Tuesday, March 31, 2015

10 Years After: 2005 -- Which One's Pink?



This one went around the world and back in September, 2005.

Damn but I really did do a lot of writing that first year.

Oh by the way, which one's Pink? *



* (I will rarely do a modification to an existing post, but this seemed too sadly appropriate not to add.)

This is a graphic-intensive post, and be advised the last few images are rather strong.

They are tragically nothing you won't see on your local news, but some people may find them disturbing, and my intention is not to be gratuitous.

I'm simply furious.


("Us and Them", from "Dark Side of the Moon" by Pink Floyd, 1973)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Us



and Them



And after all we're only ordinary men



10 Years After: 2005 -- Sunday Morning Came and Went



In case you were wondering, yes, I was one of the originators of the "Deconstructing the Sunday Shows" genre too.

And like the David Brooks beat, covering the Mouse Circus back in those days -- especially before embeddable video, quickly accessible transcripts and fast-mass-reaction tools like Twitter -- meant tilling some hard and desolate real estate every week with hardly another soul in sight.

So now, with only a little more ado --



-- Sunday Morning Comin' Down circa, July of 2005:

Sunday Morning Comin’ Down… 


Now with Extra Santorum!

By popular demand (Ok, technically, “voices in my head”, but they are very persuasive) here is the phosphor-dot pointillistism of a completely inaccurate, biased and profoundly unjust blur that passes for what I saw during my coffee fueled rampage through commercial teevee’s Sunday Morning Mouse Circus...

...made longer, longer-lasting and more manly in every way by the late addition of special, herbal "Actual Santorum Transcript" supplements from “This Week...” via and courtesy of Steve Gilliard.

Foxy Nude?

WTF?

Sorry. Sooo Sleepy.

Fox News.

Well fuck Fox New, because Al Green is on CBS. The good Reverend’s singing the dirty stuff again. I mean, “secular”. Yeah. Sec-ul-ar, baby. Gimme some more of that!

Local ABC telling me that the Chicago River is clean again. Or cleanish. Or at least if you’re fishing you’re not 50/50 to hook into the corpses of cattle or horses or shoe salesmen who couldn’t make the vig three months running. And all kidding aside, it is cleaner. The number of fish species has jumped from 10 to 68 in the last decade.

What they don’t tell you is that 20 of the new species are eleven feet long, pissed as hell, and they swarms ashore and feed on the big men who slink in shame in the pre-damn hours to walk their girlfriends itsy-bitsy teacup dogs.

10 Years After: 2005 -- The Simple Majesty of Small "d" Democracy


Over the last ten years, I have written about a fairly wide number of subjects.

For example, the beauty of the town hall meeting.

Here's the 100% voluntary Blogiversary Tip Jar --


-- and here's the post from July, 2005:
Get Up, Stand Up...


...stand up for your right.
Get Up, Stand Up,
don't give up the fight

Thanks, Bob.

Holy crap what a long day yesterday.

I was using a nail gun to keep my eyes open by the end of it, and the evil trolls of Increased Productivity seemed to have somehow found a way to tap extra work hours into a 24-hour day with their tiny, terrible troll-hammers.

But the second-to-last thing I did last night was go to community group meeting. A public hearing.

I love community meetings.

Doesn't matter what the topic is, the breakdown is always the same.

Experts with blueprints who tell you more than you’ll every want to know about whatever to subject might be.

Wanna know about berms, or beetles or the regs governing the signage, sidewalk-access and smoking restrictions at bistros? Go and ask.

Then there are the ramblers: the guys who do all 18 minutes of their own, personal Alice's Restaurant.

Then the business guys. Suited up and on the prowl for government sugar...and want to also be sure to tell the government to fuck off if anything that's being planned might bump up against their bottom line.

The ranters. Always amusing.

The fat guy with a sheaf of grubby paper who takes an hour to make it to the mike while the temperature seems to rise one degree every minute. Then he gets to the mike and rants about whatever the fuck happens to be romping through his mind at the moment.

Proving definitively that humans don't possess telepathic or telekinetic powers because if we did, Horton would have heard all us Whos’ mentally shouting, "Shut up. Shut Up. Please, Holy Mother of God, it's 170 degrees in here and why won't this asshole Shut The Fuck Up!"

Also his head didn't explode.

The Community Activists, for whom every forum is a Nail for their particular Hammer.

You always see it coming.

There's a few moments of frosting where they talk a little -- very little -- about the reason the meeting was called in the first place...then on to the Bitch List.

Don’t misunderstand, it’s often a valid Bitch List – or at least portions are – but every meeting is an occasion for telling whomever is gaveling the session that the neighborhoods are getting screwed. Whatever’s on the flyers – a dog park, a bond issue, bike trails or mosquito abatement – you’re going to hear 30 seconds of symbolic abatement chatter, and the rest is how they’re getting screwed in various ways by the allocation of government money, or gentrification, or The Man generally.

Then somebody rises to tell us that his cousin was arrested on totally trumped up charged. Didn't have anything else to say; just setting the record straight on that particular matter, in case we were interested.

Then there's the fragile, old woman that also take a long while to make it to the microphone, and then tells a story that breaks your heart. I remember one such woman who began her remarks at a large hearing with the Mayor present, "Your honor, your father and mine were both Sons of the City..."

Brought the fucking house down.

And for anybody who thinks that the Left is secular, Jebus-hatin’ monolith of queers and abortionists, you will hear more “Tell it!"’s at a community meeting and exactly as many “Amen”’s as you’re likely to hear in church on any given Sunday.

And I wouldn’t have any of it any other way.

It’s raw, pure, unstepped-on democracy, which is why I love it. It draws the committed and the “should be committed” both, and if you’re not used to them, committed people can make non-political, I-don’t-wanna-get-involved, day-to-day muggles feel very uncomfortable.

"Cause" people: They don't blink much, and you're either useful to them, an impediment, or furniture.

If you’re a community leader or activist, you know everybody on your block and in your area. The Alderman knows you by your first name, and maybe to Mayor does too. Most likely you’re in the pew every Sunday because you grew up “church” and that’s where you got your mission and your vision of public service and activism: it’s the pivot around which action often turns.

These kinds of meeting are a singular opportunity; your chance to make your government listen to you. You can hold the floor and make them pay attention to you.

