Saturday, March 31, 2007

Gore's Global Warming Debunked

It was colder today than it was yesterday, that means that Al Gore’s Global Warming is clearly a crock of shit.  Perhaps it applies to everywhere except for where I am, but it’s clearly not “global”.  I’ll let you know if this trend continues the next time I go somewhere else.


Update: My mistake.  I really don’t know what I’m talking about.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Brownback to the Rescue

Here’s a surprise: Conservative Sam Brownback wants to gut Social Security by forcing young workers to invest their Social Security contributions into the stock market, as well as giving that option to older workers.  

As he says: "The funds, instead of going into the government, are going into personal accounts that will be invested in the economy, creating capital and growth and economic activity."

Because as you see, when the government takes your money, it inexplicitly disappears.  No growth is created.  It doesn’t enter the economy.  It isn’t paid in wages or handed out as congressional pork or used to pay off the national debt.  It just vanishes and doesn’t get used to create capital, growth, or economic activity.  Of course.  There must be some gigantic mattress in Wyoming that they stuff it all into, as I can’t imagine where it would go otherwise.

And one reason why Brownback thinks that’s a good idea is because:
"This would reduce the size of the federal government overall.”

And no, Sam.  It doesn’t.  The only way to reduce the size of the government is to cut government spending.  Sure, you can cut revenues, but if you don’t cut spending, then you’ll just keep getting higher deficits…which is exactly what Bush has been doing to us for several years and it totally sucks.  And if you can cut spending without cutting revenues, then you could payoff our old debt faster.  That’s the way it works in the businessworld, and I see no reason why that wouldn’t work for us.

Fiscal Con

And how would Sam’s plan make up for the shortfall in revenue from the immediate drop in payroll taxes?  “Brownback would raise money to pay for the shortfall by having the        Treasury Department issue securities.”

That’s right, he’d increase the deficit.  That’s his plan.  And then he’d have them stop issuing that debt once the benefits being paid for the old system dropped below payroll tax revenue; which would be many decades from now.  Of course, that’s the way things are right now.  The benefits being paid are below the amount the government receives.  In fact, it runs at a huge surplus that helps reduce our deficit spending.  And so Sam’s going to replace that surplus with more deficit spending.  Great.

And if we were smart, we’d raise taxes back to the pre-Bush rates, pay off some of our deficits, and then be in a better position to deal with the Social Security crisis, if it happens.  But no.  Sam’s got the plan to kill it off right now, and to increase our debt to do it; both by killing a revenue stream and issuing more debt.  Thanks, but no thanks, Sam.

Oddly, the journalist who wrote that piece suggests that Brownback is doing this because he wants to be seen as a fiscal conservative.  I guess that’s just become yet another of those Orwellian words that only means what conservatives want it to mean.  And this journalist is clearly ready to play along.

Subjective Objective

Speaking of that journalist, what do you think of this paragraph in the middle?
A grim future looms for Social Security. As post-World War II baby boomers begin retiring, the system won't collect enough taxes to pay for retirement benefits. Without big changes, the government likely will have to raise taxes or reduce benefits to pay for the system.

No ifs, ands, or buts, in that one.  A grim future looms and we need big changes.  Unless of course that doesn’t happen.  And let’s not forget that debt option.  We just issue more debt to pay for the benefits, just like what Sam wants us to do now.  But never mind that.  Sam’s a fiscal conservative so he clearly knows what he’s doing.

And what of the risks of having poorly educated workers investing in the stock market?  The writer quotes the policy director of AARP saying that’s a problem.  But never fear.  Here’s the last line in the article:
Brownback said that even in the most volatile years, the rate of return on stock investments is positive.

Well I guess that takes care of that.  Brownback assures us that we won’t lose money in even the most volatile years, and so that’s good enough for us.  I mean sure, I personally have had my 401k plan lose money, and that we really haven’t had a particularly bad depression; like the one that spurred the creation of Social Security in the first place.  But whatever.  Our money’s safe with Sam.  After all, he’s a fiscal conservative, just like Bush.  Yeah, Sam!  He’s our hero!  Ooooh!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

My Latest Attack Ad

Here’s an attack ad I wrote at Carpetbagger’s against fellow commenter L Boom, who questioned the legality of the radio attack ad against fired prosecutor David Iglesias.  Boom seemed to have the strange idea that private citizens who weren’t running for political office should be immune from attack ads.  Ha!  Needless to say, it’d be funnier if you read the original ad and Boom’s comment, though it’s obviously not necessary.  And yes, at this point, I’m just drunkenly wasting space:

L Boom wonders if it’s legal to create attack ads against private citizens who aren’t running for public office. But what he doesn’t tell you is that he himself is a private citizen who isn’t running for public office. Equally suspicious is that Boom brags about “insane Orwell territory” yet a perusal of any map shows conclusively that there is no such place. It was invented. By whom? By Boom (voices: BOO!)

And so before you listen to anything L Boom has to say, make sure to ask him the hard-hitting questions that he continues to squirm out of answering to this day. Like why he stopped beating his mother. And whether or not he enjoys it when he kills those little kittens. Non-mother-beating-kitten-killers don’t have trouble with those questions. Why does Boom?

Young children are dying senseless deaths every day all over the world. Meanwhile, L Boom deigns himself holy enough to ask pointless questions on the legality of attack ads against his ilk of illicit private citizenry who are screwing with America. He still can’t figure out why everyone hates him. C’mon Boom, isn’t it obvious?

(This ad paid for by The American Citizens Against Boom Committee)

Oh, and for the record, I have no idea who L Boom is or if it’s even a dude.  But when it comes to a good attack ad, it’s better not to know.

When Forgetting Isn't Enough

This deal with Republican appointees openly talking about using the GSA to aid the Republican Party is a pretty big deal.  If you haven’t already and have the time, I highly recommend that you watch the clip of the GSA’s Lurita Doan getting questioned by Congressmen Braley.  Funny stuff.

The worst part is that Doan clearly doesn’t even understand what she’s supposed to be doing there.  It’s obvious that she’s toast and so it’s not enough that she can’t recall things that she probably does recall.  Hell, it’s bad enough that she’d have gone to this luncheon, listened to a corrupt PowerPoint presentation, spoken after the presentation, and not remembered it or said anything about it.  There’s no way that the head of the GSA hasn’t heard that such stuff is a big no-no, so it’s quite shameful that she’d have even been there and not done something about it.

But in either case, the presentation spoke for itself and it doesn’t matter at all whether she remembers it or not.  No, she needed to go forth and make a case.  She needed to give some spin.  And she failed miserably.  This wasn’t a court of law.  This was Congress.  In a courtroom, there’s a legal standard of proof that a prosecutor must provide; though I suspect that this might easily pass the reasonable doubt test.  

But in the real world, the evidence convicted her before she even spoke.  So not recalling isn’t enough.  She needed a defense.  Or at a minimum, an offense that distracted from her lack of defense.  Perhaps a pointed, yet restrained tirade that would have enraged Braley enough to make him look like a wild prosecutor on a witchhunt.  But no.  He stayed on the offense the whole time and she offered no defense at all.  So instead of him looking like a partisan hack, she looks stupid and corrupt.  But again, isn’t that the trademark of the Bush Administration?

MC Dork

Did you see the lameass MC Rove performance at the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner?  If not, don’t.  You’ll surely regret it.  Hell, I actually thought I’d get to see Rove rapping, and that’d at least be worth something.  But no, he delivers a few weakass punchlines that the emcee had to repeat each time (because Rove’s such a dork that he can’t speak-up), and then says “MC Rove” a few times throughout one of those White Guy Raps that were embarrassing twenty years ago and are now simply pathetic.  I can’t believe that someone got paid good money to produce such a lame show.  It had all the production values of a Knights of Columbus meeting.  And Rove is a HUUUUGE dork.  No wonder he’s fucking everything up for us.  It’s revenge.  He’s pissed that he had to go through life as a dork, and now it’s payback time, Rove Style.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Clueless

Oh my fucking lord are Republicans stupid.  I finally got around to reading one of those prosecutor firing emails, and am not at all surprised that the Republicans are screwing up so much on everything.  With dummies like these, we should consider ourselves lucky that they haven’t blown us all up…though I guess I shouldn’t give them any ideas.

First off, what the hell are they doing writing about this in email?  It’s obvious from the emails that they knew they were doing some screwy stuff.  Where the hell have they been for the past ten years?  Everyone knows that you don’t discuss anything in email that you wouldn’t want splashed on blogs everywhere.  Or if you do, that you do so in a CYA manner.  But these schmucks almost spell it all right out.  They were doing something scammy that they knew could blow up in their faces, and were looking for the best way of hiding it.  And that makes it all the worse that they didn’t come up with a damn thing.

Here’s what I’m talking about, from the originating email:
I am concerned that to execute this plan properly we must all be on the same page and be steeled to withstand any political upheaval that might result…

And if you didn’t know any better, the whole email makes it sound like they’re planning a spy mission or something, yet this isn’t even the plan.  The plan was in an attachment on the email.  So what the hell happened?  Not only were they not on the same page when this broke, none of them even seemed to be in the fucking book!

