Billmon with the not-so-funny

Billmon weighs in with a depressingly dystopian assessment

the United States is moving down the curve of imperial decay at an amazingly rapid clip. If anything, the speed of our descent appears to be accelerating.

The physical symptoms — a lost war, a derelict city, a Potemkin memorial hastily erected in a vacant lot — aren’t nearly as alarming as the moral and intellectual paralysis that seems to have taken hold of the system. The old feedback mechanisms are broken or in deep disrepair, leaving America with an opposition party that doesn’t know how (or what) to oppose, a military run by uniformed yes men, intelligence czars who couldn’t find their way through a garden gate with a GPS locator, TV networks that don’t even pretend to cover the news unless there’s a missing white woman or a suspected child rapist involved, and talk radio hosts who think nuking Mecca is the solution to all our problems in the Middle East. We’ve got think tanks that can’t think, security agencies that can’t secure and accounting firms that can’t count (except when their clients ask them to make 2+2=5). Our churches are either annexes to shopping malls, halfway homes for pederasts, or GOP precinct headquarters in disguise. Our economy is based on asset bubbles, defense contracts and an open-ended line of credit from the People’s Bank of China, and we still can’t push the poverty rate down or the median wage up.

I really would like to disagree with this…

WaPo with teh funnee

From the WaPo:

We in the media are sometimes accused of letting liberal bias subtly slip into our writing and reporting. That accusation is calumny. We are dispassionate observers and seekers of truth. All we do is ask questions.

Today’s question: Is George W. Bush the worst president in American history?

from the last paragraph:

About the president’s mangling of the English language: “It reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it . . . It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash.”

That’s HL Mencken writing about Warren G Harding. The more things change…

What we get for our trouble

Five years after 9/11, and this is the White House’s gift to the country, via Billmon:

So we would appear to be set for a classic showdown this fall: The Rovian propaganda-based reality versus the rest of the world’s reality-based reality, with the voters as the judges and the corporate media elites as the referees-on-the-take. The last few rounds should be bloody, and most likely downright vicious, in the Mike Tyson, bite-off-your-opponent’s-ear sense of the word.

Shame is a liability in the pursuit of absolute power. Clearly that’s a lesson that Democrats (thankfully, I guess) can’t seem to remember, and the Rove-right never forget.

Happy 9/11 Day, America. Had enough?

Oh, so NOW it’s an issue?

Honestly, I kind of wish John Kerry would just go away. I mean, NOW it’s an issue that the 2004 vote was stolen? NOW?

Sen. John Kerry didn’t contest the results at the time, but now that he’s considering another run for the White House, he’s alleging election improprieties by the Ohio Republican who oversaw the deciding vote in 2004.

An e-mail from Kerry will be sent to 100,000 Democratic donors Tuesday asking them to support U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland for governor of Ohio. The bulk of the e-mail criticizes Strickland’s opponent, GOP Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, for his dual role in 2004 as President Bush’s honorary Ohio campaign co-chairman and the state’s top election official.

“He used the power of his state office to try to intimidate Ohioans and suppress the Democratic vote,” Kerry says in the e-mail, according to a copy provided in advance.

What about November 5th? We could have had this discussion on November 5th, right?

I remember back in the summer of 2004 how the smears would be released into the wild and the Right Wing Wurlitzer would start its queasy dance of repeating whatever absurd slur the Rove camp would cook up, and then it would get traction, and it would stick to Kerry for a couple of weeks…

and then two months later, it would seem so surreal and ridiculous. I mean, who doesn’t look at the Swift Boat thing now and think “How did they get away with that bullshit?”

I place at least part of the blame on Kerry (and by proxy, Bob Shrum). The Kerry campaign didn’t come to fight, it just came to win on its own merits. (Ask Apple Computer how that worked out in the ’80s.) Dean came to fight, and we supported him for it, and the Corporate Media chopped his legs out from under him.

From now on, I am backing fighters only. Paul Hackett is the sort of soldier we need more of.

This sort of closing-the-barn-door after the horse has been made into dog food? Fuck it.

Forward from here, and no falling back.

Matthew Yglesias on the Neocon Zeitgeist

They’re confused, and not very sharp:

Once upon a time, I thought the neoconservative right was sincere in its dedication to democracy-promotion. Then I came to the view that they were cynically lying. But then I started to come back around on this point, especially after I started living in Washington and gaining the ability to soak up a bit more of the atmosphere. They seem to be genuinely confused.

I like to think back to what Jonathan Schwarz had to say it about some time ago:

Life in the United States now is like being trapped on a jet piloted by people who keep claiming there’s a huge secret tunnel through the Rockies—and they’re going to use it to fly us all through to the other side. You just have to pray to god they know they’re lying.

They don’t know, Jonathan. They don’t.

Now watch the Real Estate Market. It’s about to fly through the Rockies.

The Potemkin Pizza Man

Rockey Vaccarella is just like Cindy Sheehan, only…. he made reservations for dinner, right? Is that what they’re asking us to swallow?

And in fact, Vaccarella seemed very confident that he would be meeting with Bush when he left home, to the point where he had a date scheduled and everything:

“Dinner with the President is planned for the evening of August 22nd.”

This guy, this “distressed citizen,” owner of 31 Pizza Huts and former republican candidate for dog catcher or something, who is now softly cooing about “four more years” into whatever microphone put in front of him… this is our new American icon? Am I supposed to buy this?

Nobody is slipping “intellectual-curiosity tablets” in MY afternoon coffee, but do I… hm… sniff sniff…. hmmm…smell… a rat? Or is that the Ninth Ward slowly turning back into marshland while Halliburton pushes piles of trash from one side of the street to the other?

There’s a big pile of trash that needs to be pushed, but I was thinking it was OUT OF WASHINGTON.

Warning- totally New Orleanian inside joke: No wonder Carlo won’t talk to the motherfucker.

you swallowed that? I was worried I was gonna step in it…

He’s traded his flight suit for a bookbag, and I’m not swallowing THAT either. Kathleen Parker, on the other hand, doesn’t even bother to hold her nose:

This theory occurred to me not long ago at an off-the-record luncheon with Bush and a hundred or so of his supporters. I was the guest of a guest, and welcomed the opportunity to observe the president in his natural habitat.

What I witnessed was revealing. Not only was the man fluent in the English language and intellectually agile, he was knowledgeable on a wide range of subjects raised during a 90-minute Q&A. Someone apparently had been slipping intellectual-curiosity tablets into Bush’s cola.

Wait, wait! I have an idea! Here’s how we make Bush seem less like an idiot… find a BIG PASSEL of even stupider people… No, you’re gonna love this, I promise…