Thursday, January 31, 2008

Slow News Day, Anyone?

Per Reuters:
PARIS (Reuters) - A drunk broke off his rendition of a Charles Aznavour song to ask rush-hour Paris commuters for 50,000 euros (37,109 pounds) on Wednesday, inspired by the scale of the trading scandal at French bank Societe Generale.

"Got five euros sir? No? Maybe 50,000 euros then. I'm not a banker. I'd bet it on the horse-races," said the drunk, who got no money but plenty of laughs.

Uhm, if anyone can explain to me the significance of this, I'd be glad to know. And if this is what gets laughs in Paris, insert Jerry Lewis joke here. Perhaps it was funnier in French.

And what has the world come to when news articles only give currency amounts in euros and pounds. What the hell are we supposed to do? Carry slide rules around with us? I blame George Bush.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Deep Thought of the Moment

If Fred Thompson were a doctor, he'd still have to rely entirely on his mediocre acting skills and deep voice to pay the bills.

In other breaking news: Red State's Ben Domenech has such a man-crush on Hollywood Fred that he knows that Thompson "obviously" doesn't need Viagra. Good to know.

Cult of Hillary

Yowser. You probably already saw the story about the New York chapter of NOW putting out a press release denouncing Ted Kennedy for endorsing Obama instead of Hillary and referring to it as "the ultimate betrayal" and "the greatest betrayal!" (Exclamation point in the original)

But I just wanted to say how this incident really adds to the whole weird Cult of Hillary that seems to be forming in the minds of her supporters. Now before I go on, I'd like to say again that I don't think Hillary is a bad candidate and that I will support her in the general election, god forbid she wins. But it just happens that I think Obama is the better candidate, and think he'd be better in the general election and in the Whitehouse.

But it's her supporters that are really starting to worry me. Because they will not only fervently support everything she does, often with the meagerest of rationalizations, but seem to be supporting her supporters oddball actions too. Like with this NY NOW press release. To me, this is a no-brainer: That press release was a huge, huge mistake. And for as much as it could make a difference in this campaign, it would be only to hurt Hillary and help Obama. In fact, this is much better for Obama than if they had just endorsed him explicitly.

Yet, there appear to be some who support even this ridiculous press release. For example, one Hillary supporter at Carpetbagger's suggests that this is just Obama supporters being "touchy" over some criticism, as we "pillory Hillary," and even suggests that we're only now defending Kennedy as a "shiny light," though he's been attacked in the media for years.

What in god's name has this person been smoking? This wasn't criticism. This was a declaration of war. To even suggest that Kennedy endorsing Obama is a betrayal of feminists at all is nothing but an open insult to feminists; let alone the "ultimate" betrayal. And this gives the worst view of special interest groups possible. Apparently, NY NOW thinks that Ted Kennedy is a horrible politician who only deserves their support because they imagined that he'd endorse a woman for president. And now that he's "betrayed" them, they're going to take him down. I'm sure Teddy's trembling as we speak.

I honestly don't know what to think about this admission that this group supported a politician they didn't like because they thought he'd be loyal to one of their causes. On the one hand, I wonder if they hadn't thought this through all the way and didn't mean to say that. On the other hand, it really would explain why these groups seem to support incumbents so much.

Name Calling

And then there was a commenter named rockerbabe, who mimicked the NY NOW press conference, while going further in suggesting that Democrats turn a blind eye to people referring to Hillary as "a bitch, a whore, etc." What planet is this person on and how do they receive our internet so quickly?

While I'm sure there are anti-Hillary Dems who say these things about Hillary, or who don't denounce it; most of us do. Like when a McCain supporter referred to Hillary as a bitch when asking him a question, and McCain got in trouble for it (which I wrote about here). Or more recently, when an anti-Hillary conservative group came out named Citizens United, Not Timid, which not only sought to alienate social conservatives like my mom with their offensive language, but are also trying to win the coveted Worst Acronym of the Year award.

And have I been missing it when mainstream politicians refer to Hillary as a bitch? Even McCain seemed awkward about it in that one instance, and clearly wanted to avoid using it without offending his supporter. And overall, I'm just not seeing some public acceptance of any of this. Sure, it's ok with some people. But I find the whole insinuation of this to be extremely offensive. There's this implied idea that any of us who aren't actively feminists are anti-feminists who they're putting up with, despite our sexism. And the tell-tale on this would seem to be that anyone who doesn't support Hillary is sexist.

And last, but not least: Can we do away with this whole idea that there are insults against women that are acceptable because we're sexist? I'm sorry, but some women act like bitches. It's true. And there are women who I'd refer to as "whores," even though they aren't actual prostitutes. But then again, I've referred to men using these terms too. Moreover, there are specific words that generally are only used to describe men: Like bastard, asshole, schmuck, and prick. Is it sexist that these words are only used to describe men? I don't see how, yet I've never used any of those words to describe a woman. That's just how it is.

And then there was rockerbabe's suggestion that it's a "double-standard" that we can't use the "n-word" to describe Obama. Is there any suggestion here that this word would be acceptable if Obama was a black woman? Of course not. For whatever reason, right or wrong, that word is considered to be completely off-limits as an insult of black people. Some insults are more harsh than others, and that's considered one of the worst. I see no double-standard with that. I don't know what rule-making body makes these decisions, but I'll abide by them. Some words are more off-limits than others.

Backfiring Campaigns

And again, it ties into this whole idea that we're chauvinists for not supporting Hillary. And of course, that's most offensive to Hillary. Are we supposed to support her because she's a woman, or because she's the best candidate? If it's because she's a woman, she gets no support from me at all. Hell, I'd probably just pick my wife, mom, or sister if I didn't care about the woman's qualifications. At least that way I'd get to hang out in the Whitehouse sometime. But if we're supporting Hillary because of her qualifications, then I'm fine with that, but still prefer Obama.

Overall, I think this whole line of reasoning is a mistake. But it's the same kind of mistake I'm getting from the entire Hillary campaign: Anything to be attacked should be attacked, and everything that can be supported must be supported. And so we see Hillary attacking Obama for being too soft and too hard, and her supporters denouncing us for not picking the woman candidate. And we're all Hillary bashers for not supporting all this. Again, this is not what I want in a presidential candidate. You have to know when to make your attacks and when someone on your team has made a mistake. So far, I've seen few signs from the Hillary camp to suggest they understand this.

Because this kind of thing was a huge mistake; just as I think it was a mistake for them to put Bill front and center of her campaign. And it's the same mistakes that the Republicans have been making for years: While it's generally a good idea to go strong against your opponents, it's too easy to go too far and end up helping them out. And while you might get an immediate bump on your side, you can't always predict the backfire and how much worse things can be once the other side gets a full grasp of what you did. But instead of going with a nuanced approach, they just find it easier to blindly swing at anything coming their way. Anyway, I've got to end this now as I need to go to bed. Sorry it's not better.

Why Saddam Didn't Stop the Invasion

I just read a Sixty Minutes interview they had with an FBI guy who was tasked with interrogating Saddam for awhile. And it was pretty interesting, though I was left wanting more. The main thing I took from it was that I was right about Saddam. As suspected, he wasn't some loony "mad man" intent on destroying the world, but just a somewhat paranoid dictator living in a bubble who wanted to do anything to stay in power; where "anything" meant he wouldn't do something stupid like attack America. Sure, he did a lot of horrible things, but none of them were a threat to us.

And the most embarrassing revalation came from the interviewer, not the interviewee. When talking about WMD's and why Saddam pretended to have them, Scott Pelley the interviewer asks:
"As the U.S. marched toward war and we began massing troops on his border, why didn't he stop it then? And say, 'Look, I have no weapons of mass destruction.' I mean, how could he have wanted his country to be invaded?" Pelley asks.

Inexplicably, Piro, the interviewee, doesn't correct that and goes on to answer as if it was a serious question; but what the hell is this about? Am I the one with the faulty memory here? Because I have recollections from back then of Iraq insisting that they didn't have WMD's and that these were lies and fabrications by America. Am I wrong about that? I remember Saddam letting the inspectors back in and everything, and giving them much of the access they wanted, and then Bush telling them to leave because it was time to bomb. Is that not how it happened?

Now, I understand that the Bushies and the media treated Iraq's statements on this to be some sort of silly game, and that the entire inspection process was just a ruse to stall for time. But all the same, I find it extremely unlikely that if Saddam had said "Look, I have no weapons of mass destruction" that this would have done much to stop the war. If anything, it would have just given the guys on Fox News something else to laugh about. Is this Pelley guy serious?? What a bonehead!

It's Good to be a Bonehead Shill

And that's what so sad about our current situation: That the media got so tied into the idea that this unnecessary war was pushed on us by Iraq that they still think it was Saddam's fault and wonder why Saddam "wanted his country to be invaded." At least this guy seems to realize the WMD's weren't there, but will it ever sink in that Saddam was telling the truth? I don't get it.

