Pres Obama Saves US Taxpayers $5 Million

Tom Van Dyke

Tom Van Dyke, businessman, musician, bon vivant and game-show champ (The Joker's Wild, and Win Ben Stein's Money), knows lots of stuff, although not quite everything yet. A past inactive to The American Spectator Online, the late great Reform Club blog, and currently on religion and the American Founding at American Creation, TVD continues to write on matters of both great and small importance from his ranch type style tract house high on a hill above Los Angeles.

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84 Responses

  1. DensityDuck says:

    Oh, I get it!  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH!  That’s hilarious!  You slay me, man, you really do.  Especially the bit about the frogs.Report

  2. BlaiseP says:

    Fahd al-Quso was killed by a Hellfire missile fired from a CIA drone.   Cruise missiles are for missions involving targets hundreds of miles away.    A Hellfire missile doesn’t cost a million dollars USD.   It costs around 58,000 USD.

    Hollywood missiles make orange burst patterns.   Actual missiles make an instantaneous white flash and a big ol’ dust cloud, as artillery has been doing since WW1.

    Gosh.  All these folks getting so excited about some terrorist getting the Big Kaboom.  Rah-friggin’-rah.Report

    • Will H. in reply to BlaiseP says:

      an instantaneous white flash


      • BlaiseP in reply to Will H. says:

        Phosphorus isn’t instantaneous.   Yes, phosphorus does burns white but it’s not a standard munition and strictly speaking doesn’t explode, phosphorus merely oxidizes.   Those Hollywood explosions (and the twee puter game kaboom featured above ) are orange because they’re nothing more than plastic bags of kerosene igniting.

        Hollywood war porn never gets this right.  The flash from a modern explosive projectile doesn’t last more than a few hundredths of a second, modern meaning any munition manufactured since the invention of high explosive.  What you’ll actually see is a huge cloud of dust and a shower of rubble.   That’s mostly why soldiers wear helmets:  the modern helmet evolved during WW1 to keep falling rocks and shrapnel from conking troops in the head.Report

        • Kimmi in reply to BlaiseP says:

          In space, no one can hear you scream.
          It wouldnt’ be fun to not shwo the explosion. and hollywood is all about the fun.

          Hope you’re enjoying Game of Thrones — it’s giving a far grimmer take on war than most hollywood crap. Then again, what else did you expect from a journalist?Report

        • Kazzy in reply to BlaiseP says:

          Mythbusters do a pretty good job of demonstrating this when they do movie myths. They blew up a cement truck once with, I believe, C4. It looked NOTHING like TV. It was simply there, a puff of smoke, and then it was gone. No fire, no orange. Just there one second, gone the next. Even their super slow mo barely caught it. Then they show how to achieve a specific visual and it usually involves things more akin to fireworks than weapons.Report

  3. Stillwater says:

    This is a strange line of criticism TVD. Killing terrorists is a conservative issue, no? I seem to remember that the arguments for going into Afg. and Iraq were based around the idea of terrorists having motive, means and opportunity to kill us. Now that Obama is doing just that, you want to criticize him for what your guys – if not not you personally – have been championing all along?

    Or is this just another instance of Cleek’s Law: that conservatives oppose whatever liberals support, updated daily?Report

    • Who’s criticizing?  I think it’s great.  Props where they’re due.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        Ahhh. I mistakenly thought there was a snarky undercurrent to this post.


        • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

          I retract my apology.Report

            • Chris in reply to Murali says:

              I suspect because of the racial tone to the post (in the language it uses, which may not be obvious to non-Americans), particularly given what Tom’s recent behavior has revealed about his… attitudes towards race.Report

              • Scott in reply to Chris says:


                Why is TVD at fault for playing on the riff that Fallon and Barry started. It was cool for them but racist for TVD?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Scott says:

                It would have served Tom well to have included a link or otherwise more explicit connection to the Fallon skit, seeing as how it was lost on many people.

                It is still a bit troubling, given that Tom is largely critical of the President, generally does NOT refer to him with either his full name or the appropriate honorific, included other slang not included in the skit (at least not in the edited version in the link he ultimately offered), and otherwise can’t even appropriately acknowledge something he did like that the President did without coming off snarky and smarmy.

