Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sir Sanford and the Villainous Reality

Just wanted to address the whole Governor Sanford thing. My initial reaction to all this, before he confessed to everything, was that his disappearance was some sort of publicity stunt, in order to get his name out there. He had just fought a public battle, sort of against Obama, and now wanted to get even more publicity by disappearing after this epic struggle against socialism. And this would make him a national story even amongst those who don't follow politics, and make a name for himself as an alternative to Obama. Boy was I wrong about that.

And now I read this:
"This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story," Sanford said. "A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day."

During an emotional interview at his Statehouse office with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Sanford said Chapur is his soul mate but he's trying to fall back in love with his wife.
And this just confirms my suspicion that the dude really just wanted to get caught. He couldn't outright leave his wife, but part of him loved the romance so much that he sabotaged himself in order to eventually make everything public.

Because so much of what he did was absolutely stupid. Like leaving a love letter he had written in a place his wife could find it, then sending her to look for something that was in the same place. That's not just stupid, that's someone who wants to be caught. And heading to Argentina for a week was just nuts, particularly since he clearly didn't set the stage for his disappearance properly. Had he been back by Monday, no one would have noticed he was gone.

And even the quickness with which he decided to confess to everything points to a guy who wanted to be caught. He could have covered-up better than this. You'd be amazed at the lengths people will go to believe their heroes, and the dopes at RedState would MUCH rather have been lied to than to have heard the truth. He could have said that he was on a secret mission to free terrorist-fighting nuns and his supporters would have loudly insisted that anyone who doubted him was an anti-Catholic Islamofascist. Unlike with Senator Ensign, no confession was needed here.

Romantic Conservatives

Believe it or not, but conservatives are typically romantics at heart, which is why they live in a fantasy world that pits them as heroes against the forces of evil. And part of that romantic ideal for Sanford is that he's in a tragic love story that pits his demanding day job against his heart's true desires.

I don't doubt that he had already dreamed of that first emotional press conference confession many times, though I suspect he imagined it to be more romantic than it was. Possibly with his Argentine lover showing up and embracing him, while his wife stood on the side, nodding in approval, and the press corp applauding enthusiastically. His kids could even come running up and get a big hug from him and his mistress. It's straight out of a sappy movie, and by the end of it all, there wouldn't be a dry eye in the house.

Not that I think he thought such a situation was likely, but he wasn't living in a likely world. Conservatives rarely do. They live in a world of delusions and I strongly think that's where Sanford was with this. He got caught-up in a pipe dream which became so enticing to him that part of him purposefully sabotaged his career.

The Tranquility of Wilderness

He basically admitted to his romantic nature in one of his emails to her. I quote:
Got back an hour ago to civilization and am now in Columbia after what was for me a glorious break from reality down at the farm. No phones ringing and tangible evidence of a day’s labors. Though I have started every day by 6 this morning woke at 4:30, I guess since my body knew it was the last day, and I went out and ran the excavator with lights until the sun came up. To me, and I suspect no one else on earth, there is something wonderful about listening to country music playing in the cab, air conditioner running, the hum of a huge diesel engine in the background, the tranquility that comes with being in a virtual wilderness of trees and marsh, the day breaking and vibrant pink coming alive in the morning clouds — and getting to build something with each scoop of dirt.
Unlike most farmers, who consider their jobs to be real work, Sanford saw this as a "break from reality" and is foolish enough to imagine that he's the only one who needs a break from the stress of modern life. Because again, he's a romantic at heart. This wasn't about sex or a tawdry affair. This was true love with his mysterious South American soul mate. This was about romance and "escaping the norms." And deep down, this is how most conservatives feel. For as tough and d-baggy as they seem, underneath, they're all heroic knights, fighting back against a modern society that refuses to acknowledge their birthright as King of the Universe.

I'm sure even now, Sanford wants to be booted from office, so he can head back to his vibrant pink days and humming diesel engine. He can't go willingly, as that wouldn't be romantic. He needs for his enemies to conspire against him and force him to leave. That's what always happens to heroes. And he'd spend the rest of his days, working the soil like a real man, while his lover brought him freshly squeezed lemonade to drink in his excavator, and wiped the sweat off his brow with the hem of her homemade dress; which bulged with the child she was carrying.

But I suspect that he'd soon grow weary of life as a farmer, as he was really only interested in the romance of it all. Similarly, his mysterious Argentine would lose her mystery once they started living together and she started bitching about washing his filthy underwear. Dreams really are better than reality.

Debunking the 9/11 Debunker's Debunking

And speaking of 9/11 conspiracies, while researching that post, I happened upon a site which purported to debunk the Popular Mechanics article I linked to which debunked the conspiracies. And the debunking's debunking was really one of the shoddiest pieces of debunking I've seen since the last time I read a conspiracy theorist debunk anything.

It's titled Debunking Popular Mechanics' 9/11 Lies: Nepotism, bias, shoddy research and agenda-driven politics. And for as strong as that title is and as long as the piece is, it barely gets around to any sort of debunking at all. As expected, it's taken as assumed that the article is wrong, and barely mentions a few areas the article didn't cover; while the bulk of it consists of strong assertions about how fraudulent the piece is.

The first piece of evidence against the original debunking is that Popular Mechanics is owned by the Hearst Corporation, which was once owned by William Randolph Hearst, who "wrote the book on cronyism and yellow journalism." Needless to say, this undermines everything the magazine could possibly say. And just to be clear, Popular Mechanics started in 1911 and was bought by the Hearst Corporation in 1958, while William Hearst died in 1951; seven years before his company bought the magazine. So Hearst never actually owned Popular Mechanics at any time; even assuming this was a valid point against the magazine, which it isn't.

Now normally, people try to start this sort of thing with their best piece of evidence, rather than an entirely embarrassing point that serves no purpose whatsoever. But hey, we're not talking normal people here. We're talking conspiracy theorists, and when conspiracy theorists begin a point, they like to go with the longshot connection which stretches the reader's credibility to the point of breaking. After that, anything sounds plausible.

Too Many Chertoffs

And the second piece of evidence is that the piece was partly written by Benjamin Chertoff, an editor of Popular Mechanics who conspiracy theorists incorrectly believe to be a cousin of Michael Chertoff, a former head of the DHS. As they explain:
This means that Benjamin Chertoff was hired to write an article that would receive nationwide attention, about the veracity of the government's explanation of an event that led directly to the creation of Homeland Security, a body that his own cousin now heads.

This is unparalleled nepotism and completely dissolves the credibility of the article before one has even turned the first page.
Of course. Because Benjamin's cousin got a job three years after a terrorist attack and that job was created in order to prevent similar terrorist attacks, Benjamin lacks any credibility to write about that attack. It's not that they think Michael Chertoff had any responsibility whatsoever with stopping the attack or was directly involved with the cover-up of it, but because Michael became the second head of this agency, his cousin can't investigate it. And of course, they're not actually cousins. They just have the same last name.

