Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Open-Minded Bigots

Barbara Walters is one of those fluffy people who I’ve never understood why anyone takes seriously.  But apparently lots of important people have wanted to talk to her, so I guess that makes her important too.  It’s my guess that they talk because they know she’s a complete lightweight, and will let them walk over her, yet she has the image of being a real journalist.  In that regard, I suppose she’s the forerunner of all modern journalists.

So I’m stuck reading a Reader’s Digest (which is so named because its contents have been predigested and all you’re left with is crap), and I come upon this article about a recent Barbara Walters television special.  But the topic wasn’t some silly lightweight piece (despite her lightweight handling of it), but rather a serious piece titled “Heaven”.  And the article I’m reading briefly discusses Walters’ taping of this piece, and is named “In Search of Heaven”.  And as the article explains, Walters went around the world interviewing lots of different religious people and discussing their view of Heaven.  And she acts as if she respects these people’s religions, but one thing is clear: She does not.

Because here’s the thing: it’s obvious that both Walters and the writer, Gail Cameron Wescott, believe religion and religious beliefs to be entirely optional.  A quaint feel-good gesture that all upright people do; akin to doing charity work or reading Hallmark cards.  And more so, they both clearly believe that you get to choose your religion.  And while they don’t say it, it’s also obvious to them that good people choose good religions and bad people choose bad religions.  They never say that, as they know that that’s bigoted and wrong; but it’s obvious that this is the case.

But there’s more to it than just that.  They don’t believe in an objective reality, and therefore, believe that this is entirely a subjective idea.  And specifically, they believe that it is wrong for one religion to believe that they are the “one true religion” with the others being false ones.  And as such, they believe that a religion is bigoted for saying that.  

But all this just goes to show how ridiculous both of these people are; and how bigoted they really are against religion.  Rather than religion and gods being real; to Walters’ ilk, they are merely devices to make you feel better about life.  And for a majority of people, that’s all religion is for.  That, plus a social organization to meet people at.  I’m sure Jesus is rolling in his grave.

Barbara Asks

I wrote a bunch about choosing religions, but it really wasn’t pertinent to the subject at hand, so I’m saving that for a later post.  Let’s get to Barbara’s interviews.

The first is with a Palestinian suicide bomber whose bomb failed to go off, and who is now serving a life sentence in an Israeli prison.  Barbara asks him if he had perhaps envisioned a different life, with a wife and kids and whatnot; and he responds saying “I thought about it, but I wanted to kill Jews”.  He goes on to explain that he believes he’ll be rewarded in the afterlife, and how he “looks forward to joyous sex on silken couches amid rivers of milk and honey.”

Now, the writer of this pretends to be neutral on the issue, but belies that pretense by using terms like “chilling” to describe his words.  And when Walters asks him if she’s going to Heaven, he responds by saying “No, of course not.  You are going to Hell.”  And this, the writer tells us, is “ruthless”.

But is it?  Because here’s the thing, maybe this guy really is right.  Maybe he’s got it right and we really are all going to Hell, and even Pope John Paul II is now having red hot pokers stuck up his butt next to Stalin and Jesus.  And in that case, this guy was simply being factual.  I mean, who the hell are we to say that he’s wrong?  Maybe he hates Jews because he’s a Jew hater; or maybe he’s simply following our Creator’s wishes.  Maybe we really are all infidels deserving of a horrible eternity for going against our Creator’s wishes.  And maybe he really will be having joyous sex on silken couches while we’re being ass-raped by Satan.

But that’s not how the writer sees it.  No, she sees it as if this guy chose his religion and happened to choose a ruthlessly chilling one.  As if it was just a reflection of his personality.  As if he hated Jews and other infidels and looked around for the religion that hated them the most.  

But it wasn’t that way.  Instead, his life led in a certain direction and certain truths seemed self-evident to him and he fell in with a bad crowd which influenced him in a very bad way.  It happens to people all the time, and whether they’re huffing paint fumes and stealing cars for joyrides, or strapping on suicide packs, it’s all the same cause.  People are easily influenced and do terribly stupid things.  I’m not equating these activities at all, or excusing them.  I’m just saying that they have the same root cause; and that we should just be glad that there aren’t more people trying to convince youths to blow themselves up.  We were all terribly stupid once (and perhaps still so) and did terribly stupid things, and we should all just be thankful that our influences weren’t more terrible than they were.

And so this wasn’t a case of an evil person looking for an evil religion, but rather someone who was prone to a certain way of thinking who fell in with a bad religion.  I’m sure it all makes sense to him, and who the hell knows, it’s just as likely that he’s right as anyone else.  He’s looking forward to his reward, and who are we to say that he won’t get it?  And if anyone believes that we’re supposed to respect religion, then that means that we respect this failed suicide bomber’s religion.

And there’s another interview who I believe was intended to go into this “ruthless” category.  This time, it was Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals.  Walters asked if a person who doesn’t accept Jesus Christ can get into Heaven, and he was “equally unambiguous”, by saying that they could not.  But again, it is obvious that we aren’t supposed to think this guy is right.  We’re supposed to think he’s a big jerk.

Barbara Walters, the Bigot

And here’s the giveaway line on this, for both the writer and Walter’s.  The writer writes of Walters: The interviewer herself, who purposefully did not argue with her subjects allowed afterward: “There are so many ways of looking at life and death.  You just cannot say this belief is right and that is wrong.  I think one of the major problems today is people saying that only my religion is right, and if you don’t agree with me, you are not going to heaven.”

And that’s fine and dandy, and is certainly reflective of an open-minded person; except one thing: She just said that many people’s religion is wrong.  She, pretending to be giving the objective opinion on it, said that the suicide bomber and the Haggard guy, along with hundreds of millions of others who think just like them, she just said that their religion was wrong.

And if that’s her belief, that’s fine.  But she just did exactly what she said people shouldn’t do.  She said their religion was wrong.  They insist that the Creator only favors their own faith, and she said that this was wrong.  And again, what she’s confused about: She doesn’t really believe that these people’s religions dictate these beliefs.  Rather, she believes that these people are the types who disagree with others and who hate other people and who bring that to their religion.  And I kind of agree with that.  I can see that.  But maybe that’s not true.  

Again, maybe the suicide bombers are right.  Or maybe Haggard is right.  Maybe they really DO have the one true faith, and maybe the Creator really does instruct us all to do these things; and only these people are following his commands. And maybe the Creator hates open-minded religionists most of all and has a special hell for them.  Can Barbara Walters or anyone else say with any certainty that that’s not true?  Isn’t it conceivable that our Creator hates Jews and the other infidels?  

Of course it is.  I find it fairly irrational, but I also find it irrational when the Christians say that their god will allow his rebellious angel to punish me for all of eternity; and all because I expect proof  that he’s real.  That makes no sense.  But that doesn’t disprove it.  Nothing disproves it.  And that’s one reason why I think that religion is kind of silly and why I haven’t chosen one.  But…if someone says that we should respect all religions and shouldn’t denounce any of them (as Walters says), then that goes for all religions; not just the tolerant ones.  