Of cousre, it looks like one reason this guy is so big is because he can get the big interviews and stories. According to his Wikipedia page, he got the first interview with president-elect Bush, was accused of being a CIA agent by Iranian President Mamoud Ahmaninejad, and was physically removed from the Kremlin after shouting a question at President Clinton in 1998. He also broke two big Monica-gate stories which, as we all know, can only be due to hard work and excellent journalisming, and not because the GOP pegged him as a shill they should throw a bone to. And apparently, a writer at the Washington Times once compared him to Edward R. Murrow. So you know he's got to be good.

And so here we are, almost five years after the war began, and one of the top reporters for the top news show in the country is just now finding out why Saddam pretended to have WMD's and that he wasn't the evil threat to America he was hyped as. Great. Now maybe if we can arrange to have Edward R. Murrow's ghost appear in a dream and convince this dumbass that everything else the Bushies have been saying were shameless lies, we might really be getting somewhere.

Monday, January 28, 2008

2008 Election Results

Alright, it's over. The 2008 presidential elections have now been decided, and I've got excellent news: I'm the new Vice President!!! That's right. Ol' Doc Biobrain just got the cushiest gig in America. The clincher was when they asked me if I had planned to continue expanding the office of the Vice President as my predecessor has, and I gave a big "Fuck no!" And that pretty much sealed the deal. Now it looks like I'm on permanent vacation for the next four years.

Oh, and Cheney's the new president, so my biggest worry is that something might happen to his ticker and I'd be stuck having to waste all my time presidenting. But that's why I agreed to sort of be the public face of the Whitehouse, while he takes care of the nation's business from one of three hundred presidential private bunker resorts, each equipped with a mock-up West Wing and steak buffet. It's great. So I get to go to all the free dinners and travel the globe, while Cheney does whatever it was Cheney was planning to do while holed up inside nuclear-proof bunkers, each replete with its own personal harem and stud farm. From what I understand, they're quite glorious. One of them is supposedly an exact replica of Saddam's own underground palace northwest of Tikrit. They say the wallpaper in the den is made of human flesh. I wouldn't know, because I'm not allowed to know where they're located. That's what they call Plausible Deniability.

And over the last seven years, Cheney was able to finish completion of his own personal clones, which not only look and act like the real Dick Cheney, but share the same DNA and decision-making powers. So even if you take out the real Cheney, you have to take out all the doubles too; thus eliminating any advantage to assassinating him. You can kill the man, but it'll just make the hive mad. And no, I don't think having eight independent presidential clones walking around making decisions would lead to any kind of constitutional crisis.

Ok, well that's it. I just found all this out and thought I should share it with you, my loyal readers. It was supposed to be a secret, so be sure to act surprised.

Update: Oops, three of the Cheney clones have already forced a power struggle with the real Cheney, and we now believe that the first two Cheneys are dead. Cheney #3 has now declared himself Cheney-in-Chief, but Cheneys 4 and 5 have raised a serious challenge to this in the Cheney Supreme Court. And of course, Cheney #6 is very fearful of Cheney #7, primarily because 7 8 9. I'll let you know more when I hear it.

Late Update: Nevermind. Apparently, the real Cheney had uncovered the coup-de-dick and had arranged to fake his own death in order to lull his attackers into a false sense of security. From there, Cheney was able to have all of the other Cheneys captured by his secret security clones, interrogated by the interrogation clones, and had the guilty ones sent of to Guantanamo for "re-education." Fortunately, Cheneys 4 and 8 remained loyal throughout the interrogations and have now been returned to their decision-making positions in Texas and Sri Lanka, respectively.

Last Update: They're dead. All of the Cheneys have been assassinated by PETA. Now I'm the President of the United States. Shit!

Beating Rudy

I just beat Giuliani in an ice cream tasting contest. They had him favored to win early, but then everyone remembered that they really didn't like the guy very much, and it was all downhill from there. I heard he entered a race for town dog catcher, but the dogs rejected him 2-to-1. I guess they didn't dig what he had to say. And then there was the time they put Rudy in an a-hole competition where they kicked him out for being too much of a prick. No respect.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Radical Hillary

If Hillary Clinton becomes president, I believe many of her liberal supporters will be in for a horrible surprise: Hillary's not a liberal. This wasn't something I noticed until I started debating them, but apparently some of the more progressive Democrats seem to have this idea that Hillary is a closet radical who is going to nail Republicans once she's in office.

No, I take that back. Now that I think about it, I remember someone at Carpetbagger's saying something to that effect a few months ago and thought it was crazy and told them that I disagreed and thought it'd be foolish for her to go for revenge. But now I see this is a wider spread phenomenum than I had realized, which I've now witnessed directly when I tell people that Hillary is a centrist. To quote Zeitgeist at Carpetbaggers "If you’ve ever read any of her early law reviews or articles about the rights of children she’s beyond liberal - she’s absolutely radical."

Early law reviews. Right. And I used to be a dittohead, and then moved directly from there to being into populist communism, and then finally settled into the track that I'm currently on, which occured sometime before Bill's re-election. But we're supposed to believe that these early law reviews are better indicators than...everything we've seen for the past fifteen years. And apparently, the idea is that all that conservative stuff from the 90's was just Bill's doing. As Jackie commented at TPM Election Central "Obama is probably even right of Mr. "Republican Lite" Bill Clinton."

Have I been missing something? She's been in the Senate for seven years now, and I don't remember her trailblazing any radical agenda. We all remember that she helped authorize some sort of war, as well as rejecting an amendment which would have forced Bush to be more diplomatic and obtain another authorization before war was allowed. She voted for the Patriot Act, as well as a revised renewal of it. In 2005, she was against the immediate withdrawal from Iraq that progressives had been demanding for awhile, and she voted to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, which was part of the neo-con saber rattleing progressives denounced. And I just picked all this up from a look at her Wikipedia page.

Oddly, if you mention any of this stuff to her supporters, you'll be told that other Dems did this stuff too. But I thought the whole point was that she was some sort of fighting radical. Someone who didn't just roll over to their Republican overlords. So what kind of defense is this?

Bizarro Hillary

And now I just feel like I've entered an alternative universe. How is it that people far to the left of me approve of this woman? Is there some secret Hillary chatroom where she's giving them the lowdown on what her true plans are? Is she planning a double-secret retroactive impeachment of Bush and Cheney? Sending them to Gitmo, perhaps? I don't get it. How is she winning them over?

And the best I can come up with is that they're overstating Obama's Nice Guy rhetoric and forgetting that this has been her mantra throughout most of her Senate career. It's like nothing before the presidential season counts and they like the fact that she's now pretending to be tough, even though she still won't take a stand on anything important, like the FISA telecom immunity thing.

Secondly, I think it's perhaps just holdover stuff from the Clinton era. They still have deepdown sympthies with her for what happened in the 90's, as well as the continuing attacks against her, while blaming Bill for all of the conservative stuff. But I can't imagine how this works. She's a Big Money candidate. She's the Queen of the DLC. She's the type of politician they should hate. But somehow, these people hate Obama more, and so Hillary has been turned into some sort of radical hero.

But even the Obama bashing doesn't quite make sense to me. Because it's based loosely on his nice guy rhetoric, and mostly consists of theories of what me might be. He might be more conservative than Bill Clinton. He might have skeletons in his closet which haven't been outed by any political opponents since 1996, including Hillary's own people during this election. But that's really the best attack Hillary has: That Barack is too good to be true and must have some big downside which will doom us all.

And so instead we're supposed to chose the candidate who seems to be exactly as conservative as Bill, and who has no skeletons left in the closet because everyone knows about them and continue to attack her with them. And I don't know why. This makes no sense. Because it just seems like it's the more radical progressives who are doing this, while the mainstream progressives and outright liberals are not. Anyway, I'm willing to listen to theories on this one. I'm usually the one with the answers, but this has me stumped. I'm going to bed.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Deep Thought of the Moment

If it's true, as Clinton supporter James Carville says, "No one has ever lost a media war with the Clintons," and that it's a "loaded deck" against them, wouldn't that be a strong argument against nominating Hillary? Because the fact is, I entirely agree with that. The media hates the Clintons, as does the D.C. Village. And that was the biggest problem we faced in the 90's, and is a problem that continues to this day; the media just enjoys ripping Democrats apart, and the Clintons most of all.

And while it's possible that'll happen to any Democrat, I don't see how it's smart for us to be starting off with the ball deep in our own territory, setting them up to sack the quarterback and score a safety on us. It just seems smarter to me to acknowledge that this bias is real and to pick someone the media likes a little better. And if Obama is as smooth in Washington as he is on the campaign trail (and was paying attention during the 90's), I could see him wooing over the Village with the appropriate lip service that they desire. Because they don't really understand results anyway, and just want to be liked and respected. And as long as they don't already hate you, that's a fairly easy thing to do.

So while I understand what Carville is saying and can imagine that media reports siding with Obama might just be due to anti-Clinton bias, I don't see how this is a particularly compelling argument in Hillary's favor. If anything, this is the bigger story than who won this particular battle. The media already loathes Hillary and will certainly do everything in their power to destroy her. And that's the best reason I can think of for rejecting her. Not that I think they should be picking our nominee, but if we've already got a strong candidate who they might like better...