And so the first two pieces of evidence against Popular Mechanics' article is that the magazine is owned by the company that William Randolph Hearst once owned and the article was written by a guy with the same last name of someone whose job was created to prevent similar attacks. And to think, people accuse conspiracy theorists of inventing ridiculous connections that don't exist.

The Question Crusade

Obama is an outrageous liar. How do I know this? Because when someone within his campaign created a forty-one page PDF suggesting that Obama biographer Jerome Corsi was a nut, they deleted one sentence from a quote Corsi said. Specifically, he was stating a fact about jet fuel which the liars at Popular Mechanics "claim" to have debunked, and said (emphasis mine):
The fire, from jet fuel, does not burn hot enough to produce the physical evidence that he's produced. so when you've got science that the hypothesis doesn't explain--evidence--then the hypothesis doesn't stand anymore. It doesn't mean there's a new hypothesis you've validated. It just means the government's explanation of the jet fuel fire is not a sufficient explanation to explain the evidence of these spheres--these microcopic spheres--that Steven Jones has proved existed within the WTC dust.
And yet, the liar Obama had his people change this by removing the highlighted sentence. Yeah, the important one. And that obviously changes the entire meaning of what he said for reasons that are so self-evident that they can't possibly be explained. And if you don't now hate Obama for outrageously lying about this one sentence in a forty-one page document written by someone else, then you're a BHO Cultist who is as difficult to talk to as a Level 47 Scientologist.

The Fine Line Between Stupid and Clever

And I learned all this from the good folks at 24Ahead.com, who explain in detail why that one sentence is so important:
With that sentence, his statements take on a more balanced tone; he appears to be calling for real press coverage instead of simply accepting everything the government has said at face value.
There's a huge difference between the wild-eyed truthers who claim for a fact that Bush/Cheney/etc. knew about or planned the attacks and those who rightly question some government explanations that don't add up.
You see? With that sentence, it means Corsi is merely questioning the government's claims. But without that sentence, he'd have been insisting that he has proof of his own claims. Duh! Because Corsi isn't making any claims at all. He's merely demanding that we ask questions based upon his layman's understanding of fire that have been answered repeatedly by the people who'd know the answer. That's all.

And there's nothing crazy about asking questions. If anything, it's crazy to not ask questions that people stop answering because they're tired of repeating the same answers to you. That's incredibly suspicious, isn't it? Why would you stop answering a question just because the questioner refuses to listen to the answer? That's simply illogical.

Similarly, I got into all this because Pat Boone was sensibly asking questions about Obama's birth certificate which people are also getting tired of answering; which again is proof that he must be hiding something.

Questions Begetting Questions

And amazingly, the more you ask these questions, the more people act like you've got some sort of hidden agenda for asking questions that they've already answered repeatedly. But it's obvious that the real hidden agenda is by the folks who didn't find it necessary to ask the questions in the first place. Why else would so many people conspire against asking questions, unless they had some reason to fear the answers? And why would they think we had a hidden agenda in asking these questions unless they had a hidden agenda in stopping us from asking them?

And so for people to not ask questions about Obama's birth simply because many people have seen his birth certificate and it's been verified as being authentic is clear evidence of fraud which raises many more questions. And for people to not ask questions about 9/11 simply because many engineers say that they have all the answers is simply outrageous. Sure, the "experts" say these things, but if they weren't in on the fraud, they'd be on our side demanding better answers.

After all, for every ten experts they've got, we can find someone who says otherwise. And besides, what's an expert, besides some jerkoff who keeps disagreeing with me while pointing to his phony credentials and calling security every time I won't leave his office? And so I've been officially deprogrammed and am now leaving the Cult of Obama, simply because I'm so outraged by that one missing sentence, as well as by the Certification of Live Birth which he's absurdly passing off as his Birth Certificate. And if you don't do the same, I'm going to keep asking you questions until you understand why you're wrong and join me in my crusade to ask more questions.

Update: I just received a call from one of Rahm Emanuel's former neighbors who informed me that if I don't rejoin the cult immediately, they're taking my wubby away. Damn these guys know how to play hardball. I relent. Obama is God!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fake Homos, Satan's Synagogue, and Nixon's Friend

I'm a bad man and my American Nihilist post on The Myth of Homosexuality is proof of that. Read it and I'm sure you'll agree.

And I should also mention my post on how CBS Helps Hide Jewish Nihilist Cabal, which was a post thanking CBS for editing out Billy Graham’s reference to our Jewish nihilist hate group, the Synagogue of Satan, from a conversation he had with President Nixon. But I wanted to take the time to highlight a few bits of natural comedy from that conversation (which can be heard here (mp3).

First off, it’s obvious that Nixon was trying to sound more religious than he actually was, while Graham was trying to tone down his religiousness. And for as much as Graham really seemed to like Nixon, Nixon seemed to think that Graham was a nut who he needed to humor. And while there definitely were some areas of agreement between them, their antipathy towards Jews, for instance; Nixon was clearly steering the conversation away from some of the nuttier areas that Graham wanted to go in.

Overall, it had the air of a politician trying to score points with the base, while Graham was so enthralled with Nixon that he had no real agenda for the conversation. He just wanted to talk with the Prez. Not that he saw it as a favor, because again, it was a boring, pointless conversation. He just thought of Nixon as a friend, which is absolutely hilarious; if for no other reason than because Richard Nixon had no friends.

Death Mongers

I just died. My memorabilia goes on sale at noon tomorrow. The starting bid is one million dollars. Don't be late. Cash only. Try not to look stupid.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Obama Asks Questions RedState Can't Understand

Critics of Obama's healthcare plan insist that it's a bad idea because government can't do anything right and it will be so popular that it will put private insurers out of business. And this is, of course, nonsense. If government healthcare will be a nightmare for those it insures, people won't want it and private insurers have nothing to fear. But if it provides superior care, then private insurers should go out of business. It's that simple.

And Obama realizes that and said as much at a recent press conference. But rather than attack the motives of his critics, he merely posed it as a question, as if he assumes they're acting in good faith and hadn't thought this through. But naturally, this blew the fuses of rightwingers, who fail to understand the basic contradiction of their attacks.

The "Laugh" in McLaughlin

And so I'm at RedState and read Dan McLaughlin's post Obama Asks Questions That Have Very Obvious Answers. And sure enough, he didn't understand the question. Because he proceeds to attack Obama for not understanding the objection against his plan. But somehow, McLaughlin forgot what that objection actually was.

Again, their criticism is that government insurance will suck and that private insurance is simply superior. Yet apparently, the superiority of private insurers is now a non-issue. McLaughlin doesn't even mention it. Now, it's all about money. And because the government can spend unlimited amounts of money on their program, it gives them an unfair advantage which they'll use to drive everyone else out of business.

