Archive for July, 2008

A continuous flood.

Jul 31, 2008 in Barack Obama, Old Man McCain, Politics

Question: Is there anybody who’s missed out on the fact that John McCain is fully on board with the same brand of Rovian Republican bullshit that brought us two terms of George W. Bush?

You know, Hillary was seen as having found her stride and making gains against Obama in the latter half of the primary battle, but after it was already too late. Obviously Obama cannot afford a bad second half with McCain as the only “too late” here is after Election Day.

Unfortunately for McCain, though, everything he’s doing stinks of 2004. Swiftboating, now recognized as thoroughly debunked. Karl Rove, one of the biggest scumbags in politics and a criminal deftly avoiding jail like a mob boss. George W. Bush, the man-child incompetent reckless fool who has damaged the country so profoundly. A flood of negative ads, nearly all false, misleading, or criminally stupid, but wowing the press with their ability to stack shit so high.

The people didn’t vote for George W. Bush in 2000, they chose Al Gore. So arguably Bush has only fooled them once. Will McCain fool them twice? Fortunately for Obama, McCain’s negative ads are a smokescreen for his own incompetence and incoherence, and they detract from the “honorable” meme McCain had going for him. No, he isn’t, and that’s coming from Joe Klein of all people. No, he’s not substantial as opposed to the “celebrity” Obama. Ask John McCain about the economy and he’d barely scrape past Paris Hilton in the quality of his answer. Not to mention that Paris and Britney are the kind of taxpayers John McCain’s economic plan is crafted for. And while some are wondering if the promiscuous young white women in McCain’s ads are subtle racism, who doesn’t know who Michelle Obama is, stunningly attractive chocolate goddess that she is? Like I said before, the fear that Obama is coming after your white daughters is pretty well neutralized.

What 2008 boils down to is a weak failure of a candidate who can’t compete honestly, who is sacrificing everything he once stood for and everything about who he was in the quest for power. He has no vision, he has no plan. McCain just knows he wants to be president, and he has now spelled it out for America that he will say anything, no matter how low, and that he will truck with the same vermin that the country is already sick of because he can’t figure out any other way to do it.

It isn’t Obama acting like the election is over. It’s America and the world wishing the election were over and we could turn the page on Bush. We want to move on, we want to get started trying to right the ship again. The election is a referendum on whether or not we are capable of innovating and adapting to the challenges of the world, or if we’re permanently stuck in a rut we have no idea how to escape. Obama isn’t the Messiah, but after 8 years of Bush and the threat of McCain, he’s as close as one gets in the world of politics. Talk of Obama-worship is the sound of somebody else trying to push an utterly depraved candidate, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is John McCain.

And to McCain, you did it to yourself, asshole. Knock off the whining and be the goddamn man you claim to be.

-jb

Rand Corporation: Bush strategy is ineffective in dealing with Al Qaeda.

Jul 31, 2008 in Uncategorized

Here’s a snippet of the press release:

Current U.S. strategy against the terrorist group al Qaida has not been successful in significantly undermining the group’s capabilities, according to a new RAND Corporation study issued today.

Al Qaida has been involved in more terrorist attacks since Sept. 11, 2001, than it was during its prior history and the group’s attacks since then have spanned an increasingly broader range of targets in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, according to researchers.

In looking at how other terrorist groups have ended, the RAND study found that most terrorist groups end either because they join the political process, or because local police and intelligence efforts arrest or kill key members. Police and intelligence agencies, rather than the military, should be the tip of the spear against al Qaida in most of the world, and the United States should abandon the use of the phrase “war on terrorism,” researchers concluded.
“The United States cannot conduct an effective long-term counterterrorism campaign against al Qaida or other terrorist groups without understanding how terrorist groups end,” said Seth Jones, the study’s lead author and a political scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “In most cases, military force isn’t the best instrument.”

“The term we use to describe our strategy toward terrorists is important, because it affects what kinds of forces you use,” Jones said. “Terrorists should be perceived and described as criminals, not holy warriors, and our analysis suggests that there is no battlefield solution to terrorism.”

The military option has always had its appeal for a variety of groups. Congress and the Executive enjoy executing foreign policy through the DOD because it channels war funds straight into the coffers of their constituents. The press get to saddle up and play cowboy, riding high on the increased ratings that come with military action. Lastly, we have the 101st Fighting Keyboarders who get to imagine themselves as active participants in a battle to save the planet. None of the above has been or ever will be productive because as the Rand study points out, terrorism is a police matter. When the IRA was lighting up the Queen’s army Margaret Thatcher did not send heavy bombers over the Atlantic to eradicate a primary source of terrorist funding; the Catholic church communities of Boston. Instead, the criminals were investigated, tracked down, and brought to justice. Of course, things were not always perfect. Just ask the Guildford Four. Compared to the alternatives (military counter-terrorism) however it was productive in the long term and has established a lasting peace in Norther Ireland.