But that’s not for Walters.  She clearly only likes the tolerant religions; and must believe these faiths to be witness to the believer’s goodness.  And perhaps that’s right.  But that’s not the right attitude of someone who respects religion.

Bad Polls

Oh, and the writer follows the Barbara quote above (which the writer clearly agrees with) by suggesting that most Americans aren’t bigots about their religion.  She writes: At least for now, that view is not predominant in the United States.  According to a recent Newsweek/Beliefnet poll, 79 percent of Americans believe that someone of another faith can attain salvation and go to heaven.

And for shit’s sake, I hope the poll wasn’t that vague.  Nope, I was wrong.  I just found the poll online, and for shit’s sake, it is that vague.  The question they asked is: “Can a good person who isn’t of your religious faith go to heaven or attain salvation, or not?”  And like that wasn’t a meaningless question.

First off, how many of those people consider the different dominations to be “of another faith”?  With that vague wording, it could just mean that an Episcopal believes a Catholic can also get in.  I mean, even the Haggard guy quoted in the article just says that Jesus needs to save you.  But that doesn’t mean that an Atheist or Muslim also gets in.  These words mean different things to different people.  

Secondly, the poll didn’t define what it means to “attain salvation”?  After all, the Catholics believe that anyone can be saved, even on their deathbed, as long as they accept Jesus and ask forgiveness for their sins.  That’s what salvation means to them.  But they also believe that we’ll all go to Hell if we don’t do that.  And conversely, even a lifelong Catholic who did everything right will go to Hell if they stop believing on their deathbed.  And that explains why the poll shows that Catholics are the most accepting of the idea of other people getting in.  But that doesn’t mean that they can get in; that just means that they might.

And yet I’m fairly certain that the writer of this piece was oblivious to that.  She’s so wanting to be open-minded about it, and yet she’s loading the terms up to her own definitions; and in the process, she’s watering down other people’s religions.  Why does she assume that the respondents meant that anyone of any faith goes to heaven, even if they stay in their own faith?  That’s clearly how she read the question; and yet that’s not right.  I’m sure there are many people who believe that, but it’s foolish to say that this is a majority.

And in that, she exposes her own bigotry.  Her own bigotry against eternal damnation or a punishing afterlife.  I too don’t believe in Hell, but I’m not the one pretending to respect all religions.  I think they’re just wasting their time with this religion stuff, and should just learn to sleep-in on Sundays and enjoy it.  But again, if you’re going to respect religion, you have to respect all religions.  Because if we have to consider the possibility of any of them, then we have to consider the possibility of all of them.  Including the intolerant ones.

One Last Note

Well I’ve done enough damage, so I think I’ll just wrap-up with a “highlight” of that blasted Reader’s Digest article and be done with it.  It was Anthony DeStefano, author of A Travel Guide to Heaven, who suggests that in Heaven “we’ll be able to go fishing with Hemingway, study piano with Mozart and painting with Michelangelo.  Provided, he adds, that those folks make it to heaven.”  

And uh, no.  If Mozart and Michelangelo are stuck for eternity teaching DeStefano and the other billions of people in Heaven, then they are most surely not in Heaven.  It’s more like a work-visa from Hell.  They didn’t tutor us while on earth, and I’m sure they would not gladly do it for eternity either.

Oh, and if you’d like to know which religion the writer and Walters herself prefers, but you don’t want to read the article or watch the special; I’ll just tell you.  It’s Buddhism.  They clearly prefer Buddhism.  I’m sure that neither one of them understands it any further than the self-help lesson it sounds like, but that’s the one they prefer.  And why?  Because the Dalai Lama rubbed noses with Walters and told her that the purpose of life was to be happy.  And while I could have told her the second part, as that’s something that I’ve said on many occasions; only a semi-divine being like Mr. Lama could touch that damn woman’s nose.  And I don’t begrudge him that at all.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Genius of Condi

I always tell my wife that she needs more of what makes Condoleezza Rice such a complete crapass.  I dislike Rice, but my wife needs more of what I don’t like in Condi.  It’s not just the bullshit.  It’s not just the smugness.  It’s the entire combination of her knowing that she’s totally shitfaced wrong, and yet the point that proves her so wrong is the very point that she shoves in your face in such a bold and brazen fashion that you’re left dazed and confused, and start to doubt your own ability to think.  And those damn teeth just complete the picture.  

Condi Rice doesn’t have enough brain cells to blow up a small raft.  But she’s got that certain smug crapiness that just makes you want to smash her in the face and then proudly take credit for the whole thing while the Secret Service pats you on the back and tells you that they understand.  But they wouldn’t and they’d just lock you away forever; and then you’d be tortured with the thought of that damn grinning witch having gotten the best of you; and she’d go on to become president, and you’d rot forever in some dank jail cell, and you wouldn’t even get to read my blog anymore.  And that’s what she’s all about.  She’s going to get the best of you, and she doesn’t deserve it, and she knows it, and she knows that you know that she knows it, and there ain’t a damn thing you can do about it, and that’s all there is.

Don’t get me wrong.  I like Mrs. Biobrain.  I liked her enough to marry her, and to have stayed married to her for several years.  And I don’t want her to become some smug jack-o-lantern that I’d want to punch in the face.  But she’s too much of the opposite.  She’s a nice person who feels guilty, simply for having been accused of something.  And she just doesn’t know how to defend herself; even when she’s entirely in the right.  And it bugs me enough that I would actually wish some of that Condi Crapability to be bestowed upon her.  Perhaps I’m dooming myself for asking for such a thing, but I went ahead and said it anyway.  

I just think that if Condi can vigorously defend herself when she’s entirely wrong, that my wife should be able to defend herself when she’s right.  Is that so much to ask for?  (For the record, I am referring to my wife’s job, and not implying that there is a time when it is I who is wrong about something, or needs to be defended against.)

Determined to Attack Inside the United States

And while my wife is waaay smarter than Rice, Rice has a much better ability at defending herself.  In fact, that’s really all she has going for her.  Her classic hit was the “I believe the title was 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States’" line she gave to the 9/11 commission.  And it wasn’t just the pretend guess; though we all knew damn well that she knew the title of that memo.  And she knew that we knew that she knew.  And it wasn’t that she had been so obviously coy about it, or that she knew that we knew why she was being so coy.  No.  It was all of that, combined with her delivery, which was a complete expression of “I can’t imagine why you’d want me to mention the title.”  As if she believed it to be entirely irrelevant and couldn’t understand why she had even been asked.  As if she had just been asked the color of her bedspread, rather than the title of a memo she had been misleading America about.

And she did it.  You know that she had practiced that line, and knew exactly how she’d deliver it.  She’s a concert pianist.  She speaks Russian.  She’s got a PhD and has written several books.  She’s all kinds of other clearly intellectual things that neither I nor you could be, yet we’re supposed to believe that she didn’t understand the importance of that memo?  Or at the least, that we wouldn’t all be shocked and amazed that a memo with such a title had been so obviously ignored?  

