education from scratch. In that context, the stripping of the universities and the education ministry was, he explained, “the opportunity for a clean start,” a chance to give Iraq’s schools “the best modern equipment”. If the mission was “nation creating,” as so many clearly believed it to be, then everything that remained of the old country was only going to get in the way. Agresto was the former president of St John’s College in New Mexico, which specialises in a Great Books curriculum [which emphasises an education based on broad reading]. He explained that although he knew nothing of Iraq, he had refrained from reading books about the country before making the trip so that he would arrive “with as open a mind as I could have”. Like Iraq’s colleges, Agresto would be a blank slate.

Here is a link to a short film promoting the book:

Also from Youtube here is the first of a 6 part video of Ms. Klein talking about her book:

In a recent speech, also archived on Democracynow.org, Naomi dropped my favorite quote in recent memory.

We who say we believe in this other world need to know that we are not losers. We did not lose the battle of ideas. We were not outsmarted, and we were not out-argued. We lost because we were crushed. Sometimes we were crushed by army tanks, and sometimes we were crushed by think tanks. And by think tanks, I mean the people who are paid to think by the makers of tanks.

over at democracy now

cross posted at Daily Kos

Soundtrack to a personal archaeological dig

(beautiful piece on life, lyrics, and love of music – promoted by pfiore8)

The simple task of reorganizing a CD collection, punctuated with stops to listen along the way, affords your humble essayist the opportunity to honestly identify a long-crusted-over, never resolved, and wholly destructive inner inconsistency. Wow. Who knew?

Let’s get right to it. The conflict is so apparent, it’s astonishing only in how long seeing it for myself has proven elusive:

I’ve got plenty of java
And Chesterfield Kings
But I feel like crying
I wish I had a heart like ice
Heart like ice

The Nightfly
Donald Fagen, The Nightfly, 1982

Take a knife
Cut out this heart of ice
Hold it high
Walk into the sun

Heart of Ice
Joe Jackson, Body & Soul, 1984


These are lyrics that spoke to me. I felt them. I let them stick around. And it’s only now that I reckon the sentiments expressed don’t play well with each other. There’s just not enough room in this town for the both of them.

I’ll now fire up the wayback machine.

Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly and Joe Jackson’s Body & Soul were released–and promptly found their way into my vinyl collection–when I was a high school student.

By this point in my late childhood, I’d spent a bunch of increasingly quality time with the saxophone. I’d established, and, to the extent possible in my rural chunk of the planet, nurtured a very keen interest in jazz. This interest absolutely informed my rock listening. I was hugely into the Police, and knew that Sting was also a saxophone player and had spent years prior to his success paying dues in jazz combo settings. Ska, in particular The English Beat, certainly grabbed my attention through the prominent incorporation of the tenor saxophone. Joe Jackson 1982 Jumpin’ Jive completely delighted me with its modern yet very dedicated and deferential take on popular swing and jump tunes from the ’40s by the likes of Louis Jordan and Cab Calloway. And for me, Steely Dan was the absolute living end. Their compositions were of a harmonic sophistication well apart from most else on the radio at the time, rooted in the fact that both Fagen and partner Walter Becker were both studied fans of jazz. Their selection of chord changes and voicings selected for their songcraft are clearly reflective of their love of jazz.


And, really, I was a music listener for whom lyrical content was, if not necessarily in the way, at least secondary. I was listening far more intently to the bass line. To the horn solos. To how the piano or guitar was framing the chord progression. I could absolutely appreciate a great voice as an instrument, but it was a rare thing that a lyric would essentially burrow into my brain and lay its eggs there.

I’ve got plenty of java
And Chesterfield Kings
But I feel like crying
I wish I had a heart like ice
Heart like ice


I couldn’t verbalize why for so long I wanted to feel things less intently and intensely. I just knew that–particularly prior to coming out just shy of my 30th birthday–there was this incessant, background pain. Compartmentalization became the course of action. I saw a safety in walling off the challenges, the pain, and the difficulties; a manageable, sad stasis through affecting a deluded but happy-faced numbness. Of course, this is a growth-stunting and psychically cancerous path. But when the time you spend inside your head turns out to be not-at-all quality time, you’re really not terribly likely to achieve critical distance and call yourself out on your stupid, stupid shit.