                So, yes, Virginia, sometimes it DOES matter who says it.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Scott says:

                To normal people outside the bubble, none of this stuff comes as news or is particularly subversive.


            • Stillwater in reply to Murali says:

              For the reasons Kazzy said below. Giving someone props where they’re due while simultaneously mocking that person isn’t really giving them props. That Tom doesn’t realize that is one reason why his comments about politics are a running joke here at the League.


              • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

                To normal people who do more than simply try to score “points” in a game that only he is playing, using in-jokes of a group that one is not actually a member of us is obviously mocking.  Unfortunately, not all of us here fit that bill.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kazzy says:

                Jimmy Fallon is an in-joke of your faction, brother.  SNL is your faction.  Roll with it.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Oh, addressing me directly now, are you? Perhaps the cowardly liar has grown a bit of courage. Still no brains though as the point was painfully missed.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kazzy says:

                Thou art the point, sir, as is SNL silencing the Downey skit.  By punking Romney on bin Laden, BHO earned this tweak, and his supporters are going to have to learn to take as well as they give it out.

                And if you’re not up on current events, that’s not my fault.  It’s bad enough Jon Stewart gets a different standard [zero, it seems] from your club, but I don’t have to play by your rules.  BHO had this coming, and in the next 6 months, there’s a lot more he’s going to be answering for.

                BTW, the OP was in sincere praise of the commander-in-chief nailing that murderer of our boys on the USS Cole.  I am on the fence about “Preezy of the United Steezy.”  Ronald Reagan, who never even took his jacket off in the Oval Office, would never have stood for such a belittiling or respect for the presidential office, and neither would anyone have had the presumptuousness to try.  On the other hand, it’s the 21st century and I don’t want to be a stick in the mud.

                I also thought the Fallon skit was pretty funny.

                So there you have it.  And I’m not going to put up with your namecalling again, BSK.  You’re way out of line and you know it.  Sir.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                I count at least 5 logic fails in that one response. Anyone else want to take a stab?

                TVD, at worst, I’m wrong. At best, you’re a clown. Sir me all you want. You’re still an assclown who degrades these pages.

                Fallon and President Obama (he IS the President, remember… Why do you insist on BHO when he doesn’t ever use his middle initial, not even in his signature? Have to make sure everyone knows he really is a secret Mooslum) clearly have enough of a relationship amd understanding of ne another that such terminology was acceptable. They are the “in group”. You, someone who makes every effort to belittle the President, are not. Going further, Fallon has an intimate knowledge of black American culture, much more than your average white guy, and is generally afforded certain privileges within that community that most whites (like yourself) aren’t. As such, your use of the terms is offensive. Given that you yourself acknowledged your own misgivings, your use is even more questionable. Throw “u da bomb” or whatever other crap you finished with and the point is clear: you failed. Even in the title, you refer to him as “Pres”… Just can’t bring yourself to show the man (you do acknowledge him as a man, at least, right?) an ounce of respect. Who does he think he is… Being President AND not kowtowing to the likes of you.

                Take off the clown suit whenever you are ready to be taken seriously, Tommyboy. Else you’ll find yourself chased out of here like a certain other blog you used to right for.Report

              • wardsmith in reply to Kazzy says:

                Kazzy, am I reading you right? You’d really rather TVD called Obama BO instead of BHO? Does BO have no alternate meaning in your lexicon?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                How about the President?  Or President Obama?  Or even just Obama?  The last one is only 2 extra letters… and a wash when typing if you factor in not having to capitalize two extra letters.

                I know some people will point out the tendency to use the younger President Bush’s middle name/initial, but that comparison doesn’t really work.  Bush routinely used his middle name/initial to differentiate himself from his father and “Dubya” was a well-accepted nickname.

                A basic form of respect is to address people in the manner which they prefer.  For someone supposedly so dedicated to a “gentlemanly” code, he really struggles to show even a base level of respect for the man elected to the highest position in the land.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kazzy says:

                WSmith, I let Kazzy’s violations of comment policy stand because they’re illogical, petty, and juvenile.  By all means, let’s call him BO.  If I were in his faction I’d beg him to stop embarrassing us.

