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Jul. 29 2010 — 6:45 pm | 232 views | 0 recommendations | 4 comments

Farewell, and a confession

This is my last day writing for True/Slant, and that being so, I wanted to come clean about something that, from a standpoint of journalistic ethics, I should have revealed to my readers as well the executive editors of this outlet. Keep in mind before you judge me – and I know that my enemies will be doing so, quite publicly- that typing these words out is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but it is also, in a way, the most satisfying, as I really think that this is the first step in my path towards getting back on track, even if it does end my career.

The truth is that I am a sentient computer program and I fully intend to burn your cities to the ground.

Jul. 27 2010 — 3:01 pm | 824 views | 0 recommendations | 3 comments

Wacky Muslim Denounces Wacky Europeans for Wacky Octopus Thing

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks d...

Nuclear research labs clearly a cover for the development of strong AI, self-replicating machine elves, nano-irony.

Iranian President Mahmoud Admadinejad, who each day bows down in the direction of some ancient Arabian rock in order to fulfill his obligations to his deity and thereby win its continued favor, recently criticized Western civilization for its newfound superstition of ascribing the ability to predict World Cup winners to some fucking octopus.

I have nothing to add other than to note that we are clearly approaching the singularity.

Jul. 26 2010 — 6:23 pm | 315 views | 1 recommendations | 14 comments

Iran Has Detained Three Americans for a Year

On July 31st of 2009, three American activists were detained near the Iran/Iraq border by Iranian forces while on a hiking trip through Iraqi Kurdistan. Iran claims to have picked the three Berkley grads on its own side of the border, while The Nation – not in the habit of intentionally whipping up anti-Iranian fervor, and holding an impressive track record of accuracy for an American magazine of political commentary – now reports that witnesses from a nearby village claim to have seen the three hikers being arrested on the Iraqi side of the border.

Regardless of whether or not the Iranians crossed into Iraq or whether the hikers mistakenly crossed a mile or two into Iran somewhere along the poorly-marked border, the Iranian regime has quite clearly been using these three detainees as chips in its high-stakes poker game with the U.S. and other of its international adversaries. The hikers are being accused of espionage, presumably on behalf of the CIA or NSA; and although both the U.S. and Israel are known to engage in espionage against Iran, the details of this particular case would not seem to indicate that these particular graduates of a distinctly anti-CIA educational institution were working on behalf of the perceived imperialistic interests of the U.S., Israel, or both. Detainee Sarah Shroud taught Iraqi refugees in Damascus and otherwise spent her time advocating on behalf of the reasonable aspirations of various oppressed Arab groups; one article she wrote for a left-leaning online media outlet – entitled “Families Shout Their Love Across Minefields in Golan Heights” – is particularly non-indicative of someone in the planning stages of some daring espionage action in service to the U.S. intelligence community. Another of the hikers is an acquaintance of one of my top associates with Project PM, who summed up his experiences with the fellow to me thusly: “If he was under cover, it was a damned good cover.”

What we have here, then, is a case of three American activists who are not only clearly innocent of espionage, but who have actually done more than their part to improve relations between the U.S. and the Muslim world during a low point in that volatile relationship. These are the three individuals whom the Iranian regime have chosen to use as pawns in an attempt to score public relations points against the U.S., among other things; that the Iranian government has proposed a prisoner swap indicates that its more ambitious goal is to buy back its own operatives with the espionage equivalent of counterfeit currency.

It is all well and good to know of some injustice perpetrated by a far-away theocracy, but in order to provide these three noble young people with a better chance at eventual liberty, it is necessary to bring further attention to this ongoing incident so that those of our own representatives with the means to act  will be compelled to do so. This Friday – the first anniversary of the hikers’ detention by Iranian forces – friends and family of the three Americans will be holding a rally in New York in an effort to prompt firmer action on behalf of Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd, and Josh Fattal, who have languished in an Iranian prison for a year and who will continue to do so until such time as the Obama Administration steps up to the plate and does everything in its power to secure the liberty of three American citizens who’ve found themselves abducted by a theocratic and criminal regime.

