Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Waving the Wand

I’m much too busy to go into detail, but I just saw this little bit of the Libby trial, via Digby:

Mr Libby called Matalin for advice. On July 8 he wrote down notes in which Rove said, "people are taking Wilson as a credible expert." 2 days go by, he calls Matalin for advice. She tells him, she gives him strategy. "We need someone who can sum it up. This is fitting into Democratic story. It has legs. The story's not going away. We need to address Wilson motivation. The President should wave his wand."

And this is one of the constant failures of conservatives, and why they’ll always make bad poker players.  They never know when to back down.  They always think they need to push whatever cards they have as far as they can go.  And sure, bluffing’s a great strategy.  But it becomes a bit obvious when you never fold and will always take things as far as they go.

Because the Wilson story didn’t have legs.  Sure, it was a bit damning.  But it was all high-level stuff that was easily dismissed.  Joe Sixpack was unlikely to ever hear about it, and they were the target audience for the WMD myth.  And so the Whitehouse should have given a low-played dismissal of the story and said that it proved nothing and to let it die.

But no.  They have to fight everything everywhere and can’t let one thing slip by like this.  And now they’re in the middle of a nasty trial and everything’s coming out, and this could conceivably lead to Cheney’s resignation or impeachment or whatever.  And if nothing else, all their little dirty secrets about how they constantly manipulated the press are being exposed, and nobody likes to be played like a sucker.  Not even the suckers in the media.

And sure, hindsight’s 20/20, and all that.  But the Wilson thing was never a big story.  It’s been awhile, but I’m not even sure I was really aware of it until the Plame thing exploded, and I follow this kind of stuff.  The average American would have been even more in the dark.  Even now, I suspect that most people only have the vaguest notion of this trial’s existence or its implications; but the media certainly does, and they’re the ones that need to hear it.  

They should have let it die.  But they can’t.  They have to fight every fight.  They can’t back down.  They can’t allow any voices of dissent.  So here we are, laughing our asses off as the Whitehouse Propaganda Machine blows up in their faces and tells everything.  And none of this was unpredictable.  Actions have consequences, and Republicans have been engaging in some mighty bad actions for a long time.  Everything else was to be expected.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Partisan Pinko Presidents

Guest Post by Doctor Snedley, Personal Assistant to Doctor Biobrain

Looks like uber-fascist Glenn Greenwald’s at it again.  Here we see him, paint fumes still wafting from the nostrils, attempting to suggest that because Republican Congressmen forced then-president Clinton to leave Somalia, that this somehow proves that Democrat Congressmen can do the same to Bush.  

What else can we give that but a big WHAT  EVER!!

Update: Apparently, the libtards have had someone read this post to them and they’re angry.  Like that’s a surprise.  It seems my self-evident argument wasn’t self-evident enough for these flakes.  And as much as I’d like to dismiss these bitter protests with yet another WHAT EVER!!, this stuff is so obvious that I can even explain it to them.

You see, not only has Greenwald failed to demonstrate that Congress has these powers, he’s managed to undermine the Democrat anti-war position entirely.  For you see, when Republicans were demanding that Clinton leave Somalia, they were doing so for entirely partisan purposes.  They knew that Reagan and Bush Sr. had left our country strong enough internationally that we could accept a loss in Somalia (unlike Clintoon who has doomed us to generations of never backing down).  And they knew for damn certain that our troops were more than capable of taking care of themselves; especially against the ragheaded riffraff in Somalia (Blackhawk Down, anyone?).

So this didn’t have anything to do with the anti-American reasons libtards might give for opposing wars.  Hell no.  The Republicans were just trying to undermine Clinton's authority; plain and simple.  And seeing as how Clinton was a known communist-sympathizer who still has unanswered questions regarding his frequent visits to Moscow during the height of the Cold War; it only made sense that they should undermine his authority.  It was for the good of the country.  

And it worked too.  Had we allowed Clintoon to stretch his pinko wings, who knows what kind of damage he’d do.  And as things are, we ended up converting him into an almost respectable capitalist who did far more harm to his Soviet overlords than they could ever have imagined.  That’s why the left-nuts had to turn to Bin Laden and Al Qaeda for leadership, as they clearly showed their superiority over the joke-like Soviets in their ability to harm our booming economy.  If only we had Soviets to deal with now…

It’s the 9/11, Stupid

And so that’s why Republicans demanded that Clinton remove the troops.  Not because they opposed our troops, or wanted to appease Muslim extremists, or even that they had the power (which they didn’t).  It was just a partisan attack to undermine our pinko president.  They were playing politics, and they won.

And so in that light, the Democrat's own calls for withdraw should be seen as being equally partisan.  They don’t care about our troops and they know that they’re already doing enough here in our country to abet and aide our enemies far more than anything those penny-ante thugs in Iraq could ever do.  No, they just want to undermine Bush’s authority the way that we undermined Clinton’s authority.

But this time, it’s for entirely opposing reasons.  We undermined Clinton’s authority because he was a danger to America and couldn’t be trusted with the infinite powers our forefathers so wisely granted to the presidency.  The Democrats, on the other hand, want to deny Bush those powers simply because he wants to wipe-out these dangers to America, and is going to make the world safe for Democracy & Prosperity forever.  That’s what they fear the most.

And those are the exact reasons why the Founding Fathers placed the presidency above the law, while allowing the proper people to deny those powers to the improper ones.  It was all about separation of powers, something the Damnable Dems can never understand.  Sure, Greenwald and his Dem Traitors can screech irrationally about how Republicans did the same things the Dems want to do now.  And I have just three words for them: 9/11, 9/11, 9/11.

Oh, and one more word: WHAT EVER!!

Investigative Puppies

Via Carpetbagger, I read about Ari Fleischer’s damning testimony against Libby, in which he says that Libby told him about Valerie Plame days before Libby testified he had, and how Ari passed it on to reporters David Gregory and John Dickerson.  

Dickerson disputes this, saying:
My recollection is that during a presidential trip to Africa in July 2003, Ari and another senior administration official had given me only hints. They told me to go inquire about who sent Wilson to Niger. As far as I can remember — and I am pretty sure I would remember it — neither of them ever told me that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA.

What a dope.  How has he not figured out by now that this is exactly how the Whitehouse does things?  Ari was passing on a few hints that Dickerson was supposed to follow-up on.  Because that’s how they do things.  They want reporters to think they’re digging up some big story, which is really being handed to them on a platter.  They’ve trained these people so well that they think they’re Woodward and Bernstein, when they’re really little better than Drudge.  And that goes for Woodward too, whose greatest glories were largely reliant on a disgruntled insider handfeeding him information.  The only difference is that the Republicans figured out that he’d gladly be fed by anyone.

And while that technique was always invaluable for a regular story, it was especially so in this case, where they were pimping classified information.  Their plan was to drop all kinds of hints to reporters without giving any one the full story.  That way, they had their cover story that they learned about this from reporters.  Or at a minimum that everything was hazy and got dragged out of various officials by those conniving reporters who are just so clever at digging out the truth.  Except, they had it entirely backwards and it was the Whitehouse playing the reporters for the suckers they are.

And we’ve already heard testimony that this is how they did things.  They had their favorite reporters who they’d dish the “big stories” to, and the reporter felt like they were geniuses for consistently getting the big story.  And it was all a big game.  Had the Whitehouse outright given them these stories, the reporters would have been suspicious.  Instead, the reporters got to pretend to be journalists who magically could get the stories that no one else could get.

That’s Judith Miller’s bag.  Woodward recited two whole books of pro-Bush spin.  And that explains John Solomon and his investigative non-stories.  But it goes well beyond these three and includes most of the big names in journalism today.  That’s how they got to be big names.  These people are trained seals being handfed fish at Seaworld while imagining they’re sharks in the deepest ocean.  Liberals often accuse them of being GOP operatives, but that’s far too generous.  They’re just silly pups who are all too eager to please their masters.  

And if they weren’t that way, the Whitehouse wouldn’t feed them anything and their careers would hit a dead-end.  Because the only way they can get a frontpage story is if the Republicans write it for them.  All this is obvious to anyone wanting to pay attention.  But for reasons that are all too clear, that’s not what any of them wanted.  Perhaps some day, we can have a blogger’s ethics panel to discuss the quid pro quo involved of journalists furthering their careers by pleasing the political establishment.  But as things stand, journalists seem to be the last people to even understand that it’s happening.

Polling Democracy

There’s this idea Republicans keep pimping that polls don’t count, and that for a politician to follow the polls is a foolhardy thing that will make them do all kinds of crazy things and flip-flop faster than a rooster at a hotfoot convention.  And of course, they’re really only referring to polls that show them doing poorly, as they’re quicker than anyone to tout the few good ones they have.  

But beyond that, what the hell are they talking about?  What’s so bad about polls?  This is a democracy, isn’t it?  Shouldn’t we have at least some kind of say about how things should be, beyond the occasional election?  Of course.  And isn’t their rejection of all polls nothing more than a complete slap in the face of the American people?  Of course.  Because if you dismiss poll results as being crazy and flip-flopping, doesn’t that directly imply that the people polled are crazy flip-floppers?  Of course.  And sure, polls can change and you can’t put too much significance into any one poll (though that doesn’t stop Republicans).  But when you’ve got a whole collection of polls that clearly point in one direction, then it’s utterly wrong to ignore them.  