                As for the one blog I was hustled out of, Southern Appeal, it was for calling for the end of flying the Confederate battle flag, because to black Americans, it doesn’t signify pride in the “Southern way of life,” it signifies slavery and Jim Crow repression, and is hurtful.

                Whether Kazzy [formerly BSK] knows that or just conveniently left it out because it puts a thumb in the eye of his personal attacks on me, I dunno.

                Don’t care.  Damn right I’m the contrarian and damn right I’ll speak as who I am, not a phony TV hipster—as though that gives them a pass to say things normal people shouldn’t.

                Preezy my ass.


              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                So… as per usual…

                False accusation, failed appeal to “unwritten code of gentlemanlyness”, personal attack, subject changing (with a dash of “my best friend is black” thrown in), strawman, dodge, logical fallacy.

                NICELY DONE!

                By the way, I’m curious what the authorship policy says about violating the confidentiality of commenters here… connecting different handles I’ve used via the private email addresses associated with them them… hmmm…Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Kazzy says:

                Any bets TVD is a Yalie?

                [ten points if you get the reference]

                [twenty points if you know who it’s making fun of]Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kazzy says:

                You publicly announced your name change from BSK to Kazzy, sir.  I did not cross any line, but you continue to cross every line, now intimating wrongdoing on my part.

                I let you continue to embarrass yourself because it gives me the opportunity to explain just how wrong and indecent your attacks are about me.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                Which is interesting, given that you intimated not knowing who I was (going so far as to refer to me as “him/her”) even after making such information public.  Which I did so only once.  On a thread I never saw you participate in (which is not to say you didn’t or hadn’t read it).  This tells me two things: either you knew the name changed had occurred but pretended otherwise under the erroneous assumption that referring to me with a female pronoun would be offensive OR you only came to know of the name change after I posted on one of your threads and thus you did indeed violate the confidentiality.

                And I love how your attempts at pointing out how wrong I am never actually engage the substance of my comment.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kazzy says:

                I later saw your announcement of going from one pseudonym [BSK]  to another [Kazzy] earlier in that thread.

                Now can you stoop any lower in your attacks on me or have you run out of shamelessness?  So far you’ve called me names, misrepresented my departure from Southern Appeal [of which I’m quite proud] and are now making unfounded intimations about ethics.

                You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

                And I hope you recognize the quote, because that’s the gutter you’ve stooped to.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                Do you really think that you have the credibility for me to accept you at your word?  That you made one thinly veiled, indirect attack on me in which you included the “him/her” nonsense when you had no idea who I was (which makes it curious that you would make a thinly veiled, indirect attack on someone you were unfamiliar with), came to know who I was, subsequently called me an idiot (remember that?  Was that within your code?), and now have gone to great lengths to connect the different handles I have posted under as if you’ve solved the crime of the century, all while acknowledging that the information was publicly available?

                Question me all you want… the truly sad thing is that, despite your status here as an author and a front pager, I’m confident a polling of the folks here would find me held in higher regard than you.  Of course, you’d blame that on some sort of left wing media conspiracy or whatever, adding further fuel to your self-victimization.

                And to think, this all started because I asked why it was so hard for you to call the President by his rightful name or title?Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                my faction likes waffles and funnel cakes more than SNL does.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:


                you only wish your faction came up with this diplomatic communique:

                “Do Not Taunt Happy Fun Ball”

                Bets on which country’s translators get to translate that one?Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kimmi says:

                20 years ago when SNL was funny you mean, Kimmi?

                Actually, SNL did a pretty funny one a year ago tweaking a self-satisfied Preezy on getting bin Laden.  It’s not as if they don’t try.  But I wonder if they’re going to park their funny bones at the door now that they have the serious business of re-electing Obama.

                Even the Toy Dept. gets serious when it counts.


                As Glenn Reynolds wrote earlier this week, “Personally, I think that Chevy Chase cost Ford the 1976 election. Well, part of it, anyway”. But to understand exactly how badly SNL head-faked Nessen and Ford, here’s the section devoted to Nessen’s appearance of Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad’s 1985 book on the early history of Saturday Night.


              • Kimmi in reply to Kimmi says:

                No, I mean last week.

