Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Civility Squad

You know who thinks Jim Webb's rude?
Paul Mirengoff says Webb's disrespectful. He also said Democrats are insane and "just plain weird."

R. Emmett "Bill Clinton is a drug smuggler" Tyrrell, Jr., says Webb is "very unpleasant."

George Will thinks Webb's a "a subtraction from the city's civility" and that the senator-elect is, in his political writing "too busy for accuracy." Will, however, has never apologized for or retracted his blatant smearing of Gen. Wesley Clark during the 2004 presidential campaign.
Webb has gotta be doing something right.

For more, see here, here, here, here, here and here.

Update: As Jason Zengerle notes, Peggy Noonan sides with Webb.
The latest example of a lack of grace in Washington is the exchange between Jim Webb and President Bush at a White House Christmas party. Mr. Webb did not want to pose with the president and so didn't join the picture line. Fair enough, everyone feels silly on a picture line. Mr. Bush approached him later and asked after his son, a Marine. Mr. Webb said he'd like his son back from Iraq. Mr. Bush then, according to the Washington Post, said: "That's not what I asked you. How's your son?" Mr. Webb replied that's between him and his son.

For this Mr. Webb has been roundly criticized. And on reading the exchange I thought it had the sound of the rattling little aggressions of our day, but not on Mr. Webb's side. Imagine Lincoln saying, in such circumstances, "That's not what I asked you." Or JFK. Or Gerald Ford!
Why wouldn't Webb take a picture with the President? the Civility Squad asks. ("(N)o one told him he would have to display the picture anywhere," writes R. Emmett "Mr. Etiquette" Tyrell, Jr., in the story linked above.) Here's Will Ferrell's reason and I think it's a good one. In explaining why he's turned down two invitations to perform his Bush impersonation at the White House, he said, "In both cases, I especially did not want to do the inevitable photo op afterwards where we are all holding hands. That would have been a gesture of support."

Olbermann on Gingrich

Crooks and Liars has the video.

Favorite line: "Say it cannot be said--and it will instead be screamed."

More fake outrage on the right

This will end badly for the righties.

They've been going after the report by the AP about the Sunnis burned alive at a mosque in Baghdad.

Conservatives wrote a Navy PAO about it, who wrote an e-mail telling the AP to prove, retract or correct the story, because "the primary source of this story, police Capt. Jamil Hussein, is not a Baghdad police officer or an (Ministry of Interior) employee." Where did they get the PAO get that information? Well he asked the MOI about it himself and they said, Nope, no one by that name on our payroll.

The AP said that, yep, they'd checked the story with the original source and other witnesses and the AP's International Editor said, in the end, that the questioning of a source known well to the reporter was "ludicrous."

Here comes the bad ending for the righties. Allahpundit, one of their own, caught the fact that Central Command has a list of unverified and/or bogus government spokespeople and that on the list is the name of the MOI's own spokesman.

What we seem to have here is a failure to communicate covered in a rich, creamy right-wing-bullshit sauce.

Update: More on this from Bob Geiger.

Hell yeah!

It's about time that someone went after people like WorldNetDaily. It seems they accused a guy named Clark Jones of being a drug dealer who Al Gore helped get off the hook for prosecution. Then the WorldNuts crowed that they had singlehandedly cost Gore the election with that story.

Clark Jones, though, isn't taking it lying down and the WorldNuts are scared shitless.
The $165 million lawsuit filed against WND and two freelance writers who wrote a comprehensive series exposing Al Gore's record of corruption in Tennessee during the 2000 presidential campaign would smash any judgment that has ever held up in such a court proceeding.

[snip]

The lawsuit stems from the reports, which ran from September to December 2000, that included information about a Savannah, Tenn., auto dealer, friend of Al Gore and Democrat activist named Clark Jones.

Jones, who raised more than $100,000 for Gore's presidential campaign, alleges personal embarrassment and humiliation from the articles, which said he reportedly intervened in a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe into narcotics trafficking in Hardin County in 1999. The car dealer also alleges the articles implicated him in the 1980 arson of his own business, the Jones Motor Company, and also pegged him as a suspected drug dealer.

In his lawsuit against WND, Jones is demanding the record-breaking $165 million in damages.
I make no judgment as to the merit of the lawsuit and I believe in freedom of the press, but for too long WordNetDaily, the American Spectator, Matt Drudge, et. al., have lied with impunity about Democrats who have shrugged it off. If Clark Jones has a case, I hope he takes Joseph Farah for every dime.

Funny

Peter Schweizer, a right winger--who, it must be mentioned, is a Hoover Institution research (!) fellow--writes a book taking on liberal hypocrisy. He goes after Nancy Pelosi and now that she's headed toward the Speaker's chair, his claims bubble up through the muck of the right wing blogosphere.

The claims are proven baseless by a local news station.

What does Schweizer say about this? What? You expect me to do research?


Update: On a separate issue, a conservative points out that "militant immigration hawks" are using "unsubstantiated claims" and "bad statistics" to frighten Americans. It seems he actually believes in the research that many other conservatives have chosen to eschew.
It took me all of 10 minutes to check this data, something that Rep. King apparently couldn't bother to have his staff do, and a standard fact check that WND declined to perform. It seems that some people will believe almost anything as long as it can be used to demonize illegal aliens.
Of course, the same, obviously could be said about the b.s. made up to demonize Democrats and the media, as well. Good for Captain Ed, though.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Power Line tells us what 9/11 can and cannot justify

Since roughly September 11th, 2006, at around 11 a.m. eastern time, the right began telling us that "9/11 changed everything." As they explain it, every notion we might have had about politics and foreign policy had to be reconsidered after the terrorist attacks.

