Ktismatics

23 August 2008

Biden?

Filed under: Reflections — ktismatics @ 9:26 am

I’m not always fully up to speed on political issues, but I think I’ve got this right. Biden was head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Congress authorized the invasion of Iraq. Presumably he had access to the same intelligence that Bush and company did, most of which seemed bogus even as Powell trotted it out on the UN floor. Yet Biden voted in favor of the war. He has continued voting in favor of war appropriations, arguing mostly that the Administration had failed through mismanagement and underdeployment of troops. Obama distinguished himself publicly from Hillary Clinton by virtue of his having voted against the war from the beginning. And now he chooses Biden as running mate?

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101 Comments »

  1. Politics.

    From a political viewpoint, it seems like a good move to me. O needs experience on the ticket, and he can’t pick Clinton(s).

    Also, I’m not clear: are you saying that the intelligence that Biden (presumably) was able to look at before he voted to authorize the Iraq war would have obviously appeared bogus to him? And that he voted for war, anyway, even though he knew the intelligence was bogus?

    Biden seemed to turn on the Iraq war fairly quickly, and I just heard a sound byte this morning of Biden very sharply criticizing Rumsfeld, essentially calling him incompetent.

    Who would you have rather seen on the ticket? Anyone in particular? Or just someone that seems more committed to getting out of Iraq?

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    Comment by Erdman — 24 August 2008 @ 7:47 am

  2. Yes, I’m saying that the intelligence supporting invasion of Iraq was bogus, and that Bush and company put a spin on it to make it look solid. Though others may disagree, I thought the falsity of the invasion pretext was already evident at the time, falsifiable through readily-available information sources at the time. Presumably it’s why Obama voted against the invasion, and it’s why most of the rest of the world opposed the invasion. It’s why I opposed it. Biden and Hillary Clinton both criticized Rumsfeld for mismanagement and for underestimating needed troop strength — i.e., they’d have sent even more troops over there. I disagree strongly with that position. Biden also supported the religious and ethnic partitioning of Iraq into 3 autonomous regions, which is essentially what’s happened: military intimidation and physically moving millions of people around the country in order to do ethnic cleansing within US-defined boundaries. This sort of ghettoization wasn’t even necessary in Saddam’s reign.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 24 August 2008 @ 9:26 am

  3. Most of the senators were NOT privy to any exhaustive intelligence before the Iraq vote. Krugman has talked about this a good deal, including when he was defending Kerry back in 2004. And once the war started, Biden’s and others criticisms of Rumsfeld’s cheapness in providing armour, etc., are valid. It’s a lot more than just ‘corrupt origins’. Everything I can think of is corrupt origins.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 24 August 2008 @ 9:28 am

  4. They had at least as much access to information as we civilians did. Yellowcake, anthrax vans, aluminum tubes, medium-range missiles, etc. — all this crap had been reported previously and exposed as bogus. The UN said they had it under control, and that Saddam was complying. The argument went something like this: if Saddam has nothing to hide, why isn’t he telling us about all his secret WMD projects — i.e., lack of evidence was regarded as evidence. Answer: because he didn’t have any secret WMD projects.

    Regarding Rumsfeld, the war was over in a week, just like everybody predicted. The US-led forces won; Saddam’s army lost. Since then it’s been entirely a matter of military occupation.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 24 August 2008 @ 9:36 am

  5. We civilians had no information, or their could have been no sale of the WMD scare. People believed it, it had NOT been exposed as the bogus thing it was, and it WAS sold; everybody was expecting WMD to turn up at any moment. Your point of view is anti-war, pure and simple, as far as I can make it out, and the timeline is inaccurate. The Niger yellowcake thing, for one, was only exposed well after the was was under way, when the Wilsons and Robert Novak started their tentative steps into getting into deep political shit. And the aluminum tubes business was not known to the public till probably 2005. That the Bush administration knew that these things were bogus does not mean that they let anybody else know that it was. How could they? Or is it that you think an entirely corrupt Congress knew for sure there were no WMD voted for the war based on the fake WMD and that’s why you think a Socialist candidate will assuage some sense of alienation you experience ‘as an Amurrican’.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 24 August 2008 @ 9:54 am

  6. They were bogus, but not exposed. If you put it into a CIA report as existing, you have not exposed it as false:

    “In July 2002, in the run up to the Invasion of Iraq, the CIA reported to Congress that “Iraq’s efforts to procure tens of thousands of proscribed high-strength aluminum tubes are of significant concern. All intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons and that these tubes could be used in a centrifuge enrichment program. Most intelligence specialists assess this to be the intended use, but some believe that these tubes are probably intended for conventional weapons programs.”[10]

    In January 2003, the language in the CIA’s report to Congress was similar, but provided a bit more detail about conventional weapons: “Iraq’s efforts to procure tens of thousands of proscribed high-strength aluminum tubes were of significant concern. All intelligence experts agreed that Iraq remained intent on acquiring nuclear weapons and that these tubes, if modified, could be used in a centrifuge enrichment program. Most intelligence specialists assessed this to be the intended use, but some believed that these tubes were probably intended for use as casings for tactical rockets.”[11]

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 24 August 2008 @ 9:58 am

  7. The Claim: An Iraqi defector codenamed “Curveball” was the source of reporting that Saddam Hussein had built a fleet of mobile biowarfare labs. Curveball’s claims of mobile bio labs were repeated by many administration figures during the runup to war.

    What We Know Now: The German intelligence officials who handled Curveball told the CIA that he was not “psychologically stable” and that his allegations of mobile bio labs were second hand and unverified. Link. The only American agent to actually meet with Curveball before the war warned that he appeared to be an alcoholic and was unreliable. However, his superior in the CIA told him it was best to keep quiet about this: “Let’s keep in mind the fact that this war’s going to happen regardless of what Curveball said or didn’t say, and the powers that be probably aren’t terribly interested in whether Curveball knows what he’s talking about.” Link. This dissent was not made public until 2004, in a response to the SSCI report that was written by Senator Dianne Feinstein. Link.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 24 August 2008 @ 10:05 am

  8. From Wikipedia:

    The classified documents detailing an Iraqi approach to purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger were considered dubious by some analysts in U.S. intelligence, according to news accounts. By early 2002, investigations by both the CIA and the State Department had found the documents to be inaccurate. Days before the Iraq invasion, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) voiced serious doubt on the authenticity of the documents to the U.N. Security Council, judging them counterfeit.

    On September 20, 2002, The United Press International reported that the there were

    doubts about the quality of some of the evidence that the United States is using to make its case that Iraq is trying to build a nuclear bomb emerged Thursday. While National Security Adviser Condi Rice stated on September 8 that imported aluminum tubes ‘are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs’ a growing number of experts say that the administration has not presented convincing evidence that the tubes were intended for use in uranium enrichment rather than for artillery rocket tubes or other uses. Former U.N. weapons inspector David Albright said he found significant disagreement among scientists within the Department of Energy and other agencies about the certainty of the evidence.

    This information was made public long before the war began, yet Bush and Powell continued repeating it as if it were true. You can read the Powell report to the UN and go point by point down the list, showing at the time that for each piece of purported evidence there was even more persuasive counter-evidence. No secret CIA intelligence was necessary: this information was available in the free press of the world. The argument at the time was that the CIA had secret info to override what was widely and publicly known, secret evidence that despite appearances the weapons really were there. That they had no further secret intelligence is the core of their corruption. That the Congress didn’t demand to see this alleged secret intelligence before exercising their Constitutional responsibility for declaring war is the core of their complicity. What I don’t know is whether Biden et al. really were kept in the dark, or whether they preferred not to know what the CIA didn’t know, in order not to be perceived as antiwar socialists who didn’t want to protect America from terrorists, etc.

    The mobile bioweapons vans I spoke falsely about. To my recollection these weren’t speculated on widely before the war began or used as justification for the attack. Instead they were discovered on the ground by American troops and paraded before the press as evidence that the WMDs did in fact exist. Of course this too proved bogus.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 24 August 2008 @ 10:43 am

  9. Bill Clinton almost surely knew that Saddam didn’t have WMDs or the capability to deliver them. Much of the intelligence was gathered on his watch, plus he exercised oversight of the ongoing Iraq flyovers and strategic decimation of the Iraqi airforce and other war-waging capabilities. I believe that the Democratic higher-ups knew that the Bush intelligence team had nothing else to go on, yet they went along with the deception.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 24 August 2008 @ 10:53 am

  10. I see that McCain is criticizing Obama for not picking Hillary Clinton as his running mate, despite her having garnered such a big share of primary support. I’m guessing this means that McCain is going to choose one of the guys who ran against him; i.e., Huckabee or Romney. I’m betting Romney for his perceived economic strengths.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 24 August 2008 @ 11:00 am

  11. http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/05/28/clinton.iraq/index.html

    So maybe good old Obama read the report, which wasn’t sufficient anyway, but said well, the only people who are honest are 3rd party people, so I’ll just go with Good Ole Unca Joe, ’cause le’s us all let bygones be bygones.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 24 August 2008 @ 11:21 am

  12. The URL won’t take here, so here’s the report from a year ago on the report some senators read, including Biden. But you seem to be going to the route of conspiracy theories, even if not for the WTC.

