You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

May 28, 2010

America Wonders


—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at May 28, 2010 09:41 AM

When the first of the prequels to the original Star Wars trilogy came out, one thing stood out: the human soldiers had been replaced with robot soldiers; and it somehow made the whole thing more acceptable to the moms and dads taking their tots to the show.

Those silent killers robots seem frighteningly similar; keeping us at a distance from death. Happy meal with a predator drone toy, anyone?

Posted by: zic at May 28, 2010 12:23 PM

Let's the keep the pressure on Obama. He needs our support to enact his real agenda.

Posted by: michael moore at May 28, 2010 12:30 PM

I am writing a new song:

Fatah is a Zionist puppet
Egypt is a Zionist puppet
Jordan is a Zionist puppet
The Saudis are Zionist puppets

Only Hamas, only Hamas, only Hamas
And Hezbollah
And a few right-thinking Canadians
Have the guts to stand up against
The Zionist usurper!

Spain belongs to the Muslims
And Oregon belongs to the Mexicans
And Palestine, oh Palestine, oh Palestine
Belongs to Hamas!

Posted by: Seth at May 28, 2010 01:13 PM

The main reason I belong to the Church of the Subgenius is that one of their commandments is "If You Don't Have a Sense of Humor, Don't Try to Be Funny."

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at May 28, 2010 01:33 PM

i feel dumb because I can't tell whether the second comment is real.

A year or two ago it was all the rage to quote FDR when he had told some activists (usually A. Philip Randolph)that he agreed with them and told them to 'now make me do it.'

The problem is, a lot of constituencies seem to have been outsourced. It's great that Professor Alston of NYU is going to criticize the completely secret and unaccountable CIA drone attacks, which are appalling. But it doesn't sound like the learned professor is even criticizing the drone program as a whole, let alone the US/NATO involvement in Afghanistan as a whole. Alas, there isn't any powerful constituency to make Obama try to withdraw from Afghanistan, which nothing suggests is his 'real agenda' anyway.

Mark my words, the glaciers on the Himalyas will leave Afghanistan before the US military. Vietnam is the only place we ever left, and the hawks are still mad about it.

Posted by: N E at May 28, 2010 02:04 PM

"In my view there is no legal prohibition on CIA agents, or you and me, deciding to take a 'direct part in hostilities,' which is not to say that it is desirable," Alston told The Associated Press in an e-mail Friday.

Complete, utter, bollocks. Ignorant of what is already happening, and its lack of legality. Is this kabuki to debate another redundant legislation purporting to restate what is already the law of the land, ultimately amended to subverting it?

Posted by: b. at May 28, 2010 02:13 PM

Obama said during his campaign that he would expand the efforts in Afghanistan. He needs no help on that adgenda and seems to be moving right along with it. I'm hoping he will get OSAMA BIN LADEN while he's there, who knows. He didn't keep the GITMO and black sites promise but he sure is keeping the Afghanistan one. Half a loaf is better than none. The FISA vote showed his cards, if YOU voted for him anyway then what he's doing NOW IS YOUR adgenda.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 28, 2010 02:31 PM

@michael moore

Mr Moore, honestly, as far as I am concerned I do not know any more what his "real agenda" is.

More often than not, his words and actions do not match. Trying to keep pressure on him by sending email after email has not elicited any response ( when he was my senator, I used to receive SOME response to my emails, even if unsatisfactory ).

I came across this article "Cries From the Past: Torture's Ugly Echoes‏

which contained the following para...

"Explained the Agency's General Counsel, since early 1954, following the death of Army biochemist Frank Olson, a secret agreement between the CIA and the U.S. Department of Justice had been put in place whereby the violation of "criminal statutes" by CIA personnel would not result in Department of Justice prosecutions, if "highly classified and complex covert operations" were threatened with exposure. The agreement had been struck between Houston and Deputy Attorney General William P. Rogers in February 1954, not long after Frank Olson's death, and still remained solidly in place.

I can not help but wonder if there are other secret agreements in the dark corners of our govt which prevent ANY President from doing what she/he may want to do according to camapaign promises!!!

Posted by: Rupa Shah at May 28, 2010 02:57 PM

mike meyer

Osama is as dead as Saint Nicholas. Only the legend is left for us now, but it's just as generous and is in even more films.

Posted by: N E at May 28, 2010 02:57 PM

Got ANY proof? The videos say he's alive. Habeas Corpus my friend, what is there to prove he's dead OTHER than YOUR word? ARE YOU some sort of witness to the fact, or do YOU even HAVE a witness?

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 28, 2010 03:23 PM

michael moore: He needs our support to enact his real agenda.

Why would you assume Obama has some "real agenda" outside of what he's actually doing? And why wouldn't you have assumed the same thing about George Bush? Especially when it comes to drones, where Obama is far worse, "authorising more drone attacks in the first year of his term in office than Bush did in his entire presidency."

I don't know of any answer to that question that doesn't boil down to a quasi-religious faith in Obama's good intentions, which too many people are clinging to despite an Everest-sized (and ever-growing) mountain of contrary evidence.

