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Wit and Wisdom for a One Party State

A handbook for government by wishful thinking

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Torture, n. The science of gathering information about one's enemies, principally by opening them up and looking inside. It is an indisputable sign of human progress that TORTURE has succeeded where Alchemy had failed, by producing more of its subject matter than it consumes.

Pardon, n. Republican absolution pour encourager les autres.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Fait accompli, n. The legislation of Presidents.

Success, n. An executory fiasco.

2004 C. POWELL 20 Feb. "One reason to expect success is that, when you look at the world, we haven't really done that badly with respect to going after proliferators or persuading countries not to move in this direction."
2006 G.W. SHIN 10 Oct. "In the Korean media, there has been debate over whether North Korea's nuclear test was a success or a failure. What do you think?"
2006 F. TOWNSEND 28 Dec. "Well, I'm not sure -- it's a success that hasn't occurred yet. I don't know that I view that as a failure. "

Friday, December 29, 2006

Capacity, n. A large empty container for holding the one that got away.

2005 G.W. BUSH 28 Apr. "I say, do you feel that we've limited our capacity to deal with other problems because of our troop levels in Iraq? And the answer is, no, [the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs] doesn't feel we're limited. He feels like we've got plenty of capacity."
2003 K. MULLIS 2 Dec. "For instance, if we could have heated up Baghdad by one degree centigrade every day, by having mirrors like the kind that Gerard O'Neill proposed that we build years ago in space that would focus light on little generators and make -- I mean, this might sound crazy, but we have the capacity to do that."

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Synergy n. The exceptional benefit produced by combining two businesses into a single enterprise in the imagination of prospective investors.

2003 P. WOLFOWITZ 27 Mar. "We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon."
2006 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY "A restored oil sector will provide Iraq with the resources to finance its own reconstruction and security."
1911 A. BIERCE, Oil of Dog "Finding a double profit in her business, my mother now devoted herself to it with a new assiduity. She removed not only superfluous and unwelcome babes to order, but went out into the highways and byways, gathering in children of a larger growth, and even such adults as she could entice to the oilery. My father, too, enamored of the superior quality of oil produced, purveyed for his vats with diligence and zeal. The conversion of their neighbors into dog-oil became, in short, the one passion of their lives -- an absorbing and overwhelming greed took possession of their souls and served them in place of a hope in Heaven -- by which, also, they were inspired."

Reminisce, v. To review the most fondly cherished illusions of one's past.

2003 P. WOLFOWITZ 9 May "We did not have attacks on Israel. We did not have a fortress Baghdad. We did not have a civil war in northern Iraq or a Turkish intervention in northern Iraq. We didn't have an Iranian intervention to speak of in southern Iraq. We didn't have any Arab governments collapse. Should I keep going?"

Realism, n. The political philosophy that sees a big red button as just a big red button.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Bovine, n. A leather sack containing soup bones, beefsteaks, milk, butter and whatever it is that causes Mad Cow Disease.

2006 R. LIMBAUGH 29 Aug. "There are hungry people everywhere [and] we've been guilted into pouring resources on [sic] the problem. And now, now, the latest crisis is that there is obesity among those who are impoverished. ... [We] didn't teach them how to fish, we gave them the fish. Didn't teach them how to butcher a -- slaughter a cow to get the butter, we gave them the butter."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Left, n. All that remains after 21st Century civility has laid waste to the countryside.

2001 G.W. BUSH 20 Jan. "We must live up to the calling we share. Civility is not a tactic or a sentiment. It is the determined choice of trust over cynicism, of community over chaos. And this commitment, if we keep it, is a way to shared accomplishment."
2002 G. NORQUIST via Denver Post "We are trying to change the tones in the state capitals - and turn them toward bitter nastiness and partisanship."
2003 G.W. BUSH "Do you want to know what the foreign policy of Iraq is to the United States is? 'Fuck the United States!' That’s what it is -- and that’s why we’re going to get him!"
2004 R. CHENEY 22 Jun. "Fuck yourself."
2005 T. DELAY 14 Apr. "The reason the judiciary has been able to impose a separation of church and state that's nowhere in the Constitution is that Congress didn't stop them. The reason we had judicial review is because Congress didn't stop them. The reason we had a right to privacy is because Congress didn't stop them."
2006 R. LIMBAUGH 27 Nov. "Fine, just blow the place up."

