Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bon Mots

blog based in Florida, Candide's Notebook, tossed off quite a number of bon mots. They have the look of something he must have been saving for a rainy day. But they're thought-provoking, nonetheless.

Chazelle, we are told, is a Princeton University computer science professor. And, a handsome one at that, to judge from the photo on his personal blog here.

Available for free at Candide's Notebook are these sure-fire conversation stoppers for your next dinner party, bar mitzvah, or bowling league night:

On Cheney: "Big-Time Dick saluted the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 by persuading his boss to invade Panama (for reasons no one seems able to remember). And today it is anybody's guess which Caribbean island the United States will invade to celebrate its victory in Iraq."

On George W. Bush: "In January of 2001, George W. Bush took — er, grabbed — the reins of an American Empire at its zenith. He will soon hand back a smoldering wreckage of broken lives, enduring hatred, and vanished influence."

On Bush's father: "At a recent ceremony for his son Jeb, George H. W. Bush was caught on national television sobbing uncontrollably. Pity the man who stands one short letter away from the worst president in US history. The letter is H, as in H for hubris."

On what we have become since 9-11: "Historians will ponder how one gangly caveman and nineteen scrawny associates turned America into the land of the kind-of-free (53rd freest press in the world, tied with Botswana) and the home of the petrified. The sons and daughters of the nation that stood up to Hitler and Tojo now file through airport security barefoot, much as they would walk, shoeless, into a mosque -- a mosque, they pray, empty of Muslims."

On shallow-minded pundits like Thomas Friedman and Richard Cohen: To talk the neocolonial talk from the plush comfort of the imperial capital is easy. To walk the walk is not."

On U.S. military expenditures: "US military expenditures exceed those of all nations on earth combined. And yet battling a ragtag band of lightly armed insurgents was more than the world's mightiest army could take."

On Iraq War expenditures: "The war effort's claim on the US treasury will soon exceed $600 billion: more than Vietnam; (4) more than all the money ever spent on cancer research; (8) more than enough to “race for the cure” all the way to Alpha Centauri."

On casting blame: "The grand whining parade has already begun, and mealy-mouthed apologists are being wheeled in on bloated floats to proffer lame excuses about inadequate troop levels, insufficient 4GW training, political fecklessness, etc. Eventually, the chest beating will die down as it always does, with the blame for the debacle pinned on the dirty antiwar hippies.

On America's neo-colonial ambitions: "Could the invasion have succeeded? Not a chance. * * * Leave aside the not-so-trifling fact that the United States never had the proper DNA for empire (lite or otherwise). It is the incontrovertible reality of the 21st century that the time for the White Man's Burden has passed."

On the mainstream media: "Tragically, the media has failed in its sacred duty to keep a vigilant, skeptical, critical eye on the centers of power. *** The sycophantic enablers of the Fourth Estate have blood on their hands."

(More) on George W. Bush: " No American leader has so much owned a war. And none has so little owned up to it. *** The die has been cast and the hour is too late for him or anyone to alter the unforgiving judgment of posterity. "

Our Quandry: "[I]f freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose, then Bush is a free man — free to pursue the most malignant policies, heedless of the consequences to his unworsenable presidential standing. Beware the desperation of a cornered man."

There is more -- here.

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