Money wasted by the Pentagon could be put to better use by local law enforcement as well as the FBI and CIA since the military is ill-suited to confront a foe that has no centralized leadership or base of operations.

-mg

Who’s up for a latte?

Jul 30, 2008 in Uncategorized

Pardon the Brian Pickrell-esque post but could you imagine the reaction if Barack Obama was spotted riding in a golf cart wearing a pair of $500 loafers?

If I were a right-wing blogger, and I found out that Barack Obama was wearing Ferragamo loafers that cost $520, I would spend about 50% of my waking hours making sure everyone knew this. I would mock him for being an out-of-touch elitist and make jokes like, “If you think that’s a lot, you should see how much his purse costs ” I would send the link to Drudge and wait for Instapundit to pick it up, and then watch gleefully as Fox News ran segments about how Barack Obama’s $500 loafers vitiate his entire economic platform.

-mg

UPDATE BY JB: Andrew Romano:

It makes just as much sense to call McCain an elitist as Obama. Nevermind that the Illinois senator is a bi-racial child from a broken family raised in a modest single-parent household. Or that there are plenty of “country clubs” still unwilling to accept African-Americans as members. Or that the last “celebrity” to occupy the Oval Office was Ronald Reagan, McCain’s hero. Simply imagine the memo David Axelrod could send to reporters about the Republican nominee. “Only a celebrity of John McCain’s magnitude could star on blockbuster television shows like ’24′ and appear in big-budget motion pictures like ‘Wedding Crashers,’” it would read. “These are not campaign commercials or news interviews, but major Hollywood productions–which is no surprise, given that he’s pals with Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lorne Michaels. Only celebrities like John McCain own seven homes, date Brazilian models, marry blond heiresses worth $100 million, attend Virginia’s tony “old boy” Episcopal High School, forget the last time they pumped their own gas and wear $520 black calfskin loafers by Ferragamo.” Get the picture?

Dunkin Donuts to sell healthy items.

Jul 30, 2008 in Uncategorized

Why?

-mg

The stupidity of McCain complaining about his adoring press.

Jul 30, 2008 in Journamalism, Media, Old Man McCain, Politics

A study was done recently, and what did they find? The press, while covering Obama more because he’s the only one generating any actual news, talks way more shit about Obama than McCain. They defend McCain reflexively. McCain has to be 100% wrong before they defend Obama, although McCain’s been 100% wrong quite a lot lately…

Today’s GOP has one policy when it comes to telling the truth: Don’t interfere with the agenda. McCain has clearly gone into “Say whatever it takes, anything, absolutely anything at all,” mode and does so because he still knows he has enough pull with the press to get away with most of it (and because lying is what his party expects of him). Sure, he’s eating up his “honorable man” credentials, but it seems as if the press reacts to politicians who go into this mode with fear. The press remains terrified of displeasing the right, but they should learn already: it doesn’t matter. You can fawn over McCain and dis Obama and they’ll still complain, because it’s not balance they seek. Fox News is what it takes to please them, nothing less and nothing more. Anybody who fashions themselves a journalist should know the choice is clear.

-jb

Wasting My Breath

Jul 30, 2008 in Uncategorized

Also on the subject of what’s actually conservative and what most assuredly isn’t: Rush Limbaugh on China. It’s hard to say when, exactly, American conservatives lost the plot, but we can all remember that by the time of Reagan’s second term, this perversion of the term had taken hold: the idea that a conservative opposes ecological conservation efforts not on economic grounds, but because the people who were in favor of conservation were “the bad guys.” American conservatism has never recovered from this shift in thinking, and one need look no further than the nearest right-leaning blog for evidence. “It’s just so much fun to irritate the liberals” and like sentiments are lamely offered in defense of jettisoning every trace of genuinely conservative thought. The hard part about this, of course, is that we’re now so many generations past any real conservatives on the scene that most of the online faithful have never actually been exposed to conservative thought; their government-intervention’s-great-when-it-favors-my-team thinking is the only brand they know. To them, that is conservative thinking: opposing liberals. It’s not, though – it’s just poop-flinging, and will never do one American any tangible good. But asking for conservative ideas from Republicans in 2008 – economically, ideologically, legislatively, on energy, in the international arena – is more futile than putting a lost tooth under the pillow after you’ve moved out of mom’s house. Nothing’s gonna happen. The hijacking of conservative ideas by big-government evangelical ideologues succeeded, and there is no conservative party in America; if there is one, it’s the Democrats, the only party in the past 20 years to have run the American economy anywhere fruitful.

