Monday, January 30, 2006

What are the odds? Part Deux

Glenn Greenwald has his own (perhaps more cogent and relevant) take on my "what are the odds?" post from a while back.

Putting the terrorist threat into perspective

An eye-opening contrast from Glenn's article:
The total number of Americans killed by Islamic terrorists in the last 5 years -- or 10 years -- or 20 years -- or ever -- is roughly 3,500, the same number of deaths by suicide which occur in this country every month. This is the overarching threat around which we are constructing our entire foreign policy, changing the basic principles of our government, and fundamentally altering both our behavior in the world and the way in which we are perceived.

Where's the difference?

"Bin Laden was a self-mythologized figure of no historic standing until George W. Bush designated him America's equal by defining 9/11 as an act of war to be met with war, instead of a crime to be met with criminal justice."

-James Carroll, The Boston Globe, Jan. 30, 2006
This quote got me thinking again about being "at war," and the President being a "war President." The bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City was an act of terrorism carried out by a small group of people in order to effect political change. So were the attacks of 9/11. Why was one an act of war, and the other not?

Exercising my infamous hyperbole, why didn't we bomb wherever we thought McVeigh's associates could be hiding? Why didn't we round up all their families and associates, and imprison them without representation at secret sites until they divulged all they knew? Why wasn't the OKC bombing the beginning of the "War on Anti-Government Extremism"? This of course would result in the routing and killing of hundreds of militia members across the nation. After all, their anti-government views are an imminent danger to the society.

Why didn't this happen? Where's the difference?

UPDATE: More thought-provoking stuff on war here and here at Digby's place. One snippet:
The fevered one-handed war blogging and the endless evocations of pre-9/11 and post 9/11 thinking reminds me of nothing so much as people who are hooked on a stimulating drug.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Conservative humor update

"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee," [Ann] Coulter said. "That's just a joke, for you in the media."
And when Bill O'Reilly called for terrorists to bomb San Francisco, that was a joke too. I guess conservatives can say whatever insane, vile things they want, as long as they chuckle with that creepy GWB chuckle and say, "Just a joke, folks. When I said I wanted you dead, hey, that was just a joke! Don't you have a sense of humor, you fascist?"

The word "fuckers" is losing its effectiveness when describing these people, sort of like an antibiotic that's been overwhelmed by a new strain of ebola. I need a new word.

Friday, January 27, 2006

State of the Union: Preview

Hard work.


Thank you and good night.

Bush cultists' latest line

Troops don't need all that stinkin' armor! It's too heavy! Weighs ya down. (Those armored Humvees are probably a waste as well. Maybe we could use Ford Escorts? A real warrior doesn't need a metal cage to protect him, am I right?)

It's official. There is no depth to which Bush blowjobbers like Dean Esmay will not sink to defend the immoral, criminal policies of this administration. My "ritual puppy slaughter" and August Pollack's "Dead Kitten Survey" don't go far enough.

As Joey Tribbiani said, "You are so over the line that you can't even see the line. The line is a dot to you."

UPDATE: My father didn't want to wear his seat belt, because it was uncomfortable across his giant belly. Therefore, we should get rid of all seat belts, right? That's the cultists' "logic" on this. Of course, it's not really logic. It's just craven talking points designed to exonerate Bush and Rumsfeld from any responsibility in how they run the war they started. Fuckers.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Men feared witches and burnt women

Al Gore. Wow. Read the whole thing.

I hope Al Gore runs for President. And I hope he kicks Hillary's ass.

What are the odds?

Since 9/11, Americans have been gripped with an almost all-consuming fear of terrorism. I'm convinced that this is the reason so many people are willing to let their government do virtually anything, as long as it's ostensibly done in the name of Fighting Terrorists.

(To any pro-Bush people who might be reading this, my question is, how far is too far? What could the government do that would be too extreme for you? As a society right now we seem basically comfortable with torture, imprisonment without representation, curtailing press freedoms, and warrantless spying on American citizens. What exactly is left?)

The thing is, your chances of getting killed by a terrorist on American soil are almost laughably small. You're 1,300 times more likely to die at the hands of a cigarette than a terrorist. 1,300.

