June 29, 2006

I can practically see your face
And another revolutionary falls from grace

simen johan

* Custerfuck Nation:

"The energy debate around the US has taken a definite turn this spring, since oil prices stepped back up to the $70 zone, but the thinking around these issues has only gotten worse. That's because there is only one idea dominating the public discussion: how to keep our cars running by other means, at all costs.

"We're certainly hearing more about energy from government and business. President Bush made the 'addicted to oil' confession in January. Chevron and British Petroleum (or Beyond Petroleum, as BP wishfully styles itself) have both run ad campaigns acknowledging the oil-and-gas crunch, and the mainstream media has joined the campaign to pimp for bio-fuels. But all the talk is driven by the assumption that we will keep running WalMart, Disney World, and the interstate highway system just like we do now, only with other 'alternative' liquid fuels.
"The reason for this collective failure of imagination seems pretty obvious: the older generations are hopelessly vested and invested in the hard 'assets' of suburbia, which they feel they cannot walk away from; and the younger generation is too demoralized by the fear that they will never be vested in any assets (while many seek refuge from thinking at all in the electronic sensory distractions of video games and Ipods, or else in irony and other forms of manufactured alienation).

"If I was a kid now, I'd find a lot more to rebel against than what we faced in the 1960s: the draft and the insipid program of Levittown. I'd rebel against a generation of adults selling the future for obscene pay packages. I'd rebel against everything from the mendacious nonsense of Rem Koolhaas to the profligate stupidity of Nascar. I'd want to eat Donald Trump for lunch (and set free the wolverine that lives on his head.) I'd utterly reject the false commoditized reality and set out to discover the world. I'd get busy building a society with a plausible future (and be real excited about it).

"Sometimes I wonder if we just enjoy lying to ourselves. Sometimes I think: if this nation could somehow harness the energy in all the smoke it blows up its own ass, we'd all be able to drive to heaven in Cadillac Escalades."

* Joe Conason:

"All the slanders and all the maneuvers are performed for political expedience, not national security. In pursuit of Karl Rove’s electoral strategy, the Republicans will spend a trillion dollars and squander thousands of American lives, tens of thousands of Iraqi lives and the prestige of the United States. There is only one thing they won’t do. They will not speak honestly about the war, because the truth cannot accommodate their crude partisan rhetoric. The unfortunate reality is that President Bush has no 'plan for victory.' On some days, he cannot foresee removing American troops during his presidency and says that withdrawal will be a decision for 'future presidents' to make. On other days, he contemplates removing two-thirds of our combat brigades there by the end of next year. On some days, his ambassador to Baghdad discusses amnesty for the insurgents with the Iraqi government and other negotiable items. On other days, those difficult subjects are utterly taboo. He has no plan, because the invasion of Iraq didn’t proceed according to the expectations of the White House and the Pentagon. The Bush war cabinet had formulated a sketchy plan at the outset, with vague, implausible notions of how postwar Iraq would be pacified, rebuilt and governed."
"While the Bush administration has no plan, the government of Iraq seems to be considering a negotiated peace. Iraqi officials have been talking with representatives of the Sunni rebels, in the hope of convincing them to lay down their weapons and engage in democratic politics."
"When Bush visited Baghdad for a few hours on June 13, Iraqi Vice President Tariq al Hashimi, a Sunni leader, urged him to set a date for ending the occupation. The Iraqi president, Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani, who has been talking directly with insurgent representatives, said he supported Hashimi’s request.

"Polls in both countries show substantial agreement between the peoples of Iraq and the United States on ending the occupation. Seventy percent of Iraqis wish that foreign troops would leave their country by the end of next year, and nearly 60% of Americans want our troops home by then, or sooner. But no matter what the Iraqis may want and no matter what the American generals may recommend, don’t expect Bush to 'cut and run'—or at least not until after November."

* Operating Instructions from Steve Kilbey (The Church). [via]

* "Most people don’t have a sense of humor in the first place. So if they find themselves laughing at the end of the experience, they are almost distrustful of themselves—like, what happened to me? Today, for instance, on the tragedy side we could easily be talking about the hideous effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, or we could be talking about the Iraq war. But we can go out tonight and hear a great jazz band. We could spend a night with friends, laughing and drinking and toasting and saying how wonderful life is. Simultaneously, we all know that we’re enshrouded in tragedy, lies, and all kinds of evil. Torture, for God’s sake! And heaps of evil beyond what we can contemplate, and yet life is wonderful for those of us who haven’t been directly affected. So we walk around balancing the two all the time. I, for one, am not giving in. I am not going to walk around in tears all day long. I still want to have a good day if I can.

"In my poems, I try—God knows, probably unsuccessfully—to bring that home. There’s a poem in my last book, 'A Clean Hit,' where suddenly a bomb falls out of the sky and blows up this person’s house. And all of the neighbors come running down and they’re saying, 'What the hell happened?' The guy whose house got bombed says, 'Well, I voted for this president. They shouldn’t be targeting me.' They’re all trying to figure out what they did and what they didn’t do that could have caused this bomb to drop. Some of them think it’s a mistake. They say, 'It happens all the time. Those reports pass through so many hands, by the time they reach the top somebody has gotten the address wrong.' So you can still have fun with the horror." -- James Tate


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