For those who have grown tired of, or simply never were interested to begin with in this discussion, I suggest you skip the following second response to Dave’s rejoinders and instead just take a gander at this amazing picture of a family of half-lion, half-human creatures. Funny how these unique specimens only seemed to appear between 1982 and 1989. And be sure to come back tomorrow, when I’ll have a very long-winded screed about Berkeley. But for now, there will be lots of quoting, lots of responding, and then maybe if there’s still time, some kung-fu fighting.

For those of you silly enough to still be here, enjoy this “pissing-contest,” as Dave called it. I suppose he thinks this is just some “whose is bigger” competition of ego-gratification, but I take this shit seriously (sometimes). However, it seems the strain has caused him to devolve into some rather painful attempts at humor. Never a pretty thing to watch. Small children, the elderly, and those with heart conditions should avert their gaze.

Gee Mister Mustard, you sure are a smart guy. I humbly submit to your obviously superior intellectual prowess.


You know, when I started this whole exchange, I sorta wanted to keep it relatively free of inanity, since I didn’t want to seem disrespectful to Dave, when he had taken the time to reply at length to my post, and who seemed genuinely engaged.

But damn be-otch, I am at a loss as to what to do at this point. Gorgias, that first master of rhetoric, once said, “Always rejoin humor with seriousness, and seriousness with humor.” Good advice. He didn’t say anything, however, about responding to awkward stabs of humor that make who you’re arguing with look like he accidentally let his 12-year-old nephew get at the computer while he was taking a whiz. So, with the absence of any commonly recognized method as to how to proceed, I’ll have to wing this one.

Onward, forward, upward!

To begin with, all I did was recommend that you read one of Chomsky’s books. Specifically a book that discusses how the mainstream media is not much more than a tool for disseminating state/corporate (not liberal) propaganda rather than the impartial and objective dispenser of pure information that it often claims to be. My suggestion was offered in response to your observation about the obviously shitty state of the mainstream media.

Thanks for the recommendation.

Perhaps you didn’t notice that I said I already read that steaming pile of trash, Manufacturing Consent (no offense intended to steaming piles of trash everywhere)? And for the record, no Chomsky book can be said to “discuss” anything, but rather to “lie,” “mislead,” and “indoctrinate.” Manufacturing Consent fits in nicely with the whole Chomsky pantheon, because its thesis is the precondition upon which the rest of his bananer ideas rest. His main arguments about the world at large (America is a fascist country, Israel is a fascist country, the Khmer Rouge was an enlightened, progressive government, people in the US actively worked to bring Hitler to power in Germany, the US is deliberately perpetrating genocide in Afghanistan, etc, etc, etc) are so bold-facedly laughable and so immediately disprovable with even a cursory investigation, that he must first thoroughly discredit and slander any source of information (which, incidentally, happens to be just about every paper/magazine/book that wouldn’t be better put to use as toilet paper) that might reveal his theories to be the discombobulated ravings that they are.

I was making a point about how silly the most influential and respected media outlets are in their often rabid leftwing bent, and the way your initial response went was essentially this: “Hey man, I agree with you, mainstream media sucks. Read Chomsky and find out how!”

To quote Rachel Lucas, “Bitch, please.”

I said media was leftwing, you said it was fascist corporate propaganda, and cited Chomsky as evidence. Well, pardon me, but Chomsky is full of shit. If not all the time, then only in every single instance in which I have read and subsequently fact-checked his mendacious ass. The man simply can’t be trusted to tell you what color the sky is. He’ll look up and say, “Well it sky may look blue, but it appears that the sky’s true color has been changed as part of a deliberate attempt by the corporately-controlled US government to entice Americans to not look at all the horrible suffering their fascist policies of genocide have caused and instead trick them into to just staring at the pretty colors while the greedy CEOs are busy killing off another native indian tribe and overthrowing enlightened governments like the Khmer Rouge. This is so obvious, in fact, that any discussion otherwise is nonsense, and everyone knows it.”

You didn’t offer any evidence as to the veracity of Chomsky’s claims, just cited him with an air of “Chomsky said it, and so it must be.” I, on the other hand, at least presented some evidence which (I think) went a long ass way in showing that Chomsky is a thoroughly irreputable source of information. In other words, a liar .

