Monday, May 30, 2005

Reasonable Doubts on Election Fraud

There's nothing wrong with belief. Absolutely nothing. In fact, belief can be a very good thing. And on some level, we all benefit from a certain level of belief. For example, you believe that everything around you is real, and not a dream. But it's quite possible that all of this is imagined, and that what you consider to be your measly little life is actually a complete fraud, and that you're in a coma somewhere about to have your plug pulled.

Or maybe this is all God's dream, and he's about to sneeze so hard that he forgets about us and wipes us clean out of existence. You don't know. But god forbid that you actually use such theories as the basis for your reality. It's possible that they're real and I'm not, but it's best to have a little faith in what you see, and play the game as if it's for real.

And your teachers. You use a certain amount of faith in believing that they're telling you the truth. And how do you know they're telling you the truth? Because you compare it with the other things that you've been taught and it adds up. Everything fits like a puzzle. And sometimes they're not telling you the truth. Maybe they're lying. Maybe they were taught falsely. And how do you know that the new info is true? Again, a certain amount of faith is required in everything. But whenever we use faith, we must verify. And the more faith we have, the more verification we need.

Because there is such a thing as truth, and we're all stumbling around trying to find it. We accept certain things on faith, and try our best to get as much proof as is possible. And that's just how it's supposed to work. You can't verify everything, but we try to verify as much as we can. You have no conclusive proof that the sun really is as big or far away as they say; but it makes the most sense, so we go with it.

And so there's nothing wrong with belief. Unless, of course, we mistake belief for fact; and accept the things that we believe as being things that we know. That's a problem which must be avoided, as beliefs feel stronger than facts.

Belief As Fact

And too many of us do that. We make certain assumptions, or see certain correlations, or are misled or whatever, and we wrongly accept guesses and beliefs as answers and proofs. And sometimes, all of the pieces of the puzzle can seemingly come together, but still be completely wrong. And that just messes us all up. Sometimes, puzzle pieces only fit because we so desperately want them to fit.

And we see that all the time. Too many religious people do that. They have this certain feeling that they must be right, and they translate that into something that the rest of us are supposed to believe. And there's nothing wrong with believing in God or Allah or whatever. But the emphasis should always be on belief, and not proof. They have no proof of these things, nor can they; if we take their beliefs seriously. As I've mentioned before, if their god's test is supposed to be belief, then there cannot be proof. Because, if you had proof, you'd be a knower, not a believer. Anyone can know a fact; only special people can believe in it. And that's the basis for the major religions.

And I have no problem with long as they don't think that it's supposed to apply to me. And as long as they don't think that their belief gives them authority to change laws that affect me. And if anything, that should upset their god. After all, if he's just testing us, then aren't the evangelist-types totally fucking up his system by putting God's morals into law? Because if they're law, it's no longer about freewill and belief. It's about avoiding punishment. And what amounts to a secular, materialistic punishment, at that. And so these people are trying to circumvent their god's design; thus undermining the whole system He set-up. Not smart, if you ask me.

Again, belief is not bad. But thinking that beliefs are supposed to bind anyone else; that is bad.

What a Fool Believes

And I'm not here to talk about religion. That was just an example that most liberal-types should understand. In fact, as far as religious beliefs go, I think I'm far more tolerant than most liberals. Most liberals will refer to believers as morons and kooks; which is generally just an over-reaction to overbearing Christians who try to force their beliefs on us. So they're a tad bitter. Not me. I think belief can be a good thing. And if someone's belief in their god makes them happier, than I'm happy for them. I like happiness. I just don't want others thinking that their beliefs serve as some sort of evidence which trumps my beliefs and, more importantly, the known facts.

And what am I getting at? Election fraud. I'm sick of hearing about it. And I've been sick of it since about a week or so after the election; once it seemed as if we'd never get any real proof of it.

I was reminded of it again from one of Atrios' substitutes, Avedon, who was posting today about election fraud and voting machines. And I'm sorry, but I just don't want to hear it. As I've commented over at Atrios' before, I just don't see it as doing any good, and I think it could do us a lot of harm (as I'll detail below). So I just don't think we should continue to carp on this subject. Let's talk about better voting machines, and improved voter registration, and whatnot, but let's drop the conspiracy stuff. It's a go-nowhere idea which might drag us down.

And before you get too many ideas and start sending me hate-mail, let me lay-out exactly what I believe. I do believe that the 2004 election was probably stolen from us. There were a lot of fishy things going on, and it's the kind of thing the Republicans would do.

Partly, they'd do it because many of them believe that we do it to them, which they use to rationalize doing it against us. But partly, they think that they're above the law because their beliefs are so solid and pure. Ends justify the means, dontcha know. And again, if there really was a god, and that god wanted them to do these things (as well as wanting us to join them), then they'd be absolute and complete fools for not doing it. As would we be. But that brings us back to the beliefs versus proof thing I mentioned earlier.

And how do I think the Republicans stole the election? I think voter machine fraud might have been involved; just outright changing Kerry votes to Bush votes or perhaps Anyone But Kerry votes. The software's complicated, and it really wouldn't be that difficult to slip in a little extra coding.

But I think that the biggest fraud, if there was any, was due to the more outright problems. Not enough voting booths in Democratic strongholds; thus Democrats being driven off by long lines. And then there were real efforts to thwart voters from getting to their polling places or having their registration challenged. And efforts to invalidate voter registration cards. That certainly happened. And to me, these were the biggest problems. Not crooked machines, but old-fashioned low-tech means to disenfranchise Democrats.

And it's quite possible this wasn't conspiracy, but just basic economics. I don't know enough about how this works, but it seems quite possible that inner-city Democratic strongholds might have less funds than richer Republican areas. And poor Republicans live in rural areas which wouldn't have such long lines or need as many machines. So maybe this wasn't conspiratorial, but a structural flaw (which conspiracy talk would do little to remedy). I just don't know.

And maybe there were crooked machines. There is certainly evidence which can point us in that direction. I heard of voter oddities in my old hometown of Austin Texas, where apparently people who voted straight-ticket Democrat, but who failed to vote in a local referendum had their Kerry vote cast as a Bush vote. That sounds suspicious. Of course, there was no chance that Bush could lose Texas, so it's a bit odd that anyone would bother changing votes there, so maybe it really was just a mistake.

And I heard of several other suspicious occurrences nationwide. And who knows how much fraud happened without anyone even knowing about it? Most likely, even the guilty people don't know how much fraud they might have perpetrated. Assuming it happened at all. But I do believe that it happened.


And so if that's my attitude, how can I possibly be against this talk of voter fraud? Easy. Because I have no proof. Not anything that I'd stake my reputation on. You see, I'm a fairly cautious person and I absolutely hate to be wrong. I really really hate it. And that's why I'm so right all the damn time; because I only stick to known-knowns when discussing facts. My speculation is generally labeled as speculation, and I generally assume that I don't need to prove much of this stuff to you guys. Because you're already believers. And this blog isn't about telling you the truth about stories you haven't heard, but about showing you how it all fits together and what you should do with it.

But convincing people of uncertain things requires proof. And I have a high standard for proof. And I do that because truth is all I've got going for me. Without truth, I'm just a dumb schmuck like everyone else. I'm not a clever person. I'm not very good with words. And I'm really kind of an asshole. So all I've got is the truth. Well, I'm also tall, built like an NFL quarterback, and have hair that JFK Jr. would have been envious of; but that doesn't translate so well in blogland. So I stick to the truth-telling gig. If you're trying to show how the puzzle pieces fit together, you've got to make sure that they really do fit.

So while I believe that some election fraud happened, I have no proof of it. Or at least, not the kind of proof that I'd be willing to repeat. So I keep my mouth shut and my eye on the prize: 2006. We already have enough crap on Bush, Delay, and the rest of those con-artists, so I see no reason why we need to get into unproven conspiracies.

Reasonable Doubts

And what do I mean by "proof". Many of the election conspiracy people insist they have proof. And certainly, they have some level of proof. But not the certain kind; not the stuff that convinces non-believers. Not even close. They have some oddities and some suspicious events and statistics. But nothing more. Nothing that could convince the unconvinced.

When I think of "proof", I think of something that could convince a hypothetical jury. Beyond a reasonable doubt kind of proof. The kind of thing that I'd put hard money on. I'm not a gambling man, so if I'm willing to put money on something, you know it's not just a belief. Like confessions from a few of the conspirators; even ones who only spoke anonymously (assuming the journalist they told was trustworthy). Or like a verified email from Karl Rove to the Diebold company telling them which counties to put the rigged machines in; and hopefully a note from Diebold saying that they'd do it. Or a taped conversation between Bush, Rove, and Mr. Diebold in which they discussed everything; ala Watergate. Something like that.

Not possible coincidences, or even things that could be written off as an honest mistake. But something that would convince me that Democrats had rigged an election, had the situation been reversed.

And let's talk about proof. But this time, of proof that liberals rejected: Proof of WMD's.

WMD Belief

Did Bush and the neo-cons have proof that Saddam had WMD's? Certainly. We know that Saddam had them before the first Gulf War. And apparently he had them even as late as 1998, or at least I think that's where the truth is still solid on this. And not everything that we were supposed to find had been found. The inspectors had proof that Saddam had more WMD material than we had found. So it's not so unreasonable to assume that he still had them. That proof was based on some speculation, but it was reasonable speculation by well-meaning people (I mean the inspectors, not the neo-cons).

And we know that Saddam wanted them. And he was so secretive. He kicked out the inspectors in 1998 (sort of). He wouldn't let us talk freely with his scientists. There were secret places that we weren't allowed to go. And so everything was suspicious and we had good reasons to not trust Saddam. And that's certainly proof of something.

