Thursday, June 29, 2006

Why can't they give us liberals who are easier to attack?

Over at Rosemary Esmay's site is a fascinating "debate" about how, apparently, John Kerry, Cindy Sheehan, Max Cleland, the "Jersey Girls" and a host of other liberal standard-bearers (!) were "given a pass" and made untouchable by their (veteran/victim) status. Of course, that argument is ludicrous. But in a world where George W. Bush is a cowboy and Bill O'Reilly is a populist, nothing's impossible.

This side of the looking glass is a scary place. Send me back, please.

I love words

Word of the day: supercilious

Was Rush Limbaugh so supercilious that he didn't think that as a man on probation for doctor-shopping Oxycontin, his bags wouldn't be searched by customs on his return from sex tourism hotspot the Dominican Republic?

Answer: Yes.

On his radio show Tuesday, Limbaugh said, "I had a great time in the Dominican Republic. Wish I could tell you about it."

Ick. No. Please.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Free press = Treason

From Glenn Greenwald again:
For anyone who is accusing the Times of "treason," or claiming that they harmed national security, what is the answer to this question:
What, specifically, would a terrorist have been willing to do on June 22 [the day before the banking story was published] that he would not do on June 23 as a result of the Times' article?
The same question has been repeatedly asked, but never answered, with regard to the "treasonous" Times disclosure of the warrantless eavesdropping program:
What, specifically, would a terrorist have been willing to do on December 15 [the day before the NSA story was published] that he would not do on December 16 as a result of the Times article?
Prior to the "treasonous" Times articles, The Terrorists already knew that we were eavesdropping on their international calls and monitoring their banking transactions -- because that information was previously, and repeatedly, put into the public domain, often by the Bush administration and President Bush himself. What the Times revealed is the lack of oversight and checks on these intelligence-gathering activities, not the existence of the activities themselves, which were already well known.

Oh, and a message to Brit Hume (from me, not Glenn): Go fuck yourself.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


My good friend Jason recently convinced me to take another look at Terry Gilliam's dystopian movie "Brazil." I saw it once in college, and it left me feeling so depressed and hopeless that I vowed never to see it again. But it's important to face up to your demons, so I gave it another try.

This isn't a movie review site, so I'll just say that it was just as depressing and hopeless as I'd remembered, but it may have been blunted a bit this time by just how insane things are now in the real world. Terrorism is only one of Gilliam's targets in the movie, but whatever he trains his lens on gets a devastating blow.
Jill: Doesn't it bother you the sort of things you do at Information Retrieval?
Sam: What? I suppose you'd rather have terrorists?
Jill: How many terrorists have you met, Sam? Actual terrorists?
Sam (dumbfounded): Actual terrorists?
Jill: Yeah.
Sam: Well, it's only my first day.
As prescient as the "you'd rather have terrorists" line is — it could be coming out of a host of mouths: Coulter, Hannity, Malkin et al. — the biggest OMG moment for me came when the Dick-Cheney-like Helpmann is being interviewed on TV at the beginning of the film:
Helpmann: We're fielding all their strokes, running a lot of them out, and pretty consistently knocking them for six. I'd say they're nearly out of the game.
Interviewer: How do you account for the fact that the bombing campaign has been going on for thirteen years?
Helpmann: Beginners' luck.

Humor break

"I for one welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves."

-Kent Brockman, "Deep Space Homer," The Simpsons

Tipping point

Glenn Greenwald, outdoing himself yet again, has a fantastic rundown on the "New York Times is a traitor" story currently raging across the airwaves. I certainly couldn't do better.