A reply to that one included this line:
Before executing this plan, we wanted to give your offices a heads up and seek input on changes that might reduce the profile or political fallout.  Thanks.

Again, they knew they were brewing for a fight, so what the hell happened?  The fricking Iraq War had a better follow-up plan, and they didn’t have a follow-up plan.  And with Iraq, they at least fooled themselves into thinking everything would go well.  But as this email shows, they clearly knew there would be “political fallout” from this.  What the hell happened?

Perhaps it’s the fault of Tasia Scolino, who should clearly stay clear of the prognosticating business.  She didn’t think the fired prosecutors would cause a stink because it would hurt their future job prospects.  As she says, “I don’t see it as being a national story…”

Good call, Tasia.  And then they did nothing.  They were utterly flatfooted, tossing out laughable excuses as if they didn’t think it mattered.  And now they’re being called before committees and pleading the Fifth and all kinds of crazy stuff that probably goes well beyond what they imagined this would be.  

Career Fakers

But really, this all fits within their same MO.  They don’t have a clue.  They worry about stuff they shouldn’t worry about and completely miss things that will screw them over bigtime.  They just don’t know and are fumbling around blind.  Even in this case, where they knew there’d be political fallout, they just couldn’t think of a good response so they just imagined it away.  This wasn’t going to be a big story because they didn’t want it to be a big story.  Life’s just like that.  

As things are, they were able to take over our government due to a keen understanding of marketing and the ability to say any damn thing they wanted without shame.  But as we have clearly seen, it was all for show.  They didn’t have some keen insight on how politics really worked.  They came up with a foolproof gameplan, which was quite important, as they’re fools.  Even the top brains like Rove and Cheney aren’t nearly as bright as they’d like to see themselves, and the lower level minions are even worse.  

They’re good at following orders.  They’re good at regurgitating words and acting confident.  And that’s it.  That’s the extent of their powers.  And that’s fine for winning elections and keeping the all-important message discipline, but it’s absolutely crap for running things.  And so we see absurd emails like this, sent by people so clueless that you almost feel sorry for them…almost.

Smearing the Smearable

Well it looks like the honeymoon is over for Obama.  The media thought he was the second coming of Jesus Christ just a few weeks ago, but as Carpetbagger shows us, things have changed.  And all the nitpicking on Obama’s “problems” really leads to one big fact: The media has once again fallen for the idea that there is some perfect unsmearable candidate without any flaws, and that it’s their job to smear all the smearable candidates as much as possible.

Because it’s the same thing again and again.  The media likes somebody and gives them special attention.  The GOP cranks up their smear machine against the guy.  And before you know it, the media has adopted a few of these smears as holy gospel.  And they’ll even admit that it’s not the individual smears that sink the guy.  It’s the fact that they’re smearable that does it.  People are saying negative things about them, and some of them stick.  It doesn’t even matter if the smears are irrelevant, untrue, or absurd.  All that matters is that they stick.

And now the conventional wisdom is hardening against Obama as they’re sinking their teeth into the new gospel.  He turned out to have some extremely insignificant flaws, and to the media, those are the worst kind.  Egregious and important lies are understandable.  But he wrote something in a book that seems to be mistaken.  So that’s the end, at least as far as the media is concerned.

And again, none of this would be important if the media acknowledged that nobody’s perfect and that anyone can be smeared.  All a smear takes is repetition.  Say something enough times, and it’ll stick.  Every fifth grader knows that.  On the playground, something as simple as repeating somebody’s name in a weird voice is enough to make a kid run away crying.  And the Republicans take full advantage of that.  

And there won’t be any candidate who is smearproof.  There’s always something bad to say about everybody, even if it’s just their name.  Even Jesus Christ would get dragged through the mud, were he to run as a Democrat.  Were he to perform miracles to prove his identity, they’d accuse him of staging cheap tricks; and if he refused to perform miracles, they’d insist he was a fraud.  Hell, they’d even nail him for being a Christian running in a pro-abortion party and perhaps even try to get his church to deny him communion (He couldn’t eat himself).  

Overall, there’s nothing a Democrat can do to avoid the smear machine, because the primary smear is that they’re Democrats.  And to the self-loathing former Democrats in the media, that’s one of the worst.  Because they still want to consider themselves to be Dems, but don’t like the company they keep.  So they have to find silly flaws in the people they’re supposed to vote for and marginalize the Democrats who they don’t agree with.  That’s how they rationalize their conversion to the right.

And needless to say, Republicans are already inoculated against all this.  Because they don’t run as perfect candidates.  They run as greedy and powerful con-artists who are only pretending to be perfect.  And so pointing out that they’re greedy and powerful con-artists would be pointless.  Because everyone already knows it.  Hell, I think they print it on their business cards.  

And so for them, it’s much better to go along with the story that they’re perfect, because that’s news.  “Greedy Guy Acts Greedy” is a lousy headline.  “Perfect Candidate Not Perfect” is a good headline.  And so that’s what the media goes with.  When Obama was a new face, that was the story.  Now they’ve got a new story.  They’re keeping it fresh.  And perhaps if they can somehow find that a Republican candidate isn’t a dishonest hack, maybe they’ll print that story.  But until then, we’ll just keep getting stories about how Democrats aren’t perfect and sometimes do things that the dishonest Republicans do all the time.  Because that’s news.

Winning to Win

Carpetbagger’s political round-up for today ends with this:
And CNN commentator Bay Buchanan announced yesterday that she has resigned from the network in order to help oversee rep. Tom Tancredo’s (R-Colo.) presidential campaign. “I believe Tom Tancredo can beat the top three and that’s what our campaign plan is,” Buchanan said, referring to McCain, Giuliani, and Romney.

That’s their plan?  To beat their competitors?  I guess they’re just trying to signal that they’re in agreement with Team Bush, which also thinks the best plan for winning is to win.  Perhaps some day these people will learn to differentiate between plans and goals.  But until then, wishful thinking will continue to reign supreme.

Piper for President

Greenwald’s got a decent piece on a clip from Hardball showing several prominent journalists giggling over the idea of Democrats trying to nail Karl Rove.  And I just wanted to highlight this one part from the editor of Time magazine.

Mr. STENGEL: I am so uninterested in the Democrats wanting Karl Rove, because it is so bad for them. Because it shows business as usual, tit for tat, vengeance. That's not what voters want to see.

Notice how he’s not suggesting that the Dems are unfairly bullying a legitimate politician.  This is tit for tat.  This is vengeance.  He’s fully acknowledging that Karl Rove is a dirty player and that he’s wronged the Democrats.  He just doesn’t think Dems should return fire.

And I think that’s indicative of the particular bias these journalists have regarding the role of Democrats and Republicans.  Republicans play dirty.  Republicans cheat.  That’s just what they do.  But Democrats are the good guys.  Democrats play fair.  And so when people elect Republicans, they want someone tough and dirty, and when they elect Democrats, they want someone good and fair.

And I think that’s where reporters get it from when they suggest that America doesn’t want to see Dems attacking Rove or other Republicans.  Sure, the polls don’t agree with that.  But they’ve got the inside scoop.  They know the true America.  The America that polls can’t cipher.  The America that speaks beyond the headlines.  They’ve got The Big Picture.  And that picture shows that Dems are good guys who don’t fight back.  And if America elected them, it means they don’t want a fight.  Otherwise, they would have elected the Republicans again.

WWF for the MSM

And this is the exact dynamic I always saw played-out watching WWF Wrestling as a kid.  Hulk Hogan and his good guys just wanted to wrestle; to find out who was best.  But that blasted Rowdy Roddy Piper and his crew kept spoiling things by playing dirty and pestering people.  But that was all part of the fun.  Sure, we hated Roddy for it.  But we expected it.  It made the Hulk all the more incredible that he could still win, without having to resort to dirty tricks.  And it made us hate it even more when Roddy won the belts, because he always did it dirty.  That scoundrel!  This went beyond wrestling.  This was good versus evil.

And as any wrestling fan knows, one of those most frustrating aspects of it all was that the refs never seemed to catch the bad guys cheating.  But whenever the good guys did anything slightly wrong, the ref was all over them and threatening to throw them out.   Hell, all the bad guys had to do was knock the ref out, and they could do anything they wanted.  That’s what made them so evil.  Only the good guys had to follow the rules.  That’s what made them good.

But even as a kid, I knew all this was hokum.  I liked the storyline, but me and my brothers were really only in it for the action.  And it’s exactly the same with these pundits, except they don’t seem to realize the story’s hokum.  They think this is for real and that one side is supposed to follow the rules and the other isn’t.  And they really do expect the good guy Dems to stoically pass important legislation while braving the dirty tricks from those cheater rightwingers.  