You went on to say that Chomsky is, ?routinel? guilty of exactly those things that he accuses the mainstream media of.? While there may be some truth to this statement, I would offer that there is a HUGE difference between Chomsky (a person with relatively limited influence) doing it and the mainstream media (outlets with a rather broad influence) doing it.

Davey, Davey, Davey….

You’re not reading what I wrote. You’re reading what you want to think I wrote. I said he is guilty of what he accuses mainstream media of (knowingly and deliberately deceiving for the furtherance of an ideology). You act as if I said, “Sure, they do it, but he does too!”

Nope, sorry. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong (I know repeating myself is irritating, but it seems the only way to get anything into that concrete noggin of yours).

Chomsky himself actually does not allow debate, for it is a common tactic for him to simply dismiss a contrary point of view as “a pack of lies” (referring to Cambodian genocide) or “deliberate nonsense” (referring to the claim that Al Qaeda hates us because we are a secular liberal democracy). Speaking of a critique by David Horowitz, he just called Horowitz a lying Stalinist and dropped it at that.

The media, however, does not shut out any kind of debate with anywhere near the precision and fervor that Chomsky does. My original claim was that the left wing bent of so many media outlets was so bad because it was just so damn shoddy, not because it was part of some vast nefarious conspiracy to stifle any voice that disagreed.

Not once did I say that Chomsky is God or that everything he says is the truth. Sure there are many out there who believe everything Chomsky says, but the same can be said for those on the right who consistently believe every word spoken by conservative pundits.

See, this is the moment when I ask you, “And what, pray tell, is your goddamn point?”

You may not think he’s God, but you obviously think he’s at least a worthwhile enough source to cite as evidence for the vast corporate conspiracy that is American media. I disagree on that point, and I showed you why. And what exactly does this have to do with people on the right who are easily led? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Do you??

Oy… so much more to go through. But I’m a giver, so…

Regarding the intent of the Bush Administration, you said:

“….they wish to bring about a situation where there does not exist any such entity that both has the power and the intention of threatening our security. This can be accomplished in more than one way . One of them is…through force, ….But more often it is accomplished through diplomatic pressure and deterrence”

It seems to me that the current administration seems more passionately committed to the former rather than the latter.

If so, why hasn’t the crazy cowboy sent all them big ass tanks an’ planes an’ shit into Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Syria, et al? It seems like diplomacy is the order of the day, there, no?

I would say that you are correct in your assertion that we are not out to get every lousy dictator in the world. But I believe our goals are limited even further to taking action in only those areas where our leaders claim we have some sort of vital strategic interest. In either case it makes us look like hypocrites to the rest of the world when we tolerate and even support brutality (e.g. just about anywhere in Latin America over the past 40-50 years) in one place and then look the other way when our leaders it doesn’t suit us.

I say “where our security was credibly threatened,” you say “vital strategic interest.” Sing it with me…

Let’s just call the whole thing off!

We don’t seem to disagree on this point. What we may disagree on however, is whether we are justified in pursuing a “vital strategic interest.” You seem to think not. Well, “vital” meaning “necessary for life,” I think we are. I hope you’re not suggesting we ignore threats that would threaten our very existence?

As for all the lousy pieces of crap that we temporarily allied ourselves to at one time or another, let me simply restate what I already said: when life presents you with 2 shitty choices, you choose the slightly less shitty one. In the case of brutal authoritarians versus brutal communists, I’ll take the authoritarian any day. For one thing, at the very least he will keep his hands to himself and won’t try to export his rule to every neighboring country. Secondly, he may torture and kill those that oppose him, but he will not send the country into an abject chaos of starvation and genocide (ie, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Soviet Union… ummm, now that I think about it, just about every country to try on the communist hat). I’m not particularly happy when a murderous thug is put in charge of a country, but I’m even less happy when a genocidal cabal of crazies raised on a strict diet of Stalin and Mao take the reigns of government.

In addition, you failed to address my point that the very measures (most often military action) we take to eliminate threats only plant the seeds for future threats.

Holy flaming crap on a stick, did you even read my post, or did your helper monkey just summarize it for you? Fuck this writing new stuff, I’ll just quote directly what I wrote before:

The Mujahudeen: At the time, these people were rebels willing to fight against the Soviets because they had perpetrated an expansionist invasion of another country.

Now, some of those same people are trying to destroy us, when we didn’t invade their countries.

Notice the difference? We supported them in what was a justified cause. Just because they turn around and pursue a new, unjustified one later one does not cast any kind of moral or strategic pale onto our actions.