And then there were eyewitnesses. Great guys like Curveball, who said things which got repeated by our President, even though our intel guys couldn't even question him directly. And there were lots of others. And they all said the same things. And so, this isn't just statistical stuff or anecdotes. This was fairly solid. And sure the CIA doubted much of this testimony, but so what? Are we really going to accept the CIA as infallible, just because we want to believe what they say? Their doubts were enough to make us doubt, but it's not enough proof to be certain that the WMD's weren't real.

So, was there proof of WMD's? Of course. Lots of it. Was it conclusive? No. Was it at least solid enough that you'd want to risk billions and billions and declare preemptive war? Most liberals would say not. Because there's proof; and then there's conclusive proof. And Bush had no conclusive proof. Just lots of little things which were supposed to add up to the big things. Bush had his beliefs, and must have thought that his beliefs would be justified. But the real proof just wasn't there; nor could it be, because the WMD's weren't there.

And should we have had conclusive proof before going to war? Of course. This was a huge thing. And so it wasn't enough to trust our beliefs, and trust "informants" who were obviously biased. And almost all liberals feel this way. We saw the proof. Or at least of what they'd show us. And we didn't think it was enough. Not even close.

And so we couldn't believe. In fact, the proof was so weak, that many of us openly disbelieved in the WMD's. But other people could look at these same facts and be utterly convinced; and think that the liberals were traitors for denying such strong proof. Almost all of our "liberal" media believed. And many conservative pundits were staking their reputations on the idea that they'd turn up. Hell, even now, many people are still certain that they'll turn up. In Syria, or in some giant underground bunker somewhere. And worst of all are those who believe that we really did find the WMD's. Quite shameful, what belief will do to some people.

And so why is it that we could all see the same proof, yet some people believe, while others can't? Because it was all based upon what we wanted to believe. We believed whatever was necessary to confirm what we wanted to see. And it's not necessarily a liberal/conservative thing; though it largely is. But if you were the type who wanted to be convinced by that kind of proof, then you would be. And if not, then you wouldn't be.

And can't you just see what the problem is? Any kind of proof that is based upon preconceived belief just isn't any kind of proof at all. Just like how some religious people can see childbirth or a flower grow, and swear that that's proof enough of God or Allah's existence. So us libs were in the right for denying it. Not because we denied. But because we could reasonably deny it. There certainly was proof. But it wasn't certain proof. It was so weak and so uncertain and shakey, that it didn't overwhelm us. A reasonable person could see the proof and not be convinced.

And afterall, my whole anti-war, anti-WMD stance never had to do with believing that the WMD's weren't real. I always thought that they might show-up, and always cautioned fellow libs to not base our arguments on their non-existence. While I always referred to Bush as a liar, it wasn't because he said they were real. He must have believed that they were real, or he wouldn't have gambled so much. And is it really a lie if you believe it to be true? Maybe. But we had something more solid on him.

His lie was that he overstated the proof that he had, in an attempt to deceive us. He was given guesses, assumptions, and biased testimony and repeated them as if they were solid facts and unimpeachable testimony. And some of that stuff was just outright wrong, and his staff knew it. But they didn't care, because their beliefs told them that it would all be justified.

His lie wasn't in stating his beliefs. But rather in overstating his beliefs; thus turning them into a pseudo-reality. So even if the WMD's turned out to be real, my point was still correct. Even if Bush was right, he was still a liar. Because he didn't have the proof necessary to make the claims that he was making.

And thus, he violated the principle of beliefs I laid out before. He presented his beliefs as reality. Again, there's nothing wrong with beliefs, just as long as you don't try to force them onto other people. Bush violated that, and tricked a nation into fighting a war for which we had no reasonable evidence that we should have fought. The power of belief is too strong to be trusted.

The Jury

And that's what our problem with this election fraud stuff is. Not because there is no proof. There is proof. And not because the "liberal" media or conservatives ignore it. Because they might always ignore it. But because it couldn't convince a reasonable person who wasn't already biased. It's enough for someone to say "that's suspicious", maybe we should dig a little deeper. But it's not enough to convince anyone to do anything...unless they were already convinced of it. And it's certainly not enough to pretend as if Bush's re-election was definitely a fraud.

And nobody can honestly believe that our proof is of the Beyond a Reasonable Doubt type. Because to believe that would require belief that our entire system is corrupt and fraudulent, because the conspiracy would have to involve lots of important Democrats and district attorneys and lawyers and judges and all kinds of people. If enough of these people felt like this was actionable evidence, they'd be all over this like smell on shit. And so it's unreasonable to believe that our evidence is solid.

And I can say that without even contemplating the evidence. I'll tell you upfront that I haven't even seen most of this proof. Nor do I need to. Because I have enough faith in our system to know that any real proof would be acted upon. And if the system is that corrupt, then election fraud is the least of our concerns. So there is no point in researching this further.

And so all we have is belief. And again, there's nothing wrong with that. Nothing. Unless we try to impose our beliefs on other people and try to make our beliefs trump the beliefs of others, or even the facts. The religious do that, and it's wrong. Bush did that, and got us into this dangerous and expensive war. And it's wrong when we do it.

Because, here's the thing. Even if Bush was right, and Saddam really did have WMD's; Bush was still a liar. And even if the Christians are right, and there is a God; they shouldn't force their morals on us. Because they don't have the proof required to do such things. And even if Republicans did rig voting machines and steal the election, we don't have the necessary proof of this, and are only hurting our cause by focusing on it.

Converting the Converted

And here's how it hurts us. First off, it's a waste of time. If you want to keep digging into this, go for it. I pray that you find the proof that we need to nail these bastards, and I'll thank every last one of you. You'll be heros. Woodward and Bernstein type heros, but even bigger. So I don't want to put anyone off of their quest. I won't apologize, as I've done nothing wrong. Empiricism is essential, not immoral. But I support any private quests to search out the truth.

But shouting about it won't do anything. And calling Bush the "Commander-in-Thief" won't serve any real purpose. It might make you feel better. But you won't even convince one person. Not one. And if anything, you'll piss off a lot of people. And you'll scare off people who might sympathize with us. Because without the proof, we just sound like loonies. And even I'm obviously pissed about it, because the election fraudsters have insulted me for not believing in their mission. They think I'm a fool, just like all the conservatives believed I was a fool for doubting that Saddam had WMD's. And just like Christians think I'm a fool for denying God's existence and "choosing Hell". But I'm not a fool. I just like proof. And to believers, that's the greatest offense of them all.

And so what's the point? If you're not convincing people, and only the believers believe, then why do it? If someone could explain what the gameplan is on this, I might even support it. But unless there's something more to this than calling attention to unverified accusations, it just sounds like a lot of noise and bitterness.

Unverifiable Burns

And secondly, it marginalizes us, and makes election reform seem like an idea for conspiracy nuts. It doesn't matter if it's true or not. Unless we can prove that the fraud was real, we just look crazy. As it is with all conspiracy nuts. And unless we have the proof, that's all we are. And even worse, it can backfire and make even less people willing to look at real facts which might come out.

Here's a conspiracy we all know and love: Watergate. When Woodward and Bernstein first started on the story, they just thought it was some low-level, minor story. They weren't trying to uncover anything. They were just doing their job and reporting facts. But then they started uncovering more and more. And quickly the story took shape. They were onto the conspiracy. But they were largely ignored. The story was often viewed as a vendetta by the Washington Post against the President. And some of their biggest scoops didn't even make it into other newspapers.

But even then, they only stuck with the verified facts. Occasionally, they printed more than they should have, and got burned; and their sources dried up. And despite all of their great research and digging, the story would never have been completely broken without the discovery of Nixon's taping system, which had recorded many juicy details. And Woodward and Bernstein weren't even directly involved with that discovery. It wouldn't have happened had W&B not pressed the story, but the biggest scoop in Watergate didn't involve either of them.

And it was a conspiracy. Nixon and his men were running a corrupt Whitehouse, and then stifled the investigation of their corruption. It was a conspiracy. But that still didn't warrant going beyond the facts. They could only print what other people would tell them, and nothing more. It didn't matter that they believed it went further. They had to get others to verify the story, or they had nothing. And this was necessary, not because they were reporters; but because that's the way that proof works. You either have the proof, or you don't. And if you make accusations that you can't prove, you'll eventually get burned.

Take the Newsweek/Koran story. Newsweek had a source for the Koran story, and made it sound better established than it really was. Then the source retracted what he had said. But did things go back to square one? No. That retraction was used to severely tarnish Newsweek's image AND was used to deceive people into thinking that the Koran story was more retracted than it really was. The Bush Admin even wanted Newsweek to state publicly in Muslim counties that the entire story was false. And the irony now is that the Bush Admin claims of innocence of this seem to be backfiring, and now more of the story is coming out. Because the Bush Admin went beyond the known facts and started making up stuff that made them look better. And now they're getting burned.

Or Dan Rather and "Rathergate". Again, he had proof that he trusted. He didn't make up the proof, but he believed it without enough verification. Because he and his producer wanted to believe it, because it was such a great scoop. And it seriously tarnished his credibility and career. But more than that, it put Bush's Guard service off-limits to the media. Many people accepted the outcome of this as a vindication for Bush. So again, we're worse off than when we started. Anyone who tries to go on about Bush's guard service is laughed at, not because it's not true; but because Rather's unverified memo set the story back. Any proof that comes out now will require even more verification than normal; and will still be unlikely to be considered a real news story.

Truth Versus Proof

And that's the thing. Most likely, the Rathergate memo did represent the truth; even if it was forged. And we're fairly certain that Korans were abused and quite possibly flushed. So it wasn't the truth that was the problem. It was the verification of the truth that was lacking. And making claims without verification can set back your cause much further than if you hadn't made the claims at all. Because anything can be true. But the only way that you know that it's true is if you have verification. That is the only way.