                (the correct answer is China. Apparently when what America has to say is so obvious, it’s fun to tweak the translator’s tails).Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Kimmi says:

                Is Glenn Reynolds aware that in that era of SNL almost no watched it, and the demographic didn’t exactly skew Ford supporter?

                Seriously, and I say this with all the disrespect that Glenn’s bit deserves, who the fish looks at that period of history and deduces it’s the liberal media conspiracy via a late night sketch show and not the disgraced resigned President and Watergate fallout that led to the GOP losing the White House?

                I mean holy fish.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kimmi says:

                Tod, the money quotes are from SNL people themselves, that they had a baldfaced political agenda.  Why you slapped Reynolds I dunno.  He’s peripheral to the point.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Kimmi says:

                Is Glenn Reynolds aware


              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kimmi says:

                Kimmi, the Happy Fun Ball skit goes back to 1991.



              • Tod Kelly in reply to Kimmi says:

                You can prove Ballon Juice was in for Obama over McCain. Easy to do.

                To then say McCain lost to Obama because the fix was in at Balloon Juice is idiotic and if you have a seat at theTable and put forth that argument you need to be slapped around.

                Same dif’.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Kimmi says:


                oh, nevermind. You’re missing the entire humor, my entire point, and a good deal of everyone else’s.

                “Planet earth is blue, and there’s nothing I can do…”Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Kimmi says:

                Also, I am not the one that quoted Glenn.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Kimmi says:

                I must have seen that one, because I remember both the Ford clip and the “Painful rectal itch” joke.  I don’t recall thinking “The jokes are grosser than usual this week”, and I doubt much of the SNL audience did either.  Why was Ron Nessen on the show, anyway?  To show that the Ford White House were good sports, not paranoid lunatics like You Know Who, and he succeeded at that.  That he got his nose tweaked at the same time is hardly the sort of thing on which elections turn, or the sort of thing anyone who’s not bound and determined to be a victim brings up 30-odd years later.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kimmi says:

                C’mon, Tod, Reynolds’ was a semi-serious one liner.


                I expect this stuff from some quarters, but not yours.

                As for SNL, we’ll see how they behave.  Their record has been good over the years


                as an equal-opportunity offender, and I’m willing to entertain the possibility that Jim Downey’s skit was cut because it wasn’t funny enough.Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Kimmi says:

                No it’s not, Tom. You know those campus liberals that argue that the reason there are poor people is that the conservatives engineer it to be so? This is the conservative equivalent.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kimmi says:

                I’m not going to litigate this, Tod. Chevy Chase thinks so, and certainly had the intention of helping Carter against Ford.


                It is what it is.


              • Tod Kelly in reply to Kimmi says:

                Tom, if Chevy Chase believes that the GOP lost the WH in ’76 because of SNL and not Nixon’s scandals (and Ford’s pardon) then that’s his (amazingly solopsistic) prerogative. But if a “serious” righty blogger believes that quoting Chevy Chase is “proof” of the same then it’s all you need to know about that blogger.

                Call me a cynic, but I’d bet my next year’s earnings that if Chase was quoted tomorrow that Romney would be he worst Preezy ever Glenn would not write a column sayimg it was proof we should vote for Obama, and would instead research to whatever degree necessary to show Chase was an actor that didn’t know what the fish he was talking about.

                That is pretty much the definition of “hack.”Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kimmi says:

                Tod, it’s a passing thought.  I’m more interested in how SNL handles ’12 than I ever was in Mr. Chase.  Cutting the Jim Downey skit has rather put them in a position of extra scrutiny.

                The cut skit is here, BTW:


                It’s funny, and it scores.  Happy bin Laden Day!Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Kimmi says:

                To be fair, Tom isn’t quoting Chase to show that Chase was instrumental in defeating Ford, he’s quoting Chase as saying “We were trying to hurt Ford.”

                I’m not saying I necessarily believe that either, since if he’d said anything else he would have remained irrelevant and not gotten to spend time with that amazingly pretty interviewer.  (And yes, Chevy, they’re doing the Palin sketches because Tina Fey’s Plain is hilarious.)  But it’s not unseasonable to take Chase at his word.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kimmi says:

                Thank you, Mr. Schilling.  From the aforelinked 1985 book excerpt:

                Nessen eventually concluded that Saturday Night had in fact been out to get him. He was helped to that conclusion when Chevy Chase, who’d got along so well with Ford at the correspondents’ dinner, started excoriating the President in interviews, calling him “a totally compassionless man” whose eyes were so empty that looking into them “was like looking into the eyes of 50 milligrams of Valium.”