But let's take a more realistic example. You're 85 times more likely to die in an auto accident in this country than be killed by a terrorist. But would you support the President severely curtailing your rights, in order to possibly reduce the threat of auto accidents? He could make everyone take a road test every year. He could require auto makers to encase their vehicles in bubble wrap. The punishment for a moving violation would be 10 years in Guantanamo. Also, only one car per household. After all, fewer cars, fewer accidents. Heavy drinkers, turned in by neighbors, could be spied on to make sure they wouldn't get behind the wheel. Drunk driving gets the death penalty.

Sound OK? I mean, why doesn't the President campaign on his ability to save us from auto accidents? They are orders of magnitude more of a threat to the safety and security of you and your family than getting gassed or nuked or otherwise blown up by dusky people with strange religions.

We know this intellectually. But in the Hindbrain Administration, thinking takes a backseat. That's where we get in trouble.

HOMER: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.
LISA: That's specious reasoning, Dad.
HOMER: Thank you, dear.
LISA: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
HOMER: Oh, how does it work?
LISA: It doesn't work.
HOMER: Uh-huh.
LISA: It's just a stupid rock.
HOMER: Uh-huh.
LISA: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
[Homer thinks of this, then pulls out some money]
HOMER: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.
It's time we stop shopping for rocks.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Methinks they doth protest...

It always gives me a chuckle when the cave dwellers at Free Republic start talking about pop culture. Their idea of pop culture begins and ends with "Bonanza," so it's always funny to see them rage against the dying of the light.

Particularly funny are the posts every year about the Oscars, where they pile on and spend pages and pages to shout how Hollywood is just a bunch of perverted Commie fags and of course, they wouldn't watch the Oscars anyway if someone pried open their eyelids like in "Clockwork Orange." On and on they go, each trying to outdo the previous exhortation of hatred toward movies and TV in this debauched age. They rage and rage until they are hoarse, and presumably need to chill out in front of a 3 a.m. showing of "Naughty Cheerleaders 12" on the Spice Channel.

It's especially funny this year, because the movie they all fear more than a terrorist attack, "Brokeback Mountain," where two men kiss (ack!), is a serious contender. One of the earlier Brokeback/Oscar threads got 345 (!) comments.

Could we be...ahem.....repressing anything at all? Anything? No? OK. Well, wrestling is on in a few minutes. You like wrestling, right?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Bush lied!

Boy, it feels good to get that out of my system. As a card-carrying member of the America-hating, flag-burning, blood-on-my-hands Commie left, I have always thought that Bush Lied! (tm), but I've been too scared to say so. True patriots like Dean Esmay have cowed me into not revealing my real evil agenda to the world at large. (He's worked his magic on so many other lefty sites that for every mention of Bush lied! on a liberal site, that phrase appears approximately 45,000 times on conservative sites.) But no more! I will proudly proclaim now that Bush Lied! People Died!


See the thing is, as people like the execrable Dean Esmay are so fond of pointing out, a lie is a difficult thing to prove, especially in court. I can't look into George W. Bush's mind (not that I would want to) and figure out what he knew and what he didn't know. My problem has always been, he didn't *care* whether what he said was a lie or not. And I consider that to be equal to or worse than an actual literal prove-it-in-court falsehood, especially when it comes to the Leader of the Free World. His people had a plan, and they were going to do whatever it took to make that into reality.

Mounds of real evidence show that Bush's gang wanted to invade Iraq long before 9/11, and before Bush was even elected. Mounds of real evidence from both inside and outside the administration shows that they minimized or ignored evidence that didn't support their position, and hopped up anything, no matter how trivial or possibly false, that might do the opposite. (Colin Powell and the fake anthrax at the U.N.? Aluminum tubes? Unmanned drones? Anyone? Bueller?)

This is eminently acceptable behavior for, say, a defense lawyer. His job is to convince a jury that his client is innocent, and whether his client did the crime or not is immaterial. In our system of justice (at least for now) everyone deserves the best defense they can get. It's up to the jury to decide the fate of the accused.

This is not acceptable behavior for the Leader of the Free World. It just isn't. But that position is perhaps a little too nuanced for a slogan; a little too logical for the screaming harridans of the Right. Let a thousand terrorism experts proclaim that the administration "fixed intelligence around the policy," and that the war has made us less safe, not more. It's all just elitist America-hating to Esmay and Coulter and Hannity.

