July 21, 2012 - July 14, 2012
. InstaPunk is not a funny video site. We are here to discuss issues of the day, not giggle like stoned teenagers at YouTubes of other stoned teenagers lighting their crotches on fire, and then their stoned teenage friends put the fire out by stomping on it, thereby stomping on his balls a bunch as well. Maybe I can justify showing this... this with an anecdote.
A few years back, I heard a radio interview with a vomit fetishist (stay with me). The 21st century is the Age of the Unfettered Fetish, and this guy was out and proud as loving to get puked on. Most illuminating part of the freakshow (the only illuminating part. I won't lie, I wasn't in this for the edification) came when vomit dude explained that he had to shut his porn site down because he was only ever contacted by three guys who were into it as well. Not a large market.
Think about this. He wasn't leaving mimeographed bile erotica at truck stops in 1989 and then sitting by the phone crossing his fingers that some like-minded degenerate would call the 900 number in the letterhead. He was on the internet. Civilization's newly-opened steam valve on thousands of years of taboo. Remember when pot was kind of an underground thing? Remember when you could never find yourself accidentally reading an essay by Lyndon LaRouche? Remember when you had never seen even a picture of a dead body, outside of a war textbook? Now I can pull up, within seconds, crime scene photos of Jeff Dahmer's fridge on my phone to settle a bet. And every kink you can think of, even as solely an exercise in grotesqueness, already has a community devoted to it. That's an acknowledged fact. Quantum physics writ large (if you get that pun, I say to you NERRRRRD). Every perfect has joined perverted forces with every other brother in perversion.
Even with that internet, vomit guy only found three other vomit guys. The moral of the story? There are limits to human depravity. Even now.
We see the Paris Hiltons and Amy Winehouses (remember when you had to be good to get into Club 27?) of our popular consciousness and despair for our young girls. Good news: It's not all of them. It's not even a lot of them. Judging by her seven-minute "PSA," Courtney Stodden is the only one like her in her town. Only the dumb girls aspire to plastic tits and thousand dollar wigs for their rat-sized dogs. Yes, one is too many, I agree. But take heart. Humanity's innate desire for self-respect isn't so easily extinguished. Tiny ember of hope.
I'll leave you with our 16-year-old superstar's empower ballad "Don't Put it On Me." That's "On," folks. On. When you're plotting strategies for the coming battles of the next 18 months, take a moment now and then to think of this song. Then think of the young girls you know who aren't "inspiring" [sic] to keep it rill. You'll smile when you realize who's the exception and who's the rule.
On the off chance there's a gal who doesn't already know: If you're out with your man and he cranes his neck to gawk at a Stodden type who "be poppin"? Dump him. On the spot. Don't wait for an explanaiton. None is possible. Don't burn any emotional calories over him. Shake his hand, say "We're done here," and walk away. Just like that.
. Our new friend J.W. Helkenberg didn't volunteer to do it. But The Old Man asked him to. So he blew the dust off his dual pistols, which he keeps in a velvet-lined case under the futon in his spartan quarters, and dispatched commenter Jack with what seemed to be unlimited ammo.
We're impressed. So impressed, in fact, that we've decided to recognize Helk's completed contract with a post.
Helk responded to Jack twice, but I've only included the second response, because it covers most of the ground of the first. And I've reformatted it for visual clarity. Quotes from Jack in italic, Helk in "plain" text.
What we are talking about here is ...
This line of thinking leads absolutely no where. Let's say the Norwegian authorities had taken a sudden interest in defusing anti-immigrant sentiments, beyond fostering a culture of tolerance (which is, apparently, distasteful ).
Not distasteful, dangerous.
They would have done . . . what, exactly? Posted guards outside youth camps and mosques? Cracked down on right-wing groups (a move which I'm sure would've been received well by those now labeling Norwegians as "soft")? Ban the Progress Party? Restrict immigration? Construct Fortress Norway? What?
