Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Wisdom of Warren Ellis

"Take it easy this weekend, and remember: getting drunk, taking unknown tablets and fucking a stranger isn't taking a chance -- it's simply doing your duty."

Friday, February 10, 2006

It's worthwhile remembering that Tom Cruise isn't COMPLETELY bugfuck crazy

Feds Recommend Warnings on ADHD Drugs - Yahoo! News:
"Ritalin and other stimulant drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder should carry the strongest warning that they may be linked to an increased risk of death and injury, federal health advisers said Thursday."

“They’re bullies. They’re offended when somebody takes a swing back at them.”

The Ohio Insurgency:
"It’s August 2, Election Day, and the lanky, blond, 43-year-old Marine has taken up position outside the polling place in Loveland, a burg on the outskirts of Cincinnati, flashing his toothy smile for the early risers. Hackett is dressed smartly in a blue shirt and striped pastel tie. His khaki pants hang loosely from his wiry, 180-pound frame.

“That’s low politics, punk!” a heavy-set man sneers as he marches toward the poll.
Hackett wheels around. “Pardon me?”
“You know, that radio ad that says, ‘You don’t know Schmidt.’” He’s talking about one of Hackett’s attack ads against Republican Jean Schmidt. The man spews a stream of epithets, and Hackett lets out a crybaby whimper: “Waaaaaaa!”
“What’s that, punk?” the big man growls.

A TV crew is setting up nearby, but Hackett doesn’t seem to care. “What’s your fuckin’ problem?” the candidate snaps. “You got something to say to me? Bring it on!” Hackett, all 6 feet 2 inches of him, is nose to nose with the heckler. “Problem?” he taunts. The man turns around and storms away.

“These guys in the Republican Party adopted this tough-guy language,” Hackett tells me, still steamed, an hour later. “They’re bullies. They’re offended when somebody takes a swing back at them.”"

Thursday, February 09, 2006

If you're not guilty of anything you don't have to worry about it, right?

A lot of things keep reminding me about choice these days...

You Are A Cog.: Karma, Part Four:
"The threat of The Negative and the lure of The Positive shouldn’t be what compel us into action. That really just boils down to selfishness. Absolutely we care about success and achievement and we have a sense of self-preservation but do you really need a Damoclesian sense of imminent doom to motivate your decisions? Coward.

Maybe you’ll make Bodhisattva one day and there will be forty virgins waiting to fuck you like only fantasies can, but you know what? Maybe not.

Like a good Buddhist I’ve come full circle. You see it’s not about toys it’s about being good for goodness sake. Not for any other reason than because it’s the right thing to do. It’s like Hogarth said to the Iron Giant, “You are who you choose to be.”

Let the Universe worry about the Universe."

I had an inflatable Hulk chest [with tear-away shirt] as a kid, but this is better. - Vacation ends for the elves:
"Soaring through Toy Fair is one of its most pumped-up prospects: the Superman Returns Inflato-Suit from Mattel. A built-in battery-operated fan puffs up the shiny blue poly-taffeta, and presto! Pecs. The red vinyl cape means kids can leap tall sofas in a singlebound. And it's detachable, so Superboys can protect their Lois Lanes from, say, pesky puddles."

They're never gonna do it.

...and they'll probably keep losing.

d r i f t g l a s s: Senator Norma Biden Sez::
"“We” haven’t lost our voice or focus at all. “We” have been here all along. “We” have been practically screaming for the Democratic Party to quit listening to its Wormwoods and Uriah Heeps who, each election cycle, council tarting yourself up in GOP-Lite Camo, curling up into an even tighter ball and hoping even harder that somehow everything will work itself out.

You see, Senator, at this political moment, our Party owns the only lemonade stand on Dune...

1. Quit whining and hit them already.

2. None of you is bigger than the Party. None. And because of that;

3. Tell men like Joe Biden to Shut The Fuck Up and quit acting like a rookie dancing in the end zone after his first TD every time he even thinks he sees a TV camera. His buffoonish antics embarrass us all. The Ailto hearings could have been about substance if any one of you had bothered to coordinate a strategy beforehand, instead of reacting like skanks on ElimiDate trying to out-preen each other...

