Blimp deflator: Letting out the gas

Yeehaw . . . saddle up that dinosaur!

Posted in books, united states by Blimp deflator on December 21, 2012

Texan Republican

Idiot America

The above cartoon, from The Dominion Post of November 13, 2012, brought to mind Charles P. Pierce’s 2009 book, Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free. Pierce looks at “the glorification of ignorance in the United States”, and asks how “a country founded on intellectual curiosity has somehow deteriorated into a nation of simpletons more apt to vote for an American Idol contestant than a presidential candidate”. One might add: And a country where people readily believe that a few furniture fires can cause the total collapse of a steel-framed building in less than 10 seconds.

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Where Did the Towers Go? by Judy Wood

Posted in books, united states by Blimp deflator on December 2, 2012

Where Did the Towers Go?

From the blurb at wheredidthetowersgo.com:

“Many people have speculated as to who committed the crimes of 9/11 and/or how they did so. But without addressing what happened, speculation of this kind is nothing more than conspiracy theory, a phrase that also describes the 19 bad guys with box cutters story we were given before noon on 9/11/01.

“My own research is not speculation. It is a forensics investigation of what happened to the WTC complex on 9/11/01. I don’t address who did it, nor am I concerned with that question right now. Before issues of that kind can be addressed, we must first determine what happened.”

Dr Judy Wood has persuaded me to abandon the “controlled demolitions” hypothesis.

Motorist comes up with a great solution to parking problems

Posted in books, britain, humor by Blimp deflator on July 5, 2012

Carpark
From A Century of Punch, edited by R.E. Williams (William Heinemann Ltd, 1956).

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New book of note: Predator Nation

Posted in books, economy, united states by Blimp deflator on May 24, 2012

Predator Nation
It is no exaggeration to say that since the 1980s, much of the American (and global) financial sector has become criminalized, creating an industry culture that tolerates or even encourages systematic fraud. The behavior that caused the mortgage bubble and financial crisis was a natural outcome and continuation of this pattern, rather than some kind of economic accident.

It is important to understand that this behavior really is seriously criminal. We are not talking about neglecting some bureaucratic formality. We are talking about deliberate concealment of financial transactions that aided terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferation, and large-scale tax evasion; assisting in concealment of criminal assets and activities by others; and directly committing frauds that substantially worsened the worst financial bubbles and crises since the Depression.

The above is an excerpt from How Financial Criminalization Crashed the Economy, and the Culprits Got Off Scot-Free, by Charles Ferguson, Director of the Wall Street documentary Inside Job. The article was published in the Huffington Post on May 23, 2012. Get the DVD of Inside Job if you haven’t already got it.

Nam: Lest We Forget

Posted in books, korea, united states, vietnam by Blimp deflator on May 19, 2012

Nam, by Mark Baker
In Vietnam, cutting off the body parts of the enemy was less a counting aid than a status symbol. “We had a thing in the Nam. We used to cut their ears off. We had a trophy. If a guy would have a necklace of ears, he was a good killer, a good trooper. It was encouraged to cut ears off, to cut the nose off, to cut the guy’s penis off. A female, you cut her breast off. It was encouraged to do these things. The officers expected you to do it or something was wrong with you.” — Page 65.

Reading this passage, which I found not in Nam but in The Corpse: A History, by Christine Quigley, reminded me of a former Marine I knew in Yokohama in 1962. (I won’t mention his name, as his daughter found my last reference to him.) He told me that, during the Korean War, he had gone from village to village, looking for people to kill. Then, after each “kill”, he had cut off an ear and pinned it to his belt — until he was encircled by his trophies.

When I asked him how he could do that sort of thing, he replied: “That’s the way it is.”

The Wandering Who?

Posted in books, history, israel, palestine, religion by Blimp deflator on January 27, 2012

The Wandering Who?The Wandering Who? by Gilad Atzmon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Essential reading for anyone interested in the issues of Zionism, Judaism, Jewish-ness, anti-Semitism, and history in general. (Atzmon maintains that Zionism “developed as a reaction to the emancipation of European Jewry”, when it was realized that this “might lead to the disappearance of the Jewish identity”. He further maintains that Zionism drew strength from a “created image of emerging anti-Semitism” . . . “a myth of persistent persecution”. Hence Herzl’s displeasure when French Jews, in the wake of the Dreyfus affair, showed signs of feeling “truly emancipated”.)

Elsewhere, Atzmon shows how a tribal cult like Zionism, which by its nature is exceptionalist, is incompatible with a universalist ethic, and suggests that nothing truly progressive can be expected from a state, such as Israel, that clings relentlessly to “a phantasmic, invented yesterday”. Appositely, he notes that Britain and America have also abandoned a “true historical discourse” in favor of a “banal and simplistic historic tale to do with WWII, Cold War, Islam, 911, etc”.

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EXTRACT: The Holocaust religion [as first postulated by Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz] is the conclusive and final stage in the Jewish dialectic: it is the end of Jewish history, for it is the deepest and most sincere form of ‘self-love’. Rather than requiring an abstract God to designate the Jews as the Chosen People, in the Holocaust religion the Jews cut out this divine middleman and simply choose themselves. Jewish identity politics transcends the notion of history — God is the master of ceremonies. The new Jewish God, i.e. ‘the Jew’, cannot be subject to any human contingent occurrence. Thus the Holocaust religion is protected by laws, while every other historical narrative is debated openly by historians, intellectuals and ordinary people. The Holocaust sets itself as an eternal truth that transcends critical discourse.

The Face of Imperialism

Posted in books, economy, history, united states by Blimp deflator on January 23, 2012

The Face of ImperialismThe Face of Imperialism by Michael Parenti
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Excellent summary (in only 134 pages) of the monstrous crimes committed by the US empire as it attempts to control the world.”

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EXTRACT: The goal of US reactionary rulers is the Third Worldization of the entire world including Europe and North America, a New World Order in which capital rules supreme with no public sector services or labor unions to speak of; no prosperous, literate, effectively organized working class or highly educated middle class with rising expectations and a strong sense of entitlement; no public medical care, pension funds, occupational safety, or environmental and consumer protections, or any of the other insufferable things that might cut into profits and lead to a more egalitarian distribution of life chances.