How Hillary Lost Her Narrative

Over at Carpetbagger Report, I was in a protracted debate with various Hillary supporters and others talking about the supposed "Catch 22" that Hillary's campaign says Obama is stuck in: That he claims to be a positive candidate, yet has said negative things against Hillary. And if you want to see details on my points, you can find them there.

But the main point I'd like to say is how Hillary's campaign is making a mistake with this one. Because the way life works is that you tell a story, and the details are expected to fit into that story. And if you don't tell your story, others will create one around you. And this isn't just in politics. When you're the new guy at a job or school or whatever, you need to give people the context for them to understand who you are; your background, likes, dislikes, that kind of thing. If they get a positive story about you, your interactions with them are more likely to be interpreted in a positive light. But if they're negative, they'll see negatives. That's just life. Context is everything and first impressions set the stage for everything that follows.

And in politics, the secret to winning is knowing how to use an opponent's story against them. And the trick is to turn their assets into liabilities, so they will be punished if they try to use their strengths. So if Gore or Kerry have a reputation for being honest boyscouts, you attack them for being lying flip-floppers; thus undermining their credibility. So every time they try to stand on their reputation as truth-tellers, jokes start flying because too many people are convinced that they aren't truth-tellers. And while that didn't work with most people, the media ate it up.

Streetfighter v. Nice Guy

And so for the current Democratic primary battle, the context for the two main campaigns is that Hillary is the streetfighter who has proven her ability to take it to her opponents, while Obama poses as the above-the-fray "post-partisan" good guy who will do what it takes to fix America's woes. And so Hillary's supporters will point out that Republicans are ruthless and we need a streetfighter to combat fire with fire; and that Obama is unproven and will get destroyed by Republican attacks. And Obama's supporters will say that we don't like the fight, and can achieve more with a positive message; and that Hillary will give us more of the fighting we saw in the 90's. And if you've read my previous post, you know which side I'm coming down on.

But here's the problem for Hillary: This "Catch-22" argument goes completely against her story against Obama. Specifically, how can they claim that Obama can't fight, while complaining that he's attacking them? And this fits into Obama's story, because nobody can really expect him to not say anything about Hillary. And as long as he doesn't spend too much time fighting, he can just use this as an example of how he does things: He'll take the highroad, but isn't above throwing a punch when needed to protect himself.

And that's exactly what we need to see. The best defense is a good offense, and every defense requires a block followed by a counter-punch. And that's what we've seen from Obama. Hillary's side attacks, he blocks the attack and carries through with a punch of his own, which usually puts him back on message. Hillary can attack him for that, but as much as the attack will stick, she's only undermining her original argument against him.

Tunnel Politics

And the worst part for Hillary is that this confirms my suspicions about her: She's so busy trying to win every battle that she'll lose sight of the war. He makes a charge against her and so she makes a counter-charge, not realizing that she's undermining her case and bolstering his. And that's the overall effect we saw in the 90's. Sure, Clinton remained popular throughout much of his presidency and is now more popular than ever, but we saw the goalposts move to the right throughout that time.

And for as much as they triangulated into victory, they didn't do much to help Democrats, liberals, or Gore. It was just a tunnel-vision view of surviving by always taking a battle position on the moderate side of Republicans. And while they won most battles, the goalposts continued to be moved further to right. In essence, they helped conservatives in order to defeat Republicans. And all the same, they gave them almost everything, while duking it out in bloody Battle Royale style every time.

And the trick here is that you've got to be able to focus on the day-to-day fight, but without losing your big picture. You've got to remember what the narrative is and how your daily battles fit into it. And I'm not sure that's something the Clintons have ever figured out. But with Obama, we've almost got the opposite. He's a Big Picture guy, yet despite the meme that he's not good at fighting, I haven't seen that. From the little I've seen, he looks pretty good.

Nice Guy Fights Back

Overall, I think the issue here is that Obama's pushing a Nice Post-Partisan Guy narrative, and people assume that means he's soft. And because Hillary mocks him for that and acts tough, they assume she's a fighter. But what have we seen her fight for? What Senate battles has she lead? And I think the only reason people assume she's a fighter is because she's taken a beating over the years and acts tough. But as I said at Carpetbagger's, for as much as we've seen her fight, she's not fighting for us; she'll only have us fighting for her.

And of course, a problem is that if you sell yourself as a fighter, everything you do looks like a fight. And with Hillary, she is promising us at least four years of bitter fights, and I have no doubts thats what we'll get. But Obama's positioned himself as the guy who is above all that, which means he's not expected to fight all the time, but makes his punches more effective when he does. And that's the problem with the constant War Room attitude started with the Clintons and perfected with the Bushies: The war never ends.

And as I've said before, the secret to fighting isn't knowing how to keep fighting, but knowing how to end it. Obama's positioned himself in a way that makes him capable of doing that. Hillary was mocking him for that under the assumption it meant he was soft, but just recently reversed herself and now tells us that he can fight. And not only does this confirm why he'd make the better nominee, but shows us why she does not.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Obama for President

Republicans like to fight. Moreover, they need to fight. That's how they do their thing. Not just in Washington, where they use gridlock and partisanship the way pornstars use condoms. Individual Republicans do the same thing. They like to think they're open-minded. They insist that they're only interested in learning the unvarnished truth and that they're perfectly willing to listen to it, just as long as you're not an ass about it.

And that's why they have to insult you and play childish games and other ruses, in order to allow them to continue to act as if they're open-minded, but without actually having to open their minds to the truth. If you weren't insulting them at the beginning of the discussion, you will be by the end. That's what they're counting on, as a defense mechanism against facing reality. They'll do anything to find an excuse to not listen to you.

And that's their main gimmick in elections and all the rest of the time. They will attack and attack and attack and never stop attacking, in order to throw you off your game and put you on the defensive. And in their best case scenario, your defense will be paltry and you'll waste all your time futilely defending yourself against relentless attacks that completely swamp you. But, they'll keep doing it anyway, even if you effectively defend yourself and even if you put them on the defensive.

Because the truth of the matter is: They just want to fight. And while they prefer to win the fight, they win when they lose too. Because all they really wanted to do was to throw you off your game. And if you're spending your time putting them on the defensive, then you're diverting energy from governing or implementing effective policies. So even if they lose elections and aren't able to impeach you, you still weren't able to accomplish what you wanted to accomplish. And that's good enough for them.

Sure, they'd rather run the government, so they can milk it for all it's worth. But all they were looking for was a good fight to distract you. Plus, it helps them distract their base. Why ban abortion when you can denounce Democrats for allowing them?

Why I Don't Support Hillary

And that's why I would prefer that Hillary Clinton not win the Democratic nomination. Because, while she's an excellent fighter, that's all she really does. That's mostly what the Clinton presidency was about. After they pulled their head out of their asses in the middle of their first term and realized they were getting reamed in the public arena, survival became the name of the game. To take the fight to their opponents, and make them fight for every inch.

And that was necessary. The media didn't like them. The D.C. "Village" despised them. Talk Radio had them on the BBQ grill every day. And even Democratic politicians were really getting antsy with them. And so they found themselves on the ropes and had to keep throwing punches at every turn. Even now, many people get the impression that Clinton was unpopular because he always seemed like he was on the verge of getting knocked-out, and that shouldn't happen to popular presidents. Not in democracies, anyway.

But all the same, the Clintons didn't win. They didn't achieve what they had set out to achieve. As much as America approved of Clinton, he was never able to turn that approval into outright victory. We considered it enough that he could institute conservative policies on his terms. Welfare Reform that wasn't too stingy. Tax cuts that also helped middle class and poor people. Spending increases which were below the inflation rate. And he was constantly forced to play games with Saddam, in order to knock the legs out from under the war mongers who would only be satisfied with invasion, but eventually used his words to justify their war. Was any of this why he was elected in '92?

And for as much as we can now look back at the Clinton Presidency as a success, it sure didn't feel that way at the time. I was constantly embarrassed to defend him. I was a Republican when Clinton took office, and while I quickly saw the light, there were only two times I was truly a proud Democrat in the nineties. The first was the day we learned Clinton won the 1996 election (which was the first election I ever voted in), and the other was the day the Senate didn't remove Clinton from office. And even still, the only reason I felt proud of his victories was because I really wanted to stick-it to all the conservative creeps I was debating with at the time. Those were firewall events, protecting the rear; not game changing events that you tell your grandkids about.

Looking back, I realize that the best thing Clinton was good at was winning battles. But most of those battles were little more than putting himself in a position to stop Republicans from raping the country, and not actually much pushing of any liberal agenda. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. He did well with what he had to work with, but he didn't really do that well. If the best we have to show eight years from now is that our Democratic President doesn't get impeached, I'll be a very sad man.

Because as I said at the beginning, that's exactly what the Republicans want. They might lose most of the battles, but you still didn't get to fix what you wanted to fix. And that's all they were really interested in. Again, this isn't to desparage Clinton too much. I supported him in the nineties and like him now better than I ever did. But his success was limited to little more than saving his own skin and preventing Republicans from doing what Bush eventually did.