Then you can come back in a few weeks and make them listen again.

Government goes where the people push it, and absent the constant pressure (translation: bitching) any government will wander off into the weeds and start fucking with you and telling you what to do.

But your rights and freedoms don’t come from them; their freedom of motion comes from you. Its hard fucking work, and Big Money talks, but at the end of the day (sometimes a very long day) the government moves where we will it to move.

See the guy in the Rockwell painting of the “Freedom of Speech” above?

He’s nervous. Really nervous.

By his tan and his hands and his clothes, you can tell he’s a working man. Everyone around him is wearing a tie; his collar is open.

Those are his remarks there in his pocket, which he probably spent a long time writing out, tossing out, and then rewriting.

He probably told his family that tonight he’s gonna go down to the meetin’ and give those Big Guys what ‘fer.

His wife was probably very proud of her man; he can swing an ax or drive a dozer, but he’s never been too good with words. Maybe she helped him with his remarks; maybe he didn’t want his woman to see him struggling with something that he has trouble mastering.

His kids are bustin’ out loud proud of him. He’s been talking about what degenerate asswipes the politicians are for years (of course, he reserves the “degenerate asswipe” talk for the tool shed, or maybe the bar.) Now he’s really going to march down there and kick a little ass around.

Way to go Pop!

But now he’s there, in his laborer’s clothes, and all his neighbors are looking at him, and his wife and kids and the warm comfort of his home are across town.

He stands.

He grabs the pew in front of him for dear life; sinks his nails into the wood.

It’s something solid. Something real. He perhaps gains strength from hanging on to something hewn and boned and made straight and true by honest hands. This is something he understands in his skin.

This, and that come what may, he’s a goddamned American Citizen, and has every right in the world to be there, to stand, and to be heard.

When did we forget that?

His remarks – toiled and sweated over as much as anything he’s done at any job site – stay rolled up in his pocket.

He doesn’t need them.

All he has to do is plant his feet, stand straight, tell the truth like he sees it, and speak from his heart.

At the end of the day, that’s all any of us are called to do, but we must do it. Even if yours is a quiet voice, or is falters, or you don’t have all the just-right words laying around at your finger tips to make your points perfectly and in perfect, pear-shape tones...fuck that.

Just get up. Stand up.

Stand up and speak your mind.

And don't give up the fight.


10 Years After: 2005 -- Gilly and Me




Ten years ago, Steve Gilliard was still with us.  He was one of blogging's heavy hitters, and I was a noob freshly kicked from the nest of his comment section out it the big, scary world.  He and Jen were very kind to me, tossing me links every now and then and putting me onto their blogroll.  Over the course of time we had a few online back-and-forths of this kind (from June, 2005.)

I still miss the guy and I still wonder "what if?"

This from Mr. Gilliard 
got me to thinking...

Here's a bit of it: go read the rest here.
Willful blindness

We are blind until we can see

People need to realize something: the only way the vast majority of Americans will turn against the Iraq war and agitate for an end is an unmistakable disaster.

You can protest Congress, waste your time talking about the Downing Street Memo, but that isn't going to change anything.

Congress is a conconspirator with Bush and many, on both sides of the aisle, live in fear of being seen as soft on terror. No matter that his policy is a disaster. Renditions, secret prisons all of these things people would have once screamed murder about are now just background noise. People don't care, and they especially don't care about Arab lives. People still think if we kill enough Arabs we'll get them to come to heel, in the spare moments when they think about Iraq.

I saw this posting on Kos for this protest next week about the Memos and demand Congress do their job and I'm wondering what planet they're on.

This Congress is so disinterested that they wanted to change the rules for combat to restrict the role of women in an Army with no people to spare. They were more interested in making points with their fundy backers than actually supporting the Army.

To think this Congress, which is deeply and convincingly indifferent to the plight of our servicemen and women, will investigate a British memo is best defined as a pipe dream.

We are now hostages of events. People will defend the war until the fuckups stare them in the face. Until some camp is overrun or an Iraqi battalion turns on US troops and ambush them, the way they have been ambushed by the resistance.

Congress abdicated their responsibility long ago. Asking for them to assume it now, before the next election, is unlikely, as sad as that may be.

Because no one gives a damn. Iraq is the news, it isn't real, until tragedy enters every home like 9/11 did.
Overall, as with a lot of Steve’s stuff, a simple "right on the numbers" will suffice. I do, however, disagree with two particulars.

I’ll stick to rambling on about one of them

It’s not true that the Conservatives I know don’t give a damn so much as they are terrified that they were wrong.

Deeply, primally terrified. Their whole psychological infrastructure is cobbled together out of half-baked conservative bumper-sticker ideology, gun lust, socially illiterate hatred of “welfare cheats” and other largely fictional or apocryphal lazy people (read: niggers and other swarthy folk) who want to leech off of them while they work harder and harder for less and less. Despite a lot of bluster about Freedom and Individuality they are, at heart, happiest when they are conforming to the wishes of the Strong Man; when they know exactly their place in the hierarchy.

Security and Enforced Orderliness is their idea Heaven and Doubt is their Hell, which is why they swarm like mayflies towards simple-minded sloganeering instead of actual, y’know, thinking…and why many of them fall madly in love with Fundamentalism. It’s this anti-Faustian bargain where they get the perfect peace of mind that comes from absolute, swaggering certainty that they are completely right about every single thing. And thrown in at no extra charge, they get Paradise after they die, with the promise that they’ll get to see my sorry ass screaming in agony in a lake of fire on Basic Cable for all eternity.

But in exchange for all of this wonderfulness, they have to hand over their souls to truly evil men.

They must agree that they will never, ever, ever question Their Master’s Commands. To blindly obey and to never do the math and never read the fine print. In other words, to tear from their own body and slaughter of their own volition and with their own hands the one capacity that actually makes them fully human: their capacity for free and independent thought.

This is the ancient, unbridgeable and eternally hostile schism between their template for humanity and ours. This is, I believe, why sometimes we fundamentally cannot understand each other; because we are running two radically different and incompatible O/S's.

Out there, deep in the dark, -- they are told – are bearded madmen who worship a Death God that they cannot possibly understand who live just to kill them and their children for no rational reason. Not that there are not bad people in the world who really do need killin’, and real enemies that I want stopped, but they are sold this campfire escaped-lunatic scare-story version of the Ay-rab Terminator which, as it turns out, also happens to be the perfect outward projection of their own deeply perverse ideology.

