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(Note to literalists: the Watched column presently contains only a smattering of 'warblogs' because the facilitator of the template-change--Dr. Menlo--is not very familiar with them, and will be adding more as they are sent to him. Also, this blog may contain areas of allusion, satire, subtext, context and possibly even a dash of the surreal: wannabe lit-crits beware.)


[Watch this space for: Pentagon and Petroleum, The Media is only as Liberal as the Corporations Who Own Them, Wash Down With, and Recalcify]


Saturday, July 13, 2002


[note: I still have to two link-blocks to add--they are noted in upcoming place and subject, but wanted to put this on anyway to get the critics started]

1. In Which Menlo Takes On the Fundamentalist HBO3 and His Two Henchmen Reynolds and Pej

Some say the way we speak (or write) is an indication of how we think . . . in this case, what can we deduce about one who writes in cliches? In Thursday's post concerning WBW, in a post consisting of 3 sentences, "Commander Reynolds" uses no less than two: "Ask and ye shall receive" and "shooting fish in barrels." Naturally there is always a kernel of truth or certain appropriateness to cliches, but the overuse of them can indicate the negative side of their use--which is as mental handicaps to lazy minds. What better qualifications do you need to be the king of the warblog hive-mind than to be the prolific echo-chamber of mainstream America's cliched thoughts? After all, a lie repeated often enough will become truth to the uninformed, which is precisely the machination behind the 'power' of Instapundit--from CNN (et al.) to Glenn's lips, and downwards in the progit food chain to the "killblogger purgatorio" which then forms a tight wagon-circle which will en masse viciously attack any criticisms of it--usually with the exact same refrain, in this case the oh-so-overused charge that WBW too often relies on ad hominem attacks.

And yet the very post that they all swirl around in this instance not only mentions this, but points out the hypocrisy of this charge--which all three 'detractors' conveniently ignore when repeating not only the 'WBW uses ad hominem' mantra, but also while themselves using ad hominem attacks! Apparently the fact that their 'worst insults' are not only themselves tired cliches by now, but incredibly hypocritical as well escapes them. We can only ask that they try to think up something new and fresh in their response to the following . . .

The phrase "shooting fish in barrels" that Glenn uses refers to the fundamentalist HBO3's response to a post I made 2 days earlier in which I propose several topics for debate in an attempt to get away from the aforementioned overused criticism of WBW, so let me now skip to that to get to the meat of the matter.

2. Menlo Responds to HBO3's 'Refutation': Answering WBW

"The best they can do so far is accuse me of publishing pornography" . . . surely you are not so humorless as to have missed the fact that your initials (HBO3) at least used to be a cable channel? A cable channel which used to play adult materials late at nite? What kind of person would look at the accusation of pornographer as grounds for a libel suit? a) Somebody who thinks that nudity or a visual representation of the very act from which we all have occurred is offensive. b) Someone unfamiliar with the movie about Larry Flynt which clearly demonstrates the true biographical example that in America (so far) obvious satire is not libelous. c) Someone who is not aware that his initials used to be an actual cable channel. d) Someone who is completely humorless, or e) all of the above?

"Just for the record, btw, when I wrote that they had comments turned off, I meant, turned off, as in no links for comments appearing on the page. That's what I saw and I'm sticking to my story." Even though, as it has been clearly demonstrated, the comments were never turned off, and you used this un-fact to level the charge that WBW purposely turned off the comments in order to deflect criticism of WBW's use of the facts, and you're sticking to your story even when proved wrong? The same way a fundamentalist-creationist would stick to their story that the interpretation of thousand year old myths were literally true even when repeatedly proven otherwise by science and common sense? I see.

The stuff between the aforementioned and the quoting of my paragraph that HBO3 claims to take apart is a bit of a mess, so let me just pull out a bit of the highlights: "In the post I'm responding to (again, no permalinks), WBW begins by quoting an article from one Bill Christison, Former CIA Political Analyst, grabbing with gusto the logical fallacy of 'appeal to authority.'"--yea, "appealing to authority" is what WBW does best; boy we love sucking up to George! "In other words, there's lots of 'former CIA political analysts' running around. That doesn't mean these 'experts' know what the hell they're talking about, especially on the topic at hand."--gee, really? But I bet that someone who has been IN the CIA probably knows more about it's inner working workings than someone who hasn't, don't ya think?

"In this case, the topic is 'hatred of US foreign policy.'"--oh right, to those who think in black and white any criticism of US foreign policy is "hatred!"--what was I, trying to be sophisticated, or something?

"As for the actual argument, after you strip away the empty rhetoric, Christison is saying Bush is behaving aggressively in his 'war on terror' and some people (especially American leftists) don't like it. And my response is: damn straight Bush is aggressive, and he better be! That's what we're paying him for -- to protect us as best he can. Of course, to call the Bush presidency a dictatorship (or even heading in that direction) is laughable. If it's such a dictatorship, why is there a War Blogger Watch? Or a Mr. Christison spouting anti-American inanities?"--wow, where to start; first of all, there is a difference between going in the direction of a dictatorship and an absolute dictatorship (wherein all dissent would be stopped). This is the frog boil, remember? Put the frog in the water alive and turn the temperature up so slowly he doesn't realize he's being boiled alive? Bush is aggressive, all right, using the resources of the government to help out Cheney's oil buddies and being so obnoxious overseas that hatred of the US increases on a daily level--Anti-US Militants Showing Up All Over--and don't you think that this raises the possibility of more terrorist attacks on America? How does this help to "protect us as best he can."--?

