Raznor's Rants

Costarring Raznor's reality-based friends!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Keith Olbermann's Takedown of Donald Rumsfeld

If you haven't seen this yet, you must.

The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack.

Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.

Mr. Rumsfeld’s remarkable speech to the American Legion yesterday demands the deep analysis—and the sober contemplation—of every American.

For it did not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence -- indeed, the loyalty -- of the majority of Americans who oppose the transient occupants of the highest offices in the land. Worse, still, it credits those same transient occupants -- our employees -- with a total omniscience; a total omniscience which neither common sense, nor this administration’s track record at home or abroad, suggests they deserve.

Dissent and disagreement with government is the life’s blood of human freedom; and not merely because it is the first roadblock against the kind of tyranny the men Mr. Rumsfeld likes to think of as “his” troops still fight, this very evening, in Iraq.

It is also essential. Because just every once in awhile it is right and the power to which it speaks, is wrong.

In a small irony, however, Mr. Rumsfeld’s speechwriter was adroit in invoking the memory of the appeasement of the Nazis. For in their time, there was another government faced with true peril—with a growing evil—powerful and remorseless.

That government, like Mr. Rumsfeld’s, had a monopoly on all the facts. It, too, had the “secret information.” It alone had the true picture of the threat. It too dismissed and insulted its critics in terms like Mr. Rumsfeld’s -- questioning their intellect and their morality.

That government was England’s, in the 1930’s.

It knew Hitler posed no true threat to Europe, let alone England.

It knew Germany was not re-arming, in violation of all treaties and accords.

It knew that the hard evidence it received, which contradicted its own policies, its own conclusions — its own omniscience -- needed to be dismissed.

The English government of Neville Chamberlain already knew the truth.

Most relevant of all — it “knew” that its staunchest critics needed to be marginalized and isolated. In fact, it portrayed the foremost of them as a blood-thirsty war-monger who was, if not truly senile, at best morally or intellectually confused.

That critic’s name was Winston Churchill.

Sadly, we have no Winston Churchills evident among us this evening. We have only Donald Rumsfelds, demonizing disagreement, the way Neville Chamberlain demonized Winston Churchill.

History — and 163 million pounds of Luftwaffe bombs over England — have taught us that all Mr. Chamberlain had was his certainty — and his own confusion. A confusion that suggested that the office can not only make the man, but that the office can also make the facts.

Thus, did Mr. Rumsfeld make an apt historical analogy.

Excepting the fact, that he has the battery plugged in backwards.

His government, absolute -- and exclusive -- in its knowledge, is not the modern version of the one which stood up to the Nazis.

It is the modern version of the government of Neville Chamberlain.

But back to today’s Omniscient ones.

That, about which Mr. Rumsfeld is confused is simply this: This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely.

And, as such, all voices count -- not just his.

Had he or his president perhaps proven any of their prior claims of omniscience — about Osama Bin Laden’s plans five years ago, about Saddam Hussein’s weapons four years ago, about Hurricane Katrina’s impact one year ago — we all might be able to swallow hard, and accept their “omniscience” as a bearable, even useful recipe, of fact, plus ego.

But, to date, this government has proved little besides its own arrogance, and its own hubris.

Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused, morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina, to the entire “Fog of Fear” which continues to envelop this nation, he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies have — inadvertently or intentionally — profited and benefited, both personally, and politically.

And yet he can stand up, in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer’s New Clothes?

In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised? As a child, of whose heroism did he read? On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight? With what country has he confused the United States of America?

The confusion we -- as its citizens— must now address, is stark and forbidding.

But variations of it have faced our forefathers, when men like Nixon and McCarthy and Curtis LeMay have darkened our skies and obscured our flag. Note -- with hope in your heart — that those earlier Americans always found their way to the light, and we can, too.

The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought.

And about Mr. Rumsfeld’s other main assertion, that this country faces a “new type of fascism.”

As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that -- though probably not in the way he thought he meant it.

This country faces a new type of fascism - indeed.

Although I presumptuously use his sign-off each night, in feeble tribute, I have utterly no claim to the words of the exemplary journalist Edward R. Murrow.

But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could I come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of us, at a time when other politicians thought they (and they alone) knew everything, and branded those who disagreed: “confused” or “immoral.”

Thus, forgive me, for reading Murrow, in full:

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty,” he said, in 1954. “We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.

“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular.”

And so good night, and good luck.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Filliam H. Muffman

Posted by Ross

I can't stop laughing about the Tabloid-ese nickname Stephen Colbert gave to celebrity supercouple William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman.

Fox News Ratings "Way Down"

Posted by Ross

Interesting article on Huffington Post.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Posted by Elyce

Recently seen on a church sign:

"The vitamin Christians most need: Bl"

I must agree - a dose of bisexuality would do many Christians (especially Southern Baptists) a lot of good.

Oh, B1...Be One...oh, I get it.

