Saturday, May 31, 2008

The New Accountability

Hey, I just got pulled over for speeding and when I explained to the cop that, while I may have been speeding, that this was all in the past and that he really needed to just get over it, he totally agreed with me and let me off without so much as a warning. I even asked him for his legal opinion about the dead guy in my trunk, and after he ascertained that the guy was already dead, he declared that the statute limitations had expired as soon as the guy had. And that really made me feel better, as there was blood everywhere. I mean, everywhere. But as he explained, it's a cop's duty to stop crimes and because it was obvious that this crime stopped itself, everything was fine. And while I got a bit freaked when the guy in my trunk somehow resuscitated himself and started screaming for help, the cop just pulled out his gun like Dirty Harry and shot the guy dead with one bullet. As it turns out, the undead have no rights; especially not when they're screaming like that. Awesome! I'll have to remember that next time.

Cops really are our friends. I love never having to say I'm sorry.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Very Deep Thoughts

Is it ok to call Hillary an asshole yet? What if I called her a dickhead? Is that acceptable?

Oh, and I left home without my iPod today and discovered that radio still sucks. Just thought you should know.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Commies Are Coming!!!

Communists; Obama's got 'em. Muslim Jihadists? You bet! Anti-American fascists? Of course. Now how about some Martians? Just wait until next week.

In no time flat, Obama has collected the roughest, toughest, rootinest, tootinist band of ruffians this side of the Pecos. He's got rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers, Methodists and all kinds of other bad guys who didn't even exist when Blazing Saddles was made.

In short: Barack Obama is a bad motherfucker.

And it's just going to get worse. But the thing is, after all Bush and the Republicans have put this country through, I can't imagine how anyone's going to give a shit about any of this. Hillary v. Barack, that's a match-up. The fact that Obama was able to upset the Dem Establishment against heavy odds just shows how talented a politician he really is. But John McCain? Stuck having to act like he's going to fix all of Bush's "serious problems" out of one side of his mouth, while telling the diehards he's a Bush man out of the other? He doesn't stand a chance. Even now, he's resting on his undeserved maverick laurels, and the more he tries to explain his plan, the more people will remember how much they didn't like it the last time they heard it; when it was Bush's Plan. So he's just screwed and nothing can save him from that.

And even the diehard conservatives can't do anything to save the guy. The best they've got is to try to convince everyone that one of the best communicators of our generation is somehow an anti-American scoundrel who will destroy our country. Yet they fail to appreciate one basic fact: The people making these accusations are entirely discredited. Entirely. No one respects these people anymore. You just can't keep using your Deceit Credit Card with impunity, and these people are waaaaay over-limit.

Barack Marx Obama

Even worse, having cried Islamowolf too many times, they're stuck going into complete parody mode. Accusing Dems of being soft on terror just isn't good enough anymore. Nor is it enough for them to outright pretend Obama is a Muslim sleeper agent. No sir. That shit might have cut it in 2004 or even 2006, but now they've pulled out the heavy artillery: Communism.

That's right, Obama is a secret Communist, which is apparently proven because a few people who have vague ties to communism associated with him. For example, the staff worker who once displayed a Che Guevara flag in an Obama office is enough to tie Obama to Mother Russia. Sure, until this year I didn't even know who Che Guevara was, and only learned because of the flag issue. Before that, I had seen the face on shirts, but assumed he was some kind of musician (seriously). But no matter, the fact that anyone would put up a flag with that face on it is enough to declare "Texas Communists for Obama." I guess their search engine is screwed-up, as I'm having trouble finding any of their Klansmen for McCain posts. How odd.

In fact, a search in Yahoo shows that the words Obama Communist bring up 17,000,000 hits. Sure, many of those are surely lib sites laughing at the idea, but definitely the top hits are all wingnuts insisting that Obama is a "Marxist Mole." Holy fucking shit! I've said it before, I'll say it again: These people are beyond parody. Heck, that last site I linked to was based upon the idea that Obama was friends with a man identified as a communist by the Commission on Subversive Activities over fifty years ago; and if anyone knows something about guilt by association, it's these people.

The Smell of Despair

And so that's what it's come down to: Communists. Conservatives spent so much time serving anti-Muslim Koolaid over the past six and a half years that they scraped right through the bottom of the barrel and are now stuck trying to serve us some good old fashioned Red Menace. And these people imagine this is a working argument for them. So oblivious to how badly they screwed things up, they now think people are going to start fearing commies again. Right.

But really, this is the same kind of thinking that got them into this mess. Because they really don't have anything that they stand for, besides hating liberals and Democrats. And while they were able to ride that wave into power, they suddenly found themselves having to actually do things. But they didn't have anything to do, so here they are, still trying to demonize us but having no clue as to how to do that. So we get communists. Oooooo, scary!

But who knows, maybe Obama has some distant relation to Genghis Khan. Why not? He's already got Cheney mixed-up in there, so it shouldn't be so surprising that a competent bastard got into the mix too. And hey, there's always that chance that Obama's in league with Martians. Why not? What else are they going to do? Rely on Grampa Simpson to woo people with his promise of being the grumpy Bush? Hardly. Better to just stick with the IslamoCommieMartians and hope people are as stupid enough to buy it.

Scott McClellan: Human Douchebag

I started this post by writing about how when you work for somebody else, you represent their interests and not your own. And this is the case whether you're on the Whitehouse staff or working the drive-thru window at Jack in the Box. And it was all about how Scott McClellan shouldn't be blamed for not having told the truth while he worked for the Bush Whitehouse, because that's just not what he was hired to do.

But then I thought "screw it" because it was already getting too long, so I deleted what I wrote and will now just reprint a few comments I wrote at Carpetbagger's about it, because I really have better things to do today than write an opus on Scott McClellan.

Why It's Ok That McClellan Didn't Say Something Sooner

I actually disagree with the idea that McClellan should have said something when he still worked for the Whitehouse. Because when you’re hired for a job, you’re not speaking for yourself. You’re speaking for your boss. And if you don’t like what that boss has you say and he makes you say it anyway, you only have one choice: Resign. That’s it. But no matter what, you don’t get to use the position they gave you as a podium to state your own personal opinion. When a Press Secretary speaks, he’s only speaking for his boss; not himself.

And if more people had had this attitude about the Bushies, we would have been better off. Because when people like Colin Powell hyped WMD’s and the need for war, they weren’t doing so from their personal opinions. They did so as part of their jobs. And if the corporate media had understood this, rather than assuming that Powell was personally agreeing with the war, they would have been less likely to agree with going through with it. Same goes for Richard Clarke, who told lies to reporters when it was his job, and exposed it all after he quit. That’s how it’s supposed to work. None of this is personal and an employee’s integrity is ultimately only as good as his bosses. And if you don’t like your bosses integrity, there’s always the door.

In fact, that’s really one of the weird things about the pundit class. For as much as they act as if this is all academic and that you shouldn’t get too passionate about this stuff, for them, politics is all personal. It’s about the assurances that Whitehouse insiders give them, without realizing that those assurances were made as part of their job. When “Senior Whitehouse Officials” or Retired Generals tell them something, they do so for business reasons; not personal. If only the media understood that these insiders were simply making a business transaction, rather than imagining that they were getting personal assurances from their friends, we’d be much better off. But unfortunately for us, most folks in the media want little more than to be loved; and Republicans have taken advantage of that for years.

On whether Scott's Tell-All is Important

I think the people being harsh against McClellan for telling us what we already knew are missing the point: While WE already know this stuff, lots of other people don’t. Particularly not the corporate media, which still has some respect for the Bushies. If anything comes from this book, I’m hoping that it’s that the media realizes that what us dirty hippies have been saying for years about the Bushies is absolutely true, and that they got duped by people they imagined were their friends.

Again, it’s one thing to have put together the pieces or to hear dirty hippies say this stuff. It’s something else to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. I don’t have high hopes that the media will finally internalize how corrupt the Bushies really are, but this definitely makes it harder for them to ignore it.

Why We Shouldn't Expect More of This From Other Bushies

It's totally unlikely that other Bushies like Tony Snow will also dish-out these sort of tales. McClellan was different from the rest of them: He was actually human. And this is one reason he was a HORRIBLE press secretary. While Ari was a cruel robot who could explain in a thousand different ways why he wouldn’t answer any questions and Snow was a mocking anchorman who truly enjoyed duping reporters, McClellan always seemed to actually struggle to answer the questions. And because there were no good answers to give, he came off real shitty. And I think that’s one reason why he’s telling all, because he really wanted to give the right answers and felt betrayed by the Bushies; which makes it acceptable to him for him to betray them.

