Tuesday, December 7

Nixon's The One

SHORTER David Brooks: In which I take a break from last week's strenuously argued case that Democrats have a slavish faith in the Social Sciences to phone-in some amusing, context-free anecdotes from the Social Sciences, which explicate the Human Condition perfectly.

I sure don't wanna talk about Brooks' column, but I do want to say this about Brooks: I'm coming to view him as the Crimean peninsula in the battle of Cupidity and Stupidity. I'm not sure which side he really roots for (doesn't matter, since it will ultimately be Whichever wins), but they now stand on either side of a line that one or the other has to cross. Of course to my Shock, Shock! Brooks' party just signaled its complete willingness to ignore the Deficit entirely, provided Democrats will ride along and take the blame when the time comes. I am, of course, too old, too semi-conscious, and partially competent in English, so I'm not asking how Brooks, or any of the other geniuses on the Right, will justify this, or explain it, or confront its existential dilemma. I just wanna know what piece of trumped-up outrage with Twinkie filling they'll try marketing as the next distraction.

Which brings us to Julian Assange, or, rather, brings us to the nightly-news coverage of Julian Assange. I don't really have much of an opinion about Assange, though the official script seems to demand I take one: I was a much less accomplished vandal, in my youth, but I did master the technique of not calling attention to myself. I will admit I'm convinced this would be a much, much better world if 25-30% of the people with access to government or corporate secrets revealed 'em, as they should. If history didn't confirm this idea, simple human contact would.

And, again, simple knowledge--this time of the nature of American politics since we single-handedly won WWII--prepares one to expect, if not accept with jaw in place--the jackbooted Nixonry which greeted the latest release of Not Very Important Information About Inveterate and Professional Liars. (In fairness, as I write, the International Diplomatic System is managing to hold on by the proverbial thread; when it collapses in a heap I may be singing a different song. Or so they tell me.) PayPal! MasterCard! It's good to see that international scofflaws are still taking it upon themselves to help preserve Order, undeterred by the swift punishment meted out to the Telecoms.

(If I might just mention here--I'm sorry to impersonate the PR firm for International Anarchy, Ltd.--saying "Touch me and I'll release some really bad stuff" is pretty much in line with Walter Mondale promising to raise taxes; I'm not sure who, exactly, is supposed to be cowed. The US colludes with Yemen, fer chrissakes. It's not prepared to turn anything you might possibly say against you in the beat of an eyelash? What could that possibly be? Proof that Bush planned 9/11? Proof that the Trilateral Commission runs everything? Proof that Soylent Green is more Filler than People? The only way you get vast numbers of Americans to believe this sort of shit is to pitch it to the red-meat Right. Vince Foster. Mena. Shocking photos of Barack Obama bowing to a foreign lady as he lets her get on an elevator first. Who came up with this silly-assed threat? Compare and contrast: the effect the Chinese had on America by gesturing wildly about their nuclear program, vs the effect the Chinese had by buying all our shit and loaning it back to us at interest. Threaten to disrupt all cell phone communications for a fortnight, Jack. That'll get our attention.)

One understands, by the way, why modern "journalism" would fear the Free Range Cat Debagger at least as much as Bank of America or Milton Bradley might.

Slate, meanwhile--sorry to change the subject from journalism--offers up a road map for prosecuting Assange in the US which, among other things, simply assumes arguendo that "we" get him into a US court, perhaps after drone-bombing his hideout and blasting Møtlèy Crëu 24 hours a day. Th' fuck, really, is the matter with people? How much better do you eat spending your adult working life defending Exxon from unfair pinpricks and malicious paper cuts?

Which brings us to Christopher Hitchens, whose latest memoir seeks--no, really--to equate "The Left's" "uproar" over the Plame case with the Wikileaks business, and--no, really--finds it guilty of hypocrisy:
As for the public's right to know and the accountability of our covert or confidential agencies, it is only a short time since the entire American liberal consensus was witlessly applauding a clumsy and fruitless prosecution, directed entirely at the hopelessly overdramatized exposure of a relatively minor CIA official, married to a monster of conceit who makes Assange look bashful. It then turned out that Valerie Plame's job description had been made public by Robert Novak and Richard Armitage, who also had in common with Assange a rooted opposition to the administration's Iraq policy. Elements of the left and the right appear to have switched positions on full disclosure since then.

And this is coming from a guy who is actually in the middle of switching positions himself as he writes.

It's been popular for some time to insist the Right has led us Through the Looking Glass; this is more like playing Vulcan chess, or whatever it was, in a mirror while hanging upside down and blind drunk, in the dark. Or else it's not; or else it's much simpler, and, shorn of all excuses, revealed, naked and shivering, as complete buffoons, petty thugs, and cheap bullies, shown, dead to rights, to be utterly wrong about practically everything, the American Right, its corporate fascist pals, and their paid mouthpieces all demonstrate that, at bottom, they are Congressman Richard M. Nixon, circa 1948: petty, spiteful, paranoid and unlovable, and in need of a decent shave.


mb said...

Commenting on your meaty posts, Riley, is a daunting task. 'Specially since you seem to be simultaneously inside my head and seeing around corners I didn't even know were there. (Did I just blow your mind?)

Thanks for what you do.

One comment in response to the Hitchens quote vis a vis Plame: Why isn't anyone curious how Dick Armitage knew Plame's identity? Armitage had no reason to know about Plame. Plame's connection to Wilson and her CIA role were revealed to Armitage along with several other people in the Admin that had no "need to know" about Plame's covert activities. That one or more of them would then leak that info was inevitable and easily foreseeable.

Seems to me that's your leak.

StringonaStick said...

Those with Assange's back have had enough internet fun today to mess with the ability of Mastercard and PayPal to actually collect money, so that could get some attention, what with the High Holy Shopping Season in full swing. Unfortunately it will probably just piss off harried soccer-or-whatever moms as they try to purchase that one perfect thing that they are sure will make their sullen teenager love them again.

No, it will take something much bigger; disrupting cell phones sounds about right.