January 8, 2007

the kind of mistakes no one can trace

Erik Bulatov, The Way the Clouds Move—the Way Things Are Going, 2001

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

3. George W. Bush

"Late last year George W. Bush signed a postal reform bill into law. According to the New York Daily News, 'Most of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act deals with mundane reform measures. But it also explicitly reinforced protections of first-class mail from searches without a court's approval.'

"Therefore you won't be surprised to learn that Our Great Leader added a "signing statement" to the bill during the congressional recess which says that actually he can open and read anybody's mail without court approval. Which is the complete opposite of the law that he signed.

"Why would Bush want to read your mail? Well, mainly because he's The Decider, and he can do anything he damn well chooses, including opening and reading your mail without a warrant, even if the law specifically says that he can't. So it's not so much that he actually wants to read your mail, but hey, he's already decided that he can read your e-mail and listen to your telephone calls, so it seems a bit silly for him not to be able to read your snail mail as well, right?"

* From an interview of author Robert Stone. excerpt:

Interviewer: You aren't a believer in God, but you are certainly fascinated with the issues that religion(s) are concerned with.

Robet Stone: I am not a believer in God. I have been a believer in God. I am obsessed with the absence of God. I believe in that phrase from Pascal, that says—I can't remember where I used it—I think it's in Damascus Gate, where he reads somewhere in Pascal, 'Everything on Earth gives a sign of the divine presence. Everywhere we look there seems to be evidence of it. And it never yields itself to our discovery. And yet it seems to be everywhere.' Or as in the Kabalistic notions, it is as though God has separated himself forever and would have to be put together by gathering up all these items of light which is a virtually impossible task. That whatever that was, whether it was some kind of physical force, big burst, or blast we have seen the last of it, and yet it has conditioned the way we feel and what we want for all eternity. I think we go without it, we go with this longing and with this kind of half hallucination that we are seeing it out there. We want it to be there. There is almost a psychological space for it to be there, as Pascal was suggesting and yet as far as we can discover… I mean because I am finally a pragmatist when I come right down to it. I do admit that faith is not what you believe, it's not about believing in a body of doctrine. Faith is something else. Well, I don't have the body of doctrine. But I don't have the faith either. Which is an insistence that somehow that things are all right and as they should be. I don't have that.
Interviewer: Why did you become a writer?

Robet Stone: It was what I did best. I always wrote English best. I always got rewarded for what I had written. I plainly felt that this was one thing that I could do that—you know. Some guys had things that they could do that they did better than the other guys. This was what I did. And that was a way I could make my way through life one way or the other. I was in the Navy and I was a radio operator and got the chance to become what the Navy calls a journalist. And so I was a writer in one form or another ever since I was quite young. I worked in tabloids; I worked in writing advertising copy. Didn't much bother me to have to do that.
Interviewer: George Bush burns a lot of money to take a jet to a ship that is close to docking anyway. This is very cynical. That was sort of a question, what do you think?

RS: Well, I think there it is, while he was dodging the draft and pretending—dodging his National Guard duties, even. Jesus I wouldn't have dreamed of not doing the military stuff I was supposed to do. I was just a petty officer in the Navy. But I would never have dreamed of trying to get out of it even under any circumstances I could imagine. I happen to resent George Bush being flown onto a carrier all dressed up like a pilot. But the people who go for that, God they have it coming, except we are all in the same boat. These are a bunch of triumphalist babbits who suddenly think that their way of seeing the world and their way of operating is so superior that the rest of the world is going to fall down before them. And they are going renegotiate, as it were, the Sykes-Picot Treaty in the Middle East and start it all over again. I think it's really a terrible mistake. Of course, they don't have the imperial style. If they had any style at all [both laugh] but they have no imperial style, they are just babbits.

Interviewer: It's frightening that ostensibly, Americans seem to be eating this stuff up. How about the move to time the Republican convention closer to Sept 11? That's really cynicism.

RS: I find that cynical I don't know why…in the world outside the United States, I don't think the United States is going to find too many friends.


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