Archive for the ‘Bullshit Politics’ Category
Noam Chomsky, Professor, MIT vs. Sophal Ear, Professor, Naval Postgraduate School
“Chomsky uses official KR statements and propaganda as ‘credible documentation’ while dismissing the eyewitness accounts of people fleeing abominable conditions and further states ‘Washington is the torture and political murder capital of the world.'” – Nate Thayer – Western journalist specializing in Cambodian affairs. Known for his 1997 interview of Pol Pot.
Noam Chomsky:“(Magazines) concluded that executions have numbered at most in the thousands; that these were localized in areas of limited Khmer Rouge influence and unusual peasant discontent, where brutal revenge killings were aggravated by the threat of starvation resulting from the American destruction and killing.”
(Note: Chomsky cites magazines, including “a letter to the editor” in The Economist. This quote comes from a 1977 essay in The Nation ‘Distortions at Fourth Hand.’)
Sophal Ear: “I am merely a former Cambodian refugee, for whom English is my fourth language. Yet it does not take much effort to find precisely what Chomsky wrote in 1979 (After the Cataclysm) and to let it speak for itself.”
Noam Chomsky: “In the first place, is it proper to attribute deaths from malnutrition and disease to Cambodian authorities?”
Sophal Ear: “While my family worked and died in rice fields, Chomsky sharpened his theories and amended his arguments while seated in his armchair in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I believe that he would probably have me blame the Americans and their bombs for causing everything around the Khmer Rouge to go wrong.”
Noam Chomsky: “If a serious study… is someday undertaken, it may well be discovered… that the Khmer Rouge programmes elicited a positive response.”
Sophal Ear: “Since Cambodia, he has expanded his game to North Korea and Bosnia. I must hand it to him – more than three decades after wagging his finger at refugees like myself in ‘Distortions at fourth hand‘ (The Nation, 6 June 1977), and later in After the Cataclysm (South End Press, 1979) he continues to quote selectively and to obfuscate.”
(Note: quoting, by nature, is selective. Chomsky, in his 1988 book The Culture of Terrorism, self-obfuscates as he attributes chief responsibility for killings to the Khmer Rouge.)
Noam Chomsky: “Personally I’m very much opposed to Hamas’ policies in almost every respect. However, we should recognize that the policies of Hamas are more forthcoming and more conducive to a peaceful settlement than those of the United States or Israel. So to repeat: the policies, in my view, are unacceptable, but preferable to the policies of the United States and Israel.”
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, 2006: “We will never recognize the usurper Zionist government and will continue our jihad-like movement until the liberation of Jerusalem.” And 2013: “The gun is our only response to [the] Zionist regime. In time we have come to understand that we can obtain our goals only through fighting and armed resistance and no compromise should be made with the enemy.”
Sophal Ear: “Indeed, perhaps someday Chomsky will acknowledge his ‘honest errors’ in his memoirs, speaking of the burdens of academia and the tragic irony of history. His victims, the peasants of Indochina, will write no memoirs and will be forgotten. They will be joined by his North Korean and Bosnian victims…For decades, Chomsky has vilified his critics as only a world class linguist can. However, for me and the surviving members of my family, questions about life under the Khmer Rouge are not intellectual parlour games.”
“In the Netherlands, for beating to death a fellow human, you might receive eight years, I figured. It wasn’t much. With a little good behavior, a little raking around the prison grounds, you could be out the gates within five.” - Herman Koch, from The Dinner
On November 21, 2011, in Rotterdam, Jason Halman killed his brother Greg. The tragedy of Greg Halman, a Seattle Mariner and one of a few Dutch nationals to play in the Major Leagues, parallels Dutch novelist Herman Koch’s The Dinner. Both show how psychopathy and mental illness can flourish.
