Quote of the Day: The Rhetoric of Confrontation and Confusion

by matttbastard

There’s a moral problem with all the pro-Georgia cheerleading, which has gotten lost in the op-ed blasts against Putin’s neo-imperialism. A recurring phenomenon of the early Cold War was that America encouraged oppressed peoples to rise up and fight for freedom — and then, when things got rough, abandoned them to their fate. The CIA did that egregiously in the early 1950s, broadcasting to the Soviet republics and the nations of Eastern Europe that America would back their liberation from Soviet tyranny. After the brutal suppression of the Hungarian revolution in 1956, responsible U.S. leaders learned to be more cautious, and more honest about the limits of American power.

Now, after the Georgia war, McCain should learn that lesson: American leaders shouldn’t make threats the country can’t deliver or promises it isn’t prepared to keep. The rhetoric of confrontation may make us feel good, but other people end up getting killed.

– David Ignatius, The Risk of the Zinger

h/t Clive Crook

Related: Ivan Krastev on the ‘great power trap’:

The politics of mixed – and confused – signals emanating from Washington continued throughout the five days of the Russia-Georgia conflict. The outcome is doubly revealing: of the fact that the US does not have leverage over Moscow, and that Bush’s rhetorical commitment to guarantee the territorial integrity of Georgia is indeed just rhetoric. In short, the Bush administration’s crisis-management was the worst of both worlds: it had no sense of direction, and it lost credibility.

Moscow too made a grave strategic miscalculation. The decision to follow the crushing of the Georgian assault on Tskhinvali by invasion of Georgia proper – though with no political plan, no local political allies to help remove Saakashvili, and no principle on which to build a Caucasus settlement after the war – meant that Russia’s actions were guaranteed to invite stinging international criticism. Russia has not offered anything, articulated any larger and inclusive project to make sense of its military campaign or enable it to reach out to neighbouring states and international partners. Russia has, in narrow terms, won; but it could yet turn out to be the biggest loser of the Georgian war.

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Pete Doherty: Menace to Society (Not a Pisstake)

by matttbastard

The most dangerous band in Wiltshire is…Babyshambles?!

Singer Pete Doherty has been blocked from performing at a music festival amid fears his band would “gee up” the crowd into a dangerous frenzy.

The decision came after police asked an intelligence officer to research Doherty’s band, Babyshambles, who were booked to headline Moonfest festival in Westbury, Wiltshire, next week. They concluded that the band’s tendency to “speed up and then slow down the music” could create a “whirlpool effect” and spark disorder.

[…]

…Superintendent Paul Williams said the ban was designed to preserve public safety. “Experts are telling us that the profile of fans that follow Pete Doherty and Babyshambles is volatile and they can easily be whipped up into a frenzy, whereas the profile of someone that would follow around Cliff Richard or Bucks Fizz, for example, is completely different.”

Indeed–the list of boroughs that have suffered in the wake of the “whirlpool effect” (buh?!) are innumerable.  Shifting dynamics are, without a doubt, a frenzy-inducing scourge on par with reefer, Elvis’ pelvis and running with scissors (paging the ghost of Sid Davis).   Seriously, the only ‘threat’ posed by Pete Doherty is to any foliage within pissing-range of the backstage area (Cliff Richard, however, is, contra Superintendent Williams and his so-called “experts”, one bad-ass motherfucker).

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Kyle Payne Update: Keep those letters coming!

by matttbastard

Cara @ The Curvature:

Sick fuck “feminist activist” and confessed sexual violator Kyle Payne will be sentenced on August 25th.

I’m letting you know this simply because letters in support of the victim are still needed.

Buena Vista County Courthouse, 215 East Fifth Street
P.O. Box 276
Storm Lake, IA 50588
Fax: 712-732-3397

I have been emailed by Darren, who said that on August 15th, he was told by the court that they had only received two letters in support of the victim. If this is true, it’s certainly disturbing and must be corrected. I know that I mailed mine last week [as did I – mb]. I’m also concerned because while I was searching to verify the fax number (yes, it’s correct), I also found the address above in numerous places, and it’s the first time I’ve seen a P.O. Box along with the address [ditto – mb]. So, for that reason I think I’m going to re-fax my letter today to make sure that they’ve received it. I don’t see how it could hurt.

Please write and fax a letter of support for the victim ASAP.