You’d think that people who like to call themselves “conservative” would be more interested in which party actually conserves resources (money; time; energy; American blood), but that’s where the beauty of the neo-con project really shines through. They have sold all you so-called conservatives some magic beans. In exchange for your vote, they give you a little of the playground thrill of name-calling. Wake up.
-TT

The Book

Jul 29, 2008 in Uncategorized

For years, Iowa’s village idiot has attempted to push his favorite failed meme. (For those of you who’re still blocked from so much as viewing Brian’s pearls of wisdom, the link leads to three pages of search results for “wrote the book on it” within his site; Brian likes to opine that corruption favors Democrats, whom he continues to identify as “liberals” despite overwhelming historical evidence to the contrary.) Well! It appears that, yet again, the noble and blameless party has been reading that dirty liberal playbook pretty closely. Confidential to the Liberty Pundit: the reason your meme has failed to catch on is that it’s completely delusional.

And now, stand back and listen to the rustling in the intertubes while BP attempts to cherrypick a bunch of news stories that would support his faulty thesis instead of just conceding that the age-old maxim – “power corrupts” – is accurate.

-TT

Get Ready To Spin!

Jul 29, 2008 in Uncategorized

Go ahead, conservative friends. Take your pick from 1,402 news stories as of this writing; make yourselves look pathetic and contend that all these sources are only displaying their “liberal bias.” Here are the cold facts: if you are a conservative, you won’t vote Republican. Republican administrations in my lifetime (and I’m hardly the youngest hog in the pen) never saw an expense they wouldn’t greenlight. Waste your time and energy trying to wish social mores back into the 50′s if you like, and imagine that that’s what conservatism is all about, but at night, by yourself, know the truth: economically speaking, Democrats are more conservative than you.

Real conservatives don’t vote Republican! The truth hurts, don’t it?

-TT

Another day, another bullshit Obama rumor squashed.

Jul 29, 2008 in Barack Obama

The prevalence of liars opposed to this guy should be reason enough to vote for him. I guess people got tired of comparing Obama to Hitler for the sin of assembling massive crowds in Berlin…waving the American flag.

-jb

Activist judges.

Jul 28, 2008 in Uncategorized

Actually, this time it’s real activist judges and not the typical Librul Media(tm) windmills the online devoted tirelessly pursue. Today we are told what we long suspected to be true; that the Bush Administration politicized the Justice Department:

Former Justice Department counselor Monica M. Goodling and former chief of staff D. Kyle Sampson routinely broke the law by conducting political litmus tests on candidates for jobs as immigration judges and line prosecutors, according to an inspector general’s report released today.

Goodling passed over hundreds of qualified applicants and squashed the promotions of others after deeming candidates insufficiently loyal to the Republican party, said investigators, who interviewed 85 people and received information from 300 other job seekers at Justice. Sampson developed a system to screen immigration judge candidates based on improper political considerations and routinely took recommendations from the White House Office of Political Affairs and Presidential Personnel, the report said.

Does it need to be debated how serious a crime this is?

-mg

John McCain: Not just old, but an asshole too.

Jul 27, 2008 in Barack Obama, Old Man McCain, Politics, The senility of John McCain

Is there another conclusion? Too bad this doesn’t fit the MSM narrative yet!

-jb

Your Liberal Media ™

Jul 24, 2008 in Uncategorized

Delaware Liberal miss the point entirely because they don’t understand how wingers come to their definition of liberal. The criteria is simple. If you’re not actively promoting the Republican party agenda then you are a liberal.

The key principle is to eliminate all nuance and shun all attempts at a dialectic as feel-good, Leftist clap-trap. Besides, who needs logic when you’re correct simply by default?

-mg

McCain vs. Obama on taxes and spending, horsetwaddle excluded.

Jul 24, 2008 in Economy, Election crap, Old Man McCain, Politics, Uncategorized

Conservatives, to use the term loosely in describing America’s rightwingers, have seen most of their essential arguments against Barack Obama widely yawned upon and ignored. Very little gets their juices flowing anymore, except one thing nowadays: OMIGOD OBAWMA WILL TAX YOU INTO THE POORHOUSE! If you visit our friends over at Common Sense Political Thought, it’s the only topic they can muster any excitement over.