Eddy Halman, Patriarch and Perpetrator of Domestic Violence: The Halman family trials, told by ESPN, detail violence, envy, and restrictive family ties. Papa Halman played professional baseball. He became derailed by alcoholism, a virulent temper, and a penchant for violence, especially towards his wife. One son, Greg Halman, had special talent. He eventually was signed by the Mariners and made his MLB debut in September of 2010. The other son, Jason, took after his father.
Trouble in Holland: Greg Halman showed promise, and in 2011 had 91 At Bats and hit .230 with two homers. His power, speed, and defensive prowess looked to help the Mariners in 2012. After the 2011 season ended he returned to Holland. There, his brother stabbed him to death in an argument over loud music. Jason Halman was released less than a year later because he suffered from a “psychoses” that was “exacerbated by marijuana use.” There’s more, as the ESPN link shows, but what a gruesome legal and medical system that gives criminally inclined psychopaths treatment with the aim of freeing them.
The Dinner: Herman Koch’s The Dinner examines two brothers, Paul and Serge, and their wives, Claire and Babette. Serge is a prominent politician and Paul is an educator on leave. Paul and Claire have a son; Serge and Babette have a son, an adopted African son, and a daughter. The four adults dine at a very expensive restaurant in Amsterdam, where they will discuss the fact their three sons are complicit in the murder of a homeless person, fuzzy and ambiguous footage of their crime is caught on security camera. The African son did not commit the murder, but has evidence on his brother and cousin, and thus is blackmailing them.
Psychopath Patriarch Number Two: Paul has a past. He assaulted his brother, his superior at school, and received a “punishment” of paid administrative leave, counseling, and psychotropic drugs. Paul believes the elimination of “scum” improves society, and knows the Dutch penal system favors the criminal at expense of society and the victim. He almost obliquely coaches his son not to feel remorse or compassion. By dessert Claire also proves herself nuts. The finale’s disturbing message: Most sociopaths, despite their craziness, are sane enough to take advantage of the system.
US vs. Holland: This is tangential, but some people may ask, what about the US? In a previous post, A Mexican Foreign Worker vs. Lila Abu-Lughod, a Mexican criticized Algerian culture. In the comments section a friend, rather than engaging, noted that Mexico had similar problems. This is counter productive. When pointing out violence, sexism, racism, and other societal problems, groups tend to look at others rather than themselves. This is especially egregious when a member of one country or religion feels attacked. They misread an attack on misogyny or other injustice as an attack on them. A pan-humanitarian philosophy can avoid this. No matter how different cultures are, humans are humans. What’s wrong in Holland is also wrong in the USA. Example: Former Angel Lyman Bostock’s Tragic Death, Ethan Couch, ‘Affluenza’ Teen Who Killed 4 In Crash, Given No Jail Time. and Judge lets Spoiled Teen Killer Off. And so?
Freeing sociopaths is bad, period: Sending the rich and/or insane messages that you can kill with minimum impunity damages everyone in society.
“We want to make it clear to the Kalash tribe that they will be eliminated along with their protectors,the Western agents, if they don’t embrace Islam,” – Taliban Spokesman
The Kalash Tribe lives in the Chitral Valley in Pakistan. They number less than 5,000 and, as far as my limited research can discern, they have no nuclear or conventional weapons, bellicose intentions, or other major defects. They dance, welcome strangers, wear colorful clothes, and put flowers in their hair. Abominable. Enter the Taliban: “Western NGOs are promoting Kalash wine and we warn all those individuals and hotels selling it, they should stop production and selling of wine otherwise they will be sent to hell by the will of God.”
Voltaire: “Ceux qui vous font croire des absurdités, peuvent vous faire commettre des atrocities.”
Or: “Those who can make you believe absurdity, can make you commit atrocity.”