Partying Like It's 1999

And now here we are in 2008, and I'm seriously worried that a Hillary nomination will be a repeat of the last Clinton presidential win. It'll be just like 1996, where a Clinton victory only enraged their attackers; except this time, we'll be starting up where we left off in 1999; with the Villagers storming the castle and the media chomping at the bit to do their bidding. Sure, any Democrat may have trouble with them and the Republicans will surely attack; but at least we're not starting off against the ropes. It always felt like third and long during the Clinton presidency, and I'm tired of waiting for the Hail Mary on every play to pull us through.

And the problem is that I think the Clintons actually like it this way. They prefer being behind the eight ball and have grown so accustomed to the battle that they think the battle is what they're there for and have lost sight of everything else. And we've all seen that kind of thing happen before. Two people get into a stupid debate over a stupid thing, and before you know it, they're arguing against their own points and can't even remember where they got started or what they were trying to prove. It's no longer about trying to convince their opponent of anything; they just want to win, yet no longer remember what the victory might be. And so you get "victories" that involve taxcuts and spending "increases" which give less money to Medicare.

And that's the exact vibe I get from Hillary. I'm not saying she's a bad person. I'm not saying that she'd be a bad president. What I'm saying is that she's been in the fight too long and now all she's seeing is the fight. Everything is about finding the best position to wage battle from while finding her opponent's every weakness. And she's quite good at it. I'm not suggesting that she's blind with rage or anything. She's good at winning these battles, and as president, is likely to win more battles than she loses. And that's not a bad thing.

Why I Support Obama

Now if Hillary was the only good candidate to choose from, I'd support her the way I supported Bill. But I happen to think there were several better candidates for us to choose from (particularly Dodd), and am now more than happy to support Obama. In fact, while I preferred Dodd's policies, I now loooove Obama's entire schtick. I was always a bit skittish that he might be a little lightweight, but have now seen enough to believe that he can seal the deal.

He has a positive optimism that I find refreshing (almost as positive as myself), and he seems quite good at analyzing the political scene well enough to know which notes of his opponent's to steal without selling himself out. Like with the whole "Reagan - Party of Ideas" thing that Hillary wrongly tried to nail him with. She let her fighter instincts get the best of her and she thought she had a knock-out punch which really only reinforced his good side.

And the only reason why she imagined that Barack had said anything wrong was because she's too accustomed to hearing the phony language of centrism and didn't understand that he was using the standard meaning of these words. If anything, the centrists were always pulling a sham anyway, which Barack is now doing correctly. They pretended they were liberals using conservative rhetoric as a gimmick to trick liberals into supporting conservative policies. And so here we have Barack using conservative language to sell liberal policies, and centrist Hillary is throwing a shit fit.

This was supposed to be her schtick, yet he's selling it far more successfully because he actually means what he's saying. And I know exactly what he's talking about. I was a Republican for YEARS because I liked Reagan so much. I was a kid and knew nothing about politics, but I liked him, even though I shouldn't have. And even now I have admiration for him. He was a very positive guy, who I believe was seriously led astray by wily people (I wouldn't rule out brainwashing), and that if his policies matched his optimistic rhetoric, he'd have been the greatest president in history, and very liberal.

And the 80's were a HUGE change in direction for America and Reagan was the right guy to pull it off. He didn't make it happen, but he was the perfect orchestra leader for it. But like Obama, that's not to say that I agree with his policies. Only to point out what Reagan meant to people and how the right leader at the right time can have a huge impact. And that's a perfect match-up for what Obama's trying to do for us, except the tides have changed and for the first time in decades, we're poised to see a huge burst in liberal energy, with Obama positioned to help lead the way.

And that's just not something I see with Hillary, who seems poised for a long, hard slog in which she "wins" by adopting a watered down version of what conservatives wanted, just like we saw in the nineties. And so she's doing victory laps while Republicans laugh all the way to the bank. I know we can do better.

Mr. Optimism

And overall, I just get a big Can Do attitude from the Obama. While Hillary comes off as the rough and tumble street fighter who learned how to handle herself the hard way and is always ready to attack, Obama has the wise, but immaculate confidence of someone who knows what it's like to fight, but hasn't been damaged by it. He'll fight if he has to, and fight well; but only if he has to.

And that's what I'd prefer in a president. Someone who can stand-up for himself, but understands that the fight isn't the prize. That politics are just the tactics we use to get what we want. And realizes that while people will support him in his battles, that they'd prefer something a little stronger to tide them over. I don't want to go back to being a loyal foot soldier defending my president. I want to be a part of a political movement that changes how America works and shows people that politics can be more than partisan squabbling and name calling. Like all people, I want to be a part of something bigger than myself and I firmly believe that Obama is the man who can give us that.

And who knows, maybe Obama can't produce. Maybe he'll fold under the constant attacks (though I'm convinced that the toughest hits he'll take are the ones his fellow Democrats are laying on him, and that general election smears will only work on the more rabid Republicans who already hate him). But he looks like the real deal and I think he can be the start of something new. Something better. This isn't the nineties. Democrats are no longer on the defensive, and we need a president who acts like that. Again, I will fully support another Clinton presidency, but am firmly convinced that an Obama presidency can be something much better.

This isn't about playing offense or defense. This is about going beyond politics. And only in the past few weeks have I become convinced that Obama has the fighting skills to not only handle himself in a battle, but to be able to pull himself back out again. I only hope that he's given the chance.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy Milk Day, Everyone!

I'm not sure why milk gets its own federal holiday, but I'll take whatever I can get. I suppose it is a pretty decent drink (though less healthy than many imagine), and it gives us butter, cheese, and cream, and I can't complain about that. So I guess it really is deserving of a special day of recognition. I'm not sure why retailers haven't gotten into this by putting up pictures of cows and udders everywhere, but perhaps that'll be next. This is a relatively new holiday and I understand that some southerners have found it to be somewhat controversial, for reasons I can't quite fathom. Perhaps they're lactose intolerant, I don't know. But whatever the case is, I hope you have an excellent Milk Day and drink a tall glass of the white stuff for me!

Update: Sorry. I really don't know what I'm talking about and I apologize.

Huckabee's Evolution

Not trying to follow-up my last Huckabee post, but I just read a comment by the guy and had to say something. Apparently, his anointer, Chuck Norris, stated that McCain is too old to be president because he might die in office (despite the fact that Norris is only four years younger than McCain), and Huckabee backtracked from this, saying:
"I'm not going to say he's too old. I think he's got a lot of inner strength, good genetic factors by his mom."

Genetic factors?? But...I thought he believed in the whole creationism/God thing. If anything, shouldn't that read "good health factors from God"? What do genes have to do with anything if you've already rejected evolution? Either God gave it to you or he didn't, and your parents didn't have a damn thing to do with it.

Of course, the truth is that old Huckabee's just being a huckster. For this post, I violated blogger ethics by doing a little research, just to make sure that Huck is on the pro-creationist side, and found this article where he tries to walk a fine line by saying that while he doesn't believe in evolution, he doesn't oppose evolution being taught in school or think creationism must be taught. Instead, he thinks kids are smart enough to make this determination on their own, which is why I've instructed my children to write on every history test that time only really began yesterday and that everything they're being tested on is an illusion. Hell, all education should be ala carte. Take the parts you want; reject the rest.

But the truth is that this is another of Huckabee's religious con jobs and he's not even smart enough to pull it off. Because while he acted as if he doesn't believe in evolution, he also made sounds in that article as if he believes in Intelligent Design, saying "I believe that there is a God and that he put the process in motion," Huckabee said.

But of course, that means he believes in evolution. I mean, saying that God "put the process in motion" means that he doesn't even think God's hand is actively guiding our development, but instead is going with the Catholic's idea of completely giving up on the evolution debate and moving into the debate on origins, which has nothing to do with evolution. But apparently he's too dumb to know it. He's just borrowing different pieces of the fundamentalist rhetoric and doesn't see how it all fits together.

God's Law of Evolution

And the problem is that in order to con people, you have to have some idea of what the truth is. In this case, I suspect Huckabee doesn't really know much about evolution, but has enough knowledge to understand basic genetics and has it hardwired in his brain as being part of reality. And he's even less familiar with the creationism he's pretending to accept, as he seems unaware that straight creationism has no evolutionary aspects at all, and that even most Intelligent Design proponents believe that God had an active hand in evolution.

But if you're going with the idea that God set everything in motion, then you're supporting straight evolution. That's all there is to it. If you think He set it in motion, then science class is just a matter of explaining God's law of evolution to us. But you still have to explain it. While he obviously thinks he's been clever by dodging this issue, all he's done is expose that he doesn't really know what he's talking about.