Now, first of all, it should be a matter of common sense at this point that McCain talks about Barack being all “tax and spend” while his plan is “borrow yet even more and boy I got me some spending plans you wouldn’t believe!” But specifics can help illuminate the scale of this difference.

Hilzoy, my favorite policy wonkster, dives into the Center for Tax Policy analysis of the tax and spend plans proposed by John McCain and Barack Obama.

The short version: over ten years, the proposals McCain actually makes on the stump would cost $2.7 trillion more than the policies his campaign describes, for a total cost of nearly $7 trillion over ten years. Over the same ten years, the proposals Obama makes on the stump would cost $367 billion less than the policies his campaign describes, for a total cost of a little under $2.5 trillion. (The main difference between what Obama says on the stump and what his campaign describes is his proposal to levy Social Security taxes on income over $250,000/year.)

Here’s a chart showing the effects of both candidates’ tax proposals (the ones they describe on the stump) on people in various income brackets, from p. 46 of the report. Note that while this graph shows taxes going up for people in the top quintile under Obama’s plan, a more detailed breakdown (p. 45) shows that taxes only go up for the top 5% (incomes over $226,918/year.) People in the 95th-99th percentiles ($226,918-$603,402/year) would pay $799 more a year, on average.

McCain vs. Obama tax analysis

Now this is the complete destruction of everything McCain has to say about the economy. Well, as Hilzoy notes, what McCain has to say about his plans vs. the reality is quite a disparity…McCain underrepresents his spending by the total amount of Obama’s spending. That should be front page news, repeated over and over until it registers with our lovely swing voters. There is a choice between McCain’s $7 trillion in extra spending vs. Obama’s $2.5 trillion. What’s the conservative choice there? That should also be constantly repeated until November. And you see that it isn’t until the top 25% of earners where McCain’s plans start to benefit incomes more than Obama. When it comes to the top 1%, of course, we see who McCain is really interested in helping: the same people George W. Bush and his GOP have been about helping all along. Keep lowering taxes on them, keep spending like a drunken trophy wife (or one hopped up on prescription meds, ZING!), and hope that the public never asks, “Who, besides our grandchildren, will be the ones paying for all this?”

Now the problem is that if this analysis actually became mainstream information, the election would skew so far for Obama that McCain would have to shoot somebody to get the public’s attention. No amount of screaming “Wealth redistribution” would cut it, as McCain is continuing Bush’s policy of distributing the wealth of future generations to our fat asses today. People recognize more than ever I think that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, something you learn on your first day in Economics 101. Bush’s policies have a price tag, and McCain’s have an even bigger one. Somebody has to pay for it. And if your remind people they were doing better in the 90′s paying Clinton’s tax rates, it’s a complete no-brainer.

The Republican Party simply has no case for John McCain as president. The best argument for him is that he’s only slightly less insane than the average rightwinger, but from foreign policy to economic policy, he is at odds with the public and all reason. With our nation facing some hard times ahead, putting McCain in office is by far the riskier choice.

-jb

p.s. It’s a little known fact that a paper copy of the analysis will actually burn the skin of Grover Norquist.

p.s.s. Despite my poor phrasing, these numbers are about net cost once spending and tax revenue are figured in….those numbers are basically what would be added to the deficit.

Dumbing down America just a little more.

Jul 23, 2008 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives

In a never ending race to reach new lows of stupidity and xenophobia, Patrick Ruffini thinks he’s got a hot revelation: Obama’s promotional materials for a speech in Berlin were printed in German!!!

Matthew Yglasias makes an elementary point:

Meanwhile, I understand that as a campaign tactic, contemporary conservatism’s reliance on the national security issue and contemporary conservatism’s embrace of xenophobia and insularity go together like a horse and carriage. But serious people ought to be able to understand that if you want the United States of America to play a global role, that the leading figures in shaping foreign policy shouldn’t be infected by this sort of proud ignorance of the world beyond our borders…if you have these kind of grand aspirations for America on the world stage, then you need some internationally oriented people at the top. The kind of people who, you know, don’t think it’s crazy to use the German language in Germany.

Can you imagine how strange it would sound if the German prime minister came here and there was an uproar in Germany because fliers for an appearance in New York were printed in English? Of course, being an exceptionalist wingers like Ruffini would see signs of the Third Reich’s return in Germany, whereas such a thing could never happen here.