Paul Mirengoff of Power Line has been one of the innumerable right wing hacks who's pushed this view. The attacks, he wrote, might even have forced some politicians to question some of their most cherished opinions and beliefs.
The question of what Kerry's foreign policy will look like is actually a fascinating, open, and potentially vital one. On the one hand, Kerry has spent his entire career as a dove, waging political war against our military and intelligence services and belittling national security concerns. On the other hand, 9/11 changed everything. Surely even Kerry understands this, or at least understands that the political imperatives have changed.
Sadly, Kerry didn't change enough for Mirengoff. Nor, does it seem, did any Democrats change enough for the members of the Fear Brigade. Democrats were so "pre-9/11," while Republicans were post-9/11-ites.

So, what happens when Paul Mirengoff actually comes face-to-face with a Democrat whose priorities were clearly--and markedly--readjusted after the attacks of 9/11? He calls him a flip-flopping "opportunist."
(W)hen Webb needed Clinton's help, he brought the man whose administration he had called "the most corrupt in modern memory" to help him raise funds. Webb explained his about face by claiming that 9/11 had wiped the slate clean.

Thus, if Bush cared (about this--Nitpicker), he could take solace in the knowledge that if the wind changes, so too will the attitude of the erratic opportunist from Virginia.
In other words, if 9/11 convinced you that our country should spend less time looking into the president's pants and more time devising policies to protect the American people, you're wishy-washy. If it convinced you to begin a disastrous war, lock up American citizens because of their race or just blatantly break the law, that's just fine with Mirengoff and his ilk. Bastards.

No witnesses. No evidence. No worries.

Welcome to Bush's Gitmo justice.
In February, Seton Hall University School of Law professor Mark Denbeaux and his detainee defense attorney son, Joshua Denbeaux, culled through declassified Status Review transcripts and determined that hundreds and hundreds of the detainees (most held for years) had been determined by military officials as neither Al Qaeda nor Taliban members (and most had never taken up arms against America or her interests).

Now, the pair has determined through a new set of declassified material that the Review Tribunals are precisely the sorts of kangaroo courts that the Administration's most cynical critics have long suspected to be in use behind a veil of military secrecy down on Cuba. In their report, "No-Hearing Hearings: An Analysis of the Proceedings of the Government's Combatant Status Review Tribunals at Guantanano," the Denbeauxs conclude based upon Defense Department documents that that "the Government did not produce any witnesses in any hearing and did not present any documentary evidence to the detainee in 96 percent of the cases."
Still, in the same issue of WaPo, we get another conservative arguing that Democrats shouldn't pull back on Bush's reins. Sure, he's violating laws written to expressly limit the power of the executive branch, but there's no reason to think that could go bad, right? Right?

There are biases and then there are biases

Here's what's funny to me: In this month alone, we've had two incidents which, when considered together, prove that Republicans will yell "liberal bias" without the slightest basis in fact and that, yep, those who claim most loudly to be fair and balanced are, um, not.

The first incident was when Karl Rove accused Robert Siegel of NPR--a favorite conservative target--of being biased because he asked about the Democratic wave the polls were predicting.
After midterm election interviewer Robert Siegel stated that "many might consider you on the optimistic end of realism" regarding Republican hopes to retain both Houses in November, Rove suggested that the NPR host was biased.

"Not that you would be exhibiting a bias or anything like that," Rove said. "You're just making a comment."

"I'm looking at all the same polls that you're looking at every day," Seigel responded

"No you're not!" Rove exclaimed.

Rove said that he was reviewing 68 polls a week, and that "unlike the general public, I'm allowed to see the polls on the individual races," as opposed to public polls reported in the media.

"You may be looking at four or five public polls a week that talk about attitudes nationally, but that do not impact the outcome," Rove said.

Rove claimed that the polls "add up to a Republican Senate and a Republican House."
The polls were saying exactly what Siegel said they were saying and Karl Rove, after accusing NPR of bias, was proven wrong.

The second incident occurred on Sunday, when Barney Frank suggested that Fox News had a conservative bias. The Fox News response? To claim there was a "Democrat [sic] Plan To Diminish FOX News"!

By using Democrat instead of Democratic--a simple-minded Republican slur against the party--Fox News proved that, yes, they certainly do side with Republicans.

And the most infantile members of the Republican crowd at that.

Instapundit praises author who blames Americans for terror

I used to like Orson Scott Card. Of course the Ender series is a classic of science fiction and I thoroughly enjoyed his foray into horror, the underrated Lost Boys.

Those books, however, were written before 9-11, the date on which Card joined the Fear Brigade--those who seemed to be sane before the attacks, but now respond to the still-wet stain on their pants by justifying awful things like torture, the erosion of civil rights and voting Republican.

Card has written a new novel which predicts a terror attack against the U.S. that leads to a second American civil war. As Roy points out, Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds thinks Card is "right to warn people against too much division..."

Funny, but Card's words--every bit as "disgusting" as anything said by Ward Churchill--don't seem to suggest the author's interested in healing a broken nation. He wrote this just before the election:
Here's the story the Islamic puritans are telling: The West is full of terrible evils--atheism, sexual filth of all kinds--in defiance of God's will. So seductive are the wiles of Shaitan that many Muslims aspire to dress, act, and live like westerners. Only by turning to full enforcement of ancient Muslim law can Islam purify itself and resist the blandishments of the west. It's evil on one side, God on the other.

If all we had to answer them was Hollywood movies, politically correct anti-religious dogmas, and the other trappings of a West that is almost as decadent as the Islamicists claim, then we would only prove their point.