In fact, this is just one more sign that Republicans have the highest disdain for the American people, as evidenced by their penchant for trickery and outright lies.  They just don’t give a damn about people and think it’s a big con game for them to manipulate.  For Republicans, if the polls don’t point in the right direction, then they just have to change the questions asked or the words used.  

Because they don’t give a damn.  And they sure as hell don’t want to give people what they want.  Rather, they want the people to want what they’ve got to give.  So the only purpose that polls serve for them is to tell them whether or not their sales campaign is working.  That’s all they care about.  They think we’re all a bunch of moronic suckers who can be sold a long-term ideological agenda like it was a tube of toothpaste.  “New & Improved Social Security; Same Great Name with Half the Benefits”.

And the people they disdain the most are the Republican supporters themselves, to whom they feel no loyalty and have no qualms whatsoever with deceiving on a constant bias.  And as with most conmen, they resent their victims more than anyone, as it helps them justify their own wickedness.  

Like Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.  They don’t hate you and me.  They don’t even notice us, having replaced us with the clownish strawmen they’ve been beating up for years.  No, they hate their supporters.  The poor saps they lie to for profit and fame.  And they can talk directly with these suckers and will happily deceive them on a regular basis.  That’s pure contempt.  And the further down the road to fantasyland they lead these poor people, the more contemptuous they become.  Is it any wonder that Limbaugh uses pills to kill the pain?  And I don’t even want to think about how Mr. Falafel copes with it.  Simply disgusting.

But again, this whole talk of disobeying the polls is yet another part of their sales pitch.  They dismiss polls only when they show Republicans looking bad, and are merely looking for an excuse to get people to stop talking about them.  And so they go with their “We don’t follow polls” mantra because it makes them look bold and daring, when all it really shows is how insultingly anti-democratic they are.  They insist that they can ignore the people’s demands, just as long as they can win on election day.  But soon enough, they’ll find it impossible to do either.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dark Days for Michelle Malkin

Poor Michelle Malkin.  She went all the way to Iraq to prove that the MSM’s reporting of what’s going on there is absurdly biased and wrong; and if she doesn’t come back with something good, she’s going to look exactly like the lying turd she really is.  And if there’s one thing Republicans can’t do, it’s to look like what they are.

Via Sadly, No! we see Malkin (video here, written here) desperately attempting to spin some sort of credibility back into her claims that the AP had invented police Captain Jamil Hussein and that the story that “rampaging militiamen burned and blew up four mosques” was therefore invented.  

Because for conservatives, there’s no need to be right about everything.  You merely have to be right about something.  And having done that, you can claim victory over those who were right about everything else.  Because it’s only the other side who has to be 100% accurate.  And if you can show that they weren’t, then that calls into doubt everything else they say, including the stuff that turned out to be true.  Simply amazing.

Sure, it turns out that the Iraqi and US sources Malkin trusted regarding Jamil’s non-existence were somewhat less than accurate.  But how about the four mosques?  Surely, if Malkin can prove that they weren’t burned and blown-up, this means that she was fully justified in attacking the AP, right?  Sadly, no.

Because it just doesn’t work like that.  Sure, it’s unfair that people expect us to be accurate about the claims we make, but that’s just the way it is.  To have credibility, you must always be credible, and when you’re not, you need to fess-up about it immediately.  But unfortunately for conservatives, they’re really just not very good at the whole “fact” thing and are much better at conspiracy theories and connecting dots that the facts don’t currently connect.

Connecting the Dots

And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that.  After all, speculation and connecting-dots is totally my schtick.  I don’t report new facts and if you got a new one from me, then you just weren’t paying attention.  But the difference is that I know when I’m pulling this stuff out of my ass.  I even take pride in it and don’t want people to think that I’m merely reciting someone else’s facts.  I create source material, not regurgitation.  But again, I know that this is what I’m doing, and the more speculative my stuff is, the more likely I’ll admit that I’m inventing it.

Conservatives, on the other hand, just can’t seem to separate fact from speculation, and the lines they connect somehow appear more real than the dots themselves.  And they often end up forgetting about the dots altogether and are merely connecting lines to imagined dots that they need to believe in.  But that’s not a fluke.  That’s the only way they can remain as conservatives.  Because they rely too much on their speculative abilities and not enough on checking the basic facts they’re relying on.  

Imagine a kid doing a connect-the-dot activity book who continues to place his own dots to form the picture that he thought they should have been making; and insists that what was obviously meant to be a bicycle is, in fact, a Weapon of Mass Destruction in Saddam Hussein’s evil arms.  And sure, some of the dots used were real.  But that’s not enough.  To find the real picture, you’ve got to use all the dots.  And that’s just not something conservatives can do, if they want to remain conservatives.  Because the ideology just isn’t reality based.

And even then, they really rely far too heavily on their feeble skills of speculation.  Because they suck at it.  They invent all kinds of wild-ass theories without any basis in reality whatsoever and continue to float higher and higher on nothing more than their own gaseous fumes.  It’s no wonder that Malkin’s video site is called Hot Air.

Rumors v. Official Reports

And beyond that, her claims of victory on this are absolutely absurd.  They rest almost entirely on unnamed Iraqi and American officials.  That’s it.  She attacks the AP for engaging in rumor-mongering, yet almost all of her evidence is third-hand.  Stuff she could have learned from home.  She even has an Army guy complaining about biased Iraqis and acts as if this is somehow proof of something.  It’s as if we can believe the “officials” because they’re “officials” and so therefore anything they say must be official.

Like this:
Contrary to Hussein and the AP's account, military reports note that Iraqi Army battalion members were on the scene - pursuing attackers, securing the area, calling the fire department, providing support and an outer cordon.

Well then, that takes care of that.  Members of the Iraqi Army were there, vanquished their foes, and even called the fire department.  So that totally destroys the myth that the mosque was set on fire, huh.  And sure, Malkin quoted an Army guy as a definitive source that Iraqis lie and can’t be trusted as sources, yet this military report obviously must be true, though it relies on what Iraqis claim happened.  Right.

But I suppose this must be definitive proof, as military reports are notoriously accurate and never reflect bias, wishful thinking, or complete lies.  Only the MSM can do that kind of thing.  But the military can be 100% trusted about everything.  Of course.  And that’s what they call “definitive proof”, and can be used by Malkin to declare victory.  And remember, this isn’t even our military saying what happened on the scene, but what the Iraqi Army guys reported to our military.  But again, these are military reports, which must be 100% accurate.

As a side note, it should be mentioned that the 100% accuracy of military reports does not apply to anything that John Kerry did on a swiftboat in Vietnam, as those reports were wildly off-mark and completely invented by Mr. Kerry himself, as a means of furthering his political career.  But that just goes without saying.  Liberals are liars.

Grasping for Straws

And even then, the one mosque she visited did, in fact, show fire damage and had a huge hole in the roof. But because the building is “still standing” this proves that the AP’s story is wrong.  And we should be lucky that they showed us the hole in the roof at all.  The written story accompanying her video must be showing the other side of the mosque, as you can’t see the hole.

And so she’s in Iraq.  Quoting unnamed officials who tell her nothing new.  Visited one mosque that confirmed the original story.  And she’s screwed.  Because she can’t report that the AP story was true.  Impossible.  She’s got to report that she debunked it, though she can’t, because it was true.  So what’s a conservative to do?  What else: Report a small sampling of the truth in a haughty manner, declare victory, and head home; hoping and praying that her supporters will still be so desperate to be proven right that they won’t bother actually thinking about anything she’s reporting to them.  

She knows that all of us will know better, but she didn’t do it for us.  She just needs something, anything, to help her ever-dwindling supporters have some semblance of a straw to hold onto.  And it seems to have worked.  Every one of Malkin’s commenters praised her story and joined her in the victory dance.  

Malkin commenter Patrick Chester went so far as to write exactly what I did earlier in this post (though I swear I wrote it before I read the comments), writing:
I guess AP hasn’t figured out that trust isn’t based on a huge amount of articles. It’s based on being consistently accurate in reporting, and if anything is inaccurate you should post a retraction.

These are dark days indeed for the conservative movement.  But I guess they really weren’t so bright to begin with.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Welcome Cannablog Readers!

(For those not in the know, Cannablog is the #1 blog for cannibals in the lower southwest region of the tri-state area.  Or so I would imagine, based entirely on nothing.)

Authoritarian Deference

The blogging juggernaut known as Glenn Greenwald wrote a post called Public Servant v. Military Commander, regarding the Republican and media penchant for referring to President Bush as our leader and Commander-in-Chief, rather than as the leader of the federal government and military, to which most of us do not belong.  And for anyone interested, I wrote on this very subject back in April 2005 in Ownership Society, which I might add, was several months before Greenwald even started blogging.

And while most of what Greenwald wrote was against journalists (particularly some egregious stuff from Newsweek), I believe there is an implicit understanding in the post (brought out more explicitly in the comments section) that this represents a strong authoritarian streak in Republicans and their deference to the presidency.  But do conservatives really believe that the President is our leader, and must always be obeyed?