Come fucking on!  That title was THE title that America needed to hear in order to condemn the Bush Admin.  That title said everything.  Hell, a title like “Bin Laden Determined to Attack the WTC on 9/11” would have been too over the top and unbelievable.   But “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States” retained enough ambiguity to make it the title that should shock everyone.  I’m not necessarily saying that it was fair to blame the Bush Admin for not acting on that memo (though they should have done more than ignore it).  But if any country could blame its leaders for ignoring a memo, America is that country, and that memo was THE memo.

And yet, her delivery…  It was amazing.  The boldness.  The feigned ignorance.  It was perfect.  Nobody could possibly believe her.  She fooled no one.  But that was the whole point.  She wasn’t trying to fool anyone.  It was nothing short of a perfect mindfuck.  She wanted nothing less than for our brains to explode.  And explode they did.  The sheer mendacity and balls.  Even thinking about it now, it’s staggering.  She was openly professing complete ignorance to a matter of complete incompetence, and she knew that nobody could buy it.  And nobody did.

Yet that was the whole point.  To have gotten everything wrong, and to still be getting it wrong, and to act as if she didn’t know that she got it wrong, yet to obviously know how wrong it was, and to know that everyone else already knew it, and yet to continue to act as if the very point that everyone knew destroyed her was some insignificant detail that nobody could care about…it’s genius.  Pure genius.  

Don’t get me wrong.  Rice is no genius.  In fact, she’s a moron.  A moron that knows how to memorize things and learn patterns.  Think idiot savant pitbull, and you’ve got Condi.  But she works it together so perfectly that it makes no real difference from genius…well other than that she’ll fuck everything up.  But it’s a perfect storm that cancels itself out and brings itself to eventually become Secretary of State.  Incredible.  

And what else can you do when faced with this, other than to throw your hands up in defeat and have yourself a few stiff drinks.  I’ve had a few stiff ones tonight, and they clearly weren’t stiff enough because I’m still agitated over the whole thing.

I mean, just imagine how different things would have gone, had she refused to give us the name of that memo.  Or better, had she broken down and admitted to how bad the whole thing sounded, but to have begged for mercy.  She would have gotten her mercy, but she’d also have gotten her pinkslip.  And Bush would have lost the 2004 election.  But that didn’t happen.  She continued to feign ignorance, in spite of all evidence to the contrary; and it worked.  It all worked.  And we’re still stuck with that boob in the Whitehouse, and Condi got a damn promotion; having been given the job of the main guy in the Whitehouse to have gotten it right.  Simply incredible.

Pulling a Condi

Anyway, this wasn’t about rehashing old news.  I just read a new condi over at Eschaton, and it brought back all those old feelings.  If you haven’t read it already, here it is.  I’ll include Atrios’ comments because I’m too lazy to make my own:

Rice on CNN to John King, just now, responding to King pointing out that Democrats didn't have the same intelligence as the White House. It's her shiny new talking point. Shr grinned triumphantly as she said it:
They had the intelligence that made the case that Saddam Hussein had reconstituted his biological and chemical weapons and was at least on the way to reconstituting the nuclear weapons.
Right, they had the intelligence that made the case, but not the intelligence which pointed out that that intelligence was full of shit.

Oops, she did it again.  She fucked with your mind.  And you couldn’t do anything but read about it on my blog.  And she knows it.  She told John “Tool” King, and he couldn’t do anything but take it.  And there’s nothing you can do either.  As Atrios pointed out, King didn’t ask a follow-up, but would there have been a point?  Would she have given up?  Nope.  She just would have blown his mind even more.  I say he was lucky to get off as easy as he did.  He doesn’t have much mind to blow, so this really could have been bad for the guy (though I’m sure Fox would still take him).

And what could be a follow-up question to this?  I mean, she’s a Russian-speaking concert pianist doctor, and she just gave the dumbest fucking answer in the world.  She gave the exact answer that proves her wrong, and she acted as if it proved her right.  Specifically, in an attempt to show that Congress had the same intel as the Whitehouse, she tells us that they had intel which said that Saddam had what we all know he didn’t have.  And more so, that our intel agencies knew was based on guesses and full of doubts; but which weren’t passed on to Congress.

In other words, she gave the answer that made her look wrong.  Her answer to prove that Congress wasn’t misled was to point out that they were given intel which misled them.  And that’s just so fucking crazy that it works.  She can say this stuff and get away with it.  Because remember, what she said wasn’t a lie.  It was much bolder and shameless than a lie.  It was an admission of guilt dressed up to look like an exoneration.  But it wasn’t really hidden.  It was so blatant and obvious that you feel like you just got hit in the face with a cold fish.  And that’s what makes her the Secretary of State, and why you’re just some dude reading a blog.

And so that’s what I wish on my wife.  Not that she’ll become another Condi (god forbid).  But that she’ll take a page from Condi’s book and learn how to not feel squeamish when under attack.  If that woman can defend herself in front of the whole world by throwing our own common-sense and rationality in our faces, then my wife should be able to defend herself against a few minor battles at the office.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Toughguy Lawyer Scams Client

I was just reading about Tom DeLay’s lawyer and how he’s still trying to get the case dismissed.  But the basis for it is simply absurd, and has almost no chance of succeeding; and I’m sure his lawyers know that better than me.  So why does he bother?

I assert that this is yet another case of high-priced lawyers scamming their client, by doing lots of toughguy fighting that serves no purpose other than to look tough.  Whether or not they think the prosecutor can win the case, I’m sure the lawyers know that the charge is legitimate.  The prosecutor has to prove his case, but it was most certainly a crime.  But I believe that his lawyers are persisting on this, so that it looks like they’re doing lots of work and earning their fees.  And you gotta know that DeLay’s the type of client who likes that.  Jerks like him seem to like needless fighting better than the necessary kind.  They just like to show what fighters they are.  And in the meantime, the lawyer fees keep piling up.

And worse for DeLay (thus better for us), it keeps DeLay’s name in the headlines, reminding everyone that he’s under indictment and trying to do anything possible to stop the case.  In fact, it gives the appearance as if he’s cheating again; trying to squirm out from what he did.  And it might even make people think that he couldn’t win an outright case (which is probably true).  Sure, it also serves to feed his defenders a line of support; a hook to hang their arguments on.  But the damaging headlines more than offset that.  Especially as his defenders aren’t hearing anything new with this, while his attackers get the lovely headlines.

From a political standpoint, DeLay’s best defense would just be to blow-off the whole thing and gladly accept his day in court.  But the main thing would be to lay low and keep it out of the headlines.  The more he fights, the more serious he thinks this is.  And if he thinks it’s serious, everyone else will too.  And that’s not what he wants.  If you think your case is a slamdunk, you don’t need to fight hard and you don’t need a badass lawyer.  If you’re not worried about the charges, you’re not going to pay someone to fight tooth-and-nail.  