And in closer, right next door – they are told – are the Evil Liberal Elite who live to sell their great nation out into polyglot slavery to a band of international appeasers, Socialists and faggots. Who are either too stupid to see the threat, or hate their country so much that they cheer on American failure and need to be protected from themselves.

Most of these people are not Nazis, but they are the perfect raw material for our own, homegrown American Rightwing Demagogues; obedient, stupid, bigoted and easily frightened.

And because everything – their very souls – rest on the foundation of the infallibility of Dear Leader, they’ll happily kill anyone in any numbers who might force them to face up to the fact that Dear Leader is a duplicitous, lying sleazebag who has played on their fear and ignorance and patriotism to turn them out like $2 crack whores.

Me? I’m wrong all the time. Make all kinds of mistakes and from time to time get overly attached to something that’s just plain dumb (Does listening to “Snoopy’s Christmas” back-to-back with “The New Shit” by Marilyn Manson at The Ride of the Valkyrie volume count?) And when I do, it’s hard to let go of it, but I do (mostly) and my mom taught me early on that when your wrong, you own up and say you’re sorry.

Period.

But I remember one woman I lived with once. A knockout brunette. Very bright. Thunder God sex. Hated Fundies but, as it turned out, for exactly the same reasons Conservative Evangelical Fudnamentalists hate Wahabi Muslims. See, she had problems. LOTS of problems, one of which was that she was congenitally unable to apologize.

Ever.

(insert sexy, flashback fadeout here)

She was always full of very pointed advice about how everyone else should live (Funny how 12 years of strict Freudian therapy, god knows how many 12-step programs and a bookshelf full of self-help manuals will do that to a person) but could not bring herself to admit when she had fucked up.

Ever.

Anyway, it’s a long, sad story, but the gist of it is that one evening she was being an utter bitch about something which she had clearly done wrong. I’d finally had enough, shrugged off my Easygoing Guy togs, strapped into my Full Metal Logician armor and went after her. Just verbally backed her right up into a corner and wouldn’t let up.

“Here’s what you said, and here’s what you did. You were wrong. Apologize.”

“But I…”

“Here’s what you said, and here’s what you did. You were wrong. Apologize.”

“I really think you are the problem here, and…”

“Here’s what you said, and here’s what you did. You were wrong. Apologize.”

“I don’t think this attitude is very…”

“Here’s what you said, and here’s what you did. You were wrong. Apologize.”

And then she lost it. Completely, utterly lost it. Started shrieking like she was being knifed.

“Fine! Fine! FUCK YOU! You want to Crucify me! You want my BLOOD! Fine! I’m sorry you cocksucker! There! You happy now!”

As I remember it, she threw a plate – one of those patterned, Pier One oversized things that you use under a centerpiece and that humans never actually eat off of – but it was many years ago and I am as susceptible to the Dynasty-ization of memory as anyone.

I do remember that she cried for an hour, went out, didn’t come back until the next day and never forgave me for it.

Built in to the Right Wing DNA is the same congenital defect, and since they will happily burn the world to the ground before they admit they might actually have been wrong about Bush, it falls to us to keep them backed into a corner as best we can, because once events out here in Realityland begin to pound through the perimeter denial defenses, what comes after ain’t gonna be pretty.

Not to scream blindly into the void for the impossible – Steve’s quite right about that – but to keep patiently repeating: “Here’s what you said, and here’s what you did. You were wrong. Apologize,” in every venue available.

The bad news is, until they wake the fuck up, these people are slaves, and there is no one so ferocious as a brainwashed thrall defending his owner.

The good news is, we are still 49% of the game; wake up and pick off a mere 100,000 and we can begin to turn a lot of thinks around. The more gooder news is that our O/S thrives best when saturated in pure, clean Reality, and theirs rust and rots and flies apart at the seams when the lies that insulate it are peeled away.

The sheer weight of simple things like time and gravity and causality itself are our natural and incorruptable allies. They are merciless, and recognize no Geneva Convention niceties when meting out justice to arrant fools who try to fuck with them.

Oh and the brunette?

She moved to Nevada, married money and now thinks muggers and food-stamp recipients should be imprisoned for life or, mo’ better, executed. After all, she had to work hard her whole life, so why should these shiftless scumbags get any help.

Yeah, really.



10 Years After: 2005 --Tom Friedman Can Never Be Forgiven



Tom Friedman spent the first third of Age of Bush writhing in full, mystical "Suck on This" ecstasy.

GELLER

Tom Friedman spent the second third of Age of Bush tossing out "Friedman Units" like Mardi Gras beads and blowing off the war's cautioners and critics.

Tom Friedman spent the last third of Age of Bush reversing so hard and ham-handedly into full "Both Sider" mode that you could hear the gears grinding from space.

At no point before, during or after the Age of Bush has Tom Friedman ever been subjected to a jot of opprobrium or tittle of shade from the Beltway's Very Serious People who still hang on his every word.

And he never will.

Me, from June, 2005:


What this Liberal Sees…



..when he looks at Iraq.

Tom Friedman has well and truly surpassed himself.

Just when you think Captain Obvious could not possibly crawl any further up into his own puffy little butt, he manages to scramble up those last, few inches and burst through into an entirely new, “Being John Malkovich” kind of alternate Friedman-iverse, populated exclusively by LSD-scalded dolts stagger in tiny circle, jabbering incessantly about how amazing their hands look, and how amazing the air is, and have you ever noticed how amazing my shoes look as they go flippy-flop, flippy-flop ‘round and ‘round and ‘round.?

You meet these kinds of blown-out stoners wandering in the parks sometimes, or cadging transfers in the cool, dank stairwells of CTA stops. Pupils as big as manhole covers. Hair that’s become a free-range ecosystem for lice and roaches and ringworms.

What I usually do is give them some change and steer way the hell around them.

What I do not do is let them write for the New York Fucking Times.

Friedman has already been righteously and rightfully beaten down as the leading-edge of the execrable Apologist Wedge by Atrios, Gilliard, and god knows who all else, so I will keep this short. Ok, short-ish.