Voltaire nails the Taliban: The Taliban combine evil, idiocy, and fanaticism. No matter the wrongs of the U.S., U.N., or Pakistani government, their sins do not absolve the Taliban. It’s clear the Taliban will commit perpetual atrocity until they are destroyed. But let the Taliban speak for themselves:
Decapitation: Tehreek-e-Taliban Severed Heads Video
Women’s Rights: TTP Has 500 Female Suicide Bombers
Free Speech: Media Now in TTP Crosshairs (Taliban threatens Pakistan media)
Science and Technology: Local Paramedic Shot Dead (Taliban kills doctors)
Pakistan media: The cites originate from Pakistan media, Arab media, and Western – BBC Pakistan: Kalash valley culture at risk from Taliban. Why not unite to use propaganda and self-defense to destroy these goblins? Though “moderate” Taliban may disapprove the following video, it depicts accurately these vile idiots:
UPDATE: TTP Threats Panic Kalash “My seven-year-old daughter is so terrified that she’s sleepless nights. I found her awake at night on return from another valley the other day as she wanted to see me around in the wake of the Taliban threat.” / Embrace of the Kalasha
Taliban Giggle as They Kick Decapitated Heads: Video courtesy of Tarek Fatah – Taliban Play Soccer with Heads of Decapitated Prisoner
A little more than a week after Christopher Hitchens died, this: “Burn in Hell, Christopher Hitchens” (6,300+ words). The site’s (Mr. Destructo) author, no Voltaire, evidently hatefucked Hitchens for years but conveniently waited until death. Had the article addressed a live Hitchens, with a title like “Dear Cancer, Take Hitchens Now!” well, THAT would have shown risk. But cowards do as cowards do. Thus I commented:
“Anonymity makes sense if you’re a Chinese dissident or a Syrian activist, but not if you’re an armchair blogger. If you guys want to be wiseguys, well, fair enough. But why not change your IDs, add your real names, keep your nicknames, and show your balls.” – Caleb “Henry Kissing-and-Fucking-her” Powell
Bring it on: And so I received an Internet roast: Amazing Gaze: The Western Eyes of Soulful Scribbler Caleb Powell. Funny stuff from the Mr. Destructos, though they ramble long after point (6,000+ word essays containing 1,000 salient words the norm). Of the two (if they’re indeed two), “Mobutu Sese Seko” has shed anonymity (he’s lovable but a quasi-zero, not sure why he hid in the first place), but “General Rehavam ‘Gandhi’ Ze’evi” keeps his pseudonym, wielding pabulum such as “There is a Powellful discovery.” Here’s Ze’evi’s diatribe:
Ze’evi – “The holidays are long over. Liquor sales have stabilized; few of the year-end suicides remain undiscovered, and, if you are like me, you have a major haul of gifted books. Stacked on my bedside table, towering over my bloated, holly-jolly frame, the books are a leering accusation: “You’re like all the others,” sniffs The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. “Just direct me to the bookshelf best situated to intimidate your landlord.”
As I limply cast aside the hose of my opium huqqa, ash sprinkling the datemaki sash of my authentic silken Nipponese kimono, I despair: literature is dead. Then suddenly, there is a change. There is a Powellful discovery. Who is Caleb Powell? A question I pondered not two weeks ago — now I have some sense of the answer, of an author who asserted himself in my mind’s eye. Thus far, his vision has been inscribed only within a few brave avant garde presses, like Prick of the Spindle, Yankee Pot Roast, and ZYZZYVA. I aim to change this…” (read all 2,400 words here)
Well played, Ze’evi, despite or because of the corny elements. I look forward to worthier challenges going forward.
WORD COUNT: 398
UPDATE: I forwarded to Mr. Destructo via Facebook. Here’s his response.
Mr. Destructo: This guy Bro_Pair wrote about in 2012 (with one or two lines of mine thrown in) is still real mad and apparently finally found that great zinger. I’d leave them up, but apparently he keeps posting these and deleting them over and over.