I’m quite positive that they picked him because he had been with them for so long and didn’t feel they could trust an outsider, but he was a really poor choice. Of all the press secretaries, he was the only one I felt sorry for, even while I laughed at his poor performance. And so it’s no surprise that he’s the guy who would tell-all in a book. He was much too human for the job, and continues to act like a human. That’s not to say he’s not also a douchebag, as he totally is. But he’s a human douchebag, and that’s made all the difference.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Is Barack Obama Muslim?

For people interested in fair-minded online debates, there's a good one I just saw that deals in all the in's and out's of whether or not Obama is a Muslim, giving as objective a view of both sides of the issue as we deserve.

America would definitely be better off if we replaced the current environment of post-modernist subjectivism we've seen in recent years with this sort of facts-only approach.

Monday, May 26, 2008

What Was Hillary Thinking?

I haven't commented on this before, but was just thinking about Hillary's RFK assassination remark, and thought I'd give my own two cents on it. Becuase I don't at all think she was trying to suggest that she needed to stay in just in case Obama got assassinated. And I definitely don't think she was trying to get him assassinated. But thus said, I can't imagine what she was thinking.

I mean, what the hell was that about? It was just a really odd thing to have said. If she was just trying to remind us that other nominations have gone on longer, she could have mentioned RFK without referencing the actual assassination. She would have been tricking people when she did so, but she didn't need to actually reference the assassination. Because rather than establishing the timeline, it just sounded morbid. The idea of so casually referencing the death of someone in order to make a political point was just really, really weird.

And so I'm not surprised people put a more sinister spin to it, as this just isn't normal behavior. I don't know about you, but when I'm in a job interview, I generally don't make references to murder as a way of establishing a timeline. Like namedropping the OJ Simpson murders as a way of showing how long you've worked for the same employer. Sure, it helps illustrate how long you worked there, but it sounds pretty tacky.


And overall, I put this in the same category of most of what Hillary's been saying since she realized this wasn't going to be the shoo-in she assumed it was. Her whole campaign has been this really weird world of spin, obvious tricks, and offensive rhetoric that really seems to stem from a certain insular thinking that continues to dominate her campaign. It's like she's been running her presidential campaign in a parallel universe since she left the Whitehouse in 2001, and only once the shit hit the fan did we begin to see how her reality doesn't really coincide with the one the rest of us reside in.

Before the Iowa caucus, she could believe anything she wanted to believe and because politics is so perception-oriented, she could make reality match what she wanted it to be. But the more we got actual, indisputable results in reality, the more we'd see how far from reality her campaign really was. And I'm sure that when someone first mentioned the RFK assassination within her campaign, it sounded good and people nodded their heads in agreement. And it wasn't until she was actually asked to explain what the hell that meant that it first dawned on her how crazy a comment it was.

But all the same, I suspect she still thinks it was a valid comment and chalks this up to more Hillary-bashing. That's the way insular people work: They never understand how others see their actions and assume that anyone who doesn't agree with them is just being a jerk. In their world, other people don't have opinions and motivations of their own, and everything is defined in terms of how it impacts the insular people. They're just so wrapped into their fantasyworld that they can't imagine that the rest of us are real people with real lives.

Bush Bubble Redux

And so it has been this entire campaign. The Hillary people cut themselves off from the real world, and even when they poll and use focus groups to test ideas, the main person doing that is Mark Penn, one of the chief insular thinkers. And so you get dumb ideas like the Gas Tax Holiday, where I'm sure they used focus groups to show what a popular idea it was, without taking into account that there might be pushback against it. Rather, they present it in a sterile vacuum, and didn't mention all the experts who would be against it, or the ads that Obama would run against it; and so it sounded better than it did in real life.

And that's how the Bushies ran their campaigns and Whitehouse. Rather than trying to deal with the real world, you create your own perceptions and continue to push them forever. And while Bush's clean slate allowed him to ignore reality during the 2000 campaign and 9/11 gave him a free pass to recreate reality in his own image; Hillary's reality-check just happened a lot sooner. Had the Obama juggernaut been less effective, we'd still be unlikely to know the real Hillary until after she became president and she got the same wake-up call the Republicans received once they actually tried to put their fantasyworld into the real one.

And that's just a big, unavoidable flaw with democracy: The method used to pick our leaders is much easier to manipulate if you live in an alternate universe of your own creation. It's only after you're elected and expected to get things done that the alternate universe loses it's power of persusasion. Eventually, the rubber hits the road, and the wheels fall off the car. We should all just be thankful that this happened to Hillaryland before they won the Whitehouse and not after. I'd much rather be on the outside mocking her, than on the inside trying to defend her.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Elitist Obama and the BLACK Robe

Guest Post by Doctor Snedley

Looks like Obama the Elitist Racist is at it again. This time, Barack Huessein Obama presumptuously took advantage of Ted Kennedy's brain cancer by taking over a commencement address Teddy was supposed to deliver to a bunch of white grads. And how did he dress? Wearing a black robe. Black, eh Obama? A black robe? What's the matter with white, Barack? Or adding some red and blue to that ensemble, for that matter? Had to be black. And a robe no less, as if he was just too elitist to bother putting on clothes that morning. Typical. Is it any wonder white people refuse to vote for him?

And did he spend his time reminding these white people about how great America is and the need for them to fight for their country by writing conservative blog posts reminding people of how great America is? Of course not. Instead, he actually told them they should work in "public service," as if America needs any of this feelgood bullcrap in order to be better. For him to even suggest that they do anything to help our country is a huge slap in America's collective face. As if we need anyone's help.

And who the hell is this guy to be telling anyone what they should do with their life? This was a commencement address, not one of his damn fascist rallies. Yet here he is, mocking our "money culture" and insulting everyone who wants a "big house and the nice suits." Hey Mr. Bitter, suitmakers need to eat too! Looks like the Dems just lost another big constituency.

Perhaps that's why he wore the black robe; he was sending a message to the suitmakers that once his revolution comes, they'll be the first against the wall. I'm sure within the first 100 days of an Obama presidency, we'd all be wearing black robes at graduation ceremonies, and possibly with silly flat hats with dorky tassels dangling from them. Will the humiliation never end?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Commie Haters

Well shit, I was all psyched about going to the new Indiana Jones movie, but lo and behold, it turns out it's just anti-Communist pap and that both Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett are CIA running dogs. Shit! I'm a big Indiana Jones fan, but fuck if I'm going to betray my Communist masters at a time like this and go see the film.

Not only is it "anti-Soviet propaganda," but it apparently isn't a true story either, at least not according to party chief Sergei Malinkovich; and I've never had reason to doubt Comrade Malinkovich yet

I quote:
"It's rubbish ... In 1957 the communists did not run with crystal skulls throughout the U.S. Why should we agree to that sort of lie and let the West trick our youth?"

Really?? What's next? Will we find out that the American government didn't store the Ark of the Covenant in a giant warehouse after retrieving it from the Nazis whose heads exploded? And perhaps Superman isn't really harmed by Kryptonite. Is there no truth in this world?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Irony 101

Well it looks like McCain yet again found himself on the wrong side of an issue and got miffed after Obama hit him on it. This time, it was the GI Bill which McCain decided to play Scrooge on, most likely because Republicans just don't like giving Democrats any victories.

So what does McCain do after getting hit? The dude has a minor tantrum in which he attacks Obama for all kinds of things, including not having been in the military. Funny, I don't remember him criticizing any of the non-military jerks who sent our troops off to die for imbecilic reasons. I guess the logic is that those who avoid going to war need to make up for it by sending lots of other people to war. In the end, you got somebody killed and that's all that matters.

Here's McCain's line that broke my irony meter:
"But, as he always does, he prefers impugning the motives of his opponent, and exploiting a thoughtful difference of opinion to advance his own ambitions. If that is how he would behave as President, the country would regret his election."

Uh, John? By insisting that Obama was trying to "advance his own ambitions" you have, in fact, impugned his motives. And perhaps there was more to Obama's statement than I read, but it really didn't look to me as if Obama had impugned McCain's motives. The worst thing Obama said was that McCain sided with Bush, and while I'd consider those to be fighting words if someone said that about me, in McCain's case, it's true. And Obama even went so far as to call McCain a hero!

And that's what's so telling about this skirmish: McCain's reaction was total overkill, at least if his reaction was based only on what Obama said. But it wasn't. McCain realized he was on the wrong side of yet another issue, and was hoping he could bluster his way out of the situation. And if you weren't paying attention, you'd assume that Obama's initial shot must have been some outrageous onslaught, rather than the tap on the cheek it really was.

But that's part of the point: Obama's comments stung, and the best McCain could do was feign outrage and pray that it distracted people from what Obama said. And that's in accordance with one of the main rules of conservative debate: It doesn't matter what somebody said as long as you can attack the way they said it.