They would have prepared their armed forces for a rapid response. I am saying that the lack of response is an indication of a lack of preparedness. A lack of conceptualizing the threat (due to blissful ignorance) leads to a boatload of Norwegian police sinking on the way to the island. It leads to not a single helicopter being available to intercede in the situation. It leads to a 90 minute response time. I think the killer actually just got bored (or horrified) with the killing, and just quit on his own. It wasn't like he burnt through all his ammunition.
"Norway - home of the *real* Vikings. Need I say more?"
Yes, you do. You're making assumptions regarding Norway's role in the Cold War without any supporting evidence.
OK, I can offer some supporting evidence. (I said I would if you *needed it*)
In the immediate post-war years Norway maintained a very low profile in foreign policy. The country hoped to remain outside the power blocks and likely areas of conflict. Norway put great hope in the United Nations and in fact the UN's first Secretary General, Trygve Lie was a Norwegian.
Global politics prevented this and as East/West tensions built up Norway was ***forced*** to come firmly down in the western military camp. Although relatively unscathed, Norway still benefited from the American Marshall Programme. Initially a reluctant recipient, Norway eventually received 2.5 thousand million kroner between 1948 and 1951.
There is more, more, more. I can bring it. Do you want it?
You're assuming (as is TP, whom you quote to support this assertion) that Norwegians were, in their impotence and apathy, content to sit back and relax and let the U.S. assume the burden of defending it. Which in itself implies that Norway made absolutely no contribution to its own defense or to NATO (of which it is a founding member).
No, wrong on two counts. First, I am not saying they did absolutely nothing, they *acceded to* US protection. Second, Norway is not a founding member of NATO. At all. "Following an abortive attempt to create a Nordic Defence Alliance, Norway, along with Denmark, joined NATO in 1949." [cite]
"They avoided considering the possibility that Hitler would invade,... er, I mean, that a homegrown maniac would kill a bunch of leftist children at a *VIP-studded* leftist retreat located on, you guessed it, a relatively remote island."
I wish you would've alerted the proper authorities ahead of time, if you were so aware of this possibility. But wait, according to you they couldn't have actually known. Or something:
"This is not to say that the name, date and time could have been known in advance, not at all. Only that the character and nature of the crime was already being predicted by people in Norway (and elsewhere). They knew it was inevitable, but they preferred to live in blissful ignorance."
Names, quotes, anything. Please.
Here you go: "According to Aftenposten, the Norwegian Army base at Meymaneh is amongst the least secure bases in Afghanistan, the base is less secure than other bases belonging to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)." [cite]
OK. Aftenposten is a Norwegian newspaper. Lack of security being, apparently, a Norwegian *thing*, the newspaper decided to point it out to it's citizens. Maybe in an attempt to alert people that Norway was living in a state of blissful ignorance.
Norway's anti-immigrant Progress Party won 23 percent of the vote in the last elections in 2009. [cite]
"In 2011 we expect their activity to contribute to steering the public debate in the direction of increased xenophobic sentiments. This could contribute to an increased polarization within and between extremist groups in Norway. Increased activism among Norwegian anti-Islamic organizations can however also increase the use of violence in such groups, particularly in connection with demonstrations and commemorations." [cite, read the whole thing]
So the word was out, but nobody was *preparing* for the eventuality. Or, if they were, they forgot to include boat and helicopter preparedness in their training materials.
"There is a new purity movement, whether anybody wants to admit it or not. This nutjob Breivik did nothing to improve the (extremist) anti-immigrant platform, in fact he might have squelched it."
So there is a "purity movement" afoot, but Breivik has undermined it and possibly "squelched it." Is this a bad thing? Did this "purity movement" have any validity in the first place? Aren't Breivik's actions merely the inevitable product of such a movement, as you've implied?
I said nothing to indicate that this is a bad or good thing, only that it will have an impact. And it has had an impact. And as far as Breivik's actions being inevitable, refer to the link [above] (to wit, "In 2011 we expect their activity to contribute to steering the public debate in the direction of increased xenophobic sentiments.")