    Records: Senators who OK’d war didn’t read key report
    Story Highlights• Hillary Clinton, John McCain and most others in Congress didn’t read document
    • Newspaper: Six senators, a few House members logged as reading report
    • Most in Congress were briefed several times, read summary of report
    • Report was wrong about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq

    WASHINGTON (CNN) — A new biography of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has once again raised the issue of whether members of Congress read a key intelligence report before the 2002 vote to authorize war in Iraq.

    Clinton did not read the 90-page, classified National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, according to “Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

    For members of Congress to read the report, they had to go to a secure location on Capitol Hill. The Washington Post reported in 2004 that no more than six senators and a handful of House members were logged as reading the document.

    The Clinton biography, written by New York Times reporters Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr., summarizes the intelligence estimate, which combined reports of U.S. intelligence agencies about Iraq.

    Clinton, a New York Democrat, was briefed on the intelligence report multiple times, a spokesperson told CNN.

    Clinton is one of six presidential candidates who were in the Senate in October 2002 who voted for the resolution to authorize the invasion of Iraq.

    Candidate and then-Sen. John Edwards “read and was briefed on the intelligence” while sitting on the Senate Intelligence Committee, a spokesman said. Edwards has called his vote for the 2002 resolution a mistake. Another Democratic candidate, Sen. Joseph Biden, said he read the report.

    A spokesman for presidential candidate Sen. Christopher Dodd said the Connecticut Democrat did not read the document, either.

    Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona also voted in favor of the resolution without reading the report.

    A spokesman for McCain told CNN his boss was briefed on the document “numerous times, and read the executive summary.”

    Other candidates were not available for comment Monday.

    Misleading report
    The National Intelligence Estimate concluded that the United States had “compelling evidence” that Iraq was restarting its efforts to develop a nuclear bomb and had concealed stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons from U.N. inspectors after the cease-fire that ended the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

    That was wrong, but that wasn’t established until after a U.S. -led army toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s government in April 2003.

    The intelligence report did contain passages that raised questions about the weapons conclusions, said John McLaughlin, then deputy director of the CIA.

    “I think if someone read the entire report, they would walk away thinking the intelligence community generally thinks he has weapons of mass destruction, but there are quite a bit of differences,” he said.

    McLaughlin, now a CNN contributor, said dissenting views by the State Department, Department of Energy and the Air Force made up about 10 to 12 pages of the report — but critics say those dissents were not highlighted.

    Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he held a closed session at which members could read the report along with top CIA officials. (Watch Sen. Biden say he couldn’t vote against funding the war and put troops in greater jeopardy)

    Biden told CNN that he read the dissents in the report and he “spoke to the ones who dissented.”

    Biden ended up voting for the resolution, but argued that he was casting a vote “to avoid a war.”

    “It was a vote to give the authority to the president to avoid war by keeping the pressure on Saddam Hussein,” the Delaware Democrat said Monday.

    He said Bush initially told Congress he would allow inspectors to certify whether Iraq had dismantled its weapons programs.

    “The president misused the power we gave him under that resolution,” said Biden.

    Bush said war was necessary because Iraq was deceiving weapons inspectors and had demonstrated its unwillingness to disarm.

    A U.S.-led survey later concluded that Iraq had attempted to conceal some weapons-related research from the United Nations, but had abandoned its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs in the 1990s.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 24 August 2008 @ 11:26 am

  13. Anyway, good old Obama voted against the War, presumably that means he’s not a privileged beltway insider, and is just a puppet being put up for defeat by the McCain campaign, as in conspiracy theory. On the other hand, he chose Biden, who voted for the war, and therefore he was probably just allowed to vote no to prove that a black man could not really be a Washington insider, and so would appear to ‘vote his conscience’. It is interesting that leftists like you who oppose the was (even though I do too) do not think that the soldiers should have been reinforced properly once stuck in the war. That way they could pay for their government’s corrupt guilt. In other words, once Rumsfeld got his way to get in there, he was right to leave the troops as vulnerable as possible to being killed.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 24 August 2008 @ 11:33 am

  14. But now, Obama is a Beltway insider, has corrupted, chooses Biden, a known evil to leftist bloggers, and therefore is as useless as McCain to please the all-important constituency of leftist bloggers. Obama has made one person sick by his outrageous and even ‘practically stupid’ choice, and has made others find a way to huddle up with hurt feelings because Obama actually played the political game, and has refused to be the perfect flower-child poster-boy president that each of them would all be were THEY able to be president. None of these would pay any attention to head-breaking, and pressure groups or funders–they would be just like the Jesus Christ of Obama’s Nursery School speeches, after which he betrays all the innocent children of the left, who had hoped against hope of the beautiful new Age of Aquarius to come.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 24 August 2008 @ 11:37 am

  15. That so few Senators and Representatives read this report suggests what? Probably that it wouldn’t have affected their decision to vote for Bush’s war powers. I’d presume that their aides had briefed them on the contents, which were assembled by DOD and CIA guys presumably IN CONSPIRACY with Bush and Cheney to make it appear that they knew more than they really did. Either they really knew nothing more than anyone else knew, or they knew with near certainty even before the invasion that Saddam had no WMDs.

    Biden sounds really disingenuous and dissimulating in the quote you provided:

    Biden ended up voting for the resolution, but argued that he was casting a vote “to avoid a war.” “It was a vote to give the authority to the president to avoid war by keeping the pressure on Saddam Hussein,” the Delaware Democrat said Monday. He said Bush initially told Congress he would allow inspectors to certify whether Iraq had dismantled its weapons programs. “The president misused the power we gave him under that resolution,” said Biden.

    That’s hard to swallow, don’t you think Patrick? Once the resolution was passed it seemed a foregone eventuality that Bush would launch the war.

    Were the congressional Dems in on the fix from the beginning? If they weren’t they should have been, since it was their responsibility and not the President’s to declare war. I understand that they plead ignorance, which is also unconscionable given the perilous decision they were charged with making on behalf of the American people. Maybe at the time Obama wasn’t insider enough to know the fix was in, so he was relying on readily available intelligence and his own good judgment to vote against the war powers act. Hiring Biden signals that he’s prepared to play ball, not just with the Dem Party apparatchiks but maybe also with Bush and company. If some sort of criminal investigation of the rampup to war were to be launched, then we might come to know how much the Dem bigwigs knew and didn’t know. Conspiracy? Very possibly, and far more likely than the 9/11 AlQaeda-Cheney conspiracy.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 24 August 2008 @ 11:55 am

  16. You haven’t read the background on this, and I’ve spent all the time on this with you I’m going to. Do whatever you please, you’re vote doesn’t matter to me, and I’m voting for whoever I please.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 24 August 2008 @ 1:47 pm

  17. Okay, nice discussion, we’ll see what develops in the coming months. I’m not planning to make the commute into Denver this week to get myself arrested, unless I get the sense that an immanent revolution is about to start without me.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 24 August 2008 @ 3:35 pm

  18. All this business about Biden being Obama’s “attack dog.” Obama was able to get in touch with his feminine side versus Hillary, and he gets the public opinion edge on “feminine” issues like healthcare. Now, to beat the Republicans, it’s a question of manliness. McCain was a soldier and is a blowhard, a combination that presumably gives him the edge in national security. If Biden can yell loud enough it must mean that he too has the balls to pull the trigger.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 25 August 2008 @ 2:07 pm

  19. Here’s Biden’s speech from the Dem Convention. He sets the tone by establishing his credentials as a regular guy, self-made, resilient, a scrapper: fine — he sounds like the middle-midddle class Midwest white people I grew up with. He bashes Bush and McCain for their excessive support of corporate interests versus workers. He promises tax cuts for 95% of Americans, while also saying they’ll drop healthcare costs by an average of $2500/year/family — will taxes on corporations and the rich really be increased that much?

    Then there’s foreign policy: how to extract America from the unilateral aggressive mess Bush put us into? Negotiate with Iran: fine. Bush has finally seen the light and is working out a responsible draw-down of American forces in Iraq. Does this mean that Obama-Biden would agree to this proposed treaty, where troops wouldn’t start leaving for another year and would be stretched through 2011? Didn’t Obama assert in his primary campaign that he would start moving troops out immediately and have them all out within 14 months? Biden asks why the US spends $5 billion a week in Iraq when the Iraqi government has a $60 billion surplus — is he proposing that the Iraqi government pay for the ongoing American occupation?

