November 14, 2007

Camille Paglia Is a Stud/God.

(Hey! What did I say? Stop looking at me like that!)

Her latest bitchfest in Salon is incredible. On Hillary Clinton:

Hillary seems to have acolytes rather than friends -- hardly a reassuring trait for a potential president whose paranoia has already been called Nixonian. Isolated monarchs never hear the bad news until the people riot and the lynch mob is at the door.

And on the paucity of good female candidates for President:

I have repeatedly said that Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California should have been the first woman president. With all due respect to Salon's perspicacious Glenn Greenwald, whose hard-hitting columns on Feinstein as a Beltway politician have been must-reads, Feinstein's statewide and national popularity are mainly due to her unflappable performances on television as a shrewd, steady, articulate public servant, deeply informed about military matters. She handles and deflects media queries with silky ease. Exuding both authority and compassion, she has true gravitas -- a rare quality in women. Dianne Feinstein, not Hillary Clinton, has already created the paradigm for a female commander in chief.

Well, except for that whole "I want to ban guns that look scary" campaign. And the "here, Mr. Serial Killer! We know what your tennis shoes look like, so you might want to dump them in the Bay!" escapade. And, of course, that awkward moment during the Milk murder. Other than those itty bitty problems, Feinstein is just terrific. I would definitely nominate her for Gun-Grabber in Chief, or Investigation Botcher in Chief, if we had such titles.

As far as I'm concerned, the archtypal female CiC remains Condi Rice. Hillary might have been fine in terms of her presentation skills (which, of course, is a big stumbling block for Paglia), but my problem is that ever since she got her face botoxed Hillary can't really show emotion (except by popping her eyes out), and I want someone in the Oval Office who's going to scare the shit out of our enemies. (Yup. We have 'em. Sorry to break it to you.) I don't care so much whether it's a man, or a woman, or . . . what was that other sex? I'm getting very absent-minded in my old age.

We've had some bitchin' female heads of state throughout history. It's simply an accident that we haven't had one in this particular country quite yet. But there's no rush, for it will certainly happen at some point.

And here's Camille on the environment:

This facile attribution of climate change to human agency is an act of hubris. Good stewardship of the environment is an ethical imperative for every nation. But breast-beating hysteria merely betrays impious tunnel vision. Thousands of factors, minute and grand, are at work in cyclic climate change, whose long-term outcomes we cannot possibly predict. Nature should inspire us with awe, not pity.

I probably don't read Paglia enough, because 1) her blindness about the War on Terror is irritating, given that this is the primary challenge we face today, and 2) I have an old-fashioned feminist streak in me that once in a while gets hit crosswise with her swashbuckling PI rhetoric.

But the important thing about Paglia is this: she writes what she thinks, notwithstanding how her homies are going to feel about it. Truth trumps diplomacy, every time.

It's an enchanting quality, and a rare one. It's the same reason I adore Christopher Hitchens, with whom I agree on very little.

Read Paglia's whole essay, though: as a special bonus, she wrote silly apologetics about the morally/intellectually bankrupt Norman Mailer, and they made me giggle.

Posted by Attila Girl at November 14, 2007 10:49 PM | TrackBack

her blindness about the War on Terror is irritating, given that this is the primary challenge we face today

You really believe that?

I rather think the collapsing dollar, soaring energy, food and commodity prices, an acute housing market crisis, a credit crisis that is largely being papered over by the Fed, a southern border being overrun by illegals, all rank a tad higher in terms of the total number of Americans potentially adversely affected, than the chances of another third-world camel-humper crashing another plane into a building and killing a few people.

Anyway, you ought to know you can't win a War on Terror any more than you can win a War on Poverty or a War on Drugs or any other war on an abstract notion. You win wars against Germans or Japanese or Viet-Cong (had we the balls to see it through) or Baathist madmen or even Al Qaida cells.

Terrorism is a method. The "War on Terror" is a war on a method, which is absurd, and as doomed to failure as the "War on Poverty" (war on a human condition) or the "War on Drugs" (which is really a war on the citizenry).

Not that this bothers those pushing this line of absurdity any. Because this and the other wars on abstractions serve to turn decent freedom loving conservatives into authoritarian party-liners. And I've decided I've had quite enough of that.

Posted by: Desert Cat at November 15, 2007 08:19 PM

1) Okay: War on Islamo-fascists. Better? Or do you need for me to list specific state sponsors?

2) One other little point: the events of 9/11 did not help the U.S. economy. Not even a little.

3) And I have seen higher energy prices--I was around in the 1970s.

4) Sell me on the "credit crisis." It seems to me that fewer people will become homeowners in the most popular areas of the country, and more people will be paying cash for a lot of their purchases--which might not be a bad thing.

