Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bag of Tricks

Those of you who have followed my stuff over at GFT, or remember some of the battles I used to have with the guy who went by "MSR Roadkill" (who is, I believe, the same person who still shows up at "Abu Muquwama" as "SNLII") at the old Intel Dump, know that I respect Niall Ferguson just slightly above Reginald Dyer and just below the nastiest, knee-scabbed, clapped-up, $10-a-go Yokohama waterfront whore (since she, at least, returns actual value for the money).

Now, while I understand that being a skeevy jackhole who never met an imperial rule he didn't like has never stopped Niall from being the idol of the Christopithocene Right and Neoconus Erectus Boys Club, I never thought he was actually fucking stomp-down, brain-dead stupid or bug-gobbling whack.

Until now.

Because, dammit, any man who still demands the respect due a thinking adult (much less a tenured historian) after writing "President Barack Obama reminds me of Felix the Cat. One of the best-loved cartoon characters of the 1920s, Felix was not only black. He was also very, very lucky." has got to be one or the other.

And he gets paid for this? Jesus Wept!!

(James Fallows has more, and better, as always)

(h/t to Paul Krugman, who highlighted this nasty little business)


  1. Hi ya'll. Greetings from deep in the piney woods of Northeast Texas. Here at the local public library it's quite friendly and interesting to see how full this establishment in fact is. Am thinking about a post about my observations from this perspective as compared to what I see in Portugal. Haven't changed any of my views, but am approaching possibly some answers as to why (the South at least) has gone the way it has. You wouldn't believe how health care has become THE ISSUE here with folks worried sick about THAT MAN making us all into "socialists" . . .

    Funny how Washington seems much farther away here than in Portugal . . .

    And to get back on topic, yes read the links and find Ferguson much again very opportunistic, and this time rather clumsy . . .

    Also agree with Chief as to SNLII (I had come to that conclusion myself). I also always wondered if MSR was not in fact Carl come back after that big dust up (among other things) I had with him . . . all cut from the same cloth.

  2. MSR Roadkill.

    I got to wondering who the hell he was a long time ago. There were many contradictions in his often overbearing posts. Appeared to be very intelligent, seemed to know a lot of middle eastern history, stuff I don't know anything about. Also seemed to have substantial front line experience perhaps both as an NCO and field grade officer.

    There were some obvious gaps in some of his stuff (I believe it was Charles who regularly called him out).

    At one time claimed he was a Jew but then asserted he had never seen antisemitism or suffered discrimination because of his faith within the military.

    Often tried to make legal arguments, sometimes being on point but often a little wide of the mark. He was not a lawyer because he didn't know how to spell judgment. And his second moniker, Contempliber, isn't quite the spelling one finds in Black's, nor was his definition the same.

    Once he claimed he was in a photograph at a Congressional hearing but I never could find it.

    I sometimes wondered if he was a an administration plant, perhaps a composite, trying to hijack the discussions at Intel Dump.

    I found some of his writing to be fascinating, but he started to wear over time. And his final Intel Dump post was a bit bizarre.

    Walter Olin

  3. Well now, seydlitz, just sidle on over a bit to the west and you can see some "real" opposition to Obama's health care proposals.

    Fully loaded ar-15s openly displayed in the neighborhood of a presidential visit, hip-hugging sidearms, set up by a fellow connected to a militia group that advocated blowing up federal buildings.

    "Watering the tree of liberty"

    Back in the day, showing up anywhere near a Dubya-sponsored event with a naughty t-shirt or bumper sticker or a discouraging word slipping out of the mouth, your ass would wind up in the pokey.

    Watering the tree . . . ?

    More like pissing on it.


  4. I don't think MSR and Carl the 11B were the same person.

    MSR's posts were based on quite a bit bigger pool of information than Carl the 11B had. Also Carl was an unabashed Israeli sponsor while MSR's posts were SLIGHTLY more balanced.

    I don't think MSR was an administration plant. We actually had one of those over on the Intel Dump, I can't recall his name but he was a very smart legal type who could through our legal eagles into knots by twisting their language just a little bit. The dead giveaway was that his email address ended in whitehouse.gov. The guy was so effective that Phil had to ban him.

  5. I'm with Pluto on this one. MSR seemed better informed politically that Carl. And I don't think it was because he was getting paid. I think he genuinely wanted that he said to be true. I hate to bring this up, but JP and I were in the "we broke it, we have to fix it" camp in the early days. It took me a long time to accept that Charles was right all along and the only thing we could do was stop digging.

  6. "I can't recall his name but he was a very smart legal type who could through our legal eagles into knots by twisting their language just a little bit."

    Andy I think, Phil had him posting for awhile.

  7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4aJBcS2srU

    Another solution.



  8. On a different, but slightly related topic, I find the discussion about "black" and "racism" interesting.

    My sons attend an Air Cadet squadron drawn from an area of town with many different ethnic backgrounds. Watching a march past is like watching a UN rainbow. Every shade of skin colour is present.

    Those kids inhabit a sort of "post racial" world. I find it somewhat unnerving sometimes.