Of course not.  And I quickly realized that as I was writing a comment on that board.  Because I remember Clinton.  And I remember what they thought of Clinton.  And not only did Republicans and conservatives despise Clinton and oppose everything he did, but even members of the military were often quick to toss derision on a man they insisted was not worthy to be their leader.  In fact, disrespect by members of the military was often cited as yet another reason why Clinton shouldn’t be president.  It’s enough to make one think that we’re now under a military democracy.

And does anyone really doubt that this would change any with our next Democratic president?  Will Jonah Goldberg instantly stop any criticism of Hillary Clinton, were she to get the top spot?  Can we really expect to hear Limbaugh say, “But President Gore is our Commander-in-Chief and it would be un-American to not trust his judgment on this.”?

Of course not.  Because being authoritarian doesn’t mean that you respect anyone in authority.  It means that you give deference to the people you deem acceptable to be in authority; to the people you respect.  And conservatives will not respect any Democratic president.  Even a President Lieberman (god forbid) better do every damn thing that the conservatives tell him to or he’ll just as quickly be deemed yet another traitorous Democrat.  And even then, they’d probably disrespect him even more were he to jump every time they told him to.  That’s just the way authoritarian bullies are.

And so this isn’t about authoritarian deference towards the presidency.  This is about Republicans finding any damn excuse whatsoever to convince people to respect the people they respect, and to diss the people they disrespect.  And so when a Republican is in the Whitehouse, it’s all about obeying our commander.  And when it’s a Democrat in the Whitehouse, it’s all about finding some excuse for not obeying the lying usurper.  And while many Democrats have insisted that Bush is a lying usurper, they weren’t ones to think we needed to automatically obey the President in the first place.  But again, I suspect that the Republicans don’t really believe that either.  In the end, it’s all about power.

Weirdo Conservative Land

As a follow-up to my post on James Lileks and his admiration for the black stewards of yesteryear, I’d like to focus on one big question: What the hell was going through Lileks’ head when he wrote that post?  I mean, really.  It didn’t fit into the rest of what he was writing, or like the standard mockery you’d expect for the subject he was discussing.  And he even knew people would find it offensive, but simply refused to rethink his strategy on that one.

He went from a boring recitation of his day, hops onto what should be his home turf of the old-fashioned cereal ad, and then suddenly derails himself with a somewhat offensive essay on how black servants were equals as long as their employer treated them decently.  Where the hell did that come from?  

Where else: Weirdo Conservative Land.  I mean, this is a guy who can sell books making fun of ads like that, and that one should have been a walk in the park.  But instead, he stopped making any jokes at all when bread-and-butter time came.  Sure, I understand that he’s a conservative, and I can accept that, I suppose.  But there’s a time for work and there’s a time for play, and when it comes to old-fashioned cereal ads with faintly racist imagery, it’s time for play.  

But no.  We get a mildly offensive essay justifying racial inequality.  And it’s not even that I stopped laughing when he disagreed with my ideology.  He just stopped trying to be funny.  It’s like Michael Jordan going in for an easy slam dunk, and then stopping to warn a spectator of the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.  (And yes, my basketball knowledge is that out-of-date.)


And here’s what I think happened.  I think he looked at the ad, put his brain in motion to do the magic that he does, and the first thing he could think to mock was the black steward with the big smile.  That should totally have been his target, and I suspect it was.  He immediately identified that as straight-up old school racism, and with its placement at the top of the ad, deserved to be his first strike.

But he just couldn’t do it.  Lileks is a conservative and is supposed to believe that the whole “racism” thing is merely a politically correct bogeyman created by Democrats to trick the black man to keep voting for them.  And so rather than launch his first assault on the racist imagery, his conservative brain stopped him dead in his tracks and forced him to defend it instead.  

Because he started as if he was going into a full dissection of the ad, but as soon as he got to the steward, all the jokes stopped and he turned into a big weirdo.  And he never did get back to discussing the ad.  He finishes up by saying that people would accuse him of “missing the days of Jim Crow” and acts as if this serves as a disclaimer to the fact that he had just rationalized racist imagery.

And just to be sure, I decided to check today’s Bleat, to see if perhaps he’s given up on the humor schtick.  And nope, he’s back to his old Lileks self.  It’s an old-fashioned ad about women’s deodorant, and he’s relentlessly mocking it in that way that’s made him famous.  The new post sounded just like the one I’m talking about, except that when he got to the funny old ad, he went ahead and mocked it as you’d expect him to.

So what the fuck?  Again, it was the black steward.  He wanted to mock the usage of the faintly racist imagery, but he couldn’t.  His conservative filter just wouldn’t allow him to betray the cause, even for such an obvious slam dunk as that.  For conservatives, it’s ideology first, always.

Conservative Betrayal

But it’s not even enough to explain why he didn’t attack it, because he didn’t even have to say anything at all.  If he couldn’t come up with something funny to say, he should have just skipped that one and gone straight for the deodorant ad he did today.  And he knew that his essay on the equality of servitude would be seen as racist, so why bother writing it?

It’s my guess that Lileks had to do it because he was so offended with his own initial reaction.  It’s not even that he was necessarily trying to convince us that there was nothing wrong with the Happy Black Servant imagery.  He was trying to convince himself, because he knew the imagery really was racist.  And as I demonstrated in my post, his argument was entirely backwards.  

It wasn’t that people really did see their servants as equals, but rather that the truth of it was so much more disgusting; that there was an underclass of intelligent people who were stuck being servants because they couldn’t do any better.  And that it was that way merely for the enjoyment of the people who could afford it.  The fact that this servant class has almost entirely disappeared is some proof of that.  I suspect that Lileks knows this too, and that’s why he had to rationalize the system that he’s been told wasn’t wrong.  

Even now, conservatives insist that everyone has the same opportunities, and that minorities are only being kept down because they’re stupid, lazy, and worst of all, Democrats.  And who is to blame for that?  Not conservatives who believe in continuing the status quo, but those very same stupid, lazy Democrats.  Even now, these people need to invent rationalizations to explain why they want an underclass to take advantage of.

Gay Denial, Anyone?

And frankly, I suspect that Lileks isn’t really a conservative at all.  How can he be?  When he’s not talking politics, he seems like a funny guy with an offbeat sense of humor.  Sure, we’re not talking Biobrain funny, but it’s ten thousand percent better than anything I’ve ever heard from a conservative.  Their idea of a joke is to insult someone in a patently untrue manner and then laugh even harder for “yanking your chain” when you act offended by what they said.  

But that’s not Lileks’ schtick at all.  As I said, long before I learned he was conservative, I had spent hours laughing at his site, and only tired of it once the formula became a bit much.  And even then, I probably read almost everything there, and probably could still get lots of laughs were I to go back (which I just might tonight).  And just the idea of what he’s doing is patently unconservative.  I had honestly thought he was some gay dude who was really into the whole retro thing and kept stumbling upon these hilarious old books that he wanted to share with people.

And not to pick on the guy, but I really wonder if that might be the case.   There are an awful lot of closeted gay guys who turn Republican as an expression of denial and disgust for who they really are (Gary Bauer, I’m looking at you); and I wonder if it’s possible that that could explain James Lileks.  But again, I know absolutely nothing about him, avoid his non-humorous writings, and have no idea of what his opinion of gayness is.  So don’t quote me on this.

But if it’s not that, it’s something.  There’s just some weird part of him that forces him into it.  Some weird thing that he just won’t admit to himself, or someone he’s trying to impress, or something exterior to him that he’s repressing.  Or perhaps he’s just in it for the Benjamins and knows that liberal welfare doesn’t pay nearly as well as the conservative kind.  Because it just doesn’t make sense otherwise.  Real conservatives don’t mock olden times.  Real conservatives aren’t funny.  And real conservatives certainly don’t spend lots of time looking at old books trying to create humor.  They just keep reciting the same tired insults that weren’t very funny the first time they used them during recess in the fourth grade.

And it’s always possible that he really is a real conservative and that I’m totally full of shit on this one, but let me tell you my own experience.  No, scratch that.  I just wrote three long paragraphs describing how I was once a Limbaugh dittohead and how I believed in that crap, even though it never really matched who I was.  But it got too long and stupid and off-topic, so I just deleted it.  Imagine it was good, because it was.  Maybe I’ll write it another time.

Long post short, I don’t think James Lileks is a real conservative.  Rather, he’s in denial about who he really is, and that’s why he forced himself to reject his initial thoughts on the racist imagery he saw in that old-fashioned cereal ad he had wanted to mock but couldn’t.  Or maybe I’m just full of shit, but this is my best guess and I’m pretty good about these things.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Libby Trial Prediction

Regarding the stirring revelations in the Libby trial (none of which are particularly surprising, but rather confirmation of long believed theories), here’s my prediction of where all this will end up; as described to us by Fox News:

Dick Cheney's going to "die" of a "heart attack" created by the scandalous abuse he suffered at the hands of Democratic operative Fitzgerald and an overly partisan liberal media establishment, and he'll then join Ken Lay on their own private island in the Bahamas.  

Bush will then use this as justification to not only curtail Fitzgerald’s witchhunt, but to do away with all investigations of Bush officials, as well as the entire First Amendment.  You know, in the name of national security.  After all, they did kill a sitting vice-president.  The very man, in fact, who was almost single-handedly running our national security apparatus.  If that’s not an excuse to end that charade called the “Constitution” then I don’t know what is.

