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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

watch it: the 1/2/10 weekly address from President Barack Obama

Obama on Al Qaeda Underpants:


Not a word on how the hell someone on a watchlist, whose visa was revoked by the British, and who purchased a one-way ticket in cash and checked no luggage was allowed on a plane. Not a word on how all the ridiculous security theater bullshit we’ve been put through over the last eight years has clearly been for absolutely nothing, if a clown who might as well have been wearing a T-shirt that read “I’m a terrorist” sauntered through.

Not a word on how Al Qaeda is succeeding in terrorizing us and in forcing us to change how we live.

Just more meaningless claptrap about what we have to do, at some indeterminate point in the future, perhaps, instead of telling us what is being done right now. At some point all the pretty words have to be backed up by action.



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  • Here’s a fun game you can play at home! Take any article about terrorism, the war on terror, etc. Then:

    Step 1. Replace any mention of “Al Qaeda” with “The Boogeyman”.

    Step 2. Weep for the future.

  • David

    Count Shrimpula, I prefer replacing it with “Commies” or “The Reds” then I feel like I am living in the past!

  • chuck

    Here’s a fun game you can play at home! Take any article about terrorism, the war on terror, etc. Then:

    Step 1. Replace any mention of “Al Qaeda” with “The Boogeyman”.

    Step 2. Weep for the future.

    That would be a good point if The Boogyman had actually succeeded in attacking American soil and killing thousands, and was still invested in killing as many Americans as possible.

  • Good work, Chuck. Clearly I was trying to imply that Al Qaeda doesn’t exist. I was in no way criticizing the way we’ve reacted to their attacks like frightened little rabbits.

    What the fuck happened to us? Remember FDR? When did we we go from leaders telling us, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” to leaders telling us, “BOO! Oh my god, run for your lives, we’re all doomed! The superpowered terrorists are gonna get you! They’re gonna kill your children in their bed! Quick, hide, and don’t question anything we do or you, personally, and your family, will all die horribly at the hands of the evil supervillain brown people!”

    That was the point I was trying to make, you fucking idiot. But thanks for playing!

  • chuck

    Yeah, I got your point the first time. But saying it the way you do makes it seem like you don’t take the threat seriously and in fact your rewording of your point seems even more so that way.

    I am not one for running in fear, just the opposite in fact, I fully support the actions that we have taken in the middle east and even think we could use a bit more of the same.

    Your comment –

    The superpowered terrorists are gonna get you! They’re gonna kill your children in their bed!

    is perhaps the most worrisome. I understand you are trying to be funny but the truth is the extreme factions of this group would like to kill you and your children in your bed’s. There are sometimes real boogymen and they should be take seriously.

    If you want to rant about the government trumping a false “boogyman” then there are plenty of better examples. Take for instance the emergency from last year that we are all going to die bank if we don’t bailout banks and provide TARP funding, the emergency “they are to big to fail” GM bailout. Little of that sky is falling rhetoric had any basis in reality, GM finally did go bankrupt and nothing much changed.

    But being a “fucking idiot” I know I can’t possibly stand up to the logic and wisdom of someone named Count Shrimpula, all hail Shrimpula.

  • Bluejay

    If you want to rant about the government trumping a false “boogyman” then there are plenty of better examples. Take for instance the emergency from last year that we are all going to die bank if we don’t bailout banks and provide TARP funding

    The problem with preventive measures is it’s hard to gauge their success when the goal is “stop something bad from happening.” If nothing bad happens (or at least if the situation doesn’t get worse), is it because the measures were successful, or unnecessary? Did TARP and the stimulus package save us from a second Great Depression, or were fears of a depression completely unfounded? I’ve read articles arguing for the former, but of course your sources may be different. ;-)

  • chuck

    Did TARP and the stimulus package save us from a second Great Depression, or were fears of a depression completely unfounded?

    It did insure that certain executives still received their bonus’s, it did drag out and prolong the inevitible bankruptcy of GM, leading to longer un-employment for those who would be recalled. It did teach the banks that they never ever want to borrow form the goverenment this way again, they could hardly wait to pay back the loans. It did result in a whole new wave of fraud against the goverenment that is still only just being uncovered. And of all the people I know that are out of work, they have not seen a penny and the job prospects are still bleak.