You be the judge: “Bro_Pair” or Mobutu/Ze’evi/Mr. Destructo = same dorkbag. Check out Dorkstructo’s FB page for teenagesque LMAO-usage w/o restraint. The guy seems baffled (as “baffled” as I am “mad”) that a guy could cache a draft for two years and post, or GADZOOKS, write a comment and take it down. His self-indulgent glorified blog vs mine replicates “vast chunk of time” vs. “hobby.” Destructo used to write 100+ posts a year, now hasn’t written in almost two months. His latest on Rob Ford, “Let Them Eat Pussy,” ironically, has five comments, all anonymous. Mr. Destructo wasn’t exactly destined to go straight to the top and stay there.
“I know that I spent an entire show speaking about a pattern that I am seeing and that statistically we are seeing more shootings under Obama’s presidency than any other administration.” – Clyde Lewis
Ground Zero Radio with Clyde Lewis: Driving home late at night I was listening to this Clyde guy rant about how Obama and the anti-gun lobby was behind recent shootings such in Chicago and Washington D.C.: The U.S. government orchestrates mass killings so they can eventually ban all guns and disarm the populace. Wow! It’s mighty tough to come up with a stupider conspiracy theory. So I went online to check out Clyde. Hear it is, straight from the Clyde’s mouth:
“After the Sandy Hook shootings and the literal gagging of all information about the case, I realized just who the soulless individuals capable of committing such atrocities are. They are the evil people that rule us and use these horrible and traumatic events to further their extremist political agendas.” – Clyde Lewis
The Redskins Are Going? Poll after poll weigh in on whether the Washington NFL team nickname “Redskins” is offensive to Native Americans. Redskin denotes dye on the face, or war paint, and whether it honors Native Americans or insults them seems a matter of opinion; not as clear as other racial slurs. Should they change the name? In North Dakota the state college’s Fighting Sioux changed their name, despite the Sioux nation approving the name in 2010. Namely, the Sioux voted to keep the name and the P.C. bick-ditches had to champion a moral placebo. This is a case of a democratic not racial minority trumping the majority. As to the Redskins, racism is a serious problem, and though the controversy seems to diminish actual victims and troubling history, the headlines and controversy disappear with a name change. I’d change the name, but the government and the law should not intervene. Media and free speech, though, can go full attack on the issue.
“Dronophobia: The irrational, abnormal and persistent fear of drone strikes.” – Kunwar Khuldune Shahid
Why I Hate Malala: “The sight of white men in suits applauding and gushing at Malala Yusufzai’s speech at the United Nations, the gushing media frenzy and vociferous support on social media was nauseating for me,” Sofia Ahmed.
Drones? The use of drones in warfare has brought vociferous protests . From the assassination of Anwar Al Awlaki in Yemen to their use in Afghanistan and Pakistan. All killing demands moral questioning. Why do drones cause more outrage than terrorists, suicide bombings, and conventional weapons? The Malala crowd seems to think the West is exploiting Malala’s story to justify drone attacks, oversimplifying by far. And, in another game of Tag, You’re Racist, they focus on an absurd racial element.
Racism: Malala’s supporters, white or not, are human, enough said.
“Anti-Malala vitriol is a direct expression of misogyny,” Lejla Kurić
Exploitation of Malala: Now let’s get this erect pencil straight, the West already has many reasons to intervene against extremists. But Malala is a net force for positive. Malala in no ways approves of killing civilians. To criticize drone strikes, in many ways, defends extremely violent terrorists. Sebastian Junger has written about how the Taliban discovered a site was to be bombed, and how the Taliban made sure children would be at the site to make “martyr propaganda.” But how to process or trust the data? The civilians are stuck between one big damned rock and an incredibly hard place. What to do against evil? What to do about the response to evil? Tough call.