And the world rolls on. For now.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Conservative logic

1991: Anita Hill is a bitch. Therefore, Clarence Thomas should be confirmed to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

2006: Ted Kennedy made Sam Alito's wife cry. Therefore, Alito should be confirmed to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

It doesn't take Nostradamus to predict that the second will come true, just as the first did.

We are a bunch of stupid, stupid little bitches in this country. And we deserve everything that's coming to us.

Historical hypothesis

Monica Lewinsky changed the world more profoundly than Anne Boleyn ever did.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The things conservatives don't like about Bush

  1. He lets too many brown people into the country.
  2. He wanted to put someone on the Supreme Court who might not have wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade.
  3. There is no Number 3.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Unless you're guilty, you have nothing to worry about

I am continually amazed (see comments on the "bathroom" post below) at the American public's ability to smile while they say, "The President can do whatever he wants, as long as he says it will keep me safe. I don't need to know anything about it - in fact, it's better if I don't know. I trust him completely with all my freedoms." I've said many times since that date that we went collectively insane as a society on 9/11/01, and it may take generations for us to come out of it. (Even Sybil listened to her therapist.)

So it has struck me in the last few months how conservative blogger John Cole has begun to question, on many fronts, the Bush Administration's War on an Abstract Concept. Here's what he said to the latest news that Homeland Security (a creepy name if there ever was one) may be reading your mail:

Once again, another government practice that is news to me. And, of course, I will be told that the government has long had the authority to do this, that it is necessary to keep me ‘safe,’ and that I really shouldn’t worry about it- just like torture and the Patriot Act, this is vital to our security.

At what point will these people have all the damned tools they need to fight terrorism?

Preach it, brother.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Bathroom non-humor

All you Bush apologists may have absolutely no problem that the President wipes his ass with the Constitution. You may even be there in the bathroom to hand it to him - gladly.

But aren't you the least bit concerned about the contents of the Presidential bathroom when it's occupied by, say, Hillary Clinton?

The pendulum swings.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Hillary Clinton inaugural speech, January 2009 (excerpt)

"...and I would like to thank my predecessor, George W. Bush, for establishing once and for all that in America, the President *is* the state. In these uncertain times, our great nation needs a benevolent leader who knows what is best for all her citizens. I want to assure the American people here and now that I will be using my absolute power only for good."

Right wing self-delusion quote of the week

"If I believed in burning books, I'd have a perfect prospect for the bonfire!"
-Rhianna, frequent commenter at Rosemary Esmay's "Queen of All Evil" site
It reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from the actually-evil Connie du Toit (no longer blogging, apparently): "I would never read Hillary Clinton's book, because I am 100 percent certain it is full of lies."

Fucking "Silent Night"

Watching Bill O'Reilly on David Letterman last night was, to say the least, a bittersweet experience. Each made sort of a fool of himself, but each also did just well enough that partisans on both sides predictably declared their guy the winner of the skirmish. Ho hum.

I was quite disappointed, though, that Dave didn't debunk Bill when Bill pulled out the fully discredited story about the "Silent Night" lyrics at a school in Dodgeville. Dave, that could have started the segment out with a slam-dunk. Try preparing for interviews next time, OK?

But mainly, I have a message for Bill. Hey Bill: if I want to change the lyrics to fucking "Silent Night," or fucking "Good King Wenceslas," or whatever, I'm going to fucking do it. If I want to have an "Atheist Holiday Solstice Pageant" like on South Park, where the cute moppets run around in grey jumpsuits holding up cardboard face masks of Noam Chomsky wearing a Santa hat, I'm going to fucking do it.

(now there's an idea!)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


People keep writing amazing stuff, while my brain slumbers (hopefully not for much longer). But in the meantime, I have to repost this comment from Balloon Juice on the domestic spying scandal:
Bush now stands in contempt of the Constitution, both in deed and declared intent. That is the astonishing thing—he does not even try to hide his villainy. He has declared himself an enemy of the constitution. This means that we all now have an affirmative moral obligation to see to it that he is removed. At least those of us who have sworn similar oaths (lawyers, other public officials) have that obligation, ordinary citizens need to examine their consciences to see if they prefer a man who claims to be a benevolent monarch to their own freedom.
The general populace of America has already made that choice, more than once. And they chose the monarch.

UPDATE: More on the Imperial Presidency in this Salon article.