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Photos and text, unless otherwise noted, Copyright 2003,2004,2005,2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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Consider:

"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"







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Tuesday, 12 July 2005

Topic: Oddities

Interesting Commentary

In these pages we have covered the speech Karl Rove gave scorning "liberals" - see June 26: Effective Response to Disappointing Numbers. That speech was built around these words that caused all the controversy: "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."

You might want to check out P. M. Carpenter where he imagines what the speech might have been like if Rove had these words run through his mind: "Ah, that's not right. I feel odd. Gee, I almost feel … like … telling the … truth."

What would the speech then be like? This:
Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and promptly prepared to invade the wrong country. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and cowered themselves into permitting it.

Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and prepared for reciprocal savagery - innocent men, women and children, made no difference to us, just like the 9/11 skunks. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare for a more intelligent "war on terrorism," starting with the understanding that the mobilization of men and hardware against a nebulous tactic, an amorphous concept, is a waste of men and hardware - and devastating to innocents and our national honor.

Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and prepared for some badly needed image-polishing of the biggest loser ever to sit in the White House. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and had a helluva time trying to contain their laughter at photo-ops of our chief chickenhawk trying to look tough.

Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and prepared to bribe global friends into supporting our Iraq scheme to give us political cover. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and saw that Iraq was already contained by the coalition of the willing, known as the United Nations.

Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and then trashed the greatest supply of global good will this nation has ever witnessed. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and hoped to use this good will to the nation's advantage. …
And on it goes. Click on the link and check it out. Of course it is a bit depressing.

Well, Rove is in trouble, or he isn't. In these pages this started with Bush's Brain (Karl Rove) Suddenly Exposed on July 3rd and continued in subsequent items. The press has really lit into the president's press secretary, Scott McClelland (see this) - but Digby over at Hullabaloo reminds us the press had been cowed - and reminds us of events in France a few years back when David Gregory of NBC addressed a question to Jacques Chirac in French:
NBC's David Gregory, unwisely pushing Bush to explain "why it is you think there are such strong sentiments in Europe against you and your administration," had the bad taste to ask President Chirac - in French, of all languages - if he also wanted to comment.

"Very good," shot back a very petulant Bush, "The guy memorizes four words, and he plays like he's intercontinental."

When Gregory offered to go on in French, Bush was determined to squelch the bilingual upstart: "I'm impressed - que bueno. Now I'm literate in two languages." At the end of the press conference, the President of the United States called to Gregory: "As soon as you get in front of a camera, you start showing off."
And Richard Reeves reported -
It turned out that what set him off was Gregory's turning to the French leader. Later Bush told Chirac: "I'll call on the Americans."

What Gregory said later was: "Well, that's it for my career."
No. Gregory is still on NBC. He's their chief White House reporter.

But Digby maintains the press is still a joke -
Bush owns all the Americans, you see. It's the ownership society thing.

If these guys are turning on lil' Scotty McClellan now that Rove is injured and bleeding that's nice. But let's not kid ourselves that they haven't allowed themselves to be treated like freshmen frat pledges for the last four and half years. It hasn't been pretty to watch.
Maybe so. But you might want to check out this - Fox News anchor John Gibson saying on air that he thought Karl Rove deserves a medal if he revealed the identity of a covert CIA operative and her cover, which would be Valerie Plame. This is the other side of press responsibility. A link to the video clip is there, and the idea is that the press should report that Wilson's wife, and Wilson, were undermining our war effort by questioning the truth of what out leader was saying. The press should side with Rove and Bush. And Fox did, and does.

Oh well.

Over at SLATE.COM Tim Noah has started his Rove Death Watch - "Uh oh. Now the White House is saying Rove has Bush's 'full confidence'" - but admits he was off with Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill by a full year. And he missed another -
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, I blush to admit, is still defense secretary nearly four years after I filed the last of three death-watch columns. I remain convinced that 9/11 saved Rumsfeld's job. (Why Rumsfeld remains in office today, when even the hawkish Weekly Standard wants him gone, is an enduring mystery.)

Obviously it's much harder than I thought to get President George W. Bush to fire you. Nevertheless, I am convinced not only that Karl Rove, the deputy chief of staff, ought to lose his job, but that the logic of political scandal dictates that he will lose his job. I therefore inaugurate the Karl Rove Death Watch.
No. That's not going to happen.

Noah's thought? "When McClellan says, 'The president is behind Karl Rove 100 percent,' start looking for the ax to fall."