Is it all coming back now?

In other words, you can argue whether it was a justifiable strategic action to support them then (I’d argue it was), but you cannot conclude simply from the fact that they chose to turn around and attack us 10 years later that somehow this is our fault . By your logic, we would never, in any circumstance be able to have an ally whom we gave aid to, because maybe, just maybe, they might change their mind about it down the road.

Britain in WWII? “Can’t trust those damned limeys. Get those destroyers back, Roosevelt! Who knows whether they might use them on us tomorrow?!”

I don’t care how much food we dropped in Afghanistan, those people who lost loved ones because of misguided bombs and missiles or who were and continue to be humiliated at the hands of our military will grow up hating our guts.

Once again, your logic leads to the conclusion that we can never take any kind of offensive military action ever, because innocents will always die in the crossfire.

So, I might ask, where are all the millions of Japanese, French and German terrorists that were created the day we killed their loved ones with our guns and bombs? Is the media covering up the story? Guess Chomsky was right all along.

In response to my comment about allying ourselves with thugs, you said:

“You imply that there is something morally suspect with allying ourselves to less-than-savory entities and then breaking that alliance for some reason.”

You completely missed my point, which was to say that in every instance (Panama, Iraq, and Afghanistan) I mentioned, we enabled these people or groups to become “threats” (not so for Noriega, who was only removed because he threatened to blow Poppy Bush’s cover) because we used them for our own short-term strategic gain and then discarded them faster than a soiled prophylactic

First of all, you really should save and recycle your used prophylactics. By throwing them away you’ve become a part of the vast condom industry conspiracy that seeks to keep the rate of condom consumption on a constant incline so that they might further plunder the rubber fields of the poor oppressed… oh, you get the idea.

And again, I say “Bitch, please!

We didn’t discard them. They turned on us when it no longer served their interest to be our friends.

You say we supported Saddam to counter the threat posed by Iran, but you failed to mention how the CIA-sponsored overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh and our subsequent support of the Shah contributed to the rise of militant Islam in Iran, but also how we helped arm the fanatical Iranians too. Hello? Can you say, ?blowback??

From what I know, our support of the Shah was capricious at best. Perhaps our fears of Mossadegh as an ultra-nationalist leader were overblown. So far, this seems to be the one point in your entire litany of “blowback” travesties that isn’t completely silly. Congrats.

That fact doesn’t invalidate interventitive action wholesale.

As for supplying Iranians with weapons, I’m assuming you’re referring to trading them weapons for hostages. This was not an alliance. It was a deal brokered with an enemy to get something we needed from them in return.

When we traded Soviet spies that we had captured in return for American operatives, is it “blowback” when those Russian spies are again used against us? Of course not. We knew they would be put back into operation by our enemy as soon as possible, but it was seen as equally, or more important, to get our own people back. Same deal with weapons and hostages.

You can argue that giving those weapons to Iran wasn’t worth the lives of those American hostages, and thus it was a poorly brokered deal, but you can’t describe this as blowback.

Dave then offers a quote to describe the “tyranny” of the marketplace, from “Jihad Vs. McWorld,”

McWorld?s advocates will argue that the market does ?serve? individuals by empowering them to them to ?choose? but the choice is always about which items to buy and consume, never about whether to buy and consume anything at all; or about the right to earn an income that makes consumption possible; or about how to regulate consumption so that it does not swallow up other larger public goods that cannot be advanced in the absence of democratic public institutions. In McWorld?s global market, empowerment lies in the choice of toppings on a baked potato: the rest is passive consumption. When profit becomes the sole criterion by which we measure every good, every activity, every attitude, every cultural product, there is soon nothing but profit. In the empire of the market, the money hooligans are princes and largesse is king.

This is essentially the “Walmart Vs. Small Businesses” argument.

Whenever Walmart moves into a new location, invariably there is a vocal segment of the population that protests vehemently, saying that their town doesn’t want WalMart there, because it will squeeze out all the local, friendly, personal mom-and-pop operations in the area. The obvious question to ask is, if the town really prefers these homey, personal, but much more expensive and less centralized businesses, then why do they still choose to get everything at WalMart?

And you always get answers like, “Well how can’t I? Everything is so cheap and it’s all in one place!” I guess that’s what you mean by the tyranny of the marketplace .