But...what's the point of this advantage if the program sucks? I mean, if government insurance means waiting lists and having a bureaucrat deny you the healthcare you need, who'd pick it? I don't care what sort of financial advantage they had, if I was getting suckier insurance, I wouldn't want it. Yet...McLaughlin doesn't make this point at all. It's like he's completely forgotten why he objected to Obama's plan in the first place.

And this is all a long way of saying: Obama so thoroughly skewered the conservative argument that they had to abandon it completely in order to address Obama's question. And that's exactly what it was meant to do. Game, set, match.

Professing Ignorance

And one of the funnier aspects is that McLaughlin also suggests that it's unfair that the government could use its size as leverage to reduce costs, which the rest of us consider a great feature of the plan. Duh! He even goes as far as to attack Obama for not mentioning it, writing:
That’s an argument Obama himself has made repeatedly, yet he now professes ignorance of it. Because, of course, he retains at all times the confidence that nobody will ever call him on this sort of thing.
Uh, Obama didn't profess ignorance of it, unless that word now has a different meaning. Nor should he. Again, this is one of the reasons why Obama thinks his plan is better. And so rather than scoring a point against Obama, McLaughlin scored on himself and does a victory dance to celebrate.

And I would be loath to not mention a post McLaughlin described as "screamingly obvious ways" that private insurers couldn't compete. Yet the list is an increasingly paranoid nightmare of the government using its muscle to explicitly destroy private insurance, including "extorting employers to dump their private plans" and "removing a corporate CEO and installing an Obama crony in his place." He forgot to mention how healthcare execs would be the first against the wall.

Curiously, nothing on his list is even remotely part of Obama's plan, and have everything to do with conservatives being scared little men with far too much time on their hands. And again, this guy had to completely abandon the conservative argument in order to answer Obama's question, which suggests that Obama did a great job of destroying it.

The Consequences of Tough Talk

As a follow-up to my last post, one thing I'd like to mention is that there are consequences to every decision. And if you're going to back one side over another, you need to understand the consequences of what happens if the guy you opposed wins. And if what you did to oppose that guy burned bridges, are you willing to accept the consequences of what's going to happen because of that?

And so I find it mindboggling that Obama is being pushed to state what he'll do if the Iranian government continues to crack down on their people. I mean, what can we do? We don't officially recognize their government. We already engage in sanctions on them, due to their nuke program and whatever. They hate us and we have no carrots to take from them. What exactly can Obama do?

And why this is stupid is that Obama is expected to make threats, in order to pressure a specific outcome. But what realistic threat can he make? We already knew that Iran was an oppressive regime. All that's happened is that this implicit understanding has become much more explicit. But all the same, they were an oppressive regime in the 70's, 80's, 90's, and throughout the Bush years. And while that might change soon, it might not change. And are we willing to accept the consequences if we go all out to oppose the Iranian government and lose? Or will our bluff be called and we yet again show our impotence for dealing with this sort of thing?

But we're not supposed to think of any of this. It's all about making threats and throwing our weight around, while ignoring the consequences of those decisions. As if the act of threatening Iran will make it unnecessary to ever follow through on those threats. And again, what can we possibly threaten them with? War? More sanctions? I don't get it.

Talking the Talk

And of course the truth is that the tough talk isn't meant to make our enemies back down. It's meant to do the opposite: We ratchet up our rhetoric, so they ratchet up theirs, and soon enough, we get to have a good old fashioned war with them and take over their country. That's the whole point.

That's why neo-cons forced Clinton into being tough with Iraq, not because we thought Saddam would back down; but because they knew we'd eventually force them into pushing back, and then we'd get to invade. And sure, Clinton didn't declare war, but all the same, neo-cons were quick enough to use Clinton's actions and rhetoric to rationalize war. And had Clinton attempted to tamper down the situation with Iraq, it would have made it far less likely that we'd be in the stupid mess we're still in. But instead, Clinton took the short-term perspective by adopting a neo-con-lite approach to Iraq, and while it helped him politically, it just pushed the ball deeper into war territory.

That's what tough talk is for. And if any enemy actually backed off from the tough talk, we'd just keep talking tougher until they couldn't back away anymore. But of course, they never back off. The whole reason they're enemies of America is because they're using us as arch-villains for their own political needs; which is exactly what we're using them for. Using America as a foil is a time honored tradition for America's enemies. Even Fidel Castro, leader of a tiny island country so close to our border that his people can cruise here on homemade boats, knows that he can thumb his nose at us with impunity to score points. No one fears us. They need us. And conservatives are more than happy to give them their villain.

And on the other hand, who can show me the enemy of America that obeyed tough talk and backed down, and was welcomed back into the fold? I suppose we can point to Gaddafi, but I suspect that's the opposite. He didn't back down because we talked tough. He just changed his mind after we largely forgot about him. And that just proves my point. The tough talk is only meant to increase tensions.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Obama Endorses Biobrain Doctrine

At Obama's press conference today, he essentially endorsed the Biobrain Doctrine on non-intervention in foreign politics. Specifically, he was asked under what conditions he'd accept Ahmadinejad's victory, and he basically said that it was none of his business. Here's the exact quote:
"Ultimately, the most important thing for the Iranian government to consider is legitimacy in the eyes of its own people, not in the eyes of the United States. And that's why I've been very clear, ultimately, this is up to the Iranian people to decide who their leadership is going to be and the structure of their government."
And that's exactly right. It's not our business to decide who is the legitimate leader of a foreign country. It's not about us. It's not our decision if an election is fair or if the dictator is benevolent. We should just do business with whoever controls the country and avoid taking sides. Not because we're callous or hate freedom, but because that's the only realistic position to take. That's not to say that we shouldn't condemn violence, but that applies to our allies too. I don't want England or even our own country busting the heads of protesters.

Blaming American Leaders

And in the end, this non-intervention policy is the smart move, as we won't get screwed over when the benevolent leaders we support turn out to be not so benevolent (eg, The Shah of Iran, Ngo Dinh Diem, whoever Castro overthrew) and we become enemies of the people for supporting the a-holes they overthrew. After all, almost all of America's enemies were enemies based upon stupid decisions American leaders made several decades ago, which have entirely limited the sort of diplomatic tools we can use with those countries. Even with Castro, we opposed him before he opposed us. And now Obama's hands are tied when dealing with Cuba, due to decisions made before he was born.

And so the non-intervention policy that Obama endorsed here makes sense always and all the time. We don't want Iran deciding which of our elections are valid and its no different for us. Seriously, how pissed would you have been if Iran had strongly sided with Gore in 2000? We just need to accept whoever controls the country and work with that. And of course, it must be remembered that we still don't officially recognize the Iranian leadership as being the leadership of Iran; which sort of undermines Obama's non-intervention. I mean, for as much as he says it's up to the Iranian people to determine who their leadership is, that would reverse the official position we've held since I was a child.