The Bush Administration now has the power to monitor your bank records and phone calls. They can designate you an illegal combattant and imprison you indefinitely without charges, and without access to counsel. While in custody, you can be tortured for information you may or may not have. (And by "you" I don't mean some abstract person. I mean YOU.) They can bypass the federal court system whenever they determine it's necessary. Now, they are seriously flirting with imprisoning journalists who attempt to expose the adminstration's power grabs.
The clear rationale underlying the arguments of Bush supporters needs to be highlighted. They believe that the Bush administration ought to be allowed to act in complete secrecy, with no oversight of any kind. George Bush is Good and the administration wants nothing other than to stop The Terrorists from killing us. There is no need for oversight over what they are doing because we can trust our political officials to do good on their own. We don't need any courts or any Congress or any media serving as a "watchdog" over the Bush administration. There is no reason to distrust what they do. We should -- and must -- let them act in total secrecy for our own good, for our protection. And anyone who prevents them from acting in total secrecy is not merely an enemy of the Bush administration, but of the United States, i.e., is a traitor.
The defining ethos of our country is a distrust of government power -- or at least it always used to be. The entirety of the Constitution is devoted to imposing safeguards against government abuses because our country was founded upon the principle that we do not place blind faith in political officials to act properly. But the argument being peddled now is that we can place blind trust in the Bush administration and we need not worry ourselves about anything. At the very least, such a dramatic reversal of how we think about our government ought to be the subject of debate.
I think it's time to pick a side. And if you pick the administration's side, I think you ought to be able to answer a simple question: what more are you willing to give up in the name of fighting terrorism? Where is the line? Because up to now, the President himself has been able to define that ever-shifting line for all of us.

Pick a side.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Now there's an idea

Don Goldwater, candidate for Arizona governor and nephew of Barry Goldwater, put forth his plan last week to put undocumented Mexicans into forced labor camps to build - wait for it - the giant wall between Mexico and the U.S.

Sure, John McCain objected. But I wonder what Peter King and Tom Tancredo think of this idea. I have a feeling I know what Michelle Malkin might think.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Staring into the abyss

My friend John M. used to joke with me about the number of times I linked to Salon stories on my old site. Well today I read a beautifully-written review of Ron Suskind's new book, "The One Percent Doctrine," by Gary Kamiya. And I just have to link to it.

My honest assessment is that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld (at least) should be not only removed from office, but imprisoned. The damage they've done to American society, goverment and culture is nearly incalculable, and will take at least a generation to repair, if it can be done at all.

Meanwhile, we sleep.

The hits just keep on comin'

A group of House Republicans today successfully blocked (for now) the renewal of the Voting Rights Act.

Seriously. The fucking Voting Rights Act.

Still think there's no difference between Democrats and Republicans?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Let's get this thing over with

I've had a major change of heart recently. I now enthusiastically support every far-right-wing social program. I think it's time we really gave these things a shot:
  • No abortions, ever. Both mother and doctor will be prosecuted for murder. If it's murder, it's murder.
  • A massive law enforcement ramp-up in order to forcibly eject every illegal alien currently on American soil. Build a giant death wall along every foot of the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Death penalty for all murderers and sex offenders, after a single "trial." No appeals. All executions public, and televised.
  • Gay people barred by Constitutional Amendment from marriage, adopting or raising children, teaching in schools, and military service of any kind. Sodomy laws re-introduced and zealously enforced. Further measures as needed.
  • Divorce and adultery both illegal, with harsh sentences in all cases, no exceptions.
  • Dismantle both the Department of Education and the entire U.S. public education system. All school taxes are abolished.
  • Unions outlawed. Every state to follow "at-will" labor practices in all industries.
  • No more White House press conferences. If the President wants to say something to us, he'll go on TV and do it.
  • Homeland Security will be in charge of stopping speech in any form judged "anti-American."
  • The Ten Commandments, in either sculptural or written form, posted in every courthouse and public building. (Obviously, religion in school is now a non-issue.)
I'm sure I'm forgetting some stuff - if I am, let me know in the comments and I'll add it. But I think the time for this stuff has come. Let's give it a whirl. It's what we want, right?