                Chevy and others on Saturday Night firmly believe they helped defeat Ford in the 1976 election by promulgating so effectively his image as a befuddled klutz. Nessen agrees that Ford’s stumblebum image helped defeat him, but he doesn’t think Saturday Night was that significant in furthering it. Nevertheless, Nessen conceded in the end that his appearance on the show hadn’t done the President any good, either.

                “Looking back,” he wrote in his book, “it’s obvious that my attempt to smother the ridicule of Ford by joining the laughter on Saturday Night was a failure.”


  4. Mike Schilling says:

    The hip-hop jive is so much less offensive than if he’d said “Marse Joe, I’se gwine to git dat Brer Osama.”Report

  5. Kimmi says:

    It’s easy to be an expert, when everyone else is dead.Report

  6. Jeff says:

    I have to appuald TVD for saying something nice about Obama, even if it wrapped in enough Jingoism and “othering” to set off fireworks for the next three 4ths of July.Report

    • Scott in reply to Jeff says:


      I will join in and say “well done.”  I’m always glad to see us kill terrorists.  I can only hope he suffered.  The new underwear bomb plot underscores the need to keep killing these folks.Report

  7. MFarmer says:

    Will we ever get past this Chuck Norris bullshit? This is a contagious mindset that blinds itself to the crony relationship between Capital and the Pentagon. There comes a time when we must move along and realize this vicarious badass killing trip is over.Report

    • Tom Van Dyke in reply to MFarmer says:

      Don’t be dogging on the Preezy, Mr. Farmer.

      The whole hoary glory story here.Report

    • Scott in reply to MFarmer says:


      Sure when they stop trying to blow up aircraft with underwear bombs, like the new plot just foiled.  So much for the religion of peace.  Until then they can hate us just as long as they fear us more.

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Scott says:

        Scott, to be serious for a moment, I do think AQ made a play for the Muslim future.  Fortunately, it lost—in part because we beat it, in part because of its own ruthless excesses.

        Interesting stuff—bin Laden’s papers.



      • MFarmer in reply to Scott says:

        “Sure when they stop trying to blow up aircraft with underwear bombs”

        With all these foiled plots over the last 3 to 4 years, we either have intelligence that sees and hears everything or the terrorists are so stupid and incompetent they aren’t much of as threat, more like Stooges with firecrackers in their undies.

        The reality is that our response to 9/11 was much more damaging than these idiots suspected, and now the leaders of mideast countries have told the Terrorists to be an irritant but not to actually terrorize us. I’ve said from the beginning that terrorism is self-defeating against America because if it succeeds it fails. If we are truly, existentially terrorized, from Generals to soccer moms, we’ll destroy the entire mideast, and they know it. The only Americans dying are the ones our government is sending to a hostile region and making sitting ducks out of.Report

        • BlaiseP in reply to MFarmer says:

          Um, no.   The current crop of terrorists listens to nobody.   Haven’t you been paying attention to the stuff coming out of the Abbotabad Trove?   OBL is over there in Pakistan, sternly warning Zarqawi in Iraq and al-Shabaab to quit killing civilians because it’s un-Islamic.   They don’t listen to him.   They don’t listen to anyone.   Fact is, there wouldn’t be an al-Qaeda without those despotic little dictators to give them a reason to exist.

          Our response to 9/11 began well enough.   We went to the Russians, got some pointers on how to fight in Afghanistan.   The Russians wished us well (for they have no love for their Islamic terrorists down Chechnya and Abhkhazia way ) and told us we were going to put our feet in the bear trap, for they had been there for years.    The lasting damage done to a handful of Al Qaeda fighters isn’t going to win this war.