" . . . no US official has called for the removal of Arafat." That depends on what your definition of "removal" is; Bush recommended 'democratic elections' in Palestine, so long as they didn't elect Arafat. Or does it depend on what your definition of "is" is? "What the official Administration policy is, as articulated brilliantly by GWB,"--wait a minute, "articulated brilliantly by GWB,"--are we talking about the same GWB, here? " . . . if the Palestinians want US help in building a nation-state, then they need to elect leaders that are not be compromised by terror. This isn't telling the Palestinians they MUST dump Arafat, just that it would be in their best interest to elect somebody else. And it isn't like we're saying, remove Arafat in a coup. We're saying, elect somebody else. Finally, at what point does Arafat, elected in a questionable election, cease to be an 'elected' leader -- after nine years in office, brutalizing his own people, running an absolute dictatorship, stealing from the treasury and promoting mass murder?" --Wow, how many lies does that last quote include? The so-called "questionable election" that Arafat won was sanctioned by election-expert Jimmy Carter, who, of course, did not sanction the election of Bush. Arafat promotes "mass murder?" Let's look at the numbers, shall we? According to Electronic Intifada, since the beginning of Intifada II the casualties for both sides stand at:

Israel: 563 Israelis have been killed and 4,122 Israelis have been injured (358 severely, 486 moderately, 2795 lightly -- injury stats up to 30 June 2002).

Palestine: 1,638* Palestinians have been killed and 19,633* Palestinians have been injured in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

We can conclude from this: a) there are two mass murders going on, and b) the mass murder perpetrated by Israel against the people of Palestine is three times greater than the mass murder perpetrated by Palestine against the people of Israel.

Now, to the final part of HBO3's 'refutation,' (please note his text will from now on be in blockquotes; the parts where he quotes me in the blockquotes start with a *):

Now, to the argument: "Now, more than ever, war is only 'necessary' to the war profiteers."

Should I start laughing now?

Naw, I'll take apart the following paragraph piece by piece:

Oh, will you now? First of all, you missed a paragraph following "Now, more than ever, war is only 'necessary' to the war profiteers." which states that "the so-called left and so-called agreed: get Osama." This would explain the first sentence in the next which says, "Almost one year later, this administration claims Osama is 'not important,'"

Really, care to provide some documentation for that statement along with proof that the only objective from Sept. 11 onward was to capture OBL?

I never said that capturing OBL was the only objective of this administration; I said that on this objective alone the so-called left and right agreed. Not only did the Bush administration spin outward from this objective, they did so voluminously in directions designed ostensibly to 'protect US citizens,' but if we scratch just a little beneath the subterfuge, we see many other motives appear.

I am not the only one to cast doubt upon the direction of the Bush cartel since 9/11; Brendan O'Neill writes in War Against What?: "The more the war drags on, the more trouble US leaders seem to have pinpointing what America is fighting against. The war has moved from focusing on bin Laden to focusing on 'evil dictators everywhere'; from 'destroying terrorism' in Afghanistan to 'rebuilding hope' across the third world; from bombing terrorist camps in Afghanistan to a 'first strike' policy that will target 'over 60 nations' to keep international terrorism in check. One left-wing US commentator argues that 'what started as a war against one man... has turned into a war against the world'."

* "the 'war' will go on indefinitely,"

Well, you're surprised? When did Bush say that the war would end once the Taliban were beaten and Osama was captured? When did Bush ever say anything other, from Sept. 11 on, that this would be nothing but a long, long war? If you expected a short war, it only displays your ignorance of our enemy.

I am not surprised, and what Bush says is not enough for me to simply swallow and go along with, especially considering the nature of Bush's character, history and intelligence. My "ignorance of the enemy?" I think a lot of people aren't really sure right now, other than Osama et al., who the 'enemy' is. Is the enemy fundamentalists? Because Ashcroft is a fundamentalist. Is the enemy critics of the United States? Even America doesn't have enough jails to hold all of them. Am I the only one uncomfortable with the idea of an 'unending war?' Am I the only one who is reminded of novels like The Wanting Seed by Anthony Burgess?

* "continues to regularly kill innocent civilians and then lies and/or refuses to act sorry for it,"

The US has never failed to apologize for killing civilians.

The Guardian: No US Apology Over Wedding Bombing

But the US has also always said civilian casualties are a regrettable part of war. To criticize the US for killing civilians when the US is the most advanced nation in history at being able to minimize civilian deaths really shows a strongly anti-American stripe. It is bending over backwards and contorting pure reason and rationality to criticize the US for killing civilians.

Oh, right, I forgot that being critical of the United States was "Un-American." Now where did I put that flag and matches . . .

