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May 29, 2010

America's Leaders: Do They Have Enough Contempt for Americans?

I missed this May 2 statement by Michael Bloomberg about the attempted Times Square car bombing:

"Terrorists around the world who feel threatened by the freedoms that we have always focus on those symbols of freedoms and that is New York City."

Here's Faisal Shahzah feeling threatened by our freedom in a 2006 email to a friend:

Everyone knows the current situation of Muslim World... Friends with peaceful protest! Can you tell me a way to save the oppressed? And a way to fight back when rockets are fired at us and Muslim blood flows? In Palestine, Afghan, Iraq, Chechnya and else where.

And here's more evidence of how threatening our freedom was to his fragile jihadist mind:

Mr. Shahzad had long been critical of American foreign policy. “He was always very upset about the fabrication of the W.M.D. stunt to attack Iraq and killing noncombatants such as the sons and grandson of Saddam Hussein,” said a close relative. In 2003, Mr. Shahzad had been copied on a Google Groups e-mail message bearing photographs of Guantánamo Bay detainees, handcuffed and crouching, below the words “Shame on you, Bush. Shame on You.”

So this is solid work by Mayor Bloomberg. Nevertheless, I think there are ways he could demonstrate even more contempt for Americans. For instance: start saying we're attacked by terrorists because we love puppies and rainbows too much.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at May 29, 2010 11:18 AM

We love puppies and rainbows... and ponies too much. Don't forget the magical rainbow ponies, the true face of America: "There must be a whole herd of magical rainbow ponies around here somewhere."

Posted by: Merv at May 29, 2010 01:32 PM

Mary is a genius.

Posted by: N E at May 29, 2010 03:17 PM

Now that I have my glasses on, I see that Merv is a genius.

Posted by: N E at May 29, 2010 03:18 PM

I have a hard time telling the writings of Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias apart. For some reason I feel compelled to mention this. (Maybe if they discussed magic ponies differently it would be easier to tell which is which.)

Posted by: Jonathan Versen at May 29, 2010 04:46 PM

Times Square is an example of our freedoms??

Posted by: Rojo at May 29, 2010 04:59 PM

I think there's no conflict here if the freedom Bloomberg is describing is the freedom to kill wantonly.....

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at May 29, 2010 06:24 PM

We love our puppies, rainbows and ponies! Of course and we love our ball games and love to go to the ball park......and we talk about "Unilateral Strike on a country" as if we were planning a visit to the ball park!!

Options studied for a possible Pakistan strike.
"The U.S. military is reviewing options for a unilateral strike in Pakistan in the event that a successful attack on American soil is traced to the country's tribal areas, according to senior military officials."


Posted by: Rupa Shah at May 29, 2010 06:25 PM

Times Square is an example of our freedom to go shopping!

And I believe that I have written pretty much the same stuff as Mr. Shahzad, only with much worse language.

I guess the real difference between me and Mr. Shahzad is that he is a guy - and guy tend to believe in violence and I am guessing he believed in his ability to make a bomb.

I don't believe that violence is an answer to the US's overwhelming violence and I have no clue how to make a bomb and I know it.

US admits fault in drone attack that killed 23 innocent Afghans

Posted by: Susan at May 29, 2010 07:37 PM

Susan: The answer is that population at large SPEAK to Congress. Corrupt or not Congress IS where OUR power resides. When WE ALL speak out eventually Congress listens. It occurs when THE PEOPLE HAVE DISOURSE WITH CONGRESS. One would PRAY for a non violent solution, but this is America after all.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 29, 2010 07:55 PM

Here's a way to tell your senator how you feel about their vote on Feingold's now defeated amendment to require the president to submit a timeline for military withdrawal from Afghanistan by December 31, 2010.

US violence abroad and at home is largely a function of empire-- not good for anyone involved. The sooner the US empire weakens and fades, the better for everyone, including ordinary US citizens.

Tragically, Americans grow up believing in imperial violence. Robotic violence is even better. For example, "Battle robots fight over My Little Pony."

Posted by: Steve in L.A. at May 29, 2010 08:37 PM

Susan, what is US violence the answer to?

After all, the deaths of those 23 civilians broke General McChrystal's heart. I'll bet it broke Obama's too. It's all about us, remember, all about us.

Posted by: Duncan at May 29, 2010 08:39 PM

The US violence is an answer to NOTHING. It is for fun and profit.

And sociopaths do not have a heart that can be broken.