          This sort of terrorist maniac has been seen before in history, always associated with a reaction to despotic regimes.  They move off to some anarchic part of the world, raise up a few companies of fighters and proceed to raise Cain where they can.    If they “terrorize” us, we’ve been conniving with those despots for generations.   Truth is, we are valid targets for their bombs.   Which isn’t to say we shouldn’t strike back, just observing they wouldn’t be attacking us if we hadn’t been on the side of the despots.   Wonder why almost all those 9/11 hijackers were Saudi?   That’s why.   KSA is a despotic regime and when they whistle, we come running like so many dogs to do their bidding.   It’s bullshit, everyone knows it’s bullshit, but as long as we’ve got this Oil Addiction, we’re going to continue grovelling to these dictator types and continue to send them people to torture.

          Existentially, the lasting results of 9/11 are these:  America has overcome its reticence about torture.   Our Fourth Amendment rights are gone.   We have sided with the dictators, yet again, and we will continue to be attacked because we do so.   We have sunk to the level of our enemies.  And like our enemies, certain sick persons, yes, even around here, rejoice when the bombs fall.   I find it all quite revolting.   This isn’t the country I fought for any more.Report

          • MFarmer in reply to BlaiseP says:

            Yes, I’ve read the history of mideast interventions from the very beginning of America as a country and it’s filled with bad guys on all sides, including our side. I’m calling for us to get out and stay out — fight only in defense for national security reasons. I don;t think we’re pure, and I don’t think the countries of the mideast are poor victims — it’s been a series of insane actions from various players steeped in misunderstandings, corruption, blackmail, bullying, religious bullshit, and plain old incompetence.Report

            • BlaiseP in reply to MFarmer says:

              While we remain addicted to Saudi and Kuwaiti and Gulf States oil, the situation will never change.   Our money props up their despotic regimes yet we’re obliged to keep things stable or our economy goes in the toilet.   The Palestinians take aid and comfort from nasty customers like Iran and Syria, Israel goes on oppressing the Palestinians (and spying on us),  oh it’s a never ending parade of idiocy and dirty dealing all round.

              Sounds like a national security problem writ large, keeping this whole wretched state of affairs from falling into the fire.   Hillary Clinton goes to India and talks tough about sanctions on Iran:  who does she want the Indians to purchase oil from — the Saudis? Embargoes worked out sooo well with Iraq, yep yep.

              I’m watching Egypt and Libya go from bad to worse:  over 100,000 Tuaregs have now moved south through the desert from Libya into Niger Republic, a new refugee crisis.   Syria is engaged in a civil war for all practical purposes and Turkey is poised to intervene in a big way, that’s my guess.   We’ve absolutely failed to practise what we preach when it comes to democracy and the rights of man.

              Maybe you’re right.   Maybe we should just quit caring about these places.   Maybe we should just let China move into Africa and Iraq in a big way, there’s little we can do to stop them anyway.   The Chinese don’t care how bad these governments are:  the worse they are the more efficient the bribing can become.

              It might be fair to say these countries of the Middle East are not poor victims but the people who are obliged to live in them are.   The modern world has passed them by.    There are no opportunities for those young people and we cannot provide them.

              Africa and the Middle East, Afghanistan too, are like the Planck Body, absorbing every watt of goodwill radiated in their direction and emitting nothing but the infrared of bribes to banks in Switzerland and the Caymans.   Afghan government officials fly out with suitcases full of American currency.   Tons of opium paste finds its way through the mountains to refineries in Pakistan.

              We have become a King Midas in reverse:  everything we touch turns to shit.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Well, Blaise, that’s certainly the “conservative” [or it “radical”?] Islamic critique of Western modernity.  Europe is even more debased than America is, but fortunately for the rest of the world, impotence has accompanied its decadence, so its capacity to pervert mankind has faded.

                As for America herself, I quite agree energy independence is a matter of both physical and spiritual national necessity.  We must indeed drill, baby, drill, if only to save our soul, and then leave the Euroweinies and the Salafists to sort each other out.  Nothing good comes from our being in bed with either of them.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                It happens to be my viewpoint, Tom.  Nor do I think you know much of Muslims or Europeans, you silly man.   If we have become debased in your eyes, I will take your judgement into account for I am not the one screeching with sadistic pleasure at the deaths of our enemies.   Willing enough that others should suffer and die at the hands of our troops and the shrapnel of our bombs, who exactly is the debased pervert in this picture?   That would be you.