7. The Republican Party as it is currently constituted is our enemy. Not your “Dear Colleagues”. Not “My Good Friend”. They have been lying about us, calling us traitors and cowards and weaklings for twenty years. They have taken us into disaster – abroad and at home – time and time again. They are destroying this country. They are the Bad Guys, get it? And what have you been doing? Wringing your hands and bitching that, “There’s no call for that kind of language.” So…

8. Stop waiting for the referee or Jesus or Mommy to show up and make the GOP “fight fair.” That day will never come, and if the GOP Leadership ever started behaving like sportsmen and statesmen instead of con men and Klansmen, their Party would collapse tomorrow. Divisiveness and hate is all they have. They know it, and it has served them well because the DLC keeps deluding themselves about that simple, central fact. They are not nice men. They will never be nice men. And if they offer to shake your hand, they’re only doing it so they can slit your wrist.

9.So be decorous, and you don’t need to swear, but quit whining and hit them already...

12. The answer to any question should be one of the following:

13. “Because Republicans are liars.”

14. “Because the Republican Party is racist to its core.”

15. “Because Republicans do not care about America.”

16. “Because George Bush is the best friend Osama Bin Laden ever had.”

17. When the MSM stooge who posed the original question rhetorically shoot back with something along the lines of, “But…but…but, you can’t really believe that?!” push back. Very Hard. Tick off a few examples of Republican Treachery and ask, “No, Chris. The question is, why don’t you believe it? WTF is wrong with you? Are you a plain old idiot, or just another paid-off, right-wing, Jeff Gannon whore?”

18. In other words, quit whining and hit them already.

Because Americans will tolerate ear-biting and eye-gouging, but they will NOT stand for (or vote for) a pussy bawling that the other boys are playing too rough.

Stop waiting for them to play nice. Stop waiting for the cavalry to come and save us.

You are the cavalry.

So quit whining and hit them already."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

"Culture is a Cult" - Terence Mckenna

Kung Fu Monkey: Learn to say 'ain't' ...

Kung Fu Monkey: Learn to say 'ain't' ...:
"...something that everyone EXCEPT those people in charge of electing Democratic presidents seemed to understand -- when your party has perceived weaknesses, don't run the guy who's the stereotype of that weakness. Or, as my friend Mark Waid said: 'Why the fuck do we keep nominating Frazier Crane?'

...There are two lessons to be taken from 'Learn to say 'ain't'.' First, the fundamental dynamic in all crowd interaction is us vs. them. Period. It's sad. Oh well. Get over it and win.

Now, the fine line here is that, the audience also always knows when you're being dishonest. That's worth hitting again. When you are on stage, the audience's collective mind can tell when you're not being yourself. And even more importantly, they can tell when you're lying to be one of 'us'. (Like Kerry hunting, or Dukakis in the tank). Changing yourself to fit the audience would be the wrong lesson to take from 'Learn to say 'ain't.'' No, the lesson Boats was teaching me was that there's no problem with relaxing a bit and showing that you're not one of 'them.' He was teaching me that connection is a half-way game -- just extend out a little, and the audience will come the rest of the way. They will extend the boundary of 'us' if you advance toward it. That was the genius of 'compassionate conservatism.'

People will relax and trust you when you're not trying to dazzle them with brainpower. It's okay to be the smartest guy in the room, but that shouldn't be the point of it. This is a liberal weakness, because they often seem to operate on the dual fuels of statistics and sputtering. They foolishly believe that the smartest, most morally equitable, most well-reasoned argument is the right one.

Well, of course it's the right one. It's just not necessarily the one that's going to WIN. And when they point, justifiably, at their idea which is backed up by all the data, all the statistics, and say 'But, but this is the only logical solution', the implication is '... by not arriving at this yourself, you are stupid.' And once somebody thinks you called them stupid, you've lost them forever. 'What's the matter with Kansas?' Nothing, you supercilious fuck, what's the matter with you? Guess who I'm voting for every time you lecture me that you're on my side, and I just have to see that? Yeah, the other guy. Bye now."