I mean, your point is taken about the potential reach of the "camel-humpers," on a certain level. But some of 'em have computers, now, and they are constantly finding new ways to reach out and decapitate someone . . . so, yeah. I think the economy can sort itself out if we keep taxes low--but bright, creative guys with Saudi dollars, twisted morals, a death wish, and plenty of time on their hands make me nervous.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 15, 2007 10:08 PM

Funny when we have a war on terror, or a war on fascism, or a war on piracy we can find targets to put in our sights. If Bush would have said "War on al Qaeda." critics would have said "What about..."
Armed Islamic Group (GIA)
Abu Sayyaf
Aden-Abyan Islamic Army (Yemen)
The Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC)
Adolat - Uzbekistan
Akromiya - Uzbekistan
Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya
Abu Nidal[2]
Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades[2]
Black Hand (Palestine)[2]
Black September (group)[2]
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)[2]
Fatah Hawks
Force 17
Hamas -
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)
Popular Resistance Committees
Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement
Palestine Liberation Front
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front (FPMR)
Babbar Khalsa
Bhinderanwala Tiger Force of Khalistan
International Sikh Youth Federation
Dashmesh Regiment
Khalistan Commando Force
Khalistan Liberation Force
Khalistan Liberation Front
Khalistan National Army
Khalistan Zindabad Force
Saheed Khalsa Force

Al-Barakaat (Al-Qaida front)
Al-Wafa Humanitarian Organization (Al-Qaida front)
Benevolence International Foundation (Al-Qaida front)
Global Relief Foundation (Al-Qaida front)
Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (Hamas)
Konsojaya Trading Company (Jemaah Islamiyah front)
God's Army
Nagaland Rebels
National Democratic Front of Bodoland
Irish National Liberation Army
Irish Republican Army
Ulster Volunteer Force
Ulster Defence Association
Barisan Merah Putih
Laskar Jihad
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
Anti-State Justice
Black Star
Conscientious Arsonists
The Angry Brigade
New Revolutionary Alternative
Squamish Five
Shining Path
Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA)
Animal Liberation Front (ALF)
Environmental Life Force

and hundreds more.

"War on Terror" makes the point.

Posted by: Darrell at November 16, 2007 10:37 AM

So are we at war against all of those organizations who happen to be using terrorism as one of their tactics? Do we have troops in the field confronting all of them?

Is it really our job to be the world's policeman?

Posted by: Desert Cat at November 16, 2007 11:01 AM

I've got more here, since my previous post was rejected.

Posted by: Desert Cat at November 16, 2007 11:03 AM

Yes. We are at war with all terrorists groups and those governments that fund, supply, shelter, and direct these groups for their own surrogate interests. We must to protect US interests and US citizens wherever they may be found. Our nation said "enough is enough" shortly after 9/11.

NINJA loans. . . No income, no job, no assets, no problem! Who could have guessed they would ever be a problem? Who encouraged such programs and held the simitar of prosecution over those who wouldn't? Hmmm. Count me in to help all those involved in those transactions.

And ditto helping those that were flipping houses to make a profit. As soon as I get help for all my bad investments/decisions I ever made(Wanna buy a Nagel serigraph, anyone?). The market will work it out, it always does. Something tells me that people will need houses in the years to come.

Posted by: Darrell at November 16, 2007 02:07 PM

Or scimitars of of prosecution, even!

Posted by: Darrell at November 16, 2007 02:55 PM

Well count on me to write what I think too then. BTW I have a couple of economic indicator charts posted in reply to #2.

Posted by: Desert Cat at November 16, 2007 07:45 PM

In re: your comment about offshore manufacturing, I'm all for letting natural market forces sort out the cheapest way to produce products.

But my specific comment was in regards to the Chinese practice of pegging their currency to the dollar. That is an *artificial* constraint that gives their economy a decided advantage against the US economy for those production decisions. And that isn't the only thing they do. They heavily subsidize their shipping industry by way of a banking trick that underwrites the construction of shipping containers by overvaluing the empty containers stacking up on US shores. Somehow their "cost" for producing a shipping container is no more than the *scrap value of the steel* it is composed of! Highly dubious.

And there are doubtless more such cards up their sleeve that all add up to unfair trade practices.

I'm all for free trade. But for free trade to work properly, this sort of gaming can't be part of the market equation.

Posted by: Desert Cat at November 16, 2007 08:13 PM

It sounds like you're talking about the Canadians WRT the entertainment industry.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 16, 2007 09:29 PM

No income, no job, no assets, no problem! Who could have guessed they would ever be a problem? Who encouraged such programs and held the simitar of prosecution over those who wouldn't? Hmmm. Count me in to help all those involved in those transactions.