Heroic Endings

And what’s worse, these guys are clearly rooting for the bad guys.  They want to see Karl Rove throw salt in Harry Reid’s eyes.  They enjoy seeing Bush rub other people’s noses in his mess.  It excites them.  These are bored and pointless people who have become too jaded to root for Goody Two Shoes.  They want a little excitement and danger, and the Republican Party is where they’re seeing it.  They don’t want both sides pulling out the stops in a head-on-head clash.  They want to see the Dems sweat it out while the Republicans continue to harass them without mercy.  That’s just how the game is played.

And in the end, they know that the Democrats will take care of the few legislative items that really need to pass and the GOP will slink off to plot another day.  That’s how it always goes.  Hulk Hogan isn’t going to lose to a bunch of cheaters.  Nor is he going to complain to the ref after the match is over or try to wage an investigation of Rowdy’s dirty tricks.  Everyone knows it was all for good fun, and that the dirty tricks make the eventual win all the more exciting for the good guys.  

As Piper once told Hogan:
"Do you think [the fans] would've loved you so much, if they hadn't hated me?"

And the same rule applies today.  Except in our case, the media has gotten so jaded they scoff at the good guys.  And sure, they know the Dems will win in the end.  But they sure do enjoy watching them suffer.  Makes for better television.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Awaiting the Results

All further posting on hold until after the Anna Nicole Smith autopsy results are released.  Some stories are just too important.  

Why Christian Video Games Must Suck

This may come as a big surprise for you all, but I’m not really big into Christian Rock music.  Not really my thing.  The closest I get is maybe some old Neil Diamond and even then, he seemed to lean towards the secular side of things and may have been Jewish.  I don’t know.  

But I can at least see why Christians might kind of like that stuff.  I personally think that musicians should let the songs write themselves, and not limit themselves by insisting that every song should have one particular topic, but whatever.  With that stuff, it’s not really about the music as much as the nice feeling people get when they listen to it.  Much like how little kids can watch that Barney crap.  And if it makes them feel better, more power to them.  I don’t have anything against victimless enjoyment, even if it is a tad dorky.  As I said, I listen to Neil Diamond.

But videogames are an entirely different matter.  Music doesn’t necessarily have to be good or make your booty shake to be enjoyable.  Music can do lots of things.  But video games are pretty much limited to entertainment and education, and even the educational stuff needs to be fairly entertaining.  And the motivation for making a successful game should be that it’s entertaining.  That’s the entire point, and any other ultimate goal is a conflict of interest.  Hell, even as things are, most video games suck and they do have entertainment as their ultimate goal.  So a video game maker with other priorities is going to have an even bigger disadvantage when it comes to selling games.

And so it just figures that a Christian video game would totally suck it bigtime.  Because they’ve got the wrong idea.  You’ve got to go with what sells.   Supply and demand, market forces, etc, etc.  I’m already tired of writing this and I just got started.  You can make up this middle section.  I just need to get out more product and I already have too many unfinished posts.

So in conclusion, the whole thing was a bad idea from the start.  Were Christian Rock music entirely dependent upon traditional rock listeners for their audience, there wouldn’t be Christian Rock.  It’s got an entirely different audience with an entirely different motivation for listening.  But video games can’t do that.  People play games for one reason and there aren’t major media sources to pimp unentertaining games the way that the music industry can.  People can be inoculated into liking bad music if they hear it enough, but gamers already know what they’re looking for in a game.  And you’re not going to have many non-video game people start playing video games simply because it has a Christian theme.  Particularly not a violent Christian theme like Left Behind.  It just doesn’t work like that.  

Christian Rock is for people who like the idea of rock music, but don’t really get into it.  But anyone who can’t already find a video game that they like isn’t going to start liking them because it’s got a specific theme that appeals to them.  Hell, I’m old enough to remember before video games had stories, and even now consider a good story to be the icing on a good game; not the point of it.  So the idea that they’d be able to sell a video game based solely on its theme was entirely lamebrained.  Particularly when the bulk of the medium’s customers would be offended by that theme.  So I laugh at them, ha ha ha; and now conclude this post.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Friday, March 23, 2007

Serious and Thoughtful Tripe

One of the funnier aspects of rightwing leaders is their insistence that the only people allowed to listen to them are their target audience, and that anyone else is simply taking things out of context.  Apparently, the only proper context involves you being a conservative and agreeing with everything they say.  Whether they’re entertainment-types like Limbaugh or Coulter, or they’re heavyweights like Bush and Cheney; the only people who are able to truly understand what they say are their fellow Republicans.  And I guess they’re right about that, as I’ve been listening to them for years and haven’t understood a damn word they’ve said.

I was thinking about this while reading the latest schadenfreude on Jonah Goldberg’s latest opus: Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton.  Needless to say, you’re taking it out of context.

As Jonah explains:
It is a very serious, thoughtful, argument that has never been made in such detail or with such care.

Of course.  And perhaps that really is the problem.  Jonah doesn’t want to make a trash book, but just doesn’t know how to do that.  Because his argument is trash.  So he’s having a hard time writing something real.  But beyond that, he wouldn’t know how to blow a good argument out of a hankie and can only float on his lightweight liberal bashing.  Silly sixth-grade stuff that totally embarrassed itself in the sixth grade.

But the real problem is that liberals aren’t supposed to notice what Jonah writes.  Sure, he wants to bank on their outrage, but he doesn’t think he should have to explain himself.  This isn’t a debate.  He writes for the rubes and no one else need apply.  And if you read his stuff and take it out of context, that just shows what an a-hole you are.  Because it wasn’t meant for you.  It was meant for them.  So get over it.

Sure It’ll Suck

Another telling aspect of Jonah’s post was the reader letter he quotes at the beginning:
Timothy Noah (http://www.slate.com/id/2162318/) builds some sort of argument that we should ignore your book because it hasn’t come out on schedule. But he’s sure it’ll suck, because it promises to speak ill of liberals.

And if you went and read Noah’s piece, you’d know this guy was smoking the rightwing crack.  Because that isn’t even close to Noah’s point.  Noah was writing about how Goldberg’s fellow wingnuts Ann Coulter and Dinesh D’Souza had books that were so alarming that “mainstream” conservatives denounced them.  I personally don’t have any association with such conservatives, as all the ones I know of eat that shit up.  But I guess in Noah’s circles, there are such extremist-bashing wingnuts.  Those guys have all the best moderates.

But this wasn’t an attempt to tell anyone to ignore Jonah’s book.  Noah was mocking Jonah.  Because his book was supposed to come out in the spring, and now, according to Noah’s argument, nobody wants to put the damn thing out because the other ones got slammed.  It was apparently slated to come out with Coulter’s and D’Souza’s hogwash, but now has been delayed at least until December.  And so Noah’s just having a good old time razzing poor Goldberg for not being able to get his trash out there.

But this is so typical.  Conservatives never hear criticism.  They only hear insults.  And there are no specific insults.  Just general derision.   No longer was he scoffing at Jonah’s book no-show.  No, he’s trying to build an argument that the book should be ignored.  He’s giving a “pre-review” in defiance of the laws of time displacement.  And while we can rest assured that it will suck, it’s not because it speaks ill of liberals.  It’s because it’s Jonah Goldberg.  Not that he couldn’t write a serious and thoughtful argument, but nobody would read it if he did.  They just want the trash and he’s having trouble getting it to them.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Company Man

Via TPMmuckraker, I see the LA Times has a story on the one fired prosecutor who really was fired for incompetence.  And, BIG SURPRISE, he was a loyal Bushie with strong Republican ties.  Here are just a few choice quotes from the Times article:

"You would have to know Kevin," said UC Hastings College of the Law professor Rory Little. "You can't find a stronger supporter of the Bush administration agenda."

In an e-mail from D. Kyle Sampson, the former chief of staff to Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales, to Harriet Miers in March 2005, Ryan was in a category described as "strong U.S. Attorneys who have produced, managed well, and exhibited loyalty to the President and Attorney General."

"If you disagreed with him on an issue, you were disloyal," said one former federal prosecutor who left the San Francisco office.

Instead, Ryan once got into trouble for stepping out of place by issuing a press release that praised new sentencing guidelines for steroid cases.

Some lawyers in San Francisco speculated that Ryan hung on so long because of strong political connections. One of them, Gerald Parsky, a Los Angeles-based Republican fundraiser who vetted federal appointments in California for the Bush administration, quickly came to Ryan's aid….The e-mail warned that Parsky was scheduled for lunch with Bush the following week.

In an e-mail to Sampson, Elston said Ryan's former deputy had called and assured him that Ryan was not returning telephone calls from Feinstein or Carol Lam, the ousted U.S. attorney in San Diego.

"He wanted us to know that he's still a 'company man,' '' Elston wrote.

Loyalty v. Competence

There are lots of ways to evaluate and reward employees.  It just depends on what it is you’re wanting to reward.  And sometimes, people are rewarded for stupid things that happen to correspond with positive behaviors.  For example, many employers reward employees who are punctual and punish those who are often late.  And while that can often be a silly measure to base performance on, there is often a correlation between punctuality and job performance.  And many incompetent managers rely on punctuality as it’s so much easier to measure than actual job performance.

