Comments: Politics is Funny

Flann O'Brien would be proud.

Posted by F.H. at May 2, 2010 11:37 PM


That New America Foundation link claims: "Thus, the true civilian fatality rate since 2004 according to our analysis is approximately 30 percent." Huh? 70 percent terrorists, 30 percent civilians. That's not too bad if you don't know any of the 30 percent. Somebody might think that amounts to saving lives.

But wait, there's a little different story circulating internationally:

"According to the figures compiled by the Pakistani authorities, the Afghanistan-based US drones killed 708 people in 44 predator attacks targeting the Pakistani tribal areas between January 1 and December 31, 2009. For each Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist killed by the American drones, 140 civilian Pakistanis also had to die. Over 90 percent of those killed in the deadly missile strikes were innocent civilians."

http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=World_News&subsection=Pakistan+%26+Sub-Continent&month=January2010&file=World_News2010010283910.xml

Obama shouldn't tell jokes like W--it's unbecoming. I'm not sure even Nixon did that in public.

Posted by N E at May 3, 2010 07:45 AM

So following Bo Rama's knee-slapping premise, should the J-Bros try to charm their way into the First Family knickers, than can expect that their parents and the maid accidentally get blown to bloody bits along with them. But that's only an "as if" scenario, because he's only joking.

I'll bet the Pakistanis are just "ROTFLTAO!!"

Posted by davidly at May 3, 2010 01:49 PM

Over at our blog we had a fight over whether or not the bomb they supposedly found was in fact a false-flag operation. I guess if it had been an actual bomb and actually had gone off, you'd have to call it a false-frag operation. I'm inclined to think it wasn't for real in part because now nobody on the internets or CNN, et al, is talking much about Goldman Sachs, or the oil slick.

Posted by Jonathan Versen at May 4, 2010 06:35 AM

Jonathan Versen

Just assume everything is a false flag operation and look for the inside jokes, because they can be funny. I thought the Osama video in which the Mysterious Tall One recommended everyone read William Blum was a hoot. I was expecting that he would recommend something from Michael Moore or Gore next, but he let me down.) These modern sppoks don't worry much about people figuring anything out because, seriously, why would they care if a few thousand or a few hundred thousand people figure something out?

What you'll never figure out is who is carrying the false flag. We have about two dozen US intel agencies, the brits have a few, and then there are the germans, the french, the japanese, the chinese, the israelis, the saudis, iranians, and everybody else (I'm tired). Plus, a whole bunch of intel services have become private now, with the profit motive therefore probably looming larger and larger in shenanigans like this, just as once happened regularly in the US per Robert Hunter in Violence and the Labor Movement and Regin Schmidt in Red Scare (plus citations within).

If that ain't bad enough, many of the agencies, whether public or private or a mix, have working relationships with each other, but maybe not complete identity of interests, and there are factions and rivalries within each, just as their are factions and rivalries among them. For me, it sure would be fun to read all the files, but it's not gonna happen either. So good luck figuring out who thought it would be fun to blow something up in Times Square. Or pretend to.

What I am really curious about is whether the any of the agents know any ka-ra-te, or do they just know ca-ray-zee?

Posted by N E at May 4, 2010 07:24 AM

Very prescient Jon.

Posted by par4 at May 4, 2010 01:24 PM

My understanding is that the Obama administration has only granted itself the right to assassinate U.S. citizens when they're outside the country.

Couldn't he just grant himself a new right?

Posted by DavidByron at May 4, 2010 05:31 PM

@ NE:

Despite the best effort of the lyrics sites to tone down the king of them all, y'all, it's my firm belief that the actual words of 'The Payback' are:

Get down with my woman, that ain't right!
You hollerin' and cussin', you wanna fight!!
Don't do me
No damn favor
I don't know karate
But I know ka-ra-zor.

More effective in a fight than crazy, and rhymes better, too. But the only one who knows for sure is no longer available to settle the matter.

Posted by Nell at May 4, 2010 08:59 PM

@ NE:

Despite the best effort of the lyrics sites to tone down the king of them all, y'all, it's my firm belief that the actual words of 'The Payback' are:

Get down with my woman, that ain't right!
You hollerin' and cussin', you wanna fight!!
Don't do me
No damn favor
I don't know karate
But I know ka-ra-zor.