Here’s a tiny sip of the rancid stew:

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: June 15, 2005

Ever since Iraq's remarkable election, the country has been descending deeper and deeper into violence. But no one in Washington wants to talk about it. Conservatives don't want to talk about it because, with a few exceptions, they think their job is just to applaud whatever the Bush team does. Liberals don't want to talk about Iraq because, with a few exceptions, they thought the war was wrong and deep down don't want the Bush team to succeed. As a result, Iraq is drifting sideways and the whole burden is being carried by our military. The rest of the country has gone shopping, which seems to suit Karl Rove just fine.

First, Captain Obvious has again renewed his wretched subscription to the despicable and now, really, outright treasonable world-view that

A) No one is talking about Iraq. Which is such an nakedly demented lie that one must wonder if Tommy-boy has, at last, just lost his mind. As I sat at Wrigley field last week, in a park packed to capacity with highly-focused and well-informed Cubs and BoSox fans, at no point did I ever feel compelled to lean over to my fiends and remark -- shouting over the noise – that it was sure a pity the no one wanted to talk about baseball.

Had I done so, my friends (being my friends) would have, have cut off my beer, gotten me out of the hot sun and into an ER immediately. We’ll immediate…after the ninth inning, but they would have been very concerned.

What they wouldn’t have done is give me a column in the New York Fucking Times.
B) The Universe is carefully divided into Conservatives – who are wrong – and Liberals – who are somehow, mysteriously and equally wrong all the time and in equal numbers on every issue. And only Captain Obvious, frolicking across the few lonely yards of sand on his Isle of Reasonableness, can see the truth.

It does not matter how many millions of miles the Shining Path Republicans drag the “middle ground” to the Right.

It doesn’t matter that the Party of Lincoln is now infested crotch-to-crown with maggoty Segregationists.

It doesn’t matter that Nixon looks like a fucking Socialist compared to the positions now being advocated by the GOP today.

However far into the Armageddonist Abyss the wingnuts charge, Captain Obvious will dutifully pace off half that distance back towards where the Left (the band formerly know as “Rockefeller Republicans”) happened to be that day, drive his little stake into that shifting ground and declare that THIS is where the treasure of Comity and Reasonableness is buried. And that everyone on either side of his little islet is equally and oppositely wrong.

And then stamp his chubby little feet and whine that No One Is Listening to Him!

What a lazy pint of watery poo he is, and if that were all he is, that would be bad enough, but with his second absurd “indictment -- "Liberals don't want to talk about Iraq because, with a few exceptions, they thought the war was wrong and deep down don't want the Bush team to succeed.” – he definitively crosses the line into outright treachery.

So you want to know how this Liberal views Iraq?

Take a look at the sickening image that came roaring out of our collective unconscious and onto our televisions on 9/11: a human being confronted with two choices too terrible to contemplate -- leap into oblivion or be roasted alive.

And once in the air, whatever intentions or dreams or hopes or beliefs this poor bastard might have had became irrelevant. Flapping their arms didn’t matter. Prayer didn’t matter.

Once in the air, the Cold Equations were all that mattered. Once in the air, my fellow human being became a physics demonstration; an object on a downward arc governed by the Laws of Science that the Republicans hate so very much.

That, you despicable little stooge, is EXACTLY how Iraq looks to me.

On the heels of our greatest modern national trauma, the President and his minions shrieked and bellowed, roared and raged that there was a conflagration at our backs. That we were all in immediate, lethal danger from a massive, murderous attack by Saddam Hussein and that if we didn't act right now we were fucked.

Mushroom-cloud fucked.

And that the ONLY alternative was to jump. He was advised by wise men of the costs of jumping, of the dangers, of the number of troops necessary, of the extremely complex situation into which he would be dropping. He was warned that beating Iraq militarily would be easy…but that securing the Peace would be hard.

He told us that the fall would be simple. That we would alight in a land where we would be greeted as Liberators. The costs would be negligible. The gains would be high. Virtually painless.

But MOST of all, that the fire was nipping at our heels. It was so urgent, so imperative. that if we didn’t want to see our children perish, we had to jump right now.

So we did.

Convinced by Bush that it was the only option left to us -–and that he had planned carefully for the consequences -- we leaped out of window and into the sky.

We jumped, because we were told we had to.

And in jumping, we committed our troops, our nation and our good name to the brutal calculus of war; to factors beyond our control, and now we are plunging down and down and down into tragedy.

And as we fall we find that the building was not on fire at all.

That the people that pushed us into space had lied to us.

That the parachute of carefully planning that they were supposed to have prepared to save us from ruin had been packed with nothing but empty slogans and ideology-drunk fantasies.

Now we are falling, out of control.

And pointing out that we are falling because of the lies and delusions of the Administration has nothing to do with whether or not I "want the Bush team to succeed” you contemptible little weed. We are watching the country we passionately love plummet into darkness along the exact trajectory we warned you about, and you think that there is any joy in being right? Any pleasure in seeing your beloved wasted and playing in traffic?

Sorry, Friedman, but no.

Now whatever intentions or dreams or hopes or beliefs we might have had have become irrelevant. Flapping our arms doesn’t matter. Prayer doesn’t matter.

Once in the air, the Cold Equations are all that matter.

Once in the air, my nation became a physics demonstration; an object on a downward arc governed by the Laws of Science that the Republicans hate so very much.

And if you had bothered to pull your head out of your ass long enough to actually look, you would see that these are what the faces of Liberals look like…


…as we are forced to watch the fall, and as we are forced to listen to preening rodents hector us for not paying the right kind of attention.




10 Years After: 2005 -- David Brooks: All RAM/No Hard Drive



Early David Brooks stuff.
Doing the roadwork.
Working the bag.
Inventing a genre.
And for a long time, this was a pretty lonely beat.

From May, 2005. 

All RAM. No Hard Drive.


GOP Demagoguery? What are you talking about?Posted by Hello

Jesus, if he just wouldn’t rouge up his idiot baboon-ass and wag it around so provocatively, I could go to the gym and get out and enjoy a sunny day in my beautiful city.

Calling Democrats' Bluff
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: May 8, 2005

Don't take people at their word. Don't listen to them when they tell you how to be virtuous.