But DeLay’s lawyer keeps showing us that this is very serious and that he’s worried.  And while his “Dem DA out to get me” argument might work with his supporters; he knows damn well that that isn’t the case.  Especially as he’s already told the prosecutor that he did the crime.  And so the harder DeLay struggles to get out of this, the worse he looks politically, and the more those fees keep piling up.  And with almost no possibility of gain to show for it.  He might win the case, but this pre-trial fighting isn’t doing much to help him.  I’d say this saddens me, but I’d be lying.

The only part that does sadden me is that the DA’s office has to take all of these challenges seriously.  They may be frivolous, but even frivolous challenges have to be addressed.  And in the meantime, that means more time and energy spent on the case; and thus more taxpayer money thrown down the drain.  And all so DeLay can feel like a fighting man and like his high-priced lawyer is worth the high price.  He’s a mean little man, and this is all he’s got left.

P.S. Biobrain readers are forbidden from sending this post to DeLay.  For your eyes only.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Dangers of Watercooler Gossip

I just read the LA Times story exposing Curveball, and boy is it a doozie.  If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you do.  I’ll wait.  Roger Ailes quotes a good part, but here was a favorite of mine:

The analysts refused to back down. In one meeting, the chief analyst fiercely defended Curveball's account, saying she had confirmed on the Internet many of the details he cited. "Exactly, it's on the Internet!" the operations group chief for Germany, now a CIA station chief in Europe, exploded in response. "That's where he got it too," according to a participant at the meeting.

Uh, yeah.  Defending a claim of secret data because you found it on the internet.  I believe that’s what they call “Fucking Stupid”.  My own mother automatically discounts anything I source as being from the internet, but here we have a chief analyst using it to confirm top secret intelligence that was to justify war.  Great.  I’m sure that analyst has gotten the promotion she so obviously deserves.

To be sure, I honestly believe that part of the problem is that too many people instinctively believe Arabic-type people to be stupid and too naïve to lie.  I’m not sure if it’s the accent or what, but that’s certainly the impression that many people give off.  Sure he’s an engineer, but perhaps he can’t do internet research.  But there was clearly more to this than that.  There was clearly a case of CIA people just trying to find the justification for war that they knew Bush needed.  This quote just about says it all:

Other warnings poured in. The CIA Berlin station chief wrote that the BND had "not been able to verify" Curveball's claims. The CIA doctor who met Curveball wrote to his supervisor shortly before Powell's speech questioning "the validity" of the Iraqi's information. "Keep in mind that this war is going to happen regardless of what Curve Ball said or didn't say and the Powers That Be probably aren't terribly interested in whether Curve Ball knows what he's talking about," his supervisor wrote back, Senate investigators found.

That’s right; they knew that the “Powers That Be” weren’t interested in whether Curveball was telling the truth.  They wanted what he had to say in either case.  And it was all so obvious that a supervisor wrote to his underling to keep it in mind.  

And also keep in mind that the above quote came before Colin Powell’s UN presentation.  And as the article makes clear, Powell says that he strongly questioned the validity of Curveball, because he knew that so much was riding on the one guy.  It also says that people who were there when Powell was briefed knew that a “fabricator warning” had been issued for Curveball, but didn’t say anything.  But again, the Powers That Be misled Powell because they knew he had high credibility and wouldn’t completely jeopardize it with false claims.  What does it say when the Secretary of State isn’t a Power That Be, but is just used because he was the only one with any credibility left.

I’ll end with a few quotes which speak for themselves:

Days later, the CIA and DIA rushed to publish a White Paper declaring the trucks part of Hussein's biological warfare program. The report dismissed Iraq's explanation that the equipment generated hydrogen as a "cover story." A day later, Bush told a Polish TV reporter: "We found the weapons of mass destruction."  

But bio-weapons experts in the intelligence community were sharply critical. A former senior official of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research called the unclassified report an unprecedented "rush to judgment." The DIA then ordered a classified review of the evidence. One of 15 analysts held to the initial finding that the trucks were built for germ warfare. The sole believer was the CIA analyst who helped draft the original White Paper.Hamish Killip, a former British army officer and biological weapons expert, flew to Baghdad in July 2003 as part of the Iraq Survey Group, the CIA-led Iraqi weapons hunt. He inspected the truck trailers and was immediately skeptical."The equipment was singularly inappropriate" for biological weapons, he said. "We were in hysterics over this. You'd have better luck putting a couple of dust bins on the back of the truck and brewing it in there."

Jerry and his team interviewed 60 of Curveball's family, friends and co-workers. They all denied working on germ weapons trucks. Curveball's former bosses at the engineering center said the CIA had fallen for "water cooler gossip" and "corridor conversations." "The Iraqis were all laughing," recalled a former member of the survey group. "They were saying, 'This guy? You've got to be kidding.' "

"After the first couple of days, he said, 'This doesn't sound good,' " Drumheller recalled. "After the first week, he said, 'This guy is lying. He's lying about a bunch of stuff.' "But Curveball refused to admit deceit. When challenged, he would mumble, say he didn't know and suggest the questioner was wrong or the photo was doctored. As the evidence piled up, he simply stopped talking."He never said, 'You got me,' " Drumheller said. "He just shrugged, and didn't say anything. It was all over. We told our guy, 'You might as well wrap it up and come home.' "

The CIA had advised Bush in the fall of 2003 of "problems with the sourcing" on biological weapons, an official familiar with the briefing said. But the president has never withdrawn the statement in his 2003 State of the Union speech that Iraq produced "germ warfare agents" or his postwar assertions that "we found the weapons of mass destruction."

I know us good guys always find it upsetting when villains and liars never confess to their evil deeds, but that’s the way it is.  In the end, you just have to satisfy yourself that you’re right and hope that there’s some afterlife to punish these people.  Because they’ll never give you the satisfaction of admitting the truth; whether they’re wacko Iraqi defectors or incompetent world leaders.

Polling Propaganda

If you post on a Yahoo message board, and perhaps many other message boards, that President Bush is polling very poorly, you will inevitably be told that Republican politicians, and in particular Republican politicians occupying the Whitehouse, are not concerned with polls and don’t really care what they say.  And isn’t that exactly the problem?

And does it really matter if Bush is concerned with his poll numbers?  Is the point of mentioning the polls supposed to be that Bush is worried about them, or is the point supposed to be that he’s unpopular and that people don’t approve of what he’s doing?  I assert it’s the latter; and if Bush isn’t worried about them, then this is yet another thing he’s doing wrong.  It means that he doesn’t care whether or not he’s doing his job.  For most people, this is a sign of lazy contempt, and would suggest that they are unsuited for their job.  Republicans have made it a virtue; at least in Bush’s case.