And we saw the same thing earlier this week when Obama pushed back on the Bush-McCain appeasement smear, and the best McCain could do was rant about how "hysterical" Obama's perfectly acceptable response was. And again, the same dynamics are in play here: Conservative nutjobs are forcing McCain to take the wrong side of various issues, and the best McCain can do to make up for this is to pretend to be outraged when Obama attacks him for it. And while that wasn't such a bad policy against Gore and Kerry, neither of whom were famous for being great communicators, this plays right into Obama's hands.

Obama's the guy who can concisely pinpoint the flaw in his opponent's armor, and McCain's the guy who gets upset about it afterwards and impotently shakes his fist in anger. Call me crazy, but one of these people is a little more convincing than the other. This is going to be a great election year.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rightwing Ignorance

Yowzer! John McCain is an idiot. No, he's not your garden variety idiot. I'm sure he's smarter than the average bear and all that. But when it comes to working at the presidential level, he's not even Senator material. Football coach. That's what I see McCain being good at. Working at the high school or even college level, I betcha McCain could have made a fairly mediocre football coach. But president? Of the United States?? Never.

Is it really any wonder he had to surround himself with lobbyists and journalists? His power came directly from the only users and abusers in the political world who were less knowledgeable than he is. I'm sure the GOP is really starting to kick themselves for not trying to get the religious right more accepting of Mormons. Mitt might have been an empty suit, but at least he knew he was an empty suit. Bush also knew how to follow his talking points rather well, and while he sounded like an idiot when he said them, you could at least respect the source material he was working from. But McCain...McCain's whole campaign just sounds like he's making it all up on the spot and says whatever he needs to say to get to the next question, and that's no way to run a campaign. This is just going to get worse for him.

As for his latest screw-up, I'll confess that my knowledge of Iran's system of government is more than just a little sketchy, but even I knew that the president of Iran isn't the real leader of the country; and this isn't even my field of expertise. But McCain? He's such an idiot on this stuff that he not only didn't know the right answer, he imagined the question didn't even make sense and was laughably dumb. He was as confident as he was wrong. I suppose it's no real wonder he doesn't think we can engage in diplomacy with Iran. He doesn't even know who the hell they are!

And just to be a hip video blogger, I'll show the clip here:

And the funniest part is how he first tries to laugh off the whole question and thinks it's entirely stupid. But then...then he definitely starts to get a little upset. Or more than a little. Sure, he doesn't blow his cool, but it's obvious it took him some effort to keep from getting mad. But all the same, I don't think McCain was getting upset because he was wrong, but merely because he was being challenged about it at all. He's so accustomed to getting a freeride from the media that the idea of anyone confronting him directly and not accepting his sage wisdom as given is enough to anger him. Yeah, and this is the guy we want to send to the Whitehouse.

And I just wanted to make my prediction official: McCain's Achilles heel is the media. Whether or not they smell blood and eventually tear him to pieces, as long as he imagines that they'll carry his water for him, he'll continue to spout off without giving any thought to what he's saying. But that's totally old school. The media's gatekeeper function has been greatly diminished by the internet, and people will learn of McCain's idiocies whether the media tells us about them or not.

And all the same, I think Mr. McCain's got a fierce pecking party coming his way. Pack animals hate weakness and the deeper McCain sinks in the polls, the less chummy the media will be with him. That's my prediction, anyway.

Don't Know Much

And we're seeing the same thing we saw with talkshow loon Kevin James. In both cases, we have corporate media whores finally doing their job by actually questioning the basis for the rightwing's whackjob policies, and not only can the person questioned not explain how their policy makes sense, but they end up showing they're entirely ignorant of even the most basic facts of what they're talking about.

I mean, there was no way Chris Matthews could have guessed that his guest didn't know what Chamberlain did wrong, and it was obvious Matthews was originally working from the idea that James DID know what Chamberlain did, and was using that as a starting point. And again with McCain, Joe Klein couldn't have guessed that McCain was so ignorant of Iran's system of government. He was just using that as the starting point, but clearly hit paydirt when McCain not only admitted he didn't understand Iran's system, but laughed at the idea that he might have been mistaken.

And in both cases, we have rightwingers who remain so convinced that they are foreign policy experts that they never bothered learning the truth. They have their empty phrases and their political sloganeering and they imagine that this makes them experts. And in the conservative world, it does. But it's obvious that these doofs don't understand the basis for their positions, or why they might be wrong.

Wrong in Hindsight Too

And even when they have time to research this stuff and think about the answers, wingnuts still can't get this stuff right. They're so ingrained with their toughguy fantasies that they simply refuse to bother checking to see if they know what they're talking about. For a good laugh, you can read the comments section of my Kevin James post, and see two such conservatives showing off their knowledge of Chamberlain as a way to show how I was wrong for writing about Kevin James.

But the first one completely screwed-up the history of WWII, including erasing the Invasion of Poland, thinking the war started later than it did, and he didn't even seem to know that England and France declared war on Germany before Hitler invaded France. And again, this guy had clearly researched this, and this was the best he could do. And while the second commenter at least seemed to have the basic history correct (maybe), he still couldn't explain the original point Bush was trying to make on how diplomacy somehow amounts to appeasement.

And what's odd is that both guys seemed to be arguing from the position that liberals not only are appeasers, but that we supported Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policy. I'm not sure if that was their point, but that's the only point I could decipher from the odd ramblings they were tossing my way. While liberals were busy trying to explain how Obama's policy is nothing like Chamberlain's blunder, these guys actually imagined we thought the appeasement of Hitler was a good policy. But I guess we don't call them wingnuts for nothing, huh?

The Stupid Barrier

But so it always is with this stuff. These people don't know who we are. They don't know what we stand for. Instead, they're spoonfed these strawmen liberals that don't represent anyone and get increasingly angry when we don't fess up to agreeing with the absurdist positions they've been told we have. And rather than just asking us what we believe, they tell us what we believe and insist we're liars for not admitting to it.

And the big problem here is that they're top-down oriented authoritarians who take their marching orders from above and never think to question the conclusions they've been handed. To them, it feels as if they have some intuitive understand of how all this works, which they attribute to commonsense that they all share. All the conservative talkshow hosts, columnists, pundits, and bloggers seem to be in agreement on almost everything, and they simply fail to understand how that happened. The top of the conservative foodchain shouted something into the echo chamber, which these dopes use as confirmation. How could so many smart guys be in agreement unless they were right, and anyone who suggests otherwise is a liberal. How convenient.

But the problem is that only the end results end up getting repeated, and they're never really handed the underlying facts. Or if they get some facts, they're cherrypicked in a way that a knowledgeable person can easily expose. And this just doesn't compute for these guys, so they imagine that some trickery must be going on, or something. But it doesn't matter, because they'll just be so rude and unable to debate that you're unlikely to ever penetrate their barrier of stupid.

And so it all just makes sense to them, even if they can't explain how it makes any sense. It's simply intuitive that we need to stay in Iraq forever or how Iran is empowered by diplomacy. It just makes sense. And they're so convinced of this that they can't even comprehend any argument suggesting that our troops in Iraq might be making the place less stable, or how toppling Iran's biggest enemy and handing it to pro-Iranian Shiites might have empowered Iran far more than letting them sit at a table with us.

But again, it's all conclusions with these people. Obama is an appeaser. Ahmadinejad is the leader of Iran. End of story. They know these things. And the idea that things might be more complicated than they were led to believe just doesn't occur to them. Why bother learning about Chamberlain or Iran if you already know all you need to know about them, right? And these people wonder why everything they touch turns to shit. Big surprise.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Symbolic Bozos

I will never cease to be amazed by how much of the conservative world is ruled by appearances and superficial symbolism. For them, it's far, far more important to send the right message than to do the right thing.

It's so bad that they think you're a traitor for even considering an option that might possibly give our enemies a symbolic victory, and so the only options we're allowed to keep on the table are those that include outright victory in every conceivable sense (ie, a victorious war that shames all liberals into killing themselves). And as we've all seen, the "plans" they approve generally don't involve any actual plans, but instead just represent fantasy goals based upon overly optimistic scenarios which still aren't rosy enough to give them the success they insist we must wait for. Needless to say, this limits our options considerably...and our success even more so.

For example, it's better for Iran to continue to pimp anti-Americanism than it is for us to send the message that Iran is worthy enough to talk to us directly. Of course, the real reason why conservatives say that Iran doesn't deserve to talk to us is because they WANT Iran to pimp anti-Americanism, which will get us all the closer to the invasion these war mongers so desperately desire; but that's not what they say. They say it's all about sending messages, and we're supposed to be dumb enough that we find this persuasive.

And that's not to mention our idiotic policy of staying in Iraq as a way of preventing Osama from declaring a symbolic victory over us, rather than leaving Iraq and putting an end to his on-going strategic victory of us going there in the first place. Invading Iraq was one of the best things that Osama could have realistically hoped for, and we continue to give him that gift every day we stay. But for conservative bozos, the idea that Osama will taunt us for withdrawing is enough to make us stay there forever. I'm sure even after Bin Laden's death, they'd still want us to stay there; lest they imagine he'd laugh at them from Muslim Hell (which we all know is slightly better than the Hell awaiting us liberals).

