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Coming of Rage in Neverland

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Posted on May 12, 2011
Mr. Fish

By Mr. Fish

(Page 3)

Upon hearing the news that Osama bin Laden had been made to swim with the fishes after taking a bullet to the head, I couldn’t help myself from thinking of the Mafia. The news came to me and a room full of journalists and activists and moneyed liberals during a fairly swank fundraiser at Disney Hall in L.A., probably just as I was being served a crème fraîche garnished by a sprig of mint and dusted with gold infused cocoa talc by servers who, as evidenced by their behavior, had no doubt been instructed not to speak and to remain as invisible as pixies servicing saints. Sickened by the elation on the faces of many of those seated around me at my table, as if the killing was somehow proof that Barack Obama had seen some sort of spooky justice served by targeted assassination and that his re-election would be both a cinch and well-deserved, I set down my fork and looked beyond the ostentation and noticed an airplane moving like a lit match across the black sky outside.

I thought back to the first week of October 2001 and remembered how peculiar I felt lying in bed with my wife in a Boston hotel room on the 26th floor with all the lights out, both of us feeling as vulnerable to targeted assassination by airbus as everybody else in America, the whole of Western civilization having been turned into an elaborate pretension of precarious and brittle dominoes by the 9/11 attacks. It was somewhere around 7 o’clock and our curtains were open to the great purple bruise of twilight, and we were listening to a radio program broadcasting original audio from a videotape that had just been released by Osama bin Laden. First, bin Laden would speak, his Arabic muffled as if spoken through a loaf of bread and then recorded by the crappiest Sanyo answering machine known to man, and then a translator would repeat the al-Qaida leader’s words in a tone better suited to the wide-eyed, flashlight-under-the-chin, retelling of a ghost story.

Most disturbing about bin Laden’s message, bat-shit crazy adherence to a voodoo-addled theocratic justification for mass murder aside, was how closely his disdain for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East mirrored my own, particularly when it came to Washington’s megalomaniacal support of Israel’s merciless occupation and savage mistreatment of Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank. Then there were the bombings by the Clinton administration of Sudan and Afghanistan and the harrowing sanctions, and occasional missile attacks, against the utterly defenseless Iraqi population. And then there was the construction of all the military bases in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Yemen, Kuwait, Cyprus, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan. It pissed me off that the refusal of my own government to espouse humanitarian concerns for those it so unjustly threatened and brutalized had me reluctantly agreeing with a top-notch crackpot who would have no problem watching while his thugs sawed off my head with a sharp, prehistoric stone because his fucking Santa Claus found my atheism naughty. Worse than that, even, was what I imagined bin Laden’s qualifying the United States as an imperial power would do to the West’s likelihood that it would re-evaluate its hegemonic tendencies and hubristic sense of global privilege. Knowing what Hitler had done to the complete eradication of the square mustache, I could only guess what bin Laden was doing to U.S. introspection.

With practically everybody behaving as if the world had suddenly been made lighter by the elimination of one man murdered at home in his nightgown, I left Disney Hall with the words, “There’s no place like Rome, there’s no place like Rome. …” circling my mood like children dancing around a maypole, the pagan origins of their synchronized movement giving purpose to their muscles while simultaneously stirring nothing but optimism inside the absurdity of their pointless joy.

Mr. Fish’s “Go Fish: How to Win Contempt and Influence People” (Akashic Books), a volume of his political cartoons and original essays, will be published this summer. Click here to pre-order.


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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, May 17, 2011 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

“President Bush has stated numerous times that he speakes with God in the
Oval Office, he even asked God for military advice before the invasion of
Iraq.”  TRUECRISTIAN56, May 14 at 10:33 pm

Right.
Typical of the entire GHWBushSr entourage, to include extended pimpery.
Solicit highly qualified advice, then do the opposite.

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M Henri Day's avatar

By M Henri Day, May 16, 2011 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

Lafayette, Galileo Galilei is one of my cultural heroes, but to say that he, whose dates are 1564 - 1642, was the «first [who] questioned the geocentric dogma» is ahistorical ; as you yourself point out, Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 - 1543) had earlier «posited» a heliocentric system indeed, (nota bene: prior to Galileo’s birth). Nor for similar chronological reasons, can Galileo’s work nor the fact that it was placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum be said to «[lead] inevitably to Martin Luther (1483 - 1546) and the Reformation», given that the latter, like Copernicus, died before Galileo was born. How that particular Reformation leader viewed heliocentricism can be deduced from an example of his table conversation in 1539 : «There is talk of a new astrologer [i e, Nicolaus Copernicus] who wants to prove that the earth moves and goes around instead of the sky, the sun, the moon, just as if somebody were moving in a carriage or ship might hold that he was sitting still and at rest while the earth and the trees walked and moved. But that is how things are nowadays: when a man wishes to be clever he must . . . invent something special, and the way he does it must needs be the best! The fool wants to turn the whole art of astronomy upside-down. However, as Holy Scripture tells us, so did Joshua bid the sun to stand still and not the earth.» The Vatican was hardly - and is not today - the only religious «authority» opposed to the Weltanschauung of the physical sciences….