Instead, President Bush has offered something quite different. We don't want to turn you into mini-Americas, he says. We offer you, instead, democracy, in which you can choose for yourselves what parts of western culture to adopt. You will govern yourselves. It isn't a choice between wickedness and righteousness, it's a choice between freedom and oppression. [Italics Card's. Bold text Nitpickers.]
In Card's mind, only Bush keeps us from being deserving of attack by terrorists because, as numerous conservative commentators have said and continue to say, our culture has chosen "wickedness."

Nitpicker Quiz

Who said this about Iraq?
If you don't have a clear-cut military objective, if you're not prepared to use overwhelming force to achieve it, then we don't have any business committing U.S. military forces into that civil war.
Answer.

Monday, November 27, 2006

$10 million for the building

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Christianist prejudice will come home to roost

I've known many Mormons and, as a person who had to track faith like it was a fugitive, I've read the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price. I've never met a devout Mormon who wasn't willing to give me the benefit of the doubt and respect the fact that my beliefs are different than theirs. If a Mormon candidate held the same political goals as me, I'd have no problem supporting a Mormon's candidacy for president.

Right wing fundamentalists, however, have built a political wing on the belief that they should be voting for people who share their religious beliefs exactly. So I think the answer to Time magazine's question, is no, religious conservatives will not vote for a Mormon. I honestly don't think Mitt Romney will make it out of the Republican primary.

When Romney begins his run for office in earnest, the beliefs of the Mormon church will come under scrutiny and, when Southern Baptists and "nondemoninational" fundamentalists find out the Mormon version of the Trinity is more like a three-person council, there will be some recoil. The right wing God Machine also won't look too kindly on the Mormon belief that no one got Christianity right from the time of Christ's death until Joseph Smith was directed by the angel Moroni to transcribe the golden plates which became the Book of Mormon.

Romney's doing his best to appeal to conservative Christians--especially by showing that he can really, really hate gays--but I just don't think it's going to work. A community built on a single-minded adherence to a restrictive view of faith won't bend without also threatening to break altogether.

Howie reads Nitpicker?

Atrios posted the video below (and I saw it over on his blog first).

It's good to see John Roberts finally admitting the "sanitized" nature of American media's take on Iraq, but I also noticed this bit from Howie:
The conventional wisdom is that American troops resent the media's coverage of this war as too negative, but there's a Zogby poll of U.S. forces that says 72 percent think they should leave within a year.
Well that polls been around since February, so I wonder how it is that Howie's just now hearing about it.

I wonder.

And I wonder why it takes part-time, citizen journalists like me to point out the truths traditional media choose to ignore.

Friday, November 24, 2006

20-year-old documents

On Wednesday, Andy "Not the guy from Mannequin" McCarthy waved his hands and shouted "Hezbollah! Boogety boogety boogety!"
Hezbollah is not a party, and its designs are not national (in the sense of "limited to Lebanon"). Who says so? Hezbollah says so. As I mentioned in this piece a few months back, here's what its 1985 manifesto says in this regard (italics mine):
We are often asked: Who are we, the Hizballah, and what is our identity? We are the sons of the umma (Muslim community) — the party of God (Hizb Allah) the vanguard of which was made victorious by God in Iran. There the vanguard succeeded to lay down the bases of a Muslim state which plays a central role in the world. We obey the orders of one leader, wise and just, that of our tutor and faqih (jurist) who fulfills all the necessary conditions: [Ayatollah] Ruhollah Musawi Khomeini. God save him! By virtue of the above, we do not constitute an organized and closed party in Lebanon. Nor are we a tight political cadre. We are an umma linked to the Muslims of the whole world by the solid doctrinal and religious connection of Islam, whose message God wanted to be fulfilled by the Seal of the Prophets, i.e., Muhammad. This is why whatever touches or strikes the Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Philippines and elsewhere reverberates throughout the whole Muslim umma of which we are an integral part.
This is the forward militia of Iran's jihadist war for regional and, ultimately, global hegemony.
Well, that certainly seems scary. Then again, the Hezbollah statement was written over 20 years ago, when Hezbollah was a militia. Today, it holds several democratically-elected positions in Lebanon, something all but unthinkable in 1985.

While Hezbollah still needs to change its ways before it can be fully accepted as a truly legitimate organization, it's obvious changes are occurring. Changes happen in 20 years, people, and, to prove it, here's some stuff a different party wrote 20 years ago which doesn't really seem to apply anymore.
The Republican Party believes the federal budget must be balanced. We are committed to eliminating deficits and the excessive spending that causes them...

President Reagan's Middle East policy has been flexible enough to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances, yet consistent and credible so that all nations recognize our determination to protect our vital interests. The President's skillful crisis management throughout the Iran-Iraq war has kept that conflict from damaging our vital interests... (Cornerite and columnist Victor Davis Hanson: " Even Ronald Reagan’s saber-rattling “You can run but not hide” did not preclude trading arms to the Iranian terrorists or abruptly abandoning Lebanon after the horrific Hezbollah attack.")

The role of the federal government should be limited...

Our men and women in uniform deserve the best and most reliable weapons that this country can offer. We must improve the reliability and performance of our weapons systems...

America is free because of its veterans. We owe them more than thanks...Veterans have earned their benefits; these must not be taken away. The help we give them is an investment which pays our nation unlimited dividends...
Of course, none of this should be read as a reason to support Hezbollah. Instead, think of this a as reminder that parties--especially extremely conservative ones--change their focus over time.