Here's a thought: not only should we ask ourselves "What if Bush did it?"—we should also assume that if Obama did it, it was because it was a part of his real agenda.

Posted by: John Caruso at May 28, 2010 04:16 PM

Aw Mike, do you believe in dinosaurs are roaming around Coata Rica because you watched Jurassic Park? (I thought they looked pretty real!)
I have no personal knowledge, merely my opinion, but it's an opinion I got from evidence in a book, and one that I think makes more sense than the alternative, which is that OBL remains in some tremendous hiding spot in the Kush living out his life for the sole purpose of releasing tapes that help his political enemies at opportune moments for them.

If you want, you can look online at the only decent book on the subject that I know of, including its concluding section summarizing the evidence. It's up to you, but don't you ever wonder why no one in the media is interested in this question?

Posted by: N E at May 28, 2010 04:36 PM

@N E

Mark my words, the glaciers on the Himalayas will leave Afghanistan before the US military.

Considering my senior senator who is the majority whip who voted with other 17 democratic senators for the Feingold bill, it IS SENDING a message to Obama administration that his most loyal supporters from his home state DO NOT APPROVE of his Afghanistan war policy ( remember, he was the anti-war candidate!). He is going to HAVE to take that into account and hopefully, we will not have to wait for Himalayan peaks to melt before the troops come home.

ps Himalayas do not extend all the way to Afghanistan. correct me if I am wrong.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at May 28, 2010 04:55 PM

michael moore: He needs our support to enact his real agenda.

Why would you assume Obama has some "real agenda" outside of what he's actually doing?

John, et al.: I would be greatly surpised if 'michael moore' were not being sarcastic.

Posted by: NomadUK at May 28, 2010 05:58 PM

I've read all the reviews at the top of the site about how funny it is, but how about this-you tell a joke, and I'll decide if it's funny.

Posted by: seth at May 28, 2010 06:51 PM

Rupa Shah

I am no expert in the Himalayas, or the Hindu Kush, or any other Asian mountains--I just meant the glaciers on those big mountains over there. That being said, I'm sure Wikianswers and Wikipedia must be right [:)], and they say that the Hindu Kush are a sub-range of the Himalaysas and that the Himalyas extend into part of Afghanistan. (Beats me. I know a lot more about State crimes and assassinations and geopolitical BS.)

One thing Chalmers Johnson convinced me of some years ago (through a book) was that our military is one of those guests that never leaves. We have bases EVERYWHERE, and the Pentagon doesn't like closing them. They'll do what they need to do to keep them, which they believe allows them to further US interests as they see them, and your Senator and all the others will throw in their cards much earlier in the game than the military ever will. Politicians talk about us leaving Iraq too, and that's not happening either, not entirely. This doesn't mean we won't reach a deal with the Taliban or otherwise lower the level of violence in either place, but we're not pulling out and allowing autonomy for our adversaries/enemies in either country, or for that matter anywhere else. Public candor is just not part of the political game.

Posted by: N E at May 28, 2010 06:53 PM

NomadUK: I was assuming that wasn't Flint's own Michael Moore, but I thought the point was worth making anyway since there are plenty of people who need to hear it (including Flint's own Michael Moore...).

Posted by: John Caruso at May 28, 2010 06:56 PM

Michael Moore is quite a common name - whitepages dot com finds 29 in Wyoming, 21 in Vermont - and these are both low population states.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at May 28, 2010 08:00 PM

N E: Why should I take your "opinion I got from evidence in a book" any more seriously than you take evidence in a video (which is not a movie)? It's even easier to fabricate a written text than a video. And your opinions do not inspire confidence in me.

That being said, I have no idea whether Osama bin Laden is alive or not; I don't think it matters much. From what I've read (more evidence in a book), al-Qaeda was never a tightly organized killing machine with a chain of command that could be disabled by taking off the head. I gather it appears to be a loose, decentralized network, so Bin Laden's death would have little effect on it except as the loss of an effective propagandist and perhaps strategist. The more so if he died on his own (so to speak) rather than being caught by the Americans.

A lot of Americans seem to like to think that it matters, though, and many from George Bush on down have found it useful to talk as though capturing or killing Bin Laden would strike a decisive blow in the War on Terror, and perhaps even bring it within measurable distance of its end (as Minitrue always used to say in 1984). This follows from their conviction that many people around the world hate the US because of their own wickedness, or because they've been led astray by bad men like Bin Laden, rather than because of our own aggression and violence in their countries. Even if the US could kill all the Islamist leaders, new ones will arise in their place, inspired not by retrograde religion but by a desire to get the invaders out of their country, or for simple personal revenge.