Take a knife
Cut out this heart of ice
Hold it high
Walk into the sun


Heart of Ice is the closing song on Body & Soul; the lyric excerpted above is the entirety of the song’s lyrics altogether, and we don’t get to them until nearly the end of this nearly seven minute song. A repeating melodic line carries the lion’s share of the tune, in series by flute, trumpet, saxophone, and the entire ensemble before a ripping good guitar solo, then into the lyric. Really, a very lovely piece of pop music. And I’d listen to it, and I’d often find myself in tears. Deeply and genuinely sadly. And here too, I just did not know why; I lacked the clarity that the person I’m intended to be while I’m inhabiting this particular meat-vessel to which I’ve been assigned for this go ’round is supposed to feel. Deeply. To own it, to share it, to act upon it.

These will remain favorite, and occasionally revisited members of my collection.

But I can listen to that Fagen piece and know full well he’s not talking to me.

And I can enjoy that magnificent culmination to Body & Soul, and if I feel like crying, no big. I’m really trying hard to keep evolving. The occasional tear of joy could be the thing.

So. What’s everyone else been listening to this week?

on fences

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“Feral Fence” by Shannon Wright

The Locker Room

Welcome sports fans!

It is my fondest wish and the deepest desire of my heart to see the Flyers win a Stanley Cup have a weekly sports discussion essay.  While I’m not well-versed in every sport at every level, I would love for us to have a forum to discuss professional, college, amateur, and even our own involvement in local sports, as well as the personalities that people them.  And while I’m clearly posting such an essay right at this very minute (or, have posted, if you’ve come later), I’m not particular on who posts it, or when…only that we know where to look for it so we can all participate.

You could liken it to the current training-camp sitch the Philadelphia Flyers find themselves in, as described in the Yahoo!News story: Flyers have several candidates to fill vacant captaincy.  Here it’s a lot like in that locker room.  The person wearing the “C”, or posting the essay, won’t be doing all of the work.  Sami Kapanen sums it up well, I think (from the above-linked article).

“If you have a C on the jersey, it’s not just up to him,” he said. “It’s a team game and everybody needs to bring something in. You can’t ask for too much from one player.”

So, basically, I’d prefer for it to be weekly sports discussion, not a weekly sports article by someone.  I’m happy to give my essay for the cause, but I won’t bother if folks aren’t interested.  Don’t worry…I’m not one of those “I need to have a commitment from you”, kind of girls…. I promise I will never ask you where this is ‘going’…or what our future is. 

I’m posting the first one now to coincide with Monday Night Football.  I’m a Philadelphia Eagles fan, and they’re hosting the Washington Redskins.  It’s purely coincidental that the Flyers are playing the Devils at the same time in an exhibition (pre-season) game in New Jersey, and the Phillies are in St. Louis playing the Cardinals.  I’m not ‘over-sportsed’.  I DON’T have a problem, and I CAN quit anytime I want.

So, thank you for dropping by, for reading, and for considering.  If a weekly sports discussion without a firm or even flaccid commitment sounds good, even if you’re not participating tonight, a simple ‘yea’ in the comments would give me some idea of whether I’m wasting my precious, precious time.  And speaking of time, if you have suggestions for a better day or time, yell louder (!) and we’ll see what everyone thinks. 

ooopsie…if you saw this go up with the wrong username….my bad…that’s the one we use for Pony Party 

The Locker Room

Welcome sports fans!

It is my fondest wish and the deepest desire of my heart to see the Flyers win a Stanley Cup have a weekly sports discussion essay.  While I’m not well-versed in every sport at every level, I would love for us to have a forum to discuss professional, college, amateur, and even our own involvement in local sports, as well as the personalities that people them.  And while I’m clearly posting such an essay right at this very minute (or, have posted, if you’ve come later), I’m not particular on who posts it, or when…only that we know where to look for it so we can all participate.

You could liken it to the current training-camp sitch the Philadelphia Flyers find themselves in, as described in the Yahoo!News story: Flyers have several candidates to fill vacant captaincy.  Here it’s a lot like in that locker room.  The person wearing the “C”, or posting the essay, won’t be doing all of the work.  Sami Kapanen sums it up well, I think (from the above-linked article).