I still think bisexuality would do them more good.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Music Blogging

Posted by Raznor

You can listen to Pete Yorn's new album here. My favorite track so far is "Undercover".

Thursday, August 17, 2006

File Under "Blatant Abuse of Mother Nature"
Posted by the Bekka

Hello everyone.
Welcome to another installment of the latest liberties M&A (that's marketing and advertising, I don't know what the hell you were thinking of) have taken with dear old mother nature. Many of you (or possibly none of you, if anyone is in fact reading this at all) will undoubtedly recall with no small amount of pleasure my unforgettable post of 7/9/05, "NOW INTRODUCING: NEW & IMPROVED NATURE." Well, file these on in with the weird and the wacky, coz here we go:

Number one: The LifeGem (tm).
This ingenious company will happily make you a laboratory (read: fake) diamond out of a lock of your loved one's hair. Why say goodbye when you can wear the crystallized carbon remnants of your beloved, living or dead, in a tasteful 1 carat princess setting forever?

Number two: The Message Plant (tm).
Did you ever grow a bean plant in your 3rd grade science class? Then the basic mechanics of The Message Plant should be familiar to you: a bean, pre-planted in a soda-like can and watered, sprouts out of the drinkin' hole. However, it is the more wondrous and unexpected mechanism of this product that makes consumers weep and beg for more: a message, of your choice, printed on one of the cotyledons (a term you'll also remember from 3rd grade science class...if not, it's the little halves of the bean that the growing plant feeds on...feeds, yes...feeds...). Suddenly, I feel a great disturbance in the force.

Number three: The Message Egg (tm).
Okay, I admit, this is a bit of a stretch. I ran across it when googling for The Message Plant, and I figured, "Hey, a list with three things in it looks way more impressive than a list with only two things in it." So I added it. Pretty much the same thing as The Message Plant (see: Number two) {heh heh...I said number two} (oh yeah, huh huh...me too) except the sprout comes out of a little egg. You see, it's more for that special egg-lover in your life than the average, ordinary, downright boring bean plant enthusiast.

Regardless, all this manipulatin' an' makin' jewelries from dead peoples and writin' on lima beans an' whatnot, well, to be honest it gives me the hibblety-jibbleties. And we're worried about bio-terrorism? Frankly, I'm more worried about bio-tainment.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wishing for peace

Posted by Ross

I thought this article from the Opinion page of today's LA Times was beautiful.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

If you read just one article about Lebanon . . .

Posted by Raznor

Via Berube, this column by Hazem Saghieh is a must read.

The new Muse album rules

Posted by Ross

I might go as far as to say it fuckin' rules.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Video on a sunday afternoon

Posted by Raznor

Here's Elliott Smith covering John Lennon.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Leavin' town

Posted by Raznor

Me and Ross and the Bekka are gonna be camping for the week at the north rim of the Grand Canyon. So if you notice there's a long period with no postings - well there's a reason for it this time.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I’ve got some pills in my pillbox and I don’t know what they are

Posted by the bekka

I’ve got some pills in my pillbox and I don’t know what they are. You see, I carry around with me an old travel-size “Extra Strength Non Aspirin Pain Reliever” bottle that I fill with an assortment of useful medications that I might need throughout my day. I think I noticed the mystery pills before, but I just ignored them, brushing them aside to get at the last Sudafed or generic acetaminophen. I used to have some 4-hour allergy pills in there, and maybe I had a couple Pepcids too as of late. But gradually my pocket pharmacopeia dwindled as my need for their healing powers persisted over time, and now all that remains are these two sad little pills. They’re round, pale orange in hue, and about 3/8 of an inch in diameter. On one side they are emblazoned with the ominous number “5729,” while on the other they have a geometric hourglass-looking shape next to the number 40. What could this mysterious mystery drug be? I can tell you what it isn’t with a fair amount of certainty: it isn’t anything good like Valium or Percocet, because I definitely would have taken those by now. It isn’t anything name-brand or prescription, because the vague nonspecific markings are dead giveaways for ghetto generic drugs. They can't be allergy pills or decongestants because they're not matte yellow or shiny red. Have I ever even taken orange pills? None come to mind, which is strange considering they must have been in my medicine cabinet at some point. I doubt they would cause me any harm if I took them, considering I presumably bought them in the first place. But they’ve lasted this long, and it seems a shame to punish them for their ingenious survival skills. Anyway, if anyone has any idea what sort of drugs I’ve got my hands on here, feel free to drop me a line and enlighten me. Or not. I probably won’t take them anyway.

Quick Note

Posted by Raznor

So, yeah, I'm working double time to finish the current draft of my thesis by Saturday. I really want to add my comment to this thread, but am unsure when next I'll be able to.

Anyway, take care Raznor fans.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Like, seriously, everybody just needs to shut the fuck up about the apocalypse

Posted by Ross

I'm just saying, is all.


Posted by Ross

for fuck's sake, someone had to say it