Again, I am neither defending nor attacking the 'purity movement' I am merely pointing out that it has been adequately detailed by the Norwegian press (and 'secret police'). And by adequately detailed I mean to state that there has been ample evidence to suggest that Norway is *vulnerable* to home-grown fanaticism.
"Now, think about that. This guys actions may actually result with a greater influx of Muslim immigrants. And so I guess I would say that, in the end, the Norwegians will likely get more of the same. And, by degrees, they will watch as unfamiliar customs slowly come to dominate their (native) culture."
So Norway, which is (or isn't; I'm not exactly sure what you think it is) a supposed bastion of right-wing, anti-immigrant extremism, is now *more appealing* to Muslim immigrants?
I never said bastion - which would imply it is a majority position - and I did not say "more appealing." I said that the resistance to immigration might be squelched. Because people who resist immigrants don't want to be aligned with Breivik. For now.
Oh, and please stop with the "Eurabia" nonsense. I'm willing to wager that Norway's Muslim population (which constitutes all of 2-4% of the total) is and will never possess the capabilities to undermine Norwegian culture or whatever.
Well, despite the lack of Muslim critical mass (in terms of modifying Norwegian culture), the presence of immigrants has led directly to this mass killing. Now, I don't blame* immigrants (in the sense of intent), but Breivik didn't go on a killing spree *just because*. He went on a killing spree to launch an anti-immigrant European war. Now, however far-fetched that is, it is a *direct result* of the Muslim presence in Norway. So is it unsafe to presume (based on secret police disclosures among other things) that an increased Muslim presence is somehow *not* going to lead to more frequent hostilities?
Here's a synopsis of your argument: Breivik, who's representative of a larger movement, has, through his actions, discredited the (apparently legitimate) anti-immigrant platform.
Not discredited, embarrassed.
Thus, more Muslims will immigrate to Norway, which in turn will precipitate more attacks (from a movement which has been "squelched," remember), and eventually Norwegian culture will somehow collapse entirely in the face of the foreign hordes.
They (Norwegians) will lose their capacity to live in blissful ignorance (just like a woman loses her capacity to walk (comfortably) alone at night following being raped). You cannot go back to a time before. You must accept the new facts. Norway has been (mentally and spiritually) raped by a violent mass murderer who desired to start a Pan-European anti-immigrant war.
Airtight logic, there.
Finally, credit where credit is due.
[ED: The Boss has also closed this comment thread in the original piece, thusly:
All right. Let him go. You have proven what needed to be proven: he can never quite agree to disagree because he just MUST be right, even if he has had to concede point after point, including the ultimately rational basis of your argument.
Throughout, the intent is to keep driving for finer and finer points of dispute so that the larger context will ultimately be lost or become irrelevant.
Prime example in the latest response. Norway's unpreparedness was analogous to U.S. unpreparedness for 9/11. The "Everybody fucks up" argument.
Only problem -- 9/11 was a worldwide wakeup call. It was followed by terrorist attacks in London and Madrid. When your friends and neighbors have been assaulted and murdered, it's simply negligence not to be ready with the best emergency response you can muster.
Splitting and resplitting and re-resplitting hairs doesn't change the point of the original post one bit. It simply seeks to obscure it.
For no discernible reason other than the need to counter a bold statement by someone who must, by virtue of his political affiliations, be wrong, stupid, ill-informed or prejudiced.
Recall that the debate here began with a series of name-calling attacks [by Jack on me]. That's the only rationale for the respond, respond, respond, respond mentality we've seen on a topic that ultimately isn't that important, unless it's an ego issue for the commenter.
I declare this debate done, this comment thread closed. I started it with an opinionated essay I see no reason to retract. I asked Helk to see how far it would go. He's done that.
It's gone way too far. Truth. Helk wasn't particularly invested in the debate. It's just that he can do this kind of argumentation in his sleep.
