Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Fresh Grave to Piss On! RIH, Bill Buckley.

If William F. Buckley is right about religion he's roasting/freezing in hell right now as befits a pompous, McCarthyite, segregationist, homophobic fan of the Generalissimo. This said he wasn't as bad as the present brand of "conservative," for whose ascendance he must be partly 'credited.'
I like this Crypt-Keeper picture of Bill; it reminds me of the adage (variously attibuted to Lincoln, Proust, Orwell etc) that in maturity people get "the face they deserve."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Free! No Cost or Obligation!

Between Alabama and Gitmo, we now have arrived at this: the President can imprison, "render," torture, even torture to death, anyone, even a high elected American official, without formal charges, or on blatantly phony charges if that seems politically more expedient, and Congress, the courts, the media are powerless to do anything about it. Land of the free, indeed.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Nacht und Nebel

Last night's 60 Minutes segment on the framing of Don Siegelman was surprisingly good, too buttoned-down, and they missed a lot of really outrageous story beats, but still some good reportage --very, very good, by network standards.

Only three to five people seemed to have watched it however. It goes to show, if it were properly scheduled America could easily begin exterminating its Jews, Moslems, Negroes or Democrats without a whisper of protest, even among the lefty bloggers.

This said, I must admit I was happy with most of the Academy's picks, with the mostly brief, restrained speeches, with Jon Stewart's hosting duties etc. Tilda Swinton was The Bomb. The best song definitely won. Note for any actor or actress: if you really, really, really want an Oscar, get yourself cast in a biopic about a singer.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

There Are Things You Can't Unsee

While waiting for her to return from the liquor store and set about corrupting my little niche of government, I was sitting around the Lobbyist's Hefneresque pleasuredome in NW DC, all beta-endorphined from a nice run in Rock Creek Park and flipping through the channels on her billboard-sized atomic flat-screen when I happened upon the kind of thing you can't unsee, no matter how much gin you chill: besmirching the airwaves for Crap Not News was Glenn (Loose Stool) Beck, who was earnestly sucking up to Jonah (the Projectionist) Goldberg. I watched for as long as I could bear it as Glenn waved around Jonah's book and then patted his hand as jowly Jonah complained about the bags of hate mail he's been getting, the slagging he's gotten from the mainstream critics (who all "miss the point"), and of course the vitriol from the "lefty bloggers" -- to few of whom have, in Jonah's opinion, read his cleverly titled tome, Liberals Are Mud People. Glenn squeezed out a few earnest There-theres, then let fly words to this effect, 'It's not like you're saying liberals are the people who murdered the Jews.' This immediately gave rise, in my perverse mind, to the question, "Why then did he put the jokey Hitler face under the title?" It also activated the clicker finger. But maybe that's just me.

It is possible to boycott everything advertised on CNN?

Friday, February 22, 2008

There's Rebuttals and ReBUTTals

It often happens when Republicans get all unctuous and umbrageous about being falsely accused and start attacking the messenger that the accusations -- after the echoing cable megaphones die down -- turn out to be exactly right. This time it didn't take long. It seems St. John McCain's campaign slung more than a little bullshit yesterday, trying desperately to rebut the New York Times story about his hand in the blonde cookie jar. Clearly he says one thing when under oath, and quite another when merely granstanding before the cameras with the Debubot's heat vision burning a hole in his neck. It seems Newsweek has uncovered a deposition in which McCain himself, under oath, flatly contradicts McCain the Straight Talker. Oops.

Says Newsweek:

Just hours after the Times's story was posted, the McCain campaign issued a point-by-point response that depicted the letters as routine correspondence handled by his staff—and insisted that McCain had never even spoken with anybody from Paxson or Alcalde & Fay about the matter. "No representative of Paxson or Alcalde & Fay personally asked Senator McCain to send a letter to the FCC," the campaign said in a statement e-mailed to reporters.

But that flat claim seems to be contradicted by an impeccable source: McCain himself. "I was contacted by Mr. Paxson on this issue," McCain said in the Sept. 25, 2002, deposition obtained by NEWSWEEK. "He wanted their approval very bad for purposes of his business. I believe that Mr. Paxson had a legitimate complaint."

While McCain said "I don't recall" if he ever directly spoke to the firm's lobbyist about the issue—an apparent reference to Iseman, though she is not named—"I'm sure I spoke to [Paxson]." McCain agreed that his letters on behalf of Paxson, a campaign contributor, could "possibly be an appearance of corruption"—even though McCain denied doing anything improper.

Now, is anybody else going to pull at this thread until the cheap coverup unravels?

