Member since: Tue Jul 10, 2012, 05:40 AM
Number of posts: 434
Number of posts: 434
I write a blog of dark humor - Goblinbooks.com
Is there something I can help you with? You look lost. I don't recognize you from around here.
No, I'm not a cop or anything. I'm just an ordinary citizen trying to look out for his neighbors. I like to drive these streets at night and make sure everything's okay. I do regular patrols, observe people, ask questions. That's the way you keep a neighborhood safe. I wish more people did this. What are you doing out this late anyway? You have some kind of ID on you?
No, you don't have to answer that. Heck, you don't have to talk to me at all. But why not? You've got nothing to hide, right? I'm only trying to make sure we don't get robbed. I'm only trying to be a good citizen. Where are you from?
A lot of crime out there. And the police can't control it anymore. Too many rules about what they can and can't do. Too many controls. They need to take the restraints off them, if they want results. I tried to be a cop once, but it's crazy what they have to go through. That's why I'm happy doing what I do now. Just an ordinary guy on my own. No one to answer to. Nothing but this scanner, a cell phone, and a 9mm handgun for company.
It's a great country for guys like me. People let you be yourself, you know? I get a real kick out of being out here. Doing my part. Prowling around in the dark and making sure everything looks just the way it should. Just like I want it.
You never told me your name. What's your name?
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Posted by paulbibeau | Tue Jul 16, 2013, 04:06 PM (81 replies)
Lucky? Yeah, I think so. Look, I landed a spot as an intern at one of the top media companies in the country. This place is introducing me to a whole new world of not making money.
The workload is intense, and they're very demanding here. The editors have incredibly high standards, and not every unpaid worker is ready to meet them. Most give up within a couple of days.
"This is not just a job - this is a passion," my supervisor told me. "This is for people who live to be in the new world of media. They don't mind working late to be the first to post on a major story. They don't mind lying about their age to stay on their parents' health insurance. Maybe even collecting some cans on weekends."
"This is also not just a job, because we're not paying you," he added. And I can't sleep in the room with the coffee pot, or steal condiment packets - they've had a problem with that, and they're cracking down.
I never forgot those lessons. They inspired me to throw myself into this. And when the company cut a third of the staff, it totally paid off. They gave me new responsibilities - writing, editing, finding content we can run for free, and finding new ways we can use Kickstarter. And the benefits are pretty solid. I have internet and access to social media practically all the time. It's mandatory, actually, but that's fine with me, because I don't have anything else to do. Plus, we get a lot of music, movies, and gift baskets, unless the owner sees something he wants. Most importantly, I'm gaining real world skills - interviewing techniques, line editing, different ways to cook ramen, and basic food service for when the owner caters at his home in Connecticut.
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Posted by paulbibeau | Thu Jul 11, 2013, 10:21 AM (10 replies)
America is not a nation founded on an idea. America is a nation founded on the idea that America is a nation founded on an idea.
A simpler way to say this: America is a nation founded on a prank.
A prank that went way, way too far.
More than two hundred years ago, a group of some of the richest, most powerful people gathered in Philadelphia to address a little spat over taxes that they were having with another, similar group of people with almost identical privileges. And in the course of these very human events, as this thoroughly unlikeable group was compiling a list of grievances, they happened to make some ridiculous claims: About how all men are created equal, and that they have rights - inalienable rights, mind you. And that states derive their power from citizens and not the other way around.
They didn't mean it. Not really. How could they - the kind of people they were - how could they have meant any of that?
Of course it was a joke. You can almost hear them snickering malevolently as they wrote those words. Would the Crown, would the English, would anyone at all actually be stupid enough to take them seriously?
The rest of American history is a story of that prank unfolding like an elaborate Andy Kaufman bit. No one in the audience believes what's happening, but the performers refuse to break character. And the only way to keep it going is to follow these stupid, ridiculous statements to their logical conclusion. All men are created equal? Yes. Even if they're our enemies? Our slaves? Our outsiders? What if they're women? What if they're the kind of people who've been denied respect by us? Denied rights for so long it seems like just to acknowledge the injustice would be cultural suicide?
Yes and yes. The humor comes from the performers stumbling around, trying to do the impossible and failing miserably, trying to hide their failings and failing at that, but never stopping until they've torn down everything on the stage. Everything they counted on. The basis for all their power and influence and comfort. The humor comes from the fact that anyone can use this formula to attack us... to demand their rights, to demand justice. The only proper response is to let them.