    And then there’s Afghanistan. Biden chastises McCain for having claimed victory a year ago whereas in fact the situation is deteriorating. Biden’s solution: a big increase in American troops to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan and presumably also in Pakistan. This had been Biden’s position on the Iraq occupation as well: instead of getting out and letting Iraq resolve its own political situation, boost troop strength.

    It must be assumed that Biden isn’t just speaking for himself on all these policy issues, and that he’s now erecting the joint Obama-Biden platform.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 28 August 2008 @ 7:14 am

  20. Very good Obama speech; I think he might actually win. Every state he mentioned by name was a Midwestern one.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 28 August 2008 @ 9:53 pm

  21. “Every state he mentioned by name was a Midwestern one.”

    He had to do that, because he did poorly in most of the big midwestern primaries, and he has many hurdles still with the lunchpail types. I didn’t watch it, but it had been bound to be effective, because the whole convention has been unusually brilliant–easily the suavest in history…

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 28 August 2008 @ 10:21 pm

  22. From Reuters: “Call him a celebrity? Call him an elitist?” said Betsy Hyder, who watched the speech with her children at home in Davis, California. “I see him as very Midwestern, pragmatic yet generous.”

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    Comment by ktismatics — 29 August 2008 @ 8:14 am

  23. I was wrong. I thought sure that McCain would pick Romney as his running mate. Apparently his team felt that he needed the moral conservatives more the financial conservatives. Just as Biden shifted the Democratic ticket more toward the right, so too does Whatsername move the Republicans rightward. Because she’s against abortion rights her status as Woman won’t woo Hillary’s women supporters. Mostly it’ll get out the vote from the core constituency who didn’t regard McCain as a “true conservative.”

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    Comment by ktismatics — 31 August 2008 @ 8:47 am

  24. Yes, once past the initial shock of the shamelessness, you see how very likely it is to backfire in every way. Not that his defeat is assured, but this is pure senility.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 31 August 2008 @ 8:56 am

  25. Has anyone noticed just to what extent Obama looks like Joker?

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    Comment by parodycenter — 31 August 2008 @ 9:36 am

  26. Shamelessness — yes, Patrick, very possibly it’s a blatant play for genderizing the election. On the other hand, one could commend McCain’s integrity by affirming his candidacy’s commitment to Republican conservatism without compromising the soul of the party by trying to stake out the uncommitted middle. I will tip my hat to the man as he stumbles off the world stage in November.

    It’s the big smile, isn’t it PC? But then again you observed how Americans generally like to exhibit the toothy grin. Are you suggesting that the Joker is the prototypical American? That Obama is the embodiment of nihilistic chaos?

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    Comment by ktismatics — 31 August 2008 @ 9:46 am

  27. He either puts on lipstick or he naturally has Joker lips, for every time I look at him I see Heath Ledger grinning back at me. Metaphorically too he fits the bill because he’s probably just placebo or a wildcard (*) character designed to postpone the inevitable economic crisis and confrontation with Russia over energy.

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    Comment by parodycenter — 31 August 2008 @ 1:49 pm

  28. Here’s a relevant item from The Onion (“America’s Finest News Source”):

    Smiling Now Primarily Used To Communicate Anger

    NEW YORK—The smile, a facial expression traditionally used to convey joy, pleasure, or amusement, is now mainly used to suppress rage, according to a five-year study released Monday by the Countenance Institute. “More than 85 percent of smiles are involuntary responses to mounting anger,” the study read in part. “In addition, the length and intensity of these smiles directly correspond to the amount of anger the smile is concealing. A smile that lasts less than two seconds represents just a passing annoyance, while a smile of four to eight seconds indicates a genuine hatred for its target.” The study noted that individuals smiling for more than one minute while nodding and baring their teeth are most likely preparing to kill the person they are smiling at.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 31 August 2008 @ 4:56 pm

  29. I love this last one – and a fine example of ”double bind”

    I see that Erdman, after what seems like eternity, is finally grasping some Lacan on his Basic Instinct piece; it’s occasionally stimulating to hear Christian adumbrations as well – ” which brings us to the interesting question: what’s the difference between porn and film?” (and indeed my acquaintance with the horny priest began with his recounting all the days he spent at the XXX cinema with his hands underneath his coat).

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    Comment by parodycenter — 31 August 2008 @ 5:04 pm

  30. Yes, Erdman is delving into moral ambiguity with considerable enthusiasm. It’s theologically challenging to undertake that sort of exploration within the framework of a pretty much literal interpretation of the Bible. Our old friend Jason, who used to comment here at rather great length, has engaged in the discussion, upholding the value of erotic art through history.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 31 August 2008 @ 5:27 pm

  31. Dr. Sinthome’s gone completely silent – upsetting! Didn’t yet have the time to catch up on the Psych field discussion, the object relations.

    I just made a parody of WALL-E partly in response to that Simone bitch but because I wanted to underline that the story is total Freudianism (little cock faces a bigger cock and castrational anxiety, has to resolve his Oedipus complex and then finally accomplishes full genital sexuality having accepted castration) whatever remarks we might have on the concept, which is just one example of how odd it is that official culture represses or even denigrates psychoanalysis (while using it abundantly for product marketing).

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    Comment by parodycenter — 31 August 2008 @ 5:48 pm

  32. drawing on Poetix’s music thread, the new Deborah Harry is quite remarkable

    http://www.myspace.com/deborahharry_dot_com

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    Comment by parodycenter — 31 August 2008 @ 6:00 pm

  33. Psychoanalytic Field is off to a lethargic start with his new series. I’ve not made much progress on the Winnicott book I checked out from the library because I was reading this Chiesa book about Lacan. What Winnicott calls the “transitional object” has no generic name in English that I know of; its name is specific to the kind of object in view: teddy bear, blanket, etc. In French there is a generic term: “douduou.”

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    Comment by ktismatics — 31 August 2008 @ 6:10 pm

  34. You just reminded me of this developmental psychologist, Ivan Ivic, who wrote a really great book on the symbolic function – Animal Symbolicum – never translated I think, but I will look up some fragments for you.

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    Comment by parodycenter — 31 August 2008 @ 6:18 pm

  35. Single dumbest thing I’ve read in some time, this by a Republican delegate. I don’t know how she became a ‘business owner’, because whatever she’s done does not take brains…from today’s Times:

    “If we were in a recession, people would not be eating out — they would be in the grocery store and cooking at home,” said Phyllis Gorman, 59, a business owner and delegate from Oklahoma, in an interview after the delegate poll was taken. “When I drive by McDonald’s, there are so many people in line there. There are still a lot of cars on the road. If we were still in a recession like we were in the ’70s, people wouldn’t be doing anything.”

    And there are all sorts of people who don’t realize that eating anything short of just Twinkie’s Cupcakes from the grocery is much more expensive than MacDonald’s. They’re at MacDonald’s because ‘they’re eating out’, huh?

    That does beat all.

    Fine dining. Yay-uh, uh-huhh…

    And I love ‘people wouldn’t be doing anything’. She should know, since she isn’t doing anything. What a stupid cow.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 1 September 2008 @ 8:44 am

  36. Here’s a link to a Biden interview from 2004 which I saw on Traxus’s blog. One of the more interesting bits speaks to an issue that came up earlier in this thread; i.e., whether at the time of the Iraq buildup it was known by anybody other than the White House that the intelligence about WMDs etc. was bogus. Here’s Biden on the rampup to war:

    I think that they knew that if they didn’t move swiftly, there may not be a consensus to move. And that’s why I think they vastly exaggerated the threat. They had to create a sense of urgency. If you look at the polling data before I held those hearings in — July, was it? In July. Don’t hold me to the exact numbers but you can get ’em. I can get them for you. I think that there was something like 63, 64, 65% of the American people were for going into Iraq. When the hearings were finished, without anything else happening, it was down to 48 or 47 or 49%. That didn’t go unnoticed by them. So they figured, we gotta create a sense of urgency. We’ve got to have a rationale. And what’s the rationale that’s a guarantee? Nuclear weapons. And in the face of 9/11, what’s the other one? Weapons of mass destruction, in coordination with terrorists. There wasn’t a freaking shred of evidence for any of it. And just in case you don’t think I’m being again, Monday morning quarterbacking, we just had a self-defense, because some serious reporters like you said, “Hey, wait a minute. What did you say at the time. “We went back to the record. We’ll give you a — You got it in there? — an excerpt of the things I said contemporaneously, like when the vice president was on Russert saying, They’ve reconstituted their nuclear capability.