But of course, I guess that's also not the real reason we stay in Iraq either. They need us to stay as their only way to rationalize the decision to go in the first place, and they don't care who has to die to keep that rationale. But still, the fact that they're always so willing to tout symbolic victories as reasons to do something is quite telling. But I suppose if they were smart enough to realize how embarrassing their rationalizations were, they wouldn't have been dumb enough to require them in the first place.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Appeasing Nutjobs

Wow. Chris Matthews really gave the smackdown to some punkass rightwing talk radio host. This wasn't hardball; this was dodgeball, except this jerkoff didn't have the brains enough to know how to dodge a god damn thing. Matthews nailed the guy head-on repeatedly and the guy was so dazed that he actually imagined that he could somehow shout his way out of the situation rather than shutting the fuck up and letting someone bail him out.

But the funniest thing about it was how it showed that these nutjobs really don't know what the hell they're talking about. Here he is, shouting about Obama being the next Neville Chamberlain and loudly praising Bush for making this point, yet...he clearly didn't know what the hell Chamberlain did wrong, beyond being an "appeaser." Not a clue. He couldn't even begin to answer Matthews' question. All he could do was repeat the words "appeasement," "appease," and "appeaser" and imagined that this was all anyone ever needs to know about Neville Chamberlain.

But to guys like this, that IS enough. This guy's like 45 years old, a lawyer, and a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, and didn't know the first thing about why Neville Chamberlain is infamous. And that's fine. Not everyone is a history buff. Not everyone cares about this stuff. I'm no snob to think that everyone needs to know what I know. But...if you're going to be insisting that somebody is doing "the exact same thing" as Chamberlain, you really should have some sort of fucking clue of what it was that Chamberlain did, beyond "appeasing" Hitler.

The Exact Same Thing

But it was obvious that he not only didn't have a clue what Chamberlain did wrong, he didn't even know what the word "appeasement" means. And that's why this is important. This isn't like when Matthews nailed my former mayor for not being able to name Obama's legislative accomplishments. This guy was on the show to specifically talk about the Obama-Chamberlain nexus, and how Obama did "the exact same thing" as Chamberlain yet...didn't know what that thing was.

For as much as he was clearly prepared to shout about how foolish Obama was, he clearly wasn't even the least bit prepared to actually say anything informative about it. For him, Obama is Chamberlain, Bush was right for saying so, and he had just planned on screaming about this for ten minutes straight without actually saying anything. And to be honest, I'm quite positive that the reason he shouted is because he knew he didn't have anything else and that he's one of those morons who imagines that a point becomes more convincing if it's made LOUDLY.

And more importantly, Chris Matthews' point was entirely right, because what Obama is suggesting is NOTHING like what Chamberlain did. Nor is Obama wanting to "appease" Iran at all. Because appeasement doesn't mean "being nice." Appeasement means you give in to your enemy's demands in the hope that it satisfies them and they'll be nice. And as Matthews pointed out, in Chamberlain's case it meant handing over an important part of Czechoslovakia.

And what did Obama suggest that is "the exact same thing"? Talking to Iran. That's it. Talking to Iran, a third-rate power that is just asking to be toppled from within, if only we'd stop propping them up with anti-American patriotism. And we're supposed to imagine that talking to them is the same as handing Czechoslovakia to Hitler. Right. And we're supposed to take these people seriously?

And let's not forget the last time these dopes kept sounding the Appeasement siren. Back then, it was when we were "appeasing" Saddam by slowly destroying his country. For these people, there are only two gears: Stop and Go. And "containment" surely doesn't exist in there. Remember, these are the bozos who hated our containment policy with the Soviets too, preferring a hot war over a cold one; but now pretend as if they were the ones who caused the Soviets to fall. And whaddya know, here we are after seven year of a macho Republican president, and the Russians are becoming more aggressive every day. Big surprise.

You Just Can't Please War-Mongers

And even then, appeasement isn't necessarily always a bad policy. In Hitler's case, it was a bad policy because he was a war-monger who really only wanted power and war. And he was actually upset at the appeasement given to him, because he didn't want to be appeased. He wanted war. And nothing could stop him from that. Appeasement didn't "energize" or "legitimize" Hitler, as this doofus suggested to Matthews. He was intent on war, and while giving him Czechoslovakia helped him immensely, it didn't cause WWII. It didn't make him more aggressive. He wanted war from the start, and a big reason why giving him Czechoslovakia didn't help is because that's not really what he wanted. That was a fake demand, used as an excuse to act aggressive. He wanted war.

But that in no way suggests that you can never give in to your enemy's demands. It didn't work with Hitler because they didn't actually fulfill Hitler's demands. But if your enemy has a real grievance they want resolved, giving it to them can satisfy them. Or at a minimum, it can pull the rug out from under their aggressive rhetoric and deny them the ability to continue to push their points. Of course, this is all difficult, nuanced stuff, which I guess is why wingnuts never understand the purpose of diplomacy in the first place. Their idea of nuance is a fart joke that involves them farting in your face and then mocking you for complaining about it.

And what's so funny is that this rightwing douchebag wasn't re-living the past, where he's seeing Chamberlains everywhere, based upon what happened in the past. Rather, he's wanting to attack Obama and casting Chamberlain's actions in the same light as a way to attack Obama. Because the criticism of not wanting to "legitimizing" your enemy isn't part of appeasement at all, That's just a neo-con creation as a way to stifle diplomacy. And what's ironic is that this was Hitler's attitude too. No moral equivalence suggested here, but it's our own war-mongers who are repeating Hitler's strategies, and the only way Obama would be the "appeaser" here is if he gave into their demands and launched the war against Iran they desire.

They may scream about appeasers and Iranians training Sunnis and any number of other phony issues, but at the end of the day, it's all about the bombs. They want people to die and they'll say whatever they think they need to in order to get it. Heck, that's a big way that Bill Clinton's Iraqi policy amounted to appeasement. He gave the neo-cons the tough embargoes, inspections, and bomb missions they demanded, but could never satisfy them because it was really all about war. And then, all it took was a new president to start up where Bill left off, and now we're trapped in eternal war that will be blamed on us when we pull the plug and admit that it was a huge failure.

And the lesson for that is the same one we learned from Winston Churchill: You can appease your enemies in the short-term, but if you don't have a long-term plan to deal with them, you're just delaying the inevitable.

Oh, and as a piece of advice: When Chris Matthews asks why you're screaming, you're a nutjob.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wizard for President

Wow, I had no idea that it could work like this, but seeing as how John McCain has so much more experience than I do, I guess I'll just have to believe him when he suggests that dreams really can come true . I'm of course referring to John McCain's vision of how his first term as president will end in 2013. To summarize...

For Iraq:
Most Troops Home
Functioning Democracy/Government
Civil War Averted
Militias Disbanded
Professional & Competent Iraqi Security
Al Qaeda in Iraq "Defeated"

Taliban "Reduced" but not "Eliminated"
Mere Remnants of Al Qaeda
Cooperative Pakistan
Capture/Death of Bin Laden
America Loved Worldwide
and, of course
Ponies For Everyone

Wow. How ambitious. I honestly had no idea. I had thought that McCain wanted to continue to slog through war in Iraq for 10,000 years and that he'd continue with the Bush-Cheney Doctrine of alienating every country on the face of the earth. But I realize that was entirely wrong. While Bush and Cheney had a vision whereby they'd screw everything up and it'd go down the toilet, it seems McCain has a different vision, where he fixes everything and makes it work. Who'd have thought?

I really wish he had said this sooner, as I've been wasting a lot of time supporting Obama, when I could have been supporting McCain the Wizard. It's obvious he's not only clairvoyant, but can clearly bend the minds of men as well as make the impossible possible simply by wanting it to happen. And with that in mind, I decided to come up with my own list of what I'd like Wizard McCain to work on (in no particular order):

Disneyworld Everywhere
No More Hunger, Disease, or Tabloid Journalism
Floating Cars That Use Dirty Air As Fuel and Emit Clean Air
Fat-Free Twinkies That Taste Like Twinkies Did When I Was A Kid
No Fat Chicks

I mean hell, if McCain can suggest that "al Qaeda in Iraq has been defeated" is a serious prediction, then why the hell can't I ask for this other stuff? In fact, I find it odd that McCain suggests that the Taliban won't be "eliminated" and that al Qaeda will still have remnants, but that AQI will be outright "defeated." But hey, he's the dude with the crystal balls, so who the hell am I to dispute it?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Doing God's Work, and Vice Versa

Well, it looks like the Catholic Church isn't "the great whore" loony preacher and McCain buddy John Hagee thought it was. Well what do you know? Josh Marshall went on to ask if Hagee would also recant on the whole Blame God First explanation of anti-US terrorism, though I suspect that the lobby to make that happen isn't as strong as the pro-Catholic backlash he faced. Remember, it's ok for God to hate America from the right. After all, He is a Republican.