They're faking it. They don't care about virtue, or you or the common good. They're just taking opportunistic potshots under the guise of sermonizing. They're just a bunch of hypocrites.
...
OK, let me break in just for a minute to say that while I don’t usually follow BoBo’s advice, in this case, since he is so stamp-his-tiny-porcelain-hoof insistent, and has set the table so nicely, just this once I’ll go along and agree that...

You’re a hypocrite.
A pie-faced, Rattus Americanus Accomodationist hypocrite.
A puckered hole where an actual journalist should be hypocrite.
An “I don’t care that my Right Wing Masters have packed the Constitution into cattle-cars and have dispatched it to The Year of our Lord 1391...but the speed at which we’re rocketing down the tracks makes my tummy hurt sometimes” hypocrite.
The Fundy AmWay vertical marketing plan’s top New York Sales Representative...hypocrite.
A Spy in the House of ‘Duh...hypocrite.
I just poked my finger right though your spongy skull. Now go ahead, smell my finger. Smell’s like “hypocrite” doesn’t it?

Is that what you had in mind, or should I continue?

...Over this time, Democrats have been hectoring President Bush in the manner of an overripe Fourth of July orator.
...
Sometimes you had to walk through Democratic precincts in a gas mask, the lofty rhetoric was so thick. But now we have definitive proof that they didn't mean it. It was all hokum.

Over the past few weeks, the president has called their bluff.
...
So how has the St. Francis of Assisi wing of the Democratic Party responded to Bush's challenge? Does it applaud him for doing what it has spent the past years telling him he should do? Of course not.
...
Are they saying that since Bush has moved so far in a redistributionist direction that perhaps the Democrats should budge slightly, too? Of course not. They're inventing lame reasons to explain why they shouldn't be for the policy they have been for over the past 20 years. Bush could tell them he loved their mothers and they'd invent reasons to be against him. Politics trumps policy.
...
This is the difference between the party with a governing mentality and the party with the opposition mentality. The governing party leads. It takes the arrows. It casts about for productive ideas and slowly absorbs the other party's good ones. Bush has now absorbed progressive indexing of retirement benefits.

The opposition party opposes. It doesn't feel any responsibility to come up with positive alternatives. Its main psychological need is to be against its nemesis at all costs. If the governing party steals one of its ideas, it will oppose that idea.
...
This is what's infected the Tories in Britain, and it's infected the Democrats here. When a Republican president embraces progressive indexing, something big is happening. When the Democrats oppose it, you know their party has betrayed an animating ideal.
Short answer: Drop private accounts and we’ll talk.

Drop ‘em right now. They were a Trojan Horse for the actual Bush Plan which is to raze all things Roosevelt. They have been glaringly shown to be a Poison Pill specifically designed to gut the program.

Admit it. Drop it. Move on.

And then we’ll talk about Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax...oh, and since we’re talking about Shared Sacrifice, we will also be talking about rolling back the Bush Billionaire Tax Bonanza to mere Clinton-era lavishness help pay for everything, right? Hell, we’ll even talk about how to help Americans save for their retirement, but on a different day, and only once you put Private Account Gun down, and step away from Grandma.

But until then, you have no credibility whatsoever. (“Credibility?” Look it up.)

Longer response? Well, since you mentioned it...

You know, I was watching the Timmy Russert’s Dance Fever today and saw a funny thing.

I saw Joey Joe Joe Junior Carville heroically resisting the urge to invite his Gorgon Spouse to climb up her own ass and vanish in a Ourobourian fart of completely deranged hatred, which is now also officially completely unmoored from Reality. Doesn’t even stop by the Real World anymore for dinner. Doesn’t even call up Reality once a year for eight minutes on Mother’s Day.

The question she was posed was about Arch GOP Fucknut Goblin, Pat Robertson’s comments about judges (sorry, tha would be the Reverend Fucknut Goblin. Jesus must be sooo proud.)

You remember, right? It was only a week ago, which I know qualifies as an off-limits, “youthful indiscretion” kind of thing in Bush-land and is all backwardsy-looking, but still...you remember, right? When Roberson declared that the Liberal Judiciary was a far, far worse threat to the nation than a “few, bearded terrorists” that “fly planes into buildings”?

Worse than Nazis. Worse than Commies. Those Evil Judges, they positively out-Heroded Herod!...and MoveOn.org has taken out an ad saying that that was an extreme position...so Timmy asked Our Miss Matalin about that very thing, and she came out Very Strong against Irresponsible Demagoguery.

She thought it was Awful. Just Awful!

And for a glorious moment I thought someone, somewhere on the Right had finally, finally, finally had awaked from beneath the lethally suffocating blanket of lying propaganda under which they all so eagerly snuggle and spoon.

That one of these hand-puppets finally scared up a just a little of the same Towering Moral Outrage with which the were so amply over-stocked during the “Let’s Fuck Up Bill Clinton” years...and decided that they could no longer abet a profoundly anti-freedom, anti-liberty, anti-democratic, anti-Christian Oil Junta.

And then the she opened her big, carp mouth and made it clear that it was the position of the Left that she was denouncing. Loudly. Con Mucho Venomous Gusto. Oh, sure, perhaps Robertson’s statement were “injudicious”, but it was the Left’s response to the Reverend’s call for judicial jihad that we’re the real outrage.

All while James Carville doodled distractedly. And one can only speculate what sort of “a hundred F-16s strafing a certain unhinged harridan” kind of cartoon art Jim-Boy was sketching out while The Wife publically cuckolded him by danced merrily with the Devil right in front of hubby; frenching Old Scratch Himself flush on the mouth, on teevee, on Sunday morning no less.

Man, what ever happened to the good old Cardinal Fundy Virtue of a wife “submitting graciously to the servant leadership of her husband”? Good thing she’s not actually married to the Bile Ducts that she so rabidly defends, ‘cause I think they favor a more vigorous, physical form of errant-spousal-discipline than just a few stern words. And what they would do to her would surely mess up her Immodestly Non-Burka Suit, and her Harlot lipstick.

Ah well.

Why bring this up?

Because she’s you, BoBo. You in drag.

At some molecular level you are just exactly that desperately unwilling to face up to the cancerous horror running mad and free though the guts of your own party. And to cope, you summon up heroic levels of doublethink to wish away the True Nature of the ogres and trolls that you obey so slavishly: a denial that has become so pathological that you invert the very ugliness that you serve but dare not name, and project it wildly outward onto the rest of the world.