And that goes for everything, including Bush's dishonest WMD claims. He burned a lot of his followers with that stuff, and while many of them are still followers, they would like him a lot more had he not betrayed their trust. And it gave his opponents tons of ammunition. I know, it doesn't seem like his followers feel betrayed, or that we're making good use of that ammo. But I can guarantee you that Bush and Rove feel the pain.

And that's why we need to drop this stuff. Because without convincing proof, we cannot convince anyone. Nor should we be able to. And we only serve to marginalize this story and make it sound like a nutty vendetta against the President. And frankly, I'm not so sure that it's not. I'm still a little bitter about the 2004 election. It hurt. It really did. And I honestly can't tell you how much of my election fraud belief is based upon facts and how much is based on that bitterness.

And because it doesn't make a difference, I'd rather just drop it. We've got bigger fish to fry, and go-nowhere conspiracy stories are not going to win us the next election. We've got serious known-issues with our election system. So let's not bog down the discussion with bitter accusations which cannot be verified. If you've got the facts, great. Otherwise, shut up and let us win back our Congress.

And again, if we allow our beliefs and wishes to overwhelm our reality, we are no better than they are. There's nothing wrong with believing things. You just have to keep a good eye on where the facts end and your beliefs begin. Please don't make us revoke your membership in the reality-based community.

And I'm sorry to all you non-believers out there, who had to put up with my "you think this stuff"; that's just the way I write. I'm not suggesting that all of you are like this. I hope you're not, anyway. I'd like to think that the Biobrain readers are a little better educated about this stuff. Don't prove me wrong. I hate to be wrong.

Friday, May 27, 2005


Kevin Drum decided it was high time that he lay out his abortion policy; and because I've been feeling so much lately like Drum's slightly smarter shadow, I thought I should layout my own views on abortion. I'm against it. Like all sane people. If it were up to me, there would be no abortions. I'd also like it if my house was bigger, my job was easier, and my kids could remember to flush the toilet more often. But life isn't designed to my specifications, so we have to put up with unpleasant things. And abortion is one of them.

And being pro-choice is the only way to be. I've never been responsible for an abortion, and I've never had to make that choice. And frankly, there were times in my life that I'm glad that I didn't have kids (or more kids) and so I guess maybe I just got lucky that I never had to make that decision. Because I probably would have done it. Perhaps it sounds selfish, but had I more children when I was in college, I wouldn't be a CPA today. And I couldn't provide so much for my children. And I don't lament children that I never had, so I don't see what's selfish about that.

And oftentimes, abortion really is the best choice to make. I love my kids, but they are certainly a burden. And I don't mean that in a bad way, but it's true none the less. Children are a huge responsibility. Unbelievably so. It sounds like a cliche, but it's true. Once you bring a child into the world, the demands never cease. And now that I'm somewhat more financially secure, I am capable of fulfilling those demands.

But it's more than that. Money is the least part of raising kids. You also have to be emotionally secure, and able to devout endless time to making sure that they're raised properly, both mentally and physically. And too many people, especially younger people, have a hard enough time trying to make their own lives work, that they don't have time to focus on their children's. And it shows.

And don't even get me started on adoption. If any of you are adopted and happy with it, great. But I could never do that to my children. In fact, my biggest worry in life is that something might happen to me and my wife, and my children would lose us and have no one to properly raise them. I find that frightening. It's not that I don't trust other people. It's that I don't trust other people with my children; not to raise them the way that I think children should be raised, anyway. Even if they're not perverts who might want to do mean and nasty things, it's far from likely that they'll be able to provide half the love and understanding that me and my wife give. And just the thought of my child being out there without me is just horrible. I don't fear death at all, but I do fear leaving them to grow up without me.

Again, I don't mean this as anything against anyone who is adopted or has given a child up for adoption. But it's something that I could never do. And the idea that we should force girls to do that is simply wrong, and is something that I could never accept. If the girl freely chooses adoption, I am happy for her. But that should not be her only choice. Personally, I would much rather not bring a child into this world than to allow them to be raised improperly. That is not something I'd inflict on them or on the world.


Anyway, sorry to be so heavy, but that's why I'm pro-choice. And getting back to Kevin Drum, he obviously is too. And he believes that abortions should be allowed up until the third trimester. Which is something that I agree with too. It's an arbitrary line, but I think a sensible one.

Of course, there should always be the option of aborting even in the third trimester, in the case of the mother's health being at risk. And unlike many of our socially conservative brethren, I believe that we should allow a doctor to make that medical decision, not the government; just as we let doctors make all of the other decisions. Doctors hold our lives in their hands every day, and we shouldn't second-guess their judgment on this one, even if we don't like that decision. This should be between a doctor and his patient, and the government shouldn't interfere with that.


But here's where I disagree with Drum. Parental Notification. He is of the opinion that, because it's such a big decision, that the parents should have to be included in it. Because a minor is just too young for such a decision. And he reasons that because other medical procedures require parental approval, abortions shouldn't be any different.

And I just can't agree with that. To me, if a girl is old enough to get pregnant, she's old enough to make that decision. More importantly, if she's old enough to decide to carry a baby to term and raise it as a parent, then she's old enough to decide not to do that.

And I say that as a thirty-three year-old adult with two teenage kids, but who still has a dickens of a time with his soon to be four-year-old daughter. I mean, geez, I'm a mature man who can hold his own in a debate with anyone without losing his cool, but my god can that little girl test my limits. It's really hard. Don't get me wrong. She's very well behaved, most of the time. But once she sets her heels in, oh boy is she hard to deal with.

And I've got a confession for you. The only reason I'm awake right now is because she is too. It's past two-thirty in the morning, and she's in the TV room watching cartoons. And I can't go to bed until she does (obligations). I know it's wrong, but it's just not worth the fight. You might laugh at me when I tell you this, but she can be as stubborn as her old man. And I can be a stubborn bastard when I want to be, as she is well aware. But I also will not fight futile fights...and she will. She can cry and fuss for hours. And that's why I will only give her a final "No" when I really mean it. No willy-nilly denials on my part. When I say "No" it has to mean "NO", otherwise I just won't say it. So I pick my fights carefully, and this one just isn't worth it. Normally, she doesn't even cry or anything. She's just little Miss Determined Cutesy, and you just can't deny her. We call her The Terminator Baby, because she can be so relentless.

But enough about that. You get my point. This is hard work for me, and I'm a mature CPA with lots of brains and experience. And I think I'm doing a great job (everyone loves her), but it's very very demanding. And don't get me started on the two teenagers. In some ways they're easier to deal with because you can rationalize with them better (to a point), but they're still teenagers and it's tough.

And my point is this, if anyone is old enough to handle this level of responsibility and difficulty, they are surely old enough to decide whether they can have an abortion. Or from the other side, if they're not mature enough to make this decision, then they sure as hell are not mature enough to properly raise children. We already have enough poorly raised children in this country. We don't need any more.

And there are other valid arguments against notification laws, such as abusive parents who might beat or excessively punish their daughter if they found out about the pregnancy. And in such a case, not only is the abortion necessary to prevent a child from being born; but also to cover-up the original act itself. And that's one of the reasons the right wants the notification laws.


As Drum points out, the primary reason most social conservatives insist on parental notifications is because they believe it will stop abortions. And the reason they want to stop abortions is because they want people to face consequences for their actions; and they think that it's wrong for someone to do something immoral and not be punished for it. (Makes you really wonder how much they believe in that whole Hell thing, right?) And the reason they like earthly punishment is because their lives are so chaotic, screwed-up, and crazy; and so they want some sort of code which brings normalcy and control back into their lives. And that's why they like all absolutes, including pregnancy and STD's as punishment for sex. Because it's easier to deal with than the vagueness of the real world.

But as I've stated before, it won't help them. Their lives aren't crazy because of us liberals. Their lives are crazy because they are crazy, just like us liberals. Except they're too stubborn and stupid to know it.

P.S. My daughter turned off the TV and put herself to bed twenty minutes ago. And I'm following her now. But I'll be up by 9 o'clock or so, and she will refuse to be up until after noon. Lucky baby.

Alpha Beta Army

I'm sure this has been covered elsewhere, but have you noticed that whenever allegations of abuse by soldiers are mentioned, the first thing that the right-wingers do is insist that it was a low-level thing and that the responsible people are being punished by the military. It could be the first that they've heard of these particular allegations, yet they already know who's to blame and that it's been dealt with properly. Which is how they prove that Bush's government does not condone such wrong-doing, because wrong-doers get punished.

Yet when the "responsible people" are found by the military to be innocent, that too is proof that our military and government have done nothing wrong; because the abuse turned out to be unproven. So everything's a win-win for these guys.

And does it need to be stated what the common theme is: Abuse by our military isn't happening, and when it does happen, it's not approved by the government. And this is so because they want it to be so; because otherwise, they can't continue to support Bush.

And of course, they have to ignore the fact that the military really should be held responsible for allowing situations which can result in such abuse. I know that the righties like to talk as if the military is one big frat, where boys will be boys. But there is supposed to be this thing called discipline, right? Isn't that supposed to be one of the most basic things they teach our guys, even before we teach them how to shoot? Hell, even grade-school kids in their karate class are supposed to be taught not to use their powers for evil. Yet we're to believe that all of this abuse is completely out of our hands, and that nothing can be done until after it's over...every damn time?

Then again, maybe the "frat-party" atmosphere serves more purpose than forgiving abuses. Maybe it's a subtle tool to aid recruitment. "Join the Army Reserves. Anything Goes."