Cindy McBeth

So, Saint John McCain gets called by the New York Times for letting a young blonde lobbyist cozy up to him and extract a number of favors for her client. It seems the senator's then staff, perhaps noting the eerie resemblance to his similarly blonde, similarly younger wife, thought there migth be some hanky-panky going on, and not wishing to see their gravy train take a detour into Gary Hartsville, they shooed her off. Now, maybe he wasn't boning her; maybe he was just getting into bed politically with her Christofascist client Paxson -- maybe he was doing both. In any case, the sex part will be hard to prove or disprove now.
But the big media outlets have really put on the GOP kneepads to bring down a story that threatened to rear its ugly head -- so to speak. Even The News Hour led off with McCain's lengthy and carefully crafted statement, the announcer announcing that St. John had "rebutted" the story. Of course his rebuttal sounded mighty weasely on the no-favors-for-lobbyists score, and like a non-denial on the schtupping issue. But elsewhere in the Dumbosphere the story seems to be about how suspicious the timing of the story is, how thin, how nefarious the librul-slanting New York Times is. This would be the Librul New York Times that sat on the illegal wiretapping story for a year, until after the Presidential election, at Karl Rove's request. And that megaphoned the Bushie's call for the Iraq war faithfully. (Thanks again Judy Miller!)
We should maybe agree that the employers of William Kristol run a much shittier paper than they used to, and perhaps also that the problem with this sort of story is much like the use of bootleg antibiotics on your super-VD or your resistant TB -- it just makles the affliction more resistant. You need the maximum full course of broad-spectrum pesticides to finally take out a Republicker these days. Preferably with boy-fucking video, cancelled checks to the pertinent Scoutmaster, bullet-proiof indictment and actual plea-bargain, et cetera, otherwise people like Jim Lehrer will give them a pass. Just ask Larry Craig.

But speaking of slutting around, let us not forget that during the time when St. John was being schmoozed up by and doing favors for said blonde lobbyist and her Christofascist client, he was also trying to get Bill Clinton impeached for besmirching the Dress Blues of the Nation. And speaking of journalists' GOP kneepads how about this lovely headlince from the Washington Post Style section : Cindy McCain: A Quiet Strength -- This Time Around, The Candidate's Wife Is Confidently Reserved.

The story below the headline's exercise in analingus is a bit snarkier, perhaps because the Brownshirts favored by the Post these days as editors can't really grasp subtlety. In it we learn a nice bit about Cindy. For instance, she and McCain hooked up when he was still married, although "according to some accounts separated" ( read: coughbullshit!cough); she was 24 and he was 42 but they "both lied" about their ages so it was all mathematically, morally, anatomically and romantically complimentary. And it was understandable, seeing as he she was a "former rodeo queen" and the daughter of a rich beer distributor, and that John had been locked away for a long time. What it wasn't -- given that Mccain was running around, as was his habit then, on the woman who'd waited for him all those years while he was in prison camp -- is classy or honorable. Not very honorable either is the way Cindy reportedly lied to St. John about her taste for prescription pain-killers and her tendency to steal those painkiller by the jar -- the very mention of which seems to be a "smear". (Just ask Rush Limbaugh.) But worse, spooky even, is what the last line of the story says about the Fembot by St. John's side, "I keep a long list, you know, I have a grudge list," McCain said at the spouses' forum. Then she spoke of her husband. "He's taught me to leave my grudge list behind and give forgiveness."

Great, just what we need: another crazy-eyed, overmedicated Stepford Fury, a rodeo queen with all the cosmopolitan, cultured flair of a Holiday Inn or a regional airport, as First Lady. Cindy McBeth! Does anyone else find her very pictures frightening -- or is it just me? If I were Ms. Iseman, I'd be afraid, very afraid of a McCain Presidency.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Bit of Balance

A certain very cute, Democrat-inclined lobbyist called me up, doubtless ordered to by George Soros, and merely noted in passing that there was a lot of cheesecake on the blog this month. Usually this type of word to the wise, means you'll be taken away to the Ministry of Love soon, where in that Orwellian way they'll deliver the "love" with bamboo shoots, blow-torches, waterboards, and electrodes and alligator clips, etc. Or even DemocRATS. That's just the way these libruls play. So in atonement, and not, of course illustrating yet again how Conservatism Is A Closeted Cult of Masculinity, I offer the above beefcake photo -- via our conservative brethren, and Digby, of course.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Crap I Learned in High School

With bitter irony I remember all the self-congratulatory bullshit we were taught in government class and "history" about checks and balances, civil rights, government by the people et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam. What a happy little myth all that was, a fantasy sent aloft for the Baby Boomers on the after dinner vapors of safety, isolation and prosperity. Come the first little taste of reality, 9/11, we dropped all that democracy nonsense like a prom dress, handing our destiny over to the rentacops of Blackwater et al. Having arranged immunity for his torturers with the Military Commisions Act, Bush is now arranging immunity for his wiretappers, very few in Congress having paid any attention to "the uphold and defend the Constitution" part of their oaths.