As Hagee says:
"I better understand that reference to the Roman Catholic Church as the "apostate church" and the "great whore" described in the Book of Revelation is a rhetorical device long employed in anti-Catholic literature and commentary."

But what's odd is that in this admission he's really saying something that religious folks like him aren't supposed to say: Their beliefs came from fellow humans and not directly from the Big Guy himself. And while I don't think there's anything wrong with that and am glad to see this kind of thing made explicit, it rarely is ever said. We're all supposed to believe that a great majority of Christians, as well as Jews, Muslims and other religious folks get their beliefs directly from God and therefore can't be questioned. It's not their choice, they say. They're just doing what's required of them. can this be? How can it be that almost all these people just so happen to have gotten a message that corresponds directly with the one their church and preachers told them, and that these messages from God so rarely correspond with what the people in the other churchs are told? Coincidence? That seems unlikely. And sure, if you believed that your church wasn't telling you God's true message, you'd just change churches. But that's usually quite rare to switch to an entirely different church from the one you were raised in, and even still, you're the one doing the deciding on which church is the right one. You can credit God for the choice, but you're the one deciding that this is what he wants.

But of course the truth is exactly what Hagee admitted it was: They get these ideas from other people and that they can be flawed. Deeply and terribly flawed. And the reason why the Bible fits so perfectly into their lives is because that's the way they intrepret it. Even a hugely influential preacher like Hagee can make the mistake of listening to man's intrepretations and completely go off the rails with what he imagines the book says. He even admits that his belief that the Catholic Church was what was being referred to in the Book of Revelations was inconsistent with his other beliefs, but somehow it took a political firestorm for him to admit it.

Doubting Thomas

And again, I find no problem with that at all. I don't know if there are any gods or not. For all I know, the bible is 100% accurate and that one or more of these churches out there is intrepreting it 100% correctly. Or maybe there's no God, but that the bible still has wonderful messages that can help people live a better life. I have no problem accepting that. I myself don't have any god or bible, yet think I'm doing a pretty darn good job living my life and definitely think man is smart enough to figure this stuff out on his own. And so if someone becomes a better person from having read the bible, good for them. I'm all for self-improvement.

My only problem is with the people who absolutely insist that they've got God in their corner and that this backs up their beliefs, statements, and actions on everything. I find that kind of thing to be more than a little scary. Because the only thing that tells them that this is true is themselves and they firmly believe that if they doubt it at all that they've committed some sort of sin, and that self-doubt makes it so that God isn't on their side.

And while I'm not completely sold on the idea that President Bush is a religious man who bases his actions on the Thou Shalt Not Doubt system of beliefs, I've seen enough evidence that I wouldn't be surprised to find out it was true. And if anything, I suspect that he's like too many other religious people in our country, who adopt the parts of religion they like and eschew the rest. And again, while that's not necessarily a problem, it sure does cast a few doubts as to who the one making the decision here is. You can claim to be doing God's work, but in the end, you're the one deciding what that job entailed.

New Government Study: Pot Smokers Can't Count

In an article about a government study on the dangers of pot smoking:
The marijuana users in the study averaged smoking 78 to 350 marijuana cigarettes per week, based on self-reported drug history, the researchers said.

Uhm, that's like between 11 and 50 joints a day...every day. They're trying to tell me that somebody out there smokes 50 joints every day. Even 11 every day seems a bit much, but...50? Haven't they ever heard of a bong? Either somebody's getting a bit too high to count, or these people are the worst liars in the world.

Of course, there's a likely chance that the participants meant "bong hits" or something, which the researchers mistranslated into "marijuana cigarettes" because it sounds more clinical than having to write the word "bong" repeatedly in their report. And while that would still be a lot of pot smoking, it's not nearly as ludicrous as 50 joints a day. Or perhaps they're just exagerrating because it makes them seem cool, but again, I wonder how much of this was just stoners pulling the government's leg. But these studies always seem to list the amount smoked by number of "marijuana cigarettes," yet few of the bigtime stoners I've known in my life ever smoked joints on a regular basis; mainly because joints are so wasteful and the paper is detrimental to their health.

And naturally, the study's conclusion is a bit suspect, as they're comparing super-heavy-duty pot smokers with non-pot smokers, and trying to conclude that it's the pot smoke that's making their blood a little fattier. But maybe it's just a basic correlation, in that people who smoke 50 joints a day are less likely to take care of themselves as much as people who don't smoke pot. Or if nothing else, maybe it's just the munchies, which could certainly be put into the side-effect category, but wouldn't represent a direct threat to those with will power to resist it. You'd think they'd at least have compared them with non-chronic pot-smokers. You know, the folks who only smoke 5-10 joints a day.

One Habit per Person

But these are the kinds of studies that I hate. The ones that look at after-the-fact data and make sweeping conclusions that their data can't possibly prove. I'm not sure why researchers haven't clued into the fact that people generally have more than one habit, and that people with one bad habit are likely to have other bad habits; which makes it harder to conclude which bad habit was the culprit. But I kind of suspect that many of these researchers might actually prefer to have these correlated factors making their test subjects less healthy, as it makes it easier for them to find the results they were looking for.

And call me crazy, but I kind of suspect that researchers from The National Institute on Drug Abuse might not be the least biased researchers in the world when it comes to drug research; which might explain why they decided to test pot smokers who were too stoned to count properly. But it let them conclude that "Chronic marijuana abuse is not so benign," which is all they wanted in the first place; and for this we paid lots and lots of money.

Damn, and to think, I was just about to start up a 50 joint a day habit. But not now, now that I realize I'd be at increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Whew! Really dodged that bullet. Now if they could just put this info on the side of the marijuana cigarette packs...

Monday, May 12, 2008

We're Saved!!

Just saw a headline on Yahoo's homepage:
President says Jenna married a 'good guy'

Whew! That was a big concern of mine. That isn't actually the headline for the story...yet. But we can hope. People need to know.

Oops, just checked my Bush Propaganda Decoder Ring. Turns out that this means Jenna's new husband is the guy responsible for creating cancer. Dammit! Why couldn't she have married a "heckeva guy," which only means he's responsible for not stopping disasters? Why'd she have to go for the "good" guy?

And reporters sure have weird standards. The article mentioned that the wedding was "bi-partisan" because the minister had endorsed Obama. And isn't that just the way it is? Sure, both families are Republican, including a family that has two Republican presidents in it, but it's "bi-partisan" just because somebody involved was a Democrat. Typical.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Clark for VP

If you tell me that Wesley Clark won't be our next Vice President, I will punch you in the face. That's my promise to you.

Elitist Populism

Well dammit, it looks like there's yet more evidence I can't be president: I don't cry enough.

Last time, it was Peggy Noonan who alerted me to the fact that real Americans get "misty-eyed" when they think of Henry Ford; unlike America-haters like me and Obama, who don't. And now? Well apparently, former presidential speechwriters have cornered the market on this, as we now have former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson explaining why Obama's explanation on why he doesn't wear a flag pin is not only elitist (because only professor-types bother explaining themselves), but unpresidential.

As he says:
A president is expected to be a patriotic symbol himself, not the arbiter of patriotic symbols. He is supposed to be the face-painted superfan at every home game; to wear red, white and blue boxers on special marital occasions; to get misty-eyed during the most obscure patriotic hymns.

And again with the misty eyes! I'm not sure why Republicans don't talk more about how much they cry, but perhaps it might help show their softer side. Couldn't be any worse than the corruption and incompetence angle they've been pushing thus far, right? And should we take it as given that Bush wears American flag boxers when he has sex? Not that this is something I want to really think about, but do you think they're made out of real American flags? And do you think he also wears tighty-whities made out of the actual Constitution; or is it enough that he uses it as toilet paper?

Insulting the Rubes

And overall, I'm not sure why folks like Gerson and Clinton still think that anti-intellectualism is a big selling point now that our Idiot President is so extremely unpopular, but I'd really like it if they continue to talk-up Obama's intelligence. This is the political equivalent of trying to market the McTransFat sandwich, now that everyone else is trying to get rid of the stuff. And of course, the big joke is that the guy who treats voters as if they're intelligent enough to understand nuanced points is called an elitist, while the people who think voters are so dumb that they'll hate anyone who bothers explaining themselves pretend to be one of them.

And while there remains a conventional wisdom that says Americans are dumb, I'd like to point out that Bill Clinton was popular throughout most of his presidency, and remains one of the most popular presidents in history; while Bush has been extremely unpopular for much of his presidency, and is now one of the most hated presidents in history. And all despite the fact that the corporate media utterly savaged Clinton and still has a soft spot for Bush, who they once considered to be the second coming of Jesus.