And I don’t know about you, but I for one welcome our Republican Overlords with open arms.  Needless to say, the Whitehouse will be moved to Cheney’s tax haven in the Bahamas.  Not that they needed the tax haven, but just because they could.  And it’s all uphill from there.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Happy Negro Waiter Guy; Not So Happy

I’ll admit that I have a certain fondness for James Lileks, due to that funny site of his where he takes old ads and books and stuff and makes jokes about them.  Long before I knew that Lileks had part of his brain officially lobotomized by the Republican Party, I liked his stuff.  And while I never read his site anymore as his style was too formulaic, I still admire his stuff as long as he stays on task and doesn’t start heading off into Weirdo Conservative Land.  As someone who once resided there on a regular basis, I can only hope he can eventually be cured as I was.

But via Roy at alciublog, we see that he’s still writing from Weirdo Conservative Land.  And it is a weird place indeed.  Not because he’s conservative, per se; but because the conservative material seems to block out his humorous side.  

And that’s what we see in this column that’s mostly trivial personal stuff about his day, written in his standard humorous style.  And while it’s somewhat boring, I guess it can’t all be gold when you lack a biobrain.  And he ends that section with a little snark towards the Dragnet television show and Bush’s State of the Union address.  As he says, “Five years into the long war, it’s a relief that the President can conclude his remarks by discussing the “Baby Einstein” tapes in an address to Congress. Things can’t be that bad.”  At least I’m assuming that was meant as snark.

But then he goes for what should be his standard ridicule of an old cereal ad that suggests that we can have “Dining Car Service – At Home” if we buy their little cereal boxes.  And the ad shows Happy Negro Waiter Guy happily offering various cereals to All-American White Family.  So far, so good.  And now we should expect to see a good amount of ridicule mocking the ad and its old-fashioned funniness.

But no, instead he suddenly dives straight into Weirdo Conservative Land with a brief essay on the traditional role of black servants and how they were portrayed in olden day entertainment.  And while I’ve never heard the old Great Gildersleeve show, I get the general idea of what it’s supposed to be.  

As Lileks explains:
Gildy is henpecked and outdone by all his domestic associates, but the only person who comes across with any degree of pride or level-headedness is Birdie, the servant, and Gildy’s relationship to her is one of kindness and deference.

Now where the hell did this come from?  Not only is it not funny, it’s entirely weird.  He doesn’t even bother discussing the ad.  He just moves right into an odd admiration of the Negro Servant Role in old pop culture, which has an undeniable tinge of racism throughout.  He gave one brief paragraph after the ad which appeared as if he was going to mock it, and then never mentions it again.  I’m guessing the column got too long so he cut-out the funny stuff.  But why?  Again, I can only imagine that he was overwhelmed by that Republican Lobotomy of his.

Equality, Not Subjugation

And here’s the meat of it:
There was a fundamental decency and mutual affection in their relationship. Yes, yes, idealized depiction of inherent inequalities, etc. As the argument no doubt goes, the shows perpetuated inequality by pretending they really didn’t exist. But it’s instructive to note what the popular culture held out as the ideal. Equality, not subjegation. Birdie was fully integrated into the family, and shared the same values. Nowadays I suspect a sitcom with a Black servant in a middle-class family would milk the clash of cultures, not the similarities. Wanda Sykes would star.

But he’s entirely wrong.  The reason that portrayal of the “equal” black servant was idealized was entirely because that’s how people wanted to see things.  Not because they saw it as a real part of their culture, but because they wanted to believe that there was nothing wrong with that relationship and that the Happy Negro Servant truly was happy.  And that this represented fairness and decency, as long as you treated your black servants with decency.  And that was just to reassure these people that there was nothing immoral about what was going on around them.  And to show them being sassy and unhappy with their position in life would entirely undermine that and be a big bummer.

And that’s exactly what we saw after the Civil Rights movement made that kind of thing so apparent.  Because it isn’t cool to be a servant.  That’s not to degrade anyone in that position, but that’s not really where anyone wants to be.  That’s where they’re stuck being.  That’s why it’s far better to be a restaurant manager than the waiter, and why it’s best of all to own the restaurant.  And for an entire class of people to be denied either of those better options due to their skin color is obviously wrong.

Because no matter how you cut it, the portrayal that Lileks admires is not equality at all.  Equality is not that you treat your inferiors as equals.  It’s that they truly are equal.  That they be given the opportunity to be more than servants.  And if they don’t have the abilities or inclination to be more than servants, that’s fine.  But that it be their choice, as much as it is anyone else’s choice.  Because if they’re not given that freedom, it truly is subjugation we’re talking about, and not equality; no matter how polite you are or how much you treat them as part of the family.  It’s still subjugation.  And that applies to people of any race, gender, or economic background.  Equals are equals.

Equality isn’t something that you grant to the people you like.  It’s our birthright as human beings.  That we be given the same chances to succeed as anyone else is given.  And while things are unlikely to ever be completely equal, it’s pure sham to pretend as if politeness is a substitute for equality.  And that’s why Lileks’ admiration for the Happy Negro Servant is so misplaced.  Not because it reinforces Jim Crow stereotypes (as he suggests people will attack him for), but because he’s misinterpreting why those people needed to believe it.  It wasn’t because they wanted blacks to be treated as equals, but because they weren’t, and it was just too horrible to admit to that.  After all, it really isn’t pleasant to be reminded that the people serving you your food hate your guts.

Pop Culture Marches On

And so the sassy black servant in modern times is merely the next step in that thinking process, to give expression to the fact that it was so obviously wrong.  They’re not being given the freedom to be sassy due to their employer’s benevolence.  They’re given it because their employer can’t do any better and is stuck putting up with the sassy black servant who does a lousy job.  And we don’t need Wanda Sykes for this, as we’ve already seen this character repeatedly on television.  I’m thinking Florence from The Jeffersons, and other shows that I don’t have the time to remember.  

But in all these modern examples, the point is that the servant is an equal because their employer can’t prevent it.  It’s the servant’s right to be sassy.  The employer is the butt of the joke and they, for whatever reason, can’t even fire their sassy servant; primarily because they’re usually the funniest character on the show and the writers couldn’t write jokes without them (e.g., The Jeffersons).  These people are equals.  And it just wouldn’t be funny if you had a servant that wasn’t sassy.  It would be sad and pointless.

Take the show Benson.  It was a spinoff of the show Soap, entirely because Benson’s character was so sassy, and was often the funniest character on the show.  Had their servant been decent and affectionate towards the family, it would have been lame and pathetic and would never have been worthy of its own show.  But as things were, it was a slight embarrassment to Soap to have the smartest guy in the house as a mere servant, and he soon got a show titled after the servant character.

And even on Benson, that relationship couldn’t last.  Again, it was too embarrassing to have such a smart man in a subservient role.  And so he soon was given a more prestigious job, and eventually ended up as Lieutenant Governor and then ran against his boss to be the Governor (though that was the last episode and we never found out if he won).  And I should say, I always loved that show as a kid and was really upset that they never showed the finale.

And again, it’s because of the equality issue, and that it was just too obvious that the smartest guy around was being kept down because he was black.  What other explanation could there be for Benson to remain as a servant?  And in the post-Cival Rights era, it was just too immoral and awkward to continue to have that situation remain, and so they had to give the sassy servant a respectable job.  Because that’s what equality is all about.  Not being treated as an equal, but being an equal.  

And that’s just something that remains foreign to conservatives, because once you understand that rich people aren’t inherently superior to poor people, it becomes obvious that a system that perpetuates that needs changes.  Changes which are entirely unwanted by conservatives and the entire purpose of their movement.   So conservatives like Lileks hold dear to an earlier generation’s attempt to rationalize the obvious immorality of what was going on around them, while insisting that the intent of politeness is enough to satisfy any requirement for equality.  Thus is our modern conservative.

The Bullshitting Bulldog

Regarding Cheney’s disconcerting interview earlier today with Wolf Blitzer, I wanted to make a few notes:

First off, this guy isn’t nearly as delusional as people are suggesting.  He knows he’s full of shit.  It’s part of his schtick.  If he wasn’t completely and totally full of shit, he’d know he was doing something wrong.  He’s been doing it for over forty years and it hasn’t failed him yet.  Sure, it’s set him up to be a complete failure, but he’s been a failure far, far beyond anywhere his actual talents could have taken him.  And in that regard, he’s a complete success.  He may be remembered by history as a disastrous jerk, but at least he’ll be remembered.  That’s more than most of us can say.

And he knows Wolf’s questions were fair and that his answers were crap, but what choice did he have?  The truth?  No way.  The only time he’ll ever be able to tell the truth about any of this is in his memoirs, long after he’s left office (and hopefully from his prison cell).  And even then, he’s likely to lie about everything and eventually take it to his grave.  This is a man who prospered under Nixon remember, and Nixon didn’t confess to shit.  Not even the stuff he taped himself saying.  These are people who lie to themselves about everything and have seen no reason to treat us any better.