Henri

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By tomack, May 16, 2011 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

Thank you, Mr. Fish, there’s nothing like a laugh or two on a dreary Monday morning at work (Oh, I read the serious stuff too!)

And don’t mind the nit-pickers, halfwits, and religo maniacs, they don’t have much else to do after the stil’s been tended and the opossum’s on the fire.

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culheath's avatar

By culheath, May 15, 2011 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

excuse the typos below…kid is trying to drag me away to his game.

” I don’t HAVE an allegiance….”

“...OR it self-consumes”

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culheath's avatar

By culheath, May 15, 2011 at 3:07 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette: “There’s no sense in replacing capitalism just because its gone awry in America.”

Why not? What’s so sacrosanct about capitalism…what did capitalism replace and was the loss of that regretted in the long run?

“But at the heart of the problem is not capitalism per se, but the American notion of capitalism.”

I disagree. I find capitalism inherently black hole gravitational and in need of tempering by various redistribution mechanisms of it self-consumes.

I don’t an allegiance to any particular economic form, but I find capitalism (American style worldwide)at present to be particularly impeding to human development.

I pretty much agree with the rest of what you said.

And, oh yeah…I have a life, thanks.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, May 15, 2011 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

OM: Like all far Leftists, Mr Fish would be better off sticking with crayons or fingerpainting.

Yep ... just the sort of addle-headed wisdom one might expect from the Ozarks.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, May 15, 2011 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

GET A LIFE

cul: That is why capitalism and its addiction to profit must be made to take a back seat to humanity’s more pressing concerns.

There’s no sense in replacing capitalism just because its gone awry in America. However, in America, it has become unfettered with far too much political influence.

But at the heart of the problem is not capitalism per se, but the American notion of capitalism. All was just fine for as long as one could flip a condo and walk away with a tidy profit, right?

But it was awful when capitalism headed down the flush-hole resulting from the Toxic Waste Mess. Meaning what?

Meaning that an economic system cannot have both. Breakaway riches for a comparative minor percentage of the population and the pits for the rest. For economic utility to be optimal then the result of its creation of value must be fairly shared. Not evenly shared, but equitably.

CROSSROADS

We are at the crossroads now where that decision - when does enough become too much - must be made. And yet, intrinsically, we are unable to even give it thought. We are so inured to capitalism being a boon for everyone.

It is now time to move on to a point where there is no automatic benefit for all without taxation of excessive wealth redistributed downwards - to assist people in taking the economic escalator to a middle-class existence.

But which middle-class existence? One in which obesity is a central attribute or consequence of the American way-of-life? Are we to assure that the middle-class has an adequate life-style so they can become sick from any one of the multiple consequences of obesity, And have a health-care system that remedies the illness, only for them to return sick yet again some other day?

Where does that cycle end? Or does it end?

MY POINT: The Question

Which is why we have to go beyond just economics or capitalism to answering a more profound question, “What sort of society do we want?” Having answered that question, we can always tweak the economy accordingly to achieve it.

But we are not yet prepared to even ask The Question, never mind answer it.

For the moment, we are prepared to accept the widening gulf between the haves and the have-nots - just as long as the latter get their daily allotment of 180% the caloric intake necessary to survive? (See chart here.)

Get a life ...

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By really, May 15, 2011 at 7:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I found myself wondering how trustafarians like Mr. Fish think they’re rambling rants (some of which I do tend to agree with) will accomplish anything except inflate their egos.
Something more meaningful, like real ideas on how change could be brought about, would be infinitely more interesting to read and might justify their ancestors setting them up in a life of leisure.

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By jrundin, May 15, 2011 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

Actually, my earlier comment about needing an editor was a bit rude.

I like the ideas here a great deal. It’s just that the long sentences pack in quite a bit. I think that they need to be broken into bit-size pieces so that they are more enjoyable for me to read. That’s just my opinion.
And its a subjective judgment.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, May 15, 2011 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

Mr Fish said: “Like the ancient geocentrists who believed that the Earth was the center of the universe and that all other heavenly bodies revolved around it, so much of the conservative ideology assumes that its stubborn refusal to tolerate any point of view that doesn’t recognize the values of the GOP as originating from some fixed center at the very core of the moral universe is in adherence to some permanent truth and not merely proof that the GOP is too fearful and too unimaginative and too antiquated to be able to comprehend—let alone keep up with—a reality that, simply by being chemically based, is anything but immovable.”