But this is more than just a matter of Bush ignoring the voices of dissent (while perhaps listening too well to the voices in his head).  This is about the propagandic mindset of the conservatives.  For us, we mention the poll numbers because it emphasizes how out of touch Bush is with America, and how he’s on the wrong course.  And I’ll admit that there might be a touch of gloating about it all.  But overall, we think the polls speak for themselves, which is to suggest that Bush is wrong and in trouble.

The Message

But that’s not what they hear at all.  What they hear is anti-Bush propaganda.  And what they’re telling you is that they’re ignoring the propaganda, and that it’s not working on Bush either.  And that’s just how they think.  It’s not about the facts or the truth.  It’s about the facts and truth that you choose to use.  And if you choose to cite facts which make Bush look bad, then you’re doing so in order to convince people to drop their support for him.  And even more so, that you’re trying to undermine him.  For them, that’s the importance of this news.  Not of what the news itself says, but what we do with the news and the message that we’re sending.

I’m not suggesting that these people don’t believe the poll numbers to be true (though that may be part of it).  But propaganda doesn’t have to be fake; propaganda just means that you’re promoting certain facts to achieve a certain agenda.  It’s about rousing your team, and disheartening the other team.  That’s all that matters.  And in this case, they think our specific purpose is to convince them to drop their support for Bush.  And they think that, were Bush to care about the polls, he’d be disheartened and really start screwing up.  I’m not exactly sure how he can screw-up any more than he has, but I’m afraid to find out.

Think of them as political Freuds.  For them, a poll is never just a poll; but rather a deep and meaningful insight into your political psyche.  It’s all about self-fulfilling prophecies; people saying things in order to make them come true.  And so you’d only say the things that you want to happen.  The only reason you’d mention Bush’s lousy poll numbers is because you’re a “libtard” intent on driving those numbers down further, to destroy Bush.  Equally, the only reason you’d mention the problems in Iraq is because you want to make those problems worse and hurt America and/or Bush.  That really is how they think about things, and how they make their own reality.  

And if they don’t think we’re outright propagandists, then they assume that we’re latent propagandists who aren’t even aware of the propaganda that lurks deep within our subconscious.  But in either case, it’s obvious to them where we’re going with this stuff, and that it’s against America and/or Bush.  And frankly, I suspect they consider the second to be worse than the first.

Posterboys of Propaganda

And they believe this, solely because it could have these effects; from a propaganda point of view.  Even now, we’re told that Congressman Murtha’s recent statements on withdrawal make him “the posterboy for Al Jazeera”; as if a US Congressman really should self-censor himself, simply because an Arabic news org might quote him.  As if we all need to put on a happyface and lie, simply because the terrorists might hear about it and get discouraged; as if they didn’t already know what’s going on in Iraq far better than us.  As if they’re scouring the Yahoo message boards looking for any encouraging news about their endeavors.  Even now, I can hear Zarqawi relishing the news.  “Look guys!  Gator122571 doesn’t think we should be tortured.  He even got three rec’s.  Hoorah!  Hoorah!  I’m very encouraged!  Suicide packs for everyone!”  Or something like that, I’m sure.

And should we assume that this means that Bush and the others are also self-censoring?  As if Bush grouses in private about what a shitfest he started, and that he’d just love to tell us all about what he did wrong there; if only it didn’t encourage the terrorists.  Geez, I’d hate to see how badly things would be going if they weren’t censoring themselves.  Al Jazeera would run out of posters to put them all on.

Interestingly enough, I just checked Al Jazeera’s website, and Murtha is not currently a posterboy; nor do they have his name anywhere on their homepage.  And for irony’s sake, the main story they have related to this has Rumsfeld suggesting that Murtha’s call for withdrawal would “strengthen US enemies and embolden terrorists”.  So even Al Jazeera reports this kind of stuff; though they did not quote anyone as saying that he was their posterboy.  Additionally, the point of the story is Rummy saying that we won’t be withdrawing troops until Iraq is ready; so I guess their propaganda is relatively fair and balanced, as this is the same story that Fox has.  Then again, my Arabic’s a bit rusty (ie, nonexistent), so I was limited to reading the English version.  I’m sure the real version is much more inflammatory, including the Bush pictures with devil horns.  It’s all propaganda with those people, isn’t it?

The Right Message

And so when they tell us that they don’t care about the negative polls, it’s not just them putting on a happyface, or them ignoring the truth, or even them saying that they really don’t care about polls.  No, they’re telling you that your propaganda isn’t working, and that you might as well not even bother.  That’s not at all true, as they hate the polls as much as we would (had Clinton ever polled so badly); but the message they want to send is that they don’t care and that you shouldn’t either.  Similarly, the whole uproar over Murtha is intended to send the message that Dems shouldn’t act as Murtha has.  The Republicans’ concern is not about whether the terrorists get the wrong idea, but that the Dems will get the right one.  

Of course, had Murtha said these things two years ago, he’d have been attacked in order to put his seat at risk; and they’d hope he kept saying more.  Things are so bad for them these days, they’re attacking him just to keep him and the others quiet.  Their attacks on him are really coded propaganda in either case.  But the propaganda isn’t intended to stave off terrorist attacks or save American lives; but solely to save the GOP from the ruin they’ve brought upon themselves.  But it’s really all they’ve got left; to hope that the Dems can’t take advantage of the situation and regain control of Congress.

I had a decent ending to this post, but I can’t find the good tie-in from the last paragraph, and it’s late, so I’m just ending it with a quote.  The Carpetbagger post I cited above had such a good closing line that I decided to steal it, even if it’s not particularly relevant:
Remember, when you talk to God, it's prayer.  When God talks to you, its schizophrenia.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Titty Falafel Strikes Again!

Bill O’Reilly has long since gone off the deep-end and is now spending all his time sucking the drain at the bottom of the pool.  I’m serious.  I just read this crap from Media Matters and it just confirms the fact.  If you haven’t heard the clip, you should.  In it, Bill states in no uncertain terms that, because San Franciscans voted to ban military recruiters from their high schools and colleges, it would be perfectly acceptable with him for Al Qaeda to bomb the city.  Not only that, but that if they did bomb that “we’re not going to do anything about it.”

Needless to say, the only thing preventing this from being considered traitorous is simply because nobody would actually take him seriously.  Nor was he being truly serious.  If you hear the clip, it’s obvious that he wasn’t making a joke; but I’m sure he doesn’t really mean what he said either.  He was just trying to impress the youngsters in the audience.  But if he had the final choice on this, I’m sure he would choose to not bomb San Fran; if for no other reason than because he’d hate to risk losing his loofah supply.  But he obviously has no problem using that kind of strong rhetoric.  

And there are so many problems with his statement that it really makes it hard to know which part to focus on.  But here’s the part for me: Why are conservatives so fucking clueless when it comes to Al Qaeda and what makes them tick?  Because they always get it wrong.  The whole “Al Qaeda says America wants to take over the Muslim world, so we’re going to invade a Muslim country and prove them right” thing is probably the main thing.  But it goes deeper than that.