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Posted by paulbibeau | Thu Jul 4, 2013, 04:31 PM (2 replies)
The reason the title is funny is I am literally about to do just that. Ha! Okay, these limeys have to get on with my neck extension, so I'm going to keep this brief.
This Independence Day, while you NSA employees and other members of the intelligence community are relaxing on your patios with a cool drink and some munchies... I hope you think of me, your patron saint. And then I hope you all choke on your friggin' hot dogs and code out, you losers.
People have already pointed out how many of you are betraying this country. I'd like to add that you're also betraying everything US spies are supposed to stand for as well. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves.
Remember the ugly days of the Cold War? Remember how they did nasty stuff, and we did nasty stuff, and there was a point when people really wondered how we could call ourselves the good guys? What was the only thing that made you feel better? That made it clear? The Securitate. The KGB. The Stasi. The other side were the bad guys, because they had creepy secret police agencies which targeted their own people. I'm sure you're going to say that those guys were worse. How would any American citizen know that? How do you even know that? Everything is classified, the top officials lie to Congress, they lie to the American people, and when they don't lie, they release information through carefully controlled leaks to friendly journalists, so no one knows the information they're missing. And when some real solid truth gets through, you go after the leaker and pretend that leaks aren't something you do all the time. I haven't even mentioned hiring retired generals to go on news programs and engage in propaganda efforts. Or letting politicians use you to sell bad wars to the public.
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Posted by paulbibeau | Wed Jul 3, 2013, 11:35 AM (8 replies)
Hi. We're the folks sitting next to Pat Robertson. We'd like to make something clear to you: We're not bad people, okay? We don't agree with whatever crazy thing just came out of Pat's pie-hole. Most of the time, we are just as horrified as the rest of you. But the goddamn cameras are on us, and we need to keep this job.
Yes, we should say something. Yes, we should tell him he's a lunatic. Maybe even get up, take off our mikes, and storm out of there. But then what? Where would we go? What would we do? How would we keep our kids in school and the bank from taking our homes? Plus - and we are serious here - Pat would bide his time, and then someday he would take us down, Corleone-style. The guy's like Blackwater and the Church of Scientology had a baby and raised it in a racist tent revival. He's every villain from every 1980's action movie you've ever seen. You have no idea what he's capable of.
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Posted by paulbibeau | Mon Jul 1, 2013, 01:39 PM (1 replies)
If you're like me, this DOMA victory will not be complete until you've surfed over to some rightwing blog or website and witnessed a conservative absolutely losing his mind.
My personal fav is RedState. The head guy there has been writing stuff that warns of some kind of dystopian crackdown on Christian America as a result of the gay rights movement. He sounds apocalyptic in the truest sense of the word - by which I mean he actually uses the same rhetoric as John of Patmos in predicting a tribulation and excoriating progressive Christians for allowing the world to seduce them into being reasonable. I plan to write about it for my blog, Goblinbooks.
So... own that schadenfreude! Where will you go today, and why will it be so dang entertaining?
Posted by paulbibeau | Wed Jun 26, 2013, 11:29 AM (22 replies)
We need to remember how we were, people. We need to bring this nation back to that place of unity and resolve we shared in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. During those dark days Americans came together to fight a common enemy. And in that spirit, you decided to let everyone in the government do whatever we wanted and also totally let it slide that we'd fucked up royally.
Those were sweet times.
I mean, a major reason we created these massive intelligence agencies was to prevent a second Pearl Harbor. And here we were, spending billions, vacuuming up phone traffic all over the world with the Echelon Program. But the second Pearl Harbor happened anyway. We all sat at our little monitoring stations watching the towers go down, while Dick Cheney hid in a bunker. Only one of the attacks al-Qaeda launched that day failed to hit its target - and that was because of some ordinary civilians, not anything we did.
The entire military and intelligence community failed miserably at what was supposed to be our only job. And your response was swift:
"Here's a huge bag of money," you said. "Go nuts."
Man, that was nice. No one got fired or demoted. Everyone just received a computer upgrade and some time for all our pet projects. It's like you found one of your employees cooking up crystal meth at his work station, and instead of calling the police you gave him the company credit card for "research" he suddenly decided to tackle.
