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Archive for February, 2007

West Bank Story

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An Oscar Hangover Cure

And now it’s time for a bunch of catty nonsense about the Oscars. It’s the same bad review every year. It’s as if the bitchiness of the red carpet rubs off on everyone: “oh, what a horrible outfit; oh, what a horrible Oscars.” What poor taste it would be simply to enjoy it!

I don’t think the pundits actually know whether they enjoyed it or not; they know how they’re supposed to feel.

Apparently there were not enough “big, emotionally rewarding moments”. And:

“the most international Oscars ever,” and that prediction seemed to come true. But it meant that many of the films cited were largely obscure to the national audience. Weren’t the Oscars invented to honor American films? Apparently not anymore.

More nonsense:

I almost never think this, much less write it or say it, but, at the risk of sounding smug, I have to say I could have written a better monologue.

(But couldn’t you have written a better article?)

Americans increasingly demand that their philistinism be catered to: racier jokes, more American movies, more “big” moments, more crying, and for God’s sake couldn’t we have done more to honor the troops?

Actually, it was superb, and Ellen Degeneres supplied it with the required self-deprecating minimalism. Yes, it is a four-plus hour awards show, a wide target for your criticisms: stop being so lazy.

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It’s Not Evidence of Absence

More bogus weapons claims from an administration that has no shame:

officials call the best evidence yet that the deadliest roadside bombs in Iraq are manufactured in Iran, but critics contend that the forensic case remains circumstantial and inferential.

Sound familiar? We get it, we get it: “I want to go to war: here’s some contrived bullshit (my reasons — you see, reasons are just the things I say when I want something, and don’t have anything to do with actual reasoning)”.

It’s the job of the press to take every little thing, every one of these “reasons”, seriously, even when they are sopping with ulterior motives. And now the pundits can trade words about them. You can practically see the sheep being herded into their pens — with “reasons”.

But critics assert that nearly all the bomb components could have been produced in Iraq or somewhere else in the region. Even if the evidence were to establish that Iran is the source, they add, that does not necessarily mean that the Iranian leadership is responsible.

Ahem: “inferential evidence is not evidence of absence; if we have to swallow global warming and evolution, then ….”

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Nietzsche Family Circus of the Day

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“Not by wrath does one kill, but by laughter.”

More here.

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The Iran-Qaeda Scandal

I wish they would just make up their minds:

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

I guess we’re between Iraq and hard place. But seriously, folks, Cheney is running an Iran-Contra style scheme that ends up putting money in the hands of Al Qaeda in order to thwart Iran.

The man just missed his calling using piano wire in the special forces, that’s all. Just because you’re vice-president doesn’t mean you can’t kill lots of people.

What Cheney needs now is to provoke Iran:

Flynt Leverett, a former Bush Administration National Security Council official, told me that “there is nothing coincidental or ironic” about the new strategy with regard to Iraq. “The Administration is trying to make a case that Iran is more dangerous and more provocative than the Sunni insurgents to American interests in Iraq, when—if you look at the actual casualty numbers—the punishment inflicted on America by the Sunnis is greater by an order of magnitude,” Leverett said. “This is all part of the campaign of provocative steps to increase the pressure on Iran. The idea is that at some point the Iranians will respond and then the Administration will have an open door to strike at them.”

Of course, all you need to get Americans behind a war is just a dash of hawkish rhetoric and use of Iran and “evil” in the same sentence. But don’t forget to torture:

The U.S. military also has arrested and interrogated hundreds of Iranians in Iraq. “The word went out last August for the military to snatch as many Iranians in Iraq as they can,” a former senior intelligence official said. “They had five hundred locked up at one time. We’re working these guys and getting information from them.

Bush and Cheney are far more dangerous to the world than islamist terrorists.

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But We are Sisters!

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I just heard Bill Kristol use the phrase “you can’t just suddenly use force”, talking about Iran and the recent Bush administration rhetoric trying to lay the foundation for a bombing campaign.

He said it of course, with that usual smugness: a voice so relaxed into the back of his throuat that it sounds almost like the churning of gears. It’s not a smuggness that comes from being right, as the anonymous liberal and Glenn Reynolds point out. Here’s Kristol before the war:

 We are tempted to comment, in these last days before the war, on the U.N., and the French, and the Democrats. But the war itself will clarify who was right and who was wrong about weapons of mass destruction. It will reveal the aspirations of the people of Iraq, and expose the truth about Saddam’s regime. It will produce whatever effects it will produce on neighboring countries and on the broader war on terror. We would note now that even the threat of war against Saddam seems to be encouraging stirrings toward political reform in Iran and Saudi Arabia, and a measure of cooperation in the war against al Qaeda from other governments in the region. It turns out it really is better to be respected and feared than to be thought to share, with exquisite sensitivity, other people’s pain. History and reality are about to weigh in, and we are inclined simply to let them render their verdicts.

Lesson learned: you can’t just suddenly use force.

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