Sunday, August 06, 2006

Adieu, Maine!

Well, we're off in a few hours, and homeward bound. It's a perfect day weather-wise, and Marge and I savored an absolutely blissful final 24 hours here. A honeymoon every year: that's our plan, and has been for 11 years now.

Sunday morning thoughts:

Savoring one of the books I snapped up for the home library this week, I find info on the 16th Century Japanese apocalyptics, whose doom-saying is almost identical to today's religious apocalyptic lunacy. The 16th Century Japanese equivalent yielded some of my favorite Japanese scrolls, including "The Hungry Ghost Scrolls," illustrating the dire afterlife awaiting (in Western, not Buddhist terms) "sinners."

Another acquisition (an April 13th, 1953 issue of Newsweek, snagged for its movie review of Stanley Kubrick's debut feature Fear and Desire) details the crimes of 17-year-old Fred Eugene McManus, a high-performance suburban Valley Stream, NY high school student who did well in all things and loved to hunt, but had a bone to pick with his family. Fred joined the Marines, qualified as sharpshooter material, ached to marry his 16-year-old sweetheart Diane Weggeland, and left on a ten-day furlough March 20. They set out to borrow a car to drive to Minneapolis, believing he and Diane could get married despite their age and lack of parental consent over in Minnesota (a bit of apocryphal info they picked up in an almanac in their local library). Fred & Diane then went on a killing spree traveling cross country, shooting a 19-year old dead to steal his "bright red Plymouth" and pocketing the $12 on the unfortunate lad, then cutting down four more people (and stealing a grand total of $60 on the way) before the couple were apprehended backtracking through Iowa.

The same issue covers Middle East unrest and African horrors (the Mau Mau uprising of '53), among other all-too-familiar unrest. Ah, the '50s -- Happy Days, indeed.

Point being, whenever any idiot starts pining for "the good old days," remember it was ever thus. Some times are worst than others -- and we're certainly in the shit these days, as the zealots on all sides fuel greater destruction day by day -- but there never were some rosy "old days" to yearn for.

It's all illusory, as illusory as the Victory Culture we as a country ache to recover, wreaking further havoc in our efforts to recover that glow -- we live in the times we live in, and they are no better or worse than those who came before us.

Empires rise and fall -- the American Empire is on the inevitable decline (which Bush has only accelerated), so it looks like "end times" to those who subscribe to such empires.

The rest of us live, just live, do what we can, and savor what we can.

The corporate propaganda machine is working, though the damned fools were caught again at their game:

"Republican PR Firm Said to Be Behind 'An Inconvenient Spoof'

By Jake Tapper and Max Culhane, (Aug. 5) --

A tiny little movie making fun of Al Gore, supposedly made by an amateur filmmaker, recently appeared on the popular Web site At first blush, "An Inconvenient Spoof" seemed like a scrappy little homemade film poking fun at Gore and his anti-global warming crusade.In the movie, Gore is seen boring an army of penguins with his lecture and blaming global warming for everything, including Lindsay Lohan's thinness.But when the Wall Street Journal tried to find the guy who posted this film --listed on YouTube as a 29-year-old -- they found the movie didn't come from an amateur working out of his basement.

The film actually came from a slick Republican public relations firm called DCI, which just happens to have oil giant Exxon as a client.Exxon denies knowing anything about the film, and DCI says, "We do not disclose the names of our clients, nor do we discuss the work we do on behalf of our clients."

Public relations firms have long used computer technology to create bogus grassroots campaigns, which are called "Astroturf."Now these firms are being hired to push illusions on the Internet to create the false impression of real people blogging, e-mailing and making films."

Disclaimer: I am not a corporate shill. I am an individual.
(Cue The Prisoner opening credits and music.)

Most recent non-Middle East news blast at the time of this writing:

"CHARLESTON, S.C. - The nation's governors are closing ranks in opposition to a proposal in Congress that would let the president take control of the National Guard in emergencies without consent of governors.

The idea, spurred by the destruction and chaos that followed Hurricane Katrina's landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi, is part of a House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act. It has not yet been agreed to by the Senate.

The measure would remove the currently required consent of governors for the federalization of the Guard, which is shared between the individual states and the federal government.

"Federalization just for the sake of federalization makes no sense," said Gov. Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana, a Democrat who had rough relations with the Bush administration after the disaster last year. "You don't need federalization to get federal troops. ... Just making quick decisions can make things happen."

I love how this Administration arrives at its decisions.

War failing in Iraq?

Solution: Stick to the plan. Even if, uh, there isn't one.
(They're finally admitting there is -- almost -- a civil war in Iraq, which is precisely what Iraq insiders have maintained for months now.)

Natural disaster proves to be a disaster in terms of any meaningful emergency response or reconstruction effort?

Solution: Seize more control.

Katrina amply demonstrated its complete incompetence on the very front it campaigned upon to "win" its second election (by the narrowest of margins, even if you don't doubt the election results) -- national security.

Natural disaster Katrina proved how utterly useless this dogpack is in the face of a genuine national emergency.

Solution: Seize more control.

Well, at least next time there will be no doubt who is to blame and asleep at the wheel (while snagging country western singer photo ops on the West coast while Condi shops for shoes on the East Coast and Cheney hides in his bunker...).

Final thought for today, compliments of HomeyM:

"The more troubling question is not whether conservativism is dead, but whether neoconservativism is alive and well (if a disease can be well). The fundamentalists of all stripes seem to rule the world."
See ya all tomorrow...