What have we learned? Ego will drive you onto a dangerous limb attached to increasingly frail branches and even twigs if you lose sight of the main point in pursuit of just having to prove that you're somehow smarter.
Nobody is smarter than Helk. And nobody has less ego involved.
Funny how that works, isn't it?
Can we be done with it now? Norway is just great, has no big questions to ask itself, and they can be satisfied, like all liberals, that their good intentions are all that's required in a purely accidentally dangerous world.
As to the dead ones? Well, they're dead, aren't they? And won't be heard from again.
Congratulations, Jack. We're all in, uh, awe of your brilliance.]
. Why does Charles Krauthammer look so sour?
Because Republicans are on the verge of blowing their huge advantage
against Barack Obama.
The confrontation about the debt limit was a good idea. It exposed the inflexibility of the president, who cannot bring himself to compromise his anti-capitalist ideology even when the fiscal viability of the nation is at stake.
The whole country has seen that he cannot propose his own plan, nor can his party, if the simple question is asked, "How can we reduce spending so that $40 dollars of every $100 we spend is borrowed, in perpetuity?"
But let's not forget that this has always been a game of "chicken." Who will blink first? Who will drive off into the ditch before the Mutually Assured Destruction of a head-on collision? The people are now well able to see that the Democrats have no intention of reducing spending under any circumstances. Point made.
And point made was always the best possible outcome in a political structure that gives Democrats control of both the senate and the White House as compared to Republican control of the House of Representatives. That's it. Game over. Time to raise the debt limit and attack, attack, attack the Democrats in the 2012 election.
Here's the irony that fills me with despair. The Tea Party freshmen in the house were elected as representatives in a representative democracy. Their job is to do the right thing, whether their constituents agree or not. Isn't that the ultimate definition of citizen politicians? You didn't elect us to follow your kneejerk reactions but to serve the nation. And we're perfectly content to be voted out of office if you don't finally approve of our votes.
Still waiting for the irony? Here it is. The Tea Party caucus which insists it's okay to let the U.S. go into a state of at least technical default are -- by this exact positioning -- proving that they are already pure politicians, determined to hang onto their seats regardless of national impacts of their votes. Their seeming principled opposition on this issue is actually proof that they've already sold out.
Point made, goddammit. The debt limit has been raised dozens of times over the years. Yes, there was value in objecting this time. But what's the mission? To regain control of the U.S. government, meaning the presidency and the senate.
So the senate has passed nothing. The president has proposed nothing. There hasn't even been a federal budget during the Obama administration. What more do you want? The only reason not to pass some kind of even relatively clean bill raising the debt limit is to protect individual asses in the House of Representatives.
I'm thoroughly pissed off. I'm done with all righties who insist there's no penalty to pay for the nation if the world thinks we can't pay our debts or can't forestall a downgrade of our credit rating, which wouldn't have been a possibility at all if we hadn't made such an enormous issue of it in the first place.
I'm old enough to be sick to death of the win-it-all or lose-it-all strategy. If the dollar ceases to be the curency of first resort in the world, we will all suffer. Interest rates will rise, inflation will increase, and all the little people the Tea Partiers claim they care for will be thrust into a world of diminished purchasing power and escalating penury. Why? To prove a point? To take an axe to a situation that begs for actual intelligence rather than a mindless inflexibility that reminds me of nothing so much as Obama's obsession with corporate jets?
Frankly, I'm done with most of the Republican field. This isn't what I signed up for.
My candidate for the Republican presidential nomination right now? Evan Bayh.
Yeah. A Democrat Why? Obama must be defeated. He's destroying the United States of America. But so are all the suddenly heedless libertarians who think they just might possibly win the 2012 election by pissing in everybody's bathwater in the name of ideological purity.
Oh. Okay. Here's the beginning of what Charles Krauthammer has to say:
He's kinder than I am. Because he has a stomach ache. I don't. I have
full on nausea.
(Sorry about your 36-hour jibe yet, Pete? You should be.)