Bush isn't lying

Kung Fu Monkey: Feedback & Criticism:
"He's not lying.

Man, a lot of you are going to hate this. But here goes.

He actually THINKS he's a good ol' boy. He hung out with southern fellas, banged stewardesses, drank too much Jack, and wears cowboy boots. When he found Jesus, I genuinely believe he found Jesus. He has no intellectual grasp of the contradiction between Christ's method and his policies, but that doesn't mitigate the fact he believes, and it comes through --

-- oh, and by the way, that's hardly rare. Most American Catholics, when it comes to abortion, nod sagely at the Vatican's pronouncement and declare themselves devout Catholics. But when it comes to divorce, pre-marital sex or especially contraception, they're all "WhoPopewiththewhatwiththewhonow? --

George Bush believes he's a good guy. Dad lived at Kennebunkport and went South when he had to. George, for all his faults, thinks he's a Texan. He's PROUD of his identity as a Texan, because it saved him the effort of actually constructing a personality of his own. If any of his businesses, oil or sports, had panned out, I'd take even money he never would've gone into politics. Karl Rove's genius in finding Bush was finding a guy who actually believed in his own bullshit image.

In the parlance of my business, he's the hack comic who kills every show, and has no idea he's a hack.

Why the hell do you think they never let him do press conferences? Precisely because he's such a shitty liar. When he's on the campaign trail and can talk in generalities, his job is to get you to like him. And, looking at his life, that's all he ever did or wanted: was to get people to like him. But when you put him on a podium, and he has to remember all the facts and figures and not to contradict himself because, well, lying is tricksy, he's crap.

Bush accentuates the "us" parts of his personality. That's different from "lying". That extension I was talking about works for both good and evil, folks. Progressives did a very, very bad job of sliding into "us", and did an absolute shit job of defining "them".

Underestimating your opponent's skill because you hate them is one of the primary errors of warfare. It's one of the reasons the US's war on terror is going so poorly. When the other guy's good at something, just acknowledge it and move on. Figure out how to beat it or neutralize it. Stop pretending it can't be true because you can't allow your opponent that level of skill or ability."

What really happened

The Rude Pundit:
"Yesterday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing over the President's warrantless domestic surveillance program more or less went something like this: Arlen Specter would ask something about why the White House doesn't go to the FISA court and Alberto Gonzales would say, 'We considered it, decided against it, and you can go fuck yourselves.' Patrick Leahy would ask something about how Congress's authorization to use force constituted a green light to domestic spying, and Gonzales would say, 'Hey, baldy, we define 'force,' and so you can go fuck yourselves. Hard.' Leahy would ask if NSA has opened mail. Gonzales would say, 'Not gonna tell you and go fuck yourself.'

For truly, when Gonzales answered Joe Biden's question about how the revelation of the NSA spying program has hurt it with 'if [the enemy is] not reminded about it all the time in the newspapers and in stories, they sometimes forget,' truly, what was he saying but 'No, seriously, you guys and gal, go fuck yourselves. You get nothin'.' So it went, with Senators Kennedy, Kohl, the Feins - Stein and Gold, Schumer, and Durbin, and even with Republican Senators DeWine, Graham and Brownback, all, all told, in no uncertain terms by Gonzales, 'You are Congress and you can, as I've said already, go fuck yourselves.'"

You need to be offended

Ooh, controversial! - At the risk of losing more friends...:
"While I find religion/spiritualism/magick fascinating and can admire some of the positive traits it _can_ bring out in people.
While I may like you in every other respect.
While you might be a shining example of everything that is good/right/reasonable from your belief.
While I might be equipped with a reasonable amount of academic knowledge about several faiths/belief systems.

...As far as I'm concerned it is all dangerous bullshit and the world would be a far, far better place without out.

...And I'm not sorry if that offends you - you need to be offended - you need to look at what you believe, and why, and be shaken. You need to assess why you're offended when someone 'attacks' your irrational belief by not believing the same thing and why you feel the urge to defend something that has no rational basis or evidence."