But still, his endorsement of leaving this to the Iranian people is the right decision. While some might see this as a sign of weakness, or even support for the Iranian government; it's really just an acknowledgment of reality. Our track record of selecting good leaders of other countries is absolutely abysmal and usually ends up backfiring on us. And so not only is the Biobrain Doctrine the smart decision, it's the only one based in reality. And to suggest that America can have a positive influence in other countries by taking an active role in the selection of their leaders is absolute fantasy.

Anti-American Iranians

I've got yet another nihilist offering, this time showing my solidarity with the Iranian government in opposing the pro-American dissidents in Iran who are attempting to destroy the greatest government on earth. I wholly recommend reading it, as it's generally better than the crap I write here.

But seriously, can someone please explain to me why conservatives think it's wrong for other countries to be anti-American? They're not f-ing Americans, so why should they be pro-American? It's obvious that they're not even referring to "America" as a country anymore, but to certain grand principles which we embody so well that it's deemed necessary for us to bomb the fuck out of anyone we don't like. And it's to the point that "pro-American" doesn't even mean anything anymore, other than supporting whatever conservatives support.

Somehow, I doubt they'd feel the same way if someone suggested that they're defective for being anti-Iranian. But no, to them we're the exceptional master race; while every other country sucks eggs. And while I definitely feel that America has a certain specialness to us, I fail to see why we should expect other countries to feel the same way. Particuarly not when we jokingly sing songs about how we should Bomb-Bomb-Bomb their country.

If we want other countries to respect us, we need to act respectable. And that includes not starting dumb wars, not torturing people, and not allowing our people to die because they're too "lazy" to get health insurance. Yet somehow, these are considered to be anti-American positions. Weird.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Last Resort of the Delusional Rebel

I've always been a bit frightened by conservatives who insist that the 2nd amendment is necessary because the threat of armed revolt is the only thing preserving our liberty. Partly, in that it suggests that their love of guns is based upon a delusional fantasy of them combating our military Wolverine-style (ala Red Dawn, not X-Men). And partly because it suggests that these people are unhinged enough to believe our society is so close to government takeover that we're down to our last line of defense: Armed rebellion. I can feel the black helicopters circling already.

And I'm reminded of this reading Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio saying "I have a feeling the situation in Iran would be a little different if they had a 2nd amendment like ours." Yeah, because that's the only thing that's stopping that from happening here.

And seriously, if Iran had our 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments, I don't think they'd be needing that 2nd one right now. And it's the lack of all these other rights that would make the 2nd one useful right now. And so Rubio expresses support for the amendment which could lead to civil war in Iran, while ignoring the ones that would make war unnecessary.

But to conservatives, their shotguns and assault rifles are the only things preserving these other amendments, so the 2nd one is the one for them. And too many of them sound as if they'd actually prefer that the government test their ability to defend themselves; as if the mundaneness of modern life is simply too taxing on their manly sense of duty. They'd rather fight our government than have it work to make their lives better. As I said, frightening.

American conservatives: Protecting American liberty one gun at a time.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Spelling Police

I'm a bad speller. It's not that I'm stupid or lazy. It's just that there are memorizers and there are non-memorizers and I'm not a memorizer. And the memorizers seem to be of the opinion that they're geniuses because they can look at a word once and remember it. Yet, they don't seem to realize it and think they've deciphered some grand scheme of the English language. And they'll tell you the "rules" they use to spell good, which they imagine you're too stupid or lazy to use.

But it's all bunkum, because there are no rules to spelling in our language. For every "rule" you can form, you can find countless exceptions to it. There are just too many silent letters and weirdly pronounced words for any such rules. Tomb, comb, bomb? Where's the sense here? And the reason is because there are too many sources for our language: Primarily Latin, German, and French, all of which have been blended together; as well as any other odd word we've picked up over the years. These rules didn't apply when we adopted these words, so they're unlikely to help now.

And so I was glad to read that the British government is telling folks to stop teaching the inane "i before e" rule, which has too many exceptions to it (eg, 'sufficient,' 'veil' and 'their'). And yet, it appears the Spelling Police like this one too much, and the article says that some think they should keep it because it's so easy to remember. Sure, the rule doesn't really work, but hey, kids remember the rule that doesn't work, so it must have merit.

And the next step is for them to stop punishing all of us non-memorizers by dropping the stringent requirement of being expert spellers. In our modern age of computer writing and spell checkers, it has far less relevance than before; and it should be remembered that exact spelling only became a virtue in the last hundred years or so; thanks largely to the memorizers who became school teachers. This is all just a ruse that the memorizers use to punish the rest of us and make us do poorly in English class.

I can't remember the last time I wrote anything without the benefit of a computer, and I certainly didn't get graded on it. Some day, people will see perfect spelling as being a weird artifact of a stupid era in education; when obedience and memorization trumped actual knowledge.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Simplicity of Neo-Con Democracy

The scariest thing about neo-cons isn't how frightening their vision is, but rather, how utterly childish these relatively important people are. I can accept scary people with scary plans. History is full of them, and we've survived. It's delusion people who imagine their scary plans to be well-intentioned that worry me.

Hilzoy has a post showcasing one self-proclaimed neo-con who redefines neo-conservativism as the belief that everyone yearns for freedom and that democracy is required for peace. And what's sad about this childish redefinition is that, strictly speaking, I can' t even agree with this simplistic formula. Because for as much as people want freedom for themselves, that often means that they want the freedom to deny other people freedom. Too many religious folks in our own country think our government is intolerant of their religion if we don't allow them to force their religion upon the rest of us. Their vision of "freedom" means denying freedom to others. There is no single definition of freedom.

And regarding the peacefulness of democracy, does it need to be mentioned that our own democracy has the most powerful military in the world, and is still engaged in an unnecessary war waged for illegitimate reasons. And for as much as a neo-con might suggest that it was Iraq's dictatorial nature that caused the war, it must always be remembered that the democracy declared war on the dictator; not vice versa. And the last time that dictator started a war, it was with the democracy's blessings and support. Democracy does not equal peace.

Tyrannical Democracy

And beyond that, if neo-conservativism was limited to promoting democracy; there wouldn't be a problem. It's the "barrel of the gun" aspect of it that makes people hate it. I'm all for freedom and democracy, but have enough knowledge to realize that it has to happen organically. The people have to be ready for it, or it just won't happen. Democracy is about power-sharing; not elections.

And part of the childishness of neo-cons is their belief that democracy is something established at the ballot box. As if elections alone establish democracy; which is their only real claim to have established democracy in Iraq. But no, elections are a by-product of democracy, as it's the method used to decide the will of the people. But the mere act of having an election, even if honest, isn't the end of democracy. If people can't genuinely have their will represented by their government, democracy doesn't exist.