And then there was Cheney’s assault on Wolf.  But again, that’s just standard operating procedure for a bullshitter like Cheney.  He does it by instinct.  He knew that those were good questions Wolf was asking.  That’s why he had to give him a hard time; to avoid answering them.  Because Wolf just wouldn’t take BS for an answer.  And I strongly suspect that Cheney likes his daughter being a lesbian, as it gives him yet another opportunity to act all bullshitty and make people feel sympathetic to him for being attacked for it.  Not that he wants the sympathy.  He just likes to use it to turn the tables on his opponent and put them on the defensive.  And it usually works quite effectively.

And then there were Cheney’s accusations of Wolf having an agenda, in this exchange:

Cheney: Just think for a minute -- and think for a minute, Wolf, in terms of what policy is being suggested here. What you're recommending, or at least what you seem to believe the right course is, is to bail out --

Q: I'm just asking questions.

Cheney: No, you're not asking questions.

And by Cheney’s standard, he’s absolutely right.  Because he doesn’t ask questions.  He uses questions as a means of getting people to say what he wants to hear.  That’s how he coerced CIA guys to give him the intel he wanted to justify the Iraq war and how he does everything.  And so it’s just natural for him to assume that this is what Wolf was doing.  For Wolf to ask tough questions that he wouldn’t allow BS for was proof that Wolf had an agenda and was taking sides. 

Because that’s how bullshitters do it.  They rarely ask real questions.  They just want to harass people using techniques that permit them to pretend that they’re “just asking questions”.  And if you accuse them of pushing an agenda, they’ll insist they were “just asking questions”.  And that’s exactly what we saw Cheney accusing Wolf of doing, because he really thinks that we all work just like he does, and that’s what he would have been doing.  And while it’s possible that this really was what Wolf was doing, I kind of doubt it.  He’s really not that kind of guy, and besides, they really were legitimate questions in any case.

But that’s just all the more reason for a bullshitter to find an excuse to stonewall.  If you won’t roll over and obey, they’ll force a confrontation and make you look like you’re attacking them in a biased and irrational manner.  That’s what Cheney was hoping for, and while I haven’t seen the video, the transcript makes it look like Wolf did a commendable performance of staring down one of America’s toughest bullshitting bulldogs.  And it really would have been better for Cheney had the questions been part of an agenda, as Cheney really didn’t have any good answers for any of them.

And so that’s my take on the whole thing.  Cheney’s not a madman, he’s just totally full of shit and refuses to backdown from his bullshit.  I’m telling you, if he could erase all of our minds and all records of what he’s done and said regarding this war (and I’m sure he’s got his men working on this technology as we speak), he’d not only be spouting the truth, he’d go above and beyond, leaving the truth far behind in the dust; pinning everything he’s done and said on his closest enemy.

That’s just how this guy works.  He doesn’t really believe any of this shit beyond his need to believe it.  He’ll believe it all 100% while he’s saying it, and you’d be in trouble were you to doubt his veracity to his face.  But that’s all the more proof of what a bullshitter he is.  Bullshitters hate to be called on their bullshit and can go to their grave insisting that you had mortally offended them for even suggesting they were bullshitting; all the while chuckling inside about how awesome their powers of bullshit are.  That’s what makes them so good at it.  And having risen as far politically as a wildly unlikable man could have any hopes to go, I’d say Cheney’s one of the best.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Back in the Race

Well folks, you’ve spoken loud and clear and I’d be a fool to ignore it.  After my recent announcement that I was bowing out of the presidential exploratory committee race in order to focus on my vice-presidential exploratory committee prospects, the public outcry protesting that decision was literally deafening.  I couldn’t hear any of it.  And after much soul searching and having hired a whole new team of sycophantic committee members, I’m back in the race.  Not because of any personal conceit of my own, but because you people demanded it.

Let me quote from one of the many, many messages that poured in:
Come on, are you going to let Hillary Clinton scare you out of the race? Just because she's a sitting U.S. senator? And married to a former president? And not totally obscure?
Because after those 3, admittedly somewhat formidable advantages, I really don't see what she has going for her. She isn't even a C.P.A., for crying out loud.
Don't you think it's time all the beleaguered C.P.A.s of America, of which I admit I am not one, had one of their own to look up to as president, or at least as a comically marginal presidential candidate?
So I say:
¡Start it up again!
¡Yes to Dr. Biobrain!

That was long time reader and new time blogger J. Mumphrey Bibblesnæð, and by god, he’s right.  Hillary Clinton is not a CPA, and I am.  And if that’s not good enough for the American people, then I’ll just have to keep hinting that she’s a lesbian enough times until it finally sinks in.  Not because it’s true, but because I’m the right man for the job and can lead this country into the 21st Century like I owned the damn thing.  And that justifies everything.  

I mean, what’s a few cheap smears when the stake of the free world is at stake?  You would have killed Hitler before his big election, had you the chance, right?  And all I’m asking you to do is to spread the word that Hillary’s a bigtime carpet-muncher and keeps the heads of all her ex-lovers in a locker in her basement, so she can taunt them before going to bed each night.  Sure, that went beyond crude and went straight for repulsive, but we’re talking the presidency here, not a god damned beauty contest.  I can’t afford to pull any punches.  

Speaking of which, did you hear that Barack Obama is attracted to “rough trade” and likes gay toughs to punch him in the face?  Me neither, pass it on.  See, it’s that simple.  And you can do it too.  Just pick one of my Democratic opponents, invent some gay gossip about him, and act like it’s the hottest news since you learned that Tipper Gore is a man.  The genius of Karl Rove was the pure simplicity of it all.  Why take a position when you can put your opponent in a perverted one?

And don’t you think for a second that there’s nothing in this for you.  Oh no.  If I can somehow pull off the longshot victory and get that Whitehouse for my very own, the first thing I’m going to do is to put the Presidential Seal right here on my blog.  And so every time you come here to read one of my addresses, you’ll get a little reminder of how you helped make that a reality by passing on the rumor about John Edwards, the lumberjack, and those poor little puppies.  And that’s my promise to you, my people.

Happy Fitzmas, Everyone!

Is it possible that Fitzgerald is such a genius that he’s intentionally going after Cheney as a way of getting Libby to throw Rove under the bus?  And that he could possibly end up with all three of them?  

That might be a stretch, but it’s what certainly seems to be happening and would seem like a fairly obvious divide-and-conquer strategy for someone with the knowledge Fitz has.  I haven’t really been following this case too much and this may have already been said, but that’s the only sense I can get out of Libby’s defense.  Not that he’s trying to defend himself, because it’s really not much of a defense.  But that he’s trying to set-up Rove to save Cheney.  But again, if Fitz’s case is tight enough, it’s quite possible he could get both.  Or maybe I’m just talking through my ass.  Either way, things are getting pretty fun.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Milk Scam

And another problem I have with the nutritionists: The Milk Scam.  Milk is a total scam.  They tell us to drink lots of it, but it’s worse for you than soda.  Sure, it’s got vitamins and stuff.  But lots of things have vitamins.  You can get vitamins in a pill these days.  And sure, those aren’t “real” vitamins, but some of the vitamins in milk aren’t real either.  It’s “enriched” with vitamins A, D, and E.  So what’s the big difference?

In fact, the nutritionists have pimped milk to such an extent that they don’t even have to cover-up the fact that it’s bad for you, but rather will boldly lay the truth out in front of you and almost dare you to doubt what they’re saying.  I’m at this pro-milk website right now, and they’ve got a section saying:

How does milk stack up?
See how various beverages compare to milk for calories, total fat, carbs, sugars and nutrients, and you’ll learn why milk is a superior beverage choice.

And under that they’ve got a chart comparing 1% milk with six other beverages.  But if you actually look at it, one thing is clear: Milk is the worst drink on the chart.  They act like they’re bragging, but of the seven, milk has the most calories, the third most carbs, the second most sugars, and is the only one with fat.  Fat…in a drink.  And they don’t mention it, but it’s got 1.5 grams of saturated fat.  Saturated Fat!!!  The same fucking stuff in bacon!  The cola looked much better in comparison, yet they tout themselves as the “superior beverage choice”.  What a scam!

And that’s only 1% milk.  Drinking just 8 ounces of 2% milk gives you 3 grams of saturated fat.  And they recommend that you drink 24 ounces a day, giving you a whopping 9 grams of saturated fat, on top of the 390 calories you just consumed.  Coca-Cola, on the other hand, only has 291 calories for that same quantity, and no saturated fat at all.  You could have an extra serving of Coke and still be better off.  And don’t even get me started on whole milk, which is just horrible for you.  Or the whole lactose intolerance issue.  It’s like a mammalian boobytrap if I’ve ever seen one.

Even skim milk (which is my milk of preference) isn’t all that great for you.  Sure, they’ve gotten rid of the fat, but it still has 90 calories per serving, and that’s almost as much as Coke’s 97 calories.  So if Coke’s so bad for you, then why the hell am I being told to drink milk?  Diet Coke is a huge, huge money maker, yet no one would even consider coming out with Diet Milk; and that’s where they really need it.  If anything, Coke just needs to add vitamins A, D, & E to their drink and start touting itself as the healthy alternative to milk.  Perhaps they could have coupons for calcium supplements on each bottle.