    I, in the contemporaneous time frame, said this, I saw not a single shred of evidence for that. I didn’t believe it for a moment. And unless they weren’t showing me the information they were supposed to, the vice president is ill-informed. I made the argument that there was no connection to al Qaeda. None. And I laid out because of Jonah Blanca, an Islamic scholar who was from Harvard on my staff, why in fact, why in fact Osama bin Laden was hated by — I mean why Saddam was hated by Osama bin Laden. He stood for everything Osama bin Laden opposed. Nobody bothers to read these people, in what they write and what they say. These — meaning even Osama bin Laden. There was no connection, other than passion. It was incidental if it occurred. Weaponized the anthrax with UAVs? Give me a break. Assertions that they had the capacity to kill, what was it, tens of thousands, I think the phrase was, American people? No evidence of that. No credible evidence. Including my taking on, and I don’t think for a minute Armitage or the secretary of state believed it either, this whole question of the aluminum tubes.

    What I said contemporaneously, I do this thing with the foreign policy press every month or so for a couple of hours in my conference room, they come in and we have coffee and they ask me questions for a couple hours. And they said, Well, are you saying at the time, that the president’s lying about this? And I said, No, he’s not lying. The president is not telling the whole truth. The president is leading the American people to believe that the entire intelligence community has concluded that these aluminum tubes are for a gas centrifuge system to get highly enriched uranium. And the community is split on that.

    Did you notice, you oughtta get — presumptuous of me to say this, but most people missed it, Tenet’s speech at Georgetown? The single most important sentence in his speech is, I’ll paraphrase it. He said, We never told the President of the United States of America or anyone in this Administration that Saddam was an imminent threat. I’m gonna dig up that up so that you have it. Because what was the implication from every single thing that everyone said, including the president? That if we don’t act, man, we’re in mortal danger. We can’t take the chance. We have this new doctrine of preemption. We’re lowering the bar so low in terms of burden of proof, because the damage is so potentially high, we can’t wait. So we created this semi-sense of hysteria about this guy was a threat. He was never a threat, in the near term.

    So Biden knew at the time that the purported threat presented by Saddam was bull, and yet he voted for empowering Bush to go to war. Biden continues…

    Is it a good thing he’s gone, is it a good thing that we began to implement a vision? I’m going to say something outrageously self-serving. I, two years earlier at the Davos Conference got the living crap kicked out of me for speaking at one of the plenary sessions, saying that the problem with our Arab friends is that they’re causing us problems. It’s in my interest that you democratize. Your choice: If you don’t, we disengage with you. And this administration publicly criticized me…

    The reason that Tom Friedman always kids me, he says that You and I are out on a limb, old buddy, because we think that, on balance, it was the right thing to do, if it was done correctly. And my response is, Who could have assumed the incompetence level that they demonstrated? It’s not fair to hold me accountable for their total incompetence after the fact. The truth is, it is important that we try to walk and chew gum at the same time, but we have got to be honest with the American people.

    In other words, Biden thought it was a good idea to invade Iraq for reasons other than those sold to the American public. (I’m not quite sure what the last sentence means, since he’s just acknowledged going along with an orchestrated deception in order to launch this war. Earlier in the interview Biden alludes to a conversation he had with GW Bush:

    basically the president said to me about two months later, in early September, he said, “Joe, why aren’t you with me?” In the Cabinet Room with me. ten other senators and congressmen are in the so-called foreign policy leadership. From Ted Stevens, to the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee in the House, to Henry Hyde to the majority leader, to me. And he turned — you know, this is his style. He turned, and I’m sitting on his left because I’m chairman at the time. And he says, “Why aren’t you with me, Mr. Chairman?”

    And I said, “Mr. President, I’ll be with you. I want to remind you — there’s a reason why your father didn’t go to Baghdad.” And he literally, this guy backed up, thinking that I was criticizing his father. And he looked at me, and I said, “Mr. President. The reason that he didn’t go to Baghdad is that he wasn’t prepared to stay for five years.” And he looked at me. And I said, “Secondly, Mr. President, I’ll be with you on two conditions. You guarantee me you’re prepared to stay for five years, and you publicly address the American people and tell them what this is going to take. Level with them.” And what everybody, matter of fact, what my colleagues, they’d kid me, because they’d quote what I kept repeating. I’d say, No foreign policy can be sustained, no matter how well-formed in the United States, without the informed consent of the American people.

    Again we get the commitment to war with Iraq, coupled with long-term engagement, along with this final call for honesty with the people. And now he says he didn’t think he was authorizing Bush to go to war when he signed off on that war powers act?

    It’s clear from this interview that Biden supports aggressive foreign policy, including both negotiation and military engagement, in support of American interests abroad. He supports nation-building as a long-term project. He supports regime change even where there’s no one on the ground to champion the cause. He supports democracy, but only of the liberal democracy type, including an economic system that participates with the US in global capitalism. He would negotiate with “enemy states” like Iran. He is prepared to regard nation-states as less important than international movements, which suggests to me that he might negotiate also with the Pakistani Taliban and even Al-Qaida.

    In the interview Biden speaks from a bipartisan standpoint, citing Republicans who share his views and his antagonism to the neocons. There’s a good likelihood that Biden-style realpolitick will come to dominate McCain’s foreign policy outlook as well — aggressive pursuit of American self-interest in the world rather than imposition of American-style governance of the world.

    I would like to see Biden and Obama do what he claims ought to be done: level with the American people about these foreign incursions. Put the case out there for public scrutiny: should the US pursue Taliban across the Pakistani border not just to capture Bin Laden but to stop the spread of Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan itself and to secure long-term American military presence in the region? This sort of open-air discussion would be a welcome change, even if public opinion doesn’t turn out to suit me.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 September 2008 @ 9:04 am

  37. The quote from the Republican delegate is ridiculous — I was typing while you were putting up your comment.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 September 2008 @ 9:10 am

  38. Nothing’s going to suit you, John. You’re still looking for consistency in politicians, which is very studenty-leftist.

    Meanwhile, back at the ashram…

    Arpege and johng have reached even more rare heights of enervated aria-building, singing together for the first time, auditioning for Aida and Radames…this should be the best pairing since Maria Callas and Mario DelMonaco. I love it Arpege lets loose with her crazed Chomskyism. This blog cross-pollination between Harry’s Place and Lenin’s Tomb has reached new heights of comment-tallying:

    http://leninology.blogspot.com/2008/08/not-free-speech-martyrs.html

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 1 September 2008 @ 9:19 am

  39. This stuff from Biden certainly doesn’t suit me, Patrick. I think he’s quite consistent but not as honest as he claims. And he does confirm the collaboration between leading Senate Democrats and the Bush administration in launching the Iraq war on grounds that Biden himself regarded as false at the time. If you don’t want to call it a conspiracy that’s fine — call it a behind-the-scenes bipartisan agreement.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 September 2008 @ 9:49 am

  40. I’ve not followed the Lenin discussion, but I see what you mean: 500+ comments!

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 September 2008 @ 9:56 am

  41. I think he’s quite consistent but not as honest as he claims

    Yes, yes, yes. But they’re ALL like that, including YOU! Whadda you expect him to do, claim dishonesty? It’s never once been done. And, to quote Ronald Reagan, ‘There you go again…’ talking about Biden negotiating with the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Well, you’ve dug your own hole, and Arpege won’t dig you out, since she and warszawa, that trusty down-freak (is that allowable?), who’s been holding forth on British cinema on a boring thread about Mike Leigh. Arpege and warszawa claim Al Qaeda is a CIA fiction, and so now even I won’t help you out, because you and Jodi are tortured by Zizek’s endorsement of Obama (what’s a poor harried professoress to do?), and are lip-synching Dionne Warwick’s Golden Hits, the one where it goes ‘Who Can I Turn To?’, because I’d rather dig other kinds of holes, and I mean that just as obscenely as it sounds!

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 1 September 2008 @ 10:42 am

  42. My dishonesties don’t commit my country to launching a war. I expect Biden to tell the truth, to stand up on the Senate floor if necessary and say what he knows. I expect him not to use the neocon Straussian tactic of selling a false rationale to the public in order to garner support for what he wants to do for completely different reasons that must remain sequestered from the prying noses of the public.

    Will Biden negotiate with Taliban? If he does I’d rather he told the American people about it. Surely he’ll negotiate with the Pakistani government, which constitutes a coalition that includes Islamists. He says he’ll negotiate with Iran, which is Islamic fundamentalist and which supports political-military organizations that appear on the US’s terrorist list. I agree with Biden here: go ahead and talk with them.