This alone should be enough to make people reevaluate the theory of the stupid American. Call me crazy, but I not only think people will prefer to have a smart president, but one who thinks they're smart too. This election is between a man who respects our intelligence and another who hopes to take advantage of our ignorance, so it's nice to see Republicans like Gerson making the case on Obama's behalf like this; even if he does so unintentionally.

Swimming with Sharks

There’s an old joke that suggests that the reason why it’s safe for lawyers to swim with sharks is due to professional courtesy. And it’s funny because it’s true: Sharks don’t eat lawyers.

But I wonder if this is at least partly why conservatives have become so enamored with Hillary. I mean sure, they like the fact that she’s helping to injure our next President, but it’s not like they had similar feelings for any other Dem back when they thought Hillary was going to be president. They were already talking about Hillary being the Dem nominee as far back as 2004, and none of them seemed interested in supporting a Democratic challenger to hurt her. They assumed Hills would be our default nominee, and couldn’t wait to attack her in the general election.

So while I’m sure this new admiration of her is somewhat self-serving, particularly as even they know that she doesn’t have any chance of winning; I don’t think that explains it all. I wonder if a big part of it is a professional courtesy of sorts, where they’re finally appreciating the fact that Hillary’s really not so different from them after all. While they finally seem to have learned the lesson that the Big Dog had teeth and respected him the way a lab rat learns to “respect” the cheese that keeps shocking them; they always despised Hillary. But now…well, now it just seems like maybe Hills is really just one of them.

And again, I’m sure this is partly due to them having a common enemy. But I think that really just gave them the opening to finally let down their guard and reevaluate their opinion of her. Because she really is just like them, particularly with their fantasyland attitude towards life. She’s whatever she wants to be, at any given time, and feels no sense of shame or realization of how obviously disgraceful she’s behaving. There’s just this attitude that, as long as you act like you’ve gotten away with something, you have. Sure, the whole world might consider you a fraud, but as long as you act like you believe in yourself, they can never defeat you. And they convince themselves that, as long as they keep their charade going, they’ve won and the only people who say otherwise are “haters” trying to tear them down; and that defeat can only happen if they admit that it happened. These people really are that self-delusional, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing in Hillary.

And so I wonder if that’s a bit of this. Without a doubt, any enemy of their enemy is a friend, and it’s quite possible that their hatred of liberals has gotten them more interested in her, as they’ll embrace anything we dislike; but there’s definitely more here than just that. I think they’ve finally had a reason to reevaluate their opinion of Hillary, and dammit, they see someone who’s just like them. And they kind of like it.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Wright Situation

One of the important things that came out of last night's primaries is the knowledge that, apparently, Obama would have won with a LANDSLIDE in Indiana, if only the problem with Wright hadn't come up.

Because exit polls show that a strong majority of the people there who voted for Hillary thought the Wright thing was important. And the main people willing to vote for Obama were those who didn't think it was important. And that can mean only one thing: Almost all of them were going to vote for Obama, but it just so happened that this one issue arose and made them vote the way people in their demographic have voted in previous primaries. How unfortunate for him that this controversy arose when it did, huh. He was just about to win these people over.

And what's odd about that is that these happened to be the same people who always vote for Hillary. In fact, a cynic might say that people's opinion of Wright's importance was based upon their decision of who to vote for, and not vice versa. And that people were only "influenced" by the Wright controversy if they already disliked Obama or favored Clinton, and that it was their choice of candidates that prejudiced their thinking on the issue. Or that perhaps it was the reverse, and that the people who liked Obama were prejudiced to ignore the issue. And that perhaps this is how many "controversies" and "big issues" actually play out in the real world, and that the things voters report to pollsters as the "reason" they voted for something is, in actuality, just a rationalization of their beliefs, which are far more abstract than even they realize.

But there's no way this is the case. After all, Beth Fouhy writes for the AP, and she wrote that "Exit polls showed the Wright imbroglio did influence about half the voters in both states as they weighed which candidate to choose." Oddly, the only number which would constitute the "half" she speaks of is the number of people who said the situation with Wright was "important." Yet 30% of Indianians and 41% of North Carolinaians who thought the situation was "important" voted for Obama.

Does this mean that the situation influenced them to vote for Obama, and they liked the controversy? Who knows? Fouhy didn't deign to explain this logic to us and I'm obviously too dumb to understand how that works. But they said it was important, so it's obvious their opinions were influenced in some manner.

Conservatives Heart Hillary

And in case you don't think Fouhy's one sentence on this is convincing enough, I'll cite another unbiased source: Conservative nutjob and Biobrain-stalker Donald Douglas, of the famed American Power blog, who writes "Not only that, Clinton's benefiting from further electoral fallout to Barack Obama from the toxic Jeremiah Wright controversy."

As evidence of this, he cites ABC News, which said that of the 46% of Indianians who thought the Wright issue was important, 70% voted for Hillary. And that means that a full 32% may have been influenced by this issue! Same with North Carolina, where 27% of voters thought it was important and voted for Hillary! How toxic!!

Douglas, in his infinite wisdom, offers advice to Hillary to continue to push negative personal attacks on Obama and his wife as the best course of action. And that makes sense, seeing as how that ABC story he cites said that 65% of people polled thought Hillary's attacks were "unfair," including 40% of the people who voted for her. So let's see, 32% of voters supported Hillary and thought the Wright thing was important, while 26% of voters supported Hillary yet still thought her attacks were unfair. And what's Douglas' sage advice? More personal attacks. Brilliant.

Dishonest, Untrustworthy

Did I mention that Hillary's numbers on being "honest and trustworthy" were low, even in the state she "won", and was at 49% in North Carolina? When near majorities of the people in your own party can't trust's time for more personal attacks on your more popular and trustworthy adversary. Right. What's sad is that if Hillary continues with her quixotic campaign, this is probably the strategy she will take. But that just makes sense, seeing as how she's surrounded herself with Republican-minded advisers who haven't a clue how to run an honest campaign.

But again, the point here is obvious: Wright matters. And we know this because a minority of those polled said it was "important" and voted for Hillary, and those happened to be the same people who always support Hillary over Obama. Sure, some would say that because traditional Obama voters continued to support him that this would indicate that the Wright thing wasn't influential at all, but what would they know?

Sure, that's how the numbers look, but what's the fun in that? The media and conservatives want to continue hammering on this point that seems to have no impact on the election, and by god, they're going to get their impact whether it's real or not!

Dewey Defeats Obama

Wow. Schadenfreude has a new definition tonight. I don't think I've been to the Democratic Underground before, but saw a link to an early post from Seabiscuit, apparently some Clinton supporter who declared a "Wipeout" victory for Hillary, with only 26% of the vote counted and a 14-point lead.

And at first, it was funny, as people tried to explain to the guy that the results were still early and that the more urban Obama areas hadn't been counted yet; which was dismissed by Seabiscuit as being "projection fantasy disorder." And as the night progressed, it got downright hilarious, as everyone piled on Seabiscuit and Seabiscuit posted less frequently. They even started an effort to make it a heavily rec'd post, so it would go down as one of the "greatest pages" or whatever. I guess it's an Underground thing.

And then it just got sad. Sad in a hilarious, hilarious sense, but still sad. Even now, I feel ashamed for the gloating feeling I have over some commenter I don't even know. I mean, this guy should be ruined. He was just soooooo fucking smug, and by the time he tried to pass it off as a joke, you could tell it was sinking in. And then they started making fun of him for trying to pass it off as a joke. And then he just stopped commenting, but the piling on didn't. As of right now, there were 373 posts, with 18 more being added since I started writing this. And I doubt they'll stop. I don't know who this Sea Biscuit person is, but I suspect it's time for someone to get a new profile.

And while this wasn't the best photo-job I've ever seen, it was pretty damn funny. Thanks, BlooInBloo; whoever you are.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Summer is Real Hot

Via David Kurtz, I see President Bush is still an idiot. Not that I expect President-Elect Obama to have such stirring words when giving fluffcake interviews for Good Morning America, but this sort of mindnumbing banality is just too much.

Joined by the first lady, [Bush] fields hard-hitting questions about . . . the White House grounds. "It's a beautiful place," the president discloses. "In the spring, the flowers are fantastic. In the fall, the -- it's just such a -- kind of a place that's so fresh. In the winter, of course, it's got a lot of snow. [Laughter.] Summer is real hot, but it's -- we love it out here. It's beautiful."

Huh. Summer is real hot. Winter's got a lot of snow. Geez, I haven't heard such stirring revelations since my daughter's kindergarten class did a project on the seasons; and that included drawings. Again, under the circumstances I'm not expecting the fricking Gettysburg Address, but come fucking on. This guy's an idiot. No wonder they're sending out Laura to make statements condemning the Burmese government, lest we be informed that "cyclones are windy" and "death is bad."