“If you have a C on the jersey, it’s not just up to him,” he said. “It’s a team game and everybody needs to bring something in. You can’t ask for too much from one player.”

So, basically, I’d prefer for it to be weekly sports discussion, not a weekly sports article by someone.  I’m happy to give my essay for the cause, but I won’t bother if folks aren’t interested.  Don’t worry…I’m not one of those “I need to have a commitment from you”, kind of girls…. I promise I will never ask you where this is ‘going’…or what our future is. 

I’m posting the first one now to coincide with Monday Night Football.  I’m a Philadelphia Eagles fan, and they’re hosting the Washington Redskins.  It’s purely coincidental that the Flyers are playing the Devils at the same time in an exhibition (pre-season) game in New Jersey, and the Phillies are playing the Cardinals tonight.  I’m not ‘over-sportsed’.  I DON’T have a problem, and I CAN quit anytime I want.

So, thank you for dropping by, for reading, and for considering.  If a weekly sports discussion without a firm or even flaccid commitment sounds good, even if you’re not participating tonight, a simple ‘yea’ in the comments would give me some idea of whether I’m wasting my precious, precious time.  And speaking of time, if you have suggestions for a better day or time, yell louder (!) and we’ll see what everyone thinks. 

The Dem/Rep Candidates React to Gore’s Emmy Award

By this evening, millions of emails messages, flower bouquets, and phone calls had flooded Al Gore’s Nashville, Tennessee office.  Tens of thousands of Gore fans gathered outside on West End Avenue shouting, “We want Gore! We want Gore!” Long known for his Churchillian and graceful command of the English language and consistent with his upbringing, even George W. Bush sent a personal video congratulating Gore on winning the second leg of the Triple Crown 

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.”

The country’s newspaper of record, the Washington Times, noted Mr. Bush’s magnanimous gesture and hailed it as an example of his “impeccable New England manners.”

White House Press Secretary, Dana Perrino, characterized Bush’s reaching out to Gore as evidence of the “incredibly bipartisan and civil tone” that Bush had brought to Washington, DC since 2001.  Senator Trent Lott (R-MS), noted historian and former Republican Senate Majority Leader, chimed in and said that Bush had brought “honor and dignity” to the presidency and though he commended Gore on his win, he reiterated his belief that with Bush as President, the country had been spared all these problems from a potential Gore Presidency.

The presidential candidates, never at a loss for words, joined in and commended Gore for his great victory.  Here’s a sampling of comments from the leading 2008 Democratic contenders

* Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)

“If I knew then what I know now, I too would have made a documentary, ‘It Takes an Oscar and an Emmy.’ How difficult can it be to win all these awards?”  She then proceeded to describe Rudy Giuliani as the “unthinking man’s Robert Duvall.”

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Robert Duvall or Rudy Giuliani?

 

* Senator Barack Obama (D-IL)

“The audacity of Hillary’s comments leaves me dumbfounded.  Her judgment is not only questionable but given her vast insider experience, it leaves me with the distinct impression that she is unelectable.” 

* Former Senator John Edwards (D-NC)

Strongly disagreeing with both Hillary and Obama, he said, “When elected President in November 2008, I will proceed to pull the health insurance coverage of all politicians.  And for that matter, Robert Duvall’s too.  They can all afford to pay for it out of their own, deep pockets.”

* Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM)

The New Mexico Governor said it was God’s will that Gore be the first political figure to win all these awards.  When asked by singer Melissa Etheridge as to what he thought of Gore being honored by Hollywood elites, he replied in his trademark succint fashion, “It’s their choice.” 

* Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-10th/OH)

“If I’m elected President, I will nationalize the Emmy Awards so as to ensure that no such travesty occurs in the future.  It is an affront to the good citizens of Lothlórien.”

Uncharacteristically, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, and Mike Gravel declined comment.

The Republican candidates too had plenty to say about Gore’s appearance last night amongst Hollywood’s glitterati

* Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NYC)

“As a genuine New York Yankees fan, a proud military veteran, and also as a close personal friend of Queen Helen Mirren, I can only say this to Hillary: there is no chance that you’ll ever end up playing that role.”


