Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve 2000 and 2015 in the Imperial Capital: The Washington Consensus Then & Now

Fireworks ring in 2015 over the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, January 1, 2015.


As usual, Sydney isn't just one of the first major cities to ring in the New Year, it also puts on put on one of the best New Year's Eve shows on Planet Earth.

More fireworks over the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge to ring in 2015.


Sydney does so every year along with some of those other cities in the Far East such as Hong Kong with their 23rd Century-like skylines ...

New Year's Eve 2015, Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong.


Yes, yes, I know, I know ... New York City has what is the "canonical" ball-dropping event at Times Square.

Among the lamest of New Year's Eve celebrations for a major world city in terms of anything inspirational on the scale of Sydney, Hong Kong, New York, or London is right here in Washington, D.C. Indeed, there usually are no "official" celebrations and instead it's just another any other raucous, drunken Friday night in Adams Morgan or along the U Street Corridor (or, for another part of the city I seldom visit but is worth noting), H Street NE.

In short, Washington, D.C., doesn't really "do" New Year's Eve. It's big event is, of course, July 4th plus Memorial Day and Veterans Day military-themed holidays. And on a personal note, I'm just not that into New Year's Eve because it means a new frickin' year is starting and to have to get through.

Furthermore, I have NEVER gotten over -- and, indeed, never will get over -- the Great Disappointment of New Year's Eve 2000 when the city and the Feds put on THE lamest, THE most pathetic, THE most worthless celebration and fireworks display with the latter shot off the then-scaffolding covered Washington Monument. If the purpose was to inspire anyone, then it was criminally negligent.

This was all the more galling and unforgiveable given D.C.'s status at the time as Seat of Human Empire at the precise Dawn of the Third Millennium.*

*Please spare me the "it was really 2001" thing; I know, I know -- there was no frickin' year Zero, except with the Khmer Rouge. They kept time with skulls.

Whether it was the National Park Service or some combination of Federal and D.C. local government committees, it was pathetic and awful and a pox on whatever "Very Serious Persons" put it together.

January 1, 2000 was still in the pre-9/11 world of the ever-metastasizing military-surveillance-torture state had yet to come into existence in their full grotesqueries.

It was just months away from the media-facilitated 2000 election travesty that ended with the "Scalia 5" Supreme Court coup and the world-rending historical tragedy of George W. Bush. It's hard to ponder all the people who needlessly died in Iraq and all the trillions looted ultimately because of that brilliant legal mind nasty and hateful little troll.

It was also at the tail end of the heights (depths) of the "Washington Consensus" bullshit period.

Fred Hiatt then, as now, was ringmaster of all the "Gang of 500" awfulness, but the members and their emphases were somewhat different.For instance, James "Dow 36 Billion" Glassman was still taken seriously. And neo-conservative warmongering had not reached full heights of Dick Cheney malevolency and calamity.

Back then, it was the period when Benji Wittes and Sebastian Mallaby were two of the half dozen or so "Apologist Voices" of the WaHoPo editorial board and its corporate oligarchical paradigm.

Today, except for Fred Hiatt and his sidekick Jackson Diehl, the board members are all different and include Jo-Ann "Cat Woman" Armao and Lee Hockstader. Wittes and Mallaby are both ensconced in suitable think tanks.

In Wittes' case, he is the yapping lap dog of the military - industrial -surveillance state, singing morally dreadful praises to "droning" anyone deemed an "enemy combatant" and outright bizarre ones to the Guantanamo Bay detention complex as a "model facility."

Back then, we were still on the Monica's Dress high thanks to Bill Clinton's hyper-sexual appetites and the moral unctuousness of Sally Quinn and Cokie Roberts. (For his part, Benji Wittes was huge on Monica's Dress and supportive of the GOP impeachment farce.)

In short, many of these characters of the Washington Consensus Imperial Court are still around in 1,500 15 years later but with slightly different "branding" -- except in the odd case of Glassman.

OK, that's all for now. I thought I was in a better mood than I am.

I'm working from home today but going to head out around 5PM to take the Metro to Rockville to meet DD and his wife and two young children for dinner. I'll head back into the city in time for midnight, but New Year's Eve just never really does it for me.

I'm not going to be able to get to the gym probably until Saturday, which kind of sucks. I'm not doing anyone a favor and becoming a doughy pudgy ball of gelatinous-osity.

I still need to post -- and will post -- the second half of my Buffalo trip pictures.


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