And that completely goes against the conservative concept of democracy; which holds that our presidency is a dictatorship with term limits. But it's not. The president is our representative; not our leader. That's a concept that eludes conservatives. And so when they hold the presidency, he's an all-powerful leader who must be obeyed; and when we hold the presidency, he's an evil foe who must be stopped at all costs. Their authoritarian nature makes them fear the president, no matter which side he's on.

And so it's so amusing to see Charles Krauthammer trumpet Iraq as a "young democracy," which will be part of a domino effect with Iran, if only Obama talked tough and supported Iranian democracy. Because let's not forget that Iraqi democracy was forced upon the neo-cons. It wasn't part of the plan. It was only after their plans of installing an American overlord of Iraq fell through that they finally decided to hold elections in Iraq; which installed leaders which may or may not be loyal to American interests.

And speaking of childishness, it's quite obvious that neo-cons are so entirely stupid that they imagined that Iraqis would flock to Americans, if only Saddam was out of the way. As if Iraqis didn't have their own interests, and that Americanism is so awesome that everyone would immediately adopt it as the default position. Similarly, they still don't realize that even Iranian democracy might put Iranian interests above ours. After all, we're the good guys and everyone likes the good guys. Idiots.

Simple as Dominoes

And again, in the childish world of neo-cons, it's all so simple. It's just like dominoes. The President of the United States must merely push at one domino and they'll all topple. And the authoritarian tyrants controlling our allies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia will topple, if only we stand firm and talk tough enough to get Iran to allow a slightly less anti-American leader in the relatively powerless president job.

And sure, the domino effects of the past were vastly overstated, to the point that the very existence of a Domino Effect is still completely in doubt. I mean, I don't even understand how the Domino Effect is supposed to work. Victory in Vietnam didn't instill communism throughout their region. And fear of dominoes in Central America led us to support dictators. In fact, it can easily be argued that American intervention made things worse in Vietnam and other parts of the world; and that things get better once we stop trying to muscle them.

But all the same, in the simple minds of the simpleton neo-cons, it's all so simple. Get elections by any means possible and everyone will love us. Unless the elections are won by Hamas, Hugo Chavez, or anyone else who doesn't like us. Then we keep talking tough against them until the real democracy takes hold; which can only be won by pro-Americans who allow our corporations to own their precious resources and accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. That's what democracy is all about: Making America stronger.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

PETA as Norman Bates

PETA is beyond parody.  Obama sees a fly, is kind enough to issue it a warning, and then kills it after it ignores his warning.  So what else can PETA do but disgrace themselves by calling attention to the horrors of fly cruelty.
PETA is sending President Barack Obama a Katcha Bug Humane Bug Catcher, a device that allows users to trap a house fly and then release it outside.
"We support compassion even for the most curious, smallest and least sympathetic animals," PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich said Wednesday. "We believe that people, where they can be compassionate, should be, for all animals."
And all I can think of is the scene at the end of Psycho, in which (spoiler alert!) Norman Bates believes that he can fool people into thinking that he didn't kill those people, because he's so harmless that he wouldn't even swat a fly that was buzzing him.

And yes, I'm fully aware that this was nothing more than yet another publicity stunt by PETA, which has decided that even embarrassing publicity is better than no publicity.  But all the same, this is ridiculous.  For as much as I'm against animal cruelty, there is nothing cruel about swatting flies.  These people have gone beyond their useful purpose and are now little more than a fundraising organization which hurts their cause more than they help it.  I'm sure there are more sane animal rights organizations out there, but until PETA stops sucking all the oxygen out of the room, these groups will remain sidelined.

The Power of Words

Hilzoy has a quote from McCain on what we should do about Iran:
Well, we lead; we condemn the sham, corrupt election. We do what we have done throughout the Cold War and afterwards, we speak up for the people of Tehran and Iran and all the cities all over that country who have been deprived of one of their fundamental rights. We speak out forcefully, and we make sure that the world knows that America leads -- and including increased funding for part of the Farda, Iranian free radio.

Wow, that'll really show them. I'm sure Ahmadinejad is praising Allah right now that he helped install his buddy Obama in the Whitehouse, so he can avoid the wrathful words of a President McCain.

Seriously, though. What good would these words do, beyond make the Iranian protesters look like they're on Team America? Would the Mullahs start shaking in their sandals? Would more Iranians risk their lives if they knew the American president backed them with tough talk? And if they did, wouldn't that add legitimacy to the idea that these protesters were on Team America?

Stupid Is as Stupid Says

I am continually amazed at how simple-minded conservatives are. It's as if all the problems in the world would go away if we resolve to be tough and adopt a tough posture. And underlying that is a basic level of fear; as if all we have to fear is our own fear, which can be overcome with tough talk and empty posturing.

But tough talk is meaningless. It literally achieves nothing. And if anything, it can backfire if our enemies take our tough talk too seriously and resolve to take actions against our talk (e.g. North Korean nukes). Or conversely, the rest of the world will realize that our tough talk is empty bluster and ignore everything we say; thus diminishing our power.

And as others have said, this isn't about us. We don't need to take a position on this, beyond a basic statement that we support democracy. Were this coming from an ally like England, perhaps some tough words might make them think twice about stifling democracy. But we've already gone about as far with Iran as we can without actually declaring war and bombing them. That's been our standard position for several decades now. And that's part of the problem: We've got nothing left to threaten them with beyond words and bombs, and I don't see how bombing the shit out of them would help anything right now.

This is a domestic dispute within Iran, and the more we try to insert ourselves into this, the worse it'll be. And as I've always said, I don't believe in meddling with the internal politics of any country, and think the best solution to tyranny is to keep selling our shit to them. That's how you have real influence in the modern world. Not with bombs, and definitely not with tough talk. And as Hilzoy suggested, we should consider ourselves lucky that we didn't get stuck with another president who didn't understand this.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Twitter Revolution

Carpetbagger has a post about how Republicans released a four page healthcare plan that seems to have excluded their actual plan; failing to mention how much it would cost, how they'd pay for it, or what they'd do about the uninsured.  And he mentions this is the context of the budgetless budget Republicans released on April 1; for which they were widely panned.

But I thought that was terribly unfair.  After all, Congressional Republicans are an oppressed minority who are prevented from effectively communicating their policy agenda due to death threats and a blackout by the state-controlled media. And so for them to have relayed a full four pages of information to us via Twitter is really quite amazing. I understand they used complete sentences and everything. Very impressive.  

Dissidents of the world unite; one sentence fragment at a time!

Private Communications in a Global World

I don't want to be spied on by anyone.  Not by my government, or by any other government, or by anyone anywhere.  I don't want them listening to my phone calls, reading my mail or emails, or intercepting my brain waves.  Not that I have anything to hide, but I think the idea that anyone is allowed to intercept my private communications is simply outrageous.