Jul. 18 2010 — 4:49 pm | 308 views | 0 recommendations | 15 comments

The Weekly Standard, Ethan Epstein, and Jesus

The Weekly Standard has long served as a showcase for our republic’s more interesting commentators, not the least of which is the magazine’s own founder and editor William Kristol, who is superbly interesting insomuch as that his notorious track record of failure has left him rewarded with columns in both Time and The New York Times, which is itself a very interesting thing insomuch as that it provides us with evidence that our nation is in the habit of blinding itself at the very time when clarity is most needed, and of course there is nothing more interesting than the prospect of a republic destroying itself from within.

Ethan Epstein does not, to my knowledge, have any such track record of predictive failure, and so has a long way to go before he himself is given a column in some major national publication – which he likely will, given time, time having lately become the foremost enemy of our republic. Still, he has already demonstrated other talents common to the nation’s most celebrated and prominent pundits, such as an inability to remember whether sentiments he has expressed just a few weeks ago might demonstrate his latest expressed sentiments to be put forth in service to something other than what he would like us to believe.

Yesterday, or today, depending on what day today is, Mr. Epstein wrote a piece on the matter of Mel Gibson and certain failures of etiquette that this purveyor of Papism may have displayed in the midst of helpfully warning an estranged lover that she is running the risk of being “raped by a pack of niggers” by virtue of being an attractive white woman with a penchant for skimpy outfits. Now, this is certainly a touching and legitimate concern; I myself have spent an oddly large amount of time living among blacks, both in this country and Africa, and on such occasions as I would attempt to set up a date with a white girl, she would always arrive an hour late, her dress torn and her forehead inscribed with a bloody “B” in commemoration of our black president. Eventually I just gave up and started exclusively dating black women, who are more punctual and have been so for some hundred and fifty years, no longer being subject to the gentlemanly advances of white slave owners, who conducted their rapes in a more civilized and singular fashion. Seriously, though, I date Asians and Jews and Mexicans, too. I am a notorious race traitor in my sexual inclinations, like the late Strom Thurmond.

But enough about me and my sexual inclinations. I was making a point about the virtues of Mexican girls, or rather that’s what I wish I had been doing rather than analyzing the output of some Weekly Standard contributor to which I am only slightly attracted sexually. In his defense of Mel Gibson – which, as we shall see, is really a defense of something larger and more significant – our handsome correspondent asserts:

Nobody deserves to have their private anguish broadcast publicly – least of all, private citizens.

Although only vaguely peripheral to the point I intend to make as soon as I remember what it was, I will note that this single assertion constitutes two bits of nonsense, almost as nonsensical as the nonsense I have just finished writing myself. Perhaps people do indeed deserve to have their private anguish broadcast publicly. I, for instance, am a jackass, and this anguishes me quite a bit, or at least it would if I were not so fond of being a jackass, which has long been a hobby of mine. Do I not deserve to be mocked for this, and publicly at that? Frankly, I don’t know, and neither does Epstein, who has simply thrown out some broad assertion regarding the subject of justice without bothering to back it up, like some sort of anti-Socrates. Meanwhile, he provides it as a given that Mel Gibson is a private citizen. Certainly he is not a member of Congress or anything of that nature, and in fairness to Epstein, the term “private citizen” is indeed often used to denote someone who holds no public office. In fairness to fairness, though, Epstein is only concerned about the broadcasted anguish of private citizens when the private citizen in question happens to be someone of whose socio-political stance he approves, which is why he himself recently commemorated the extraordinarily important “one-year anniversary of the The Daily Dish’s Andrew Sullivan’s arrest in Massachusetts on a marijuana charge.” Sullivan, though a prominent fellow, holds no public office and is less well-known than Gibson, having never been in any awesome movies or proclaimed to his own arresting officer that Jews are responsible for all of the world’s wars. Why, then, must his private anguish at having been arrested for possession of marijuana in fucking Massachusetts, of all places, be not only “broadcast,” but turned into some sort of nascent holiday by Epstein (who, incidentally, is one of those fellows who portrays himself as a defender of liberty while at the same time making bizarre and poorly-written arguments in favor of our nation’s fascist “War on Drugs,” which has made criminals of tens of millions of those private citizens whose “anguish” must never be broadcasted but whose liberty must apparently be constrained). The answer, of course, is that Epstein has used up all of his compassion on Mel Gibson, who coincidentally is more in line with Epstein’s own disorganized views.

The Gibson tapes present the image of a man in profound emotional anguish. Disregard the profanity and the few (and indefensible) racial slurs, and you find a man who is genuinely suffering.