    In reading Biden’s remarks he does express at least rhetorical support for democratization even of our allies; e.g., he says he’d bite the bullet on oil in order to force the Saudis toward political reform. This remains to be seen of course. But the nascent Taliban were US allies once, and whatever stable government emerges in Afghanistan will almost certainly rely on people who are currently Taliban members or supporters.

    Al Qaeda is a different matter. They control no national governments, and purport to want the Islamic world to return to the pre-nation-state political and religious unity of the caliphate. National leaders in the Islamic world — even Islamic fundamentalist leaders — must regard Al Qaeda as a threat to their power. So I’d expect the US to negotiate with these Islamic national powers while finding some common ground to neutralize Al Qaeda’s influence in their countries. This might work in Saudi too, which after all must be the financial basis for Al Qaeda’s strength. Egypt too. Some sort of modified nationalistic democratization within Islam seems like the way to go.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 September 2008 @ 11:14 am

  43. Suppose, instead of selling the American public the bill of goods about WMDs and Al-Qaeda links to Saddam, the US government had laid out a different case: Saddam doesn’t pose a real threat to the US, but he is a threat to his own people. He’s already demonstrated that he’ll invade his neighboring countries if it suits his purposes. Our military experts feel confident that we can defeat the Iraqi army quickly and with a minimum of American casualties. However, Iraq has no history of democratic government, we have no knowledge of strong pro-democracy factions on the ground in Iraq, and the country is divided religiously and ethnically into 3 groups that don’t always get along very well with each other. Our nation-building experts warn that it will be very difficult to establish a successful democratic government in Iraq, there being no real precedents for a similar intervention working anywhere else in the world. The expenses will be high, but if we succeed we will free the Iraqis of a tyrant and establish an ally in a volatile region of the world. Plus they have oil.

    If this case had been made to the American public — Biden’s case, as well as that of the neocons, though their positions differ in other ways — would there have been enough support to launch the war? Would strategy have gone differently from the beginning? I for one would like to have seen the case made this way, in an honest and above-board manner. Wouldn’t you, Patrick? I mean, this doesn’t require a Marxist revolution — presumably it’s how the American democracy is supposed to operate, within the existing institutional structure. The Democratic Congressional leadership was complicit in keeping the American public in the dark — Biden says it in so many words in that interview.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 September 2008 @ 11:43 am

  44. I read Lenin’s post, then jumped down to that part of the discussion where Chabert is featured prominently, and I still can’t figure out what’s being argued about. I don’t know what Harry’s Place is, or the UBU. I’d need to do further research to get abreast of the situation.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 September 2008 @ 2:31 pm

  45. Pardon me for interrupting the thread on Biden (or is it Sherbert’s newest exploits) but we really missed the fun on Mike Leigh. I cannot stop marvelling at Comrade Fox’s capacity for adumbration – it’s really amazing:

    “The comparison with EastEnders is apt, because everyone watching a soap opera knows just where the characters are going wrong: if only he’d explain to her what really happened; if only she’d listen.

    What’s missing is the intersubjective torsion experienced by social participants in situ,

    ”the intersubjective torsion of the social participants” – mind you, IN SITU – would mean ”the tensions in the concrete interaction of individuals on location” or something like that, but Kamarad Fox brilliantly replaces tensions with torsions and location with the far more posh Latin ”in situ”

    the fact that “delusion” is not a property of individuals mysteriously captivated by silly notions about themselves, but the result of a general ludic connivance (R. D. Laing was always good on this).

    here for the upteenth time Comrade Fox repeats the post-structural point that we are externally determined instead of having an ”inner core” (thus against humanism) which is simultaneously the gist of the Impostume’s critique, but this time he uses the exhilarating term ”ludic connivance”

    Leigh’s films offer the viewer the fantasy of being extracted from this connivance, elevated above the fray, and able to see what makes other people (synechdochised as social “types”) tick.

    Only Kamarad Fox could successfully turn ”synecdoche” into a verb as if there was absolutely nothing simpler in the Thesaurus to use, like ”presented as social types”; and I love the way this gets Warszawa to spew bile like it’s Woodstock day, feeling as she does that Kamarad Fox had a better education

    That’s what’s “misanthropic” about them, not the fact that they courageously depict unpleasant truths about individuals.

    So what Kamarad wanted to say is that Leigh is affording the viewer the illusion of agency, of being able to judge (morally) on the conditions of the characters; it’s a valid point of critique – but does not preclude or cancel out the possibility that such a narrative (even as it may be old-fashioned) is still VALID, much like Patrick has the right to prefer ballet to punk rock.

    But the mess Warszawa made of herself, applying the same seriousness to the debate that he did to subjects like 9-11, is a spectacle to behold. I’ve been wondering where my petit objet B has disappeared with his charming melodramatics.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 1 September 2008 @ 3:33 pm

  46. I am going to put this on the CPC just in case you might not want the pristine whiteness of Clysmatics to be soiled with parody fodder…

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 1 September 2008 @ 3:37 pm

  47. Clearly, PC, you’re consciously and intentionally interceding with a specific ludic connivance in order to diffuse a potentially explosive disagreement between Patrick and me. I’ve seen Vera Drake and of course I felt badly for the poor woman (the sleazo abortionist in the Romanian movie 4 Months, 3 Weeks and Two Days was a more interesting character). I mentioned on the Lives of Others thread that thinking in terms of social class doesn’t come easily to me, and I attributed this to my American-ness, a situ where money occupies much attention but not class. I’ve never seen EastEnders. All this stuff is way too British for me. And no matter how many times I look up “synechdoche” and use it in a sentence, I can never remember how it differs from “metonymy.”

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 September 2008 @ 3:48 pm

  48. The subject is of no relevance, the fun part is that the characters are all in place, exactly where they were in the CPC’s golden days (2006): the Lacanian Marxists pummeling the humanitarians on the issue of agency, Kamarad Fox in his academic mode and Warszawa deliriously foaming about Bambi (because you see he is hurt that Kamarad Fox does this clinical psychoanalytic reading of Mike Leigh while W. is attracted to his sentimentalism). That the Impostume was able to pull this off demonstrates he’s learned some craft from his parody training, which made me feel happy for a moment.

    Due to my general view that local American politics matter little in the face of external problems (energy), I have not paid enough attention to the debate, so would you care to simplify the argument on Biden vs Obama for me?

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 1 September 2008 @ 3:55 pm

  49. I love the way this gets Warszawa to spew bile like it’s Woodstock day, feeling as she does that Kamarad Fox had a better education

    I like that, too, because Kamarad Fox did…and there is a little hardcore Lenin’s Tombalist named Justin who also went to Oxford and warszawa had no end of trouble with HIS education…but Kamarad Fox is peculiarly successful, and very sly, of course…

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 1 September 2008 @ 4:06 pm

  50. To “feel happy for a moment” is a rare treat in the blogosphere. Inasmuch as you’ve saved me the trouble of parsing the Leigh debates, I’ll return the favor. Biden is more of a military interventionist than is Obama; Biden, like Hillary, voted in favor of going to war against Iraq. I expressed the opinion that Biden probably knew that Bush’s publicly-announced rationales for attacking Iraq were bullshit even at the time, and that the Demoratic leadership in Congress went along with the ruse. Now, in the link and long excerpts from an interview with Biden in comment #36 on this string, Biden more or less says exactly that: he knew that Iraq was no threat to the USA, but he went along with the charade. Why? Because he believed that the US should overthrow Saddam and, over the course of a long occupation, install a more America-friendly democratic regime in Iraq. My position is that I’d like the politicians to present their real rationales for taking major steps like occupying foreign countries, rather than selling stories they know aren’t true to a gullible public. Patrick thinks I’m being naive.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 September 2008 @ 4:12 pm

  51. Clearly, PC, you’re consciously and intentionally interceding with a specific ludic connivance in order to diffuse a potentially explosive disagreement between Patrick and me.

    No, PC is not doing that herein, John. The desire for explosion is all yours. What you and the other Marxists can’t stand is how laid-back I’ve become. Frankly, it’s very clear that it’s you and Jodi who are between a rock and a hard place, and mad at whichever Big Boys put y’all there. Now Arpege–that’s something else again, she just wants to blog about what a good Violetta she would have been (she wouldn’t have, but she would have been a good Aida–because she has been teaching the tale of how Jews of either Sephardic or Ashkenazim orientation may or not be brownish or whitish…now, this is funny enough, but the funniest thing is that she has been doing it for 4 fucking days…she can be really good at Lenin’s Red-Light Sewer…)

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 1 September 2008 @ 4:12 pm

  52. I see I was typing while you were commenting, Patrick. Do I desire to explode? Probably. This whole “you and the other Marxists” tack you keep taking is (in my opinion) meant to provoke, to convert rational disagreement and review of the evidence into some more personal context. I frankly can’t understand why, when Biden says he went along with Bush’s deception, you’d think this is fine. While we may disagree on political issues, I’d think we’d agree on honest dealing with the American public, and that the value of identifying deception should cross party lines.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 September 2008 @ 4:17 pm

  53. “Brownish or whitish” — the intention is to distinguish Jews by race? I presume Chabert is against this distinction, and that she figures that the West is going to regard all Jews as brownish. Is this what the whole thread is about?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 September 2008 @ 4:22 pm

  54. I frankly can’t understand why, when Biden says he went along with Bush’s deception, you’d think this is fine. While we may disagree on political issues, I’d think we’d agree on honest dealing with the American public, and that the value of identifying deception should cross party lines.