But of course that's just a joke, and they wouldn't do such a thing. So why does our right-wing like to pretend that this is the case? Because if they don't, they can't support Bush. They'd rather envision our military culture as a free-for-all frathouse, than to see their beloved leader as a wrong-doer. Because they support our President more than they support our troops.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

To Thine Own Self Deceive

Here is another installment in my ever popular Watergate series. Following this post, I'll be writing about how this all applies to our current batch of Republicans. After all, the main point of learning history is to learn how it applies to us now. It's kind of like cheating, really. And the main lesson that we should be learning from Watergate is not about stopping crooks; but rather about getting an inside peek into the propaganda-based self-deceiving minds of modern Republicans.

And of course, the source of today's lecture will again be from Woodward & Bernstein's excellent book, The Final Days. All the President's Men was a fine book, but was mainly from the journalists' perspective and how they tracked everything down. But Final Days has all the inside scoop as to what was actually happening. I cannot recommend it enough and I haven't even finished it yet.

And the main thing to remember is that we only know this stuff because Watergate was such a complete blow-out for everyone involved, and the players involved cooperated with W&B so that they could get their side of the story told. I guess history isn't always written by the winners; sometimes they quote the losers. It is unlikely that we'll be so lucky with the Bush Administration.


Here's the context for today's reading. Nixon was a crook. Maybe he didn't specifically authorize the Watergate break-in and other illegal doings; but he certainly encouraged an atmosphere in which his men would do such things on their own. And that's what Plausible Deniability is all about: Getting illegal or unethical things to happen, but for which all accountability rests with lower level grunts, and cannot be tied to the upper echelons. Much like how Abu Ghraib was handled.

But whether or not Nixon authorized the break-in, he certainly knew a lot about it shortly afterwards, and was working to stifle any investigation. Which is what got him in trouble. And today's reading involves a taped conversation that happened six days after the break-in. And in that conversation, Nixon is clearly discussing ways to stifle the investigation; primarily by using national security as an excuse for why it should be stopped. And there's no doubt that that's what he did.

But later on, Nixon pretended that that conversation never happened, and considered it as an attack on the presidency itself if anyone contemplated such an idea. And that was one of his problems; he didn't just lie to us, and his staff and lawyers; he had to lie to himself. And later on, when he listened to the recordings of that day, he lied to everyone and himself about what was on the tapes. And finally, he lied about even listening to that tape, and insisted to his staff that he hadn't listened to it. But it was all self-deception. And when you get read about Tricky Dick lamenting to friends and family what happened, it's obvious that he really did believe his own hogwash.

But again, the only reason this deception was possible was because they ALL were deceiving themselves. They knew that Nixon wasn't Mr. Honest. And yet, throughout this whole thing, they always convinced themselves that he was only misleading others, but was somehow being truthful with them. And the reason they had to believe that was because they wanted to be loyal to Nixon, but knew that they could not be loyal if they knew the truth. They rationalized that the charges against Nixon were just partisan ruses, which justified the deception to the public. But they didn't want to know otherwise. So they all were lying to themselves, simply so they could continue the defense.

And that allowed them to defend Nixon in ways that the truth would not allow. They said things which were untrue, but they didn't know the statements were untrue. But that was because they didn't want to know they were untrue. They said the things that they wanted to believe, yet they had no basis for believing them. They were all in self-denial for a long time. And when the truth came out, they were upset at Nixon. But they had no one to blame but themselves. But because their ultimate loyalty was to themselves, they blamed Nixon instead. And while Nixon was deceiving them, he couldn't have done so unless they wanted to be deceived.

Which they all did; just like our current Republicans believe any deception because it is the only way they can justify their loyalty to the team. Ultimately, their loyalty is only to themselves; so they won't openly lie. Which is why they insist on propaganda and deception. Not to fool us, but to justify everything to themselves. It's Plausible Deniability on a personal scale, and they're all doing it.

Today's Reading

And so that's where this latest chapter picks up. If you're reading at home, this starts on page 363. This is from a meeting at Camp David shortly before Nixon's resignation, when Nixon's closest allies are discussing their next move. They're divided into separate camps as to whether Nixon should fight the post-impeachment trial (impeachment was already considered a lock), or if he should resign immediately. Nixon had just been forced to release transcripts from that conversation six days after Watergate, and it clearly undermined everything they had been saying. Their statements had only been valid in absence of these tapes. So it looked bad, and his toughest defenders were considering defeat. Yet most of them were still denied many basic facts.

The players involved are speechwriter Ray Price, speechwriter Pat Buchanan, Chief of Staff Al Haig, and Press Secretary Ron Ziegler. Price was supposed to write Nixon's next speech to the nation, and had just laid out the framework of the speech Nixon had commissioned. Yet his speech was, even at this late date, part of a deception that he was still unaware of.

Price was pleased with the draft and thought it expressed his deep belief that the President's actions six days after the Watergate break-in were innocent in intent, and that nothing Nixon had done merited impeachment.
Buchanan was satisfied that the President was not committing himself to wage all-out war. Whatever words Price chose to soften the harsh facts, Buchanan thought there could be no mistaking the impact such a statement would have. It did, however, leave the President a little room.
Haig was not satisfied. It wasn't accurate, for one. It implied that Nixon hadn't listened to the tape until after the Supreme Court decision. The fact was that he had heard it sometime during May.
Price and Buchanan were confused. Why had he listened to it in May?
Haig explained. The President was, at that time, responding to Jaworski's compromise offer to settle for certain tapes in return for keeping secret Nixon's status as an unindicted co-conspirator. Buzhardt, St. Clair and he were all involved in the May thing. The statement must make it clear that they were not aware that the President had turned down Jaworski's offer as a consequence of listening to the June 23 tape.
Buchanan and Price were outraged. They, and a lot of other people, had put their own reputations on the line defending the President and saying things that Nixon knew were false.
Ziegler defended the President. Nixon had not listened until after the Supreme Court decision. They were wrong. He rushed off to check with his boss.

So we see here that there clearly were some important details that some of Nixon's closest defenders knew, which other close defenders hadn't known. Very important details. Yet, they had been discussing all of this for months. How could they not have known? Because they didn't want to know. They wanted to keep defending Nixon in clean conscience.

Needless to say, they looked into it and Haig was absolutely right. Nixon had listened to this crucial tape, yet had continued to deceive his closest advisors. And after all, we're talking about a conversation that Nixon had, and not only was he lying about the conversation, but also lying about having listened to the tape of the conversation. And after all, they're not necessarily upset that Nixon lied, but that the lie was provable; and it proved them to be liars. And as we'll see, he continues to lie about it. We'll take up right after Haig verifies that what he said was true, and after Nixon lies to Ziegler again.

Ziegler shouted that they were wrong. "The President says he didn't listen to it then. It was late in May." They were all jumping to the wrong conclusion.
"Look, Ron," Buchanan said, his voice rising, "we've got the records. The only date they were checked out was on May 6. Here's the Jaworski thing at the same time. There's no other conclusion."
"I don't believe that," Ziegler said shrilly. "The President says it was the other way." That the tape had been checked out was simply no proof that the President had actually listened to it. And even if he had, he had not recognized its significance, Ziegler added. But he was all by himself on this one.

They go on to dispute this for some time. They double-check the logs and the guy responsible for the tapes, they ask the lawyers, and doubt every shred of evidence. And all because Nixon had told them that he hadn't checked it out until later. And yet it made no sense Nixon's way. And it made perfect sense this way, and all the facts were against Nixon. And as it had already been pointed out, Nixon had specifically asked one of his lawyers to hear that tape. So Nixon must have already heard the tape himself. Yet he continued his deception, even to the end.

And again, Nixon already knew what the conversation was. He had said it. And it represented everything that he had continued to do before and after the break-in; namely to cover everything up and lie about it. And they knew that Nixon was prone to this kind of self-deception. They had to, they worked with him every day and he was always like that. Yet they had continued to believe him; not because he was so honest, but because they needed to deceive themselves. Because otherwise, they couldn't do their jobs.

And yet, right up until Nixon's resignation speech, they had continued to present a solid front of defense.

These are the kind of people we're still dealing with today. When all is said and done, the ultimate target of their deceptions are themselves. It's not that they think that WMD lies or torture is acceptable. It's that they have to believe these things, or they have to leave the team in disgrace. So they force themselves to deny that any of it happened, by outright refusing to see facts. So our outrage at them is not only unnecessary, but counter-productive. All we need to do is to show them the facts in an undeniable way. They use our outrage an an excuse to deny facing facts. We need to deny them that excuse.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Frist Amendment

Not sure why I'm singling out Frist for this in my title, except for the pun value. But why the hell not. He's as likely as anyone right now to be the next Republican presidential nominee, so we should get our licks in early on the guy.

And I'm referring to an item I got through the ecumenical Carpet Bagger regarding a Republican Congressman wanting to pull Bill Maher's show off the air due to a joke about our military. Maher said:
"More people joined the Michael Jackson fan club. We've done picked all the low-lying Lynndie England fruit, and now we need warm bodies."

But Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala, of course) believes that such a statement is treason, and states "I don't want (Maher) prosecuted. I want him off the air."

Now, I'm no fan of Bill Maher. He can be really funny on occasion, but I think true political commentary is way over his head. He's just a joker looking for a quick laugh, and is one of those people who have gotten the "It's funny because it's true" idea backwards; and wrongly believes that if something is funny that it must be true. Limbaugh and Coulter are masters of that type of political commentary, and Maher is far too prone to go that way. Needless to say, something can be funny and false.

But the idea that Maher needs to be taken off the air?? Crazy.

And that just goes to show how wacky the right is. Because, here's the thing: This isn't just a violation of the First Amendment. It's what the damn amendment was written for. This is its purpose. To allow political jokers like Maher to state unfunny opinions and not worry about government punishment. Are individuals allowed to openly disagree with him? Of course. But a government official using his position to pressure a company to stifle its employee?? With a reference to criminal activity?? That's a different issue.