And so I find it disconcerting, to say the least, that our government finds it acceptable to routinely archive all emails it can get its hands on and openly read any email, as long as it's from a foreigner.  And yes, I don't like them including domestic emails in their sweeping searches of emails, but I don't think they have the right to read anyone's email without a good reason.  

Seriously, do you find it acceptable for the Canadian, Russian, or Iranian government to read your emails?  I certainly don't.  And this is all so archaic.  Because it's not just about your own government reading your communications.  It's about anyone reading it.  And this never came up before modern technology because the Russians or Iranians didn't have the capability to routinely intercept private communications two hundred years ago; just as we couldn't intercept theirs.  And now that we're spreading our communications into a format that can be easily intercepted and scanned, the laws need to reflect this accordingly.

We're All Targets

And so, no, I don't support the right of our government to read foreign emails or listen to foreign phone calls, without good reason that a judge agrees with.  And definitely no blanket authority to archive all emails.  And again, the fact that this isn't in concrete law is simply that it never came up before.  Back when the Constitution was written, foreign governments didn't have the capability to intercept our communications.  And now that they can, there needs to be a blanket prohibition on this sort of thing.  

And definitely, when we're in a world when low-level NSA employees can read the private emails of a former president, we're all in trouble.  Because frankly, that's my bigger worry.  It's not that Uncle Sam or Uncle Putin will learn about my private love life, but that some NSA ideologue will read about it and use it to punish me by exposing my personal info.  Or using it for insider trading, or blackmail, or whatever.  The potential for abuse here is infinite.  

And again, why should any British email we can get our hands on be fair game?  And why should Putin get to read my emails?  I don't care if it's the National Security Agency or the Iranian Security Agency doing it.  My private emails are my private emails, and while it's in our best interests to allow exceptions to the rules of privacy, those need to remain exceptions.  Any blanket authority of any government to read anyone's private email must be rejected.

The Simpson's Called It

Oh, and I really liked the part in The Simpson's Movie in which they showed a vast room of government employees listening in to mundane phone conversations, until one actually overhears an important call and loudly announces that he actually found a good one.  And it's funny because that's not how we do things, as it would be impossible to listen in to all those calls.  Plus, there's almost nothing to hear even if they did.  

And the dumbest thing about all of this is that actual bad guys will use coded messages that you wouldn't find unless you were explicitly looking for them.  So the only messages we'll intercept will be the innocent ones.  And for us to intercept the messages of bad guys would require us to target them explicitly; not have blanket sweeps of random messages.  I mean, if the terrorists we're up against are so dumb as to openly write about their terrorist plots in email, we really don't have much to worry about.

And so either the people pushing for these aggressive blanket searches are delusional in thinking they'll catch baddies, or they're just looking for excuses to do specific searches on domestic targets.  Again, if we have a system that automatically saves Clinton's messages to be read by any low-level grunt, our system is screwed up.  And overall, it should be as easy for them to read my emails as it is to read my snail mail.  We shouldn't allow technological advances to alter our basic right to privacy.

No Greater Joy

In an article about a high school grad who was denied his diploma for blowing a kiss to his folks, I read this: 
For teens, there is no greater joy than graduating high school.
Really??  No greater joy than graduating??  Either my graduation ceremony was far less exciting than other ceremonies, or this is a bit of an overstatement.  I mean, I haven't taken a survey on the subject or anything, but I kind of think getting laid is probably a bit higher on the list for most teenagers; assuming things haven't changed since I was in school.  I suspect that getting super-drunk and screaming out of the sunroof of a limo on prom night is probably higher too; though I never got to do that one.

I myself have always found graduation ceremonies to be particularly boring; especially my own.  I thought those things were for the parents, so they had proof that their bum kid actually achieved something.  They even take pictures, to serve as proof that their money wasn't just thrown away.  I found no joy from any graduation ceremony I participated in and was always happiest once they were over.  Getting laid, on the other hand, that's always nice.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Bombs of Democracy

In the name of democracy, I don't see how we have any other choice than to bomb the people of Iran back to the stone age.  Only thus may we free them from the shackles of tyrannical violence.

The Revolution Will Not Be Twittered

TPM has a list of the top seven "new media" blunders by conservatives, but for as bad as these specific blunders were, the overall concept of conservatives using this "new media" to fix their woes was the biggest blunder of them all.  Because the problem isn't that liberals were better at using the internet than conservatives were, or that conservatives weren't connecting.  The problem is that conservatives had a free ride before the internet.  And that ride is never coming back.

Before, conservatives owned talk radio and were very good at manipulating the media.  And all the internet did was level the playing field, allowing liberals to get the word out about conservatives and tell everyone what they were doing.  Before the internet, a politician could get away with calling someone "Macaca" or likening a black politician's wife to an escaped gorilla.  And if it somehow became a national story, talk radio would defend the guy while the media would get bullied into ignoring it.

And those days are now long gone.  We don't need to wait for the bobbleheads at CNN to be interested in a story for it to talked about.  One post by Atrios or Josh Marshall can have far more impact than a story by Wolf Blitzer, even if it's seen by fewer people.  Where as conservatives once had carte blanche to invent whatever lies they wanted, they now get called on it from a variety of influential blogs.  We can post video or audio clips of conservatives saying offensive things, or simply post the quote from their blog or Twitter account.  We've got the goods and they aren't going away.

And so the current problem for Republicans isn't that people aren't hearing enough from them, but rather that people are finally hearing everything from them.  The problem is with too much information getting out there.  And that's why the Twitter solution was always such a joke.  At best, it helps them communicate using incomplete sentences to the same people who already live in the conservative bubble.  And at worst, it gets them in the habit of writing the first thing that popped into their heads and freezing it forever for us to mock endlessly.  

And this isn't going to get any better for them.  The easier it is for conservatives to get their message to the public, the easier it is for us to expose what fraudulent jerks they are.  Authoritarians require message control, which is why their new media revolution only serves to bury them further.  This is what democracy is all about.

Deep Thought

One man's garbage heap is another man's garbage.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Birther Dad

My dad is a "birther." We were talking about the election fraud in Iran, and he pops out about how our last presidential election was also fraud, explaining that Obama isn't a citizen because he wasn't born here. And I'm thinking, "Wow, and from my own family too." And I don't know why I'm surprised, seeing as how he still believed that Clinton was a Soviet spy long after it was obvious that Clinton presided over a huge capitalist boom; which I suppose would make him the worst spy ever.

And this sort of nonsense holds through here. Because again, he plopped this factoid out there as if it were common knowledge, and yet somehow thought that Obama's mother was an immigrant who was about to be deported. Yes, he considered himself to be an expert on Obama's citizenship, yet didn't know that Obama's mother was an American citizen born in Kansas. And when I told him this, as well as that Obama was raised by his grandparents, or how his grandfather was involved with D-Day, this was all news to him. He had never heard some of the most basic parts of Obama's bio. And yes, he had somehow confused Obama's mother with his father's half-sister.