    Nevermind that you are couching in the delimited and circumscribed way that you choose and also demanding that I accept the context you set up. To hell with it–explode!

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 1 September 2008 @ 4:25 pm

  55. Nah, I’ll suppress my rage and build up a little more plaque on my arterial walls. Soon I shall post another rather tedious meditation on Lacan, then I shall go for a run, then I shall cook a chicken pie and watch, with wife and daughter, the second half of Nashville. Here’s a personal revelation: drinking almost always cheers me up, but I rarely drink more than three drinks in one night. Why is this?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 September 2008 @ 4:37 pm

  56. I’m amused–that’s quite a lot!

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 1 September 2008 @ 5:41 pm

  57. Usually it’s two drinks: an aperitif and a glass of wine with dinner. Occasionally a second glass of wine; practically never more than than that.

    I’m back from my run and Anne is preparing the chicken pie, so my responsibilities have eased. On my run I realized you were right, of course, about Dejan’s intervention a few comments back. To distract potential hostilities is something I would do, not Dejan. Dejan arrived in this thread because it was the active one, meaning he would capture the attention of the two of us and anyone else following along, diverting it from the conversation at hand to his completely unrelated topic. Since his topic of choice is a conversation going on at somebody else’s blog, this intervention further provokes the ire of the conversants, suggesting that they are less interesting to listen to than these other people. And, in following the conversational instructions of the Marxist bloggers, I will now take ownership of these remarks and acknowledge that I, personally, experience these reactions, leaving you, Patrick, to experience whatever idiosyncratically other reactions you might have as an isolated individual decoupled from the communality of affect with other human beings.

    [Editorial aside: Looking back on it, I probably ought to delete my own critical personal remarks about Dejan here, but the last sentence of this comment becomes the subject of subsequent discussion, so I’ve left it in.]

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 September 2008 @ 5:57 pm

  58. leaving you, Patrick, to experience whatever idiosyncratically other reactions you might have as an isolated individual decoupled from the communality of affect with other human beings.

    So was that your explosion? a resentment and judgment that I am ‘decoupled from the communality of affect with other human beings’. The problem is that you are determining which human beings I should couple with, and only in you scenario, in order that I should not have been so isolated. You are leaving out all other human beings I might be a part of, whether or not idiosyncratically, just because you don’t know about them, or what might have happened with them when I was ‘isolating myself.’ Is that what this it? I’ll see to it that it gets a better nomenclature after giving you a chance to explain.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 1 September 2008 @ 6:37 pm

  59. Maybe that was ‘Payback Time’ for saying ‘you and the other Marxist bloggers’, but why shouldn’t I? You’re unstable. You say you don’t want to talk politics on your blog, then you insist that I talk about it and in your terms. You and Jodi both deserve to be lumped with the Marxist bloggers because you both feel free to say any fucking thing you please about any and all Democrats, as though you were some pure-as-the-driven-snow idealists. Well, you’re not, neither of you. You’re both very pushy people (she more than you) who think everyone should stop and note your moments of sensitivity and vulnerability. She even said ‘politics is what I write about’ plus ‘I just said I didn’t want to talk to you about politics’ and ‘I thought we were friends.’ Now she’s got supporters saying well, you know Zizek is cynical, but you’re not. So to hell with your fucking voting-machine problems, as you both proceed to insult me and all Democrats out of your justifiable anger. So you both think that now that your tied up in knots about the election that that makes you a better person? And I’m supposed to continue cat-fucking-blogging on the one hand and not mention politics, because ‘we will never ever have enough common ground to discuss this seriously’ and on the other hand I am to not discuss politics on your blog until you get good and goddam ready for me to do so, and then I am to agree with you on a point which is at least false insofar as it is not even valued in itself (or at least only half-valued), but rather because you want to take it out of context and make an issue about it when other issues loom much larger (which is my only real point. Traxus is doing the same thing on his demonstration/protest thread, but that one will now be revved up since Amy Goodman got arrested. Oh yes, the blogs will be alive with the Sound of Amy.)

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 1 September 2008 @ 6:51 pm

  60. Like the rest of that link, this is hilarious:

    “Among the ways of controlling women and their sexuality is through their public presentation in art. The images of women and men in art can be understood as carrying within them codes of behaviour and thereby as serving a social function by contributing to assumptions and expectations relating to the role of women and men in society.”

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 1 September 2008 @ 7:24 pm

  61. That’s a long fucking paragraph, Patrick — do I actually have to read it? All right fine, I will, but first I’ll say that I had 3 gin and tonics and 1.5 glasses of wine. The chicken pie was delicious. Hopefully I won’t fall asleep during the movie. Now, I’ll go back and read your comments…

    Comment 1 is amusing and well stated. My remark had to do with something Jodi wrote about recently, this contention that when people say “we” they ought to be saying “I.” I find it ironic that leftists insist on individual self-expression for individuals who are trying to express a degree of solidarity with their fellow Americans or Westerners or bourgeois or whatever. I own my own resentment then: feel free to feel what you like. So no, this is not my explosion, or at least if there’s a modicum of explosiveness it’s certainly not directed at you.

    Okay, second comment. “You’re unstable,” you say. Is this a bad thing, do you think?

    The pushiness and insistence on recognizing my sensitivities — I love it, very well said, although of course earlier on this thread you said you were done talking to me about this issue. Now you’re back I see.

    I have voted in every presidential election since I reached the age of majority, and in every election I’ve voted for the Democratic candidate. I am a registered Democrat, which I didn’t even realize until I went to vote in the primaries. Do I claim special privilege for now expressing my disappointment and intent to vote third party, as if this is some sort of important testimonial about the decline of the Party? Not at all. Or rather sure, I regard my current political enlightenment as something everyone should be apprised of, so I write it on my blog. What a ridiculous pastime.

    Amy Goodman got arrested? For what? No, I don’t really care.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 September 2008 @ 7:27 pm

  62. Again we cross swords unbeknownst. What link? You mean the Lenin’s Tomb? No, it must be the Augustinian penile article — yes, very good. Oh and also, I found on Netflix the architecture series of which you spoke, so I’ve now queued up installment 1.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 September 2008 @ 7:31 pm

  63. Oh, that’s excellent you can get the Architectures Series on Netflix. I wouldn’t have even recommended it because I wouldn’t have thought there’d be the demand.

    Could follow little of your alcoholism, but I imagine you are fond of midlife crisis concepts.

    I had read all of that long Biden comment this morning, BTW.

    Yes, the St. Augustine link–truly one of the worst things I’ve ever read, but it now made me face what I felt upon reading the ‘Confessions.’ For God, he gave up what he most loved, and also what was best in his life. What a racket.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 1 September 2008 @ 7:57 pm

  64. Yes I gave Erdman a link to this Augustine piece, because I remember having read something previously about his theological interpretations of the unwilled erection as evidence of the Fall. I got such amusement from it I had to link it here too. I have not continued my alcohol binge, so now I find myself easing into the evening a bit sleepily. Midlife crisis I think is a crock of shit; crisis can befall or delight at any age. I do, however, occasionally surprise myself at the store of wisdom I’ve amassed over the decades.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 September 2008 @ 8:05 pm

  65. I’ve begun to feel pity for this Balin and her family, besieged by press attention that will likely submerge them. Despite my criticisms of Biden, he would be a formidable foe for Balin to face. I think maybe a landslide is building, or at least a decisive victory for the Democrats.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 September 2008 @ 8:08 pm

  66. “I’ve begun to feel pity for this Balin and her family, besieged by press attention that will likely submerge them.”