Then again, why should they, when great legal minds like Antonin Scalia bring the moral maturity of a Cub Scout, along with the Jack Bauer Gambit to the international discourse, who can expect a lowly, graft-prone Senator to make a principled stand?

There's no real reason for hope, it seems. Still, with Obama getting about twice the votes Hillary is, and god knows how many more than McCain is, you would think the Vichycrats would pick up on the electorate's hunger for change.
Let's hope that Donna Edwards' victory over the Vichycrat incumbent Wynn is just the first of many. Throw them all out, and spit on them as they leave.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mark This Dark Day

It's freezing here in Washington, and about to piss freezing rain, followed by frigid rain. At least the elements are in sinking sync. Jay Rockefeller, Harry Reid and the unanimous phalanx of goosestepping Brownshirts are about to give the telecoms and the Bushites full immunity for illegally wiretapping Americans. And will our illustrious Democratic candidates note this, oppose it, show any leadership on it? Don't bet the rent. There just seems to be no bottom to it.
But perhaps we should mark this day anyway on our calendars; it might just be the day all hope was lost for democracy in America.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Crystal Meth Ballgazing

Has there ever been a gang of people more nauseatingly despicable that today's Republicans, real heirs in spirit to the Third Reich? After his campaign imploded due to his obvious plasticity, dishonesty and sociopathology, Mitt managed to sociopathically rationalize his own failure away: “If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.”

That seems just about as low as you can get, but I predict McCain and his henchmen will sink lower, much lower.

A friend of mine expressed dismay over somebody's idea that the Republicans were now favored to win the Presidency, to which I replied: The smart money's on Harlem, as Tom Waits says, and also the Repuritans, because the system is rigged several different ways. In the first place the commercial media will ignore Republicans' crimes as much as possible, and amplify their spin as much as possible, harshing on the Democrats with the vengeful glee of PMSing Heathers ; in the second place, having thus kept it "close," the commercial media will ignore election irregularities and amplify brownshirt spin so as to ensure another Florida style "victory."

Friday, February 08, 2008

Sic transit gloria


She’s traded in her dignity
for something really cheap,
for counterfeit security,
yet still she thinks she’s free.
Ashamed for Lady Liberty
who’s whored out to these thieves,
I join the Muse of History
who hangs her head and grieves.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Not conservative, fascist.

In Sunday’s Washington PostBook World,” UCLA’s Michael Mann reviews Jonah Goldberg’s excremental Liberal Fascism, and he does a good, if unenviable job. But he errs badly in his third sentence asserting that, “Hurling the calumny ‘fascist!’ at American conservatives is not fair.” In this he echoes Ezra Klein’s recent assertion, in his otherwise cogent American Prospect response to Goldberg, that “The contemporary right is not fascist.” Both men are dead wrong. It may not be fair to call today’s “conservatives” conservative, but it is certainly fair to call them fascist.

Perhaps Professor Mann has in mind some stern, learned, patrician yet principled mentor of long ago in mind as conservative paradigm, some curmudgeonly Professor Kingsfield for whom reason was man’s crowning glory, for whom the aggregate, hard-won wisdom of the ages should restrain men from wrong or rash actions. But “conservative” does not mean this anymore (especially to those who call themselves conservative), just as gay doesn’t mean simply what it once did. Self-described “conservatives” today may well choose that label partly because of its antique laudable connotations; they plainly like to think of themselves as hard-minded and skeptical, especially of utopian experiment. But they are not conservative in any meaningful sense. Today’s conservatism, as lavishly espoused and rewarded on Fox and Clear Channel, as distilled by the mandatory “balancers” of the major TV networks and major editorial pages, is no more like conservatism of fifty years ago than National Socialism was like Socialism.

The conservative base, the Fox-fan, the Dittohead, the Bushite, the Chritianist and the Minuteman care nothing for the carefully preserved lessons of history, science, and literature, nothing for reason and evidence; they’re contemptuous of those who do care for these. They sweep study aside for dogma, for various preposterous mythologies that assuage their anxieties, bolster their prejudices, and legitimize their predations. Survey the actual expressions of the ubiquitous multibillion-dollar conservative propaganda mill, listen to their echo and resonance among the right-wing citizens, parse the coded stump speech of the candidate appealing for those citizens’ support, and you will find an amazingly consistent set of rather radical, counterfactual beliefs.

The conservatives of today believe in an imagined past when American was harmonious, safe, contented, chaste, because it was predominantly white, Christian and straight, (rather like Mayberry) and that it should be so “again.” Towards that end, they believe the state should promote prayer and police our private morality, our entertainments, our sexuality, and our use of mood altering drugs. They believe that if one refrains from using bigoted epithets in public, one is morally free to demand policies that punish people by class or race. They believe (with a heel-clicking “Credo!”) in the unicorn-myth of a “free market,” the wisdom of which makes constant growth a panacea rather than, as Edward Abbey had it, the “ideology of the cancer cell.” They believe, thus, in something for nothing; that, for instance, we can spree through a billion years’ accumulation of fossil energy in two centuries with negligible effect. They believe (despite abundant evidence to the contrary) that lowering taxes raises government revenue – through that miracle of perpetual growth.