-jb

McTrainwreck

Jul 23, 2008 in Old Man McCain, Politics, The senility of John McCain

Is this some kind of weird Phoenix strategy the Arizona Senator is pursuing, where he must first completely self-combust before rising out of the ashes? That Katie Couric interview was a humdinger, man…right after McCain’s campaign resorts to whining about the press following the hot story Obama:

Asked whether he believes he’d had unfair media coverage, McCain replied: “I don’t think so. I think …it is what it is. I’m a big boy. And I’m enjoying every minute of the campaigning. And I’m certainly not complaining. And, in fact, I think it’s fun to watch.”

Look, I know there’s frustration in the McCain camp over Obama’s hugely successful world tour, and Obama’s pwnership of the foreign policy debate, but keep it together, folks!

Piling on, Tom Tomorrow addresses the McCain phenomenon. Can railing against the New York Times keep you excited until November, Republicans?

-jb

Finally…somebody the wingers will listen to about the energy crisis.

Jul 23, 2008 in Energy, Peak Oil

The average Republican blogger (I say Republican because they are most certainly not conservatives) is unable to distinguish between hard science and politics. This is why Al Gore is frequently lampooned; because he delivers an unpopular message and was once a Democratic politician. This sort of irrational behavior is entirely predictable considering that a lot of individuals find that problems are more easily digested when they come pre-packaged as a Left versus Right issue. Hacks are also aware of this sad arrangement and will leverage a persons reflexive hatred for short term gain. Enter Larry Kudlow, the WSJ editorial board, and the throngs of other media acolytes who are anxiously looking for scapegoats and band-aid solutions.

T. Boone Pickens is a rich Texan who votes Republican. He also funded the 527s responsible for the Swift Boating of John Kerry. How’s that for Red State cred? Like Al Gore, Pickens also agrees that we can’t DRILL! DRILL! DRILL! our way out of our current energy crisis. He’s also put together a plan that could realistically transition us away from fossil fuel sources of electrical power generation to renewable sources like wind and solar. The plan has its problems but it’s remarkable in its forward thinking pragmatism. It’s also encouraging (and a relief) to know that a person the ditto-heads will listen to is getting out in front of this issue in a big way. Here’s a link to his promotional website.

-mg

Another day…

Jul 23, 2008 in Election crap, Old Man McCain, Politics

another nugget about McCain that would be a fatal deal-breaker ultimate gaffe for Obama. From his autobiography:

I didn’t decide to run for president to start a national crusade for the political reforms I believed in or to run a campaign as if it were some grand act of patriotism. In truth, I wanted to be president because it had become my ambition to be president.

And it got only worse, since McCain abandoned virtually every position he held before then to be a good and proper George W. Bush Republican candidate to keep the dittoheads calm.

-jb

McCain’s promise: Christmas every day!

Jul 22, 2008 in Clueless Conservatives, Iraq, Old Man McCain, Politics, The senility of John McCain

Every day of his campaign, that is…for Democrats…and all sane people who are tired of Bush and his party. I am so happy not to be a Republican right now:

McCain: I don’t know how you respond to something that is as — such a false depiction of what actually happened. Colonel McFarlane [phonetic] was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar Awakening. I mean, that’s just a matter of history.

History disagrees, vehemently:

The Awakening began in Anbar Province more than a year before the surge and took off in the summer and fall of 2006 in Ramadi and elsewhere, long before extra U.S. forces started flowing into Iraq in February and March of 2007.

More historical record here (PDF format).

Now for another game of “McCain: Lying, Stupid or Really Old?” How is this guy getting over 40% in the polls again?

-jb

UPDATE: CBS kindly edits out McCain’s blunder. They’re really sorry about Dan Rather.

Capitalism!

Jul 22, 2008 in Uncategorized

Here are some of the fruits of a deregulated market:

July 22 (Bloomberg) — Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s rescue package for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would probably cost taxpayers $25 billion, the Congressional Budget Office said.

“There is a significant chance — probably better than 50 percent — that the proposed new Treasury authority would not be used before it expired at the end of December 2009,” the nonpartisan agency, which provides economic and budget analysis for lawmakers, said in a report today.

It’s not capitalism when you eliminate risk from the equation.