Mass Shooting Demographic – Broadside
Mass Shootings Map – Mother Jones
“No Ordinary Violence” – Sam Harris
“I refuse to sign petitions for that book of his…”- Germaine Greer referring to Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses
“One person said he wanted to chop me up and feed me to his dogs. I reported it to the police but they didn’t charge him because the threats weren’t threatening enough.” – Firoozeh Bazrafkan
According to The Copenhagen Post, artist Firoozeh Bazrafkan was fined 5,000 Kroner for “violating anti-racism legislation” after her blog entry was published in the Jyllands-Posten newpaper: “I am very convinced that Muslim men around the world rape, abuse and kill their daughters. This is, according to my understanding as a Danish-Iranian, due to a defective and inhumane culture – if you can even call it a culture at all. But you can say, I think, that it is a defective and inhumane religion whose textbook, the Koran, is more immoral, deplorable and crazy than manuals of the two other global religions combined.”
Bazrafkan’s statement is problematic because of its lack of quantifiers; she types all Muslim men as one entity. Watch the Academy Award winning film A Separation, not the over rated caricature laden Argo, to get a more accurate picture of Iranian society. Most Iranian men are decent folk, and it’s poor art to focus on extremes as if they are the rule. But poor art is not racism.
The fact the Aarhus Police have found that she has committed racism worthy of a fine is by far more problematic. Islam is not a race. Racism is the belief in the inferiority and superiority of specific ethnic groups. Bazrafkan is criticizing culture and that’s different. Furthermore, criticizing culture, religion or nationalism is arguably legitimate free speech. Calls for violence are the exception and not “free” speech.
Michel Focault, in his admiration of Khomeini’s Revolution, set the stage for liberals like Germaine Greer to misread the dangers of fundamentalism. This conflict exploded after Salman Rushdie’s fatwa, andsignaled the start of a new battle over what ideas can be tolerated. From 1989 to the present the polemics have intensified, and the cowering thought police has created a new form of European chauvinism, patronizing Moroccans, Persians, Afghans, Pakistanis and other minorities by not considering them worthy of secular government, women’s rights, and Western liberty.
What must secular and/or ex-Muslims think when they see that criticism of religion, a crime under their own governments, faces similar restrictions in the governments of liberal dominated Europe? The Danish government’s message to oppressed Muslims reads that they are not worthy of the same freedoms. Denmark has joined Bazrafkan’s home country of Iran in censoring free speech, and this is a shame.
Naguib Mahfouz: “No blasphemy harms Islam and Muslims so much as the call for murdering a writer.”
UPDATE: Denmark did it again, charging another Muslim – Danish Muslim Apostate Faces Hate Speech Charges
From U.S. Decision on Syria: “Earlier this week, the White House announced it confirmed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has used chemical weapons in the fight against its own people, and the Obama administration will provide more ‘direct support’ to the Syrian opposition since the president’s ‘red line’ has been crossed.”
Sarah Palin recently criticized Barack Obama for sending weapons to arm the Syrian rebels. No matter how you feel about Palin, on this she’s right.
Media can mislead, but substantive messages within can be disseminated effectively. An existential summary of history, politics, journalism, and attempts to learn from experience (Afghanistan) lead to this conclusion:
Sending weapons to the rebels in Syria might be the most egregious decision of Obama’s tenure.
Who are the rebels? They may be civilians fighting against evil, defectors from the Assad regime, or fanatics inspired by religious ecstasy as they commit horrors only replicated in history by entities such as the Khmer Rouge:
Yes, civilians are stuck in the middle, but the response must be practical. No force has shown capability of responsibility and restraint. At present all actions lead to hell.
Despite benevolent intent, as the most humane soldiers learn the art of war and the consolation of destruction, their love of humanity dissipates.
Obama’s recent UN appointee Samantha Power’s basic premise is that armed intervention can be the only effective means to counter war and genocide in certain areas. The Congo is one such place, and recently the UN dispatched arms and soldiers to keep peace and protect citizens (See Art of Darkness from The Economist). This seems like sane policy.
The case has not been made for Syria. If the Obama administration feels intervention in Syria worthwhile, then the administration needs to make a cogent argument to the public. Otherwise, stay the fuck out.