And as Dana Milbank points out, it was a whole lot less likely reporters would have asked Laura about Bush's own failures regarding a certain hurricane that he was the last person in America to hear about. And that's one of Bush's biggest problems: His reverse-Midas touch is so bad that he really can't say anything without burying himself deeper.

Down with Plush!

By god, Hillary's right:
"We’re going to go right at OPEC," she said. "They can no longer be a cartel, a monopoly that get together once every couple of months in some conference room in some plush place in the world, they decide how much oil they’re going to produce and what price they’re going to put it at," she told a crowd at a firehouse in Merrillville, IN.

Too true. How dare they get together in their plush places and decide how much they get to sell their resources for! From now on, it's caves for all them A-Rabs!! Or at least a less plush place in the world, like a Best Western somewhere in Idaho. See how they like them conference rooms.

What's next? Will Hillary start demagoguing the fancy bottled waters these people drink while setting oil production rates? Or will she evoke the luxurious stretch SUV's that I'm sure these Arabs use before deciding how much of our money to steal? This is really too much. I'm not sure how much "Hillary the Wonk" was a real thing and always kind of thought it was just a memorization game, but "Hillary the Dumb Populist" is really too much. Plush places, indeed. Not that I'm so big into supporting OPEC, but this whole "plush places" bullshit is really just insulting. Especially as she knows as well as we do that she can't do a damn thing to stop OPEC from doing whatever the hell it wants, and that she's just playing us all like idiots. Harrumph!

The worst part is that I'm sure none of this bothers her in the least. She's doing what she has to do, and she'll never wake up one morning and feel as truly ashamed of herself as she really should. And when she loses, which she will, she'll blame all of us dumb rubes for not being dumb enough to fall for her stupid gimmicks and lamebrained faux-populism. For as much as the Hillary people imagine that they're finally helping vet Obama after too much glowing press, it's obvious that Hillary's the one who's finally being forced to show her true colors; and I for one am glad to see that we dodged this bullet. Four years of this bullshit would have killed me.

Monday, May 05, 2008


Whenever I meet someone, I immediately alert them to the fact that if they screw with me or my friends, I will obliterate them. So far, it's worked out pretty well and I haven't had to obliterate anyone yet. Do you know why? Because I let people know beforehand what would happen if they screwed with me. That's why.

There's no better way to start a relationship than with a direct threat. Sure, they may know the threat exists. But it works better if you make it explicit. Trust me, I've been doing this for years. No one screws with me or my friends. Period.

The Lions with the Lambs

I've never been a big fan of the Clintons. When Bill first took office, I was a dittohead who despised them. And then at some point, I became a Democrat and I specifically registered to vote for the first time in order to re-elect Bill. But I was still never a big Clinton fan. I supported them because I had to, not because I wanted to. I didn't agree with a lot of what he did, in particular his embrace of conservative policies. Especially as he was put forth as the liberal stalwart, and so the further to the right he went, so shifted the entire political spectrum. But all the same, he was better than the alternative, and that's what I said at the time.

But without a doubt, conservatives hated the Clintons. Sheer hatred. And I've always believed that hatred to be eternal. Sure, they hated Bill because he was the Democratic president and they needed to hate him. But I always assumed it went beyond that. Or at least, after their initial revulsion set in, that the hatred had become eternal.

But with the Democratic race stretching on, one thing has become clear to me: Conservatives are actually quite the pragmatists. Sure, not all of them. Some of them have memories that stretch beyond yesterday. But most of them seem to have completely tossed their Clinton Derangement aside so much so that they've actually begun to embrace the Clintons. And it's one thing to see this from the Rush Limbaughs and Bill O'Reillys, who I've always known to be con-artists playing a game on the rubes. But I always thought the rubes had more integrity than this...or at least longer memories.

And looking back, I don't know why I thought that. Because most of them seem to have completely tossed their hatred aside and have actively embraced Hillary. Hillary! For as much as they hated the Clintons, it was always Hillary most of all that they hated. And they insisted that Hillary was really running the show, and that Hillary was the object d'hatred. And I understood that. For all of Bill's flaws, he had a certain lying charm that helped you forgive him. But Hillary never did. While Bill could shoot all-net without looking, even the shots that Hillary made were clunkers (that's a basketball analogy, don't you know).

And while you might be upset at the horrible position Bill got you in with his lies on not inhaling and whom he didn't have sex with, you understood. That was Bill being Bill and you forgave him. But not with Hillary. When you grinned at the lies Hillary told, it was out of a hostile politeness and not because you got fooled. She was part of the Clinton package, and you accepted her because you had to. And while I never had a hostile opinion of either Bill or Hillary, neither would have been invited to my Christmas potluck if I had a Christmas potluck; and if I had to have one over, it would have been Bill. Hillary has always struck me as being a little weird; a little fake. Bill might be lying to you, but Hillary could make the truth sound phony.

But just don't know what to think. Because while I always thought the conservative hatred of Hillary was invented, I thought it was enduring. But now I see it was as much a sham as anything else about them. They believe whatever they need to believe, and they'll rub your face in their arrogant flip-flopping and pretend that you're the one who changed. But while I never was a big admirer of the Clintons, this totally took me by surprise. It's one thing to see the con-artist wingnut elite embrace Hillary. It's another thing to see the rubes themselves act like it was their own idea the whole time.

And what's sad is that they don't even know how it happened and can't even explain it. They've just somehow all internalized the idea that Hillary's alright, and they're going with it. Obama's the new Billary, and all is right. The new enemy is the same as the old enemy, and the old enemy is now friends. Weird. I can understand why an Obama person might feel betrayed by Hillary's outrageous performance, and why a Hillary person might feel betrayed by Obama's usurpation. But conservatives embracing Hillary? The end is nigh!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

If We Had a President...

What the hell is Hillary Clinton talking about?

"Senator McCain has said take off the gas tax, don't pay for it, throw us further into deficit and debt. That is not what I've proposed," Clinton said, adding that she wants the oil companies to pay the gas tax instead of consumers this summer.

Pressed to name an economist who supports such a holiday, Clinton demurred. "I'm not going to put my lot in with economists because I know if we did it right, if we actually did it right, if we had a president who used all the tools of his presidency, we would decide it in such a way that it would be implemented effectively."

Uhm, does Hillary know something we don't know? Because she was talking about implementing the plan "this summer," but goes on to talk about using the tools of the presidency to do it right. Surely she's talking about Bush doing this, but there isn't a chance in hell that Bush would do this. In fact, I have no doubts he'd veto the plan. So she's basically saying that she has some secret plan that nobody else knows about that won't possibly be implemented. And we're supposed to take her seriously because...?

Is she perhaps suggesting that there might be some way she could become president in time to implement this policy in time for Memorial Day? Not that I suppose it would be such a bad thing to replace Bush before he's allowed to complete his final year, but I'm not quite sure that there are any good options of making that happen. And does she even mention how the plan could be done "right"? No. I'm guessing it involves some temporary suspension of the laws of supply & demand, though I'm not sure that even Bush's vast expansion of executive powers was enough to grant her that authority. This sort of thing would surely reside in the fourth branch of government, and I've just been assured by Lord Cheney that it is absolutely impossible for his power to be usurped within his first fifty-year term.

And it's embarrassing enough when her supporters suggest that every economist is wrong about this, but for her to suggest it is absolutely nuts. I'm sure it must suck to have all the experts disagree with you, including the ones who support you, but that's no reason to go into Rush Limbaugh territory and pretend as if you've got some secret weapon that the experts just haven't thought of. Especially as the secret weapon in this case are magical presidential powers that the actual president would strongly oppose using.

But it's quite obvious that Hillary abandoned actual reality right around the time of the Iowa caucuses, though there are many signs which indicate that "Hillaryland" has always existed outside the restraints of our dimension. Even her continued campaign is a sure example of wishful thinking, which is the hallmark of the conservative movement. While her actual strategies have been horrible, her ability to say anything without being limited by the boundaries of reality has been both a blessing and a curse.

Beating Guam

I just defeated Guam in a five hour armwrestling match. That means Guam would lose to American Samoa in the general election. Guam must be defeated.

Guam is out of touch with the regular people. Guam is effete.

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Hillary Compass

One of the scary things about conservatives is how almost the entire conservative world realigned into a Bush-centric perspective, which completely abandoned all previous conservative theory, yet still considered itself to be pure to its original intentions. In a sense, they all set their ideological compasses to reflect that Bush was the new North without even realizing it.