Hell, even religious leaders should be upset about this fraud, and the only reason they're not is because he's the best candidate they've got. But I'm sure they'll get a bit antsy if he keeps repeating this stuff about God setting the process in motion. After all, Intelligent Design is just a firewall to stop science from encroaching further into their territory and isn't supposed to be taken literally. For fundamentalists, it's just a new word for creationism, and that's clearly not how Huckabee was using it. He's dumb enough to believe that it's really the religious breakthrough they pretend it is, and still hasn't figured out that it's already part of a separate con job.

And I have no doubt in my mind that he's even lying about his belief in God. Because if he did believe in God, he'd at least have some sort of consistent worldview on this stuff. And he'd certainly know better than to lie to people about religion or autograph bibles. No, he's just taking advantage of believers and thinks we're all too stupid to know any better. And like I said, he's having trouble selling this even in a Republican primary. If he makes it into the general election, he'll be eaten alive.

Bibles by Huckabee

I wrote this as a comment to this Bagnews article which shows presidential contender Mike Huckabee autographing bibles!!! Unfortunately, I was having trouble posting the comment, but seeing as how I have my own blog, I guess I can just write it here.

Autographing bibles?!? Holy jesus, that's messed up. It's like he just wants people to think of him as a religious huckster. But he's so obvious about it already. That's one reason I'd like him best of all in the general election. His political compass has been thrown so far off the mark due to the wackos that congregate around him that he has no clue how ridiculous it is. But I guess that's the case with all the other Republican candidates too. The only difference is that his wackos are religious, rather than obsessed with war or money. And while war and money can still be seen as legitimate goals, even most Christians aren't fond of religious wackos. It's like how some vegetarians hate vegans; there's nothing worse than having someone outdo your righteousness.

As for the headline, I'd have to say that by autographing bibles, Huckabee has taken the fine line between pulpit and podium and blasted it with a bazooka. It's gone. All we need next is to see him try to appeal to Southerners by suggesting that his college-day squirrel eating habits show that he's one of them. Honestly, the only reason why Huckabee has lasted this long is because the journalists that cover these people love to be a part of a good con game. Unfortunately, Huck is so obvious that his schtick is getting exposed even in a Republican primary. He'll get entirely swamped in a general election.

Part of a good con is knowing when to pull back from the edge. Right now, thanks to a faith-based community and a media which loathes boring policy debates, Huckabee is the Wile E. Coyote of candidates: He's left the edge far behind while running further over nothing.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Republican Photo Magic

I just read about how a former mayor of Sugarland is trying to win the Republican nomination to win back Tom DeLay's old Congressional seat, and sent out a mailer with his head Photoshopped on some skinnier dude's body. And while the initial reaction is to want to laugh at this bozo, that is, in fact, the correct reaction and you can keep laughing.

But is this really too surprising? I mean, it doesn't really matter who Republicans send to Congress, they're all speaking from the same brain. The only difference here is that you've got the right dude's head on the wrong dude's body, but once he's in office, it'll be his fat ass body taking orders from somebody else's head. And rather than sharing body parts with just one dude, it'll be thousands of Republicans talking from this same head. So I really don't see what the big deal here is. It doesn't matter if it's Dean Hrbacek or Tom DeLay or Karl Rove himself running against Nick Lampson, they'll all be repeating the same damn lies no matter who wins the nomination.

Hell, I don't even see why we need to see what they look like anyway. They should just go ahead and use photos of the people you see in picture frames at the store, including the family shots. These aren't real people, anyway. They're just actors, hired for their ability to say lines convincingly and without laughing too much. And they'll attack the gays they want to sleep with and denounce the immigrants they'll hire to mow their lawn and raise their children. The only thing these people bring to Congress is a warm body able to say "yea" or "nay" on command. And so with Dean Hrbacek, it's going to be a slightly bigger warm body than his constituents realized.

For posterity's sake, below are fake and real pictures of the dude. Guess which is which. And is it just me, or does his face look thinner in the doctored picture; so much so that you might think they're different people? Even weirder, doesn't the body in the thin picture look like Governor Perry's in the thick pic? You decide.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

It Ain't Begun

I don't know if I've mentioned this or not (I actually have quite a few posts lately I haven't finished), but I've come down strongly on Obama's side. I'll support Hillary if she wins, but it will be the same way I supported Bill: Reluctantly.

So perhaps I'm a bit biased when I say this, but I really don't like how everyone keeps treating these individual primaries as if they're all or nothing. As if coming in second place is some sort of campaign threatening catastrophe. Now, if you come in second in a state you were supposed to sweep, that's bad. Or a front-runner coming in a distant third, as Dean did in Iowa in 2004. But losing by a few points isn't the end of the world.

In particular, people keep treating this as if you either win all the delegates or you win nothing. But that's not how this work. Second place isn't a huge loss if got almost as many delegates as the winner. And right now, both Barack and Hillary have 37 delegates. And in Nevada, Obama apparently picked up more delegates than Hillary. So why is everyone acting as if this is some defeat for Barack? Sure, perhaps there's something wrong with a delegate system that can give more points to the second place finisher, but in any case, this wasn't a big defeat.

Losing by one vote in a real election is still a loss, but in a state-by-state system, this shouldn't even be a setback. The only reason these early primaries are so important is only because of the appearance of how the election will shape up; but they haven't been decisive. Sure, in prior elections, the nominee was pretty much determined after New Hampshire sealed the deal. But we've got two strong candidates duking it out for once, and it looks like we're just going to have to wait to see how this turns out, and hope they don't get too nasty about it. Sure, we can decide this in one candidate's favor if we really want to, but it'd be better to just wait.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Jonah Goldberg: The Black Klansman

Jonah Goldberg is an amazingly stupid man. With most conservatives, you never really know if they’re drinking the Kool-Aid or just serving. The "Lying v. Incompetent" argument has been going on for some time, and even conservatives often forget which side they're on. But there are some conservatives who clearly belong on one side or the other.

NY Times' recent op/ed hire Bill Kristol is an example of a conservative who only serves the Kool-Aid. He’s a smart man who says dumb things because there are no smart things conservatives can say anymore. He's just doing the best he can with the crappy material he has to work with and the fact that he isn't continuously laughed at by everyone is a testament to his genius. He might not be right about anything, but he sounds right to people who don't know what they're talking about; and that's an unfortunately large group of people.

And two of those people are David Brooks and Jonah Goldberg, who are serious Kool-Aid drinkers but somehow imagine that they’re servers. And that's primarily because they're not really conservatives and don't understand how the conservative mind thinks; and therefore can only crib notes from real conservatives, without really understanding what they're saying or why. They're like parrots who imagine they're having a conversation, simply because intelligent people keep laughing every time they talk.

And the few times they actually try to create source material, they come off sounding either liberal or entirely incoherent. The only thing conservative about them is their rhetoric; which is why it rarely makes any sense. Besides, with Jonah anyway, all they really care about is the mud he throws. As I've mentioned before, the strongest principle of all conservatives is their loathing of liberals and/or Democrats. Jonah could be a gay communist for all they care; as long as he's insulting libs, he's in the club. Just ask Andy Sullivan, who became "liberal" the moment he wrote "Bush Sux" on his blog.

Liberal Republican in Hiding

And the problem for Jonah is one I’ve mentioned earlier: Jonah Goldberg is a liberal Republican in a world in which Republicans are not allowed to be liberal. And I say that because Jonah believes that the government should fix problems that it can fix, but that it's done a poor job at fixing things. But for real conservatives, there are only three things our government should ever do: Help rich people, help religious people, and hurt brown people. And that's it. If one of those three things aren't happening, the government shouldn't be doing it. It's not that they think the government sucks at solving problems; it's that they think it shouldn't solve problem.s And they oppose successful government programs more than crappy ones.

Goldberg, in contrast, believes in a limited government that solves problems that it's able to solve effectively. And if you could show him that the government did something effectively, he'd think it was a good idea. But there's already a word for people who believe that, and that word is Liberal. The difference is that Jonah's a liberal who only accepts data from conservative sources, and that data tells him that government doesn't work. But all the same, he'd like it if government did work, and that's just not what conservatives think.

But not only does Goldberg not know this, he has completely shifted the ideological spectrum in order to make him look conservative. As I've shown before, he defines liberals as people who believe "government can have a role in any problem" and have "a well-deserved reputation for bringing a hammer to every problem." See, he defines liberals as being just like him, but more absurd; and is oblivious to the fact that conservatives aren't like him at all. It's not just that they only use a hammer when it's necessary; they don't think the government should have a hammer.

And the funniest part of all: He's so liberal that he considers the true conservative position to be a fake strawman designed to make conservatives look dumb. He still doesn't realize that conservatives did that all on their own. And the only reason why he associates with them is that he just likes being a Republican. For him, conservatism is just a social scene; not an ideology. Many people are that way about religion too, I've found. They're not looking for the answers. They just need a friend.

Throwing Around Fascism

And that's how we can read things like this, from his visit on The Daily Show:
Most touchy moment for Jonah came when Stewart asked him if one of the things he was against was people throwing around the charge "fascism" far too easily. Jonah said yes, then Stewart picked up a copy of the book and simply pointed to the title, "Liberal Fascism" -- adding, so why are you doing this?