Queen Helen Mirren

 

* Former Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN)

“As a former B-Grade Hollywood actor, I don’t comment on A-Level achievements.  It is well above my pay grade.”

* Former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA)

“As a long-time believer in consistency in political life, all I can say is that Gore has deserved all the honors bestowed upon him.”  Reached by a staffer from the Republican National Committee earlier this evening, Romney immediately retracted his comment.

* Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

“As a loyal Republican, I want to fully associate myself with George W. Bush’s articulate remarks.  I applaud his resolve, steadfastness, and commitment to civil discourse.”

* Senator Alan Keyes (R-?)

“As the most successful Senate candidate in our nation’s history — and speaking as Bill Kristol’s saner Harvard University roommate — all I have to say is, “What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?”


‘Senator for Life’ Alan Keyes Pictured Above
in his Washington, DC Senate Office

As for the other Republican contenders, they were all attending a ‘Second-tier Candidates Debate’ at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina and could not be reached for comment.

Finally, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia, condemned the decision not to award the ‘Best Actor’ Emmy to a fellow paisan, James Gandolfini of The Sopranos.  On Gore’s award, his curt reaction was

“Get over it.”

As usual — and displaying his self-effacing brand of humor — Al Gore marveled at the state of domestic politics in the country and harmonious nature of the 2008 Presidential Campaign.  He thanked all these politicians (and Justice Scalia in particular) for their “warm messages and spontaneous outpouring of support.”  When reached late tonight on cell phone by Washington Post reporter and longtime Gore admirer, Ceci Connolly,  Gore declined further comment and would only say, “I’ll have more to say in October.”

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‘The Glow of Victory’ – Al Gore with Joel Hyatt
at the 59th Emmy Awards Last Night

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Let’s Introduce Ourselves

I know that many of you “know” each other from your various on-line participation. But I don’t know most of you and I’ll bet there are others like me out there who want to participate, but don’t feel comfortable yet because they feel like outsiders. So, I’d like to introduce myself a bit and then ask you to do the same in the comments. You can decide what you want others to know about you and what needs to stay private.

My signature says one thing about me. Yes, I live in St. Paul, MN and I still miss Paul and Sheila Wellstone.

I was raised mostly in the south in a family that thought southern baptists were backsliders. My father was an original card-carrying member of the so-called moral majority. It wasn’t until my early 30’s that I totally healed from all that, and the politics was the first thing to go. The spiritual part took a bit longer to heal.

For the last 30 years I have worked in various capacities with troubled young people and their families. That is my passion. Right now I am the executive director of a small non-profit who’s mission is “To work with families and the community to re-direct youth who are starting to get in trouble at home, at school or with the law.” Politically, this ties in with a couple of my major concerns: our crumbling urban areas and racism.

So, that’s a bit about me. I’d like to meet you. Say as much or as little as you like. Its really not that hard – so jump right in the water’s fine and the ponies are sure to show up.

Peer to Peer Networks

from MLW
I talk a lot about peer to peer politics and when I do I am referring to a very deep cultural framework, that is, the framework of an extended sub-culture which helped fire the net to life. The culture does not have a single name but it is one I consider the kernel of the net, it is the original source of the online culture as we know it, the origin of many of its traditions and standards (netiquette? obviously mostly forgotten). The sentiments of this culture explain many of the mysteries of the net. It is part cryptoanarchis, part geeks that matter, and part realization… the realization that distributed networks are needed in place of traditional centralized ones.

Whenever people gather throughout history, you have had human networks, the internet only speeds that up and gives us a venue, virtual community, with which to experiment.

It is my history in this culture which is the source of my fascination with virtual cultures as well as with wherever the edge of the peer to peer fire has rearranged the landscape. This phenomenon of peer to peer networks has struck, stunned, and subtly reformed many public debates. These debates are allowed to extend beyond the experts, many of whom were charlatans in industries whose internal debate needed the reform. When peer to peer networks take on a subject, more than anything else they shine a light on the proceedings.

Hobby by hobby this phenomenon spread, starting with things of interest to early adopters, things like Monty Python, Star Trek, and News for Nerds. It has progressed through a list of hobbies for shut-ins and want to be shut-ins (no offense intended) and subsequently through to politics, politics as a hobby.