Cara also posts a sample form letter that she encourages folks to use as a creative jump-off, but please make sure to put it in your own words — this isn’t an astroturf campaign.

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Quote of the Day: Imperial Nostalgia

by matttbastard

…Even after the fiasco in Iraq, the bloody failure in Lebanon, the downward spiral in Afghanistan and, now, the futile posturing in Georgia, there’s absolutely no evidence the US foreign policy elite is inclined to moderate its ambition to re-organize the world along American lines. Nor is there any sign the political class (including, unfortunately, Barack Obama) is rethinking its lockstep support for that agenda. The voters, meanwhile, don’t seem to care much one way or another – as long as gas doesn’t get too expensive and the military casualties aren’t too high (or can be kept off the TV). If anything, it looks like bashing the Russians is still good politics, if only for the nostalgia value.If you caught Andrew Bacevich on Bill Moyer’s show the other night, you may have noticed that his biggest complaint was not that US foreign policy is misguided and destructive (although he clearly thinks it’s both) but that it is being conducted in a democratic vacuum — despite all the florid rhetoric about promoting democracy. We may still go through the motions of a republican form of government, Bacevich says, but the fabric has gotten pretty thin: or, in the case of our national revival of the Great Game in the Caucasus, damned near invisible.

How long before it tears completely?

– Billmon, Anatomy of A(nother) Fiasco

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Kick Ass Blogger in the Hizzouse

by matttbastard

Yeah, that’s right — Kev has declared it to be so, and, thus, it is so.

Here’s how it works:

Choose 5 bloggers that you feel are “Kick Ass Bloggers”
Let ‘em know in your post or via email, twitter or blog comments that they’ve received an award
Share the love and link back to both the person who awarded you and back to MammaDawg
Hop on back to the Kick Ass Blogger Club HQ to sign Mr. Linky then pass it on!

Anyway, as per the rules, here’s my list (by no means exclusive) of 5 bloggers who kick my ass:

  • Daisy – my favourite radical feminist revolutionary, Daisy is a self-described ‘old lady’ who used to party like a rock star (she still does, for all I know) and perfectly embodies the spirit of ass-kicking.
  • April Reign – the Fearless Leader of the Bread and Roses media empire, April is both a tireless ass-kicking activist and a notorious WordPress theme fetishist.
  • Purtek – eloquent, thought provoking and occasionally profane, Purtek makes Christianity cool.
  • The baby-eaters of Birth Pangs – yes, I realize the rules seem to indicate that individual bloggers are to be recognized for their booty-booting prowess. Well, rules were made to be broken, especially for tireless abortionist-enablers @ BP like fern hill, dBO and Co. who make such a powerful collective impact on so many posteriors
  • The ACR crew – and, since I’ve already bent the rules once, I would be remiss not to recognize the ass-kickers @ A Creative Revolution. Whether taking on the Canadian neocon establishment, founding and administrating the Canadian F-Word Blog Awards, or drinking their way through the best YouTube has to offer, Dr. Pale, Dr. Prole and Dr. Frank are, without qualification, kick ass bloggers.

So there you have it — 5 (ahem) bloggers who kick ass. For more ass-kicking awesomeness please feel free to check out the RSS feeds at the side and the world famous bastard.logic blogroll.

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PSA: Accountability for Musharraf and a Restoration of the November 2nd Judiciary

by matttbastard

Via Teeth Maestro:

People’s Resistance
Press Release – 18 August 2008

People’s Resistance attributes the resignation of retired General Pervez Musharraf as President of Pakistan to the long and untiring struggle of the Lawyers, students, civil society organizations and political groups. The civil society and media’s struggle against the arbitrary rule of General Musharraf forced the ruling democratic coalition to start the process of impeachment that eventually led to his resignation.

Though we celebrate his resignation, we call for the fair trial of General Musharraf for the long list of crimes against the people of Pakistan including removal of judiciary, abrogating the constitution, forced disappearances, torture and deaths in custody of citizens especially from Baluchistan, and for killing people in Tribal Areas of Pakistan.

In this vein the People’s Resistance demands the immediate restoration of the judiciary to its November 02 composition, as it was before the promulgation of the PCOs suspending the constitution.

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Musharraf Resigns

by matttbastard

Was never a matter of ‘if’, but, rather, when:

Speaking on television from his presidential office here at 1 p.m., Mr. Musharraf, dressed in a gray suit and tie, said that after consulting with his aides, “I have decided to resign today.” He said he was putting national interest above “personal bravado.”