But some metrics are mutually exclusive with good job performance, and loyalty to individuals is one of them.  It’s fine to be loyal to the company or government you work for, if all that requires is that you do your job competently.  But when it comes to being loyal to a particular person or subgroup within the organization, things go screwy.  At some point, you’ve got to decide between loyalty and doing your job, and with Republicans, they’re always at that point.

And that’s exactly what we see from Ryan here.  He was a loyal supporter of Bush who demanded that his employees agree with him and who once got chewed-out for issuing a press release he wasn’t supposed to.  He had strong political connections, including with the important Republican who vetted political appointments in California; though he was probably unqualified for the job.  And he didn’t do the job that many of his experienced staff knew he was supposed to do.  As with most incompetent people, Ryan created the job he wanted to do, rather than the one he was assigned to do.  That’s one of the ways they mask their incompetence.

And so there should be no surprise that the loyal ones aren’t competent and the competent ones aren’t loyal.  Those are mutually exclusive attributes.  That’s not to say that a loyal person is never competent.  But if loyalty is being demanded, then it’s obvious that competence isn’t enough.  And for the Bushies, it was the only job attribute they cared about.  As things were, they only fired Ryan because he had become a political burden.

Political Chits

Another interesting tidbit is when a Rove aide says in an email, "Ryan is the only one so far calling in political chits (which is reason enough to justify the [firing] decision, in my view), but Karl would like to know some particulars as he fields these calls."

Huh?  Ryan calling in political chits is enough to justify a decision that was already made?  But I suspect that the problem wasn’t that someone was calling on his behalf, but rather that Ryan got an important Republican upset.  And now they’re put into the position of having to deny a favor to that important Republican, and to show the Republican that he really wasn’t as important as he thought he was.  

As we all know, the moment Republicans hate the most is when the rubber hits the road and they see how reality really shakes out.  In this case, they’d much rather Parsky feel important by having lunch with Bush, rather than to understand that those political chits he’s holding are worthless.  As with all Republicans, they’re just using Parsky, and they were upset at Ryan for forcing them into a position where they had to make that fact explicit.

Again, these people are big into loyalty and it’s only a one-way street.  You take the job you’re given, you perform it as you’re told, and you leave it when it’s taken away.  And if you’re lucky and loyal, they’ll have some need of you in the future and grant you an even more important position to be a puppet in.  All employers expect some level of loyalty from their employees, but for Republicans that loyalty extends even after they fire you.  And it’s clear by the end that Ryan understood that and knew what to do.  He’s a company man.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Stonewall v. Snowjob

Holy smokes, they’re in trouble.  Tony Snow on the 18-day gap in the recent email purge:
I've been led to believe that there's a good response for it, and I'm going to let you ask them because they're going to have an answer.

He’s been “led to believe that there’s a good response”??  “They’re going to have an answer”???  Is he shitting us?  He’s clearly in over his head and has given up trying to repeat other people’s lies.  His biggest flaw was his own ego, which allowed him to believe that he could outwit the press corp.  Rather than stonewall them like Ari or get caught flatfooted with cheap excuses like Scotty, Tony wanted to bowl them over with boldness.  

If all those years at Fox taught him anything it was how to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes.  He was one of them, by god, and now they’re going to believe any damn thing he says.  But with multiple scandals erupting daily, his bold openness has turned around to bite him in the ass, as he’s now established a reputation as the guy with the answer.  

And that was a huge blunder.  Because once you clam-up, everyone will smell blood and know you’re hiding something.  That’s what made Ari Fleischer so good, he’d find any excuse whatsoever to avoid answering a question. In his opinion, you shouldn’t answer questions as a general principle, even if they’re easy questions.  Because once you’ve established that you answer easy questions, it becomes too telling once you stop answering questions.  And he’s probably right.

Here’s the kind of thing I’m talking about:
As a matter of long-standing policy, the administration never comments on anything involving any people involved in intelligence.”

See, this isn’t something he invented because he didn’t want to answer the question.  This is a matter of long-standing policy.  And you wouldn’t want him to violate his long-standing policy, would you?  Of course not.  He’d be happy to tell you, if it wasn’t for that policy.  So he’s not hiding anything at all.  He’s just being consistent.

And that’s why Snow’s game just won’t work.  Because he doesn’t have a long-standing policy that prevents him from talking.  Because he’s always talking.  He’s open.  He’s bold.  And he’s screwed.  He’s known for telling bullshit and now he’s signaling to everyone that he’s running out.  And that just gives the whole game away.  

Reporters don’t care if you bullshit them, but you can’t insult their intelligence by making it too easy.  Ari frequently insulted their intelligence, but that was all part of his stonewall.  Tony went for the snowjob and now is getting plowed under.

Ari Highlights

Here are a few Ari highlights:

When asked a simple question about whether the US would control Iraq’s oil fields after the war, Ari replied:
I think that it’s impossible for anybody to speculate about anything and everything that could possibly happen under any military scenario. And I wouldn’t even try to start guessing what the military may or may not do.”

When asked about why the Bushies aren’t mentioning that the US “greenlighted” the gassing of the Kurds, Ari replies:
“Russell, I speak for President George W. Bush in the year 2003. If you have a question about statements that were purportedly made by the administration in 1988, you need to address those somewhere other than this White House. I can’t speak for that. I don’t know if it is accurate, inaccurate, but you have all the means to ask those questions yourself.”

When the reporter kept asking about America’s arming of Saddam, Ari finally says:
“And I think the suggestion that you blame America for Iraq’s actions is way beyond the pale.”

That’s a fricking stonewall, people.

Conservative Nutjob Cal Thomas

Woweewow!  Someone needs to stop taking the crazy pills.  Or maybe they need to start taking them, I don’t know.  And that someone: Conservative Nutjob Cal Thomas.  He insists that the media has a whole slew of scandals that it decides to pursue or holdback, based entirely upon the political needs of the Democrats.  

For example, he suggested that the reason Tim Russert recently said the US Prosecutor scandal needed to be investigated was because we’re now into the 2008 election cycle and the media needed a new scandal to damage Republicans.  You see, the media had the scandal going all the way back to October, but they didn’t need it then because they already had a full plate of scandals, including the whole Mark Foley thing.

But now Tim Russert and his cohorts have decided that they were running low on anti-Bush scandals and decided to pull the Prosecutor scandal out of their back of tricks.  What a nutjob!

He also seemed to be suggesting that the Walter Reed scandal was more about the cover-up than the crime.  Have I missed something?  I thought the scandal was the fact that our veterans were being treated so shabbily by an administration intent on paying lip service to our veterans.  Was there a cover-up too?  And could it possibly have been worse than recuperating soldiers living with mold-infested walls and rats?  That must have been one helleva cover-up.

And he mentions this as a way to scoff at and minimize such scandals, as if there’s nothing wrong with covering-up wrong doing.  But he was really just talking out of his ass and really didn’t give a damn what he was saying.  He was just rambling out clich├ęs to make himself feel clever and to give the poor rubes at home something to hold onto.  It’d be sad if he actually fooled anyone.  Even his fellow Foxes seemed to think he was being “a little overly conspiratorial,” and that’s what they do for a living.

And of course the immediate joke was that Cal had his facts wrong and that there was no prosecutor scandal in October, because only one prosecutor had been fired at that time (though I think they may have just found another one).  The other seven came in December.  I guess that’s what a well-oiled machine the media is; that they can uncover and hide scandals before they’ve even occurred.  The Whitehouse played right into their hands.

But again, not knowing which month the scandal occurred was really only a minor offense.  The real offense is that such a crackpotted boob would ever get on TV in the first place.  Thank god he’s not a liberal.  I could just see Fox putting him on all the same, and letting that dumbass embarrass our side for a change.  I mean, when you’re at the level that you believe GOP-fluffer Tim Russert is intentionally keeping back a big scandal in order to save it for a more effective attack on Republicans, it’s time to put down your ticket to Crazytown; you’re already there.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bullshitocracy

One of the reasons why Republicans will always inevitably fail is because their entire system is built upon implicit trust for their fellow teammates.  Yet their success is due entirely to their ability to bullshit and scam.  Not only is it allowed, it’s absolutely essential.  And so they surround themselves with bullshitters and scammers who they are forced to rely on, and can’t seem to understand why everything goes to shit.

And the problem is that the Republicans have established a bullshitocracy: The better you are at bullshitting, the better you’ll do with them.  As long as you tell them what they want to hear, you’ll do well.  Whether they’re asking you to do something you shouldn’t do or they’re needing you to say something that you shouldn’t say, they’ll reward you for it.  And the better it sounds to them, the better you’ll do.  They don’t care if you know what you’re doing, because you were just supposed to do what they wanted you to do.

And for that same reason, they’re naturally repelled by experts with integrity.  Because those people will be compelled to say the truth, and that’s not what Republicans want to hear.   So they can’t find or keep any of those kind of experts.  That’s the reason why most of the fired prosecutors had sterling reputations; they were fired because they were good at their jobs.