Now, I suppose if Bachus limits this to the letter he wrote, and doesn't try to do anything more; that's not so bad. But this really is getting ridiculous. Because again, we're not talking about a basic violation of the First Amendment, like Larry Flynt being prosecuted for what he prints. We're talking about the specific intent of the First Amendment. Whether or not you think we should support Flynt out of principal, this Maher thing is the exact kind of speech that's supposed to be protected.

And so that's where my post title comes in. Perhaps as a way to mollify the right-wing mobs that Frist hopes to ride into the Whitehouse, he'll do a little something to fix things for them. Nothing major, like a new amendment or anything. Maybe they'll just make it a procedural matter, like they were trying to do with the judicial filibuster. So maybe they'll decide, procedurally of course, that the First Amendment just needs a simple re-spelling; like by moving the "r" up a spot. And while they're at it, why not make a few minor procedural rewrites to the bill itself. Nothing major. Just getting it back in line with what our Founding Fathers must have intended. Or maybe I shouldn't be giving them any ideas...

Agonizing Fanatics

As all my regular readers know, this really isn't the most topical of blogs. At best, I can be counted on joining the liberal chorus about a week or so after everyone else has started wrapping up. But my Biobrain's cranking at full-steam tonight, so you'll be getting the rare treat of a blog topic from the very same night that it happened. But not really. It's really just another chance to show how everything fits in with our current theme of crazy conservatives.

And in this case, what else could I be writing about but the Nuclear Compromise between Superhero Harry Reid and the moderate Republicans. Now, when I first read of the compromise, I took it as a defeat. I'm no hardliner politico guy, but in this case I saw almost any compromise as defeat. Not because I think our team always has to win, but because the Republicans are such ballbreakers that any compromise will only last as long as the ink is dry before they try to walk all over us again.

As Hitler showed, there is no compromise with people who are trying to destroy you. There is only delay. And if there's no direct advantage for the delay, you shouldn't do it. Compromise can only work in good faith.

But maybe it doesn't look like such a bad deal. I say that first off because Mr. Josh Marshall says it wasn't such a bad deal. I trust Marshall's political mind on this kind of thing, and so if he doesn't think we're being walked on, I guess it can't be so bad. I don't know the internal workings of Congress and Washington, so I have to trust his judgment on this.

But even better, the fanatics hate it. And anything that they hate must be good for us (which explains my Devil worship).

Backsliding Contrarians

But maybe that's all wrong. Maybe you can't trust either Marshall or the fanatics on this one. And I say that, not as a reformed contrarian who's backsliding, but because both groups are doing exactly what they're supposed to do. The political-types like Marshall and the Whitehouse will claim victory, while the extremist-types will scream defeat. That's just standard operating procedure. And so them doing these things doesn't necessarily mean anything.

Marshall first. He outright says that he needed to spin this to victory. And the Whitehouse will surely do the same. That's just politics for you. In politics, appearance is everything; and if you're not the winner, you're the loser. That's just how the game is played. You always have to declare victory and just hope it sticks. Not that I'm necessarily saying that Marshall is falsely spinning this. I'm just saying that he'd probably do that in either case, as it's the political thing to do.

Shame On Them All

But what of the fanatics? Is their open declaration of defeat a clear sign that we won? Not necessarily. Because that's exactly what fanatics do. They declare defeat, agony, sacrifice, and persecution at every turn. Especially persecution. That's just how they are. I mean, just check out one-time presidential candidate Gary Bauer's immediate press release:

"Under this agreement it is now more likely that radical social change will continue to be forced on the American people by liberal courts committed to same sex marriage, abortion on demand and hostility to religious expression. The Republicans who lent their names to this travesty have undercut their President as well as millions of their most loyal voters. Shame on them all."

My lord. Reading that, you'd think that Bush had handed the Nomination Stick over to Michael Moore or something. Does he really fear that, with the filibuster option still in place, Bush will be stuck appointing Devil Worshipers (such as myself) to the courts? Really?

Of course not. Guys like Bauer peddle in outrage; the more outrageous the better. That's his thing. If he wasn't selling outrage, he'd have to get a real job; and god only knows who'd hire that fruitcake. The worst thing for fanatics like Bauer and Dobson is when they win. And the best thing is a complete loss. Even a win should be taken as a loss. Otherwise, their base will lose its steam. And I'm not even saying that they're both phonies who don't want to win; I'm just saying that they don't want to win. Whether or not they're phonies is a judgment call that I'll leave up to you...for now.

And so it is for all extremist/activists. The better the cause does, the harder it is to drum up support and funding. Which is why selfish activists have to worry about doing too good of a job. Were MADD able to stop all drunk driving, they'd cease to exist. And if we were all religious, we wouldn't need Bauer or Dobson telling us we're immoral. Activism and fanatics are a bundle of dissatisfied energy in search of a cause. Any cause. The more energy they have, the worse the cause they want.

And don't mind the contradiction of Bauer acting persecuted, while simultaneously insisting that he has a large majority with millions siding with him. For them, that's just more evidence of how evil and powerful we are. Somehow their persecution is even worse because they deserve so much power, yet are consistently thwarted. You'd think they'd be happier living in a Muslim nation, where they wouldn't have to worry about a minority oppressing them. I know I would be. Maybe I'll suggest it to them.

And so nothing can satisfy them. They don't want to be satisfied. They don't want their followers satisfied. But it's not due to extremism and the inability to compromise. It's because they don't want to be satisfied. And as I've said repeatedly before, they've got a lot of anger and frustration that they need to work out (least of all that too many of them are gay and hate themselves for it). And so this has nothing to do with God or morality; and everything to do with craziness and trying to find someone else to blame for it.


Anyway, I'm pretty tired and I think you get the general idea. I wasn't even writing so much about the filibuster thing, which I'm really fairly agnostic on. I just wanted to write a little about how politico-types always declare victory, and how the wacko extremists always announce bitter and agonizing defeat. You can figure out the rest from there.

Hell, pretty soon I think I'll just start linking to past posts and just write "Etc.". The hardest part of this job isn't in seeing how everything connects, but rather on how to find the loose-end so I can start unraveling it for your reading pleasure.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Neo-Con Artists

If you, my loyal readers, could please do Doctor Biobrain one favor, it would be this: Whenever you're discussing politics with a Republican, please stop acting as if that person knows what the hell they're talking about. Because they don't. They're not really defending taxcuts for the rich, or torture, or extremist judges or religious intolerance. They've just placed their trust in the wrong sources and are getting bad information.

And here's the thing: They're just victims in all this. Hapless victims. They don't realize that they're repeating lies. They don't understand that they're victims. They think that they're getting the god honest truth from Limbaugh and O'Reilly and the Fox Gang; and that we're being fed lies by the "liberal" media. And if they knew the truth, nine times out of ten, they'd be on our side. Equally, if their facts were somehow correct, we'd be fools for not agreeing with them on almost all issues. And you just shouldn't forget that.

Ponzi Republicans

Think about it this way. Say you've got a friend who's invested a sizeable amount of money in some sort of ridiculous Ponzi scheme. And they tell you about it and how you too can get rich quick, and they're just soooo convinced that you're being a fool for not investing. And you're a smart person (you're at my blog, right), and you know that these are scams; so how would you react? Would you act like your friend is scamming you, and denounce them for being an evil liar who supports con artists? Or would you treat them as a victim of the con artists?

And of course you'd treat them like a victim. You wouldn't bother explaining to them why they shouldn't scam you, or believe that they like to be scammed. Hell no. You'd understand how they had been conned, and how their facts are just screwed up. And you'd gently try to explain to them how the con worked, and show the information which backed up your claims.

And that's exactly what's happened to our right-wing friends (a term I use very loosely). They're victims. They don't know what they're talking about. They hear a very select piece of each news story, and are given fake versions of what liberals believe; and then they just repeat what they've been told. But that's not their fault. They're not scammers. They're victims. And we need to treat them as such.

How to De-Con a Conservative

And here's how. In a conversational, non-confrontational way, just point out facets of stories that they're not getting, or basic facts that have been misrepresented to them. And stick with facts, and not let yourself wander into implications or blaming Republicans. And don't try to jam it down their throat, as most people are contrarians and will always take the opposite position from you if they think you're trying to dominate them. And this can't work in the middle of a heated debate. But you just need to start dropping tidbits and info that you know they're not getting. As if you're doing them a favor. And you are.

And the intent is to get them to start distrusting their sources of news, just as the righties have successfully gotten the sheep to distrust the "liberal" media. And you absolutely must do this in a way that won't get them to defend the people who've been conning them. People will defend their own kidnappers and abusers if you approach them in the wrong way. You can't let that happen. So you can't be smug or condescending, no matter how much fun it is.

And if you're the cool-headed liberal that you believe you are, you shouldn't have any problem with this. But don't get baited into an argument. It's just a defense mechanism on their part to protect themselves. And you shouldn't even tell them that their news sources are conning them. They need to come to that conclusion by themselves. It just won't work otherwise. You can ask rhetorical questions about why they hadn't heard of this stuff, or how they got the facts so wrong; but they need to answer those questions for themselves.

And that's it. That's what you need to do. It won't be easy, but I have faith in you. And I'm confident that if all of my loyal readers agree to band together to do this, we should have Republicanism licked in no time.