More effective in a fight than crazy, and rhymes better, too. But the only one who knows for sure is no longer available to settle the matter.

Posted by Nell at May 4, 2010 08:59 PM

Par4's highly relevant link has a typo. Working link.

Posted by Nell at May 4, 2010 09:04 PM

NE,
Even though I think you are making fun of me, and I am opening up myself to potentially more ridicule by acknowledging that I'm not sure, I do want to make a couple of points:

1.Nobody in the blogosphere or the "MSM" really has a handle on public sentiment regarding the security state, and whether or not people actually take the War on Terror seriously. I do assume polling takes place in some quarters, but if so the general public is not privy to it. I assume this includes you, and most ATR readers. What media execs or the intelligence community know, I haven't the foggiest. Are people afraid of the growing security state? Do they think about it?

2.One of the points in discussing False Flag Ops with liberals when a democrat is president is countering the sheep-like denial of possibility that some people insist on. You better get on board, etc.

I know you are sophisticated enough to understand this. But predictably enough, the moment you express doubt of the official version on some lefty sites, some people feel they have to circle the wagons.

2b. You don't have to conclusively disprove the official version to question it. Besides, how could you? I know you understand this as well, but your snarky "ka-ra-te" schtick suggests you want to belittle my entire line of thought, but leave yourself room to maneuver by also suggesting you're making fun of the obvious correctness of my assertion, as if you're making fun of me for declaring the sky is blue. I can't decide if you're being postmodern or just lame.

3. Your point about the multiple layers of intelligence community bureaucracy is well taken, but how is it relevant? FBI, CIA, TSA, PGA, NASCAR? Who cares. I'm saying that I don't buy the proposition that the threat existed and wasn't fabricated. A man with Middle-Eastern name buys a plane ticket exiting the country for cash, boarding a carrier from a Middle-eastern country, and nobody delays him and questions him, let alone stops him, until the plane was taxiing down the runway? Give me a fuck-everybody-who-thinks-like-pavlov's-stupider-dog break.

Posted by Jonathan Versen at May 4, 2010 10:45 PM

NE, now I feel bad that I wrote that, at least the last line, but I stand by the arguments & gist. I don't think I've ever made fun of you before, even though your pro-establishment line has often exasperated me. I think that's why I found your amorphous snark was so galling.

Posted by Jonathan Versen at May 4, 2010 11:24 PM

Jonathan Versen

I wasn't making fun of you--I was just goofing. Maybe the problem is that i'm just not funny; you might be onto something there, though like the guys on Car Talk I do crack myself up.

Although Nell has graciously quoted the James Brown song, I was thinking of the Owen Wilson and Jackie Chan movie where I heard it. I just don't think too many of the real intel agents are that much like Jason Bourne; they're probably more like Owen Wilson. Actually, they're probably more like Owen Wiilson without being funny, so more or less like me but in better shape.

You can't out-crazy me, Jonathan, so don't ever think I'm making fun of you with anything but affection. I have a whole library on intelligence operations--it has become sort of my hobby during the past decade, ever since 2003, when the run-up to the Iraq war following so closely on the heels of 9/11 overwhelmed my brain's defense mechanisms and banished me to live in that ugly Machiavellian world that Al Haig told Robert Parry to think a little more about, since that's what is really going on.

And Haig knew, because he was in the thick of it, both giving and getting.

So don't worry about me thinking you're a nut if you don't think lone nuts really kill Presidents and are skeptical that skyscraps collapse the way the WTC towers did (including the forgotten "little" one). My point is just that it's very hard with little information to know what's really going on. All you can count on is that it isn't what everyone is being told. How messed up is that?

later gater

Posted by N E at May 5, 2010 12:12 AM
My point is just that it's very hard with little information to know what's really going on. All you can count on is that it isn't what everyone is being told. How messed up is that?