And so that’s one reason why Republicans will always inevitably fail.  Because they don’t want competent experts and they don’t get any.

Puppet Justice

Once upon a time, Alberto Gonzalez was supposed to be a Supreme Court justice.  And now he’s the latest disgraced puppet being scapegoated to save the Republicans.  And what’s the point?  He was picked because he was a loyal Bushie and they’re only going to replace him with yet another loyal Bushie who would have done the exact same things Alberto did.  Hell, it’s even possible he’ll be worse.

So replacing Alberto won’t make a damn bit of difference.  Someone might have integrity before they work for the Bushies, but it’ll all be gone by the time they leave.  Because even the honest ones will be quickly worn down by the constant, yet casual requests for them to act badly.  And if they don’t, they’ll be asked to step aside or even worse, left with nothing to do.  And if they’re Republicans, it’s likely that they didn’t have that integrity to begin with.

But that’s not just a quirk with these people.  It’s how they do things and is one of the reasons they’re so successful.  Republicans are a top-down authoritarian organization and there is no room for thinkers or independence.  It’s all about following orders and trusting that the guy giving the orders knows what he’s doing.  And as long as everyone stays loyal and no one’s given any real power to screw things up with, everything works out fine.

But really, what is the offense that we’re knocking Gonzalez for?  Being a puppet.  But that’s the same offense that all of them are guilty of.  Even Bush himself is little more than an unwitting puppet manipulated by people much smarter than he is.  Sure, he may be a bullying asshole, but bullies can be manipulated too.  But as long as he and Cheney are in charge, they’ll keep hiring puppets and listening to bad people who will only tell them what they want to hear.

So the only way to clean up this rat’s nest is to clean the whole thing out, and I strongly believe this prosecutors scandal might just be the ticket we were looking for.  Beltway Wisdom aside, the president is not supposed to be using our judicial system to commit election fraud and obstruct justice.  They may be political appointees, but they still work for us.  I’ve been working on this all day, and have deleted half of this, so I’m just going to end it right now.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

WTF? of the Week

The lead paragraph from LiveScience.com:
Nerves transmit sound waves through your body, not electrical pulses, according to a controversial new study that tries to explain the longstanding mystery of how anesthetics work.

Anesthetics has a longstanding mystery??  WTF??  I always thought that stuff was pretty f-ing scary, but now they’re saying they don’t even know how it works?

Read on:
Oddly, scientists don't understand exactly what happens when a patient is anesthetized. While the goal of an anesthetic is to prevent the brain from feeling pain, the drugs can affect a patient's heart rate and breathing. So a better understanding of how it all works would allow development of better drugs.

Researchers do know that the proper doses of ether, laughing gas, chloroform and other anesthetics are all based on their solubility in olive oil. But how the nerves are turned off is a mystery.

I had no idea.  I always thought that at least someone knew how this shit works.  And now I feel like we’re living in the dark ages.  We don’t know anything.  We’re just stumbling around in the dark hoping that everything works out, but we don’t even understand some of the most basic sciences that we rely upon on a daily basis.  Great.

And what’s the breakthrough?
If a nerve is to be able to transport sound pulses, they say, then the melting point of its membrane must be close to body temperature. Anesthetics change the melting point so that sound pulses can't propagate, they conclude. Nerves are put on stand-by and a patient doesn't feel the knife slicing into his body.

Put on stand-by??  That all sounds pretty sketchy.  Not that I’m saying I’d do without anesthetics if I needed them.  But I’d sure like for people to get a big clue before I ever do.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

100% Accuracy Rating

I just thought I should take the time to remind everybody that I’ve been right about everything so far and plan to take my undefeated streak far, far into the future.  You’re welcome.

Faking It

Pretend I just said something interesting and funny.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spring Break in Bioland

Just so yall know, this is Spring Break in Bioland and I’ve been appointed Official Funmeister by my kids, which means that I’m expected to keep them entertained all the damned time.  Did I mention that it’s often raining?  Long story short, I probably won’t be posting too much until the end of the week.  

But you probably wouldn’t be making too big of a mistake if you just randomly browsed through my archives.  I’m sure there’s bound to be something that you missed, and my old stuff’s just about the same crap I’m writing now.  All I do is change the names.  Just don’t go back too far, as I make no guarantees about the really old stuff.  Try doing searches on Rove or Cheney.  That’ll be fun.

Anyway, have a rocking Spring Break, unless you’re a working stiff who has eschewed the Cancun fling thing, in exchange for a regular paycheck and subpar benefits.  Sucks to be you.  But no worry, you can just keep checking my page for new updates while you’re at work all day.  That’ll show those bastards!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Torture Away

Well that’s it.  The proof is in: Torture works.  I mean, jesus, imagine if hadn’t been able to get Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to confess to 9/11 and all the other terrorist acts we thought he was responsible for?  The mind reels.

So I take back all my opposition to torture.  Sure, this wasn’t the proverbial ticking bomb scenario, and we probably didn’t prevent any terror attacks by torturing him.  And sure, the whole torture aspect does put a slight monkeywrench into the judicial processings and makes the whole thing look suspect.  But…we found out that he did what we arrested him for.  And that’s something, isn’t it?

So I say: Torture away!  And go whole hog with it.  I mean, why wait until after we have the proof before we start torturing?  Doesn’t it make so much more sense to get the information when we really need it?  And is it even appropriate to wait until after a crime before we start torturing?  By then, it’s too late.  Americans are dead and our whole society is hanging by a thread.  And even waiting until after they conceive their deadly plans will have let the cat out of the bag prematurely.   Ideas kill.

So I say we have no other choice than to randomly pick people up off the streets and torture them before they plan to commit their deadly terror.  And I can guarantee you that if we were to eventually release any of these people, they’d be much more likely to have thought of such sinister plots once they had the chance.  But with the confessions we’ll have gotten from them, that’s certainly the least of our worries.  I don’t like torture any more than the next guy, but it’s absolutely the only policy a sensible person could take.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Enforcing Morality

Atrios has been making a point lately that I’ve made for some time: That despite the general label of “Christians” that is often used to lump them all together, they’re really comprised of lots and lots of differing beliefs and attitudes.  Even within the same church pew, you’re going to find myriads of different opinions on who goes to Heaven, what morals are really important, and all kinds of different things.

And I was just thinking about this after reading General Pace say:
I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way.

And that’s an entirely absurd statement, even outside of the whole gay-immorality issue.  I mean, assuming it really is the military’s job to enforce morality, the question is: Whose morals?  Do we need to develop a particular set of agreed-upon morals, or should we just use someone’s own morals as the standard for their behavior?
Because Pace and other Christians who say this stuff are only referring to a small handful of issues, like homosexuality and abortion.  But what about eating meat on Fridays during Lent?  That’s a big no-no for Catholics.  Is that a rule the military should be enforcing?  What about Southern Baptists who are against drinking and dancing?  Or Mormons who are against caffeine?  Should the military be enforcing these morals too?  And some people have moral qualms with the death penalty and war.  Should the military be enforcing those morals too?

Or if we don’t develop an overriding morality, should the military be punishing people for violating their own morals?  Like if a Catholic has a burger when they’re not supposed to, should the military write them up for that?  What if they go to confession and have a chaplain forgive them for their misdeed?  Does the reprimand go away?  Who knows?  Can someone change religions to avoid a penalty?

But Pace wasn’t really referring to that stuff at all.  He doesn’t really believe that the military should get into the business of enforcing morality.  None of these people really believe that.  They don’t want a theocracy.  They’re just looking for an excuse to hang their hat on.  A justification for them to demand that everyone follow their preferred rules.  Even the “God” thing is often just an excuse for them to hang their personal moral preferences on.  They can’t explain their rules rationally, so they’re stuck relying on rules that work outside of the rational.  

For instance, no Christian will argue that murder is only wrong because the bible forbids it.  They can rationally explain why it’s bad.  So when they’re forced to relying entirely on a bible passage to explain their position, it’s strong evidence that they have no better explanation.  They’re relying on the bible as their only defense because it’s all they have.  

And after all, there is no Christian who follows every rule in the bible, and it is left to the individual believers to determine which rules to follow and what the bible ultimately means.  And in that regard, there is no holy oversight forcing them to believe anything; and any claims to the contrary should be seen as the strongest form of blasphemy.  But instead, they see my analysis as anti-religious blasphemy, while continually ascribing their beliefs to their god.

Overall, I’ll stick with the idea that churches will enforce morality upon their church members, and that everyone be responsible for their own immortal soul.  And that the government should only be responsible for enforcing the laws, which are entirely separate from morality.  There are legal things which are immoral and illegal things which are moral, and simply because there is much overlap between the two doesn’t mean that they’re permanently tied together.  And if the only reason for outlawing something is an arbitrary set of morals, then we most certainly shouldn’t be outlawing it.  And the absolute only reason why people like Pace make those arguments is because it’s all they’ve got.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Catchy and Meaningful Title Involving GOP Immorality

David Kurtz at TPM quotes a long piece from an article in Legal Times regarding the fired US Attorneys and how wrong it was for the Bushies to attempt to justify their actions by smearing those guys.