O'Reilly: Bring back Saddam

O’Reilly: Now to me, they’re not fighting it hard enough. See, if I’m president, I got probably another 50-60 thousand with orders to shoot on sight anybody violating curfews. Shoot them on sight. That’s me… President O’Reilly… Curfew in Ramadi, seven o’clock at night. You’re on the street? You’re dead. I shoot you right between the eyes. OK? That’s how I run that country. Just like Saddam ran it. [Emphasis mine. -TM] Saddam didn’t have explosions - he didn’t have bombers. Did he? Because if you got out of line, you’re dead.

-The Radio Factor, 6/19/06
Hey Bill, I've got the perfect guy for the job. I'm sure he's looking for work, too - if he can beat the rap.

UPDATE: Thanks to Utopia commenter Anonymous' favorite weblogger, the Rude Pundit, who reminded me that O'Reilly also said that the International Red Cross was to blame for the Guantanamo prisoners' suicides.

Not. making. this. up.

Oh, and pre-emptively: the minute The Rude Pundit gets a high-profile nightly TV show, or is featured on the cover of Time, we might begin to discuss how he "compares" to O'Reilly, Coulter, or the rogue's gallery of hate merchants infecting the right-wing airwaves these days. Until then, not so much.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Angry? You bet I'm angry.

Firedoglake, on the tortured soldiers in Iraq:

The Democrats are united on the most important aspect of all: we all want to change course on Iraq.

Cut and run?

Republicans want to sit and watch.

Feels good!

In the midst of the current "Great news from Iraq! Seriously!" period we're currently having, I came upon a Salon piece from 2004 that succinctly lays out how Bush's image was changed to make him into a "regular guy." There's a lot of good stuff there, and I encourage you to read the whole thing. This passage, though, stood out for me:
The most revealing moment came when he thought the cameras were off: Before he gave his national address announcing that the war had begun, a camera caught Bush pumping his fist, as though instead of initiating a war he had kicked a winning field goal or hit a home run. "Feels good," he said.
If that doesn't make you feel at least a little sick to your stomach, I fear for your soul.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Never forget


And also remember the rhetoric being thrown around today, and whose side you (and they) were on.

They're on the wrong side of history. Then and now. Too bad history takes so long.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Al Gore is an American hero

Just got back from a screening of Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth." And of all the compelling information presented, this one fact stood out: in 2004, Science Magazine did a study of 928 peer-reviewed articles on climate change published from 1993-2003. They also studied news articles on climate change from that same period.

Percent of peer-reviewed articles that concluded global warming was naturally occurring (not caused by human activity): 0 percent

Percent of news articles which presented global warming as disputed theory: 53 percent

Human beings have an extraordinary capacity to deny reality, if that reality conflicts with their deeply-held beliefs. (See: HIV denialists, who so desperately want to believe that AIDS is caused by drug use and icky gay sex, not a virus that anyone can get.) And the mass media has extraordinary power to shape reactions to that reality. Add to that the anti-intellectualism gripping American society today, and you have a recipe for disaster.

See this movie.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Historical import quote of the day

Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.

-Charles Mackay

Quote of the Week

"[Mr. President,] you were in Baghdad for five hours. And you weren't really even in Baghdad - you were in the Green Zone. That's like going to the Olive Garden and then saying you visited Italy."

-Jon Stewart

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Their brains hurt

It must be agony for hard-line conservatives to watch Fred Phelps and his "church" these days. The cognitive dissonance must be excruciating. After all, "God Hates Fags" = GOOD, but demonstrating at Iraq war soldiers' funerals = BAD. The pain! The pain!
"It is a shame when the overboard Homosexuals look less offensive than the so-called religious People."
"I bet some of Phelps gang are closet fags themselves."
"Unfortunately what I hate is the fact that I also think homosexuals are an abomination and these monkeys make people with real convictions Biblically grounded look like idiots."