Damn the Nutritionists

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not anti-milk.  I happen to drink milk almost every day and use it in my cereal.  And without cream, I couldn’t have coffee.  And without coffee, I couldn’t live.  So I’m clearly a pro-milk person.  But I’m also a pro-beer person.  And pro-wine and pro-soda.  I drink all kinds of stuff that’s not so great for me.  But nobody’s pushing that stuff as a health food.  Just the milk, like it’s some miracle drink that doesn’t have saturated fat floating in it.

In fact, study after study has shown that moderate alcohol consumption is better for you than no alcohol consumption, yet the health freaks continue to downplay that fact, believing that we’re all too stupid to handle such knowledge properly.  And that’s my whole beef with the nutritionists.  They’re lying to us and they just don’t care.  New facts come out, yet they keep pimping the same old facts.  It took them years to finally admit that maybe carbs weren’t so great for you, and even now aren’t entirely honest about the whole thing.  No wonder everyone’s so fucking fat.  

On my previous rant against nutritionists, one commenter mentioned how we shouldn’t necessarily trust new “miracle” foods, pointing out that margarine was once touted as a healthy butter substitute, despite that it was loaded with trans fat.  But it wasn’t just the margarine; those idiots thought trans fat was the healthy kind of fat, rather than the absolute worst kind that nobody should ever have.  And who was it that thought that?  The fucking nutritionists!   So why the hell does anyone listen to them?  They’re not scientists.  They’re puritanical voodoo doctors.  It’s all sham and superstition with those people.  And milk is perhaps the biggest sham of them all.  

I’m not suggesting that people stop drinking milk, but for god’s sake, they need to stop acting like it’s a miracle drink.  Especially whole milk, which has 5 grams of saturated fat per serving.  5 grams!!  By contrast, three pieces of cooked bacon has 4 grams of saturated fat; and if a whole milk drinker takes the nutritionists’ advice, they’d be gulping down 15 grams of saturated fat every day.  And remember, even drinking the recommended amount of 1% milk still gives you more saturated fat than three pieces of bacon.  Ridiculous!

Yet where are the warnings?  Everyone knows that bacon’s not good for you, but how many fatties are still gulping whole milk completely unaware of the damage it’s doing to them, or that they’d be better off drinking Coke?  Lots.  Most people don’t even like skim milk and think it tastes weird.  I, on the other hand, have problems drinking that weird heavy stuff with fat floating in it.  Just the idea of it’s somewhat repulsive.  And that’s what other people need to be told.  Drink your 1% milk, if you must.  But anything over that’s just bad for you and no amount of vitamin enrichment can fix that.  Got bacon?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Fighting Them There

Guest Post by Doctor Snedley, Personal Assistant to Doctor Biobrain

Why does Juan Cole want the bacterium to win?  I quote from his most recent gloat-fest:

Steven Silberman of Wired Magazine is reporting that the treatment and evacuation medical facilities for treating US troops injured in Iraq have become infected with an opportunistic bacterium, acinetobacter baumanii, that under intense exposure to antibiotics has evolved to become immune to them. The Pentagon initially suggested that the pathogen was in the soil in Iraq, but an investigation showed that actually they were picking it up in the hospitals to which they were evacuated. While this bacterium largely preys on the already-weak and ailing, it isn't good news that we've evolved it to be untreatable.

Not good news, is it?  Perhaps Dr. Cole would prefer to be fighting these bacterium here in America, rather than over in Iraq; but I for one am proud to see our fighting men taking up yet another front on the War on Terror.  And frankly, I’ve never even seen a “bacterium” and I suspect that Professor Cole hasn’t either.  But from what I understand, they’re very, very small and our soldiers are very, very big.  And they’re probably not even armed.  Hardly a worthy adversary.  So if this is what it takes to keep America safer, I’m all for it.  Too bad Juan Cole can’t say the same thing.

And do you see how quickly he assumes that this bacterium wasn’t part of Saddam’s discarded WMD programs, merely because an investigation showed that it wasn’t?  Why would he do that, unless he wanted to believe that Saddam wasn’t responsible?  I mean, Iraq is the approximate size and shape of California and there are a lot of places Saddam could have dumped these bacterium in California.  The fact that he was stuck hiding them in the sands of his own country is yet more unequivocal proof that Bush did the right thing by invading.  And now Cole’s complaining because our soldiers are fighting against another of his allies.  Typical.

And if anything, Juan Cole’s credibility on this whole issue is clearly in doubt.  He’s been rooting against our troops from the start, and yet we’re suddenly to believe that he’s all so concerned about their health?  That he doesn’t want them to die?  Then why is he so quick to call them “untreatable”?  Just because we lack the means of treating them now?  That’s surely pro-bacterial propaganda.  And isn’t the fact that this bacterium evolved to be untreatable yet more evidence of the dangers of evolution?  Of course.  Yet Cole would much rather throw all the blame on his favorite strawman, President Bush; rather than the more appropriate target, Charles Darwin, the man who invented evolution.  But how could he?  Darwin’s not American.  So he’s clearly absolved from being on Cole’s enemy’s list.  And that fact alone is enough to cast doubt on anything that he might ever say.

Even his name impugns his own credibility.  Juan…Cole??  What the hell kind of name is that?  Hispanic first name, Anglo last name; total confusion.  It’s like he can’t even tell what color he is.  For all we know, he could be one of the bacteriums.  Like I’ve said, I’ve never seen a bacterium.  But if I did, I sincerely doubt that it would look like a white person.  

And so while I’d be happy to admit to error if I was wrong, the fact that Juan Cole is the source of this story is yet more evidence that it’s entirely imaginary and just more anti-American terror tactics by the scare-mongers on the left.  They see bogeymen in every shadow and monsters in every closet and expect us to pull up our skirts and dance around like skittish girls every time they say “Boo!”.  And sure, that’d be fine and dandy ten or twenty years ago.  But those times are over and we’re now engaged in an existential struggle that threatens to wipe-out all known life for the rest of eternity, and so we no longer have the luxury of allowing them to sideline us with their talk of “deadly” diseases and “untreatable” bacteriums.  We’ve got a war to win.

So perhaps Professor Cole in his anti-American ivory tower would like to prepare the ground for his bacterial overlords, but I for one love freedom and will fight to my last breath to ensure that humankind remains the dominant race on this planet.  The leftists among us can try to scare us into submission but I’ve only yet begun to write the blogposts that will save us, and all the bacteriums in the world won’t stop me.  Not even Juan Cole’s.

Presidential Exploratory Committee Dissolved

Sorry gang, but my presidential exploratory committee’s presidential exploratory committee has spoken: There will be no further presidential exploratory committees.  Everything was pushing ahead like gangbusters and the early polling showed me winning Iowa in a blow-out.  But as it turns out, none of these committees had counted on a certain Ms. Clinton to be entering the race, and now that she has, any presidential run by myself is considered entirely superfluous.  Apparently, we cover too much of the same political territory, and they felt that Hillary just did too many of the things right that I did wrong.  Like being on TV and not being an unknown blogger.  So I am now officially dissolving all of my exploratory committees and putting an end to any talks of a presidential run for 2008.  I know, go ahead and cry a little.  I’ll wait.

But don’t worry.  I am currently working on the formation of my newest exploratory committee to explore the prospects of forming exploratory committees for a possible vice-presidential run.  No promises, but preliminary guesstimates put our best chances at hooking up on a Sharpton or McCain ticket.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  One’s a bit of a disreputable flake, and the other has negro issues that might not play so well in the Deep South, but no one else is returning my phone calls and both promise that their buses are catered.  And that’s always important.  

McCain especially liked that I could talk about the surge option with a straight face, and was hoping I could bring him my home state of Texas and thus free him up to focus on the East Coast Pundit vote, which he thinks is crucial for the general election.  I myself am just interested in getting the fat salary and free travel on Air Force Two.  A match made in Heaven.  And after that, I’m just a bullet away from taking the top spot; and I think you know where you come in on that plan.  And then it’s free booze and taxcuts for everyone!  Wish me luck.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Selfless Diplomacy

Condi Rice, on why she won’t use diplomacy to get Syria or Iran to help in Iraq:
Syria and Iran's "only motivation" in entering into such talks would be to draw some advantage for themselves, Rice said, adding that this was not diplomacy but blackmail.

Omigod.  She’s totally right.  How dare a country try to use diplomacy for their own advantage.  Why can’t they be as altruistic as the good ol’ US of A?  We’re only in Iraq to help those poor people, and not because domestic political concerns demand it.  Had WMD’s and imminent plans to use them been found and Bush’s war been justified, I’m sure we’d still be throwing away billions of dollars to help them establish democracy.

And conservatives are famous for only wanting to do what’s best for the world’s people, and would never act solely out of their country’s interests (or their own personal interests).  And that’s just something that those bastard Syrians and Iranians could never understand.  We should expect them to selflessly aid the country that wants to overthrow them, and expect nothing in return.  That’s just the American Way.

But seriously, this just confirms what I wrote in my last post: These people don’t understand the first thing about diplomacy.  To them, diplomacy is what you do when you’ve already gotten everything you want, and you want to reward a country for its subservience.  And with the ways they’ve bungled everything and offended everyone, there’s little wonder we haven’t seen much in the diplomacy department from this administration.