They believe fervently that the Bill of Rights makes inalienable the gun with which they will someday defend themselves from dusky housebreakers. They believe in laissez-faire, unless the markets are tanking, in which case they believe it our collective duty to provide billions in corporate welfare. They believe that the social safety net is socialist redistribution (“handouts”) but that no-bid defense contracts are The Price of Freedom. They believe, in the face of all evidence, that voter fraud by black and brown people is rampant, but that Jim Crow suppression of the vote is a Conspiracy Theory. They believe (although not usually to the point of serving) in trillion-dollar experiments in nation-building through blitzkrieg, that pre-emptive war leads to peace, that freedom can be compelled with guns, bombs, prisons, torture chambers, and warrantless surveillance. They believe the commander in chief is above the law (if “conservative”); that the happiest state is run by a stern yet gentle despot, like Sheriff Andy or Ron Reagan. They believe, above all (for cruelty is the movement’s libido), in draconian punishment of our “enemies” and all lawbreakers (except “conservatives” like Scooter), in maximum punishment with as little troublesomem jurisprudence as possible – and no jurisprudence whatsoever in the case of black, brown, or Moslem foreigners. Think here of the recent GOP Presidential debate wherein all the white men in suits vied to express the most enthusiasm for bigger Guantanamos in their hypothetical administration. In short, today’s “conservative” is a zealot in the Leader’s personality cult, a racist, sadist, police-statist – in essence, in effect, in fact, a fascist, if not a Fascist. He’s just the sort of person who, like Jonah Goldberg, thinks this is good national policy: "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business."

The real purpose of Goldberg’s book is not to convince anybody that the liberals are really fascist; it is to get the rest of us to concede that the right wingers are not. The more successful they are in wringing this softheaded concession, the better their fascist projects can proceed. It is vital that we call them on this lie.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

A Football Metaphor

It's now amazingly clear that most Americans are amazingly stupid. Most people of all sorts probably are as well, but in America we seem to have set up a perverse environment which has bred or conditioned a higher rate of stupidity into folks, rather like the rate of obesity. Thus Americans don't seem to understand that the GOP, having operated since the Reagan Era (itself a sign of gross stupidity on the part of the electorate) without any really meaningful oversight -- in that no real penalties have been paid for high crimes and misdemeanors -- has devolved totally into a loose association of criminals, lunatics, and the criminally insane. It is a syndicate for organized crime, and the very people who are supposed to be prosecuting the crimes, are instead commiting them.

American political affiliation takes place, for the most part, in the same tribal-identity regions of the brain where sports fandom arises. To say 'I am a Republican,' is very much like saying 'I am a Cowboys fan'; it has the same relationship to evidence, reasoning and principle. Perhaps if some cagey pundit or politician were to use a really simple football metaphor to describe our political situation maybe it would resonate among the factory chickens of the electorate. So, maybe it's kinda like this:

Suppose one were to have a football game in which all or most of the referees were for various reasons privately very partisan for the home team. Being very partisan they tended to give that side the benefit of the doubt in most or all situations, and so hardly ever called a penalty on the home team, while calling penalties on the visitors whenever it seemed even remotely appropriate. The refs' team would of course notice this, and they would naturally tend to commit more and more flagrant, egregious fouls. The contest would soon go their way, regardless of the sides' relative merits. The broadcasting network, for reasons of its own (most having to do with access to the profitable product) would minimize the appearance of the refs' partisanship, and do all they could to suggest the contest was proceeding fairly and closely. Only the folks in the stands would get a sense of how crooked, ugly and lopsided it had been all along -- and most of them, being for the home team, wouldn't really care that it hadn't been a contest, a game. They just care about a victory for their side. Integrity of the game, that's just...quaint.

Winning is everything says Vince Lombardi, the Patron Saint of the GOP. And hey, we "won" in Iraq, right?

Simple Analogy Number 2
Republicans : Democrats :: Globetrotters : Washington Generals

Friday, February 01, 2008

That's MISTER Tinfoil Hat, Bub

It should be completely obvious, undeniable even, that the Bushites will use any tool of government to expand their power and their impunity in its exercise, so how can we even doubt that the national security apparatus has been used against their political adversaries? And why isn't the telecom immunity question framed in those terms? It's not a question of overzealous defense, it's a matter of criminal domestic wiretapping. It isn't just Joe Sixpack, who thinks he has nothing to hide being spied upon, it's Democratic politicians, contributors, attorneys. Why doesn't Harry Reid understand this?