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Posted by paulbibeau | Wed Jun 26, 2013, 09:56 AM (7 replies)
As this NSA surveillance scandal unfolds, people are following Edward Snowden's apparent attempts to evade extradition. However, I think we're losing sight of the other fugitive from justice - James Clapper. After committing the criminal offense of lying to Congress back in March, Clapper vanished into the federally administered tribal areas around Washington, DC. He is thought to be somewhere near McLean, Virginia, and continuing his role as Director of National Intelligence. Will he be caught and brought to justice?
Now legally, it seems like it should be a more straightforward matter for American authorities to seize Clapper. Unlike Ecuador, where Snowden is seeking asylum, Northern Virginia is technically a part of the United States. The same is true of other areas in and around the "Beltway zone" where Clapper could be hiding. These areas have US administrators at the federal and state level - they even use our currency. In fact, since 9/11 American funding has absolutely flooded the local economy there in an effort to buy us influence.
But as with many other US allies, we're not always sure of their loyalties. These are intensely secretive people. Simply put, we don't trust each other. They don't share our values: They don't believe in transparency or accountable governments. It's never been part of their culture, and they resent our attempts to impose our system on them. And the fact that we give them so much money creates a strange cognitive dissonance that makes these people really hard to communicate with. Here you'll find someone whose entire lifestyle is based on getting money from the US Treasury, and he will nonetheless refers to himself, seriously, as "a small-government conservative."
What complicates matters is that, because of the idiosyncratic way they use language, they don't think James Clapper actually lied. One of their local media sites, ABC News, recently posted this article, and I think the title alone tells us what we're dealing with: "Did Intel Dir. James Clapper Lie To Congress? It's Complicated." The basic point of the article is that Clapper found himself faced with a simple question that required him to lie, but he really, really wanted to answer another, more complicated question that would have allowed him to evade the truth without actually lying.
"How is that not lying?" you're asking. "How does that complicate things?" Believe me, when you've lived in this place long enough, you'll get it.
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Posted by paulbibeau | Mon Jun 24, 2013, 11:18 AM (12 replies)
I was put on this earth to do a few things: To love my wife and children; To laugh hard at the ridiculously evil; And to make delicious GIFs of Glenn Beck.
I couldn't do it of course, without the tireless work of Right Wing Watch. And I couldn't do it without Glenn himself, a true artist who works almost exclusively in a medium of his own devising - some strange blend of Hallmark Special schmaltz and apocalyptic paranoia that is so utterly American it makes me feel like I'm being waterboarded in a megachurch.
Look at the latest sample of the man's oeuvre. The majestic sweep of the arms like the wings of some delicate bird from the Tropic of Crazy. And that last moment at the end - the teensiest little hip thrust that announces "I hear voices, and I dress like TJ Maxx threw up, but in my world of scared older white people, I radiate the sexual power of a rock god ." You might spend time on the internet watching the crack-smoking mayor or the bigoted guy in an Elmo suit.
But Glenn Beck will not be ignored.
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Posted by paulbibeau | Sun Jun 23, 2013, 12:01 PM (2 replies)
Right now Syria is a human rights disaster. The country is filled with the most appalling violence, which is spilling over its borders and destabilizing the region. The Syrian government is brutal, corrupt, embattled, and it's filled with people who hate Americans. A patchwork of jihadist groups have taken advantage of the chaos to do terrible things to their fellow citizens... and obtain the kind of training which would make them a threat to the entire world.
So basically, it already looks exactly like it would after a US attempt at nation-building.
Our work's been done for us, guys! Can we just skip to the part where we go home?
No one's saying the president can't lie to Congress about it, or we can't have politicians acting feckless and ignorant. Look, POTUS can give a few speeches about freedom, and maybe get a resolution passed on cruddy intelligence. We'll do all of that, if you people want. We could even have some subcommittee meetings, and get everyone to yell at each other. Really - I mean it. Go nuts.
You want a parade for the thing? You want a couple movies, maybe give a general some job as a CNN analyst? I am totally down with all of that.
Let's do everything - I mean, everything - to pretend we absolutely shipped thousands of our finest, bravest 20 year-olds into some country we know nothing about and got them killed for reasons no honest person will be able to explain in a year. But the only part I want to leave out is the part where we end all their lives. Can we just please, for once in this stupid nation's history, leave that part out?
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Posted by paulbibeau | Tue Jun 18, 2013, 02:38 PM (8 replies)