“Whether I win or lose the impeachment, the nation will lose,” he said, adding that he was not prepared to put the office of the presidency through the impeachment process.

Mr. Musharraf said the governing coalition, which has pushed for impeachment, had tried to “turn lies into truths.”

“They don’t realize they can succeed against me but the country will undergo irreparable damage.”

In an emotional ending to a speech lasting more than an hour, Mr. Musharraf raised his clenched fists to chest height, and said, “Long live Pakistan!”

Good riddance.

So what happens next? As Kamran Rehmat notes, the resignation likely signals the end of the uneasy ruling coaltion between Asif Zardari’s PPP and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N:

The dominant view is that the desire to remove the former president was the glue – and part of an understanding – that held them together following a spectacular showing at the February 18 national elections, which saw Musharraf allies drubbed.

For starters, the PPP will be under tremendous pressure to restore the judges Musharraf deposed.

Pakistanis are not likely to quickly forget that the PPP has twice failed to restore them despite public assurances.

The PPP fears the deposed judiciary will revoke the indemnity granted to Asif Zardari, its leader, under a so-called National Reconciliation Ordinance.

Musharraf had decreed the ordinance last year, removing decade-old corruption cases against Zardari and his wife Benazir Bhutto, the slain former premier.

However, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, who pushed Zardari into making a pitch for Musharraf’s ouster early this month, will unlikely settle for anything less than the reinstatement of judges and a consensus president.

In that, the end of Musharraf’s rule may signal the beginning of real political drama.

Stay tuned, true believers.

Related: Arif Rafiq of Pakistan Policy Blog provides a minute-by-minute breakdown of Musharraf’s rambling resignation speech (h/t Abu Muqawama); BBC News has extensive coverage, including ‘key excerpts’ from the speech, a look back at Musharraf’s ‘mixed legacy’ and the impact his resignation will have on the ‘war on terror’; Pakinstani blogger Teeth Maestro calls for Pakistanis to “hold strong” and  “rebuild Pakistan” and  expresses concerns about the likelihood of a Zardari presidency (“Run for the hills!”)

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2008 Black Weblog Awards Final Ballot Voting

by matttbastard

Final ballot voting for the 2008 Black Weblog Awards is now underway. And–holy shitbastard.logic is up for Best International Blog.  Thanks once again to Liss @ Shakesville and everyone else who nominated us–I am truly chuffed by the honour.

Voting continues until August 31st, with winners to be announced on September 4th.  Go on–VOTE!

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The Big Reveal

by matttbastard

LA Times TV critic Mary McNamara on the lazy Hollywood sensationalism that has been peddled as ‘journalism’ during this year’s presidential campaign:

SO MUCH has been said about the media’s handling of this campaign that it’s almost embarrassing to address the topic. But after watching hours, days, weeks of it on television, the cry of anguish cannot be suppressed: For the love of all that is holy, how did one of the most important presidential races in history, between two men who embody such disparate political possibilities, wind up looking like a montage sequence in a Will Ferrell movie?

“Bias” has been the watchword, but watching the nightly news loops, it seems less like bias than just plain old fear. Fear of missing the moment, of boring the viewers, of relying on the old-model thinking — who, what, when, why, where — while everyone yawns and returns their collective attention to their new iPhones.

“No, no, wait,” news outlets seem to shout like desperate screenwriters in a rapidly deteriorating pitch meeting. Nevermind those boring old proposed policies or the contradictory voting records or any of that stuff, look at this, you’re going to love it, it’s The Big Reveal.

McCain stutters and stumbles — is he experiencing age-related dementia? John Edwards flames out in scandal and Obama faces reporters in Hawaii wearing a polo shirt — has he grown too smug? Which is more significant — McCain’s negative, truth-twisting ads or Obama’s seemingly snooty refusal to address them?

For screenwriters, it’s the oldest trick in the book — the moment when the nice guy reveals his hideous temper or latent bigotry, when the silent distant hero gives way to a geyser of emotion. In one second, everything is made clear, events and intentions fall neatly into place and the viewer experiences the catharsis of discovered truth.

For journalists, it’s a bit trickier, since real villains rarely monologue and revelation usually requires time, patience and many lawyers.

But that doesn’t keep us from wishin’ and hopin’.

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

h/t dday

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