Friday, May 20, 2005

When Worlds Collide

Anyway, like I was saying in the last post: Hubris. A term Man-on-Dog used against Dems, is far more appropriate in explaining the Republicans' constant over-reaching. Like the Clinton impeachment catastrophe. Or the old government shutdown. Or Bush's current Social Security blunder. Or Tom Delay's lobbyist vacations, ethics rules rewrites, and whatnot. Or the push for the Iraq War. Or the nuclear option. Or just about anything else that the Republicans try to enact. They seem to believe that they're all-powerful beings who can defy long-standing rules of politics; and hubris is the proper word for it.

And their mistake is that they take their own rhetoric way too seriously, and actually try to enact the goofball craziness that they always talk about. What a mistake! When they talk about this crap, it sounds good. It really does. That's how they fool so many of our brightest pundits and reporters. But that's just because their rhetoric doesn't have to be based on any form of reality. So they can say anything they want; thus giving them an enormous advantage over people who feel compelled to live in the real world.

And that was all fine and dandy back when they were stuck as the eternal minority, and never had to worry about coming up with realistic policies. They could say anything they wanted, and the day of reckoning never came. And they really started to take advantage of that and said all kinds of crazy stuff; like about term-limits, and balanced-budget amendments, strong ethics rules, and other stuff they'd rather we not remember. But then it worked too well, and they were given more and more power; forcing them to put their money where their mouths were. But they they didn't have any money, and were all mouth.

Oh, they were sly about it for awhile. Blaming Clinton for this, or the Dem Senate for that. And even in 2002 when they got all the reins of government, there were activist judges to worry about, and obstructionist Dems, that big election, and you can't forget those blasted terrorists or solemn 9/11, after which everything was different. But in the end, their rhetoric is just a big pile of elephant crap that can't realistically be brought into reality without pissing off a majority of the nation. And that big pile of crap keeps getting bigger each day; and the longer they hold the reins of government, the less able they are to shovel it off.

And they always screw-up when they try to turn their talk into reality. Because they live in a fantasy-world that just can't work in the real world. It's kind of like matter and anti-matter combining together and blowing up in their face...except a lot funnier.

Everything's Like Sex

And their real problem is that their brand of politics is a lot like a virgin prostitute. The technique is intended to woo them with sweet nothings about abortion and taxes and the big, bad government; and it's supposed to work like futile foreplay. Their base is supposed to get all hot and bothered, but never actually come to completion. Because once the rabble get what they want, they'll immediately fall asleep and won't even leave you money for the cab ride home. So they've got to constantly keep them frothing at the mouth (so to speak); always wanting more, but never quite able to get it.

But the problem is that the people they're appealing to are like sailors on shore leave, and before they get too far into the foreplay, they're ripping off the GOP's bodice and jamming their love stick into every orifice they can fit their little pee-pee's in. And they can fit them in a lot of places.

And so the Republican politicians just can't help themselves. Most of them understand what to do in theory, but it's really hard when they have to face their constituents and explain why they're not getting any. And it's really difficult to keep things on the crest of a climax without going through with it all the way.

That's what happened with Clinton's impeachment, ironically enough. They had been talking about it for so long, that they actually got stuck going through with the deed. Like drunk frat guys bragging about how fun it would be to rape a girl. I suspect they had imagined that Clinton was going to save himself in some slickster fashion before it was done, and in a way that would anger the GOP rabble even more. Like maybe they thought a few activist judges would have stepped in to save the day, or something. But nothing stopped it, and even they were completely unable to put on the brakes; so the GOP was stuck making good on their rape plans. And then after the impeachment, the lights came on and they had to let the guy go because they really didn't have anything on him.


And what it all comes down to is that the right-wingers don't really want anything. They're just upset and looking for someone else to blame for it. They don't like us in charge, but they don't really want anything of their own; beyond undoing a few of our policies. They like their cheap rhetoric and anger, but there aren't any real policy goals behind it. They just don't like our policies.

As I've argued before, the GOP is full of crazy people who are just looking for an outlet to channel their craziness. It's not about saving unborn babies or decency. Those are just cries for help from people whose lives are out of control. They're against abortion and porn because their children are disobedient and their husbands are unfaithful. And they're just not content with life and can't seem to make any sense of anything. And most of them don't even believe in the god that they're desperately hanging on to. They're just seeking some level of normalcy that will bring sanity to their messed-up world. And if their god can't enforce that normalcy, then by god they'll enact it into law themselves. And the fantasyland absolutism is the closest they can get to normalcy.

And so nothing will please them. There is no solution that a politician can enact to fix their problems. And the GOP doesn't even want to; they just want hot and bothered voters. Because the problem isn't prayer in school, or the pledge, or activist judges, or Clinton's lies. Their problem is with themselves. They're like impotent men visiting whorehouses for the foreplay, but unable to engage in the real thing. And it just frustrates them even more. They don't want new laws, they just want to vent. And they don't even know it. And that frustrates them most of all.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Oh god dammit! Dammit! Dammit! DAMMIT! I had just about finished this really excellent post about that jerkoff Santorum and his stupid quote suggesting that Democrats who complained about Republicans changing the rules was similar to Hitler complaining about the allies bombing his city of Paris after he captured it. It was a stupid quote, but rather than engage in pretend outrage, I was focusing on this line:

"Some are suggesting we're trying to change the law, we're trying to break the rules. Remarkable. Remarkable hubris."

And I wrote this long post about how it was a typical example of Republicans accusing Democrats of doing the very thing that the Republicans are doing. Including the inappropriate use of the term "hubris" to describe us, which doesn't make any sense when used against us; but is entirely appropriate against them (as my next post will show). And that Santorum was just using it because it's a word that we use against them. And how, by using it, he's intentionally devaluing the word so that it will mean less when we use it against them. And how the Repubs do this kind of thing so that the media and fence-sitting moderates will think that our accusations against the Repubs are all part of silly partisan politics, instead of valid accusations.

And then, while I was trying to quote an example of right-wingers who used the "Teflon President" label to describe Clinton, when it had originally been a label on Reagan (an obviously inappropriate usage on Clinton, because everything stuck to him, including lots of fake stuff (and even "Teflon President" didn't seem to stick to Reagan)); but something went wrong. I hit the wrong button or something, and a freaked-out version of my post came back, mostly missing. Oh dammit, what the hell's wrong with this shit? Or was it me? I don't know. Maybe it was the quote, which came from Free Republic. Maybe they somehow screwed-up my machine.

No, it was my fault. I know it was. But I still don't know what happened. Oh man. This sucks. It was a pretty good post too. Too long, of course. But still good. Now it's gone. All gone. Oh well, you got the gist of it here, even if you missed a bunch of good stuff. Better luck next time, eh?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Crazy Conservatives

And talk about crazy conservatives, how about this little ditty from Timothy Noah of Slate? I saw the headline over at Kevin Drum's place, and thought it would be interesting to hear some talk of crazy conservatives. But what does Chatterbox Timmy conclude regarding the theory of "Conservativism as Pathology"? Here's the last paragraph:

"The further you get into this line of thinking, I'm afraid, the more ridiculous it starts to sound. I've never observed, and I doubt you have either, that members of the working class demonstrate a greater tendency than people higher up the income scale to be more fearful, or more threatened, or more intolerant of ambiguity, or more irrationally fearful of death, or more inclined to pick fights with their parents, or more sex-deprived.
So I guess it's back to the drawing board."

That's right. Timmy can't seem to break the surface on this one, so it's back to the old drawing board. And it doesn't take anything more than that last paragraph to see his problem.

Sex-Deprived and Fearful

First off, let me preface this by saying that Timmy wasn't referring to all conservatives. He was trying to make sense of the phenomenon of working class people who support conservatives, even though it means voting against their economic interests. He knows that it's wrong for them to do that, but is looking for a theory which explains why they do it. He discusses a study which suggested that it is fear and craziness that makes them turn Republican. But for some reason, Noah just doesn't like the Crazy theory. Yet I'm certain it applies to all of them, even the rich conservatives.

And it's obvious from that last paragraph where he's fallen off the track. He seems to be suggesting that, because liberal-types are as likely or even more likely as conservatives to be scared, sex-deprived, and otherwise crazy, that this theory must be wrong. He can just take the work of several trained psychologists and dismiss it with the wave of his hand because he just doesn't see it. And it doesn't make sense to him, perhaps because he knows that he and his liberal friends are fearful and sex-deprived, yet still liberal; and he sees confident conservatives and they don't act like the way his friends act.

Absolutism as Remedy

But isn't it obvious? The reason why liberals seem more scared, sex-deprived, and crazier than conservatives isn't because they are so. It's because they're more open to the idea. It's because they're more willing to admit to their fears and craziness. It's because they're more willing to talk about it and deal with it. And they're more willing to face-up to the crazy reality that surrounds them, and admit to being confused and scared. But it's not that they're crazier than conservatives; it's just that they express it better and more often.

And that's the whole god damn point! Conservatives prefer absolutism and everything else they get from the simple-minded Republican rhetoric because they can't face up to their fears. Because they can't properly deal with their frustrations. They don't have the proper outlets to channel their confusion and desires, and so they have to blame everyone else for their problems.

Their kids don't respect them and their wives don't love them, and they know it's not supposed to be this way but they can't understand where they went wrong. And it's just so much easier to blame liberals, to blame the media and Hollywood, to blame negros and mexicans and gays, and to blame everything else unholy and wrong because they're god damn scared and they don't know where else to turn.

So what do they do? They deny reality itself. They ignore facts that go against their beliefs, or that might muddy the waters. They lash out at change and modernization, in the hopes that they can somehow bring back their lost innocence. And they ignore the fact that voting Republican means voting against their own interests. They refuse to see it; just as a heroin junkie might refuse to admit that the drug is slowly killing them. All they see is the dream of absolutism in a nightmare of craziness and uncertainty. But they're junkies, and the only cure they can see is the very thing that we need to save them from.