Like all far Leftists, Mr Fish would be better off sticking with crayons or fingerpainting.

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culheath's avatar

By culheath, May 15, 2011 at 3:41 am Link to this comment

@ Lafayette: “The capitalist system suits best the nature of mankind. It provides funding for “Good Ideas” and the profit-motive rewards initiative and competence.”

I’d submit that mankind has many natures, some of which suit profit oriented competitive capitalism and some which suit non-profit altruistic cooperation. Our problem today is that the former has caused the balance to become undone, suppressing the later by force and propaganda.

Basically, unfettered capitalism has made the game not worth the candle by removing the free market impetus. That is why capitalism and its addiction to profit must be made to take a back seat to humanity’s more pressing concerns.

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culheath's avatar

By culheath, May 15, 2011 at 3:29 am Link to this comment

@ TRUECRISTIAN56,

hahahaha

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By Tom Edgar, May 15, 2011 at 1:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh I wish I had said that.  But as Oscar Wilde said in response to a friend saying those words. “Inevitably you will.”

You have joined, for me, in admiration of the written word, one for whom I have long been a devotee.  Anwar Hussain.

Tom Edgar Australia

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, May 14, 2011 at 11:49 pm Link to this comment

DOCTRINES

Fish: Like the ancient geocentrists who believed that the Earth was the center of the universe and that all other heavenly bodies revolved around it

Well put, this remark.

It harps back to a time before the Renaissance when belief was ruled by the Vatican, which insisted that the scriptures were menaced by the “heresy” of Galileo who first questioned the geocentric dogma.

Because the dogma was a foundational pillar of Catholic belief, which is why Galileo was humbled by being forced to renounce his belief. From his astronomy research, he confirmed what Copernicus had first posited, that the earth revolved about the sun and not vice-versa - by means of observation with the telescope that Galileo had invented.

Such “heresy” had to be stopped by the Vatican - so Galileo’s work (titled, “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems”) was put on the church’s Index for the next 200 years and could neither be reprinted nor read by the faithful.

Still, the cat was let out of the bag. The Index did not stop the Renaissance from continuing, leading inevitably to Martin Luther King and the Reformation.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

Present political dogma is merely a reflection of the above. Some elements of the Media (namely, Fox News) will support, without the slightest shred of evidence, that the Free Market Economy is a Foundational Belief of our democracy. That belief must not be conflicted by the observation that Free Markets do not always serve best its customers. In fact, it milks them for profit.

But, we must not shake the belief in a profit-generating capitalist system ... after all, we are all shareholders and players in the Church of Equity Markets - are we not?

MY POINT

The capitalist system suits best the nature of mankind. It provides funding for “Good Ideas” and the profit-motive rewards initiative and competence.

However, human greed has entered the Market Equation in order warp how the profit is generated, at whatever cost and at whatever the sacrifice. Companies seeking profit will go to where it is easiest to obtain - meaning it Cherry Picks its markets. If a market cannot generate sufficient levels of profit, why bother entering them?

This is where the notion of Public Utility should enter the equation. After all, if a product or service is of utility to all, then its distribution should address all markets.

Which is the notion behind such markets as rail transportation and telephony. They were developed with government instance that all customers be served in all geographies. Meaning the profits from urban markets where employed to extend the service to suburban and rural markets.

Thus, if the market is for Health Care, then the service rendered is of a nature to escape the normal “rules of engagement” of the Capitalist Profit System. People need this service regardless of the profit-motive - it should thus be made affordable/accessible to them.

The old rules of capitalist profit-making must be bent by government intervention to serve those most in need and not those most able to pay for the service. It is this intervention that makes some markets (notably Health Care and Education)  both fair and accessible for all, even though less profitable for some.

Profit is not The Main Criteria for such Public Services.

POST SCRIPTUM

Let us be careful about the doctrines that we are asked to believe. Galileo proved that point long ago.

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By reynolds, May 14, 2011 at 10:52 pm Link to this comment

same sex religion, stuff

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By reynolds, May 14, 2011 at 10:49 pm Link to this comment

trookhristyan86; you manage to impugn the theory of
evolution while completely debunking the myth of
intelligent design- all in one swell foop.
allahu akbar, monkey nipples. i’ve got your one true
thing.