For conservatives, if you’re not already holding all the cards, then you continue to strong-arm your opponents until you do.  And only once they completely capitulate do you give them diplomacy.  That’s been especially true with our North Korean policy (a term I use very loosely), but is really the only policy they have.  They don’t do diplomacy.  And for the Cheney conservatives, the worst thing that could happen would be for both Syria and Iran to finally be convinced to help us.  After all, it would make our eventual invasion of them so much more embarrassing.

God damn fools.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Fool's Errand

Damn boy, for a psychologist (or psychiatrist or whatever the hell he is) Bagnews can sure get a little ruthless with his powers of observation.  I read him everyday, but haven’t seen anything as cold-blooded as his recent post, Condi’s Middle East Scrapbook: The January ’07 Inserts.  And the fact that he’s not particularly rude and allows the pictures to do the talking just underscores how cold-blooded the whole thing is.  

And we can add to that his Huffington Post entry: Condi’s “New Horizon” , in which he so deftly states:
Because, when it comes to Ms. Rice, there is no operative or working strategy, no sign of formulation in progress, nothing.  Just pictures.  And sound bites.  And they aren't even her sound bites!


And this can be combined with the clip I saw on Colbert last night of Donald Trump (of all people) also dishing out on Rice, by pointing out that she was merely going to the middle-east for photo-ops and hand-waving, rather than engaging in necessary negotiations.  And for all of Trump’s flaws and egotisms, the guy knows negotiation and knows he’s not seeing it now.  And for Mr. Pizzazz to be criticizing someone for lack of substance…ouch.

Diplomacy for Dummies

And the thing is, for all people have talked about how bright Condi is, I’ve just never seen it.  What I’ve seen is a tenacious person with a good memory for intelligent-sounding phrases, who knows some basic techniques of office politics and power plays, but little else.  And even there, she’s been constantly upstaged by Cheney and Rumsfeld, who are two of America’s toughest empty suits.  

But I’ve never seen anything from her to indicate that she was truly intelligent; if, for no other reason, an intelligent person would have done much better at her job and would have been able to outmaneuver Cheney.  As things were, she was denied her proper role as National Security Advisor, instead being relegated to being Bush’s Foreign Policy Nurse Maid; rather than acting as the nexus of America’s intelligence community.  And even as Secretary of State, she seems dead in the water.

But this goes beyond her and includes Cheney and the rest of the whole aggressive conservative movement that tried dooming things for Reagan the way they’ve doomed things for Bush.  Sure, they’ve always thought negotiation was a sign of weakness, but it was always assumed they did this as part of a strategy.  That’s always what they wanted people to believe.  That they could be master diplomats if they chose to, but they chose not to, because they thought diplomacy was for losers.  And that’s still the stance Cheney takes.

But the truth is much more simple: They suck at diplomacy.  They can’t negotiate.  They don’t know the basics of it, and aren’t even sure how it’s supposed to work at all.  And this is the real reason they never trusted it.  Not because it was always being misused, but because they never understood how it was supposed to work in the first place.  The only game they know how to play is hardball, and if that doesn’t work for them, they imagine that everything else must be hopeless.  And with them in charge, it is.

It’s like a caveman trying to use a buzzsaw.  Sure, it’d help them greatly if they could use it, but they’d probably hurt themselves right off the bat and insist that it was evil.  And that’s exactly what these morons do.  They don’t see the limits of their abilities and just imagine that the tools are dangerous.

Cowboy Diplomacy

And sure, this is probably also Bush’s fault, because he’s such a schmuck on this front too.  He likes to see himself as the Cowboy President or whatever, and thinks diplomacy’s for losers.  But he really wouldn’t be too hard to work around, if they could actually get things to work.  They could explain it to him in posse-talk, I’m sure.  Or perhaps show him a clip of The Magnificent Seven, and he’d start to understand the importance of working with others.

But they can’t, due to their own shortcomings and blindspots.  Rice hops around the middle-east and somehow just expects diplomacy to happen.  As if it’s all photo-ops and sound bites.  And it’s not.  Those are the trappings of diplomacy, but they aren’t even a significant part of it.  It’s like an alien race trying to duplicate Christmas by wrapping empty boxes and can’t understand why it seems so pointless.

But she doesn’t know what else to do and she’s unlikely to have any underlings who can help her out.  The Bush Admin is full of idiots who have been raised to believe that diplomacy can’t work and is a fool’s errand, and all the real diplomats would have left or been pushed out long ago.  But they know all the action’s in the middle-east and that people seem to get excited when they travel there and talk to important people; so they keep doing it, hoping that it will finally work out for them.

And so there she is, hopping around.  Meeting with diplomatic minds far superior to her own, who must be wondering what the hell she’s doing there and when she’s finally going to get down to business.  Because in the dog-eat-dog middle-east, you’d have to be fairly diplomatic to rise to the top and stay there; while in the American conservative evolutionary chain, it only took the ability to appear tougher-than-thou.  

And that’s all they really see when it comes to diplomacy: More posturing, more bullshit, and pointless speechifying.  And that’s why when they send Condi to the middle-east, yet again, it really is just a fool’s errand.  And in that regard, they sent the right person for the job.

Screw the Nutritionists

Have I mentioned before that I don’t like nutritionists?  Well I don’t.  I know that sounds weird, but it’s true.  Because I don’t think that many of them give a flip about people’s health.  I think they just like being jerks and telling people to not eat tasty food.  And if there was a pill that would allow people to eat everything they want, not exercise, and still stay fit; I think they’d be against it.  Because they just like being jerks.

I was reminded of this while reading of a product called Z Trim, which supposedly tastes just like regular fatty stuffs, but with no fat and fewer calories.  It was developed by the USDA in the mid-90’s, and is just now getting into foods.  It’s made from the hulls of corn, oats, soy, rice and barley; and supposedly has no down side to it.  The article says that a school switched to using Z Trim in their mayonnaise, and the kids actually liked it better than the regular kind.  And if all this is true, I think it sounds great.  

But what about the nutritionists?   What would they say?  Well the article quotes one, and guess what: She doesn’t like it, and thinks we just need to make kids eat crappier food, rather than make the good food better for you.

As the article says:
Nancy Perrott, a nutritionist at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, said the best way to get kids to eating healthier is to offer healthy choices and limit unhealthy ones. Though she had never heard of Z Trim, Perrott raised concerns that children would get used to eating the lower-cal school foods with Z Trim and forget that most of those foods outside school have more calories.

"It is the right idea. Whether or not that's a practical solution, I'm not sure," Perrott said.

That’s right.  Screw the miracle foods.  Let’s just make them eat the crap they wouldn’t want to eat if they had a choice.  And I suspect that there are far more nutritionists with the same attitude than they’d like to admit.  She’s not considering the possibilities.  She’s looking for excuses for why it won’t work.  She’s rationalizing.  And what is her rationalization?  That kids are too stupid to handle the miracle foods and will forget that it’s not already used in everything.  And that’s in contrast to her own plan, where every kid goes home and continues to eat the same healthy foods they had at school, even when their parents buy them the other kind.  What a genius.

And let’s face it, the nutritionists might all lose their jobs if people could actually stay healthy while eating tasty food.  But I don’t think this is pure selfishness.  I think they got into this line of work because they’re fruitcake puritans who just enjoy making everyone else as miserable as themselves.  Their food tastes like crap, they waste all their free time exercising, yet they won’t really live that much longer than the rest of us anyway.  So what else is left for them other than to make us all feel bad about wanting to feel good?

And sure, maybe Z Trim isn’t the answer, though if they want people to give it a chance, they better change that dumb-ass name pronto.  That just sounds stupid and gimmicky.  But if it tastes as good as the article suggests, it probably won’t make too much of a difference and all the fatties out there will glom onto it like the cellulite on the backs of their legs.  But that’s all the more reason for the nutritionists to hate it.  Because if they hate anything, it’s people losing weight without suffering for it first.  And that’s why I don’t like nutritionists.  

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Against the Deactivists

Via Chris Bowers at MyDD, I found a very silly post from some dude named Scott Winship at Democratic Strategist, in which he badmouths the “netroots” for our “lack of historical appreciation” and “lack of understanding of political imperatives”, and says that “60’s activism” alienated America and “handed the country to the Republicans for more than a generation”.  To which I say: Hogwash.

First off, to be perfectly honest, I don’t think I belong in the “netroots”, though the term is so ill-defined that I’m not sure I’d know if I was.  For me, “netroots” refers more to the activism-type Atrios followers who have a more progressive agenda than I do; though I read Atrios religiously and don’t think he actually falls into this group.  Or maybe it’s Howard Dean’s followers who best exemplify this group; though again, I don’t actually put Dean into that category.  

But I’ve never really seen any other labels offered to explain my positions, and think I’m being lumped in with the “netroots” anyway.  But if I developed my own label, I’d say I’m a Digby Democrat; which I can’t define in any other way than to say that we’re strong Democrats who understand the sensitivities of the rightwing base, without falling victim to the phony demands of their leadership.  Though again, I have few doubts that Atrios and Dean would put themselves into that category too.  I could go further in defining us, but this post looks like it’s getting damn long, so I’ll just keep it short.  

The Clintonion Establishment

But one thing’s for damn certain: I’m not a “New” Democrat and I don’t like the DLC.  I think it’s all just a pathetic effort by people who have found themselves agreeing with the rightwing establishment side of things more and more as they begin to enjoy the perks of being in such an establishment.  And because they aren’t as extremist as the Republicans that invaded Washington with Bush or even Gingrich, they imagine that this somehow makes them middle-of-the-road Democrats.  