And this is someone I'm supposed to have an intelligent debate with. And the thing is, I don't necessarily fault him for this. He's just repeating what he's heard, and that obviously wasn't enough. He didn't even know the basics of the birther's wild claims. All he knew was that there was some sort of controversy over Obama's citizenship and lack of birth certificate, and that's it. He was convinced this was true and had the audacity to call this "election fraud" while talking to me; a guy who eats, drinks, and sleeps politics. He even insisted that birth certificates are public information, and because it was being withheld by Obama that it was part of the conspiracy.

But I can't really blame Rush Limbaugh and his ilk for this (and yes, Limbaugh was on my dad's radio when we were talking, which was why we were talking about Iran (I was correcting Rush's errors)); because this is Rush's shtick and how he pays the bills. And I guess I could blame the media for not correcting dopes like Rush, but why? That would just make my dad ignore them more and Limbaugh would just use the corrections as something to fume about.

And so there's really nothing that can be done and no one is to blame, as my dad is too ignorant to know that he's too ignorant. I just wanted to take this time to mention that my dad is a birther, despite not even having a basic understanding of what the birther's argument is. He's heard enough to be dangerous and that's good enough for him.

I should add that my correction of all this was quite smooth and it's possible he realized his mistake. He would never have admitted to this, of course, but I was so matter-of-fact about the whole thing that it left him with nothing to say. He had obviously never heard any of it before and it never even occurred to him that there was a defense of Obama's citizenship. Oh yeah, and he also asked me "What's a liberal?" later on during a slightly different discussion. Keeping it simple, I said "FDR was a liberal." And again, I was met with silence.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Regarding Pseudonyms

I just wanted to say that fake names are just cooler than real names. Every single fucking time, the fake name is better than the real name. No doubt about it. The fake name is better. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.


Donald Rumsfeld was a little man.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Vacations and Fake Names

I'm on another psuedo-vacation (meaning, not at home, but not lounging on a beach somewhere), so posting is light. Particularly as my internet connection is super slow here, and it takes about a minute just to get a page up. No, it's not dial-up or anything, it's just pointlessly slow. I think it just doesn't like me.

But since Publius was finally outed, I've got to ask: Can anyone provide a good explanation for why conservatives are so intent on hating pseudonymous bloggers, beyond the basic issue of punishing them for blogging? I mean, what does the idea of enforcing "accountability" mean beyond allowing them to be punished for what they write?

I mean, I sorta understand the problem with anonymous commenters; though I still think the same rule applies in that we shouldn't out anyone unless there's a very compelling reason to do so (such as, if you found out I was also Dick Cheney). But I'm entirely accountable for what I write here and elsewhere, as y'all all know me as Doctor Biobrain. I've got a reputation to uphold and several years worth of writings to back me up, as opposed to many conservative commenters who attack pseudonyms, yet have very little presence on the internet. Of course, that's not a perfect example, as I really am Doctor Biobrain; but you get my point.

But again, I can think of no reason why "real" names are superior to "fake" names, as long as we're not playing games with it; like creating sock puppets to defend ourselves. And it all just comes down to the desire by conservatives to punish those they disagree with. That's all it is.

Update: Please disregard the mention in this post of me being Dick Cheney, as it was made in error and in no way was meant to imply that I have ever Vice Presidented under that particular pseudonym. I could have been Dan Quayle, for all you know. Or perhaps I VP'd as Gore or Biden. It could have been any of them guys. You don't know. And you never will.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Myth of the Corporate Media Agenda

We keep hearing again and again how the problem with the media is the "corporate agenda" that they're pushing, which supposedly makes them want to push conservative positions while ignoring liberals. But I think there's a much more obvious explanation for this: They're idiots. They're really dumb, dumb people who are just as dumb as they seem.

Because honestly, what have you seen from Corporate America that would suggest any of them had an attention span beyond the next fiscal quarter? Nothing. Even when their corporate games are collapsing around them, the best they can do is sell their stock a week before the earnings report becomes public. They really are simple people who don't think in the long-term. That's why Warren Buffet's such a genius, because he actually knows what businesses are worth and how they should be run. And this basic knowledge is considered incomprehensible by most corporate dummies.

So why would we get the idea that they have some long-term agenda that they're pushing onto news people. I mean, how dangerous would that be? Wolf Blitzer and Cooper Anderson might not be the sharpest tools in the shed, but they do have some level of self-respect and consider themselves to be real journalists. Are we to believe that the corporate suits that own them are really going to tell Blitzer, Anderson, and all these others to be shills and push a particular agenda? Hell, no. All it would take would be for Blitzer to spill the beans and they'd be cooked.

Entertainment News First

No, for as much as there is a problem with corporate control of the media (and I think it's a huge problem), it's the emphasis on profits. It's not that they shy away from real news, but consider entertainment to be their chief service. Because the point isn't to attract hardcore news watchers, as they're an audience taken for granted. No, they're after casual news watchers. People who will watch the news, but only if it's kept light and breezy.

And so they hire phony lightweights to run these shows, because they know best how to attract the entertainment viewers. And again, it's not about finding real news, as real news will sell itself. It's about filling in the space between real news stories, which becomes so self-absorbing that they can't tell the real news from the fake. And it gets so bad that they actually turn off the hard news audience, and can only get them back when something so big happens that even the lightweights recognize it as being more important than the president's mustard.

And this makes so much more sense than the Corporate Agenda conspiracy pushed by so many liberals. Because that puts profits as being a secondary motive, suggesting that these people have long-term goals beyond their bottom lines. And I just haven't seen anything from these morons to believe that they have the capacity for a long-term thinking.

No, it makes much more sense that they believe they're hiring the right people for the job, who unfortunately, are as vapid as the ninnies who hired them. Dummies hiring dummies.

Liz Cheney as Dream Guest

And so that explains why Liz Cheney was on the TV for twenty-two of the last twenty-four days. And also why Newt Gingrich is the most important person in America. Not because some pinhead at GE decided that Gingrich and Cheney were good for pushing their agenda, but because that pinhead hired a fellow pinhead to produce his news shows, who in turn hired another pinhead as a booking agent. And the producer and booking agent are dumb enough that they imagine Liz Cheney is an entertaining genius who helps them sell more commercials.

And once they saw that all the other pinheads were doing the same thing, it just upped Liz's newsworthiness and made it all the more important that they book her again. That's just how pinheads think. They're brainless herd animals who reinforce their own herd instinct. After all, if you make the same mistake the rest of the herd made, then it's not really a mistake (eg, the Iraq War).