Then again, from your position in the Political Catamite Seat, kneeling obediently between Deal Leaders thighs and fighting Condi for the post of Fluffer-In-Chief, it’s probably a little hard to actually see the Dear Leader’s lips move, or hear what he and his friends are talking about, so how about you spit out the Presidential Predator Drone for a minute, come up for air, and join us on a little jaunt down memory lane:

(Very recent memory too, which is why one can only assume that it was the muffling effect caused by having GW’s Sans-A-Belts wrapped around your skull, that caused you to miss the GOP Social Security Hit Parade. Funny, 'cause it was in all the papers...)

Or don’t you remember the giddy, Catholic School Girl days of early 2005, drunk with a fake mandate, when your party, BoBo, decided that Social Security would be the next target of the Fuck The New Deal steamroller?

Don’t you remember President Bush bragging in private that he was going to get rid of Social Security?

Don’t you remember the crowds of Bush Young Pioneers chanting “Hey, Hey. Ho, Ho. Social Security has got to go”?

Don’t you remember Cato Institute scrubbing their website once their own pet phrase -- “Private Accounts” -- was finally market-tested and found to be a disaster?

Don’t you remember the leaders or your party being outraged that Dem’s kept using the phrase “Private Accounts” which your party had been touting...even insisting that the Dem’s had invented it.

Don’t you remember that you guys won? The House, the Senate, the White House, the majority of governorships, the majority of judged...and yet once Lootapalooza took to the road and people started to notice that other than gutting the program via Private Accounts, Bush had no plan whatsoever, you all responded like you always do...by blaming the Democrats.

(BTW, yes, we do have a plan. It’s called “Social Security”.)

Don’t you remember that even Republicans finally had to admit that Private Accounts have nothing whatsoever to do with SS solvency?

Do you bother to remember that any honest scoring of Private Accounts yields a two-trillion dollar price tag? Enough to, you know, destroy the program...which as you damned well know has been the plan from the start.

Don’t you remember when Brit Hume went on teevee and simply lied his Botox-less Gumby ass off by cutting a certain quote by Roosevelt apart and pasting it together like a ransom note? And hey, by the way, has he or any of the rest of the Pravda Right lost their cushy news gigs yet for Deliberately Lying to the Public? Or it just always nakedly, brazenly “IOKIYAR” these days?

And finally, track back to the top of this post and take a good look at that picture. That was your party's First response to Social Security: Whip up a Molotov Cocktail of gay-bashing, traitor-baiting and fucking over the elderly and start lobbing it at anyone who dared question Dear Leader’s attempts to eviscerate Roosevelt’s Legacy.

So when you get caught with one chubby paw in the SS cookie jar and the other up grandma’s skirt (and I won’t even venture a guess as to where you prehensile tail is lodging itself these days) you are again simply incapable of admitting error or honestly critiquing any bullshit your Masters spout, no matter how overtly ridiculous.

Instead, when confronted with your own grotesque mendacity, you all go right to the All-Purpose, Iraqi Clusterfuck Playbook: Deny, deny, deny. Attack, attack, attack.

Or to misquote a legal truism as old as Imperial Rome, “When the Facts are with you, argue the Facts. When the Facts go against you, argue the Law. When the Fact and the Law both go against you, blame the Democrats, scream at the top of your lungs, and hope no one notices what an asshat you are.”

But we do notice, BoBo.

Oh yes we do.

And oh yes we still do.


10 Years After: 2005 -- Little Red State Fundy

(h/t Blue Gal for pointing me to this pic from Randy Thornhorn's FB timeline)

The way my memory is wired -- completely useless when it comes to remembering the name of anyone I just met and letter-perfect at recalling a telling detail of something I read long ago -- makes reading my archives kind of strange.  In compressed retrospect, it feels like one, long paragraph that I'm still fiddling with, which is why it's odd to think I came practically right out of the gate with things like this a decade ago.

Anyway, here's the jar



and here is "Little Red State Fundy" from April, 2005:

Little Red State Fundy sez...


Whatever will we tell the children? Posted by Hello


One day we will have to explain to the children what happened when Thurston Howell III lost his right mind and decided that for the sake of some tax cuts to make him incrementally more comfortable, his very bestest buddies in the whole, wide world were the Ultra Right Wing Gorgons down in Jesusland.

May I suggest the following?

The Story of Little Red State Fundy

Little Red State Fundy found a grain of hate.

"Who will help me plant the hate?" she asked.

"Not I," said the Moderate Republicans.

"Not I," said the Undecideds.

"Not I," said the Libertarians.

"Then I will," said Little Red State Fundy.

So she buried the hate in the bloody ground of the Old Confederacy. After a while it grew up paranoid and ignorant and violent.

"The hate is ripe now," said Little Red State Fundy. "Who will do the mass mailings and preach bigotry from the Pulpit?"

"Not I," said the Moderate Republicans.

"Not I," said the Undecideds.

"Not I," said the Libertarians.

"Then I will," said Little Red State Fundy.

So she licked envelopes until her bill was cracked and dry and stood up into the House of God and crowed to her flocks in their millions that God Loved Them for hating and killing creatures who were not like them.

Then she asked, "Who will help me focus this hatred politically?"

"Not I," said the Moderate Republicans.

"Not I," said the Undecideds.

"Not I," said the Libertarians.

"Then I will," said Little Red State Fundy.

So she made databases and phone banks, and walked door-to-door with petitions that talked of Gods Great Hatred of Gays, and Gods Great Hatred of Judges that did not worship the Hate God in exactly the way the Little Red State Fundy told them to.

Then she carried the hate to steps of the Congress and the White House.

"Who will make a mandate from this hate?" she asked.

"Not I," said the Moderate Republicans.

"Not I," said the Undecideds.

"Not I," said the Libertarians.

"Then I will," said Little Red State Fundy.

So she got on the phone with her very good friend Karl Rove and with his help organized carpools to the polls, and get-out-the-vote drives, anti-gay marriage amendments and smear campaigns. For Jesus.

And Little Red State Fundy delivered the margin of victory and was featured in many, many magazines: without Little Red State Fundy, the Republican Party could never, ever, ever win anything.

And now everybody knew it.

Then she said, "Now who shall help me Rule the Earth."