The funny thing is, N E, you know. You know that 9/11 was a false-flag operation, and you know that no president was ever assassinated by a lone nut, and you know that no Democratic president was responsible for anything, and you know that Republican presidents were responsible for everything, and you know that everyone but you and a few other select Gnostics is a dupe of the intelligence services' propaganda. Sometimes you know this more in sorrow than in anger, but sometimes, as lately, you're mixing the two in more nearly equal measures. The ad hominems seem to increase, along with the straw man attacks, as the gaping holes in your arguments become more evident. Or maybe it's just because the Holy Spirit, or our genes, hasn't inspired us to agree with you?

The semi-weird thing is that as a general principle, few of the other commenters here would disagree that our government lies to us, or that our government does horrible things that kill people, or that the intelligence agencies are a threat that needs to be gotten under control. Yet you constantly accuse them of being dupes who mindlessly swallow the CIA/NSA/Republican/New York Times/whatever line. They may reach different conclusions than you, N E and your personal library on intelligence operations, but they do not believe the government. You have to lie constantly about what others have said to hew to this line. Perhaps their real crime is not believing Obama, or the Democrats. The crowning irony, as Jonathan Versen pointed out, is that you are still very "pro-establishment." You go back and forth on that, but in the end you still have faith in Barack Obama.

But whatever the reason, on your own assumptions you don't know any more than they do. If you believe that 9/11 was an inside job by the Bush administration (or rogue elements in the Bush administration -- I've noticed that Truthers tend to waffle on this and other points), it's because you want to believe it. And that's interesting in itself, I'd say.

Posted by Duncan at May 5, 2010 10:44 AM

Gosh, I can hardly remember the first thing about who believes what online (maybe little picture icons would help). You guys are pro.

Posted by Cloud at May 5, 2010 02:43 PM

Duncan

I don't think I call people dupes too often, though I guess ultimately we all pretty much are, and I don't even know what it means to "have faith" in Barack Obama. Strangely, you came to Bill Clinton's defense recently when I insulted him, so you aren't exactly consistent about how you snark at me. (You might also have remembered that I don't have much good to say about Truman or LBJ, though I do about McKinley and Harding. Go figure, but maybe you forgot they were Republican Presidents.)

You almost had me convinced for a second that no one can know anything so there's no point trying, but then I snapped out of it. I doubt you're an NSA troll assigned the ugly job of making everyone cynical about everything but the intelligence agencies, but you do a pretty good job of it.

If you ever want to borrow a book, let me know.

Posted by N E at May 5, 2010 02:45 PM

It's rare I enjoy one of these threads so much and still have no idea what anybody is talking about.

The guy lit a picnic on fire in his truck.

Posted by buermann at May 6, 2010 04:28 AM

"The guy lit a picnic on fire in his truck."

Hilarious. First shoes, then underwear, now flaming truck picnics.

Jonathan Versen

. . . "even though your pro-establishment line has often exasperrated me". . .

Now you at least should admit that I have a pretty idiosyncratic pro-establishment line, given that I believe (and often have said) that the War on Terror is a gigantic fraud; that most terrorist acts are perpetrated by intel agencies, either directly or through proxies; that the most politicians of both major parties are useless; that the Constitution apart from the Bill of Rights (and even some of that) is a reactionary document; that the government would be improved by abolishing the Senate; that the judicial system doesn't work; that the military is run by very dangerous right-wing ideologues who use a massive PR machine to mask how nasty they are; that our politics are thoroughly corrupt and dominated by money; and that none of it is likely to change because people are either busy, over-stressed, and ambivalent or full of anger they can't understand.

So I don't think any of too many establishment politicians out there are clamoring for my endorsement. People around here can't seem to stand that I think blaming Obama or most other President is misidentifying the problem and doesn't fix anything. The changes I think are necessary are too big and aren't going to happen anytime soon, so it's more fun to just rant about the President being a hypocrite. Well yes, he is, and so is just about everybody else, including more than a few ranters.