But not only was it wrong from a moral perspective, that you’d smear hardworking ex-employees to save your own ass, but it was also wrong from a strategic perspective.  Now, this is no longer about the attorneys acting only if they’re wanting the truth to come out.  This is about them saving their own reputations; lest they want to have this permanent black mark stuck on their careers.

And this fits in with my previous post on the Bushies Immoral Compass.  Because I’m sure none of this occurred to the Bushies when they decided to start smearing these people.  They didn’t think it was immoral, because they don’t have morals.  They didn’t think it was a blunder, because this was the best justification they could come up with.  And immoral people will always go with the best sounding justification for their unjustifiable actions.  Any port in a storm, and all that.

And so this is just another aspect that’s just blindsided them.  Rather than having some nice sounding justification to make the scandal go away, they just pushed the fired attorneys into their opponents’ hands.  Plus, they’ve offended respectable lawyer-types, including Republican ones and GOP Senators.  And so their justification just blew-up in their face and made the whole scandal five times worse.

Yet the whole thing was a no-brainer.  As it is with everything the Bushies do.  For as much as people portray them as super clever guys who can use reverse-reverse-reverse mental jujitsu to have their opponents take themselves down with every move, they’re not.  They just know one trick play and run it on every opportunity.  And they have no idea when it’s appropriate, or when they’re doing overkill, or when they’re shooting themselves in the foot.  They just keep running that same play.

And again, it’s simply because they’re without morals.  And despite the title of that last post, which I just quickly tossed-out because I couldn’t think of anything better, they’re not immoral.  To be immoral, they’d at least have to understand morality.  But they don’t.  They don’t even know which actions are particularly egregious.  They don’t know what to defend or how to defend it.  They don’t know which actions of their enemies are to be attacked.  They instinctively will defend all of their actions and attack all of their enemies’ actions with whatever idea pops into their nasty little brains.  That’s all they do.

And naturally, this has all caught up with them.  Again, it’s not a fluke or a series of mistakes that continues to bring them down.  It’s inherent in the system.  They can never succeed in the long-term.  They will never have a political dynasty.  They will continue to bluster and blunder through each political era and never understand why things aren’t working out better.  They keep seeing a Democratic opponent who has no idea of how to play the game, and can’t figure out why they aren’t stomping them into the ground forever.  And even still, the Dems are catching-on, while the Republicans continue to run the same play into the ground.

And while they’d be wise to take it as a Zen-style karma that’s stopping them, they’d be wiser to realize that the play they keep calling only has limited uses and ends-up hurting them more than it helps them.  As things are, it really helps them when they’re not in power, as their mistakes aren’t nearly as disastrous when they’re in the opposition.  So it doesn’t hurt them as much so it’s easier for them to succeed when they’re not in power.  But once they’re given actual power, they will surely abuse it, as they have no other choice.  

Were they to have enough of a moral compass to only use their dirty play when it was necessary, they would be much too moral to use it at all.   Once you’ve taken that shortcut, it’s just too appealing to stop taking.  And for as much as it’s given them everything they have, it will always prevent them from taking everything they want.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Immoral Compass

Nixon never did quite understand why he went down.  Sure, he knew his actions were “wrong”.  But he did lots of things that were “wrong”, and lots of other people did the exact same stuff.  He only did what everybody did.  LBJ did it.  JFK did it.  I’m assuming he thought that Eisenhower did it, though I don’t think I’ve ever read that he’s said such a thing (Republicans only get justification out of pinning their sins on Democrats).  

To him, it was all just dirty pool.  He played dirty.  They played dirty.  And the fact that he got taken down was just dirty.  He didn’t do anything that anybody else wouldn’t have done.  He didn’t think he was doing a bad thing; not relatively speaking, anyway.  Having his guys spy on his political enemies was just how it was done.  And to allow the investigation to go unabated was simply unthinkable.  And bribing the burglars was a no-brainer.  These weren’t crimes; this was self-defense.

And I’m thinking that the same logic was applied by our Bushies when it came to firing those US Attorneys.  They didn’t think they were pulling some unpardonable sin.  This wasn’t a big thing.  Of course prosecutors are supposed to do dirty work.  Of course they’re supposed to be partisan.  That’s the whole point.  I mean, why hire a guy to do a job, if he’s not going to do it how you want it done?

And it all seemed so obvious, yet ingenious.  Get rid of the “bad” prosecutors and give the spots to some loyalists.  Loyalists who could use some resume padding to eventually be good choices for lifetime federal judgeships.  And the fact that these guys will want to impress their bosses in order to get those lifetime appointments will ensure that they’ll do what they’re told.  What’s not to like?

And now it’s all falling apart and the Bushies haven’t a clue what to say.  Even their damage control is in bad need of damage control.  The PR machine is broken and they were beyond flatfooted.  Because they didn’t see this action as a bad thing.  It just didn’t occur to them.  It’s just how the game is played, and the fact that nobody else does it like this is just proof that nobody else plays it as well as they do.

And so now the Dems are making a big deal about it, and these dopes can’t quite figure out why it seems to be gaining traction.  But they never can.  They went nuclear over the Joe Wilson column, but hadn’t created a cover-story for why they fired eight US attorneys at the same time.  They tried to hide the fact that Cheney accidentally shot a dude, but allowed some of these fired prosecutors to be told the truth on why they were being fired.  And for as much as they insist on getting our soldiers shot-up, you’d think they’d at least give a rat’s ass how they were being taken care of after getting shot.  Their moral compasses are so broken that they have no idea which crimes to hide or which shouldn’t be done at all.

And the same goes for their accusations.  Every time a Democrat breaks a fingernail, these guys go apoplectic and insist that the world would end if the guy doesn’t resign in disgrace.  And for as much as that feeds redmeat to the base, it really ends up annoying everyone else.  Even their impeachments backfire!

But this isn’t a fluke.  The reason they’re so good at cunning and deceit is because they’re absolutely tone-deaf on morality.  They just don’t know when they’ve done something wrong, or how wrong it might be.  Sure, they know our standards for morality.  But they find that quaint and incomprehensible.  Imagine someone who’s never seen a baseball game thinking that there’s no need to run around those stupid bases.  Just stand in place, put your foot on home plate, and you just scored.  They’d think they were geniuses.  

And so it is with our Republicans: They just don’t get it.  They don’t understand why we have rules, why they need to be followed, or why anyone bothers doing so.  Nor do they think anyone does.  They think that everyone’s crooked and they want to be the most crooked.  And by their way of thinking, it’s worked perfectly.  Sure, they’ve had a lot of setbacks, but those are just due to enemies playing dirty.  And not having done what they did would have been the greatest setback of all.  So they might as well cheat all the time and accept a few lumps here and there, rather than to play by the books and lose all the time.

But fortunately, life really doesn’t work that way, and for as much as they never understand why natural consequences are natural, they end up screwing themselves every time anyway.  They’ll go on blaming Dems for their downfall, but the majority of America will know exactly who’s fault it was.

Oh, and if you’re bored and in good need for a brainbursting, try reading this Ann Coulter column on the Libby verdict, which was partially the inspiration for this post.  You’ll wish you hadn’t.  I know I did.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

How Dick Cheney Saved the World

Guest Post by Doctor Snedley, Personal Assistant to Doctor Biobrain

Over at the ironically named Informed Comment, crackpot professor Juan Cole gives his bizarro-universe explanation of the whole Plame Game.  And you can tell he made it for liberal consumption, because he included lots of pictures.  Well I haven’t the time to figure out how to put pictures on this blog, but I’ll give you my own Plame Game summation.  But if it helps, you can imagine snarky photos in the appropriate places.

Here we go:

Once upon a time, some liberal Democrats at the behest of drunken murderer Ted Kennedy destroyed some documents that proved that Saddam had bought military-grade uranium (or “yellowcake”, named after the delicious smell it gives off right before it blows you up) in Nigeria, and replaced them with obvious forgeries.  They gave these forgeries to some Italian guy I never heard of, who somehow got them to the US embassy.

Dick Cheney heard about all this through his vast network of patriots and immediately set-off to entrap the libs who had destroyed the documents.  And while he was at it, he thought he might as well use the forgeries, because he knew them to represent what really happened.  What’s more important, he thought: Preventing a Muslim takeover of America through nuclear annihilation or stupid paperwork? And he was absolutely correct about that, and history has already vindicated his decision.

To set-up his trap, he gave these documents to Clinton-appointee George Tenet, knowing that Tenet had destroyed the once-revered CIA by making it a liberal bastion of weak-kneed America hatred.  Tenet fell for the ruse and handed the documents to his fellow Democrat, Valarie Plame; a long time anti-war subversive secretary who was of no importance whatsoever.  In fact, the best evidence that the CIA had been undermined by incompetent Clintonites is the fact that a desk jockey secretary was able to send her husband on a junket to Africa where he could simultaneously pick-up young boys while undermining our nation’s security.  Only in Clinton’s America.