For me, if not for you, parts of this basic kernel of a net cultural ethos includes ideas such as “information wants to be free”, and that is “free as in speech, not as in beer”. My attitude toward free speech on the net is not borrowed from real world free speech, in which we demand it in “public” from our “government”, instead it is borrowed from the ideas among this large subculture of private citizens. For example old time, pre-internet era, private computer “bulletin board system” operators used their own machines and own phone bills to provide entirely unfettered use of their systems for this networked, peer to peer, public debate. These private people linked their BBSes (e.g. in FidoNet), prior to the internet, creating a national network carrying messages of any sort cross country. There was no demanding free speech, there was believing in it.

Of course the flaming, trolling and moderation issues with which you are all familiar did appear early. That’s another story, but suffice it to say as early aggregators of these experiences, they gifted us the concept of “troll”, though it has morphed from a fishing metaphor into a billygoat nightmare, and “flame war”.

Chaos on the net is not really chaos, the lamented universal truth of signal to noise entropy does not directly apply… on the net the noise is signal. Every piece of noise on the net has a human being behind it, an actual human being. Nazis can fantasize about a utopia built by eliminating some of this noise (aka “people”), but progressive cannot. We are stuck integrating it.

That person may be hurting, and you may be seeing their pain, and it can be ugly to see… I am not advocating personal sympathy with them so much as a general realization, each on is a peer. You are a peer. We are equals, though thankfully not identical.

In the old days there was a lot of “master”-“slave” language in computer science. Now that’s faded and it’s not just because the terms themselves are offensive but because the DESIGN they name was offensive. The master-slave design is, in short, centralism, and it has a fatal flaw, a flaw offensive to all that believe in the kernel of the net (“information wants to be free”).  The flaw is that it doesn’t scale.

ACK!  RUN FOR THE HILLS IT WON”T SCALE.  When you face network affects, er, effects, you better damn well scale my brother. Centralism doesn’t scale and the net knows this. (My subculture anthropomorphizes the net and information at will, without restriction… because for us the net lives).

The net is designed on the principle that centralism doesn’t always fail, but it always suxors.

Distribution is the way to go.  Distributed everything, distributed messaging centers, distributed doritos, distributed information, but… but especially power. Power must be distributed. Distributocracy. The actual distribution of power to actual people… that is the goal, and what an amazing concept. It is amazing to think of, it is amazing to think it’s confusing, confounding, or defies sensibility.


If only something like that were really possible.

I believe information wants to be free.

Breaking: Giuliani Campaign Consults Kama Sutra in Effort to Craft New Position on Iraq

MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Having been cornered on several recent occasions to clarify his position on the war in Iraq – beyond “I was there on 9/11” and “we should kill bad guys” – the Giuliani campaign has chosen to take a novel approach.

(continued below)

Describing their method as the kind of “out-of-the-box” exercise Giuliani mastered as a consultant, his staff recently conducted an offsite session wherein they consulted the famous Sanskrit tome “the Kama Sutra” for “metaphoric insights” on how Giuliani might better explain his Iraq position.

Despite the novelty, and private-sector flair, however, an anonymous campaign staffer described the effort as somewhat frustrating.  Apparently, other campaigns had “clearly beaten them to the punch,” metaphorically.

Continued the staffer, “McCain had clearly taken all the oral sex positions – generally juxtaposing himself vis George W. Bush as the decider / disseminator in chief – and his campaign is already regularly rotating among the variants.”

“Romney had already staked out all the multiple-partner turf, as well as the anal turf – in this case juxtaposing himself with the troops.”  The staffer noted with a giggle that the latter was presumably the underlying basis of Senator Craig’s support for the Romney campaign.

“Given the Republican context, Ron Paul’s position clearly already draws on the material on ‘solo’ stimulation.”  (Other campaigns contacted for comment agreed with this assessment, and predicted somewhat cryptically that Paul would almost certainly be “blind” before the first primary vote is cast.)

“And Thompson is apparently drawing heavily on the parts about arousing weakened sexual powers.  This is really too bad, as these chapters really, really spoke to Rudy.”