But in the context of Jonah being a closet-liberal, it makes perfect sense. Because the problem with his recent book is that he's not a fascist conservative, but it disturbs him that conservatives are so frequrently tagged with the fascist label. So he decided to write a book which countered that impression by associating liberals with fascists. But an honest conservative really only objects to the fascist label because it's as accurate as it is damning.

But he doesn't really mean that liberals are fascist. He's just trying to create a parallel argument which shows that it's just as easy to attack liberals as fascists as it is to attack conservatives. It's not really an argument, as much as it is a diversion. Like the guilty person in a murder-mystery who fingers an innocent person; he doesn't care if he's guilty, he just wants to put the spotlight on someone who isn't him.

And that's why Jonah Goldberg is still insisting that he disapproves of the fascist label being thrown around as easily as it is, while promoting a book which did exactly that. Because the real point of the book is to stop liberals from calling conservatives fascist. That's it. That's the real intent (well that, plus Jonah just wanted some greenbacks for a book idea he successfully pitched, but couldn't really write).

Lumberjack as Tree

And that's all because he imagines that he's a conservative. It's as if a black man who looked white got accepted into the KKK and imagined that the Klan isn't racist because he's a Klan member who likes black people and thinks the anti-Klan people were unfairly smearing the Klan with the racist label. And in Jonah's case, they accepted him as a conservative because he was anti-Clinton and a loyal Republican; and so he imagines that he must be one of them and that they think the way he does. And that's why he's so entirely confused and why his arguments never make a lick of sense.

And that includes this new book, which would have disgraced any man of integrity; while a man like Goldberg will just use it to further his victim complex. His argument is like a man walking through a forest and declaring that a lumberjack is a tree because he's wearing green and brown; and using that to defend clearcutting by saying that environmentalists are anti-tree because they won't let trees chop down other trees. But some attributes are more important than others, and finding attributes which link liberals to Hitler won't stop liberals from noticing that conservatives are fascists.

As usual, Jonah's entire premise is muddled, because he's a liberal living in a conservative world. And so he comes off yet again looking like a complete dumbass, simply because he's entirely confused and doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

No Romney Please

I had more to say about this and lots of other things, but let me just say that the reason why I always thought the Republicans would pick Mitt Romney is because he's the one I'd least like to see win. McCain wouldn't be a disaster as a candidate, though he'd probably lose. Huckabee would be a complete disaster and will definitely lose.

All the other candidates fit in between those two, with the exception of Romney. Sure, he's kind of sucked things up so far, but that's just because he's a non-conservative Republican trying to woo diehard conservatives. Yet that's the only kind of Republican who can possibly stand a chance at winning in places that don't want to be like Texas. Because Romney just looks presidential. If you were casting for a Hollywood movie, Mitt's the guy you would pick. It's that simple.

But then again, as far as any of the Republican candidates go, Romney's the least of those evils. But again, that's the main reason he's the only guy who might win the general election. Because he's not really a conservative.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

My Anti-Murder Proposal

In the spirit of Giuliani's recent taxcut proposal, I decided to announce my own policy idea on how to cure murder: Killing everyone. Now, hear me out. I don't care what you might say contrariwise, murder is a very, very bad thing and probably ranks pretty high on the bummer list. I personally wouldn't want it to happen to me at all, and I'm pretty open to new ideas.

But...what if we killed everyone? Then the murder rate would drop to approximately zero (depending upon whether your ideology approves of rounding), and then that's it. No more murder. Even better, if my analysis proves correct, it would also solve other murder-related crimes, such as rape, prostitution, and music pirating. Plus, no more traffic. Who could argue with that? Nobody.

Now, maybe if you're a bigtime supporter of murder, rape, prostitution, and traffic, you might oppose my idea. All you murderers out there might be thinking, "Hey, if they kill all my victims, who am I supposed to kill?" And that's a valid point, but...nobody can kill you either. Ah, ha. Pretty sweet, eh? Plus, you'll have gotten away with all those murders you've already committed without getting the death penalty. Instead, you'll be killed just like all the innocent suckers who didn't have as much fun as you did. So you'd have that going for you too.

Anyway, just thought I'd toss that out there. Raise the proverbial trial balloon, if you will. See who salutes. I think it's a pretty good idea and have already printed one million mailers supporting the idea. I think it's a real winner, and would represent the first policy idea I've raised since I began exploring the possibilities of my potential presidential run. I've checked all my opponents' websites, and don't see this one at all, so it really looks like I've gotten ahead of the curve on this one. Plus, I've got strong convictions in support of this plan, so I'll be pleasing all the people who prefer their presidential candidates to believe the lunacies they recite.

So vote Biobrain, and rest assured that the crazy ideas I propose are really mine.

Friday, January 11, 2008

How the Bushies Failed Again

My lord, how the Bush Administration and Condi in particular are complete fools. I'll admit that I generally don't read much on international news and assume that the important parts will filter through from the blogs I read. Well I guess this one took awhile, but the Bagnews just had a full story on how the Bushies and Condi in particular are largely to blame for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Not directly, of course, but for luring Bhutto back into Pakistan with impossible promises they were totally unable to fulfill, based upon a fantasyland plan that should have embarrassed a halfwitted turd. And that's putting it politely.

What the hell is the matter with these people? You'd think by now they'd finally realize that they're simpletons who don't really understand how the world works and would finally put faith in the experts that work for them. I mean, that's what they're there for. You trust your underlings to tell you what you need to know and make decisions based upon what you're told. But conservatives are authoritarians and authoritarians only understand a top-down model of leadership, where the people with authority tell the underlings what they need to do and the underlings obey.

And so here we are, in the eighth year of their reign of terror, and still read things like:
Many career foreign policy officials were skeptical of the U.S. plan. "There were many inside the administration, at the State and Defense Departments and in intelligence, who thought this was a bad idea from the beginning because the prospects that the two could work together to run the country effectively were nil," said Riedel.

Surprise, surprise.

Predicting the Predictable

But of course, we're not surprised at all. Were these people capable of change and learning from mistakes, they wouldn't be conservatives. And not only will they never understand what they did wrong, they will insist that they did everything right but that it was impossible to predict that any of this would happen...even if people did, in fact, predict what would happen.

And so we still hear things like:
On Tuesday, however, American officials fired back, saying they had provided a constant flow of threat reports to Ms. Bhutto and her political advisers, even before she returned to Pakistan on Oct. 18 after a self-imposed exile. American intelligence officials said they never received a credible threat of an attack with a specific date, time or place.

Which sounds awfully familiar:
I want to reiterate: It was not a warning. There was no specific time, place or method mentioned. What you have seen in the run-up that I've talked about is that the FAA was reacting to the same kind of generalized information about a potential hijacking as a method that al Qaeda might employ, but no specific information saying that they were planning such an attack at a particular time.

See. They never make mistakes. If you tell them how, where, and when an attack will happen and how to stop that attack, they will stop it. Otherwise, nobody could have done anything different; even if Bhutto told them what sort of security she required and the Bushies found themselves stuck in a very predictable position of not being able to make that happen.

Good Versus Evil

And the big question is: What in god's name is the matter with these people that they still imagine they can trust the foreign leaders they rely upon?

But I actually know the answer to that. Most conservatives have the mindset that they think there are only two types of people in the world: Good guys and bad guys. Good guys are the ones you like, and can trust, and can do no ill. And bad guys are the ones you don't like, can't trust, and can do no good. Even if good guys do bad things, like getting addicted to Oxycontin or being exposed as a vibrator-using pervert, they know that, deep down, they're still good people being wrongly smeared by a vicious foe who needs to be destroyed.

And bad guys are always bad; no matter how many "good" things they do to fool people into not hating them. Similarly, bad guys will always attack and insult you, and you should always dismiss their criticism, even if they pretend that they're just trying to be helpful. Because if they notice your flaws, it's obvious they must not be your friend. And while it's possible for them to start hating a person they once considered good; it's almost impossible for them to ever trust a bad guy.

And haven't we heard this repeatedly? They think we're all fools for trying to be nice to Muslims or thinking that we can appease them. They thought the same thing about the Soviets too, and now insist that it was Reagan's "Evil Empire" stuff that won the Cold War, and have striken Reagan's diplomacy efforts from the record. And then there's the fact that they insist liberals are out to destroy America and that we'll attack them no matter what they do. Trust me, they're not just the spokespeople of Irrational Hatred; they're also clients.

Good Guy Diplomacy

And that kind of thinking colors the Bush Administration's entire foreign policy, allowing the leaders they consider to be "good guys" to completely walk all over us and have us begging for more. Not that they necessarily think that these leaders will automatically do our bidding, but they're simpletons and imagine that a little carrot-stick routine will surely make everything work to their liking. And with the leaders they consider "good," it's surely more carrot than stick.