    Submerge them? From what? Their previous oblivion? She reminds me of Harriet Miers and I don’t give a shit about her. Even Amy Goodman’s YouTube tragedy is more touching…

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 1 September 2008 @ 9:20 pm

  67. I wonder if it’s possible for the Republican convention to deny her the nomination. I also can’t figure out why there were rumors that a sitting governor only pretended to have a baby that was born to her daughter. She’s the governor — how could this possibly be hidden? Do they think she was stuffing her clothing with padding?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 1 September 2008 @ 9:40 pm

  68. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/01/opinion/01kristol.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 1 September 2008 @ 10:06 pm

  69. I deleted a comment by Parodycenter, but on second thought I’d like it to put it back up but I don’t know how to find it. The gist was this: I keep commenting on this Biden post because I really want Patrick to keep torturing me. And I’m writing posts critical of Lacan as a passive-aggressive attack on PC, who likes Lacan. What I really crave is to be shat upon, tortured, etc.

    I deleted this comment in keeping with my anti-personal-smear campaign at Ktismatics. However, I think it illustrates what I find so convoluted about Lacan. It seems to me that the most straightforward reason for me to write about Biden is because, as a US citizen, I’m actually interested in the topic. Similarly with the Lacan posts: as a psychologist, I’m trying to figure out what I think about Lacan, who is virtually unknown in American psychology.

    Let’s assume that, in addition to these conscious motives for writing about Biden and Lacan, I also desire to attack and/or to be attacked by Patrick and Parodycenter. Let’s say I become aware of these unconscious motivations. Does this mean that my intentional conscious motivations are a lie, a false consciousness, and that I use Biden and Lacan only to stimulate my unconscious, real desires? So now that I’m aware I should figure out how to torture or to be tortured more directly, without all the extra work entailed in reading and writing about and replying to the presumably substantive issues?

    To me that whole line of reasoning seems completely backward. I think it makes sense to acknowledge the possibility, even the reality, of unconscious desires to hurt and to be hurt by blog exchanges. Then I can either consciously give these desires more free rein, or I can consciously suppress their expression because they’re getting in the way of what I would rather do. I may not fully succeed on either score, but as a conscious intentional agent I can continue to refine my discourse. But to keep watching myself constantly gets in the way of free expression. At a certain point I have to hope that mutual goodwill prevails, as well as the shared desire to overcome the sadomasochism and get on with the consciously engaged topic at hand. Being aware of the unconscious motivations to inflict and to receive pain does also give me a certain amount of power; i.e., if I decide I’d like to do a little S&M I can always slip it in around the edges. To play this sort of game I regard as a dishonest and unethical practice of subjective agency. This doesn’t mean others have to play by my rules, obviously.

    Anyhow, Dejan, I apologize for attributing motives to you for calling attention on this thread to the discussion of Mike Leigh going on elsewhere. It was irrelevant to the topic at hand, but it’s not my job to decide whether you meant good or ill by introducing it here. If I really wanted to know why you did it I could have asked you; if I really wanted not to be distracted by it I could have ignored it. And of course you can attribute whatever motivations you like to my apology.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 2 September 2008 @ 5:15 am

  70. Here’s the last sentence of Kristol’s remarks:

    Perhaps, as [McCain] pondered his vice-presidential selection, he recalled the advice of Margaret Thatcher: “In politics if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.”

    How sexist is that?

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    Comment by ktismatics — 2 September 2008 @ 5:25 am

  71. I deleted this comment in keeping with my anti-personal-smear campaign at Ktismatics. However, I think it illustrates what I find so convoluted about Lacan.

    You deleted it because I basically said you’re a maso bottom, which is the God-honest truth. And Patrick knows it well, which is why he rightly abuses you on the political issue. You’re trying to bring up Lacan in order to get me to foam, but I am not going to do it in that democratic-polite key AT ALL.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 2 September 2008 @ 8:03 am

  72. I don’t find debates interesting without an evil spark, namely.

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    Comment by parodycenter — 2 September 2008 @ 8:04 am

  73. You’re welcome to your opinions of course. What you call “maso bottom” I call “civility,” but I understand from Jodi’s one-line summary of Zizek’s talk that civility has its “obscene underside.”

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    Comment by ktismatics — 2 September 2008 @ 9:04 am

  74. I don’t find debates interesting without an evil spark, namely.

    Yes, that’s your problem, and why you are socially unpresentable. You do not know how to use acceptable English even when it’s time to shutup the queer-theory dialect.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 2 September 2008 @ 9:20 am

  75. Another observation. Let’s say that I am a maso bottom, or that I have maso-bottom tendencies. By becoming aware of such tendencies I can presumably either express them more directly or restrain their expression, either use them in pursuing other purposes or compensate for them. This it seems to me is one benefit of analysis: not just letting the unconscious trajectories flow through me untrammeled, but shaping and channeling them, acting as the conscious subject of my own life.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 2 September 2008 @ 9:20 am

  76. he recalled the advice of Margaret Thatcher: “In politics if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.”

    How sexist is that?

    It’s vicious when Margaret Thatcher says it, but I don’t know about sexist. In the end, Mrs. Thatcher is an admirable bastard.

    Now, the point about my conflict with your Biden things is not that I don’t think they are important but because you have isolated it in such a way that it is out of proportion to things that I think are far more so. I think Jodi does that, on the other hand, in ALL discussion about mainstream politics. But you’ll find that Arpege does the most extreme version of all: When Katrina hit 3 years ago and all sorts of phenomena started shit-hitting-the-fan, all the Marxist bloggers couldn’t bear any talk of looting or misbehaviour by the ‘inmates.’ Arpege, however, went so far as to determine that there had, in fact, been no looting, and that everybody at the Superdome had behaved impeccably. A year later, I posted an article that Liberal Woggia had first posted, which was mostly about the horrible conditions in the place and how badly those in the Superdome were being treated, and how unfairly. What Arpege hated most, therefore, about THIS particular article, was that it was also well-written, interested in facts, and not just her Kapital Rhetoric (which is why she goes along with the 9/11 truth bullshit, she no more believes that crap than a hole in the ground, and has more or less admitted this several times to me, it’s just part of her beyond-Chomskyism), and proceeded to enumerate quite a number of incidents about petty crime among the shelter recipients, and examples of all sorts of lunacy. She shrieked “PATRICK, THE SPIN YOU ARE PUTTING ON THIS IS RACIST AND EVIL!” It was pure heaven. Dame knows I enjoy her mad-Marxism too much, so that’s why she didn’t send me the pills…lol

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 2 September 2008 @ 9:29 am

  77. “This it seems to me is one benefit of analysis: not just letting the unconscious trajectories flow through me untrammeled, but shaping and channeling them, acting as the conscious subject of my own life.”

    Oh please, that’s just another means of refusing the freedom to act out the things you know that I am able to do. And you have every reason to want to prevent some of those, because there are very few who can pull it off without ruin to everyone around them. But if you’re married with children, then just forget some of it, cf. Gide’s ‘L’Immoraliste’. You simply can’t afford it. I know that’s brutal, but that’s different from S & M, which Deleuze puts a certain lie to anyway, since ‘maso bottoms’ are a thing of playacting–real ‘S’s’ are criminals, to greater or lesser degrees, and are not looking for those who agree to be abused. On the other hand, the more playacting style he is wrong about, because his more astute crtique of it did not make it stop existing as a garden-variety recreation for grunge-loving unwashed types in modern Western urban areas.

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    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 2 September 2008 @ 9:34 am

  78. “but because you have isolated it in such a way that it is out of proportion to things that I think are far more so.”

    Yes I can see that. It’s a point of disagreement between us, of which we’ve both taken note. The Biden interview probably reinforces each of our opinions about the man, his ideology, and his political style. Of course it remains important to take note of items like the interview as they pass through the world.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 2 September 2008 @ 9:37 am

  79. but I understand from Jodi’s one-line summary of Zizek’s talk that civility has its “obscene underside.”

    Yes, and this a prime example of people doing ‘all talk’. They would no more come into contact with that obscene underside if it killed them (despite the fact that it offers the world.)

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 2 September 2008 @ 9:38 am

  80. Patrick you’re a completely awful retro- ludic connivance and I guess this is what I like about you in the end. At least you’re relatively uncompromising in your awfulness.

    In the comment Clysmatics deleted I also wrote that Warszawa went through school by shouting incessantly at the debating society, but I suppose my dad in his new Stalinist censorship phase finds that upsetting as well.