Posted by N E at May 6, 2010 10:04 AM

N E: "Strangely, you came to Bill Clinton's defense recently when I insulted him, so you aren't exactly consistent about how you snark at me." Actually, I didn't defend Bill Clinton, unless it's a "defense" to point out that he wasn't unique among American Presidents in being a horndog. I think anyone who's seen what I write here or elsewhere knows that I have no use for Clinton. You then accused me of relying on Noam Chomsky for information on JFK's well-known and well-documented sexual exploits, even though (1) Chomsky doesn't, as I recall, have much if anything to say on that subject, preferring to deal with actions and policies, not personal peccadilloes; 2) my sources for JFK's sexual exploits are numerous, including his personal friend Gore Vidal; they're about as controversial as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s tomcatting; 3) correcting a general factual error doesn't as far as I can see constitute a "defense."

You almost had me convinced for a second that no one can know anything so there's no point trying, but then I snapped out of it. I doubt you're an NSA troll assigned the ugly job of making everyone cynical about everything but the intelligence agencies, but you do a pretty good job of it.

Thanks for providing, and so quickly too, an example of what I was talking about. First, I was responding to your own claim that "it's very hard with little information to know what's really going on. All you can count on is that it isn't what everyone is being told." It isn't I who am saying that "no one can know anything" -- no one, except apparently you. Second, I'd like to see some evidence for your insinuation that I am "cynical about everything except the intelligence agencies". Third, you're attacking people like me and Chomsky who very definitely don't believe that "no one can know anything so there's no point trying". I think that quite a bit can be known, and as I pointed out, I am definitely "cynical" (you keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means) about the intelligence agencies, and it would be interesting to see some evidence for your claim that I'm not.

Thanks for the offer of a book loan, but I already have read a lot of the books you've read. I think it's a reasonable guess that you read them as inaccurately as you read the people you engage in debate here.

Posted by Duncan at May 7, 2010 12:08 PM

"So I don't think any of too many establishment politicians out there are clamoring for my endorsement. People around here can't seem to stand that I think blaming Obama or most other President is misidentifying the problem and doesn't fix anything. The changes I think are necessary are too big and aren't going to happen anytime soon, so it's more fun to just rant about the President being a hypocrite. Well yes, he is, and so is just about everybody else, including more than a few ranters."

This is also precious, given your repeated arguments that we should keep voting, that ignoring the legislative branch is a bad idea, that a few merely cosmetic measures are a good start to fixing things. (As though abolishing the Senate would do anything at all about the corporate-government alliance!) Most of the rest of your list of what is wrong I (and I'd bet many people here) can agree with, including the claim about who perpetrates "terrorism," though I think we disagree about what constitutes examples of that terrorism. Most of the people you've attacked around here, from Zinn and Chomsky down to humble ATR commenters, have said exactly the same thing. It's interesting, and probably significant, that you insist on ignoring that basic fact.

"People around here can't seem to stand that I think blaming Obama or most other President is misidentifying the problem and doesn't fix anything." I won't try to speak for anyone else, but I don't hold Obama totally personally and solely responsible for the crimes we discuss here. Given a system as vast as the US government/military-industrial complex, no one -- including the intelligence agencies -- are solely responsible for anything. What you're mistaking for "blaming Obama" is people pointing out and criticizing things he has said and done, and for which he can be held personally responsible, even though they don't totally determine what the government does. You are clearly determined to obscure that difference, and to claim that Obama isn't responsible for anything, which doesn't follow. That's why you're regarded here as an Obama apologist.

Take Iran. Obama has been parroting the Bush-junta line on Iran, repeating the same lies that have been discredited repeatedly over the past several years. I quite agree that with the best will and the strongest determination in the world, Obama would find it difficult, perhaps impossible, to end US hostility and aggressiveness toward Iran. But he is responsible for the lies he tells. If he doesn't know better, he's either incompetent or, like Bush, he doesn't care. Or he thinks, cynically, that it's okay to lie in the interests of his corporate bosses. Either way, pointing out that he is lying doesn't mean he's fundamentally responsible for US policy toward Iran, which has historical dating to well before his birth.

Finally, please notice that I think it is indeed possible to know some things, such as that the Bush-Obama charges against Iran are false. It's you who argue that since it's impossible to know everything about Obama's personal motives and intentions, he shouldn't be criticized or held responsible for the falsehoods he spreads and lends the authority of the Presidency. But that is irrelevant. What is relevant is that what he is saying isn't true.

Posted by Duncan at May 7, 2010 12:31 PM