America’s Safest City

And here it is in this case: Say some Al Qaeda operative was listening to O’Reilly’s show (these terrorists are crazy, so I wouldn’t put it past them), would they have taken Bill up on his offer and bomb San Francisco?  Or even more so, if President Bush made a similar statement, and said that we wouldn’t retaliate or anything for bombing San Fran, and that the city was not “off-limits.”  Assuming that the terrorists took it seriously and believed it to be true, would that encourage Al Qaeda to attack?

Of course not.  That would defeat the whole purpose.  The whole purpose of them bombing us is to show us that they can hurt us and that we can’t stop them from doing so; and to therefore make us negotiate with them or compromise or give-in or something.  But…if we open up the city for them to bomb…there wouldn’t be any fucking point for them to do so!  So in effect, if the terrorists were to take O’Reilly’s symbolic offer seriously, he has made San Francisco the safest city in America!

Additionally, if the reason O’Reilly or Bush was inviting them to bomb was because San Francisco wanted to prevent our military from recruiting at their schools; it would seem that Al Qaeda would even be less likely to attack them.  If anything, they’d send a note of thanks.

The Muslim Bogeymen

But to guys like Bill O’Reilly, that kind of thing is beside the point.  I’m sure he’d wholeheartedly agree that Al Qaeda would want San Fran to vote that way, but that’s not where he was going with this.  No.  Instead, the angle he was taking, at least at this point of his show, was in using Al Qaeda as the bogeyman.  As someone to scare the kids back into line with.  

But this isn’t an isolated incident at all.  In fact, this is how the O’Reilly’s always use Al Qaeda.  As if it’s their personal threat; to use whenever they feel.  As if it’s something they can throw at others, to keep them in line.  Like your folks saying that Santa wouldn’t get you anything if you acted bad.  When they say it, they hope it’s true; but in the end, you always get something, no matter how dicky you behaved.

Heck, it’s even more like when wacko Pat Robertson told the residents of Dover, PA earlier this week that they had “voted God out of (their) city,” and couldn’t ask him for help anymore.  As if Pat’s got some kind of direct hotline to God and knows what God wants taught in our schools.  Who the hell does he think he is?  The fucking Pope or something?  Jesus christ, what a egohead!

But that’s what this is all about.  Them using Al Qaeda as a device to keep us in line.  If there wasn’t an Al Qaeda, these jerks would have invented one (and there are some reasons to suspect they did).  But the Al Qaeda of their imagination is never the one of reality.  Theirs is always the Al Qaeda that thought we’d sue them after 9/11; and just needs to be shown one last lesson before it’ll die out in disgrace.  The Al Qaeda that risks their lives, simply because they “hate freedom”; but will fold like a paper hat if given the toughguy routine.  The Al Qaeda that “wins” or “loses” on a daily basis; depending on how Congress votes, and how optimistic the libs are on the Yahoo message boards.

In fact, this is all is reminding me of the whole Devil story.  About the wicked angel who was cast out from Heaven by God, and then has nothing better to do than to punish God’s enemies and those who disobey God’s laws.  Uh, hello!  Why would the Devil punish God’s enemies?  He hates God.  If anything, he’d be buying Hitler and the rest of them a beer and thanking them for a job well done.  I can understand a little S&M action with the hot chicks or something; but I really can’t see it being so much fun to be sticking hot pokers up Stalin’s butthole for all of eternity.  Call me crazy, but I suspect the Devil has better things to do with his time.  We can only hope, right?

And the same goes for the Republican’s Al Qaeda.  For some reason, it’s all about punishing Bush’s enemies and those who make America weak.  I don’t understand why Bin Laden would risk his life, just so Bush could pressure Congress into authorizing another taxcut; but I guess they don’t call him a madman for nothing.  Then again, perhaps this is all an evil plan by Osama to allow Bush to ruin our economy; and thus destroy our great nation.  Makes you think, huh.

Extra Bonus: The O’Reilly We Can Never Forget (The first in a new series)
(per Smoking Gun)

34.  During the course of this dinner in approximately early May 2002, Plaintiff’s supervisor, Defendant BILL O’REILLY, lavished Plaintiff ANDREA MACKRIS with unsolicited advice regarding her handling of future relationships with members of the opposite sex.  Defendant BILL O’REILLY advised Plaintiff ANDREA MACKRIS to avoid future contact with her ex-fiancé, to have manicures and pedicures and “pick up 23-year-old men in bars,” to attend charity events and meet men with credentials, and to otherwise spend the next year doing what she felt like doing, without thinking twice about the consequences.  Defendant BILL O’REILLY then suggested at the end of the year, they’d discuss promoting Plaintiff to a producer position for “The O’Reilly Factor.”

35.  After these words during the course of their dinner in early May 2002, Defendant BILL O’REILLY’s demeanor abruptly changed.  O’REILLY’s eyes became glazed and bizarrely strayed in opposite directions.  Suddenly, without provocation or warning, Defendant BILL O’REILLY said to Plaintiff ANDREA MACKRIS: “And just use your vibrator to blow off steam.”  When Plaintiff reddened, Defendant BILL O’REILLY asked lewdly: “What, you’ve got a vibrator, don’t you?  Every girl does.”  When Plaintiff responded indignantly, “No, and no, they don’t.  Does your wife?”  Defendant replied: “Yes, in fact she does.  She’d kill me if she knew that I was telling!” Plaintiff was repulsed.

Extra Bonus Quiz

1) Why did Bill O’Reilly’s wife not kill him?  What did she receive instead?

2) Is it possible to have sex with Bill O’Reilly and not think twice about the consequences?  What if he hadn’t drugged you?

3) Is it really sexual harassment if they make the men do the same things?  What if it’s in their corporate charter?  Explain.

4) Is this really any different from what they make their employees do every day on television?  I mean, really??

Extra-Extra Bonus Question: In fifty words or less, explain whether you’d prefer to sleep with Bill O’Reilly for a year, and end up as a producer on his show (ugh!); or to act as the official Whitehouse correspondent for Fox News throughout the 2004 election season, with a promise that Kerry would eventually win.  Also explain why existing rape laws should cover both scenarios.

Remember, in both cases it is mandatory to perform to your boss’s satisfaction; and there’s always the possibility that they’re lying and you’ll end up with nothing.  You have fifty minutes to complete this quiz.  Good luck.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Punkass Bitch

Stephen Hadley is a punkass bitch.  I started a post on this last week which explored that theme, but I really didn’t like it as much as the opening line.  And it got kind of stale, so I’m keeping the opening line and dumping the rest.  It was about what a lousy liar Hadley is, and how he figuratively pissed himself when he had to answer a question regarding the Niger documents and a meeting with Italian security.  