* stymies any attempt at that part of a 'democracy' which believes in an 'open government,' and generally uses the 'war' as a convenient screen to additionally give more tax breaks to their corporate pals,

All I can say to these two points is, documentation, please. I've seen no proof to back up either allegation.

And where do you get your news again, the Disney Channel? Here you go: [links about Cheney not giving up info on who he met with re: energy policy, and the anti-corporate tax legislation they passed shortly after 9/11]

* overthrow foreign governments which are not convenient to them (or, in Venezuela's case, try),

And what proof do you have to support this allegation?

"Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck . . . " Here you go: A TALE OF TWO COUPS : Gregory Palast: "In an interview Chavez told me: 'I have the written proof, I have the time of the entries and exits of the two military officers from the United States into the headquarters of the coup plotters - I have their names, who they met with, what they said on video and still photographs.' He elaborated: 'I have in my hands a radar image of a military vessel that came into Venezuelan waters on 13 April. I have radar images of a helicopter that takes off from that ship and flies over Venezuela and of other planes that violated Venezuelan air space.' "

Also: "The coup was directed by the White House."

Plus: Calls for the Resignation of George W. Bush : "Bob Chapman's INTERNATIONAL FORECASTER ( international financial, economic, political and social commentary) says in this weekend's issue that word is starting to filter out that the Pentagon had forces on standby to provide logistical support to the coup conspirators, which attempted to overthrow the Hugo Chavez government in Venezuela."

Also: Venezuela: A Coup With The Smell Of Hamburger, Ham & Oil : Znet: "According to private investigations, one of the results of the coup was to be the denationalization of oil: the privatization of the state oil company PetrĂ³leos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), leaving it in the hands of a U.S. firm linked to President George Bush and to the Spanish company Repsol; to sell PDVSA's U.S. subsidiary, Citgo, to Gustavo Cisneros and his U.S. partners; and the end of the nation's underground reserves."

Times of India: Chavez Says He Has Proof of US Hand in Coup : "The coup was directed by the White House." . . . and I could go on, but let's end with Al Giordano of Narco News: Three Days That Shook the Media

* extend their oil hands to Uzbekistan and elsewhere,

So? We need oil. And Uzbekistan and other countries in the region desperately need to sell it to the world market (though mostly, what is becoming available, and probably would have become available anyway, because the Taliban was working on putting together the same deal) is natural gas. The oil argument is a big yawn. It's more empty leftist, anti-capitalist (which means anti-people) rhetoric.

Leftist equals anti-capitalist equals anti-people? What, do you think in cartoons? Let me tell you something HBO3: the best minds in the world right now are working on renewable energy sources. Bush's energy plan was shaped by the oil industry--what, did you miss all those reports of Cheney's meetings and him refusing to give up the information about it? Do they pay you to lobby for oil, or did you just fall for that pro-oil progit all on your own?

* "clamp down on civil liberties"

Really, how do you figure? WBW is still being published. Noam Chomsky is still ranting and raving and isn't in jail. I go to work, come home, travel around -- pretty much live my life exactly as I did a year ago as I do today. My civil liberties seem to be just fine. If I wanted to fly on a plane, would I be more inconvenienced? Sure. So? If I were giving money to questionable Arab charities, would the FBI come knocking on my door? I would certainly hope so.

* "and vigorously promote their Fundamentalist agenda at home and abroad"

Again, documentation please.

Again, there is a difference between the direction towards a police state, and an absolute police state.

America's attack on civil liberties and directions toward a dictatorship and 'police state'::: Bush Edges Toward Suspension of Habeas Corpus : Bush Seeks Department 'Above the Law' : FBI Targets Protest Groups : Journalists Sentenced to 'Restriction of Freedom' : Be Wary of FBI's Sweeping New Powers : Supreme Court: Justice Best Served By Secrecy : Has Bush Declared Martial Law? : "Dramatic Constitutional Crises in US" : US Cartoonists Under Pressure to Toe Patriotic Line : Protecting Liberty in a Permanent War

America's promulgation of it's Fundamentalist agenda::: [links regarding Ashcroft versus people of Oregon re: suicide law, and Ashcroft versus states who don't always want to go for the death penalty]

Lastly, maybe you only got ten hits from WBW because the people who read us are a little saturated with the "fundamentalist perspective" which is tired, tired, tired--much like the "ad hominem" ad nauseum approach to WBW criticism the killblogger cartel takes to WBW . . . My above assertations would only seem "outlandish" to one who still retains the childish (meaning, learned whilst a child in America) notion that America can do no wrong! How dare you attack her! We're the greatest nation on earth, etc. I and many other other sophisticates in the US and elsewhere would maintain that American has many wonderful qualities, but being willfully ignorant of any of it's flaws is not one of them.

3. In Which Menlo Once Again Calls Upon Fundamentalist HBO3, Henchman Reynolds and Pej to Refute : Try Again

Now, Reynolds, do you still think "shooting fish in a barrel" is the best description of the recent 'refutation' of HBO3? And Pej, HBO3 "annihilates" WBW, or me? Are you kidding? All three of you are welcome to try again. And this time, please try and leave the cliches at home.

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