                It’s people like Tom Van Dyke who make me ashamed to be an American.   I remain proud enough of this country and its many virtues.  If those virtues grow fewer and we grow more callous to the suffering of others, you and those like you represent its fall from grace.

                Would that I could slap a helmet on all your heads and rifles into your hands and kick your decidedly un-military asses a few times and push you out the gates through which I travelled to fight this nation’s enemies as I fought them.   You might think differently of shooting people thereafter.   You would have more reverence for death, in any case.   But if you didn’t develop that reverence, you would get shot and the country would be better off without you all.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Easy there, Blaise.  That justice was done to the murderers of the USS Cole bothers me not at all, and I don’t deny I find it gratifying to see justice done.  Am I bloodthirsty?  Not at all:  I’m in sympathy with the Roman church’s opposition to capital punishment, that in the Western world, whatever deterrent value it might have is negated by its numerous desultory effects.

                This is not the case with blowing up jihadists, though.  That is necessary.  My particular favorite is when they’re making a bomb and blow their own asses up.  I do not apologize in the least for laughing.  You want to high-horse your moral sterility about blowing up jihadists, take it up on President Obama himself.  That would be far more interesting and relevant.

                As for the rest of the coherence of your wordview, you’ll have to let it sit still longer than a self-actualizing driveby.

                Was Khomeini better than the Shah?  Is the mullah regime today better than his, which hangs homosexuals and stones adulteresses better?  That is on the brink of nuclear weaponry with a hard-on for the Jews?

                And what of the future Egypt and Libya?  Are you so sure that their tyrants weren’t better?  You can’t be.

                As for the Europeans, you can have them.  I think we Americans are far too sentimental about them, and I have little good to say about them except they produced America’s ancestors.  We have paid them back thrice, saving them from the Kaiser, the Fuehrer and the Commies, and our debt is more than paid.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                I would only repeat myself in saying you are exactly what’s wrong with America these days.   You’ve simply channelling Bob Cheeks these days.   I’m of half a mind to write a Greasemonkey script so I don’t have to read you.   Should be pretty easy to work with span class=”comment author”


              • You’re exactly the other side of Bob Cheeks, Blaise.  Odd you never realized that, though we must note he’s unfailingly courteous and succinct.  I do miss him—he kept people far more honest that he realized.  Those of us who understood him and his buddy Voegelin chuckled when he’d put another one right between somebody’s sophomoric eyes.  He was operating on a whole ‘nother plane, and at least some of his victims were capable of appreciating how he’d just smilingly given them a well-earned coscoron.

                And as for you, me brother, I enjoy you because your ideas are your own.  The cantankerousness I endure just to hear somebody say something original.  [My agreement is as always optional and indeed irrelevant.  Original is good, best.  There is often more truth in a flawed argument than an unimaginative one.  Rock on.]


              • Stillwater in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                I’m in sympathy with the Roman church’s opposition to capital punishment … This is not the case with blowing up jihadists, though.  That is necessary. My particular favorite is when they’re making a bomb and blow their own asses up.  I do not apologize in the least for laughing.

                So killing other people is wrong, unless it’s ‘necessary’, and if they do it on their own their deaths are worth laughing about.

                Nice Tom. I’m not sure anything you said could have confirmed BP’s opinion of you as well as that statement. I mean, you ought to re-read it. Objectively. See if you can’t find anything grotesque being expressed there.


              • Chris in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Sometimes, Blaise, I want to give you a high five. That, in case anyone’s keeping score, is much bigger than a +1. I am, as I’ve probably said many times, deeply anti-war, and I have days when I’m a pacifist (and days when I’m decidedly not one — what was it Whitman said, and Emerson?), so you can imagine that cheering at death disgusts me. Is the world a better place without someone who decided to bomb military targets? Probably. Does that mean cheering his death is appropriate? Nope. If not a sign of decay, it’s certainly a sign of regression.

                Also, what (if any) English-language sources do you use to get news about the Middle East/Central Asia?