And that’s exactly what he did.  He went to Nigeria.  Was told that Saddam’s people had been there looking for that delicious yellowcake uranium.  Sated his boylust.  And then reluctantly came back to our country, so he could smear America in the pages of the NY Crimes.  Thus, Cheney’s plan was working perfectly.

The next part of the plan was to set the record straight regarding Wilson and Plame, which would force the liberal Democrats to overplay their hand.  They would then appoint a stoolie to investigate the matter, have Libby lie to the stoolie, who would then convince a jury of ignorant Democrats to convict Libby for lying.

And sure, there was no underlying crime for Libby to obstruct, which would mean that Cheney shouldn’t have been able to get Libby into jail this way.  But he knew that in their Bush-hating rush to convict Libby, the stoolie and ignorant jury members wouldn’t let reality get in their way.  In fact, that is key to the secret pardon Bush issued the day Cheney devised this plan; as well as all the other secret pardons that Bush has issued for his entire administration.

Where to, Brutus

And thus ends Act I of our play.  Unfortunately, Act II is just beginning and I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you.  But in it, we’ll find out why Libby needed to go to prison, how Cheney tricked the pollsters into hiding Bush’s high approval ratings, what Rove’s really been doing for the past two years, and why Cheney allowed the Democrats to briefly take control of Congress.

And of course, Act III is the big finale, where the trap is finally snapped and all the liberal Democrats get shipped off to Gitmo; excepting the very few who attempt to put up a fight.  I know, I just spoiled the ending.  But really, the plan’s so good that knowing the ending just makes the unfolding that much more interesting. Trust me, I’ve seen the Powerpoint presentation and it’s just brilliant.

And so while Juan Cole’s little children’s story might make for scary bedtime material, the truth is that Cheney’s still large and in-charge, and that we’re all just puppets in the VP’s stageplay.  And if you don’t find that entirely reassuring, then you must be a liberal Democrat.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Happy Fucking Fitzmas, Everyone!!!

You heard it here first: No pardon for Libby.  That’s just a guess, but with everything else falling apart for the Bushies right now, they won’t possibly risk a pardon.  He’ll do his time like a good little boy and be well-compensated for it.  

And before you know it, he’ll be an important muckmuck at a think-tank here and there, and if he works on his charisma while in the pen, might even get a talkshow out of it.  And in fifteen years, he’ll be an important elder statesman brought in to chair the taskforce investigating the “intelligence failures” that led George P. Bush to invade France.

These guys are like the mob and protect their own.  Stay loyal and they’ll take care of you.  And if you don’t stay loyal…they’ll take care of you.  With these guys, loyalty isn’t a choice; but it sure does pay.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Biobrain-Christ '08

I’ve got bad news for you.  As you all know, I’m a huuuge Hillary Clinton fan and not only think she’s has the best chance for winning the presidency, but think she’s the best chance we’ve got for saving humanity.  But I just got some breaking news that shatters that reality wide open and means we’re going to have to go back to the drawing board.  Are you ready for a double whammy?

First off, it turns out that Hillary’s a big fat phony who spoke using a southern drawl and sounded like a hick while in Alabama.  I know, who’d have guessed.  I mean, who’s the real Hillary, right?  And sure, as Greg Sargent pointed out, that was taken out of context and she was actually quoting a hymn which, while fairly cornball, isn’t particularly phonyish.  But who cares.  The genie’s out of the bottle and he ain’t coming back.  Where there’s smoke, there’s fire; and all that.

Surely, Hillary’s tough enough to survive that, you must be saying.  And she is.  But then came the double-whammy: Hillary walks like a man.  It’s true.  I read it on the comment board myself, and before I knew it, was even spreading the meme by pretending to have seen a website that showed her posture while walking and that it was right next to a picture of a man walking and they looked almost identical.  And who was that man?  Adolph Hitler.  It’s true.  I said it.

And so now she’s done for.  It’s over.  We’re just going to have to let her go and find ourselves a smear-proof candidate.  I mean, if it’s that easy for a big Hillary fan like me to start repeating that she’s a southern drawling phony with an Adolph Hitler man-walk, she’s screwed.  And did I mention that she’s a calculating bitch with more skeletons in her closet than pantsuits?  Or that she only uses one square of TP when she goes potty?  And then there are the lesbo issues.  Let’s face it, she hasn’t a hope.  

So despite the fact that I think Hillary is the greatest presidential hopeful America has ever seen, it’s time that we all dump on her and leave her in the gutter like a rolled hobo.  

And who do I have in mind as the perfect smear-free candidate?  Who else: Jesus H. Christ.  With that whole “He Who Hasn’t Thrown a Stone” thing, he’d be perfect; assuming we could get him to run as a Democrat.  And sure, that whole hippy pacifist thing might not play so well in the red states, but there’s nothing that a tour of duty in Iraq won’t fix.  And hell, maybe we can get him to pull a few strings with his old man to turn over Bin Laden right before the election; maybe give him the ol’ Jack Bauer treatment on live TV.  That’ll put the fear of God into the GOP, so to speak.  

And lest he worry that this be seen as a demotion or something, we could just give him Cheney’s old VP slot.  He could run on the Biobrain ticket and be given all the rights and privileges of two branches of government, without any of those pesky checks or balances.  In fact, while it’s probably premature to say anything, my people have been in talks with his people for some time about this.  And while we haven’t gotten any definite response, my Beethoven bust started crying blood one day, and that’s got to mean something.

Anyway, long post short: Hillary’s out, Biobrain and Christ are in.  And don’t be surprised if we get his dad out on the stump for us.  He’s got a lot of pull in many parts of the south, I understand; and I really think we’ve got a good chance at regaining a lot of lost territory.

The People's News

I just read this opinion piece complaining about how tabloid news has taken over our legitimate news sources; which is something I really, really hate.  But then he asks: “So whose fault is all this, the media's or the public's? Both.”

Uh, no.  It’s not.  It’s entirely the media’s fault.  Because real news isn’t a popularity contest.  It’s a duty.  It doesn’t matter if it gets poor ratings.  All that matters is that it’s important for people to know.  Imagine if the IRS was so concerned with their poor image that they decided to stop doing taxes and opened up an amusement park.  Sure, they’d be much more popular, but it isn’t a substitute for what they’re supposed to be doing.

And that’s what the media’s giving us.  They’ve decided that real news doesn’t pay, so they’re moving into an entirely different line of work.  Even when they cover real news, they do so in a tabloid way.  Elections are a horserace.  Policy issues are a boxing match between two sides.  Local news is nothing but an endless stream of car accidents, crimes, fires, missing people, weather, sports, and all kinds of other things that you can’t possibly have any influence on.  And the national news wants to be more like the local news.  Oh, and apparently, Anna Nicole’s still dead.

But in no case is any of this intended to inform you of anything that you can do anything about.  It’s escapism.  It’s meant to be the exact opposite of real news.  Most people don’t want information to help them make better decisions.  They don’t want any kind of call to action at all.  They just want to passively watch a show and be fascinated, or mortified, or bemused, or probably all three.  But they don’t want to be told something that they might need to act upon.  That’s too much like real life.

But that’s not the public’s fault.  Escapism is more popular than realism, but they’re not substitutes for one another.  The IRS should not have an amusement park.  Their job is to collect tax revenues, just as the media’s just is to provide real news.  And there is a market for real news.  It may not be as big as the one for fake news, but that doesn’t excuse them from secretly changing their product.  

Especially as there are lots of people who surely do want real news, but haven’t realized that the media has duped them into accepting a counterfeit alternative.  When reporters take dictation from the administration, these people believe they’re getting thoroughly vetted facts.  They’ve been assured that they’re receiving objective truth.  And they assume that if the news they’re receiving is of somewhat lighter weight, that it must be a slow news day.  

It’s sad to say, but I know many people who watch CNN regularly and who really believe themselves to be knowledgeable on current events.  Yet they seem utterly amazed when I tell them of the stuff that is common knowledge on mainstream blogs.  They honestly don’t realize that CNN is in the entertainment industry.  And don’t even get me started on Fox News, which has elevated escapism to levels that even Disney has yet to attain.

Because there is no amount of escapist news that a legitimate news source should give.  It’s not that the media has gone too deeply into fake news, as the opinion piece suggested; but that they’ve changed their entire purpose for existing.  Even supposedly serious discussions on CNN focus more on speculation and rumors; with facts being treated as party poopers.  The problem isn’t that they’ve gone too heavily with the crowd pleasing material, but that they consider the crowd’s opinion at all.  

Democracies require truth, but truth is not a democracy.

Sleepwalking Losers

One of the fallacies I see in the conventional wisdom of those trying to assess the GOP presidential nominees is that they seem to think that the far right will back anyone in their effort to win the Whitehouse.  But why would they do that?   Backing Bush was an utter disaster for them, and Rudy McRomney doesn’t even have Bush’s far-right credentials.  And frankly, after the current disaster, I see no reason why they’d ever want to win the damn thing again.