Needless to say, I proved my case thoroughly, but it was longer than it was interesting; so you’ll just have to take my word for it.  But it’s true, it’s all true.  Stephen Hadley really is a punkass bitch.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A Fashion God Indeed

Oh my fucking god!  Per AP, regarding recent Michael Brown email releases:

"My eyes must certainly be deceiving me. You look fabulous — and I'm not talking the makeup," writes Cindy Taylor, FEMA's deputy director of public affairs to Brown on 7:10 a.m. local time on Aug. 29.
"I got it at Nordstroms," Brown writes back. "Are you proud of me? Can I quit now? Can I go home?" An hour later, Brown adds: "If you'll look at my lovely FEMA attire, you'll really vomit. I am a fashion god."
A week later, Brown's aide, Sharon Worthy, reminds him to pay heed to his image on TV. "In this crises and on TV you just need to look more hardworking ... ROLL UP THE SLEEVES!" Worthy wrote, noting that even President Bush "rolled his sleeves to just below the elbow."

Not that there should be anything too shocking about this, but it still is.  I guess the shocking part was that I had kind of always assumed that this kind of stuff was saved for Bush.  Both the underling’s lavishing praise and the whole PR/appearances idea of government work.  But I guess this extends to his staff too.  I’m just hoping that they were having an affair or something, or that maybe she wanted to.  That’d be far better than if this was just the normal way that his aides talked to him.

To be honest, I saw pictures of Brownie, and none of them seemed particularly fabulous or fashionable.  I guess I’m just not into that kind of thing and don’t notice stuff like that.  I wonder if it would sadden him to know that we weren’t giving him any style points at the time.  The only thing he got right, and we didn’t even notice.


Bill Frist, M.D., whining at his blog about Harry Reid’s secret bitching ceremony (Frist was the guest of honor):

One moment, we were talking about finally acting to get our deficit under control.  The next: closed doors. Zipped lips. No C-Span.  Everything secret.

That’s right.  After five years of ballooning deficits, the Senate was finally about to do something about that pesky budget; and whaddya know, those damn Dems shutdown the Senate.  Shit.  What are the odds?  An event like this isn’t expected to happen again for another twenty years.  Now we’ll never get a balanced budget!  That Harry Reid sure knows how to mis-time his stunts.  If only he had done this a day later.  We would have had a balanced budget, and our grandchildren’s future would have been secure.  Now it’s Raman and Spam for the next fifty years…all thanks to those meddling Dems.

And no C-Span??  Holy shit.  Talk about your end of worlds.  I once lost ESPN for a whole afternoon during the Lumberjack Olympics and I’ve never spoken to my mom since.  But C-SPAN; that’s a whole other ballpark.  That’s like losing all your public access stations and your PBS.  That’s serious business.  And no wonder Frist was upset.  An ego like his needs constant satellite projection, or risk having a total mental blow-out.  There’s a lot of pressure building up in there and if he isn’t able to release it on a nationwide scale every ten minutes, we could lose the Capitol building all together.

He ended his post with this promise:
So ... When Harry Reid and his colleagues are done pouting behind closed doors, my door will be OPEN. Open to talk about how we're going to secure our borders; open to talk about filling the vacancy on the Supreme Court; open to talking about ending wasteful Washington spending and restoring fiscal discipline to our government. Open to DOING THE JOB THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ELECTED US TO DO.

Well it’s about fucking time.  I always thought they were in Washington to put the squeeze on corporate lobbyists and Indian tribes.  But lo and behold, they actually do intend to do something about our problems.  Hoorah!  Hoorah!  Bill Frist is open to talk about them.  They just need to wait for Harry Reid to stop pouting, and they’ll finally get to the business of talking.  If only they had told us sooner; we could have started talking weeks ago!  And with any luck, they might actually start moving to do something, in another five or six years.  I guess the Spaman future isn’t quite as bleak as I thought.

I’d be negligent to leave out Fristy’s excellent Chinese proverb:
"The man who strikes first admits that his ideas have given out."

Of course, the whole Secret Rule 21 thing really was a pretty good idea.  And this wasn’t a first strike, but rather one more skirmish in an ongoing battle.  And this idea seems to have served its purpose and left the Repubs totally flat-footed and resorting to the very insults they imagine were flung at them.  But whatever.  It’s Chinese, so you have to give Bill some style points for that one.  I would have been damned impressed had he delivered it in the original Chinese, but I think its enough that he ate the cookie afterwards.  You’re a good boy, Frist.  Maybe we’ll make you President yet.

P.S. Is there really any chance that Frist wrote that?  For god’s sake I hope not.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Republicans and the Borg

There’s an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that always kind of bugged me.  It was a Borg episode, and in this one, the crew of the starship Enterprise capture a young Borgling and devise a plan to use him to destroy the Borg.  Their cunning plan is to upload an unsolvable problem onto the Borgling and then reintroduce him to the Borg mothership.  Upon doing so, the rest of the Borg will be infected with this same unsolvable problem and thus be rendered useless.  For you see, being a computer, the Borg will be forced to expend all of their resources in solving this unsolvable problem.  And because it is unsolvable, they’ll be at it for a long long time; and thus, rendered harmless.  Or so goes the theory.

But I’ve always had a problem with that episode.  I mean, how could they know that it’s unsolvable?  They don’t have Borg-like minds, and the Borg are most certainly more advanced than the crew of the Enterprise.  How could the Enterprise know that this problem would stifle the Borg?  Maybe the Borg would contemplate it for a few mere seconds before spitting out the answer in a lofty and arrogant fashion?  And boy, wouldn’t the Enterprisers feel pretty stupid after that.  They had just engaged in at least half an hour of ethical debate regarding the morality of infecting this Borg youth with the Borg-destroying problem; and it took no longer for them to answer it than it would take for us to sneeze.  Embarrassing.

But that wasn’t my bigger problem.  My bigger problem was, why would the Borg be so stupid as to be sidetracked by such a silly problem?  Why would they devote any time at all to such a trivial and silly task?  My god, are we talking the Borg here, or a bunch of teenage stoners hopped up on loco weed?  Next thing you know, they’ll be contemplating whether “big” could ever be the new “small”, and why Triskets are so scratchy, yet somehow so delicious.  Could a super-race of computer-humans be so easily confused?  Why not just stuff them full of frozen burritos and watch them pass-out into oblivion?

And that always bugged me.  There are a lot of ST:TNG episodes that bug me, but that one especially so.  Because I just don’t buy it.  I don’t see this as a working solution against the Borg.  It was just a meaningless setup so they could have yet another silly discussion on ethics.  This was the bigtime PC-era of Next Generation and so everything just had to be loaded down with ethical debate.  But you know what; sometimes it really is best just to blast em and move on.  Not everything has to be a moral dilemma.  Sometimes, the right thing is the obvious thing and you should just push ahead and do it.

I suspect that this had to do with the lack of decent hookers on the Enterprise.  I’m not saying they didn’t have any.  I’m just saying they didn’t have enough of them.  And so we were stuck with a whole lot of pussyfooted pansiness in space.  Week after week, great gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair preceded each and every decision; and it was all enough that you kind of hoped that the Borg would finally win out and give these pussies a taste of real leadership.  Especially whenever Whoopi Goldberg was involved.