And Mike, I used to call my congress critters and the White House five days a week - for years. I got tired. I used to visit them at least three times a year in DC. Seemed like a waste of gas. I still send postcards and letters - hundreds per year - and I like to include pictures of the dead kids along with telling them to stop this evil shit. Maybe it would work if enough people did it, but so far, I have seen no progress at all.

Posted by: Susan at May 29, 2010 09:17 PM

Susan: That's EXACTLY the thing to do, don't quit, talk YOUR friends into doing the same.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 29, 2010 10:27 PM

You are so right-Faisal is a great humanitarian and an emotionally responsive human being.

He just felt the pain of the world too deeply-like Jesus or some other holy fool.

Truly a great Pakistani-American!

Posted by: seth at May 30, 2010 01:32 PM

Re: hating our freedoms, see "The Atomic Cafe", here, 19:11:

"I'd just like to say that it gives me a great deal of satisfaction to represent two outstanding shopping centers in California. The shopping hub of the San Gabriel Valley in West Arcadia and the Whittier Quad Shopping Center in Whittier, California; because, they are concrete expressions of the practical idealism that built America. When you visit these two fine shopping centers, you'll find more than four score beautiful stores, the sparkling assortments, an attractive atmosphere, and of course, plenty of free parking for all the cars we capitalists seem to acquire. Who can help but contrast the beautiful, the practical settings of the Arcadia Shopping Hub and the Whittier Quad with what you'd find under communism?"

It seems Americans were a lot more explicit about this stuff in the past, probably because they believed it more. "The shopping mall shall set you free," is something it's a lot harder to believe in unironically today.

Posted by: saurabh at May 30, 2010 03:25 PM

Also, if you haven't seen "The Atomic Cafe", you should just watch the whole thing.

Posted by: saurabh at May 30, 2010 03:27 PM

On the subject of holy fools, as mentioned by Seth, they come in other denominations too: (Jeff Sharlet's jesus killed Mohammed article)

Posted by: N E at May 30, 2010 04:22 PM

Jon, I just happened to notice that you have Billmon's old defunct blog on the blogroll -- did you know he's posting at Kos these days?

Posted by: . at May 30, 2010 05:47 PM

Seth: Maybe he had an account at that bank?

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 30, 2010 05:58 PM

What bank?

Posted by: seth at May 31, 2010 12:08 AM
You are so right-Faisal is a great humanitarian and an emotionally responsive human being.

He just felt the pain of the world too deeply-like Jesus or some other holy fool.

Truly a great Pakistani-American!

What interests me about right-wing nationalism/authoritarianism is that it hasn't invented any new lines of propaganda in 5,000 years. (Or probably 100,000 years.) I'm sure you could dig up Seth's Ancient Sumerian equivalent and he would be nattering on about the idiots who've been taken in by the ridiculous claims of the filthy teeming hordes of Umma.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at May 31, 2010 02:45 AM

The ability of our fellow countrymen (and women) to ignore their own factual history within the past 100 years (which is not very long at all on the world's stage) and buy in completely on the totally fact free meme which Bloomberg and others are pushing is really amazing, sad and contemptible all at the same time.

Even when the CIA calls it what it is, Blowback, the majority of America dismisses it as radical liberal commie dissenters who hate America. (Oil, again, AIOC ((BP)) wanted this coup, it's always about oil, but try telling people that!)

Lord help us, Chris Floyd's Wikipedia entry was deleted because some editor of the wiki deemed him no person of consequence.

We're a nation of idiots. And we're doomed because we seem to enjoy being a nation of idiots.
American empire and American exceptionalism are killing this nation. Sadly, I fear we deserve it. And I love my country too. The idiot's can't wrap their brains around that last part though...

One of the most erudite and prescient things George W. Bush ever said was that we as a nation are addicted to oil. he's right. And the drug pusher is calling our shots for us.

Please God, help us repeal the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937!

Posted by: Xboxershorts at May 31, 2010 06:34 AM


In addition to being the name of a really hot chick in contemporary times, Umma was once a Sumerian city. Consequently, Seth's ancient Sumerian ur-cousin was probably prone to ranting about the idiot Akkadian hordes taken in by the evildoer Sargon, sometimes called Sargon the Great by his terrorist followers. Or maybe on second thought you were thinking of the treasonous liberal elite that poisoned the patriotic spirit of Umma in its later days, paving the way for Sargon's destruction of everything good and noble about Sumer, in which case never mind.

Posted by: N E at May 31, 2010 01:00 PM

Chris Floyd has a Wikipedia entry, and I don't think he's worrying mister charley's MICFiC too much. Not that anyone does these days.

Posted by: N E at May 31, 2010 02:03 PM