-mg

McCain, the fluff candidate Pt. 2

Jul 21, 2008 in Old Man McCain, Politics

Feel free to take this with a grain of salt, but, to double down on my idioms, this is a lot of smoke for there to be no fire:

Here’s a list of issues that Obama has a page on and McCain doesn’t: Civil Rights, Disabilities, Faith, Family, Foreign Policy, Homeland Security, Poverty, Service, Seniors and Social Security, Technology, Urban Policy, Women. That’s a pretty striking list. Moreover, he has a page called ‘Additional Issues’ with links to plans on Arts, Child Advocacy, Katrina, Science, Sportsmen, and Transportation. Of these, only Sportsmen has a counterpart on McCain’s site. Finally, under ‘People’, you can find separate policy pages on issues relevant to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (one-pagers in six languages, a longer version in English), First Americans, Labor, Latinos, and LGBT.

That’s twenty five issues that Obama gives a page to and McCain does not. And some of them are pretty striking: Foreign Policy, Homeland Security, and Poverty are surprising absences in one way; Faith, Family, and Service in another.

McCain has three pages that Obama doesn’t, and no, one of them isn’t, “Did I mention I was in Vietnam?” One is “Judicial Philosophy,” which doesn’t really count since the only judicial philosophy on the right is that the 9th amendment doesn’t exist (so that if it isn’t explicitly listed in the Constitution then you don’t have the right to do it) and that any ruling they don’t like is to be called “judicial activism.”

Moreover, Obama’s pages are a lot more detailed than McCain’s, and they usually contain links to both to pdfs that are even more detailed and to speeches Obama has given on the topic in question. Almost none of McCain’s do. This is a pity: McCain’s speeches often contain more detailed expositions of his policy than you can find on his Issues page, and on issues like foreign policy, they are the only source of information about what he thinks. But there is no systematic way to find them.

Hilzoy says that if you squint really hard, you can discern McCain’s energy policy. Yep, and it’s called “Talking about moving forward while still beholden to Big Oil.” Krusty McClown simply isn’t up to the job, folks, and we’ve already suffered for giving a pass to the last guy who thought he could breeze through a couple terms. McCain’s only defense is that he’s unlikely to make it through two terms anyhow.

-jb

McCain: Really old or really dim? I don’t care!

Jul 21, 2008 in Old Man McCain, The senility of John McCain

After 8 years of arguing if Bush is lying or just stupid, and now we have the chance to wonder if McCain is stupid or just really old. Just what the country needs, right?

-jb

Oh, why bother reporting this anyway…

Jul 21, 2008 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Foreign Policy, Iraq, Middle East, Politics

Iraqi PM backs Obama’s plan to exit Iraq in 16 months or sooner (which McBush is moving closer to every day), Bush administration puts pressure on Maliki to back off and claim he was mistranslated. No story there!

Funnier yet, Maliki’s excuse is that it was a “mistranslation.” Is there any correction to the translation, a possible hint at what the proper translation should have been, where Der Spiegel got it wrong, etc.? Of course not. Now, ask yourself really quick, how many rightwingers do you think have already believed the mistranslation excuse?

More than you can fit on the head of a pin, for damn sure! Well, they don’t really believe it, but Spiegel changed some words tangential to the claim, so WHO CAN REALLY BELIEVE THEIR TRANSLATION ANYWAY??? I dunno, but ’tis surely a miracle of ignorance that anybody takes the rightwing noise machine seriously anymore.

The truth is this is a pretty massive event, one that McCain would try to ride until November if it swung his way. Instead, by November McBush (they are one) will try making the public believe that they’ll get troops out quicker than Obama. We’ll probably see a small troop drawdown as a panacea, but you’ll see more pressure on Iraq’s “independent” government to be loyal to the Bush administration. The only question is, why? Does Maliki think Bush can still fuck him in the next six months? If so, at least we’ve seen how Iraq feels about President Obama: peachy keen.

-jb

UPDATE: That didn’t take long!!!

“He’d like troops to come home earlier than 16 months if the conditions allow it,” said Congresswoman Heather Wilson of New Mexico, on a conference call with reporters just now. “Senator Obama has said it’s a 16-month timeline no matter what.”

Worst comeback ever. The stink of desperation exudes…

Furious competition in the Beltway!

Jul 18, 2008 in Barack Obama, Beltway-itis, Clueless Conservatives, Environment

Krauthammer says he can out-stupid Maureen Dowd!

After all, in the words of (Obama’s) own slogan, “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” which, translating the royal “we,” means: ” I am the one we’ve been waiting for.”

There’s no limit to what you can figure out about people if you change words in their sentences. This totally works, and all of you can try this at home. Watch me:

Who does (this uppity Negro) think he is?

Works wonders!