Which is why your ramblings and the rantings of Mr. Oxtrot are beside the point. We don't need to know the details of the "intel" agencies' plotting because we know who is responsible for these deaths and this destruction. It would be interesting to know such details, but I already know the broad outlines, that the US government, our armed forces, and our intelligence forces are directing the murder and mayhem. Despite your unconvincing insistence that you aren't an Obama or Democrat apologist, your endless theme of Obama's good intentions and struggles against the dark forces of "intel" has no evident end but to claim that Obama isn't responsible -- because of the good intentions you ascribe to him without any evidence all -- for having sought and gained the Presidency, and isn't giving the orders now. Under the Nuremberg precedents, that's enough to hang him and many others, though I'd be satisfied to see him, Bush, McChrystal, Gates, Clinton, Cheney, Rumseld, and the other butchers live out their lives behind bars in the Hague instead. If the trials should bring other conspirators in the intelligence agencies to light, that's just fine with me.

Posted by: Duncan at May 28, 2010 11:00 PM

P.S. Seth, that's a cute little song, but it doesn't quite measure up to Paul McCartney's "Give Ireland Back to the Irish," leaked to National Lampoon back in the 70s.

Seriously, you're just confirming (or re-confirming) your bad faith with it.

Posted by: Duncan at May 28, 2010 11:03 PM

Duncan & NE: I don't know, call me CRAZY, I just hope he gets BIN LADEN. We can worry about the next radical high priest AFTER that. YOU can rant about Bush, Cheney and all the rest, but face it OUR society is backing them. U&I PAY them to act the way they do and pay them well I might add. YOU are PAYING for the feast YOU might as well ROAST one of them chickens that came home to roost. YOUR MOUTH SEZ NO, but YOUR wallet sez YES.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 29, 2010 01:11 AM

Twenty-one comments to this post and not a single Asimov joke? What's wrong with you people?

Posted by: weaver at May 29, 2010 01:29 AM


I thought you went on vacation! I hope my being your foil brings you comfort in troubled times.

Mike Meyer

"Duncan & NE"! Stop that!

You are right that we can (and will) "worry about the next radical high priest after that!" That next radical high priest might as well be named Emmanuel Goldstein, though frankly we're collectively so easy to dupe that it hardly matters.


A rabbi, a priest, a kangaroo, and Isaac Asimov went into a bar. The bartender said: "What is this, some kind of joke?"

(But maybe that isn't what you had in mind.)

Posted by: N E at May 29, 2010 08:01 AM

Mike Meyer and anyone else who believes his eyes too much:

Here's something a little different (Acorn related) on how bad the media is at challenging doctored video when it isn't supposed to.

Posted by: N E at May 29, 2010 08:09 AM

NE: A doctored video proves nothing one way or the other. BIN LADEN, going back to basics, once lived. Can YOU produce an obituary from his local newspaper?

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 29, 2010 12:33 PM

NE saw thru the charade (5/28 5:58 pm).

nice couple of pix from moore in the last couple of posts here at t.n.r.

Posted by: "michael moore" at May 29, 2010 02:39 PM

Mike Meyer

A death or obituary can be faked too, so unfortunately proof of all kinds proves nothing without knowing more. Consequently, whether it's a video setting up Acorn or a video of the Boogeyman Osama, it doesn't matter whether it's real. It works, and it will keep on working as long as people are willing to believe it, which depends mostly on the media being so servile. Public credulity is the linchpin to keeping the Empire running, and great effort is made to maintain it.

It's up to you whether you continue to be so eager to help them out with that.

Posted by: N E at May 29, 2010 02:44 PM

I can't believe I missed this latest message from OBL until now:

Bin Laden Says He’s ‘Professionally Envious’ of BP
‘I’ve Got to Step Up My Game,’ Says Madman

THE BOROWITZ REPORT - In a new video that is light on his usual threats but heavy on admiration, Osama bin Laden admits that he is “professionally envious” of oil giant BP’s massive oil spill, saying that it puts his efforts to create destruction and chaos to shame.

“There are times in an evildoer’s life when one has to stand back and admire a job well done,” Mr. bin Laden says in the video. “BP, you blow me away.”

. . .

Posted by: N E at May 29, 2010 04:53 PM

How about a death certificate from a qualified medical examiner?

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 29, 2010 06:49 PM

Mike Meyer

Did you know Stalin requested an autopsy of FDR after his death? Alas, the old paranoid psychopath was suspicious, but his request was considered in poor taste and denied because things like that don't happen in America. Ridiculous, even if it does happen everywhere else. This is America.

JFK got an autopsy, and you can read about that sometime if you ever want to expose your confidence in official medical examinations to the irritant of critical thought, which will lead to a lot more than nagging doubt if you don't first get a headache or have heart palpitations and abandon having the audacity to question the dogmas that really count.

Anyway, it's a lovely day even if we do all have to believe in the Boogeyman so we can keep being ruled by an unholy alliance of warmongers, greedaholics, and corrupt narcissicsts. I'm sure whoever or whatever passes for Osama is out there working on another tape right now lest we develop some collective backbone and quit going along with thid charade.

Posted by: N E at May 31, 2010 01:54 PM

NE: Oh please, just admit that YOU have no proof that OSAMA BIN LADEN is dead. If YOU believe he is so be it, its just going to be a hard sell to me without some kind of PROOF.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 31, 2010 05:02 PM

Mike Meyer

Oh PLEASE I have NO proof that YOU'RE not a dog.

Posted by: N E at May 31, 2010 05:38 PM