Rewriting History With George W. Bush by Vin Suprynowicz

Rewriting History With George W. Bush by Vin Suprynowicz:
"Lots of countries seek 'weapons of mass destruction.' When do we plan to disarm Israel and Russia? Of course dictatorships are repressive. When do we plan to liberate the people of Zimbabwe, Burma, Red China, and Uzbekistan?

Iraq may have been targeted for geo-strategic reasons – regardless of its blamelessness in Sept. 11 – as a central 'breadbasket' of the Middle East. But that’s not the case Mr. Bush has tried to build.

Why did chaos descend after our invasion? Because the Washington neoconservative desk jockeys who dreamed the thing up had no military experience, blissfully ignored the British experience of 1918–1921, wishfully assumed the various Iraqi ethnic groups whose feuds had long been suppressed by the Baathists would welcome us with flowers and then promptly start holding orderly town meetings, and that we therefore wouldn’t need much of an occupation force.

...The dedication and courage of our fighting men stands unchallenged. But the fact that staff sergeants will do their duty, regardless, cannot be taken as evidence that a war is wise or just. Quite the contrary. Asked to prove the sergeant’s sacrifice was justified, the president can hardly be allowed to use the sergeant’s unquestioning willingness to ACCEPT the president’s assurance that his war was just, as EVIDENCE that his war was just."

Democracy on the march

Democracy and the Untouchables:
"A coca farmer has been elected president in Bolivia and a socialist doctor in Chile. Hamas has won majority power in Palestine and a hard-line anti-Zionist leads Iran. These are all democratic outcomes, and in the foreseeable future we can expect more of the same.

From the American perspective, it looks like the worst example of getting what you wish for. We stand for democracy, and now we have to hold our ground when democracy doesn't turn out remotely as we would want it to. Observers point out that the last five elections in the Middle East have brought in Islamic fundamentalists or close to it, while almost every election in South America has brought in socialists with an animus against the U.S., or close to it.

As the world's leading democracy, it's ironic that we have been so afraid of it elsewhere, supporting reactionary royal families and dictatorships in country after country, although capriciously our support of a Noriega, Saddam Hussein, Duvalier, Aristide, Assad, Musharaf, etc. can suddenly sour.

...These intolerable injustices aren't ours to fix. Each country deserves self-determination. Billions spent to prop up the Shah of Iran did nothing to prevent the rise of democracy there, and it won't anywhere else, not in the long run. America's choice is either to guide this great historical upheaval or be charged with trying to suppress the very people who might have sailed to the New World when we were struggling to be free."

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Hey look, domestic prison camps! [By Halliburton, no less.]

Halliburton Subsidiary Gets Contract to Add Temporary Immigration Detention Centers - New York Times:
"The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a contract worth up to $385 million for building temporary immigration detention centers to Kellogg Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary that has been criticized for overcharging the Pentagon for its work in Iraq."

Monday, February 06, 2006

Never gonna happen. Offers $1,000 Reward to Any Reporter Who Will Ask Follow-Up Question to Bush |
"Based on Bush's previous lie, is now offering $1,000 to any reporter who will directly ask Bush this question:

'How can you claim you were trying to avoid war through the UN, when you told Prime Minister Blair on Jan. 31, 2003, that if you failed to get a resolution from the UN authorizing war, 'military action would follow anyway' - including a scheme to paint a U.S. spy plane in U.N. colors to provoke an Iraqi attack on the U.N. itself?

We’re living in Robert Anton Wilson’s world.

One can only hope.

Reason: Live From Chapel Perilous: We’re living in Robert Anton Wilson’s world.:
"Robert Anton Wilson is the unacknowledged elephant in our cultural living room: a direct and indirect influence on popular books, movies, TV shows, music, games, comics, and commentary.

...Allusions to Wilson’s work appear in places both classy and trashy: There’s a Wilsonian stamp on films as diverse as Magnolia, The Mothman Prophecies, and Sex and Lucia, and it’s because of Wilson and Shea that the Illuminati, a secret society that once lurked only in right-wing conspiracy tracts, became the villains of Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. Now Wilson’s the star of a lively documentary, Maybe Logic, that’s being screened at film festivals and distributed on DVD.