You're already in, whether you want to be or not, thanks to the Fed. They've decided to inflate their way out of this mess, and that affects everyone, not just the stupid mortgage companies and stupid homebuyers at fault.

Posted by: Desert Cat at November 18, 2007 08:40 PM

Yes. We are at war with all terrorists groups and those governments that fund, supply, shelter, and direct these groups for their own surrogate interests.

Tell me then Darrell, where does the US stack up in that list when were funding and supplying the Mujahideen fighting their guerilla/terrorist war against the Soviets in Afghanistan? Or how about when we encouraged the Shiites and Kurds to rise up against Saddam? What was the Bay of Pigs about? Or for that matter the installation of Salvador Allende in Chile or the Shah in Iran?

But of course! You see it's all perfectly okay when the good ole US does it to protect our own interests, isn't it? (And I'm not saying there weren't good reasons for many of the above actions.) It seems to me that other groups, peoples and nations might see it similarly. And that an awful lot of hubris can be masked by such a Righteous and Noble War.

It is worth examining what is really going on and in whose interests it really is.

Posted by: Desert Cat at November 18, 2007 10:32 PM

*urk* I mean the *deposition* of Allende.

Posted by: Desert Cat at November 18, 2007 10:34 PM

Um . . . Kitty. Don't you think you're engaging in a little bit of moral equivalence, here? I mean, in (e.g.) Afghanistan, our mistake was withdrawing too abruptly and creating a power vacuum--to be filled with some of the young Islamic activists we'd empowered, among others.

But the guys we were fighting used to disguise land mines as toys, so that children would pick them up and be blown up. I'm not so sure that, in fighting the Soviet monster, we became anything quite so monstrous ourselves . . .

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 19, 2007 12:24 AM

Don't you think you're engaging in a little bit of moral equivalence, here?
Missed this part maybe:
And I'm not saying there weren't good reasons for many of the above actions.

No, I don't think so. I'm not trying to anyway. But you see how easy it is to sweep even the US up in such a broad generalization? What I'm saying is we need to be more specific and targeted in what we proclaim ourselves to be fighting, lest we find fingers pointing back at ourselves.

Because if, in fact we wish to keep open the possibility of a "Cold War" type struggle against Islamic extremism, then we ought to be cautious about taking things off the table that could be construed to be hypocritical if we employ them (funding resistance movements for example).

Regarding the Mujahideen, I am referring back to the 1980s when we funded, supplied, and directed that group for our own surrogate interests against the Soviets. "We" weren't technically in there at all, so I'm left wondering which sudden withdrawal you might be referring to. The Soviets ultimately withdrew. The Mujahideen--who we were supporting--were the ones disguising land mines as toys and employing the kind of tactics we claim to abhor. We weren't fighting *them* at the time.

It seems you may be suggesting that we share some of that monstrosity then? Yeah, war sucks, and we sometimes have supported terrorists in our bid to win it. I think that kind of plays into my point though. The Mujahideen were terrorists, no doubt. But they were *our* terrorists.

Yes. We are at war with all terrorists groups and those governments that fund, supply, shelter, and direct these groups for their own surrogate interests. We must to protect US interests and US citizens wherever they may be found. Our nation said "enough is enough" shortly after 9/11.

Fingers pointing back...

It seems to me that other groups, peoples and nations might see it similarly. And that an awful lot of hubris can be masked by such a Righteous and Noble War.

Are we the only ones who can protect our own interests?

Just saying.

More info here

Posted by: Desert Cat at November 19, 2007 07:03 PM

Look, the bottom line is we need to focus on goals not tactics. We're opposed by the Islamic extremists because they want to drive us out of the Middle East and establish an Islamic Caliphate. We have substantial national interests invested in our presence in the Middle East and need to defend them. As I see it, *that's* the focus and the bottom line. What are our national interests? What is essential for us to defend? Is what we're doing legitimately advancing our national interests? (And the $64,000 question: just what constitutes our national interest?)

All the rest of this yadda yadda moral posturing and pontificating about "terrrrror" is largely bullshit and smokescreen. We do not, in fact, have our military deployed around the world facing down that laundry list of terrorist organizations that Darrell posted. And for good reason. Most of them do not impact our national interests to the degree that Al Qaeda has.

Posted by: Desert Cat at November 19, 2007 07:33 PM

Ok, I am mistaken on one point. In reviewing some of the history I see that both the Soviets and the Mujahideen made heavy use of land mines. The Soviets did in fact deploy the "butterfly" landmines which resembled toys. The Mujahideen also used children in some of their tactics against the Soviets, including the tactic of hiding behind civilian populations.

Posted by: Desert Cat at November 19, 2007 08:59 PM

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