Sure, they used to demand small government, balanced budgets, strict Constitional adherence, and insisted that America wasn't "the policeman of the world." But once BushCheney wanted a powerful government, busted budgets, Constitution-sized toilet paper, and world domination; all that flew out the window and these people didn't bat an eye. They completely betrayed ideas which they insisted were the core of their beliefs, simply because they needed to continue supporting Bush. Even supply-side economic theory was essentially left behind, as they had no problem following Bush's lead in explaining that taxcuts were good for the economy because they allowed rich people to spend more money; which is the essence of demand-side economics. It's actually a bad example of demand-side economics, as there are much more efficient ways of fixing the economy than giving money to rich people; but it's not supply-side no matter who gets the money.

It got so bad that a nobody Congressman like Ron Paul could obtain a relatively sizeable national following, simply because he didn't realign with the rest of them. And most conservatives HATE Ron Paul for that. And oddly enough, some liberals became so misaligned with Bush that they actually started supporting Paul, seemingly unaware that he was an ultra-conservative. I suspect this is the reason the Paul people were so rabid; because they're the ones who would be too stubborn to follow Bush and the neo-cons.

The Cult of Hillary

And I mention this because I've now just realized that Hillary people have done the same damn thing with her. In a discussion of the Hillary-McCain Gas Tax Pander, Mary, a diehard Hillary supporter at Carpetbagger's, has completely reinvented economic theory in order to justify Hillary's plan. And apparently, since all economists insist that Hillary's plan is a bad idea, they're all wrong AND they're Obama supporters who only say these things because they hate Hillary. All of them.

And while she had already been saying this before, she got new life after reading TPM's David Kurtz, who pointed out that if all these economists are right, than the market must be broken. But somehow, Mary reintrepreted his words into meaning that because the economists' theories dictate that the oil markets are broken, this shows that the economists are wrong because the market isn't broken. But of course, that wasn't his point. His point was that he agreed with the economists and that the market is broken.

And of course, it is. And that's in accordance with economic theory: Because demand is so inelastic in the short-term, suppliers can dictate their prices; particularly because it's so easy for them to coordinate their prices and there is no reason to compete against each other. And what's odd is that Mary knows that prices are inelastic (though she never uses that word), and insists that this means that the gas companies won't raise their prices to eat-up the savings. No, I don't understand that either. I mean, if they get to set their prices, which they do, why wouldn't they just absorb our savings too?

Bad Plan, Poorly Executed

But it's obvious that this has nothing to do with the genius of the plan, and I'm quite positive Mary would rather be on the side of the economists if she could. But, she has to back-up Hillary no matter what, so that means she has to invent her own economic theories to justify what appears to be a taxcut which benefits the rich, that economists say is meaningless, and that wouldn't be very much money even if it worked.

I mean, it basically amounts to being the same thing as the rebate checks we'll be getting, except this is based upon gasoline consumption and not income. So while a married family with two kids earning $4000 a year will get $1200 from their rebate check, they can only expect about $35 or so in gas savings over the course of three months. And the real beneficiaries of the gas tax cut would be gas-guzzling rich people who commute from the suburbs in their obnoxiously large SUV. And some schlub who bikes to work every day won't see any direct savings at all. But of course, that's assuming the oil companies didn't sap all the savings first.

And as even Mary has suggested, this bill has no chance of passing. But of course, there is no bill. And while she puts it in conspiratorial terms because Pelosi is a Obama supporter, neither Hillary or McCain has even bothered writing a bill on this; despite the fact that they said they wanted it to start later this month. So essentially, Hillary's invented yet another non-issue to use as a rightwing talking point to beat up Obama, and we're supposed to talk about how caring and brave she is for doing this. And all this shows that Obama is callous and pandering, because he agrees with the experts and isn't trying to help people save $30.

As it was with Bush, the Hillary supporters have realigned their ideological compass so that they point towards Hillary, and if Hillary appears to be going in the wrong direction, it's everyone else in the world who is wrong.

Rice Has a Hunch

Let's bomb Iran. What other choice do we have? Condi Rice, one of a brave cadre of foreign policy experts who have yet to be proven wrong about anything in a court of law that wasn't biased against them, has suspicions that Iran isn't being honest about it's nuclear aspirations. Iran "says" they're not seeking nuclear weapons, but...what if they are?

And just look what happened with Iraq: Saddam behaved in ways that these foreign policy experts found completely inscrutable and it turns out that his nuclear program was so covert that we still haven't found it. It's obvious that the "what do they have to hide" school of deduction is much more accurate than any of this actual "finding weapons" nonsense the peaceniks demand.

After all, if our enemies can't prove that they're not up to no good beyond a suspicion of a doubt, it's obvious they're up to no good. Because secrecy is only the tool of evil, which is why our government is so completely forthright about everything, with the obvious exception of anything that Dick Cheney is involved in. But hey, we can't give away all our secrets, can we? Besides, it's ok for us to manipulate other countries and constantly hide our true intent because we're the good guys. But we know that bad guys are up to no good when they do this kind of stuff, because they're the bad guys. That's why we have to punish them.

Give Her a Scooby Snack

Rice, displaying all the canniness of Thelma on Scooby Doo said "I continue to suspect this is not at all about a civil nuclear program" and "One has to wonder what is going on here." Indeed, it would be irresponsible not to wonder.

And lest you believe this is more of the same saber rattling we've heard in the past, I should point out that the headline of the article said that Rice was raising "new doubts" on Iran's nuke program; so you can rest assurred that this is something new. The article failed to mention what exactly was so "new" about these doubts of Condi's, but I guess that would be redundant because it already said they were new in the headline.

Oh, and according to the article, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, "added more U.S. pressure on Iran" when he told an anti-Iranian Jewish group that Iran's evil ambitions were "the perfect nightmare." Wow, I'm sure Iran felt truly pressured by that comment. "He's on to us," they must be saying to themselves. As well as "Oh well, this pressure is too great. Let's stop being evil." You can bank on it. We've got them sweating now.

Playing the Game

Snark aside, I understand that it must be tough to be a newspaper reporter, and sometimes careless words sneak through, but this is absurd. Condi's "suspicions" are horrible jokes by someone with zero credibility and they're about as new as the Macarena. And the Admiral's comment was the standard scare-mongering these guys have been saying for decades. This wasn't even saber rattling; he was just trying to scare some Jews who already hated Iran into hating it even more. How does this constitute "pressure on Iran?"

The truth is that the only thing "new" here is that the warmongers got yet another reporter to carry their water and make the same old fearmongering sound fresh and threatening. But these people have no credibility whatsoever and only deserve our scorn. Even Admiral Mullen, who I know nothing of and who might be the finest military mind in existence, has no business trying to influence our foreign policy this way. This isn't the way the system is supposed to work. Because at this point, he's nothing but a Bush lackie; same as the others. Yet he's using his uniform to give authority to Bush's words that none of the rest of the lackies have.

But luckily, the rest of America isn't as foolish as this reporter and will continue to ignore all these scare tactics and dubious suspicions. We're all just waiting out the clock at this point. Even the warmongers are really just going through the motions. They say these things because they have to say these things. But even they know it's just a game at this point. They know they won't get their war, but they've got to play along all the same. And besides, after January, the only chance people are really going to want to listen to them is if they got called before Congress as part of some inquisition. This is all they've got left.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Fantasyland Fiscals

Well I just paid over $48 to fill up my gas tank, but dammit, if only there was a presidential candidate who could pander to my basest economic instincts and make it so I only had to pay $46 instead of $48. That'd not only make me feel happier, but the extra $2.48 would really have helped my typical American family. Why, I could have used it to buy a bag of porkrinds and a big can of Lonestar Beer. Or, if I was an elitist snob, to buy half a grande mocha latte with caramel shot at Starbucks. But god forbid that money actually go to fixing our roads. I gots to get my porkrinds.

And if there were more than one candidate willing to appeal to my base instincts with lame taxcuts that do little to actually help me financially, perhaps I should consider voting for the candidate with other dangerous taxcut policies. Like one who appeals to my Get Quick Rich fantasies of someday being a billionaire with a big fortune to give away to my kids. Sure, it's quite doubtful that the Death Tax will ever effect me personally, but what if it did? What if my wildest fantasies come true? Better to pick the candidate with the best tax panderings than to the ones who acknowledge reality and try to fix our problems instead of wishing them away.

And why stop there? If I'm willing to ignore reality for cheap pandering, why not go for the candidate who promises to give me everything? If I'm willing to forgo smart fiscal policy for cheap pandering, it's obvious I'm going to go all the way with this and ignore the candidate that only meets me halfway. Why take half my medicine if one of the candidates insists I don't need any at all? If I'm living in a fantasyworld, I want the whole fantasy, and won't just settle for one taxcut.

Basically, you either run as Republican-lite and get out-Republicaned in the general election, or you run as a Democrat and see how that plays out. And as we've seen, fantasyland Republicans are oh so popular right now, so it just makes sense to go with more of the fantasy.