Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Even As A Steely Dan Fan, I Can Appreciate This

The Onion pokes fun at Donald Fagen and the notoriously esoteric Steely Dan.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not Even Veterans Day Is Sacred Around Here

Since I'm feeling more misanthropic than usual today - and let's face it, that's the only reason anyone ever visits this blog - I'm taking the time to actually dissent on today's lovefest for the military and its servicemen and women. Yes, I'm actually going to find fault with Veteran's Day. Who's with me?!?

[Rubs hands with glee, twists imaginary handlebar mustache]

Veteran's Day used to be called "Armistice Day," which was conceived as a "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace." But this notion was swept aside in the midst of Cold War hysteria, and in the last 50 years or so the day has evolved into a quasi-religious celebration of militarism.

It's no surprise that the Donkeyfister-in-Chief paid tribute to war veterans by stating that it is "a moral obligation" (!) to support them and their families - which is another way of saying that we must support the executive dictator and whatever aggression he may provoke.

But what is unsettling is that even civil society now parrots the state's command to worship and sanctify the soldier. Don't believe me? From the Atlanta Thrashers and the rest of the NHL to my own employer, everyone's on board with the program. Our CEO issued this e-mail message today:

A Special Veterans Day message from [CEO]

Ninety years ago today, guns fell silent in Europe and World War I fighting came to an end as an armistice between the Allied Nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

President Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day (now called Veterans Day) in 1919 with the following words, "To us in America, the reflections of this day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service...".

Today, we salute the men and women who have served and currently serve in our armed forces. I hope that you will join me in thanking them, especially veterans we are lucky enough to also call co-workers and the 46 [company] employees currently in active military service, for their contribution and their sacrifice.

As we honor and give our appreciation to those who have served or are serving in our armed forces, let's continue our commitment to excellence - on the job and in our communities.

Thank you for all that you do for [company], and please stay safe.

This is utterly crazy - but thankfully some brilliant voices are being raised in protest.

Check out this blog, posted by Lew Rockwell from an e-mail by Phil Hensley:
On a day like today it is important to be thankful for all the freedoms we enjoy in this country:

In America, we enjoy the freedom of giving half our income to the government through various forms of taxes. We have the freedom to participate in a Ponzi scheme known as Social Security. We have the freedom to vote for the president. Unlike the voters of Iraq under Saddam Hussein, who only had one choice for president, we have two choices! We have the freedom to choose between Republican-led big government programs and Democrat-led big government programs. We have the freedom to use government-controlled money, which loses value every year. We have the freedom to subsidize the poltically-connected agricultural, automotive, and banking industries. We have the freedom of sending children through the compusory government-run education system, and then pay for job training for those that get through 12 years of schooling and still don't know how to do anything. We have the freedom to own guns, provided that said gun is approved by the government and we pass the government-mandated background check. If we get the appropriate permits and stand in then proper free-speech zone, we have the freedom to protest.

Thanks to all the veterans that defended these freedoms and kept them from being taken away!

I first encountered William Jennings Bryan's "The Paralyzing Influence of Imperialism" in the indispensable volume "We Who Dared to Say No to War." WJB delivered these remarks at the Democratic National Convention in 1900. His words are equally relevant today:
A large standing army is not only a pecuniary burden to the people and, if accompanied by compulsory service, a constant source of irritation but it is even a menace to a republican form of government. The army is the personification of force, and militarism will inevitably change the ideals of the people and turn the thoughts of our young men from the arts of peace to the science of war. The government which relies for its defense upon its citizens is more likely to be just than one which has at call a large body of professional soldiers.

A small standing army and a well-equipped and well-disciplined state militia are sufficient at ordinary times, and in an emergency the nation should in the future as in the past place its dependence upon the volunteers who come from all occupations at their country's call and return to productive labor when their services are no longer required - men who fight when the country needs fighters and work when the country needs workers. . . .
(See also "An Open Letter to My Fellow Veterans" by Camillo "Mac" Bica.)

The late Bill Hicks offers the perfect anti-tribute to soldiers:

And finally, perhaps "Flight of the Conchords" say it best:

If every soldier in the wo-orld
Put down his weapon and picked up a woman

What a peaceful world this world would be-eee...

Redheads not warheads

Blondes not bombs

We're talkin' about brunettes not fighter jets

Oooh Oooh it's got to be Sweet 16's not M-16's

When will the governments realize it's got to be funky sexy ladies?

So, yeah. Don't support the troops. Don't support institutionalized slaughter. Think for yourself. Happy Armistice Day. Peace.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Meet the New Boss. Same As the Old Boss.

So, Barack Obama - the candidate whose watchwords on the campaign trail were Hope! and Change! - won. In the Orwellian parlance of modern statecraft, this of course means that Obama:

  • Won't end the occupation of Iraq and bring the troops home immediately.
  • Won't endorse a foreign policy of nonintervention.
  • Won't shut down Guantanamo Bay and end the practice of indefinite detentions without trial.
  • Won't encourage Congress - a Democratic majority - to repeal the USA PATRIOT Act.
  • Won't close the 120 American military bases scattered about the world.
  • Won't abolish the Federal Reserve or repudiate the institution of central banking.
  • Won't end the pointless, immoral and destructive War on Drugs.

Yep. Breathe it in, America. Hope. Change. Democracy.