But this one episode was particularly silly.  I’m sorry, but if you’re balancing a decision that could potentially doom billions and billions of people to a horrible Borg-like existence and/or certain death, versus preventing that fate in a slightly underhanded way, you always pick the underhanded way.  I’m sorry.  It’s that simple.  And you better believe that the Borg wouldn’t think twice about using such a technique on us.  So you got to wonder how it is that ethics could possibly allow the unethical guys to win.  If anything, that should be the ultimate in unethical behavior.

So even the ethics of this one was wrong, silly, and ultimately harmful to mankind.  And if some TNG fan uses the ethics they picked up from that episode and decide to not save the billions of people, I think it’s safe to say that a lawsuit or two wouldn’t be unimaginable; to say the least.  They really had it coming.

Rightwing Psycho-out Bullshit

Back on earth, I’ll tell you why I’m thinking about that episode.  I was over at the glorious and eponymous Roger Ailes website (a truly wonderful individual who will soon be including me on his Blogroll, ahem “Enemies List”), and was reading about Scum Drudge’s recent suggestion that the opposition of Judge Alito smacks of anti-Italianism.  And that’s nothing but a joke; and Drudge knows the punchline is on us.  

He doesn’t think we’re anti-Italian.  The idea is beyond laughable.  But he doesn’t care.  In fact, the absurdity of the charge makes its defense all the more unbearable and irritating.  They’ve done this with other judges who have had specific ethnic backgrounds.  They did this with Iraq, by implying that liberals didn’t think that “brown skinned people” were intelligent enough to handle democracy.  And they’re doing this now.  They know that these things aren’t true, but they don’t care.  And they even know that they’re the bigger bigots regarding these matters.  But that’s just the icing on the cake for them.  Hypocrisy can be quite delicious, if served properly.  

They’re doing these things because it messes with our heads and throws us off our game.  Here’s what I wrote over at Roger’s:

This is just more rightwing psych-out bullshit to take the discussion away from where it should be.  We're supposed to waste our breath defending against the absurd idea that we're anti-Italian, so that we won't use that time discussing the issues of Alito's nomination.

Not that they necessarily think that it'll permanently change the subject.  It's just one more monkeywrench in their toolbox.  They just toss out a bunch of crap and laugh as we scramble to refute it all.  But Drudge takes this kind of thing as seriously as if we accused him of fucking his sister.  He'd know that we didn't have the proof, and would just blow it off.  To even discuss it is to give it a form of success.  But to ignore it is to risk having the label stick.  

That's why they do it.  They toss out a bunch of crap and get us on the defensive.  Swift Boats was a prime example, and they do it all the time.  In the end, we spend more time defending against absurd charges than we do discussing real issues.  And that's exactly what they want.  The best defense is a good offense, and the Republicans are very good at being offensive.

We’re the Borg

And I finished writing that, and my brain started to wander (I have been drinking for a few hours), and somehow I ended up thinking about that episode.  And it struck me what this is all about.  We’re the fucking Borg.  We’re the ones who have these programs loaded on us that we spend all our energy fighting.  And we think about it and argue against it and attack and defend and everything; and for what?  A silly point.  An absurdity.  Something that is laughable on its face, backside, and ass.

Top-down, these are silly suggestions that shouldn’t warrant the tiniest amount of thought.  These aren’t accusations.  They’re silly little games, intended to fuck us up.  And it works; everytime.  And we’ll even spend time discussing how these tricks aren’t working, and how it’s good for us to shoot down these ideas.  We could even get into the idea that perhaps it’s healthy for us to discuss and refute such things, and how this only makes us stronger.  Perhaps it’s intellectually lazy to dismiss such theories too quickly.  And in the meantime, we’re completely getting reamed up the ass.

This is exactly what they want.  Not for the label to stick, but for us to have to waste time discussing it.  Because they know that’s our weakness.  We like to think about things and engage in rational debate.  And we take things very serious and give everything thorough consideration.  I’m not necessarily saying we’re smarter, or that all liberals are geniuses.  I’m saying that we waste time thinking about shit that doesn’t need to be thought about and we’re being kept off-message and off-track.  Don’t get me wrong; back-to-basics debates are fun and everything; but they don’t win elections.  And that’s our weakness.  The Borg might not be fooled by an unsolvable problem, but the liberals surely are.

In fact, that’s the ultimate irony of this.  In our universe, it’s the Borg infecting the humans with pointless abstract debate, which distracts and confuses them.  Because the Republicans don’t engage in this kind of debate.  I know they like to think they do, but all they’re ever looking for is the big rationalization for whatever it is they want next.  They’re end-result kind of people and they really don’t care how they get there.  Not action-wise, of course.  They’re not willing to commit genocide and whatnot to get their ends (or I should hope not).  But as far as internal debate goes, there is none.

For them, it’s all about how they sell the next idea.  Democrats use polls to determine what position to take, and Republicans use them to determine how to sell their position.  Because unlike us, they’re not trying to hash out what the best end-result is.  They don’t care what the public wants; they want the public to want what they’ve got.  They already know what results they want, and they’re just trying to figure how to get it.  And one way is to devastate your enemy with silly accusations and meaningless debate.  And it works.

The Best Defense

And here’s the thing, there is no easy answer to this.  I’m not necessarily saying that we can ignore these things.  Swift Boats was ignored by Kerry, but that didn’t work.  But an immediate assault isn’t that great of an idea either.  And that’s the whole point.  If we could easily avoid falling into the trap, it wouldn’t be much of a trap.  We’re supposed to fall into this.  They’re very good at this and they know that we will.  They know that we can’t risk dignifying their absurd attacks with a response, nor can we waste the time and energy; but they also know that if we don’t respond, the attacks look valid.  And so what can you do?  Nothing.  That’s why the Repubs do this.

But there is a way out.  The best defense is a good offense, and that’s what we need to do.  We need to figure out how to get things back onto them.  This is all just a game of tennis, and we just need to make sure that the ball either stays on their side, or they overreach and knock it out of bounds.  But the dumbest thing to do is to wait for this to happen.  And that’s exactly what we do too much of the time.  We sit back and wait for the attacks.  Because that’s what we like to do.  

Imagine a star tennis player going up against a tennis machine with unlimited tennis balls.  The star player will do a much better job of fielding the ball, but in the end, the machine will win.  Not because the machine was better or smarter or more right; but because the machine isn’t trying to win.  It just wants to keep shooting out more balls.  And that’s what the Republicans do to us.  They keep shooting more balls at us, hoping that we’ll spend our time whacking them back.  And in the meantime, they gut our government and ruin our economy and design a society more in fitting with their greedy desires.  

And that is what this is all about.  We need to take the fight to them.  It’s not enough to defend your position; and in some cases, it’s best not to defend at all.  There are unsolvable problems, and it’s simply foolish to answer them.  We need to learn how to do that.