The unavoidable fact in all this is that, if people truly valued the apparent personal and homey aspect of local business so much more than convenience and saving money, then they would continue to shop at the locals, and WalMart wouldn’t be able to push them out of business. It’s the tyranny of actually offering a better deal.

And likewise, the fact of the market itself does not force participation. Tell me exactly how a bedouin would not be able to choose to only engage in the market place when he felt like it, if at all, especially if his sentiments towards non-participation are shared by the majority of his society?

It goes right back to my claim in my previous post that there is a vocal and sometimes violent minority that cannot stand the marketplace, but the vast majority of the society is for it. We cannot stop the market from coming to a country when most of those people want it there. All we can do is defend ourselves against those who simply will not tolerate what their countrymen want, and will resort to violence against us because of that inability to deal with change.

“You seem to think that we’re shoving McDonalds and Pepsi down these people’s throats, whether they like it or not. That just isn’t true.”

OK, here I will admit that I overstepped things a little. There is no conscious attempt being made to force American pop culture on the rest of the world. It is closer to the truth to say that American pop culture (McWorld) is the unintended consequence of consumerism and unbridled ?savage? capitalism. It has a life of its own and respects no borders or other forms of national sovereignty. As globalization progresses, national boundaries are increasingly becoming irrelevant and it is our movies, our music, our commercials, books and televison shows that comprise what amount, on a global scale, to propaganda to support the Tyranny of Global Markets.

Again, what’s your point? We’re not pushing it on them, but it’s going there anyway because they can’t help but want it? You seem to suggest that this is somehow “the nature of the beast” that is “savage capitalism,” and thus it seems the only possible solution is a completely new system?

Paging Dr. Marx, Dr. Marx you have a telephone call at the front desk.

Yes, yes, I know. “Oooh, whoever doesn’t swallow capitalism whole is a dirty communist, huh?”

No, it’s just that it’s the logical conclusion of where you’re going. Anything short of the eradication of capitalism wholesale and the imposition of a totalitarian government will not stop capitalism’s spread. The network effect of capitalism is simply too strong. Either you join and adapt to it, or you get left behind (which should be fine if that’s what you’re interested in – let the bedouin stay a bedouin if he sees the modern market world and decides he wants no part of it). You say that this is an example of some particularly destructive form of capitalistic globalization, but it isn’t. It’s not a perversion of some possible ideal form of moderated capitalism that lets everybody be happy. It’s just reality.

The unhappy fact is that all capitalism is incompatible with many aspects of traditional societies, and this means a lot of people are going to get pissed off, sometimes violently. But we can’t stop that, because we ultimately couldn’t stop the spread of the market even if we wanted to (which we don’t, and which we shouldn’t). The best we can do is try to deal with the animosity generated in some of the more rigid sectors of those societies, sometimes with the carrot, and sometimes with the stick, as the situation may warrant.

In response to my comment about the alleged universality of American-ness, you said:

“If by “American” you mean someone who is allowed the maximum amount of freedom in deciding the course of their life, then yes, I do sincerely believe that the vast majority of the people in this world would take that chance, were it freely given to them.”

No, by ?American? I meant someone kept brain-dead and docile (like most of the people in this country) by an unresponsive government and a tyrannical market as manifested through crass consumerism and unbridled markets.

Oooooh. Nice elitist counter-cultural bohemian swipe there at all the simplistic, hamburger-gobbling, TV-entraced Deltas in this sad, pathetic country of ours.

Too bad your childish caricature was completely irrelevant to what we were talking about, eh? Otherwise it would’ve been a real good zinger.

I said the rest of the world wanted to be like what I defined as “American”. Simply substituting a silly poorly-thought-out diatribe in place of that doesn’t at all invalidate my claims about what the rest of the world wants.

I believe the level of democracy in this country and the adherence to those founding principles has expanded considerably in the last 200 years .

How can you say that? A legitimate democracy of the sort envisioned by the Founders rests firmly on the need for an informed and engaged citizenry. Today we have neither, as more people choose to watch the Super Bowl every year than vote every four years. We are a hollow shell of a democracy and our incessant chatter about exporting it to the rest of the world is a pathetic joke that would have brought tears to the Founder?s eyes.

I really feel sorry for you.

Update: Dave has responded lengthily in the comments section. Frankly, I have to admit I’m tried of this conversation, so I’ll let him have the last word.

last update : 26-5-2018

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