Thread, n. Stream of consciousness designed by a committee.

Knowledge, n. Ignorance in wolf's clothing.

2002 D. RUMSFELD 6 Jun. "All of us in this business read intelligence information. And we read it daily and we think about it and it becomes, in our minds, essentially what exists. And that's wrong. It is not what exists. ..."
2002 D. RUMSFELD 6 Jun. "... The message is that there are no 'knowns.' There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."
2003 D. RUMSFELD 21 Mar. "The weapons that are being used today have a degree of precision that no one ever dreamt of in a prior conflict -- they didn't exist."
1984 J.F. PARNELL in Repo Man "Destroys people -- leaves buildings standing. Fits in a suitcase. It's so small, no one knows it's there until -- blammo. Eyes melt, skin explodes, everybody dead. So immoral, working on the thing can drive you mad. That's what happened to this friend of mine. So he had a lobotomy. Now he's well again."

Eggcorn, n. An abdomination of the English langwedge.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Heterophobia, n. Fear of everything. Ant. Homophobia.

Vote, n. An ephemeral commodity, worthless in individual units, which amassed in sufficient quantities is of greater value than the public interest.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Xenophobia, n. Hysterical fear of the unknown. The opposite of boredom.

2006 MILES via LGF 24 Dec. "Something is about to happen, I'm sure of it. I've talked about it with my fellow employees and we've all concluded that a major attack by Jihadists is imminent. Be watchful and report any suspicious activity you see. Let the police be the ones who conclude a call is unfounded instead of neglecting a possibly legitimate cause for concern."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Libertarian, n. One who, having exhausted the freedom of the senses, embarks on a campaign of attrition to achieve freedom from sense.

2002 E. VOLOKH 14 Jun. "Is this slippery slope risk, coupled with our natural moral abhorrence to torture in any situation, enough to justify refraining from torture in all cases, even where thousands of lives really are at stake? This is a hard question that reasonable people can and should debate. But it seems to me that abstract arguments about moral high grounds or stooping to the enemy's level do more to weaken the argument against torture than to strengthen it. ..."
2006 E. VOLOKH 29 Sep. "... Perhaps after a great deal of thinking and research I might come around to this view. But I'm not prepared to accept it as a categorical, supposedly obvious moral assertion. ..."
2008 E. VOLOKH via Slate 30 Jul. "... Everyone needs a hobby. Mine is Fun Name Change Cases."

Blood, n. A viscous liquid, which in large quantities helps to smooth the passage of unpromising subject matter into the dustbin history.

2006 G. BURNHAM et al., The Lancet 368:1421-1428 "We estimate that, as a consequence of the coalition invasion of March 18, 2003, about 655,000 Iraqis have died above the number that would be expected in a non-conflict situation, which is equivalent to about 2.5% of the population in the study area. About 601,000 of these excess deaths were due to violent causes. Our estimate of the post-invasion crude mortality rate represents a doubling of the baseline mortality rate, which, by the Sphere standards, constitutes a humanitarian emergency."
2006 G.W. BUSH 20 Dec. "But I -- you know, my heart breaks for them. It just does -- on a regular basis. ..."
2006 G.W. BUSH 20 Dec. "... So there's been a lot of accomplishments. ..."
2006 G.W. BUSH 20 Dec. "... But the true history of any administration is not going to be written until long after the person [sic] is gone."

Friday, December 22, 2006

Corruption, n. Taxation between consenting adults.

Wimp, n. One who has spilled the seed of modern Conservatism.

Fungicide, n. Casual extermination, as of a fungus.

2004 D. RUMSFELD via CNN 15 Apr. "Oh, come on. People are fungible."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Secret Ballot, n. In a system of misgovernment, a specific ritual for conducting Elections, in which the Ballot of each voter is concealed from public view. When an Election is fairly implemented by SECRET BALLOT, the price of Corruption goes up, while the cost of Stupidity remains constant.

Disaster, n. An unexpected opportunity to claim responsibility; a loss for which one has no insurance; defeat at the hands of a party that cannot be bribed or blackmailed.

Catastrophe, n. Any event that is unquestionably Catastrophic.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Few adj. A number smaller than the possible quantity of something.

2006 D. PLETKA via LaTimes 7 Dec. "I was amazed by the report [of the Iraq Study Group]. There were very few concrete suggestions. There were very few deep ideas. And there were very, very few plans for victory."