No, I think they’re going to be wooed by the siren song of Newt or one of the other far-righties who can’t stand moderate “sell-out” Republicans.  Because that’s the only way they can continue to live in their dreamworld.  Diehard Republicans are happy winning elections at all costs and can support any damn thing they need to, but conservatives want to stay pure to a cause.  And while they can sleepwalk along with deficits, enlarged governments, and futile wars; they have their breaking point where they finally awaken in total shock and need to scurry back to their protective dens as quickly as possible.

And that’s the best way to think of conservatives.  They don’t care what goes on in the world around them, because they barely notice it.  And the more they can stay in their fantasies, the better.  And there’s no better way for them to stay in their fantasies than to lose elections by supporting hopelessly unpopular candidates.  The bigger an extremist their candidate is, the more they’ll howl when the system works against them.  The media will mock them, liberals will protest them, voters will reject them; and these guys will be in hog heaven.  

And the worst thing that can happen is for their candidate to win, be given a freehand by a passive media, and be allowed to prove to the world how embarrassingly stupid the conservative agenda really is.  And that’s what we saw with Bush, who made a complete mockery of conservatism.  Hell, the only success Bush has had was when he betrayed the conservative agenda, which is the only way he could win in either election.  And even now, they’re torn between continuing to support him out of habit, or blaming him for everything.  And if there’s one thing conservatives hate, it’s having their confusion so explicit.

And again, you can’t confuse these people with Republicans, who totally want to win with any candidate or platform they can do it with.  They foolishly bet everything on the religious southern vote, and the more they sink themselves into it, the more damage they’ll do with everyone else.  Because the religious southerners they’re appealing to don’t care about winning.  They just want to be right and to have everyone be just like them.  And that’s just not going to happen.

Not even the conservative leaders can help Rudy McRomney, as they’re the ones who screwed up getting everyone to follow Bush in the first place.  And sure, this won’t apply to every conservative, many of whom will do as they’re told.  But Republicans need every vote they can get, and the more far-righties show contempt for the mainstream GOP candidates, the worse it’ll be for all of them.  And the more McRomney tries to appease these people, the more everyone else will hate them.

But that’s exactly what the far-righties want.  They want to lose.  They want to blame others for losing.  And they want to keep sleeping.  And I have few doubts that this isn’t exactly what’s going to happen in 2008.  And if we’re lucky, reality won’t awaken them ever again.

Gabbo's Coming, Look Busy

Big news soon.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Divide & Conquer

Good news, folks!  I’m not an extremist!  At least not according to Joe Klein’s Leftwing Extremist Test.  Not that I ever thought I was an extremist, but from the way that “centrist” pundits like Klein have talked for years, I thought for sure that I qualified.

And another breakthrough is that we now have definitive proof that Klein is a victim of Centrist Extremism.  How do we know that?  Because he’s been railing against leftwing extremists for years, yet his Extremist Test consists almost entirely of rightwing bogeymen.  Strawmen designed to repel people away from an imagined leftwing position.

And it worked.  Conservatives would use it as their casus belli for hating us and undermining our position, while “Centrists” would use it to draw distinctions between themselves and the “Liberal Extremists” whose positions looked so close to theirs.  And while it was nice for conservatives to have a user-friendly attack argument, it was absolutely crucial to get the Centrists to hate us.  

And so the Centrists were forced to spend all their time distancing themselves from us, while we naturally get offended and attack them back.  And in the meantime, the conservatives get a free-pass from the Centrists, while we continue to shoot ourselves.  It was quite brilliant, and is still working well even now.  But I suspect that now that Klein has actually made his Extremist definition explicit, we’re well on the way to seeing that strawman destroyed.  All this worked so much better before Joe told us exactly who he thought we were.

Fundamental Plausibility

Let’s look at the first one on the list:
believes the United States is a fundamentally negative force in the world.

Huh?  With that word “fundamentally” in there, what the hell does that even mean?  That America can’t be a positive force, or never has been?  Is it the “non-extremist” position that America is never a negative force in the world?  I’m confused.

And that’s a good example of the rest of his list, which is entirely derived from a false narrative created by conservatives.  They’ve taken our actions and created a plausible explanation of what our motives are.  And that’s something they’re really good at: Taking a limited set of facts and creating a story tying them together.  I myself am quite excellent at that and enjoy creating wild interpretations of existing facts.  It’s endless fun.

But the difference is that conservatives confuse plausibility with undeniability, and assume that a story must be true because it could be true.  They limit themselves to a specific storyline that they expect to see, and if a fact won’t fit into that storyline, then they will invent reasons to ignore it.  And they buy their stories completely.  I, on the other hand, can and do invent tons of alternate storylines, all of which are entirely plausible, but of which I believe none of them.  In other words, I am the master of my imaginative narratives, while conservatives remain slaves to them.

And we see this all the time.  Someone sees something that can’t be explained, and because it could be a ghost, UFO, or angel, they’ll insist that it must be one of those things.  And unless you can prove that it was something else, they’ll only accept their plausible, yet equally unproven alternative as the correct answer.  Just as with conservatives, proof is for the other guy.  All they require is plausibility to defend their position.  I, on the other hand, have lots of completely plausible theories involving ghosts, UFO’s, and angels, but don’t believe in any of those things.  Plausibility isn’t proof.

Love it or Leave it

And that’s what conservatives did with the liberal position.  They invented a narrative that explained our position as being one that hates America on an unbending and fundamental level.  And if you didn’t have all the facts, it’s entirely plausible.  But that doesn’t make it true.  And if one bothers to research what liberals actually are saying, they’d know it was completely false.

Because the starting point of almost all liberals is that America is a great country that isn’t living up to its ideal.  Not that we’re fundamentally flawed and are evil, but that we are fundamentally good, and need to be better.  And we don’t criticize America because we hate it, but because we love it and expect more of it.  And that’s also the reason we don’t like the Bushies: Because they’re derailing America and making it worse.  

And that just makes sense.  I mean, why the hell would we live here if we didn’t like it?  Why do we want to change things, if we think it’s flawed at a fundamental level?  That makes no sense.  We really would all move to Canada or England or Amsterdam if that’s really how we felt.  But we don’t.  Because we like living here and want to make it better.  It’s as if they imagine that we hate America so much that we’re willing to make ourselves miserable just to make America worse.  And that’s just absurd.

And once that idea is made clear, it’s much more obvious which group really loves America.  After all, the group trying to make things better by solving America’s problems would surely be the better group.  And as we all know, the first step to solving your problem is to admit that you have one.  But conservatives not only refuse to take that step, they’ll attack anyone who does.  

Conversely, the reason why conservatives refuse to acknowledge our problems isn’t patriotism.  It’s selfishness.  It’s not that they think America is perfect.  It’s because they don’t like to contemplate on how their own lives harm other people’s.  And just as criticism of Bush is spun as if it were criticism of America, criticism of America is criticism of them.  Overall, they’ve got a good thing going and don’t want to blow it, and their efforts to perceive this as patriotism is nothing but the sheerest egotism.  That’s not to suggest that they don’t love America, but merely that they do so do to their own self-interest.  And their self-interest rarely corresponds with America’s.

Talking Like a Duck

And that’s a much better explanation of our motives and actions.  And even better, the Centrists can’t complain about that, as it’s exactly what they’re about.  They’re not conservatives, but they’ve been infected with a virus that gets them to sound like conservatives.  And the more they sound like that, the more liberals will attack them for being conservative.  

And because they know that they’re not conservatives, they’ll assume that this shows how nutty and extremist the liberals must be, for thinking that they’re rightwingers.  When it’s really their own fault for adopting the rightwing narrative in the first place.

And it all hinges on whether we hate or love America.  The Centrists don’t necessarily disagree with our agenda, in fact, they probably agree with almost all of it.  They’ve just been told that we have bad motives and that their own motives will be impugned unless they denounce us first.  And returning fire on them and using vulgar insults doesn’t help our case any.  In fact, it plays right into the conservatives’ narrative.  And so rather than helping us, we’re really only undermining our own position.

Leftists and Rightists

And the Centrists undermine their own position this way.  Again, so much of their debate seems to be about distancing themselves from the people who really are in agreement with them.  And that’s exactly what the conservatives intended.  It’s a Divide & Conquer strategy, and the Centrists continue to play right into their hands every time.  To them, if only they could beat us extremists into submission, they could finally get to the business of enacting 85% of our agenda.  

But of course, the problem is that they’ve got it entirely backwards.  They could enact our agenda if only they’d stop trying to beat us, and turned their guns on the conservatives instead.  We’re all just on different degrees of the same team, and should be working together; which is the exact reason why the conservatives continue to act as they do.  And hopefully, we’ll be able to get more Centrists like Klein to finally make their absurdist assumptions explicit, and can finally get all this aired-out and get us back on the same page.  

Sure, there are liberal kooks and communists on our side, but you’ll find them in any movement.  But the difference is that the kooks on the left remain marginalized into powerless fringes, while the ones on the right are whispering to the Centrists and running the show.  It’s about time the Centrists realized who the dangerous kooks really are.