We are getting to know. Redeemer of our uninvolved, uninformed lives. Lord of the seas. And more. As he said on victory night, his rise marks the moment when “our planet began to heal.” As I recall — I’m no expert on this — Jesus practiced his healing just on the sick. Obama operates on a larger canvas.

Get it? If you want to do something for the environment, you think you’re bigger and better than Jesus. New ancient Hebrew texts, however, shed little light on Jesus’ preference for offshore drilling, but I’m sure we can work something out. Let me pretend to be a rightwinger for a few minutes here:

Let’s see, I need the offshore drilling because our candidates are high and dry without oil dollars and my opponents do so well with the public on environmental issues…and I’m completely willing to stick Jesus in the cracks of any argument I can dream up, so…

Liberal fascist socialist environmental wackos are trying to tell us our sins can be forgiven if we only embrace the light, literally, with solar power and other alternative sources of energy. Well, we aren’t sun gods anymore, we worship Jesus who dispensed with these worldly affairs and spoke of a higher kingdom, so we will toil the earth as the Bible says without fear of intervention…um…

Nah, can’t do it. Well, for the real bottom-scrapers it would do, but I started to feel my brain imploding due to the absence of shame so I had to stop. Krauthammer fears no such thing.

-jb

Let’s try an energy thread.

Jul 17, 2008 in Energy

People are clogging an unrelated post about Obama with energy talk, so let’s try an open thread.

Some points to consider:

1. In times of energy depletion, Republicans are dedicated to continuing to mangle all facts necessary to do the bidding of oil companies. Offshore drilling is pure campaign bullshittery.
2. Peak oil wasn’t supposed to happen this goddamned fast. I was talking about it a couple years ago thinking I’d have another ten years or more before the pain started to kick in. Now I’m joining America in saying, “Ouch, goddammit!”
3. Global instability and a weak dollar via massive borrowing expedited the supply crunch, so special thanks to George W. for screwing up absolutely everything possible in the critical 8 year period he was “the decider.”
4. No, it isn’t the damn liberals standing in the way of renewable clean energy.

Have at it. Those four points should get us through November!

-jb

Maureen Dowd, might you have things backwards?

Jul 17, 2008 in Barack Obama, Culture, Media, Stupidity

Collecting a check publishing drivel is the way to go, apparently. One of the dumbest pieces of Beltway mendacious tedium evah:

If Obama offers only eat-your-arugula chiding and chilly earnestness, he becomes an otherworldly type, not the regular guy he needs to be.

He’s already in danger of seeming too prissy about food…

Yes! Hey, maybe the price of your steak, bread, milk, eggs, butter, tomatoes, potatoes, etc. went up, but at least we don’t face the grave danger of a president who shops at Whole Foods!

Because if Obama gets elected and there is nothing funny about him, it won’t be the economy that’s depressed. It will be the rest of us.

Yes, because we were so lucky to have eight years of having Alfred E. Neuman for president. When I go throw $75 in my gas tank today, I can think, “At least my president is an idiot!” Or something.

While the Obama campaign should have had the good sense to realize that the New Yorker cover was actually mocking the idiots who see Barack and Michelle that way, is this really that important? Shouldn’t we, oh, I don’t know, reward comedians that can craft witty jokes instead of presidential candidates who are walking jokes?

Then again, is anything Maureen Dowd says important, except to drag our democracy down into a Homecoming King & Queen contest; to assassinate importance?

-jb

p.s. This is pretty funny though:

5) A Christian, a Jew and Barack Obama are in a rowboat in the middle of the ocean. Barack Obama says, “This joke isn’t going to work because there’s no Muslim in this boat.”

The Greeks Had a Word for It: LOL

Jul 16, 2008 in Uncategorized

Remember them big ol’ human-size flip-flop sandals some of the brain-dead brought to the ’04 GOP convention – seems to me there was a whole speech where everybody was encouraged to chant “FLIP! FLOP!” in unison? As if the most ridiculous thing a person could do would be to change position? Well, get out yer TV camera props, boys – you’re gonna need flip-flops the size of the Chrysler building to keep up with Senator McCain!
-TT

War criticism from a conservative

Jul 16, 2008 in Anti-War, Foreign Policy, Iran, Middle East

Scott Ritter:
* Former Marine captain
* Combat veteran
* Conservative Republican
* Former UN weapons inspector
* And soldier who put his life on the line defending Israel from SCUD missile attacks during Gulf War I

When he pointed out the lies of the Clinton adminstration, Scott Ritter was a media darling.
But when he stood up to the lies about weapons of mass destruction
in Iraq, he was slandered and censored.

