Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Peripatetic News

It's been almost a whole fortnight since last I applied digits to keyboard in another Blogger deposit. And what a fortnight it has been! If it wasn't for all the actual world-shaking events I'm sure the hyperactive media would have been hard pressed to drum up any kind of interest. But events overtook them.

 First off was the Oslo bombing and avantgarde shooting spree. I was actually 'en farte' on the internet when I noticed the first little media 'heads up' about 8:30 in the AM - an explosion reported near the office of the Norwegian PM. Within the hour, the US  news blogs lit up like a hannukah candle with the 'work of jihadi terror' mantra going great guns based on the readings of the magickal 8 ball. Sadly, that turned out to be far from the case. As the day's events morphed into the work of a crazed gunman - a mass shooting more common to US college campuses - the other part of hyperactive media kicked into play to explain why this had happened. And since then the crescendo was reached, newsorthily speaking, followed by a denouement of rationality that might suggest 'it wasn't all that bad' after all. With the exception that they're burying more of the victims to-day.

While everybody apparently agrees that shooting sixty kids is not something to be done on a regular basis. The pundits who, sort of, share the gunman's perspectives, have regathered the courage to start saying that we shouldn't let his actions stifle the 'Stepford effect' - we shouldn't lessen any efforts to decry the imminent demise of our civilization at the hands of godawful Islam. The only 'real'  mistake made here was in target selection. Had he shot muslims 'Hans Gunnar Quackenbusch' - 'Vanilla Hice' - might have been up for an Oscar, or a Nobel prize - definitely Olympic gold in free-range shooting. Punditry will out anyway.

The shooting was soon eclipsed by two weeks of 'high political drama' in America and much the same sort of activity in the EU. This of course all related to the financial situation which isn't going to go away anythime soon. It was defaults and bailouts on both sides of the Atlantic - Greece went under and was dragged to the surface for some Germanic mouth-to-mouth. Italy and Spain are on tenterhooks and it's problematic that the powerhouses are going to be much able to help. America won't.

The squabble that started when Obama foolishly tried to get the Republican 'rump' on-side at the beginning of his administration, is growiing into the kind of a tumor that should remind any political victor of the ancient tradition of 'cleaning house' when taking office. Leaving the lie-abouts from a previous administrtation thinking that they might be able to swing some weight, let alone have nothing to fear from a change,  is like ignoring a field of IEDs and a very naive way to do politics. And so the Republicans saw Obama down to the wire over a debt extension (due another failed 'initiative') and succeeded in removing any potency left in the truncated programs they had 'signed on to'. In keeping on - and extending Bushco's great Asian adventures, instead of calling the troops home, Obama involved himself in having to extend those debt limits where they should never have been. He got democratically 'boned' for his pains.

As an unpleasant segue to all this, the recent news that Standard and Poor had turned traitor and 'stabbed the nation in the back' by reducing it's credit rating to AA from the traditional AAA added another 'toofay salute' to an already odious stinkeroo. The move served to drop the value of stocks about 23 percent in one day and, theoretically, add another 100 billion the US will have to borrow to pay the interest on the money it already owes. Having to increase the debt to service the debt has never been a sign of economic health.  Maybe it's time that more financial institutions, who don't buy most of the government bonds anyway, start telling the emperor his Ass is bare.

While everybody's worrying about another kick in the retirement savings, to-day another little reminder that some are sacrificing all for us to have such freedoms. It seems some Afghan goatherd got lucky with an RPG round and dropped a chopper full of Navy Seals. Thirty  of the finest fighting men that  money can train, members of the 'Offin' Osama Squad' made their last dive into an Afghan mountain last night. Just what were they doing flying around an Afghan mountain in the dark with at least one other such well-sealed helicopter? Is was nice of you to ask. Well acccording to the press they were:

A) doing the job they were so well trained to do
B) Training the Afghans to do that job almost as well
C) In pursuit of a 'high value' target - a taliban bomb maker who had been unreportedly attacking  ISAF convoys  or
D) Going to the rescue of a unit pinned-down by massive enemy fire
E) Doing the job they loved  and
F) Making the folks at home feel safer and prouder.

There's gotta be a country and western song in this. Would to gracious Sullivan was still going, but there is Vegas,  and the late night shows. Why, the filthy Taliban even killed the doggy one of the nice soldiers had with him as they flew to a midnight raid.

The raid? Yeppers, it was another of those 'midnight rides' of which America is so fond. Months of intel work being brought to fruition at 3 am in a stealth strike on those who hate our freedoms. We are told that, after the crash, another chopper landed nearby and its crew, after a brief firefight, killed eight insurgents. They're darned lucky that that army unit 'under siege' didn't call in the standard air strikes, instead of trained seals. They might have wound up dead by the score. Or like the woman and her 8 kids - killed in another 'accident', down south, when somebody airstruck some Taliban hiding among them. But that news doesn't have the same 'weight' and discussibility.


Let's not forget the royal wedding and its 'ennertainment' value. The last Shuttle flight, the on-goings in Libya and Syria and the existential threats emanating from Iran, Korea, China - your choice. This week there's  the famine in Somalia and floods in other places to keep us thinking about doing something about the environment.

And so the round goes on, the world's diversions and distractions, laid out for their Warhol moments for a 'news hungry' public in welter of  sound bites and bafflegab commentary..

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