And beyond that, they still imagine that everyone else is dumber than they are, and fail to understand that these leaders have their own interests and domestic politics which might have nothing to do with America. They're simpletons, and can only imagine an America-centric worldview, where even the craziest cave-dwelling terrorist is hanging on Wolf Blitzer's every word, in order to determine if they should continue jihading or just hang-up their thawb and get a nice Brooks Brothers suit and a job in the banking industry. If only we could find some way to replace their NY Times subscriptions with the Washington Times, we would have won this war years ago.

And so they just imagined that Musharraf would realize how important it is to keep up the illusion of democracy in his country and welcome Bhutto with open arms. But reality said no such thing. Particularly as their instincts totally let them down and Musharraf is not a "good" guy. We might be stuck working with him, but we shouldn't trust him to be on our side at all. As with most power-hungry people, Musharraf is looking out for Musharraf.

Similarly, Saudi Arabia is looking out for Saudi Arabia and Israel is looking out for Israel. Where their political fortunes are exactly aligned with ours, we're safe; but it's impossible to know when that's happening and when they only want us to think that's happening. Only the Bushies imagine that these countries have our best interests in mind. These other countries are just laughing at our ignorance.

Carrots Versus Blackmail

And a big part of the problem is that you really should never trust your allies or distance your enemies too much. But as I said, these people are simpletons and will always allow their "allies" to see every card in our hand, while not even allowing our enemies to sit at the table. And both policies are getting us routed at every turn. Because they put themselves in positions where they simply have to trust their allies, and pray that the carrot they're offering will somehow make these people remain loyal to us; while using such a big stick on our enemies that they'll have no incentive to be our friends. And the bigger stick we need against our enemies, the more carrots we have to give our friends

But if your ally already has all the cards, your carrot is superfluous. And most likely, it's not a carrot at all; but blackmail. If someone has naughty pictures of you, you giving them money to not release the pictures is not considered a carrot. Similarly, if we're put in a position that we have to give money and weapons to a country in order for them to survive and they know upfront that our foreign policy requires their survival; that's not a carrot. That's extortion. By letting them know upfront that we need them, we're no longer in a position to demand anything from them.

And so we give them everything, including a freehand to grab more power and abuse human rights, and we can do nothing to stop them. Because they already know that we need them to survive, and so they are allowed to do whatever they want and we have no leverage to suggest otherwise. The same thing happened in Vietnam, with us installing Ngo Dinh Diem as a benevolent dictator, and eventually having to arrange a coup just to uninstall him. And, of course, we got suckered into the whole Vietnamese situation in the first place because we wrongly assumed that we could trust our allies England and France to do the right thing, and it turned out that they naturally put their own interests ahead of our own.

And the same thing happened in Central and South America, in the 70's and 80's with us being forced to support evil dictators, based upon the premise that it was better that they be our dictators than democratically-elected populists who might take orders from the Soviets. And that meant we had to supply them with money, weapons, and unlimited power; while we got nothing in return, other than a promise that they wouldn't take orders from Russia.

Mafia Politics

And the big problem is that we keep telling these people what our foreign policy needs are, and rather than have them beg for assistance, we beg them to take our assistance. It's as if Vito Corleone went around telling people he needed loyal supporters and asked them what favors he could provide to obtain their loyalty; and they insist that they need constant money and protection and if Vito ever stops providing this, that he'll suffer.

And that's the thing, for as much as people compare the Bush Administration to the Mafia, it's obvious these jokers don't have a clue how the Mafia works. At least not as far as foreign policy is concerned. If anything, it's as if we're the clients of these foreign countries, and we're the ones paying them for protection. We tell them that we want to invade Iraq or Afghanistan and ask them what we can do for them to support us in that, and then we give them as much as we can and are in no position to ask for anything in return.

And a big part of the problem is that these people are so simple-minded that even their black-and-white Good v. Evil paradigm has to be simplified even more so that it's just a handful of countries we need to worry about, rather than every country. They want to focus on attacking Iraq or Iran or whomever and simplify things by making it a chess board where all the pieces fit into one of two teams; you're either with us or against us.

But the truth is much more complicated. England and China and Saudi Arabia and North Korea and Mexico and Canada all have their own pieces on the board and they'll only help us as much as they need us to be helped. And it doesn't matter how much we try to ignore these other interests or imagine that we can bribe them enough that they'll be our pieces. These aren't our pieces and we do need to take their plans into consideration.

Letting Them See You Sweat

And so in this case, Musharraf knows that we will get seriously hurt if he loses power, and takes advantage of that. And the Bushies being as they are, only see their own weaknesses and don't see how Musharraf has more on the line that we do. Sure, Pakistan falling into the hands of Al Qaeda is really bad for us; but it's his fricking life on the line. And with Israel, I remain entirely ignorant as to why we need them and what they're doing for us. Sure, the humanitarian in me says that they're people and people deserve peace and prosperity, but the current international scene has no place for a soft heart.

And if anything, the soft heart is preventing us from doing what we need to in order to make the world more suitable for putting another country's interests on par with our own. After all, that's exactly what our allies are doing too. For instance, there can be no doubt that the illegal settlements in Palestinian territories have got to go in order for any kind of peace to be possible; so much so that even Bush said words to that effect. Yet, it's just a matter of time until he backtracks on that demand, and isn't in any position to say otherwise and is just sticking his neck out by even asking politely for this to happen. And, of course, the whole reason why the settlements continue to exist is due to Israeli domestic politics. So we're being screwed over because the Israeli politicians are looking out for themselves; and we're in no position to demand anything, despite all the assistance we provide to them.

And why is it this way? Because they know that we need them and will remain loyal to them, even if they're not loyal to us. Even if we catch them spying on us. For reasons that remain beyond my comprehension, we need Israel to survive more than they do, and so we remain their bitches; just as we remain bitches to all our other "allies." But were these people more intelligent, they could see things from the perspective of these other countries and realize that we're actually in a position of power; not weakness. But as usual, they only see their own weaknesses and therefore continue to get routed by people who are weaker than us.

And that's how we find ourselves in a place where we naively imagine that Musharraf wants to share power with a powerful foe and we pretend as if we can ensure security for someone who knew better, but foolishly believed our empty assurances and lost her life for it. Because our wise leaders continue to place blind trust in foreign leaders who are clearly too intelligent to do the same in return. And you can be sure that they'll do it again.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Presidential Affirmative Action (Or: How to Cure White Guilt in Three Easy Steps)

I’d just like to say that I’m glad that Barack Hussein Obama lost in the New Hampshire primary. While I supported his now failed run for president, it was only because I felt guilty for what my people had done to his people all those years ago. But now that we’ve given his people their day in the sun, I’m glad we didn’t actually have to give them the Whitehouse too. And best of all, we finally have an example we can show black people of how they can get ahead in life without guns, drugs, or welfare; so perhaps they can stop bitching about that too. Perhaps now we can start seeing a few more of these clean, articulate young black men taking my order at McDonald's, instead of all the dirty mumblers I keep getting.

Next, we just need to pay some lip service to how refreshing it will be to finally have a woman in the Whitehouse, before she crumbles like a wet sanitary napkin in the general election; thus allowing us to elect Giuliani as president, so we can finally take care of the nation’s business. I don’t care what he has to do to the bad people, just as long as he does it. As they say, vote Democrat if you want to feel better; vote Republican if you want to live better. Looks like we got the best of both in this election cycle.

Now we just need to make sure to give a Latino a shot at losing in 2012, and we should have gotten this out of our system for at least a few decades. Damn it’s hard being a modern liberal. I wonder if we let a poor person win a primary if we could stop caring about them too. If not, there’s always that operation that removes the guilt-center of the brain. That way, I can stop being racist, sexist, and classist all in one fell swoop; and can start being a conservative egalitarian who coincidentally understands that rich white men are the bestest in the world and deserve whatever they can take. That would be nice, as I happen to be a white man who wants to be rich and have good stuff. How fortunate.

P.S. If anyone reads this who isn’t a regular reader: Yes, this is a joke. Oh, and when I started this post, I assumed Obama was going to win in New Hampshire, so I had to go back and re-write it. Oops.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Reading RedState (So You Don't Have To)

It's been said before but always bears repeating: Conservatives are batshit crazy. And I've found no better collection of mainstream batshitty thinking than RedState (sorry, Free Republic, but your website is too weird to read).

I started on this when I saw, via Atrios, that RedState is wanting to upgrade their site, which will cost $25,000. But...they don't have $25,000. So what else can they do but start begging for money from their readers. Looks like somebody's business model isn't quite as successful as had been expected.

In fact, this follow-up post suggests that something named Eagle Publishing has already given them $55,000 to help pay for the upgrade, along with contributing an additional $20,000 in third-party software; even though Eagle doesn't get anything from RedState. So the $25,000 is just the extra amount they need to come up with themselves because Big Daddy Eagle won't pony-up all the necessary funds. Why does it seem that underneath the toughguy maverick exterior of most conservatives lies a sycophantic doofus praying for a free lunch? Oh that's right, because it's true.