  • JoshB

    But is all of that worse than what would have happened without TARP? That’s the question Bluejay was asking.

    I’m sure you can whip out some Ayn Rand bumper sticker slogan or another to fit the occasion.

  • Now now, Josh, I’m sure Chuck is a trained economist, and he has very good reasons for believing the TARP program wasn’t needed. Whereas you just look silly with your well-reasoned, balanced points.

    Yeah, I got your point the first time. But saying it the way you do makes it seem like you don’t take the threat seriously and in fact your rewording of your point seems even more so that way.

    I take the threat of terrorism exactly as seriously as it deserves to be taken. Which is, indeed, not very seriously. If you’re really this scared of terrorists, I have some stats on lightning strikes to show you that’ll really make you crap your pants. We need to declare war on the sky to stop the lightnings from killing our precious children! Then I’ll let you in on how many people die in car accidents every year and watch your head fucking explode. The fact of the matter is that there just aren’t that many people out there that actually want to kill us, and the ones that do are even dumber than you are. I present as evidence, the idiotic shoe bomber, and the even more fucktarded underwear bomber. That sort of dumbassery really doesn’t strike fear into my heart. We’re never going to get rid of every single person on Earth who hates us and wants to kill us. But the only way they can succeed is if we stupidly give up our rights and start wasteful wars all over the place trying to track down and kill a few hundred people.

    I am not one for running in fear, just the opposite in fact, I fully support the actions that we have taken in the middle east and even think we could use a bit more of the same.

    Oh man, yeah, brilliant. The two wars we’re in right now are going so great, fuck yeah, let’s add a couple more! And going about invading countries willy-nilly and killing tens or even hundreds of thousands of their citizens will totally just endear us to the people who do want to kill us, and certainly won’t strengthen their resolve. Jesus, I already thought you were a fucking idiot from your first post, but I think now I have to upgrade (downgrade?) that to profoundly fucking retarded. Congratulations!

    If you want to rant about the government trumping a false “boogyman” then there are plenty of better examples. Take for instance the emergency from last year that we are all going to die bank if we don’t bailout banks and provide TARP funding, the emergency “they are to big to fail” GM bailout. Little of that sky is falling rhetoric had any basis in reality, GM finally did go bankrupt and nothing much changed.

    This is more than your dumbass post deserves, but sure, let’s have at this. No one can know for sure if the TARP program was absolutely necessary, for the reasons Josh so excellently explained. But it seems like it was a good gamble that it was, considering that the banking system was well and truly fucked at that point, and that allowing the entire financial system to collapse would have probably been a bad thing. And yes, those companies are doing well now and paying out bonuses, but they are also paying back the TARP money. And they are paying interest on that money. As a matter of fact, there was just a report about two weeks or so ago that said we’ve got about a $200 billion surplus of money that’s more than we expected to have back from that right now, which Obama wants to put toward a jobs creation bill. That sounds successful to me, but I guess you could complain about the fact that the banking system didn’t collapse, if you want to sound stupid.

    As far as GM goes, the concern was that one, two, or even all three of our big automakers would go bankrupt, and that they would do so at a time when there would be no one willing to lend them money to finance getting their company back on its feet. As I’m sure an economic genius of your stature is aware, there are different types of bankruptcies. A company can declare bankruptcy to restructure, clear debts, eliminate waste, etc., and then eventually come back out of bankruptcy again. But with the banking system in the sorry state it was in at that point, there was no one who was willing to loan them the money to do that. So the bailout from the government was essentially that, the government acting as a creditor and extending those loans because there was no one else to do so. And had they not done so, and one of those companies had just collapsed, it would be very, very bad. As I’m sure you know, that would have a large ripple effect, taking out the company, their plants, many of their suppliers, etc, and maybe even taking out the other two companies as well. And that would lead to many people out of work. Is unemployment still bad right now? Yeah, it is. But it’s turning around, and it seems likely that it could have been considerably worse without the actions that were taken.

  • JoshB

    Now now, Josh…you just look silly with your well-reasoned, balanced points.

    …for the reasons Josh so excellently explained.

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, but it was Bluejay who did the reasoning =P

  • Paul

    Hey, Count, Chuck, corners, corners. We’re losing our precarious sense of civility.