Two birds with one stone

Teacher/Baptist minister violates the First Amendment and the Eighth Commandment.*

* Or Ninth, depending on the Decalogue your faith uses.

(Wingnut v. himself) v. Wingnut

Charles Krauthammer finally takes off the glove and goes after the true face of evil today. He takes on a fake Kazakh newsman's anti-Semitism.
On the face of it, this would be odd, given that (the actor who plays Borat, Sacha Baron) Cohen is himself a Sabbath-observing Jew. His defense is that he is using Borat's anti-Semitism as a "tool" to expose it in others. And that his Arizona bar stunt revealed, if not anti-Semitism, then "indifference" to anti-Semitism. And that, he maintains, was the path to the Holocaust.

Whoaaaa. Does he really believe such rubbish? Can a man that smart (Cambridge, investment banker and now brilliant filmmaker) really believe that indifference to anti-Semitism and the road to the Holocaust are to be found in a country-and-western bar in Tucson?
Krauthammer goes on to basically say that other places are much worse than us, so Cohen shouldn't be trying to point out that indifference in the U.S.

Funny, but hasn't Krauthammer spent the last year arguing that indifference to the anti-Israel rantings of Ahmadinejad and the soul-searching films of "Hollywood ignoramus" Steven Spielberg lead directly to the end of Israel?

Look, I admit that I'm no scholar on the subject, but--come on, Charlie--indifference toward anti-Semitism either does or does not lead to evil. You can't have it both ways.

Who, one might ask, would take Cohen's side on this issue? Why, none other than Victor Davis "Therefore" Hanson, who has written that
A recent third type of anti-Jewish odium is something different. It is a strange mixture of violent hatred by radical Islamists and the more or less indifference to it by Westerners.
Of course, Vic twists and turns to place the blame on "leftists"--as he is wont to do--but, hey, Charles, let's you and him fight.

Oliver North hates the Greatest Generation

Oliver North (who, as I've documented before, has admitted to lending aid and comfort to the enemy) just hates the truth, so he makes up his own.
In nine trips to cover our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq for FOX News, I've never heard a single officer or non-commissioned officer in any branch of our armed forces advocate returning to the draft. That's because they know that today's all-volunteer force is smarter, better educated, trained, equipped and more combat-experienced than any military in history.

Our troops are so good because the standards for admission are so high -- standards, history has shown, that it would be impossible to keep with conscription. According to the GAO, "at least half of today's youth between the ages of 16 and 21 are not qualified to serve in the military because they fail to meet the military's entry standards for education, aptitude, health, moral character or other requirements."

Reinstituting the draft would inevitably require that these standards be lowered. We've made that mistake before. In the late 1960s President Lyndon Johnson implemented what he called "Project One Hundred Thousand" -- a program that forced the military to accept draftees who would otherwise have been rejected.
Yes, our soldiers are smarter and better educated than they have been, but that's due, in part to that fact that all American youngsters are better educated today. A draft which drew from our current population would not have to lower standards. What has made the military lower standards is the unwillingness to make all Americans responsible for the protection of their country. Thousands of currently serving troops have been enlisted under lowered aptitude standards because the military doesn't have the opportunity to take the best qualified.

Also, I find North's implication that draftees are inherently worse than enlistees repugnant. As Duncan Bronson--the nephew of a WWI Medal of Honor Winner and former Marine--said at a ceremony earlier this year, "People volunteer or they're drafted, but they serve, and 99.9 percent of them serve without reservation..." I would argue the standards for draftees were lowered during Vietnam because there were so many types of deferments, leaving many of our best and brightest. We shouldn't make that mistake again. The truth is, more than 60 percent of all World War II veterans were draftees. Only about a third of Vietnam Veterans were draftees. So, as far as victory's concerned, the types of troops you bring to the war seems to matter much less than the strategy and goals of the war.

There should be a draft. It creates a situation in which every American has skin in the game. Whether that makes war more or less likely I don't know, but it certainly makes the truth impossible to ignore and the pornographic nature of the cheerleading coming from North and all of his Fox News friends more and more obvious.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

John Fogerty

For those of you who've forgotten, these are the lyrics of the song "Fortunate Son," which John Fogerty just played at the Detroit Lions/Miami Dolphins halftime.
Some folks are born
Made to wave the flag
Ooh that red, white 'n blue
And when the band plays
'Hail to the Chief'
Ooh they point the cannon at you, lord

It ain't me, it ain't me
I ain't no Senator's son
It ain't me, it ain't me
I ain't no fortunate one, no

Some folks are born
Silver spoon in hand
Lord don't they help themselves?
And when the taxman
Comes on their door
Ooh the house looks like a rummage sale, yeah

It ain't me, it ain't me
I ain't no millionaire's son
It ain't me, it ain't me
I ain't no fortunate son, no, no

Some folks inherit
Starspangled eyes
Ooh they send you down to war
And when they ask'em
'How much should we give?'
Ooh they gonna answer 'More and more and more and more and more'...

It ain't me, it ain't me
I ain't no millionaires son, no
It ain't me, it ain't me
I ain't no fortunate one, one, one
It ain't me, it ain't me
I ain't no CIA son, no
It ain't me, it ain't me
I ain't no fortunate son, son, son

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Bad timing

On the same day that Jeff Emanuel at RedState decides to write a post which uses the story of an Air Force Chief Master Sergeant to show how the media's "continual striving for bloodier, jucier, and more negative headlines and stories from the middle east" overlooks "America's underlying decency," I was sent the video below. In it, American soldiers tempt small Iraqi boys with water, getting them to run (apparently barefoot) after their truck. In the end, the kid who runs the furthest doesn't even get the water and the soldiers laugh and laugh.