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basho's avatar

By basho, May 14, 2011 at 10:47 pm Link to this comment

‘GIRLFRIEND: Well, for one thing, about 85 percent of your personality comes from your complete fascination with your own SPOKEN DRIVEL.’

‘GIRLFRIEND: You’re an idiot.’

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TRUECRISTIAN56's avatar

By TRUECRISTIAN56, May 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm Link to this comment

think we all know who was responsible for that, the Godless liberals who cannot stand having their immorality shoved back in their ugly face!! The defenders of free thought, the Big Bang theory and evolution, are not only striking out at me, but at all Christians. . Last night, while I was sitting on my front-porch swing, gazing up at Heaven, President Bush appeared to me in a vision. He told me that my work was not yet finished, there were still many liberals who had not yet seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!! President Bush would not be in the White House right now if God didn’t want him there. President Bush was put in a position of leadership in order to wipe the devil’s religion of Islam off the face of the Earth, so that the Christian God can fill the world with His message of peace and love. President Bush has stated numerous times that he speakes with God in the Oval Office, he even asked God for military advice before the invasion of Iraq. Modern liberalism is the equivalent of atheism, liberals are in favor of killing babies, raising taxes, teaching evolution, and same sex marriage. Jesus is opposed to all of these horrible things.

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., May 14, 2011 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

Nut’s, no edit feature;
But, I do get the gist of what’s being said by Fish.
Maybe next time he’ll let his wife edit for him. My
wife is super at editing my stuff.

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., May 14, 2011 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment

jrundin, May 14 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment
Anyone who writes a sentence like this needs an editor:
==============================
LOL; boy, do they ever. smile

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By jrundin, May 14, 2011 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

Anyone who writes a sentence like this needs an editor:

“Like the ancient geocentrists who believed that the Earth was the center of the universe and that all other heavenly bodies revolved around it, so much of the conservative ideology assumes that its stubborn refusal to tolerate any point of view that doesn’t recognize the values of the GOP as originating from some fixed center at the very core of the moral universe is in adherence to some permanent truth and not merely proof that the GOP is too fearful and too unimaginative and too antiquated to be able to comprehend—let alone keep up with—a reality that, simply by being chemically based, is anything but immovable.”

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By robjira, May 14, 2011 at 10:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i too have done a double take at the helmet similarity.
great drawings, great article. keep it up.

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By Marc Schlee, May 14, 2011 at 3:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Murder is the new black…

FREE AMERICA

REVOLUTIONARY (DIRECT) DEMOCRACY

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, May 14, 2011 at 2:11 am Link to this comment

“ - an act of “Lese Magiste” (tearing down those in authority).” John
in Kerrville

The results of investigative journalism, the results of several
professional organizations, and the comparatively clean lawn of the
Pentagon on 9-11, suggest otherwise.  Have you ever witnessed the
aftermath of an airliner crash?  TV coverage on 9-11 proved that none
occurred at the Pentagon. And the huge insurance pay-outs on the WTC
bldg. group, which were no longer producing the desired profit?  The
F.B.I. found no evidence to link Osama bin Laden. One insider
physician stated that he had already died.  For sure, Osama bin Laden
had died by 10 Feb.2002, and was buried in an unmarked grave.

Of the Watergate-associated, Gordon Liddy is the only one of the group
who completed two acts of decency, at least, afterwards, for which he
was imprisoned. As a whistle-blowing messenger, an insider, who had
documented much more than he revealed, he was not assassinated; only
imprisoned.

Its good to know that Kerrville still exists.  In spite of - - .

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By Ted, May 13, 2011 at 10:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Quoting Mr Fish:
“Like the ancient geocentrists who believed that the Earth was the center of the
universe and that all other heavenly bodies revolved around it, so much of the
conservative ideology assumes that its stubborn refusal to tolerate any point of view
that doesn’t recognize the values of the GOP as originating from some fixed center
at the very core of the moral universe is in adherence to some permanent truth and
not merely proof that the GOP is too fearful and too unimaginative and too
antiquated to be able to comprehend—let alone keep up with—a reality that, simply
by being chemically based, is anything but immovable.”

Please translate this sentence for me.  I think I get the gist of what you are saying,
but this sentence is really horrible and almost incomprehensible.

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Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, May 13, 2011 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Fish:

“It’s a common phenomenon, this maligning of the press from the right wing”

oh yes, and how.

What has been surprising, is how weakly the press has fought back. The are “only” attempting to destroy investigative journalism.

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By luther bliss, May 13, 2011 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That was the eerie thing about Bin Laden: If you took away his tele-evangelist fanaticism you were left with a dedicated anti-imperialist polemicist, concerned with global warming and recommending books by Noam Chomsky, William Blum and Jimmy Carter.

