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Family Business/Shadow Warriors

The piece below was first published in The Moscow Times on January 25, 2005. The first half deals with the then-breaking (and now forgotten) Enron scandal. The second half of the column deals more directly with the Bush Faction’s use of torture and other illegal methods in the Terror War.

Family Business
Enron the Great, “The Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth,” has fallen. The vast wake of its collapse has covered the White House with stinking pitch, and occasioned much excited comment amongst the punditry. Unfortunately, most of these editorial exhalations have veered between tortured defenses of the

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Pretzel Logic

From a piece first published on January 18, 2002, in The Moscow Times:

The bloviations of public hypocrisy are a never-ceasing wonder to behold. The art of mouthing sanctimonious twaddle while peddling murderous hardball on the side requires a degree of moral dislocation – an almost total divorce of word from deed, of image from reality – rarely seen outside madhouses, government offices, televised pulpits and certain caves in remote Afghanistan.

And these days there are no more adept practitioners of this dark art than those mighty Twin Towers now holding up the values of Western Civilization – George

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Love and Theft

Among our many other remissals, we are often remiss here in not linking enough to Jonathan Schwarz at A Tiny Revolution. This, er, remissalosity stems mainly from the fact that everything Jon posts is worth reading and we assume that all right-minded people out there are already reading him every day. Also, he is a lot funnier than I am, so why would I want to advertise that fact? I get enough humiliation from the mirror every morning. But we digress. Jon has got several great posts up on his front page right now, so why

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New Orleans: Prisoners Abandoned to Floodwaters

On today’s Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman interviewed Corrine Carey from Human Rights Watch, who are investigating some 517 prisoners unaccounted for in the wake of Katrina.  According to the HRW representative: We went through that list and came up with 517 people who were still unaccounted for. We’re certainly not saying that those people drowned in the facility, but there are credible reports, consistent reports from inmates of being left in that facility in locked cells. And so, we’d like to know from the Orleans Sheriff and from the Department of Corrections what happened to those 517 people…. NEAL WALKER:

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Look Back in Anger

Once again, Roger Gathman at Limited Inc is on the money, this time on the bitter benefits of hindsight in viewing the murderous debacle in Iraq. The whole piece needs to be read, but here are some excerpts:

Lately, the media has decided to respond to the fact that the war is unpopular in this country (and will be extremely hard to finance, come the next supplemental) by posing the rhetorical question, don’t we have the moral responsibility to remain in Iraq? This is

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“The Light Shines in Darkness”

Published in the Sept. 23 edition of The Moscow  Times. Annotations and sources are available here.

The sea was pink with sunset, the last light draining as high tide slowly reclaimed the beach. A huge harvest moon, flecked with clouds, was hanging just above the horizon in a sky still barely blue. On the distant line where the world curved away, you could see the white speck of the Channel ferry, bound for Calais.

Standing on the high seawall – with no one around, no sound but the insistent boundless roar

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The Politics of Personal Destruction

This blog would be remiss if we failed to denounce, in the strongest terms, the widespread dissemination around the Internet of a scurrilous National Enquirer story to the effect that President George W. Bush has “fallen off the wagon” and started drinking again. My god, how low can the “progressive” blogosphere go? To peddle such tabloid tripe, spreading it around the world like a malignant virus, traducing the President’s good name with “anonymous sources” — it’s a moral outrage. We here at Empire Burlesque would never take part in such an odious campaign of personal defamation. We pledge never

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Happy Campers in Clover

Roger Gathman at Limited Inc gives one of the best explanations for the Democratic Party’s flaccid “opposition” to the Bush Faction steamroller that I’ve seen in quite a while. There is of course no genuine opposition to Bush at all in the American power structure; there are only varying degrees of craven collusion, punctuated by occasional spasmodic regurgitations of sham dissent – cynical evocations of past glories, all talk, no action.

Gathman, displaying his usual slashing erudition, takes off from a demolition of David Mamet’s recent piece

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End Game

This week has seen another major — and malevolent — turning point in Iraq, the significance of which has gone unnoticed by the American press. The incident in Basra — where British forces sent tanks against the city’s police to rescue two undercover British agents who had  allegedly been shooting at Iraqi civilians — has exposed the ugly reality of the situation in the supposedly quiet and quiescent Iraqi south. Basra is of course largely in the control of fundamentalist Shiite militias, some

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