If any of the guys I was with in Afghanistan would have done this, I would have knocked the shit out of them. I can't, however, think of one person who would have.

Let's call this Nitpicker Rule #1: No country, party, religion or profession has yet cornered the market on heroes or assholes.

P.S. I wrote this almost exactly nine years ago, for the Kansas State Collegian:
During his failed run at the presidency, Bob Dole was speaking to a veterans' group when he claimed veterans were just a little bit better than other Americans. I was still on board my ship, the USS Abraham Lincoln, at the time and had to laugh, because two days before this statement, our showers had once again been attacked by the "Phantom Shitter."

The P.S. was a guy (as far as we know it was one person) who for some reason found it funny to defecate in our shower stalls. He probably found it a lot funnier because we only had four shower stalls to be shared by 80 people. He would attack maybe once a month, giving almost everyone a chance to witness the spectacle at least once.

Fiction and the "Democrat Party"

Ruth Marcus provides an excellent look into the vitriol hidden just beneath the surface of George W. Bush’s recent feints toward rapprochement with Democrats. Every time he says "Democrat Party," you see, he's really saying "all those sonsofbitches over there."

Most telling is the fact that his use of the term "Democrat party" was used quite often by Joseph McCarthy.
DemocratParty was used, pardon the phrase, liberally by Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy. According to the Columbia Guide to Standard American English, " Democrat as an adjective is still sometimes used by some twentieth-century Republicans as a campaign tool but was used with particular virulence" by McCarthy, "who sought by repeatedly calling it the Democrat party to deny it any possible benefit of the suggestion that it might also be democratic."
That the term is so commonly used today just goes to show the extreme nature of today's Republican party, which thinks nothing of taking a page from McCarthy's playbook.

The question is: Should we care what we're called?

Honestly, the phrase just makes people sound foolish. As Paul Brians wrote in Common Errors in English Usage:
Certain Republican members of Congress have played the childish game in recent years of referring to the opposition as the "Democrat party," hoping to imply that Democrats are not truly democratic. They succeed only in making themselves sound ignorant, and so will you, if you imitate them.
A quick test of this theory can be performed with a quick glance at a Google Book search. Yes, you'll find the typical, elected fanatics, but the funniest and most telling examples of what sort of people buy into this sort of groupthink can be found in "conservative fiction."

Here's an excerpt from Tender Leaves of Hope, by Ronald R. Rowan. Them emphases are all Ronald's.
I actually believed that the Democrat Party was the "Pary of the People." What a truly ignorant, pathetically naive joke that was. Well, at least now I can boast that I have not voted for a Democrat since Ronaldus Magnus came onto the national scene.
Rowan explains his feelings in an author's note at the end:
Government is about power, pure and simple, not about people.

None of this is to be found any longer in today's Democrat Party. I say Democrat, and not Democratic because there is nothing democratic about today's Democrat Party leaders, hence the party itself. In fact, the opposite is true. They are the Party of big government, and always have been. And now as the Party of deceit, distortion and demagoguery, they seek to silence political discourse and the exchange of disparate ideas in the public fora with the help of it water carriers in the liberal/leftist media.
All I can say is that finally--finally!--there's some literature that Jonah Goldberg--who thinks that Robert Altman, Stanley Kubrick, historian Arthur Schlesinger and fresh air are all "overrated"--can understand and enjoy.

For mystery fans, we find Randolph Robert Harrison, whose novel Counterfeit Governor tells the story of "greed, intimidation, sexual deviancy, organized crime, gambling, murder and a healthy dose of unchecked political power" among characters with names like BoBo Camberezi and Bijou Birdsong. I won't bore you with a snippet, but when a "novelist" puts the sentence "As far as the Illinois Democrat Party goes you already know the Mayor controls it and what he wants, he gets" in the mouth of a Democrat, you know the guy's got some full-on Republican crazy rolling around in his head.

And even in translating fictional terrorists Republican novelists can't bring themselves to use the -ic. Consider James Mintz's Peccant Luther, which tries to tell the tale of al Qaeda operatives working in the U.S. In one scene, he has several terrorists discussing the American political scene (and even names one Kofi and another Annan, yuk, yuk, yuk). Note how he can't even let his terrorists disagree with Republicans.
"Even their own political 'conservatives,' whose ideas are the only ones in my opinion to make any sense, from their point of view, are shouted down as bigots and haters."

"They are a strange and convoluted bunch, we all agree," said Annan Ali Akabur... "Why is all of this important?"

"Why is this important?" Sadum repeated. "Why? It is important because it has enabled their Democrat Party, the party in power for the past six years, to take money away form the very organizations that could do us most harm. Intelligence. Immigration. Military."

"Why would they do that?" Annan asked.

"I'll tell you why. The Democrat Party is decadent and corrupt. The democrat-leaning media attacks their country's primary security organizations in movies and the like, which turn the public against those organizations. Then men like Clinton read the polls. Politicians like him take notice in order to stay in office, and while in office they cut funds for any organization under attack by their pop culture. It is a great circle. This enables the Democrat party to buy votes by giving away money."

"Give it away? To whom?" asked Kofi...

"Why, for example, to American whores in the form of handouts. No matter that a large percentage of these women spend the money on drugs, sex, and Satanic music."
Welfare whores? Cutting military funding? Clinton? Color me confused, but this seems more like a meeting between Pat Roberts and Grover Norquist than al Qaeda chit-chat.

