Thursday, August 14, 2008

I have pretty much ignored the Olympics this year just as I have for the last two Olympiads.  Even the promise of a spectacular opening show did not entice me.  The events I would like to see are rarely shown because they are not the most popular (i.e., won't boost the ratings) and I really don't get a rush of nationalist pride when Americans turn in medal winning performances.  I haven't gotten such a vicarious pleasure since I got out of high school.  I was amazed by the news coverage concerning the 'enhancement' of the opening ceremonies for the world wide TV audience and the controversy over the 'attractive' little girl lip-syncing to the voice of the girl deemed not attractive enough.  The question the 'reporter' asked was whether viewers were disappointed because the show was 'unreal.'  I'm sorry but the level of manipulation exhibited by the Chinese government in all aspects of this Olympics has eliminated any possibility of these events being 'real' whether one means real in the sense of being spontaneous or real in the sense that the images actually reflect the actual unedited event.  Once again image has trumped authenticity.  But that seems to be modern life and, on this issue as on so many others, we live in a very fragile glass house.

I have followed the Georgia/Russia story over the last week that it has been on the news media's radar.  I am sure there is a lot more in the back story that we are not getting.  I am no longer surprised when our Idiot-In-Chief displays his self serving myopia.  I remember, even if the media apparently doesn't, that Bush totally disrespected Putin in the matter of Kosovo's independence from Serbia and when he brushed off Putin's objections to the proposed missile detection site in the Czech Republic.  No one notes how tit for tat this situation is.  Nor is anyone questioning exactly what the US can do in this situation.  I think there was a sound bite from some American diplomat suggesting that Russia be expelled from the G8 but that assumes that the other members would agree and that Russia would really mind being kicked out.  Besides getting on his moral high horse (which is about the size of a miniature pony now) I don't see much that Bush can do.  C.A. Rotwang at TPM Cafe presents the case nicely.

For some time now I have wondered at the incompetence of the Bush administration.  I have had the sneaky feeling that the incompetence is simply a part of an underlying goal of proving that government is truly as tyrannical, bumbling, ineffectual as Conservative ideology paints it.  I am glad to see that others share my suspicion.  Take a trip over to Shakesville and read Chet Scoville's review of Thomas Frank's 'The Wrecking Crew."  Unfortunately, the 'market' so touted by Conservatives doesn't appear to have any great advantage, at least not for ordinary Americans.  But when have Conservatives ever been concerned with the riff-raff.

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