"We will!" said Moderate Republicans, Undecideds, and Libertarians.

"I am quite sure you would," said Little Red State Fundy, "but see, now you are all my bitches."

Then she called Randall Terry and Tom DeLay and Ann Coulter and Jerry Falwell and Rush Limbaugh and James Dobson, and they and the rest of the Shining Path Republicans used what was left of the Constitution as ass-floss.
And judges were terrorized into silence.
And those deemed ungodly were beaten in the streets.
And they invaded whoever the fuck they felt like, for whatever fucking reason they chose.
And the very idea of a Free and Fair press died.

And to people who had been very clear all along that they genuinely believed in a Theocratic Nanny State and thought that precipitating Armageddon and triggering the Second Coming should be the highest calling of any worldly government, were handed over the police, courts, government, treasury and nuclear weapons stockpiles of the United States of America.

And in the end -- just as they had been warned for the past twenty years -- there was nothing whatsoever left at all for Moderate Republicans, Undecideds, and Libertarians.


The Beltway Iron Rule of David Brooks, Ctd.



I am taking a small detour from my planned fundraising journey down memory lane


to celebrate another decade-long tradition of this blog.

My ongoing observations on the inexplicable existence of the New York Times' very own , in-house Professional Moral Hector, David Fucking Brooks.  

Who I was quite prepared to ignore this week until I opened my New York Times to discover that the recently-divorced, heterosexual David Brooks had turned part of his J-Date profile into an editorial in which he enunciates Many Opinions about the gays.

Because who better?

Sigh.

Mostly, according to Mr. Brooks it comes down to politeness.  More specifically, in Mr. Brooks' professional opinion, the gay rights movement should shut the fuck up now and stop bitching.  I mean they can marry.  Sorta.  And they have their own parade for Chrissake, so why they gotta be so goddamn prickly?

Why can't they be more polite?

Why can't they be more like, well, David Brooks?

First, we get the infinitieth reprise of Mr. Brooks' broken, Both Siderist record:
On the one hand, there is a growing consensus that straight, gay and lesbian people deserve full equality with each other...

On the other hand, this was a nation founded on religious tolerance. The ways of the Lord are mysterious and are understood differently by different traditions...
And then, inevitably, comes the lecture:
...
Morality is a politeness of the soul. Deep politeness means we make accommodations. Certain basic truths are inalienable. Discrimination is always wrong. In cases of actual bigotry, the hammer comes down.
No, Mr. Brooks,  Quite often, the hammer does not come down, as anyone with a functional memory and an ounce integrity knows.  In fact, Mr. Brooks, the power base of your entire party depends on putting millions of bigots in-harness and lavishly flattering their paranoia and feeding their rage. As anyone with a functional memory and an ounce integrity also knows.

But do please continue scolding the rest of us:
But as neighbors in a pluralistic society we try to turn philosophic clashes (about right and wrong) into neighborly problems in which different people are given space to have different lanes to lead lives. In cases where people with different values disagree, we seek a creative accommodation.

In the Jewish community, conservative Jews are generally polite toward Orthodox Jews who wouldn’t use their cutlery. Men are generally polite to Orthodox women who would prefer not to shake their hands. In the larger community, this respectful politeness works best.

The movement to champion gay rights is now in a position where it can afford to offer this respect, at a point where steady pressure works better than compulsion.
...
Let us be clear.  As was revealed under steady, binary questioning by George Stephanopoulos this Sunday, what's happening in Indiana under Republican Governor Mike "Big Sharia" Pence is is about hatred. Religious hatred.  The hatred of a minority out-group that the majority in-group somehow finds inferior or tainted or otherwise icky.  Hatred that has been sanctified and dandied up with scripture and then institutionalized under the color of law.

The issue is about using a religious pretext for legal discrimination.  The facts of the case are clear and unambiguous:



But for Republican apologists like Mr. Brooks, inconvenient facts are always sent out of the room so he can set up yet another, simple-minded morality puppet show about the virtues of not making people like Mr. Brooks uncomfortable,  Because once a hated out-group has fought its way to a place where the in-group is forced to stop treating them like vermin (even though they still may really, really want to) Mr. Brooks' answer to their grievances is always to make them step back into a posture of supplication and ask pretty, pretty please for the basic human rights which every member of Mr. Brooks' privileged in-group takes for granted as their birthright.

From Brother Charlie Pierce:
"Morality is a politeness of the soul"? What kind of dog's breakfast is that? Jesus His Own Self said he brought not peace, but a sword. If Brooks wants to stand with religious-based bigotry, with the Micah Clarks of the world, he should just do so and stop wasting all of our time as a sewage-treatment plant for the worst instincts in our politics. "Neighborly problems"? If Brooks wants to say that discrimination against LGBT citizens is not really discrimination worthy of the law's attention, he should just say so, and stop wasting all our time putting Bull Connor in a $500 suit. Here's a "creative accommodation" for you. Don't be a bigot.
Au contraire mon frere.  For it is the received wisdom of our social and moral and financial superior, that the hated out-groups bear the the social and moral obligation to be polite and respectful of the in-groups' fee-fees.

Because something something Orthodox Jews something something conservative Jews something something handshakes and cutlery.

Because apparently there were no even more ludicrously stupid and wrong analogies immediately available in Mr. Brooks' pencil box.

And because, from income inequality to climate change denialism to the derangement of the GOP to  to the Penn State rape case, Mr. Brooks has always leaped to the defense of the establishment and the rights of the privileged insider to go through life unmolested by the rude and ragged outsider.  That's how he pays his mortgage and living expenses.  That's what will cover the cost of his divorce. That's how he gets away with making up comforting fairy tales and passing them off as math and history.

Pause.

OK, here is where I have to confess to a little exaggeration myself.

As an astute and generous reader, by now you may have noticed that I have used the word "always" (as in " Mr. Brooks has always leaped to the defense of the establishment") rather promiscuously in this post.   But as any student of Mr. Brooks' public writing knows, there is one, glaring exception to his lazy habit of mind. 

This week, the recently-divorced, heterosexual David Brooks stated just how firmly he believes that the gays should meet the codified religious hatred of those who would treat them as less than human with "politeness", "respect" and "steady pressure" rather than "compulsion".