Wilson is a primary source for the ironic style of conspiracism, a sensibility that treats alleged cabals not as intrigues to be exposed or lies to be debunked but as a bizarre mutant mythos to be mined for laughs, metaphors, and social insights. If you were an amused aficionado of conspiracy folklore in 1963, you were a lone hobbyist or specialist. By 1983, you could turn to a number of fanzines, comics, and weirdo institutions such as the Church of the SubGenius, a satiric cult founded by some Illuminatus! fans. By 1993, you were a target market for several half-joking mass-market conspiracy tomes; your sensibility was reflected regularly in magazines such as Mondo 2000 and The Nose; and two brand new pop juggernauts were about to enter your heart: The X-Files and the World Wide Web.

And by 2003, this was all standard background noise. These days, choosing your politics is a matter of choosing who you’re more afraid of, the Washington cabal that’s openly trying to erase your freedoms or the various foreign cabals that are openly trying to kill you. Like it or not, we’re living in Robert Anton Wilson’s world.

...If there’s a central message to Wilson’s work, the film tells us, it’s the agnostic notion that you can’t be completely certain about anything -- and that even when you’re pretty sure an idea is baseless, it might be fun to entertain it for an evening. Somewhere between absolute belief and absolute incredulity, he tells us, the universe contains a maybe. To which anyone who follows the news these days can reply: No doubt."

'One kid is dying in Iraq so the father of the kid next door can drive his Hummer.'

Great interview, worth reading in full.

Robert Baer, a former case officer in the CIA's Directorate of Operations.:

Chronogram - Seeing Only Evil - Feb 2006:
"LT: So you're saying it's ultimately—

RB: The people of America's fault. The irony is, we're dumping billions and billions of dollars every time we go to the gas pump into a jihad against us in Iraq that's killing American soldiers. I've read, 'One kid is dying in Iraq so the father of the kid next door can drive his Hummer.' And what's more, the money's coming from Japan and China, and in a certain sense from the Middle East, and then it's filtering back. Blackwater, SAIC, Custer Battle—all these companies just basically got the 20 billion dollars that was supposed to go into construction. Construction was never going to happen.

LT: Why?

RB: You can't dump 20 million dollars in a country in the Middle East and have even a tiny fraction going into real projects. That's not the way the place works. So when Congress voted for that money, it was out of stupidity. It was either going to go into the hands of the American contractors or into the hands of Iraqi crooks. Iraq is a corrupt system. The only way you can really get around this is simply line the contractors up and shoot them if they stole the money, which of course is not acceptable to Americans. It goes back to Ottoman corruption, corruption under Saddam, where his family was stealing vast amounts of money, taking the oil profits. For us to go in and turn this around overnight was insanity, to think we could do it—nationbuilding."

The Dilbert Blog: Optimistic Cynic

The Dilbert Blog: Optimistic Cynic:
"People are often surprised to learn that I consider myself an optimist, albeit an optimist with cynical tendencies and a dark side that Lucifer himself would find a little creepy.

...I’m optimistic about myself and about humanity in general. My problem is with the average asshole who I often assume is a self-destructive miscreant, already circling the drain and trying to take me with him. This view is no more “true” than my irrational optimism, but I find it useful to think that way. It keeps me on my toes so I can recognize the most dangerous scams and traps before it’s too late. And of course it helps me write comics.

Despite my dismal view of many individuals, as a matter of preference I give people my trust before they earn it, so long as the downside of doing so isn’t too deadly. But that has less to do with those other people and more to do with who I want to be. I find that trust changes people. They become what you tell them you expect. Likewise, you become what you expect of yourself.

As a human being, you are a collection of many things: skin, bones, brains, experience and emotion. But more than all of that, you are your expectations. That’s why I choose to be an optimist."

Sweet, sweet blasphemy...

Fafblog! the whole worlds only source for Fafblog.:
"'What if it just looks like a picture a Mohammed but it's really a picture a Jesus wearin a real good Mohammed costume?' says me.
'Then it is pretend blasphemy,' says Giblets. 'God can't tell the difference. He has to smite you just to make sure.'"