    Personally, I would have nationalized GM and retooled them to make green cars, while starting on the infrastructure for them, but then, I’d never get elected president, either. And I would have nationalized GM the last time they almost went bankrupt because a lot of Americans like Japanese and German cars, instead of coddling them along.

    Sometimes I think America should make up it’s mind if we’re a socialist or capitalist country instead of being bounced back and forth by circumstances. Or maybe we should just admit that the 1950s & 60s were a nice little time when we had no serious economic competition because the rest of the world was recovering from the Second World War, and that time has been over for quite a while.

    And I would remind our readers that Ayn Rand would not have approved of the military-industrial complex, government debt, Cheney cronyism, or the Christian right wing anymore than socialism, the environmentalist movement, or New Age beliefs. The only candidate running last time that bore any resemblence to her philosophy was Ron Paul.

  • Bluejay

    I appreciate the props, and I find this debate interesting, but I just wanted to say to chuck: I didn’t mean to make light of the unemployment situation, and I know it’s still a serious and real problem, especially for those affected. I hope your jobless friends find work soon.

  • LaSargenta

    And I would remind our readers that Ayn Rand would not have approved of the military-industrial complex, government debt, Cheney cronyism, or the Christian right wing anymore than socialism, the environmentalist movement, or New Age beliefs. The only candidate running last time that bore any resemblence to her philosophy was Ron Paul.

    Well, theoretically true. However, Ms. Rand was a person with a lot of inconsistencies (I’ve got lots, too, but I haven’t claimed to invent a philosophy to live by) and she was no stranger to many of the people in the John Birch Society which is also not opposed in practice to many of the things in your list.

    Someone can say they s/he is against something(s) yet support people who engage in them. Thus, they are by my lights supporting that very thing in some way unless they are trying to help the perp off of whatever nasty behaviour it is. Ayn Rand didn’t do that with the Birchers.

  • Thanks for the vote of confidence, but it was Bluejay who did the reasoning =P

    Oops, missed that. I thought both of those posts were yours. Sorry about the misattribution there.

  • MaryAnn

    I understand you are trying to be funny but the truth is the extreme factions of this group would like to kill you and your children in your bed’s. There are sometimes real boogymen and they should be take seriously.

    This is true. On the other hand, our completely useless excuses for “security” could not have prevented another attack by smart, determined terrorists, and yet a successful attack has not materialized. This suggests that the number of people who want to hurt us and are capable of doing so is quite small indeed.

    Not that we should be arrogant in our safety. But I don’t want to live in a police state, even if a police state could ensure that we’re all 100 percent safe from anything bad all the time. And I certainly do not want to live in a police state that offers no security at all, but merely terrorizes its own citizens.

    Sometimes I think America should make up it’s mind if we’re a socialist or capitalist country

    That has already been decided. We are socialist for giant corporations, who deserve to be coddled by government protections and special treatment, but dog-eat-dog capitlalist for anyone too poor, too stupid, or too principaled to engage in legal bribery of those in power.

  • Bluejay

    Not that we should be arrogant in our safety. But I don’t want to live in a police state, even if a police state could ensure that we’re all 100 percent safe from anything bad all the time. And I certainly do not want to live in a police state that offers no security at all, but merely terrorizes its own citizens.

    Indeed. “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety” (Ben Franklin).

    There was an article in Time about how we citizens are actually far from helpless, how regular people thwarted terrorist attacks multiple times, and how the government should be focusing on maximizing the role of the public itself:

    And yet our collective response to this legacy of ass-kicking is puzzling. Each time, we build a slapdash pedestal for the heroes. Then we go back to blaming the government for failing to keep us safe, and the government goes back to treating us like children. This now familiar ritual distracts us from the real lesson, which is that we are not helpless. And since regular people will always be first on the scene of terrorist attacks, we should perhaps prioritize the public’s antiterrorism capability — above and beyond the fancy technology that will never be foolproof.

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1950576,00.html

  • Here is an excellent blog post that summarizes why our response to terrorism is so very dumb. We play right into their hands reacting the way we do.

  • Bluejay

    @Count: Good link. It’s basically what the Joker said, isn’t it?

    Look what I did to this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets. Hmmm? You know… You know what I’ve noticed? Nobody panics when things go “according to plan.” Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it’s all “part of the plan.” But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!”

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