Crazy World

And that's the thing. We're all crazy. There is no "normal". There is no sanity. We're damn apes that got lucky to get where we are, but it seems like we need more. Because wanting "more" is how we got to where we are, and you just can't get enough. Life is about hanging on the best you can and enjoying yourself, while allowing others to enjoy themselves. Nothing more. And the people we call "crazy" really are crazier than us because they aren't able to handle their craziness. They have to be locked up because the outside world is just too much for them. But "sanity" isn't about setting your brain straight, but rather about learning to cope with reality and hanging on without blowing up or freaking out.

And our conservatives, they aren't immune to these pressures, as Tim Noah believes. Of course not. They aren't self-sufficient ships easily cruising through the troubled waters sinking lesser men. They're out there with us, trying desperately to stay afloat; as we are. And that's why they vote Republican, despite the direct conflict it poses them. Because it makes them feel better and seems to answer their questions. Republicans sing a siren song which lures them with false promises and empty confidence. It gives them a safe-harbor to which they can securely tie their boat. And it allows them the freedom to ignore unanswered questions, and brings meaning to a meaningless world. Religion serves the exact same purpose. And all it requires is an act of faith.

And so that's what all this is about. I'm glad that Noah cited that study as it gave me the chance to help us better understand what we need to do to cure these unfortunate people. And it's not empty absolutism and blame-games. It's understanding, reassurance, and respect. That's what everyone wants. And if we can give that to them, they will stop their unhealthy dependence on Republicans and allow us to focus on making this nation great. And maybe some day we can have a healthy, sane world which won't require faith-based tricks and illusions for happiness.

No Respect

People are starting to get it, but I just don't see what took them so long. By "it", I mean the fact that conservatives live in a fantasy-world where they'd rather focus on what they want to believe, rather than seeing things how they really are. My god, how many times do we have to see this phenomenon before we realize that it's real? After all, they outright tell us that they support propaganda and deceptions; but we're so busy with our head's up our own asses that we don't realize that they mean it. They fucking support propaganda. They outright tell us that anything short of lying propaganda is traitorous "blame America" blasphemy; and yet we continue to take them seriously.

Moreover, these are not people who disagree with what America should do. They do not disagree. They disagree as to what fucking reality is. They tell us this implicitly. If the facts were different, they'd be on our side. They'd support welfare if they thought it could work. And they'd be pro-abortion and pro-gay if they thought their god would approve. And they only approve of taxcuts if they're not just for the rich, and even then only approve because they believe it will help the economy more than it hurts. And they don't approve of torture, they just don't think it's happening. They tell us this every damn day, yet we refuse to listen.

So these people don't disagree on the issues. They disagree on the facts. They don't disagree with what reality means. Their problem is with reality itself. And they tell us this. They have the answers they want to see, and they're just trying to find the facts which back up those answers. They'd rather not know the truth, if the truth gives them answers they don't want to hear.

But if the facts would make them agree with us, all we need to do is focus on giving them the facts; not in interpreting what those facts mean. After all, they have to already know what the facts mean for them to be able to know which ones to ignore. So we don't need to focus on convincing them that welfare is good or that torture is bad; we need to show them that welfare works and that torture is real. They tell us this all the time. So why aren't we listening???

Why We Do It

Maybe it has to do with the liberal trait of doubting oneself in order to make sure that we're seeing the truth. Kind of like in movies, how people ask to be pinched to make sure they're not dreaming. You don't want to commit to something that you're not sure about. And there's nothing wrong with that. Self-doubt is an essential tool for becoming a better person. You can't improve yourself if you don't know what's wrong with you in the first place. That's what makes us liberals.

But I don't think that's what it is. I think the truth is that it is a self-indulgence by liberals to tsk-tsk everything the conservatives do. It's just more fun to look down at people with ridicule and scorn than it is to understand them and want to help them. And we'd lose the fun of the tsk-tsking if we acknowledged the truth: Our opponents are not sane people and they're in serious need of help. Seriously. They are insane people who will do anything to stay in their fantasy-world, rather than join us in reality and try to solve the problems of society and humanity.

Oh no. Their lives are much more fun if they can pretend that they deserve to be Americans with a good life; as if they did something special to be born white in America. And it's more fun for them to pretend that it is their "personal responsibility" that grants them the right to rule the world. Even if their own personal life sucks, which it does; and which is why they have to blame everyone else for their life sucking. "If only the liberals and the liberal media would stop such-and-such, life would be grand," they believe. This, from the "personal responsibility" crowd. Always blaming others. And they blame others for blaming everyone else. My god, we need a new level of irony just to handle these people.

And are we trying to help them? Oh no. Our lives are much more fun if we can shake our heads and say "See, see. That's who we're up against. Barbarians. Stupid barbarians. I told you so." And that's all fine and dandy, but what the fuck are we going to do about it? You. What are you doing to fix these fuckers? These people are mentally ill and do not fully live in reality. And all you can do is blame them, rather than trying to help them. Snark is fun, but it achieves little.

I'm Pissed

And what's got me pissed off? I'll tell you. I just read Kevin Drum referring to an email posted by Andy Sullivan regarding the same god damn phenomenon that I just mentioned, and that I've been mentioning for some time now. And from someone who's just noticing it no less. So I'm seeing two of the biggest named bloggers giving honors to some dude who's just jumped on the boat that I've been riding on for some time now. And no mention of Biobrain at all. Nada. That's what's got me pissed.

Not like I'm suggesting that I'm the first one to notice this. But I would like some kind of props on this. And maybe it doesn't need to be me. But what the hell did that letter writer have that I didn't have? Kevin Drum won't even acknowledge my remarks when I do him the honor of ranting my prose in his comments section. And Sully hasn't even once responded to the few emails I've sent him about what the hell his problem is and what he needs to do to correct it (I'd tell you, but it's a personal matter).

So that's what's got me steamed. I put a lot of work into this stuff, and I can't stand being upstaged by a damnable two-bit emailer. Who the hell is he that he gets cited in two bigtime blogs, when I can't even get on either of their blogrolls? Why should anyone bother with his stuff, when I've got the goods right here. And with links, no less.

I should mention that I'm not really pissed at all, except pissed drunk and just wanted to rant out a little bit, even though I'm not actually upset. It just sounds funnier that way. Anyway, I've got another post I just thought of regarding this exact subject, and it's better than this one. So I'll be cutting this short. But if you happen to see Drum or Sullivan in the next few days, you might want to give them my regards and let them know that I'm watching them. And I expect results! I'm on the cutting edge of this whole crazy conservative thing, and if they're not careful, I'll be mopping the dust with their fine linens and silk doodads. Whatever that means. And I expect results!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Relativist Nationalists

My lord, don't I have a lot of things to say about Moral Relativity. A veritable buttload of things. But I don't have time for them now. Not most of them anyway. Tax season is over, but the returns never end.

But I will give you this recent thought of mine: Nationalism is an obvious form of moral relativity. When you think about it, it's quite obvious. And the irony, of course, is that the most nationalistic people are often the ones who detest moral relativity the most. Or pretend to anyway.

But of course, the proclamations against moral relativity are really just devices they use so that they can insist that we all follow their moral beliefs, because they can't actually give rational reasons for why we should follow them. And I just find it amazing how often supposed moral absolutists like Rush Limbaugh and our new pope insist on denouncing supposed moral relativists; when their "absolute" morals are clearly at odds with one another. If morals are always absolute, then you'd think they'd have to attack each other too. But that's not really odd. After all, they're all really after the same thing: getting us to distrust our own moral judgment, so that we'll follow theirs. Our supposed moral absolutists aren't necessarily against differing morals, but against free-thinking. And we already knew that, didn't we.

But that's another post. This one's about nationalism.

Nationalism is clearly an example of moral relativity. As is any exclusivist thinking that tells you that the group you're in has a different set of rules than the rules applied to people outside of that group. They never put it that way, but surely these people do believe in separate rules for different groups. That's what bigotry's all about.

Real World Applications

Take 9/11, for example. We got attacked, and nobody attacks the good ole US of A. And what did that justify? Collateral Damage. Taking Muslim lives to replace the ones that the terrorists stole. Killing innocents in Afghanistan and Iraq. Physical and mental abuses in Guantanmo and Abu Ghraib. And attacking innocent Muslim-Americans within our very borders. And while they don't say it as often now, we all know what they were saying at the time. Any talk suggesting that it was wrong was greeted with talk about vengeance for the 3000 killed...even though approximately 99.99% of the people we did these things to had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11.

And so, do these rules apply elsewhere? If nineteen Americans go to Saudi Arabia and kill one hundred or one thousand people, are Saudi's allowed to randomly attack us? Can they lock us up and abuse us? Of course not. Because we're Americans dammit. We're the ones that do that crap, not anyone else. We're the good guys.

So we're violating two levels of moral absolutism: we attack innocents when we know that attacking innocents is immoral; and we deny other groups the right to follow our own immoral example. Apparently, revenge is in the eye of the beholder.

Or what about this. During our recent war with Iraq, if Saddam had somehow managed to blow up the Pentagon or some other legitimate military target in America, would our nationalists have accepted that as fairplay? Would they have shrugged it off as the price of war? Of course not. We were at war, but they weren't allowed to attack us. Most of our nationalists would have screamed that we needed to nuke Iraq for such an affront to decency. Such a move by Saddam would have been denounced as terrorism, which clearly showed that our war with him was obviously necessary.

And of course, when our soldiers in Iraq kill an innocent Iraqi, we dub them terrorists if they try to exact revenge against our troops. Even the vengeance of an innocent child's life is wrong when it's an Iraqi child killed by an American. Yet these same people insist that we have the right to protect ourselves and avenge our dead, while denying that right to anyone else.