But where did the Jewish David Brooks stand on the same subject -- how to deal with codified religious hatred being used to treat others as less than human -- just last week?  And what happened to Mr. Brooks' ample supply of terms like "respect" and "politeness" when the subject was religious-based hatred directed at a group to which Mr. Brooks belongs?

Well, read for yourself and decide for yourself.
How to Fight Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism is rising around the world. So the question becomes: What can we do to fight it? Do education campaigns work, or marches or conferences?

There are three major strains of anti-Semitism circulating, different in kind and virulence, and requiring different responses.
...
When anti-Jewish religious hatred is public, aggressive and virulent, Mr. Brooks advocates "deterrence" and "fear" (translation: bombing the shit out of the offenders):
The region is still rife with the usual conspiracy theories — that the Jews were behind 9/11, drink the blood of non-Jews, spray pesticides across Egyptian lands.

This sort of anti-Semitism thrives where there aren’t that many Jews. The Jew is not a person but an idea, a unique carrier of transcendent evil: a pollution, a stain, a dark force responsible for the failures of others, the unconscious shame and primeval urges they feel in themselves, and everything that needs explaining. This is a form of derangement, a flight from reality even in otherwise sophisticated people.

This form of anti-Semitism cannot be reasoned away because it doesn’t exist on the level of reason. It can only be confronted with deterrence and force, at the level of fear.
...
When anti-Jewish religious hatred is public and virulent, but operating just beneath the level of official approval, Mr. Brooks suggests massive, public, confrontational, hippie-style (and probably very impolite) protests:
Thousands of Jews a year are just fleeing Europe. But the best response is quarantine and confrontation. European governments can demonstrate solidarity with their Jewish citizens by providing security, cracking down — broken-windows style — on even the smallest assaults. Meanwhile, brave and decent people can take a page from Gandhi and stage campaigns of confrontational nonviolence: marches, sit-ins and protests in the very neighborhoods where anti-Semitism breeds. Expose the evil of the perpetrators. Disturb the consciences of the good people in these communities who tolerate them. Confrontational nonviolence is the historically proven method to isolate and delegitimize social evil.
And here in Murrica, Mr. Brooks bemoans the fact that the young 'uns have been brainwashed by "moral relativism" to the point where they apparently have no idea that anti-Jewish religious hatred not about some public policy disagreement but is, in itself, a uniquely "virulent evil" --
There are others who see anti-Semitism as another form of bigotry. But these are different evils. Most bigotry is an assertion of inferiority and speaks the language of oppression. Anti-Semitism is an assertion of impurity and speaks the language of extermination. Anti-Semitism’s logical endpoint is violence.
-- which Mr. Brooks insists must be publicly called out as evil and cancerous --
Groups fighting anti-Semitism sponsor educational campaigns and do a lot of consciousness-raising. I doubt these things do anything to reduce active anti-Semitism. But they can help non-anti-Semites understand the different forms of the cancer in our midst.
-- at every level and at every opportunity.

Which does not sound polite or respectful at all.

I agree with Mr. Brooks that the ways of the Lord are mysterious.

But more mysterious still are the ways of the executives at the New York Times who continue to employ Mr, Brooks at heavy expense to extrude this claptrap, twice a week, every week, forever.

Mike Pence Makes Friends Wherever He Goes


You get play in the big GOP sandbox by either demonstrating your ability to raise more money than God, or your willingness to publicly punch the fuck out of some minority the Pig People despise.

Mike "Big Sharia" Pence does not have more money than God, and Failgunner Ted has never left a bigot stone unturned.

As a wise man once said, I despair of the rebranding, but the real stories here are:
  1. How little this -- or anything like this -- will budge the needle come 2016.  On the Right, this is already being rewritten as Liberal Gotcha Media mythology.  On the Left, well, when it comes to Republicans, there has long since been nothing left to prove.  And those in the Center will always invent an imaginary hippie outrage somewhere sufficient to balance out the books.
  2. How thoroughly this will reinforce the discipline on the Right to never, ever set foot outside Fox Land without a pre-nup. And,
  3. How much of a national story a teevee media person can create by simply asking simple, yes-or-no questions, and then asking followup questions when the douchbag across from you puts on his weasel clogs and tries to dance away.  

Ten Years After


So, ten years ago I started this little boĆ®te out where the buses don't run,  And ten years later I'm still here, living a life that bears little resemblance to the one I wore back them.  Still a single-shingle site, though -- one of the very last.  One of the very last of the pseudonymous bloggers.  Outlived or outlasted many of the wild bunch from the days of the First Water.  I'm still churning my own butter, making my own graphics, and writing to suit myself.  Still sans byline at The Nation or Vox or News Busters or the Shelbyville Courant.  Still no ads here, or sponsored content.

Still wondering what to write about tomorrow.

So far, this blog has lasted longer that my first marriage, and just about every job I ever had, because in the whole world, it is the one piece of real estate from which I cannot be evicted.  No one but me can turn the lights out here and call it quits, and while I think about it every day -- especially on the days when the cost/benefit of keeping my shingle out seems ludicrous -- I don't plan to do that for awhile yet.

Readership goes up and down depending on circumstances, but over time it has stabilized.  I know what my floor is, and my ceiling, so for the next week or so, I'll be bringing up some of my favorite vintages -- maybe 2-3 from each year per day -- and reposting, because I now have whatchacall a body of work.  Which is weird.  Never thought I'd have one of those.

Also, suggestions are welcome, but may also be cheerfully ignored.

Anyway, a few bottles laid down in days gone by, possibly interspersed with other stuff, or with intros and outros as I see fit.   But frankly, looking back over a decade of service, it is amazing how little has changed.  We are deep into grinding trench warfare, brothers and sisters, and it will be that way for a long, hard time to come.

And along the way I'll play my fiddle and pass the hat, and you can judge whether, over the course of time, I can still bring the heat, or have lost step, or if I shoulda retired five years ago.

So this week I'll let Slightly Younger driftglass carry the weight, and Slightly Older driftglass collect the purse.



First up, my very first post (well, OK, second post).  If you wish to see all of the Exciting! Spam! Action! in its original, zombie glory, here's the link.

Believe it or not, spam was one of my most vexing problem back in the day.

Remember how I fixed it?

Moar later.



Thursday, March 31, 2005

 
Just a little test...

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.
Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. -- Groucho Marx

193 comments...