    On the Biden vs Obama affair, Clysmatics, you persistently ignore my point that the world is headed towards totalitarianism and you can best see it in the way that nothing really matters – black and white have been seriously mixed up. The very concept of ”humanitarian intervention” is despicable beyond words, and we only have Marxism to thank for that, yes the same Marxism that is supposed to be ”humanistic” and ”altruistic”. We have three to four multinationals controlling the entire American culture market and we engage in ”debates” about aesthetics as if such a thing is possible in a completely Stalinist system where one Pixar decides on EVERYTHING. Our daily lives consist of pointless hysterical fretting about products, which all look taste and feel the same, and McDonald’s style ”communication jobs” which are about nothing other than the pointless act of communicating. Difference is halfway to being erased, and frankly, I see absolutely no hope coming from the United States – what I see is that the United States will be forced to retreat into itself due to its excessive greed. And HIGHFUCKING TIME! So, if Obama is the one who is doing the more isolationist option, I am voting Obama immediately. It’s better for everyone but most of all for America, I think.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 2 September 2008 @ 9:52 am

  81. But to keep watching myself constantly gets in the way of free expression.

    You identify self-observation with psychoanalysis, and I am first going to give you a chance to examine yourself why this is an adumbration of gargantuan proportions given all the instruction you’ve been given on psychoanalysis.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 2 September 2008 @ 9:55 am

  82. And just because Zizek and Jodianne find each other’s obscene supplement in endless Romantic rhetorics ABOUT sex while being sex-starved to the point of exhaustion neither means that Zizek is an authority on psychoanalysis nor does it justify your cognitivism by no means.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 2 September 2008 @ 9:58 am

  83. In the comment Clysmatics deleted I also wrote that Warszawa went through school by shouting incessantly at the debating society, but I suppose my dad in his new Stalinist censorship phase finds that upsetting as well.

    Oh good, because I definitely see warszawa always knowing how to be as unpleasant as possible to all peoples at all times, given that she has been extremely embarassing at showing her resentment to TWO Oxford boys–nevermind that they are both witless enough to attend the Tombalist Follies. John probably deleted your things because he was worrying about this ‘potential explosion’ with me about Biden. But you’ll notice he think went ahead and diagnosed his desire for torture from me and you–which was quickly followed, as is his wont just after holding out promise to himself, by an across-the-boards disclaimer getting back to ‘civility’ as if he hadn’t had a breakthrough at all, and, as Michael Musto would say, ‘stopped mid-sentence’. He’s very sweet and funny, of course, but he’s not sophisticated enough for me to shit on him, rather should quit talking in extremes and settle for a light golden-showers sequence from the Fount of Equine Pleasure.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 2 September 2008 @ 10:01 am

  84. “And just because Zizek and Jodianne find each other’s obscene supplement in endless Romantic rhetorics ABOUT sex while being sex-starved to the point of exhaustion ”

    Yes, that’s right. This exhaustion is a form of sexual cowardice, but most call this ‘sexual fear’, which actually gets them off the hook.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 2 September 2008 @ 10:03 am

  85. what I see is that the United States will be forced to retreat into itself due to its excessive greed. And HIGHFUCKING TIME!

    Actually, I like some aesthetic aspects of this thought as well, because we’d do a marvelous version of what has happened to England for the same reasons after WWII–but hopefully not ending up with people like Daniel, rather more intimate theater with people who are forced to learn to act, like Edith Evans–to which the U.S. has had only Katharine Cornell to compare, and not all that favourably either. Any queen can watch Dame Edith in ‘The Importance of Being Earnst’ and still be more inspired by everything she does if they’re not worried about pleasing Arpege and K-Punk (who are blood brother and sister once the class system is breached…)

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 2 September 2008 @ 10:06 am

  86. He’s very sweet and funny, of course, but he’s not sophisticated enough for me to shit on him, rather should quit talking in extremes and settle for a light golden-showers sequence from the Fount of Equine Pleasure.

    Darling this one made me laugh so heartily that I am sincerely thankful despite all the abuse you put me through last month.

    I wrote in that lost comment that Warszawa finally had his day when he met Sherbert, whose entirely dishonest and purely instrumental approval finally provided him with the ideal source of self-denial. This is how he became so boisterous as to dare even speak up to Comrade Fox. Speaking of which I am now going to nominate the Fox for the Lifetime Parody Achievement Award ™ at this year’s oscars, and by the way if you can muster up the dignity to help me on that one I think it would be decent – after all, that franchise has been a joint venture from the very start.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 2 September 2008 @ 10:09 am

  87. about pleasing Arpege and K-Punk (who are blood brother and sister once the class system is breached…)

    I think that Sherbert is genuinely and sincerely afraid of K-punk, and I don’t yet know why but i think it’s because he sees the enormous loopholes in her education, disguised by brilliant rhetorics (the vampire confided to me once that she had alwas wanted to be a lawyer, but somehow ended up in literature). Her fear is so strong and causes such vehement bile that she hasn’t been able to forgive him for like four years or more. I notice in the way he sometimes launches two or three perfectly chosen poison arrows, which causes Sherbert to write 700 postings in a matter of week resorting to crassest insults (like that time she called him a Dickensian rape boy victim) It’s been quite fascinating to watch, like a spectacle from the Hammer Horror school.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 2 September 2008 @ 10:17 am

  88. I’ve just returned from other concerns and what do I discover? A slurry of entertaining, creative, and irrelevant chitchat. While some of it may be offensive to various parties I see no reason to insert the clysmatic purgation device up the channel. On a go-forward basis, though, I ask that you cease and desist unless you want to go on about Biden. If the discussion is Lacanian there are plenty of other good recent posts to comment on here at Ktismatics. Thank you for your attention.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 2 September 2008 @ 10:29 am

  89. So you wanted to determine the precise parameters of how you’d be shat on? Just as I discerned? Oh yes, passive-aggressive to the fore! (or whatever the term is, Jack wasn’t sure, said that sounded like a tennis term…he was probably thinking of ‘4’…)

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 2 September 2008 @ 1:45 pm

  90. So it is your intention to shit on me then? And my trust in your honor was misplaced? Go away then, Patrick.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 2 September 2008 @ 1:49 pm

  91. And my trust in your honor was misplaced?

    I suppose you’re attempt to present yourself as Mother Theresa force bombed dreadfully, Clys; when Jonquille was shitting and pissing and vomiting on me you simply implemented draconian Stalinist comment deletion practices and proceeded to discuss your book – of course, because it’s YOUR book and therefore YOUR narcissism. Well as we say in Serbia, ”you can only recognize true courage in suffering”. Now bear it like a MAN. Patrick, I think he’s asking for some cock and ball torture while being shat on. And make sure you put a piercing through his nipple.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 2 September 2008 @ 2:05 pm

  92. You too, Dejan — go away.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 2 September 2008 @ 2:08 pm

  93. So it is your intention to shit on me then?

    Man, get a grip. You’re the one that suggested you wanted it. I just like to give da people what dey want–which in your case is not very much, I guess, or maybe even nothing, since you can’t make up your mind.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 2 September 2008 @ 2:56 pm

  94. Anyway, I’d be glad to adhere to your rules and regulations, and will even do so. I just don’t have anything else to say about the election except that I can’t stand the thought of McCain on a daily basis, it just sounds deafeningly dead.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 2 September 2008 @ 2:59 pm

  95. Okay: no personal invectives directed at me or any other bloggers.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 2 September 2008 @ 3:24 pm

  96. Okay I’ll adhere to the rules and the regulations as well, so I won’t mention the buggery of HELLRAISER (CLYSMALISER) which I concocted in the meantime where Clysmatics, journeying in India to trace Gandhi’s Grail, accidentally opens the portals to lesbian S&M Hell…

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 2 September 2008 @ 5:09 pm

  97. “And my trust in your honor was misplaced?”

    This is indefensible, but is, of course, what you’ve been saying to me since last night. It’s got to be something beyond my not agreeing with all aspects of the Biden matter, but since you won’t tell me what it is, then you obviously just want to shit on ME, while accusing me of wanting to shit on you. I was just playing along with the words of ‘shitting-on’, you’re really trying to do it–so go ahead with your explosion of hysterical deletions, we’ll put everything on hold till you get over it and tell us what the fuck it is. In the meantime, you are limited to comment deletion.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 2 September 2008 @ 5:22 pm

  98. “In the meantime, you are limited to comment deletion.”

    Just for that, I won’t delete — clean up your own shit; use the toilet in your own home.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 2 September 2008 @ 5:36 pm

  99. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted–or it seemed that way anyway.

    [Editorial intrusion: I tried to comment but this post seems to be hung up, suggesting that it’s prepared to delete anticipatorially any further comments, including those by me, on this post. Maybe it’s all for the best, or the intrusion of the Immanent Rhizome. I request this: don’t worry about why I’m doing what I do. It’s been my preference throughout the history of Ktismatics to uphold civility and to restrain personal criticism. If this suits you, fine. If you’d like to berate me or anyone else, feel free to do it via email. I might even reply. My best to you, Patrick.]

    Like

    Comment by Patrick J. Mullins — 2 September 2008 @ 5:42 pm

  100. I fear we might have tweaked my dad’s tits a bit too hard, so now I am going to console him by getting into the Lacanian discussion.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 2 September 2008 @ 7:35 pm


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