Double-Standard Absolutists

And surely, applying different standards to different people is the very essence of moral relativity. In fact, that's moral relativity at its worst. Moral relativity generally refers to excusing immoral behavior committed by another culture, because they didn't know any better. A product of their environment and whatnot. But moral absolutism surely must mean that the same morals apply to everyone, right? If moral absolutists expect others to follow their moral beliefs, shouldn't the absolutists be expected to follow their own? Of course.

And that's the weird thing. If we, the liberals, are truly moral relativists, then we must excuse the immoral double-standards of our ignorant countrymen. They're products of their environment and can't be held responsible for their ignorance and hatred. And if moral relativist means "do it if it feels good", as the Limbaughs of the world insist, then we have no right to complain about our double-standard nationalists.

But do we believe that? We do not. We do not excuse their moral relativity because we are not moral relativists. We are the moral absolutists. We must forgive immoral behavior, but we must fight to stop it. People may be a product of their environment, but that just means that we need to change the environment when possible. We can't change Jefferson into a abolitionist, but we must try to change Joe Sixpack into a moralist.

But more details on that will have to wait until another post. Like I said, I've got buttloads to write about moral relativity, and this is just the tip of the snowstorm. But I will eventually fully explain how this stuff works and you really might want to think about taking notes. I've got all the answers of the universe at my fingertips, but it's going to take me awhile to explain what they mean.

Huff and Blow Republicans

No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Thanks for asking. I've just been a little busy lately, and then we took a trip out of town over the weekend and I'm still recovering. But you shouldn't get the idea that I'm out of ideas. Far from it. In fact, I've actually got TOO much stuff to write about and don't know where to begin. I'm not sure what piles up more when I leave town: my work or my posts.

But here it is. And keeping in line with the topical nature of this blog, my subject this evening will once again be Watergate and what it means to us. Cutting edge stuff, to be sure. But quite applicable to our current crisis. I'm still reading W&B's fascinating must-read, The Final Days; which features an inside look to the final days of the Nixon administration.

Watergate Lesson #526

The main Watergate lesson we'll be discussing this evening is on loyalty and truth; and how loyalty means far more to Republicans than truth. And we'll be starting this with a little quote from Mr. Pat Buchanan, who had been a speech writer for President Nixon and one of his closest aides who had worked for him almost longer than anyone. Here's a passage I read today, regarding why Pat believed that Nixon should step down:

Buchanan paused, searching for the right words. This was the hardest part. "The problem is not Watergate or the cover-up," he began. "It's that he hasn't been telling the truth to the American people." He paused again. "The tape makes it evident that he hasn't leveled with the country for probably eighteen months. And the President can't lead a country he has deliberately misled for a year and a half."

Boy, those words seem to be coming straight out of a more innocent and wide-eyed era, eh? Back when Whitehouse staffers believed that the worst thing a president could do was to lie to Americans. Seems like times have changed immensely since those idealistic days. But they haven't. Not really. You see, it's quite evident from the book that many of Nixon's closest allies and supporters had believed for some time that Nixon was guilty. And they were afraid that a fight would seriously hurt the nation and the Republican party. Which it certainly did.

But you see, none of them were saying that publicly. Even down to the final handful of days, Buchanan and the rest of Nixon's men put up a valiant front; both to the nation and to each other. In fact, until the last few days, they wouldn't even admit to each other what they really thought. It was all cheerleading and smiles, while vowing a strong offensive against the "Nixon bashers" trying to bring him down. But they all knew better. Or most of them anyway. It was all just a false front.

So it's not that times were more innocent back then, when a president's ally truly looked out for the benefit of the nation; compared with the evil men running things now. No siree. It's the same thing that we have now. The exact same thing. People refusing to even contemplate negative thoughts; preferring to run blindly towards a victory which can only be achieved with positive thoughts and partisan propaganda. Pat Buchanan and others had been defending Nixon against the Watergate charges for over eighteen months, and the only thing that could get them to drop their defense was when reality imposed itself and forced them to face the truth.

Nixon only fell when his supporters finally lost faith in him. And learning that lesson will teach you exactly why Bush's supporters will continually ignore the truth if the truth would force them to stop defending their leader. They may like truth, but they like loyalty even more; making them believe the unbelievable and support the unsupportable. And that's why they're Republicans.

Unconditional Love

So there were these damning tapes out there, and all anyone had to do was listen to them and they'd feel sure that Nixon was guilty. But then comes the weird thing: none of the people defending him wanted to listen to the tapes. Or some of them kind of did, but it obviously wasn't important enough to make them want to withhold their support. They may have wanted to know the truth, but they clearly believed it was more important to be loyal to Nixon first.

And why didn't they listen? Because Nixon didn't want them to listen to them. But isn't that terribly suspicious? I mean, after all, it's one thing for Nixon to decide that Congress doesn't have the right to grab evidence from the president (executive privilege and all that). But shouldn't the damn people defending Nixon have listened to them, assuming he was innocent? Nixon listened to the tapes over and over, and insisted that they exonerated him; so shouldn't the people talking about this publicly have heard how he was exonerated? Assuming that it's true, wouldn't that have aided their defense?

So isn't that terribly suspicious? I mean, that's not a red flag. That's a frickin' forest fire in your face just telling you that the man's not being completely truthful. And he certainly wasn't. And he was fighting like crazy to see to it that nobody could get the tapes...including his allies. And I understand not letting John the Copy Guy in on the secrets, but Buchanan was one of his closest and oldest aides; and he didn't read the transcripts until right up to the end, after it was already hopeless. And neither did Nixon's main lawyer, or almost anyone else. So what's up with that?

And I'll tell you what's up with that. His allies didn't want to know that he was guilty. They didn't want to know, because once they knew, they couldn't defend him anymore. Not in good conscience. And so they decided that it was better to take Nixon's lying word for it, forest fires and all, rather than know the truth and be disloyal to Nixon.

Hear No Evil

And I'll tell you straight-up, that's exactly what happened. Maybe I should have given you a *spoiler alert* on that one, but you really should already know how all this ends. Once Nixon's friends heard the content of those tapes, the gig was up. He lost the support of much of his Whitehouse staff, and his political defenders. In fact, it had been the "betrayal" by his biggest defenders in Congress that stood as the turning point. They were ready to say anything to defend Nixon, but once they learnt the truth; they felt betrayed and abused by Nixon; feeling that they could have defended Nixon, had they known the truth from the beginning.

And that's such bullcrap. The lack of truth didn't bother them so much when they were defending him. And Nixon knew that, had they known the truth, they couldn't have defended him as well. Again, they may have been a touch upset that he wouldn't let them see the evidence, but it wasn't enough to get them to stop defending him. And it did look terribly suspicious that he wouldn't even let his closest supporters hear the tapes. And these aren't stupid people, so they knew better. They just didn't care. They'd rather that Nixon not be guilty; but if he was guilty, they'd rather not know about it.

And that's the thing. They didn't want to know because they wanted a clean conscience and they also wanted to defend to Nixon; no matter what. And that's what they did. Even when they believed that Nixon was guilty, or should at least have resigned; they still put on a strong public front. To do otherwise was disloyal and wrong.

And the proof of all this is just how quickly it took for Nixon's men to stop defending him. They had been fighting and kicking and shoving, and most of all confident. Confident that this was just the work of the "Get Nixon Crowd", and that Nixon would again be victorious. They may have felt pressured and weak and vulnerable inside, but their foes always saw a solid, impenetrable wall of defense. And it was because Nixon was so weak that they had to project such strength. And it was only because Nixon lied to them that they could continue to project that strength.

Crazy Train

And that's the crazy thing about Nixon's impeachment. It may have seemed like a railroad express to the participants and to history, but it's truly amazing how easily that freight-train could have been derailed. It took a lot of pushing and tugging to get that impeachment trial in the station, and Fate could have saved Nixon at any turn.

Which should be contrasted with the foolish Clinton impeachment which came chugging into the station so fast that it took them all by surprise. In fact, by the end, I wouldn't doubt if ALL of the Republican Congressmen secretly wanted that thing removed from the tracks and tossed into the trashheap.

And that's one of the things about Republicans: they're all huff and blow, with their fancy rhetoric and bumper-sticker ideologies; but when push comes to shove, they'll be glad to stick with the pushing. They don't want to rule D.C. They just want to stop us from ruling it. Because it's much easier to make promises and attack bad government than it is to fulfill promises and make good government. Especially for these guys, as they hate the government; good government most of all!

Saving Republicans

And that just about says it all. Or enough for this late hour. Republicans really don't care about the truth, and are mainly interested in the rhetorical value of truth. Because it helps them in their political war with the Democrats. Not that this is anything new, I just thought we needed a non-Bush related example of this. Especially as it's something that liberals often say, but I don't think they really mean it. I keep reading liberals shaking their figurative heads when they're again confronted with the Republican desire for propaganda, half-truths, and deceptions. But there's nothing to be confused about.

Republicans really want to live in a continual state of denial. That's the only way you can possibly justify support of the Republican agenda, by denying the unpleasant portions of reality. So it's not that propaganda and denial are techniques that Republicans employ when necessary; but rather they're personal flaws which cause someone to identify with Republicans in the first place. Dishonesty isn't a minor trait of Republicans, but one of their defining characteristics.

And I don't say that as a mean-spirited jerk trying to bad-mouth the opponent, but as a saddened human taking pity on his fellow humans. We don't need to convince these people so they'll vote with us politically. We need to convince them so that we can help make these people whole and better than they currently are. Because that's what it means to be a liberal. To take pity on those who should be pitied and using the tools at our disposal to assist those people; just as we would want to be assisted ourselves. Conservatives want to limit those tools, but we can't allow that. After all, they may be Republicans, but they're still human; or so I've been told.