Finally for those of you who might have been (foolishly) concerned about Fox News' plan to create a right wing "Daily Show," fear no more. David L. Hale gives us a glimpse into what conservative satire looks like in his novel about alien liberals from outer space called--I shit you not--The Liberal Masters.
"OOO! HOO! HOO! cried the female voice at center table. "My momma said I should never hang around with hoods and now look at me!"

"Shut up, you dumb broad," said the compassionate Leader. "Now you went and done it!"

"OOH! HOO! HOO!" repeated the distraught indvidual, clasping her hanky.

The Leader raised his gun. He cocked. He aimed. "This is for calling me a hood," he accused. He didn't fire. "Shucks," he said, shaking his head and lowering the rod. "I don't shoot women. That would be sexist. O.k., call me a softy...Anyway, enough interruptions! Can I get back to my talk now?" said the talker, all business-like. "The Democrat party is the home of liberalism in America today. The Republican Party, conversely, is the home of conservatism. We will join and donate money to the Democrat Party. They are our friends. They share our beliefs."

There was some concern (but not a lot) that the Leader might be growing insane...However, the camp did occasionally come up with some sensible ideas...like the Tyrant/Liberals joining forces with the Democrats. That way, you would be combining the natural socialistic tendencies of the American left with the vast insanity reserves of the interstellar Tyrants. Out of this natural blend, you could create something called a "super-liberal", against which the forces of reason and common sense would be completely impervious..."
Hale's book has gotten some rave reviews over at Amazon. I'm sure Hale's readers are also huge Tek Jansen fans.

To me, these crappy books prove that so-called "movement conservatism" has reached its nadir. You can only oversimplify and obfuscate so much. Eventually, anyone with half a brain realizes they need someone who can think running their government. That calling Democrats the "Democrat Party" is what passes for commentary on the right shows that they've simply run out of things to talk about and the American public gets it. As ThinkProgress pointed out yesterday, the name Rush Limbaugh is less popular than the phrases liberal and progressive, even in districts held by conservatives.

Call me whatever you want, right wing commentators. What you say is becoming less and less relevant every day.

Update: Apparently, Bill Clinton summed this up quite nicely in discussing the recent elections (link via Digby).
"America rejected shorthand. People are thinking again."

Monday, November 20, 2006

The myth of Rumsfeld's genius

Today's L.A. Times article on the new Army doctrine which rejects Rumsfeld's policies began this way.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld may be leaving under a cloud of criticism over his handling of the Iraq war, but his invasion plan — emphasizing speed over massive troop numbers — has consistently been held up as a resounding success.
Huh? Hell, it was George H.W. Bush who wrote that charging in to Baghdad would be to assign
young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerilla war, it could only plunge that part of the world into ever greater instability.
Rummy didn't read that book? He didn't know that, yeah, you may be able to get somewhere quickly with your big guns, but that doesn't necessarily win the game?

In other words: How much of a military genius can Rummy be if he's never heard of a fucking screen pass?

The polls in Lawrence Kaplan's head

I was reading Lawrence Kaplan's latest article in The New Republic on Friday and something stood out to me. Kaplan's basic point is that American soldiers just love the war in Iraq and only Americans who haven't been there think it's wrong. Get this:
For the sake of American soldiers...who speak with a sense of ownership about their war and see themselves as a progressive force on the Iraqi landscape--and who, according to surveys by the Military Times and the Pew Research Center, hold opinions on the war that run almost exactly counter to those registered at home--be grateful that the machinery of war overwhelms the din from Washington.
Now, I'm a dirty hippie/veteran/blogger, so I know that I'm supposed to just go off half-cocked and write about how Kaplan's full of crap, etc., but I thought that, since Kaplan and his fellow New Republicans won't do it, I'd actually try to verify his statements. It took a little time, but--guess what?--Kaplan's full of crap.

First off, the Military Times group hasn't conducted a survey in a year and, while the results its poll did show a 10-point higher approval of the war among the military than among the entire American population at the time (60 percent approval as opposed to 50 percent on average), that number was a quite a sharp drop from previous polls. Not only that, but the poll, according to the Military Times website
should not be read as representative of the military as a whole; the survey’s respondents are on average older, more experienced, more likely to be officers and more career-oriented than the military population. But the numbers are among the best measures of opinion in a difficult-to-survey population. The professional military seems to be lessening in its certainty about the wisdom of the Iraq intervention and the way it has been handled,” said Richard Kohn, a professor of political science at the University of North Carolina who studies civil-military relations. “This seems to be more and more in keeping with changes in public views, and that’s not surprising.”
This poll, it should be mentioned, also only includes the opinions of active duty soldiers, which means the opinion of nearly half the people who served in Iraq was simply discounted. So the Military Times is, at best, a wash.

As for the Pew Center, I e-mailed them, since I couldn't find the survey Kaplan was talking about. A nice young man from the Pew Center got back to me today and said, in no uncertain terms, that Kaplan was mistaken.
The only survey we have done that includes a sample of military participants is from our 2005 America’s Place in the World survey. This is not a survey of soldiers, but a survey of military leaders drawn from a Lexis-Nexis search of retired generals and admirals quoted in American news sources in the past year. Also included was a sample of outstanding officers selected to participate in the Council on Foreign Relations' Military Fellowship program since 2000. The full report is available here.
I actually wrote about this poll before and noted that the methodology was screwy enough, but even then only about half of the generals and admirals thought the war was a good idea and was making us safer.