                Also, speaking of Emerson, you quoted Self-Reliance the other day, if I remember correctly. Sometimes this blog’s comment section reminds me of the next paragraph in that essay (after your “hobgoblin” quote):

                I suppose no man can violate his nature. All the sallies of his will are rounded in by the law of his being, as the inequalities of Andes and Himmaleh are insignificant in the curve of the sphere. Nor does it matter how you gauge and try him. A character is like an acrostic or Alexandrian stanza; — read it forward, backward, or across, it still spells the same thing. In this pleasing, contrite wood-life which God allows me, let me record day by day my honest thought without prospect or retrospect, and, I cannot doubt, it will be found symmetrical, though I mean it not, and see it not. My book should smell of pines and resound with the hum of insects. The swallow over my window should interweave that thread or straw he carries in his bill into my web also. We pass for what we are. Character teaches above our wills. Men imagine that they communicate their virtue or vice only by overt actions, and do not see that virtue or vice emit a breath every moment.


              • BlaiseP in reply to Chris says:

                I do a fair bit of translation and editing for WatchingAmerica from French and Arabic.  The intrepid reporters of Dawn and Frontier Post are doing fine work in Pakistan these days, often at risk to their lives.   I read Daily Star out of Lebanon for gossip and rumours, Al Ahram out of Egypt, Khaleej Times out of UAE.Report

        • Jason Kuznicki in reply to MFarmer says:

          With or without missiles, we’re winning.  We have a secret weapon — alcohol:

          Statistics provided by research group Euromonitor International reported a constant increase in the use of alcohol in several countries where the Muslim religion, which prohibits the use of any product capable of affecting behaviour (drugs included), is dominant. Quoting the survey, Le Monde reported that between 2005 and 2010 the average consumption by the French dropped from 104.2 litres of alcohol per year to 96.7, while in the same period in the Middle East and Africa area it increased by 25%, from 11.7 billion litres to 15.2 billion…

          In Saudi Arabia and in Iran, where the prohibition is official and severe, people drink alcohol free beer. In Iran figures increased by 40% per year, from 61.9 million litres in 2005 to 338.7 million in 2010. In the kingdom the demand for non alcoholic beer increased from 67.6 to 113.3 million litres per year. it is impossible to assess the consumption of smuggled and illegally imported alcohol. (ANSAmed).

          I understand that Malta is popular in Saudi Arabia; they like their n.a. beers sweet… and unfermented. They also really like brewer’s yeast.  For health reasons only, of course.


          • BlaiseP in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

            We have another not-so-secret weapon which we’ve deployed with considerable success in Islamic lands:  heroin.   Our invasion and subsequent occupation of Afghanistan has produced bumper crops of opium.  Iran and Pakistan are crippled:  hundreds of thousands of addicts are absolutely ruining their societies, especially in Iran, where they’ve taken to smoking it.   It’s as if we’ve unloosed a horde of criminal zombies on the nations of Islam.   The drug lords have so much money they’re corrupting those regimes into oblivion.   It’s getting into China and Russia and the -stans, too.Report

  8. John Howard Griffin says:

    Is there an Editor at the League, who reads posts before they go live?

    If so, who is it that approved this post?Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

      No one approves posts from top-level authors before they go live.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        How does one become a top-level author?Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Kazzy says:

          Submit a bunch of guest posts and ask is how some people did it. I volunteered to help Jaybird out on Mindless Diversions, he accepted, and then Erik promoted me (reminder to self: really slacking on MD lately).Report

        • Nob Akimoto in reply to Kazzy says:

          Erik traded the third round pick of the 2012 blogging draft to Balloon Juice and ForeignPolicy and used the supplemental round pick he got out of that deal to draft me.Report

      • John Howard Griffin in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        Thank you for the information, Mr. Kuznicki.

        While this post may be a colossal embarrassment to the League, the greater sin is that none of the other top-level authors seem to mind enough to call this out.

        May the GRB arrive sooner rather than later…Report

        • Jason Kuznicki in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

          I would not assume that nothing is happening. I won’t say more than that.Report

          • John Howard Griffin in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

            Certainly, I am not assuming that publicly there is radio silence.

            What I *do* assume is that all of the top-level authors have tacitly or actively condoned a troll at the top level. I would think that this post and past history would have the League converging on this location from left, right and center.Report