He also…(get ready!)...made sense some of the time.

“I am surprised by you. Despite entering the fourth year after 11 September, Bush is still deceiving you ...Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al-Qa’ida. Your security is in your own hands and each state which does not harm our security will remain safe.” - OBL

Thankfully by shooting him in the head we proved the moral superiority of American democracy, Christianity and Liberalism.

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., May 13, 2011 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment

Wowee Zowee; such eloquence from a master artist. But
then your art is certainly eloquent all by itself.
I would always be interested to hear/read more from you
as the mood dictates. Cheers.

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By John in Kerrville, May 13, 2011 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

In 1957 I was serving aboard a destroyer in the Persian Gulf.  One day we officers
gathered aboard the flagship of the 5th Fleet, a white air-conditioned Seaplane
Tender moored off Bahrain for a meeting with the admiral in command.  In his
haughty remarks he said “These Arabs can’t shoot their way out of a paper bag.”

Osama bin Laden, a young man at that time, may have heard about this and
similar remarks and decided on an act of “Lese Magiste” (tearing down those in
authority).  That’s what brought on the bombing of the Twin Towers, in my
opinion.

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proletariatprincess's avatar

By proletariatprincess, May 13, 2011 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

Brilliant as always, Mr. Fish.
It is you who should be recieving the Mark Twain award and not the obnoxious, talentless adolescent, Will Farrel.

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By kb, May 13, 2011 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am appalled that the general mood in our country, which purports to operate under the “rule of law” was one of jubilation and celebration. Does no one recognize that pursuing a retaliatory policy will only embroil us in war forever?

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Arabian Sinbad's avatar

By Arabian Sinbad, May 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

Waw! This is possibly the best piece of wisdom, satire and reflective piece of writing on current affairs I have read in decades!

I am so impressed, Mr. Fish, that I thanked God for sending you to this tortured humanity, or rather inhumanity. I always admired your art, but never imagined that you could elevate words to such powerful levels of expression on behalf of truth.

While reading your piece I was simultaneously laughing and crying and, that’s when I knew that I am face-to-face with a powerful piece of thought and art.

May you always be blessed with your brilliant humanity, and thank you so much for transforming what started as a bad day into a very bright one!

And thank you Truthdig for publishing such wonderful piece of art and thought!

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, May 13, 2011 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

Much ado about the certainty of sophism versus the uncertainty of unregulated dialectic.

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By Activist7, May 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

Great article and thank you Mr. Day for that info I wasn’t aware of.
On another note can someone please take away the drop-down ad that pops down every few minutes resetting ones page position. Very annoying, possibly as annoying as Guernica would have been for Mr. Powell had it not been covered up for him.

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culheath's avatar

By culheath, May 13, 2011 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

Its been so long since I have had a genuine literary hero to admire and emulate. Thanks for on-going hits of genius…it makes living here in baptist central Florida slightly less suicide provoking. Jumbo kudos.

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By miguel, May 13, 2011 at 6:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

thank you for your genius, wisdom, and satire. i laughed. i cried. i pissed my pants.

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M Henri Day's avatar

By M Henri Day, May 13, 2011 at 2:07 am Link to this comment

«In fact, I still find it reprehensible how purposely incurious the general public remained during Colin Powell’s criminal behavior at the U.N. Security Council in 2002, really ground zero for the bloodbath in Iraq in which we ended up drowning.» For the sake of completeness, and as one know-it-all to another, Dwayne, Mr Powell’s command performance at the UNO Security Council took place on 5 February 2003, after the necessary preparations had been made, viz, the covering of the tapestry depicting Picaso’s Guernica which had stood just outside the Council chamber for 24 years and served as a background to press conferences, so as not to embarass poor Mr Powell with a reminder of the horrors of war. Keep on cartooning !...

Henri

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EJH's avatar

By EJH, May 13, 2011 at 1:41 am Link to this comment

Mr. Fish has quite clearly found the perfect Mrs. Fish. 

I would also like to add that I agree with the first three
comment, except for the “a little rougher than I would put
it” part.

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By paulie, May 12, 2011 at 10:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

not a comment for posting, but is it possible for someone to correct a spelling error in my posted remark?  I misspelled site as sit.  thanks a bunch.  paulie

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By paulie, May 12, 2011 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Fish is the shit.  He and Hedges make truthdig an indispensible sit.

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By johnnyfarout, May 12, 2011 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment

absolutely fabulous.

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By gerard, May 12, 2011 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

Right on, Fish!  A little rougher than I would put it in my own words, but I couldn’t possibly do any better. Thank you very much.

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