Free Republic mouth-breathers

Monday, June 12, 2006

A dream is a wish your heart makes

As the "gays are icky and it's an election year" train rolls on, I wonder: is someone archiving all this anti-gay rhetoric on the ephemeral World Wide Web and elsewhere, so in 50 years we can use it, Strom-Thurmond-style, to remind people what bigoted assholes they were?

A suggestion

I would respectfully suggest that HIV deniers like Dean Esmay, who call people who believe in 20 years of science "fucking cowards," volunteer to have themselves and their entire families injected with HIV. If it's so harmless, as they smugly and recklessly assert, then they can become heroes for the cause. Imagine the accolades they will receive as they sail, drug- and gay-sex-free, healthfully into old age.

Seriously. Put up or shut up, bitches.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The last word

Writing about Ann Coulter in any form is stupid, since all she wants is publicity anyway. So I'll just close the whole topic with this "I wish I wrote that" comment from Balloon Juice on one of Coulter's "witches" who are "enjoying their husbands' deaths":
Having seen Kristen Breitweiser several times on television, I think she would be happy to debate anyone, anytime on any aspect of our pre-9/11 preparedness or what has happened in terms of homeland security since then. I don’t think anyone who supports the Bush Administration’s policies really wants that debate because she knows more about this subject than probably anyone else, including the 9/11 Commission. I don’t give her positions on anything more credence because her husband died, I give them credence because she really knows her shit.

These women did what I hope I would have done in their place. They could have gone on with their lives, but they decided that they would do everything they could to try to make sure this never happens to anyone else. I can’t think of a better way to honor their dead loved ones.

Godless, indeed

'Godless' author Coulter unknown at church she claims to attend

Love it love it love it.

I have to agree with a commenter on (I think) Balloon Juice who said, someday that girl's mouth is gonna write a check her butt can't cash.

Hell forecast: 27 below

When Bill O'Reilly thinks Ann Coulter has gone too far, clearly we are headed for the Apocalypse. Someone alert Demi Moore.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Personal attack of the week

"Ann Coulter reminds me of a crack whore I used to know. Except I felt sympathy for the crack whore. And the crack whore was a woman."

-ThinkProgress commenter Pope Ratzo

Snowboarding down the slippery slope

One of the old chestnuts trotted out during these even-numbered-year debates about letting gay people get married is the slippery slope argument: if we let gays get married, what's to stop polygamy, incest, bestiality? Hell, Mildred might want to marry her cat, or her favorite lamp, for that matter. Stop the madness now!

To me it's pretty simple: incest, bestiality, and for that matter the lamp, all fail the consent test. Underage people of any gender can't consent to a marriage, nor should they. Animals definitely can't consent. So there you go. Simple, right? It's not about what you or I consider perverted; it's whether both parties can consent to the relationship.

Which leads into polygamy. I believe that if all parties are adults and consent to the arrangement, I have no problem with it. Those who know better about these issues than I do say that much polygamy in this country involves coercion and/or underage girls, both of which would fail my consent test.

Finally, am I the only one who thinks Rick Santorum is just a little *too* preoccupied with "man-on-dog" sex?

I want to marry Jon Stewart, if he'll have me

Jon Stewart showed again last night that he can take apart any conservative pundit, if he wants to. Finally that pompous gasbag Bill Bennett gets the kind of media attention he deserves: scorn, wrapped up in equal parts humor and common sense.
Bennett: Look, it's a debate about whether you think marriage is between a man and a women.

Stewart: I disagree, I think it's a debate about whether you think gay people are part of the human condition or just a random fetish.
Of course, people like La Shawn Barber believe being gay *is* a random (and destructive) fetish, so there you go. Some people are unreachable. But I think there are a lot of people out there who would respond if the debate were put in Stewart's terms, instead of Bennett's.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

You can't make this stuff up, people

Turns out that Sgt. Peter Damon, suing Michael Moore for $85 million dollars for including his image in "Fahrenheit 9/11" because he says it makes him look anti-war, appeared in 2004 on the stage with Sen. Ted Kennedy as Kennedy gave a fiercely anti-war speech.