And that’s probably one reason they liked mainstreaming the extremists on the right while marginalizing those on the left.  Because that allowed them to continue to see themselves as moderate, as they slowly shifted to the right.  And now people who once saw themselves as moderates are now considered leftwing.  Glenn Greenwald has complained about that.  And I myself was once a moderate-liberal, and now find myself fully in the liberal position.  Not because America shifted, but because the Establishment shifted the labels.  It needed to incorporate the former Clintonites, though they themselves were once opposed by that very establishment.  

But as usual, the establishment didn’t compromise; they convinced the Clintonites that it was their duty to do the compromising.  Their sole task, in fact, has been to find the middle-ground between the right and left.  And to do that, it meant they had to convince their former party-mates to give-up on their activism and join them in the new middle.  

And they loved that.  Because they like seeing themselves as being above-the-fray.  And so they go about trying to convince us all to join them, when all the Establishment really cared about was incorporating these dummies into the movement to defang them.  If you can’t beat them, have them join you.  Just make sure they stop trying to fight you.  And that’s exactly what the former Clintonites have done.

Clintonian Sell-Out

Winship refers to this as “Clintonism” and while I’m sure many people blame Clinton for it, that’s really not the term that comes to mind for me.  I liked Clinton.  I understood why he did what he did.  I didn’t always approve.  But I understood.  He was the first president I ever voted for and I’ve never regretted that vote.  But I don’t understand where these guys are coming from and think they’ve terribly distorted Clinton’s actions, in order to justify their own sell-out.  Especially as Clinton’s deft maneuverings only really worked as a one-man operation, and wasn’t meant as the eternal guiding principle for the party.  

If anything, the DLC’ers have just played into the GOP’s hands, rather than maneuvering around them.  Clinton was always very careful at dancing around, never going too extreme, but always staying out of their reach.  But the DLC crowd has moved directly into their pocket and insist that we join them there.  I don’t remember Clinton ever blaming me for offending America or screwing up his plans.  I don’t think he ever insulted us at all.  Yet these people can’t seem to stop doing that.  Sure, Winship says he’ll fight with us; but he sure is worried that we’re too dumb to know when to give up the fight.

And again, I think this is just because they’ve been incorporated into the Establishment, while being convinced that they’re really only carrying Clinton’s torch further.  It’s like they saw someone on fire rolling on the ground to put out the flames and imagined it was a crazy new dance move.  Clinton didn’t do what he did because he wanted to.  He did it because he had to.  But these people have turned it into a principle, and attack anyone who isn’t doing the same.

None of this is to suggest that every one of the DLC crowd is a former Clinton worker or anything.  Some of them are just tag-alongs.  Winship, for instance, was still a silly college student during Clinton’s first term.  As a side note, he attributes to us the silliness he exhibited back then.  He writes of his five-day hunger strike regarding the establishment of an Asian-American Studies program at his university; and suggests we suffer from his former political naiveté.  I’ve never done such an embarrassingly silly thing, and if I did, I’d surely not be such a putz as to assume that other people are doing the same thing.  And I say that as a former Republican who trusted Rush Limbaugh.

And it’s quite likely that the former Clintonites were wannabe sell-outs before Clinton ever came along.  But that really doesn’t help their case any.  Somehow, it still hasn’t occurred to these people that they’d do a lot better if they tried convincing us with their arguments, rather than lecturing at us about why we should trust them.  And again, you can just guess who they copied that from.

My Theory

Anyway, long story short, Winship’s only real point seems to be the basic idea that 60’s activism over-reached and helped pave the way for a generation of conservatives.  But what a joke.  His only evidence is a brief review of presidential politics starting with Johnson.  WTF?  Is that really it?  The only way you can tell where America leans politically is based entirely on who can win the Whitehouse?  And as I commented to Winship (and repeated below), there’s a much better case that the Whitehouse winner is always the more likeable guy with the better personality.  It’s an unfortunate fact of life, but people vote for the man, not the movement.

I myself work under the assumption that liberalism started to peter-out because it won.  It enacted a groundbreaking agenda over a long period of time, which has now become ingrained into America’s fabric.  We became less necessary with every victory we achieved.  And the movement didn’t start with Civil Rights or Vietnam, but rather those were two of the last big hurdles we needed to fight.  But it goes back much further, starting with labor unions and worker rights.  And even now, it’s political suicide to even mention that you want to do away with any of these programs and rights we’ve won, which were considered totally radical a mere hundred years ago.

So we didn’t have much further to go than a little back to the right.  Not that we fixed everything, but that we were taking a breather.  It’s not good to take such important steps too far, too fast.  So America was stepping back and checking over how things had gone.  But the conservatives took things too far, and totally overreached.  And they were damn good at winning elections for too long; largely due to their ability to lie with relative impunity.

But even still, the few truly conservative ideas that have made it through from the Sixties have still never really been accepted by the population as a whole, and could only be implemented on the sly and using flim-flam.  They talk of “fixing” Social Security, and insist their environmental rollbacks are really further steps ahead.  And they even gave us a prescription drug plan, which this Congress is likely to actually turn into an acceptable program.  We haven’t seen a big rollback after the Sixties.  They were only able to stall things, and even then are fairly unpopular for doing so.  

And even still, most conservatives have taken for granted the radical victories that liberalism achieved, and only argue that the regulations are no longer necessary because everyone has taken them for granted too and nobody will try to undo them.  Today’s conservatives would be considered fairly radical by historical standards.  They don’t support child labor.  They don’t think people will ever be paid outrageously low wages.  They assume companies will obey modern environmental standards.  And they have a hard time finding government programs they’d be comfortable with cutting from the greatly expanded federal government.  In other words, it’s not that they’re conservative, per se.  They’re just terribly naïve and believe that human nature has also embraced these liberal ideas.

And now that conservatives have finally been given a chance to show us their stuff, things are finally swinging back again.  The conservatives’ abilities to fix the deck have been outdone by their inability to rule properly.  And now the adults are back in charge and America expects results.  And once the Democrats can establish a decent record of getting things done (which they’ve already made a respectable start at), America will once again embrace Democrats and liberals as the folks who actually know how to run things.  

My Comment to Winship

Here’s the comment I left at Winship’s blog:

Sorry, but I think this hardly covers the issue.  What of Congress?  Is the fact that Democrats controlled Congress for almost three whole decades after 1966 not count for anything?  Or that, even then, the GOP could only win it with smoke, mirrors, and outright lies?  Let's not pretend as if we were shut-out this whole time.

And why not focus on presidential personalities and campaigning?  Nixon ran a great campaign and greatly abused his powers to keep his Democratic opponents down.  And Reagan was a HUGELY strong personality, which helped make-up for his many other flaws.  Carter and Mondale clearly paled in comparison.  Bush Sr., on the other hand, had a fairly sucky personality that was better than Dukakis', but not nearly as strong as Clinton's.  Would you really claim that Dukakis would have won the rematch?  And Gore was roundly pounded by the chattering pundit classes; as was Kerry.  And everyone knows how great Bush would have been to have a beer with.

Does this count for nothing?  Are we really to imagine that the American people are voting for an ideology, rather than a man?  It's unfortunate that they do this, as the man isn't nearly as important as the movement they stand for; but it's a fact.  So why ignore this?  Sure, it's possible that the hippies screwed things up for generations; but it's more possible that people were just voting for the men they liked better and Republicans were just better at getting the likeable guys on the top ticket.  Personality over politics.

And let's not forget the pundit's role in all this, or are we to believe they were as fair to Clinton as they were to Reagan and Bush Jr.  And if I remember right, they hated Bush Sr., and he was a one-termer.  Again, there's a lot more to this than ideology and hippy-hatred.

BTW, why in god's name are you acting like you're part of the establishment talking to unlearned masses?  You're two years younger than me, and I'm a CPA with my own bookkeeping firm.  What a crock.

Final Notes

Oh, and as a final note, I’ll steal Digby’s material by noting how Winship’s “historical perspective” seems like nothing more than assuming that we’re reliving the sixties and nineties all over again.   And it’s true.  His post can be summarized as: It didn’t work for the hippies and it worked for Clinton, so let’s keep doing it.  

Yet he ignores the true historical perspective, that shows a movement that began a long time ago, or that the conservatives haven’t been able to undo any of the liberal victories they’ve ranted against.  He doesn’t even mention Roe v. Wade’s role in all this.  It’s all about hippy activism handing the Whitehouse to the GOP and thinks he’s scored a victory.

And again, he’s not trying to convince us that his ideas are good.  He’s just lecturing us about how we need to be more like him.  Excellent.  I’m going to follow the advice of a guy who went on a five-day hunger strike over a program at his university.  That’s his idea of activism.  

I’ve never considered myself an activist, but I’ve contributed money to a few candidates that Atrios recommended, and I had never done that before.  And I sure as hell take solace in being able to find like-minded people on the internet and am thankful for the ability it has given us to group together and finally have a voice that can reach the big stage.  And to me, that’s really what the netroots is really all about.  It’s not groupthink.  It’s teamwork.  And that’s what bugs these guys most of all.  They hate the competition.