The only organizations which have attempted to gather a truly representative sample of military opinions are Zogby and LeMoyne College. The most recent (by a few months) and accurate (MOE +/- 3.3 points) of the polls, the Zogby/LeMoyne poll found that nearly three-quarters of the troops in Iraq during the survey felt that the U.S. should leave the country within a year--at the latest.
The poll, conducted in conjunction with Le Moyne College’s Center for Peace and Global Studies, showed that 29% of the respondents, serving in various branches of the armed forces, said the U.S. should leave Iraq “immediately,” while another 22% said they should leave in the next six months. Another 21% said troops should be out between six and 12 months, while 23% said they should stay “as long as they are needed.”
The troops were actually ahead of the American public on this issue.

If there is a disconnect between the troops and the American public at large, it's due to the fact military members put more faith in their leaders than Americans at large. They seem to be less cynical than other Americans because, well, they are putting their lives in the hands of those leaders. So it's sad to read, in the Zogby poll, that of the soldiers interviewed last January and February,
85% said the U.S. mission is mainly “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks,” 77% said they also believe the main or a major reason for the war was “to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq.”
No polls have attempted to gather the views of the troops since the Zogby poll was released in February, but it took until September of this year for the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee to admit the truth the 9-11 Commission reported two years earlier: There was no "collaborative relationship" between Iraq and al Qaeda.

And what did Saddam have to do with the 9-11 attacks? Even Bush has finally had to admit he had "nothing" to do with them.

Kaplan can squawk all he wants about how his dinner guest--who, he gushes, "presided over entire cities, commanded thousands of soldiers"--thinks that the Iraq War is going swimmingly, but the troops who don't command thousands and control entire cities, the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are dragging their asses up and down the roads of that country are simply not buying it anymore. That Kaplan believes that the best way to shore up support for the war his magazine foolishly supported is to suggest a false separation between the beliefs of America and its troops is disgusting. That he makes up facts to support this falsehood is just stupid.


P.S. I'd like to add a note to Lexington Herald-Leader columnist Jenean Mcbrearty, author of the my new favorite crazy right winger writing, "Hippies still trying to ruin the country," which begins with the line: America won't win another war until the 1960s flower children are pushing up petunias. While I refer to myself as a "hippie," hon, I'm only 35. Duncan Black of Eschaton and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of DailyKos are roughly the same age.

We just keep comin', Jenean. We just keep comin'.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Malkin and Hewitt want to go to jail

This is hilarious. Bush renominates John Bolton to be ambassador to the UN--despite the fact he won't receive confirmation. There's talk that he may give him a second recess appointment, but the law says that, if he does, Bolton can't receive a paycheck. So the right wing bloggers say, "Hey gang! Let's put on a show!" Malkin:
The Democrats want John Bolton's scalp. This is a moment for conservatives to stand up to the Left's empty, vindictive obstructionism and support a strong voice for America's interests at the corrupted, soft-on-jihad offices of Turtle Bay...

If the White House were to proceed with a second recess appointment for Bolton, he would have to serve without pay. Claudia Rosett proposes a fund-raising drive to pay for Bolton's salary. Hugh Hewitt seconds that idea. Thirding it!
All I can say to that is please please please please doitdoitdoit.
Whoever receives any salary, or any contribution to or supplementation of salary, as compensation for his services as an officer or employee of the executive branch of the United States Government, of any independent agency of the United States, or of the District of Columbia, from any source other than the Government of the United States, except as may be contributed out of the treasury of any State, county, or municipality; or

Whoever, whether an individual, partnership, association, corporation, or other organization pays, makes any contribution to, or in any way supplements, the salary of any such officer or employee under circumstances which would make its receipt a violation of this subsection—

Shall be subject to the penalties set forth in section 216 of this title.
I'm no lawyer, but this means to me that the actions the wingers are planning would result in their arrest--along with Bolton's--and a term of 1-5 years in prison, along with a hefty fine.

Hell, the way I read it, they've already admitted to the beginnings of a conspiracy to violate the law.

Good job, right wing dumbasses. If you'd have been humbled by the election, my life would be sorely lacking for laughs. Do your time proudly and I'll be here to laugh at you when you get back.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Funnier than a Simpsons episode...

...is Floppy Aces' review of a Simpsons episode.
Gotta tell ya, the Simpsons doing this kind of episode on Veterans Day just makes me sick. While I love South Park and the fact that they will poke fun at every side, there is a time and a place. Something the Simpsons never learned I suppose. The day that we honor all the soldiers who have died for this country is not the day to air an episode in which they degenerate our heroes.
Hey, um, Floppy? The "Simpsons" will never learn anything. They are cartoon characters.

Also: "Degenerate"? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Greg Gutfeld's slowburn epiphany

Greg Gutfeld, the former softcore pornographer who edited Maxim UK and Stuff has now signed on as a new talking head at Fox News. (Funny, but he sounds just like Michelle Malkin or Ann Coulter to me. Don't they have enough of that sort of crap over there?)

In his latest commentary, he suggests that bloggers like me are just like the "evil people" like "the al Qaeda dude." Yeah, he's clearly an idiot who should be ignored, but the short bio he gives at the end is just too funny.
GUTFELD: Yeah, I used to edit Maxim UK...

FOX ANCHOR: You've gotten awfully political in the past few years.

GUTFELD: Well, after 9-11 it's hard not to. You know, I was at Stuff in New York when it happened and I was in London during the bombings. So, if your mindset doesn't change, then basically you're living in a hole.
So, let's get this straight. After 9-11, Greg Gutfeld's worldview was so altered that he gave up a job editing a boob-centric magazine for teenage boys in the United States to take a job editing a boob-centric magazine for teenage boys in the UK. Oh, how much he must have been rocked to the core.