But wait. It gets better - much better. Damon now lives in a house built by the charity Homes for Our Troops. Homes for Our Troops is one of the charities to which Michael Moore donated profits from - wait for it - "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Monday, June 05, 2006

Gay marriage roundup

I have lots of thoughts about the whole "Bush endorses anti-gay-marriage amendment" crap. So let's just get them out of the way.

First, and perhaps most important, this has absolutely no chance of getting out of the Senate, much less passing the House and making it out to the state legislatures. So spending any time or emotion on it is stupid. I know that. That doesn't stop it from, as Grandpa Simpson would say, "angrying up my blood."

Next: Everyone, including the far-right religious fanatics this is being aimed at, know that this is a political stunt by a President whose approval ratings are hovering just this side of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Bush's statement is also meaningless, except in that it represents a craven flipflop from his earlier position to let the states handle it.

Next. Memo to hard-right religious fanatics: Did you by any chance notice that you're not getting squat from this President? Women are still getting abortions, even strippers and unwed teens. Sodomy is still legal. Revival meetings still cannot be held on public school football fields. Fags continue to flaunt their evil deviances in your face. You're getting nothing! Are a few meaningless words in support of your cause really enough? Where are the results? Think about it.

Next. I can't stand these Democratic operatives going on every national media outlet and using this as their debate tactic against the anti-gay amendment: Hey, the American people don't care about this; they care about jobs, and Iraq, and gas prices. To this I say, get a spine, will you, Dems? How about, "This amendment would enshrine discrimination into the Constitution"? Something like that. Something real and true. Can't manage it? No, I didn't think you could, you spineless, scum-sucking political operatives. Go fuck yourselves.

Next. As Atrios pointed out, why isn't every fucktard who screams about "activist judges redefining marriage against the will of the American people" asked a simple question: "When Loving v. Virginia made mixed marriages legal in 1967, 73 percent of the American public disapproved of interracial marriage. Was that an 'activist court'? Was that a bad legal decision, since it went against the will of the majority?" But of course that question will never be asked. The press knows where its bread is buttered.

Next. A fascinating factoid I came across when researching this entry: In February 2004, Massachusetts residents disapproved of same-sex marriage 53 percent to 35 percent. In May 2004, the state began marrying gay couples. When the same poll was taken in March 2005, less than a year later, the numbers had done a complete reversal: 56 percent in favor, 35 percent opposed. I guess letting those gays get married isn't so bad, after all.

Finally. My opinion, and I'm serious about this, is that the government should get out of the marriage business entirely. If people want to get married in a church, or on a beach, or in prison, or while naked or underwater, they are welcome to do so. But it should be a religious and/or cultural institution, not a legal one. Why should the state be sanctioning anyone's relationship in the first place? You want property rights, or child custody, or whatever - go to a lawyer. That means you, breeders. Yeah, you. I'm sure the lawyers will be behind this plan. You don't want the state to sanction icky gay sex? Fine. But it's not going to sanction your lifesize-sex-doll, Internet-porn, getting-it-on-with-the -babysitter hetero marriage either.

CODA: You think I have a potty mouth? Try the always-bracing Rude Pundit.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Keith Olbermann, my hero

MSNBC's Olbermann has always been entertaining in his disdain for pompous sexual-harrassing gasbag Bill O'Reilly. But tonight Keith was on fire, ripping O'Reilly apart for claiming that American troops massacred surrendering Nazis at Malmedy in World War II - seems it was the other way around.

Attacking World War II troops for atrocities that were actually committed by Nazis? Bill O'Reilly is a traitor.

UPDATE: O'Reilly also peddled this same outrageous falsehood last year, so it's not exactly a slip of the tongue. And for the cherry on top of the sundae, Fox scrubbed O'Reilly's transcript, replacing "Malmedy" with "Normandy."