    I remember once where I heard an exchange between a cadet (Nigerian heritage) tell another cadet (and good friend, Sri Lankan heritage) to get his "black ass" up here. The response was that the Nigerian cadet should shut his "brown cake hole".

    This made me cringe inside. It was also true that the Sri Lankan was far darker than the Nigerian (which made the descriptions factually corrent even though racially the Nigerian ought to be "black" while the Sri Lankan would be "brown". There was no "heat" to the exchange, it was simply an exchange between two adolescent male friends.

    It also, exactly, reminded me of the kinds of exchanges I had as a boy (except that for me it was my big nose that attracted the attention of my friends).

    Niall Ferguson's Felix/Obama/Black comment deeply distracted me from the rest of his column. I found it hard to concentrate on the rest of the argument because I kept returning to the "black" issue and tried to make a deeper sense of it. I came to the unsurprising conclusion that Dr. Ferguson was a self defeating excuse for a columnist for bringing it up in the first place.

    Maybe, once those two cadets have grown up and have kids, a comment about colour could simply be a comment about colour. But I don't think we are there yet. Not by a long shot.

  9. Ael: That was the point that Krugman and Fallows both made - it's not that Ferguson is being a racist prick. It's that, regardless of race, the Felix the Cat/black comment throws the whole rest of the essay (which is pretty much crap, too) off the track. You're left goggling at the stupid phrase and miss whatever point it is he's trying to make.

    The only smart thing to do would have been to say "Aw, shit, guys, that was stupid; I have no idea what I was thinking..." and go on to argue his economic point. Instead, he gets all shirty and tries to jump up and down protesting he's not a racist.

    Fallows pinks him best with his mimicry of the phrase, only using an Asian subject and comparing him with Disney's Goofy: "he's not just yellow, he's also very, very likeable."

    Like I say, either a world-class rockhead or temporarily flipped. One or the other.

  10. I agree Chief. I also note that world-class rockhead or temporarily flipped are not mutually exclusive.

    However, those two cadets inhabit a world where the comment would be taken at face value and simply be ignored as a minor distraction to the point of the essay (such as it is).

    It is not, however, a world I live in. Maybe my children.

  11. I don't know if calling out someone by their race will ever be a minor distraction. Maybe if we were SO comfortable about our racial differences that we could laugh at ourselves first before laughing at other people.

    Not to mention that the sort of racist thick-lipped-googly-eyed-nappy-haired-darky "jokes" are well within my memory; it's hard to joke around about racism when the jokes were serious not so long ago.

    Yeah, I think this is one of those /facepalm/ fucking stupid moments. It just helps that Ferguson is such a dick in other ways...

  12. Sometime last year I took a few hours to do the research and found out who MSR/SNLII is. I won't out him here, but if anyone is really that interested,it's not too difficult to find out for yourself.

    The problem I see with Obama and race is that almost all the discussion and criticism on the topic is highly politicized and dishonest. I frankly just turn it all off and tune it all out.

  13. Chief, Andy, and the rest of you, I don't really care who MSR/SNLII is. If, as I believe he's claimed, he's an active duty lieutenant colonel, so what? That may mean something to the younger crowd, but there will come a time when they realize just how many lieutenant colonels there have been in the past 60 years and that few have ever been anything more than adequate workmen or worse.

    I don't care about MSR/SNLII's name, rank or service number. What I do care about is the substance of his input. Frankly, I often got a kick out of him—and, yeah, I do believe it's the same guy—at Intel Dump, even though he jumped the shark a lot, and I found some good stuff there. Now, at Abu Mugawama—where, as you know, I periodically stop by to drop off a turd—I think he's a very effective voice, especially in calling out the ever increasingly over-the-edge COIN crowd. And, no, he's not Carl the 11B. Carl's actually been outed several times, even by himself. I'll not do it, but he's a real person, a very good reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper.

    I'd actually like to have a beer with either of these guys. I would not like to have a beer with Ferguson. What's truly sad about this whole thing and about Ferguson's denial of racism is just what a bigot and liar Ferguson is. Felix the Cat was never a quote black unquote character, a Sambo, if you will. Felix was just a cool dude, the cat who got away with everything. He was black, yes. So what. That wasn't part of the deal; he was not on Soul Train. Ferguson made Felix into a racial symbol. I suspect he was trying to be funny. Hah-hah, Ferguson, the joke's on you. Stick to peddling your stuff at klan gatherings and you'll have a more receptive audience.

  14. Oh, and the noxious lawyer dude was named Adam. Claimed to be a corporate guy in Houston, which is of course right-wing HQ, and also seemed to have some political ties with BushCo.

    Seydlitz, what in the hell are you doing in Texas?

  15. Oh yeah, Adam. Thanks, Publius. The interesting thing about Adam was that he came back under a different pseudonym (I think it was "PanzerLawyer") after he was booted from the Intel Dump. His mistake was that he used the same email account as he'd used for his "Adam" account.

    He was still pretty seriously right wing but was interested in having a real discussion over a wide range of legal topics and frequently didn't agree with the Bush administration's interpretation of the law.