With all of those other parts claimed by others, Mr. Giuliani apparently kept getting drawn to the chapters on courtesans.  “However,” noted the staffer, “we figured that this might be kind of dangerous turf for him — and I’m not even talking about [Giuliani supporter and U.S.Senator] David Vitter.”

“At the end of the exercise, we ultimately decided to focus in on one of our current core positions on Iraq – i.e., the Rudy was there on 9/11 position – for as long as possible, until grilling by reporters makes it untenable.

“We estimate that can’t happen until at least January 2009.”

###

Song for 9.17.2007

So, for today, I thought I’d share a song which is one of my all-time favorites, from one of the great lost bands of the 1990s – Carissa’s Wierd.

For those of you who don’t know, Carissa’s Wierd (misspelling intentional) was a fantastic group from whose ashes the currently popular (but far inferior) Band of Horses emerged.  This is one of their best songs ever, “Die”.

I wake up, it’s all gone
(your characteristic seemed alright)
I wish I had stayed at home
(you’re so disappointed every time)
At home here, I need you to tell me all the wrong I’ve done
I wish you’d believe me, I’m alright in my life
(the backyard is empty when you’re gone)
I see you way out there
You’re standing on a lonely road
(Suppose that I said that I had lied just when you said that you were)
Die right now
I want to die right now
She wakes up and then leaves
(Your characteristic staircase smile)
He’s coming; and not naive
Remember who your friends are
(You’re so disappointed when you try)
But don’t forget the ones you love
Promise I’ll make it in that hip-hop video
(the bad words are endless when you call)
I see you way out there
You’re standing on a lonely road
(suppose I had said that I had lied, just when you said that you were)
Die right now
I never asked to be here

You can listen to or download an mp3 of “Die” at the exceptional music blog Teaching the indie kids to dance again.

Why Things Are Like They Are. Vol. 1

.

Information filters.

One of my central thoughts about the world we live in.

It is beyond actual comprehension.

Certainly comprehension by any one person. And VERY certainly beyond the comprehension of George Bush! This means that in spite of all the posturing that The Powers That Be do in pretending to be on top of things and in charge and competent is just that….pretense.
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The main example that comes to mind is from what I have read of Sybil Edmunds and the whole translating situation with the FBI. From what I recall they had huge back logs of intercepts that had not been translated. That means that no matter how fast they got information, how soon they received anything that needed action….no action could be taken. Having a great system to collect information does you no good….unless you can understand that information and act on it.

This extends to a great many other areas as well I am sure, in different forms. What it means is that the PTB are dependent on information filters. And so, between bad tech, bureaucracy and politicization ……in reality they have no real idea of what is going on. Then we can add in even more factors. They are stupid. They don’t want to hear bad news…or any news that disagrees with their view of the world. Their underlings know this and consciously or not, feed them only the info they are comfortable hearing. And of course ALL humans have their own information filters and organizers in their heads. It is like a big game of Telephone.

What is my point?

They don’t know shit.

Their reality IS different from ours, because the information that shapes it is different. We all think Dick Cheney is insane. But based on the info he gets, he thinks he is a genius.

This applies to the results of their actions as well. The info they get is all best case scenario and rationalization. This is apparent from their reactions to news from Iraq. “We are kicking ass.”

Yes, Bush probably really DOES believe that that is true! Because that is what he is being told through all of his info filters.

They really only know what they are told. And what they are told is told to them by people whose job depends on telling them what they want to hear. And who are told what THEY know by people whose job depends on it….etc.

The famous quote about creating their own reality has indeed partially come true. They are living in their own reality, but the rest of the world has declined to join them.

And the chaos that has resulted from their nearly complete misperception and misunderstanding of the world is one of the reasons that…Things Are Like They Are.

Pony Party: Pickle Monday Part II

Hi again! Light Emitting Pickle here to bring you the most recent open thread. First, a few words about Pickle Pony Parties:

Please do not recommend a Pony Party when you see one.  There will be another along in a few hours.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’m looking for inspiration for what to post next week in my contribution to the Pony Party threads. Because, in the unlikely event that it is not painfully, excruciatingly obvious, this isn’t much of a diary. So, check out the poll and feel free to give other ideas in the comments!

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