In the end he pretty much made an ass out of himself in the process (see here and here) and lowered the magazine's circulation by 16%.

So, after screwing himself out of his editing job, it seems he's decided to join the ranks of hucksters who make a living by tossing red-meat-filled-screeds to the loyal conservazombies. Of course he'll start with Fox News, but he'll end up writing Gutted: Eviscerating the Left's 'Hate America' Mindset or some other bullshit. It'll sell like hotcakes.

Funny, but, despite all his recent spouting about the left, Gutfeld said just last year that Americans
don't have strong feelings about politicians...in general. We do detest however, emotional people who suddenly become "politically active." Michael Stipe. Green Day. Chris Martin. They require daily beatings.
I welcome Gutfeld's obviously sudden choice to become politically active.

I also volunteer to beat him first.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Limbaugh sez: Jim Talent's a wimp

Who else could the "self-discredited, drug-addled gasbag" be talking about in his rant today?
Now I'm liberated from having to constantly come in here every day and try to buck up a bunch of people who don't deserve it, to try to carry the water and make excuses for people who don't deserve it. I did not want to sit here and participate, willingly, in the victory of the libs, in the victory of the Democrat Party by sabotaging my own. But now with what has happened yesterday and today, it is an entirely liberating thing. If those in our party who are going to carry the day in the future -- both in Congress and the administration -- are going to choose a different path than what most of us believe, then that's liberating. I don't say this with any animosity about anybody, and I don't mean to make this too personal.

[snip]

Snerdley said, "Well give me an example of what you're talking about." Okay, let me give you an example. (I'm not going to mention any names.) I've been sticking my neck out to defend people who won't defend themselves and in the process of sticking my neck out, I get it cut off by other people who disavow what I'm doing and saying -- and yet if I didn't stick my neck out these people would have gotten swamped and defeated by far bigger margins than they did!
Rush Limbaugh thinks he's a conservative hero because he lied about a Parkinson's victim. He may be right.

That's partly why we have fewer "conservative heroes" to worry about today.

Did Tom DeLay show us the way?

Remember when the Supreme Court "ruled 7-2 that state legislators may draw new maps as often as they like"?

Should we start drawing new maps?
The wave of voter discontent that put Democrats in charge of the U.S. House of Representatives also hit state legislatures, where the party won control of more chambers than Republicans.
Discuss.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

This election calls for a victory tune!

Three things

Here's what this election means to me:
  • The failure of uber-conservatives like J.D. Hayworth and Rick Santorum to win re-election shows that America simply is not conservative. You can say this is all about the Iraq war, but this was clearly a rejection of Republican extremism as well. The South Dakota abortion ban vote is proof.

  • The Greens are going to have to understand that they are hurting their own cause. They should have learned that after 2000, but Webb's race should drive it home.

  • Bush has been warning people that Dems would rescind his tax cuts, but Americans looked at their checkbooks and saw that they really hadn't seen them in the first place. Instead, they saw a government crippled by incompetence and decided that good government might just be worth paying for.

Ohpleaseohpleaseohplease

Bill Bennett just said on CNN that we "will see a movement to draft Rick Santorum" to run for president in 2008.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Homophobia leads to overcompensation

Some self-hating, closeted gays, facing their own desires head-on, feel a sudden urge to prove their masculinity. Just ask Jonah Goldberg. While peeking at a penis, he got the sudden urge to kill.
Re: The Conservative Id [Jonah Goldberg]

Why, just the other day at my urinal stall, while straining to see whether Pat Buchanan really has it going on, I thought to myself: I'd like to kill Michael Moore. But then my conservative Ego stepped in and I though better of it because, Who will take care of my mother?

Posted at 8:09 AM
He says "conservative Ego," I say "Oedipal mommy love." Either way, he still wasn't threatened enough to put on a uniform.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Re-explained

Don't let Daniel Engber fool you. Of course there's a pro-Democrat bias in weekend polling. Few Republicans are at home because Saturday is "Gay Meth Night" at the Hypocrisy Hut.

Duh.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I hope he voted early

Tell me, O, Right Wing Blogosphere!

Are these ads "disgusting," "appalling," "horrible," "radical" and "outrageous"?
Back in July, the National Republican Congressional Committee held a press conference to denounce its Dem counterpart, the DCCC, for running a web ad showing such coffin imagery. Many other senior Republicans, including House majority leader John Boehner, condemned the ad, and it was a raging controversy for days until the DCCC pulled it. But guess what: Now there are not one, but two Republican ads which show an image of flag-draped coffins -- and one of them has been paid for by, yep, the NRCC.
I await your response in the form of cricket noises and tumbleweeds blowing past...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ann Coulter: Fiery felon

The woman Maxim said was "richly deserving of being set aflame" may be voting in Florida for the last time. We don't let felons vote down here.

Saluting the Generalist

The Armchair Generalist speaks. You should listen.
Now, for you military persons who are foolish enough to listen to the White House's disparaging remarks against Kerry, let's just have a quick quiz on military issues:
  • Who hyped up the WMD threat to make up a rationale to invade Iraq, and then promptly decided to pull out as quick as possible before the job was done? Who created the Office of Special Plans inside of DOD?

  • Who limited the military pay raise to 2.2% and reduced medical care benefits for veterans, including less funding for soldiers with head injuries?

  • Whose leadership pushing to take women out of combat zones in Iraq when there weren't men enough for all the critical roles and functions in the war?

  • Who pulled military forces and resources from Afghanistan and the hunt for Osama before that job was done? Who declared "Mission Accomplished" before the Iraq job was done?
The whole list is long and devastating to the Bushies. Go read it.

I write letters