Somehow, the concept of having an innovative show that offers something the other shows don't have is so far beyond their understanding that they think it would be disastrous. Lacking the intellect to judge the merits of an original idea themselves, they need for someone from the outside to break-in and show them the way. I'm sure it'll only be another year or two before Rachael Maddow's success finally sinks in and it occurs to them that liberals can be good for ratings. But again, this isn't a conspiracy from the suits above; but rather, a sign of incompetence by all involved.

Oh, and one last point: Can anyone explain how Gingrich or the Cheneys are good for corporate America? I can't fathom that in the least. These people are looking out for themselves, with Gingrich trying to stay relevant and the Cheneys trying to save Dick's neck. Conservatives pushing an anti-tax agenda, I understand. I fail to see how a defense of torture helps GE.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Diplomatic Friends Forevah!

As a followup to my last post, I'd just like to add that I have no love for Israel.  Just as I have no love for England, Germany, Russia, Syria, or any other country that I'm not a citizen of.  I don't hate them, but I fail to see why we're expected to give Israel extra love.  Israel puts their interests above ours, just as we should put ours above theirs.  That's what grown-up countries do; while immature countries declare BFF's and imagine that our interests will always be identical. 

Alliances are fine, but I've always found the extra love we're supposed to have for Israel to be almost as weird as our hatred of Cuba is.  Grow up!  This is the real world, not a fricking playground.  American diplomacy should reflect that.  After all, the French tricked us into Vietnam based upon our romantic notion of helping them preserve freedom, while they had no such silly notions and were just colonizers who wanted help keeping the natives from taking over.  And the French were savvy enough to bail, while we kept fighting an epic struggle that only existed in our minds.  

That war wasn't about communism; it was about colonization.  And by misunderstanding the nature of the war we were in, we kept making the wrong moves and didn't understand why they weren't working.  And to this day, there are still millions of romantic do-gooders who fail to understand why that war was unwinnable; thanks to deceptions by our "ally" France, a country many of these same people detest.  Irony. 

And the point isn't that we should be dicks to Israel or any other ally, but merely that foreign policy is no place for romantic ideals and chivalry.  It's every country for themselves, and it's about time America realized that.  Israel isn't our BFF.  They're an ally, and one that hasn't been super great to us.  And the more we treat them as a separate country from our own, the more pressure we can put on them to help fix this horrible situation; and that includes pressuring them on issues like the illegal settlements, which doom any talk of a two-state solution.

Or...we can keep drawing love hearts around their country while they keep abusing our friendship so they can win this the hard way.

Dealing with the Settlements

The main thing that bugs me when discussing any conflict is when it's assumed that there's a strict good guy-bad guy dynamic, and that if you support one side, you inherently think they're "good" and must think the other side is "bad."  And while that does happen, WWII for example, most conflicts have bad people on both sides; eg, The Vietnam War.  And so people who support one side will focus on the bad actions of the opposing side, while dismissing the bad actions on their own side as being necessary due to the evil they're opposing.  And there's always an evil to be opposed.

And thus is the case with Israel and the Palestinians.  I absolutely hate this conflict, as both sides suck.  And both sides have victims with justifiable grievances.  And while I feel a majority of folks on both sides are victims in this, there are bad actors on both sides that refuse to allow the tensions to die down and are thus victimizing people on both sides.  And while this is typical of many conflicts, few are as contentious as this one.

I'm sure that if I heard Palestinian-sympathizers bitch enough about how evil Israel is, I'd dislike that; but I don't hear that.  I keep hearing one-sided stories about how evil the Palestinians are and how Israel only wants security, and it's only the Palestinians that are dooming things.  And I'm sorry, but that's utter horseshit.  While I'm fully aware that there are Palestinians who see it in their best interest to continue fighting forever, Israel has people on their side doing the same damn thing.

And the main thing that proves this point are the illegal settlements.  Josh Marshall has a post on this, and correctly identifies the settlements as being a tremendous roadblock of any two-state solution.  And that's undeniably true.  Anyone who doesn't see the permanence of these settlements as being a deal-breaker on the two-state solution is willfully blind.  And yet, as Josh suggests, it's contentious enough to tell the settlers to stop building new settlements, far more contentious to tell them to stop growing their current settlements, and the eventual removal of them could cause civil war in Israel.  But as long as the settlements are there, I fail to see how there will be peace.

And again, I find this simply undeniable.  If we're going to solve this problem, the fate of the settlements is one of the biggest issues.  Particularly as I'm of the opinion that the main purpose of the settlements was to doom the two-state solution and do further damage to the Palestinians.  It's a poison pill that's become political dynamite.  I see no good-faith purpose of the settlements, and believe that the more radicalized Israelis purposefully use them to continue the conflict.  Just as the more radicalized Palestinians use terrorist attacks to continue the conflict.  And many of the victimized majorities go along with it because they've been convinced that there are no better solutions.

Obama's Stand

And honestly, I have no good solution for this.  There's enough anger on both sides of the conflict that I can't perceive a good solution for any of this; beyond bringing one of the groups into a crappy piece of land here in America, explaining that it's just as crappy as the one they're fighting for, and telling them they can keep it.  And no, I don't see that happening, but it sure would be a lot easier than what we're doing.

But to me, at least one solution is clear: The issue of the permanent settlements must be addressed.  It's something Israel's defenders don't really like to acknowledge, as it entirely undermines the whole "It's the Palestinians fault" argument.  But it must be addressed.  And so I'm glad to see the Obama Administration taking a firm stance on this.  To not do so is to try to put out a fire without understanding the basic principles of fire.  You've got to understand the full scope of a problem if you want to fix it.

Oh, and I'm also glad to see Josh's acknowledgment that Israel needs us.  I've always hated the conservative view of foreign policy, which is that we're so weak that we can't even talk to our enemies while we need to kowtow to our allies.  We're America, bitches.  We got power.  It's time we use it.  Not as a bullyesque demonstration to scare our enemies, but as a way of settling conflicts.  And no, that's not military power; which is soooo 19th Century, but economic, cultural, and political power.  Doing so not only is our best option, but actually increases that power; unlike using military power, which only decreases the more you use it.

I only hope that Obama doesn't back down from this, but rather lays down the line and brings all the issues to the table.  As we all know, the first step to solving a problem is identifying what that problem is.  And the illegal settlements are a huge part of the problem.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Preferential Treatment for the Octomom

As it turns out, Hispanic women aren't the only ones to get preferential treatment.  Apparently, it's being extended to famous women with lots of kids, too.  Case in point: The Octomom just got her own reality show.  But what's up with that?  I had kids before she did.  Not fourteen of them, and not eight at the same time, but hey, I get in lots of funny situations with them that lots of people might be interested in.  Where's my show?

I'll tell you where: In the same place that all the privileges for white males go: The garbage heap.  That's where.  I feel so discriminated against.