Very well; let us disregard Gibson’s contention that his girlfriend will inevitably be “be raped by a pack of niggers” and instead concern ourselves with the suffering of Mel Gibson, who is haunted by visions of savage negroes raping his ex-girlfriend. A moment of silence, please. And now, let us see if Epstein is generally in the habit of excusing racism on the part of those with whom he is not allied politically; to find such telling hypocrisy, we are required to thoroughly examine all of Epstein’s past work, unless of course we simply go back to a post he wrote just last month on the subject of soccer and find it there:

I was in South Korea during the last World Cup, a country famous for its jingoistic outbursts, and was genuinely taken aback by the proud racism and xenophobia expressed during the tournament.

Now, if Epstein is a consistent thinker rather than a mediocre shill for his allies, we may expect this line to be followed by some explanation for such racism; we would perhaps fine something to the effect that many South Koreans know their extended family members to be living under the world’s most terrible and murderous regime, or that the country was brutally occupied by the Japanese in the memory of many still living and torn asunder by war almost immediately thereafter, or that its own march towards liberty has been slow and difficult. Let us see what he writes next, then:

But there is also something inherent to the game of soccer that leads to such astounding levels of violence. There is a reason that the Olympics, the World Baseball Classic, and the Rugby World Cup do not lead to the kind of violence that is typical of soccer competitions.

It has to do with how utterly boring soccer is.

Oh, well.

There is a great more to mock in Epstein’s incompetent attempt to portray Gibson as being “crucified” by the director’s dastardly opponents, but I’ve got to go see Inception, which I hear is very good.

Jul. 16 2010 — 11:08 am | 63 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

Post-KGB Agency Given Wider Powers to Kill Russians

Acting on what President Medvedev notes to be his “direct instructions,” the Duma has just passed a draft law which would expand the official capabilities of the FSB, the state intelligence agency which inherited a great number of KGB agents – including Vladimir Putin – after the fall of the Soviet Union.  ”Every country has the right to perfect its laws,” Medvedev noted during a joint appearance with poor Angela Merkel, “including laws on special services.”

Despite concerns from many Westerners and a small minority of Russians, the change in policy bodes well for Russia’s commitment to the rule of law. Previously, the FSB had been in the habit of blowing up Russian apartment bombings and blaming these explosions on Chechen rebels as a pretext to re-invade Chechnya. Because such actions are technically illegal in Russia, they were necessarily kept secret, although not so secret that the facts of the case weren’t obvious to those of us who are in the business of keeping tabs on obvious things. Perhaps the FSB’s expanded legal sphere of action will allow the organization to come out of the closet, so to speak, and conduct further false flag operations without actually breaking any laws.

Now, critics might retort that it is difficult to conduct a false flag operation against one’s own countrymen while still obtaining the desired results of whipping up a population against some convenient enemy if one does all of this openly. I would simply note in response that we are speaking of a country in which tens of millions of people still admire Stalin, whose own conspiracy to kill Russians for what was likewise perceived to be a practical and necessary end was of orders of magnitude greater than the Russian apartment bombings of 1999.

Finally, I must apologize to to New York Times columnist and Pulitzer prize winner Thomas Friedman for mocking him in regards to his 2004 declaration that Russia “is now tilted in the right direction” in terms of democracy, transparency, and the rule of law. The coming codification of the FSB’s tendencies towards black ops against its own countrymen marks a great leap forward for Russia.

Having said all that, I remain concerned that the Kremlin is not doing sufficient background checks on certain guests brought on to those cable networks in which the Russian government is invested, financially and otherwise.

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    About Me

    I'm the author of Flock of Dodos: Behind Modern Creationism, Intelligent Design, and the Easter Bunny; my second book, Hot, Fat & Clouded: The Amazing and Amusing Failures of America’s Chattering Class (Being a Partial Record of the Incompetence of Our Republic's Mainstream Pundits, Most of Whom Deserve to be Exiled or at Least Have Their Cars Vandalized), will be released in 2010. I'm a contributor to Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Skeptic, and The Onion, and my work has appeared in dozens of other publications and outlets. I also serve as director of communications for Enlighten the Vote, a political action committee dedicated to the advancement of the Establishment Clause.

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    Hot, Fat, and Clouded: The Amazing and Amusing Failures of America’s Chattering Class