That may be the logic of political scandal, but we shall see.

But let us move to the realm of the strictly logical and discuss religion. In specific, let's examine the Unitarian Jihad.

Say what?

In these pages we have touched on how odd the Unitarians are, and how, in Texas, the lost their tax exempt status for a time as they didn't have a "real' religion.

- May 23, 2004: Today In Religion - Texas Theology
- May 30, 2004: A Follow-Up on the Unitarians (Texas Theology Revisited)

It seems Jon Carroll over at the San Francisco Chronicle has received and odd communiqué from a group calling itself Unitarian Jihad.

Cool. And he presents it, and you have to know a bit about the Unitarians, or have gone to a service, to really appreciate this -
Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States. We are Unitarian Jihad. There is only God, unless there is more than one God. The vote of our God subcommittee is 10-8 in favor of one God, with two abstentions. Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation noted the possibility of there being no God at all, and his objection was noted with love by the secretary.

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States! Too long has your attention been waylaid by the bright baubles of extremist thought. Too long have fundamentalist yahoos of all religions (except Buddhism - 14-5 vote, no abstentions, fundamentalism subcommittee) made your head hurt. Too long have you been buffeted by angry people who think that God talks to them. You have a right to your moderation! You have the power to be calm! We will use the IED of truth to explode the SUV of dogmatic expression!

People of the United States, why is everyone yelling at you? Whatever happened to ... you know, everything? Why is the news dominated by nutballs saying that the Ten Commandments have to be tattooed inside the eyelids of every American, or that Allah has told them to kill Americans in order to rid the world of Satan, or that Yahweh has instructed them to go live wherever they feel like, or that Shiva thinks bombing mosques is a great idea? Sister Immaculate Dagger of Peace notes for the record that we mean no disrespect to Jews, Muslims, Christians or Hindus. Referred back to the committee of the whole for further discussion.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We are everywhere. We have not been born again, nor have we sworn a blood oath. We do not think that God cares what we read, what we eat or whom we sleep with. Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity notes for the record that he does not have a moral code but is nevertheless a good person, and Unexalted Leader Garrote of Forgiveness stipulates that Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity is a good person, and this is to be reflected in the minutes.

Beware! Unless you people shut up and begin acting like grown-ups with brains enough to understand the difference between political belief and personal faith, the Unitarian Jihad will begin a series of terrorist-like actions. We will take over television studios, kidnap so-called commentators and broadcast calm, well-reasoned discussions of the issues of the day. We will not try for "balance" by hiring fruitcakes; we will try for balance by hiring non-ideologues who have carefully thought through the issues.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We will appear in public places and require people to shake hands with each other. (Sister Hand Grenade of Love suggested that we institute a terror regime of mandatory hugging, but her motion was not formally introduced because of lack of a quorum.) We will require all lobbyists, spokesmen, and campaign managers to dress like trout in public. Televangelists will be forced to take jobs as Xerox repair specialists. Demagogues of all stripes will be required to read Proust out loud in prisons.

We are Unitarian Jihad, and our motto is: "Sincerity is not enough." We have heard from enough sincere people to last a lifetime already. Just because you believe it's true doesn't make it true. Just because your motives are pure doesn't mean you are not doing harm. Get a dog, or comfort someone in a nursing home, or just feed the birds in the park. Play basketball. Lighten up. The world is not out to get you, except in the sense that the world is out to get everyone.

Brother Gatling Gun of Patience notes that he's pretty sure the world is out to get him because everyone laughs when he says he is a Unitarian. There were murmurs of assent around the room, and someone suggested that we buy some Congress members and really stick it to the Baptists. But this was deemed against Revolutionary Principles, and Brother Gatling Gun of Patience was remanded to the Sunday Flowers and Banners committee.

People of the United States! We are Unitarian Jihad! We can strike without warning. Pockets of reasonableness and harmony will appear as if from nowhere! Nice people will run the government again! There will be coffee and cookies in the Gandhi Room after the revolution.
Yes, what is in bold is what actually makes sense.

Of course this won't happen. But it would be nice.

Alternative headlines Carroll considered?
Startling new underground group spreads lack of panic!

Citizens declare themselves "relatively unafraid" of threats of undeclared rationality.

People can still go to France, terrorist leader says.
If only it were so.

Posted by Alan at 21:05 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Tuesday, 12 July 2005 21:19 PDT home

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