Even funnier, is their use of a red Deathstar (pictured above), which I guess is meant to show us what "RedState 3.0" will be like. Odd, but I don't remember Vader having to pass around a hat to collect funds from the Storm Troopers. But perhaps that was in a deleted scene. And having watched Star Wars many times, it never occurred to me that some people would identify with the Empire. But it makes sense. Authoritarians respect authority always.

Blame Liberals First

And whose fault is it that RedState has to pay to upgrade? Who else: Liberals.

As they wrote:
The bad news: our liberal “friends” – you know, the ones who believe so strongly in free speech and open debate – have done what they can to prevent us from making these improvements, so that our influence will be minimized just as we head into the 2008 presidential primary season.

Bwa ha ha! Our plans are working like clockwork. First we woo the open-source programmers with our Marxist siren song, and then laugh mercilessly as the rightwing websites flail under growing piles of debt they incur by paying our programmers. And when all the weak-minded netizens compare our awesome blogsites to the paltry conservative offerings, they'll clearly prefer the leftwing sites and we'll win elections forever! All part of our plan to deny conservatives the ability to speak freely.

And why is it necessary to upgrade RedState? Why else: Liberals.

I quote:
I’ll be blunt: I hate asking you for money. But I hate even more to imagine what America will be like if someone like Hillary Clinton or Barack Hussein Obama wins the presidency in November. RedState can help prevent that nightmare from coming true – but only if we’re offering the best possible web experience to the widest possible audience.

You see, this isn't for the benefit of RedState and its founders. This is to prevent a liberal nightmare from destroying America. Why, it almost seems that the only reason conservatives exist is to combat liberals. Perhaps if we played possum for awhile, they'd just go away. But of course, that's not how it works. Extremists never tire of searching out infidels, and you can rest assured that you can always find some reason to exclude people from your group. And as we all know, there's no better way to empower yourself than by depowering someone else.


But it's not just this post. I decided to look through all RedState's posts for the day, and it's obvious that their main focus is on liberals. There were eighteen posts on January 7 (the day I started this), and ten of them were focused on liberals.

Of the few that weren't, one was an open thread, one was a fund-raising update, one attacked the Virginia Republicans for making it too hard for Republicans to get on the ballot, one repeated a Freeper post regarding a "professional undecided" in Frank Luntz's focus group, and two insulted Duncan Hunter for not dropping out of the race. And I put all six of these in the fluff category, as they contained no real substance.

While the Virginia thing might have been interesting, I didn't understand why it mattered and it seemed like the main intent was really just to diss Virginia Republicans, as a way of blaming them for the state's recent shift to the left (it was titled Why Is the GOP Losing Virginia? Blame the Republican Party in Virginia). As they say, conservativism never fails; it is failed.

And then there was a post on some omnibus spending bill which supposedly had 9,000 earmarks unconstitutionally added in conference, and which they wanted Bush to sign an executive order to invalidate the earmarks. And while this might be of substance, the post contained no details on this and I couldn't find anything about it in the two minutes I bothered researching, so I don't know if this is a liberal attack or not.

Interestingly, there was one post on RedState that actually contained policy substance and didn't attack liberals. It was titled What Huck Should Have Said, and was a suggestion to what Mike Huckabee should have said during a recent debate when Mitt Romney attacked him for raising taxes. According to this conservative, Huckabee should have defended his record by saying that he raised taxes in order to improve infrastructure and education in his state. So, one of the few posts of the day that didn't attack liberals, was to suggest that a Republican should defend himself in a Republican primary debate by sounding like a liberal. Interesting.

Ten Liberal Posts

Here's a summary of the ten liberal focused posts, in the order they appeared:

Here's a post from RedState chief Erick Erickson insisting that "red" states are growing faster than "blue" states because "Liberalism continue to cause people to vote with their feet and flee social and economic tyranny within our own country." That's right. Everything in this world is related to politics, and if Southern states are growing faster than Northern states, it can only be due to liberal tyranny. Oddly, the RedState commenters seem to be more intelligent than Erick, as some of them realize that some of this population growth is due to differences in birth rates; and seeing as how liberals have a lock on the education system, that some of these "red" children will be raised blue. Other commenters realized that some of these "blue state" people are taking their political beliefs with them, and are turning "red states" purple (eg, Virginia).

Here's an attack on George McGovern (yes, that George McGovern) for daring to write an op/ed denouncing Bush and Cheney. And what critiques were leveled against McGovern's argument? That McGovern is "aging" and an "old man," and that he's "fighting yesterday's war" and "had his clock cleaned by Dick Nixon." Wow, pretty convincing rebuttal, I must say. Oh, plus McGovern thinks that Democrats are needed to fix Bush's mistakes. What an a-hole! As an added bonus, this post contains your non-sequitur for the day: "Because to be rational, one must not be ruled by anti-war passions which convert judgment into sneering." No, I don't understand that one either.

Here's an attack on the NY Times for an editorial suggesting that all the Republican presidential contenders look like they're living in the wrong century. And why did they say this? Why, because they're liberals, of course. RedState has the perfect rebuttal to their arguments, by ignoring them entirely and making blanket assertions praising Republicans and attacking Democrats. For example, we were reminded that Republicans "are the keepers of a great America," while "Democrats drive us the way of defeat though they wrap it in pretty sounding words like hope, unity, and change." Call me convinced. Oddly, the Times ends their editorial saying "Republicans have a long way to go to grasp the mood of the electorate in this 21st-century election," which would summarize their thesis that the GOP is in the wrong century; while Ericka at RedState chastises Democrats for telling people what they want to hear. It's as if she intentionally failed to understand what the editorial was saying as a way of demonstrating its accuracy.

This was followed by the Deathstar Fundraising post cited above, in which liberals are blamed for forcing RedState to upgrade their site as well as being the reason why RedStaters need RedState to upgrade.

Then, I learned that Rush Limbaugh was named Conservative of the Year by some wingnut site I'd never heard of. And why did Limbaugh win this great honor: Because liberals hate him. I wrote more about this, but decided to make it it's own post. But I'll repeat the first line from what Erick said summed up why Limbaugh is the man: "What is it about Rush that drives the left crazy (that is, crazier than they already are)?" That's right. It's not about Limbaugh. It's about what Limbaugh does to liberals.

Here's a post mocking Hillary for crying. Something I learned from the comments section: Hillary was "part of the group that invented the politics of personal destruction." I'm sure Nixon is stewing about that one.

Here's a guest-post by a former Bush-Cheney PR flack insisting that none of the Democratic candidates have the expertise to handle our international problems. And if anyone understands how dangerous it is to have an inexperienced person running the Whitehouse, it would be a Bush-Cheney employee. And I have no doubt that the person writing this once worked for the Bush campaign, as it's nothing but a giant non-sequitur attacking Democrats. It starts by referencing the upcoming New Hampshire primaries and ends with "For that reason, no matter how good a game they may talk, they must be rejected." So is she suggesting that RedStaters somehow nominate a Republican in the Democratic Primary, or what? I don't know. This makes no sense. How are they going to reject every Democrat in a Democratic Primary? Even worse, there was no reference to Republican foreign policy credentials (or lack thereof), and whether the RedStaters should support any of them. Someone needs to tell her that in order to strategize, you kind of need a strategy.

Here's a post where Erick mentions some liberal who is encouraging people to donate one penny to the RedState fundraiser, under the mistaken idea it will cost RedState thirty cents per donation. He then mentions how this will give him their personal info, and in comments, he seriously suggests he's going to give this info to mailing lists. One of the commenters cautions him against doing anything illegal, as it would give people grounds to sue him. Wow, that's a real morality system that guy's got there. He doesn't want the liberals hurt because it might empower them.

And then there was a post which I wasn't quite sure about whether it belonged in this category, but decided that it fit after all. In it, we're told that Hillary isn't likely to drop out of the race if she loses New Hampshire because "There is no way anyone surnamed "Clinton" whose first name is not "Roger" will give up power this easily." Because as we all know, funkmaster extraordinaire George Clinton is "in it to win it." I'm amazed by this ability to state the obvious while also turning it into a nonsensical insult.

And then we'll finish things off with with a post on Obama, where Pejman Yousefzadeh praises Obama for "trying to engage in dialogue with those who disagree with him on policy issues," but thinks Obama needs to express admiration for Iraq War Supporters, and admit that, perhaps, we need to stay in Iraq forevah. Oddly, the only two Obama quotes cited involved Obama addressing war-supporting Democrats (read: Hillary), and why they shouldn't be president. If anything, the basis of Pejman's argument seems to rest on O'Hanlon's assertion that Obama is dissing him. A commenter did quote Obama dissing Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and Karl Rove; but as another commenter pointed out, those three are despised by all Democrats and many Republicans. Methinks political reconciliation is going to remain difficult until these people finally agree to join reality.

And there we have it. A day's worth of conservative blogposts, all of which were as worthless as the proverbial truckload of dead rats in the tampon factory. But again, it's so pathetic how the main focus is on liberals, but how they really never even covered that subject either. Specific arguments are countered with blanket assertions and nonsensical insults; all of which are forced to remain in the world of fantasy, because they can't actually be explained or discarded. Thus is the life of a modern conservative.