Sunday, July 31, 2005

True Poetry

Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, PoetThe poetry of Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense

Many people don't appreciate the depth of Rumsfeld's verse, the profound irony of his words. This is one of the true classics of 21st century political propaganda. It deserves a special place of honor.

The Unknown

As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.

What makes this a work of art?

La Gioconda à la maison...The sing-song meter, the short lines, and the confident repetition of words, creates a sense of reckless self-assuredness, and evokes the simplistic understanding of the poetic speaker. Brilliant!

But beyond the mere technical virtuosity of the verse, we must attempt to understand the poetic speaker as he considers the list of unknowns. The list appears to be exhaustive and complete. Yet, the poetic speaker "forgot" one essential unknown:

But what of what we know
that simply isn't true?

Ah, the missing line. The "forgotten unknown". And now we can see the true pathetic ignorance of the poetic speaker and why the poem is of special mention in the annals of poetic propaganda. By having claimed to have listed all possibilities, but leaving out the source of his own witlessness, he ignores the source of his inevitable tragedy — his foreordained and inescapable doom. The poetic speaker has clued us in to how the play will end.

Acta est fabula, plaudite!
The play is over, applaud!

You can find more of this important artist's works here:

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Saturday, July 30, 2005


The moment the statue of Saddam came down, it should have been apparent to any objective observer that the Americans were in deep trouble.

Robert CappaCompare photographs of the liberation of Paris with the liberation of Baghdad.

This is the liberation of Paris:
VE Day in Paris

This is the "liberation" of Baghdad, as U.S. Military PSYOPS staged the toppling of Saddam's statue for the benefit of American TV cameras.

Just to round out the story, here's Rumsfeld meeting with Saddam in 1983 as the United States provided military assistance, including WMD, to support Saddam's illegal invasion of Iran:

Shaking hands with Saddam

Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Liberal v. Conservative

We shall never surrender."Conservatives" tend to believe that traditional values and institutions are the bulwark of society, that too fast of change can result in unintended consequences or even anarchy. Rational conservatives believe in change and reform, of course, but believe the change must be gradual and moderated. Conservatives tend to look to the past for inspiration, cultural stratifications being a consequence of natural order.

I have a dream."Liberals" tend to believe that traditional values and institutions can impede progress, that too slow of change can result in cultural stagnation or even disintegration. Rational liberals believe in the preservation of traditional values and institutions, of course, but believe they must be pushed to adapt to modern times. Liberals tend to look to the future for inspiration, the progress of history being seen as a march towards a more egalitarian society. A date which will live in infamy

Right-wing “reactionaries", such as fascists, believe in absolute inequality, and want to overthrow corrupt modern institutions and return to a mythological and heroic past.

The Unknown Rebel

Left-wing “radicals"
, such as communists, believe in absolute equality, and want to overthrow corrupt ancient institutions and bring forth a mythological and glorious future.

The history of Western Civilization since the Renaissance, and more recently the entire world, has tended towards greater social equality and enhanced individual liberty.
  • The religious power of the Church to define matters of conscience was shattered by the Protestant Reformation, transferring power from Rome to the people generally, and to the individual specifically.

  •  Liberté, Égalité, FraternitéThe political power of the aristocracy was overthrown by war, such as by the American and French Revolutions, through reforms placing constitutional limitations on the royalty, with the rise of parliaments and legislatures, and through modern civil rights movements.

  • The economic power of corporations and trusts were limited by the rise of labor unions, and through collective political action, such as America's New Deal.

  • Since the scourges of the World Wars, the rise of an international order has put tentative limitations on unfettered national power and inequality.

We the Peoples of the United Nations

"Conservatism" has deep etymological roots in Latin:
Definition of "Conservatism": disposition in politics to preserve what is established b : a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change.

Etymology of "conserve": c.1380, from O.Fr. conserver, from L. conservare “to keep, preserve,” from com- intens. prefix + servare “keep watch, maintain”.

"Liberalism" also has deep etymological roots in Latin:

Definition of "Liberalism":a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties.

Etymology of "liberal": c.1375, from O.Fr. liberal "befitting free men, noble, generous ," from L. liberalis "noble, generous," lit. "pertaining to a free man," from liber "free".

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