You won’t see Scott Ritter on US news television any more,but you will see him on Brasscheck TV.

Here’s his informed message about war with Iran that’s being censored.

Brasscheck TV

-aa

Does Paying Taxes Also Count As Abortion?

Jul 16, 2008 in Uncategorized

Via David S. Cohen at the always-reliable Feminist Law Professors comes the admin’s latest attempt to fuse church with state. I do love how wingers who’re always complaining about people who think the Constitution can “say whatever you want it to mean,” etc., but are downright addicted to the plasticity of language when it suits their purposes. It’s pretty pointless to try to explain the concept of philosophical consistency to these types, because they don’t actually believe in it, and what’s worse, they think that fluidity in language and philosophical consistency cancel each other out. The bottom line is that, for all their insistence on moral grounding, they are wholly amoral: they want their way even if it means tossing morals, ethics, and standards of personal conduct out the window. Would that the God they lie about worshipping would someday judge them!
-Thomas “Voice Cryin’ in the Wilderness” Tallis

What Happens When You Sell Out Your Principles

Jul 16, 2008 in Uncategorized

I know, I know – asking a dude to not urinate on the Constitution is demanding that he turn water into wine. Evidently lots of people are just as unreasonable as me about the messy concept of having a backbone.
-TT

Classy!

Jul 16, 2008 in Uncategorized

I’m reasonably certain that an overwhelming percentage of PUMA people are Republican trolls hoping to divide the Dem base, but let me then address the phantom: you people really wanna vote for this guy?
-TT

Another friendly reminder…

Jul 16, 2008 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Iraq, Middle East, Politics, The senility of John McCain, War on Terra

If you’re into politicians with military service, John McCain might earn some points for being a good soldier, if not much of a leader. Unfortunately, he’s a bit of an outlier party-wise, as the policies he pursues are the property of chickenhawks whose party happens to be the only one he had a shot at getting the Presidential nomination from. Barack Obama, of course, didn’t enlist in the military to no national detriment as there were no wars to fight in, like John McCain, or dodge while endorsing like George W. Bush and the brains behind the Chickenhawk party. Thankfully he managed to avoid trying to compensate for his insecurities by advocating for the Iraq War, and has listened to wiser men than John McCain also experienced in war by insisting on an exit strategy and understanding that permanent bases in Iraq will not bring peace.

On that note, I love this (somewhat old) list:

* Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage, “other priorities.”
* Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
* Tom Delay: did not serve.
* Roy Blunt: did not serve.
* Bill Frist: did not serve.
* Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
* Rick Santorum: did not serve.
* Trent Lott: did not serve.
* John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
* Jeb Bush: did not serve.
* Karl Rove: did not serve.
* Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. “Bad knee.” The man who attacked Max
Cleland’s patriotism.
* Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
* Vin Weber: did not serve.
* Richard Perle: did not serve.
* Douglas Feith: did not serve.
* Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
* Richard Shelby: did not serve.
* Jon Kyl: did not serve.
* Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
* Christopher Cox: did not serve.
* Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
* Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
* George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; got assigned
to Alabama so he could campaign for family friend running for U.S. Senate;
failed to show up for required medical exam, disappeared from duty.
* Phil Gramm: did not serve.
* John McCain: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and
Distinguished Flying Cross.
* Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
* John M.. McHugh: did not serve.
* JC Watts: did not serve.
* Jack Kemp: did not serve. “Knee problem,” but continued in NFL for 8 years.
* Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
* Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
* George Pataki: did not serve.
* Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
* John Engler: did not serve.
* Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
* Arnold Schwarzenegger: Served in Austrian Army, jailed once for AWOL.
* Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non-combat role making
movies.

——————-
Pundits & Preachers, etc.
——————-

* Sean Hannity: did not serve.
* Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a ‘pilonidal cyst.’)
* Bill O’Reilly: did not serve.
* Michael Savage: did not serve.
* George Will: did not serve.
* Chris Matthews: did not serve.
* Paul Gigot: did not serve.
* Bill Bennett: did not serve.
* Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
* Bill Kristol: did not serve.
* Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
* Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
* Clarence Thomas: did not serve.
* Ralph Reed: did not serve.
* Michael Medved: did not serve.
* Charlie Daniels: did not serve.
* Ted Nugent: did not serve. (He only shoots at things that don’t shoot back.)

Click on the link to see some notable Democrats who served, but that’s not so much the point. Military experience may teach you nothing, and those who don’t have it may be very wise indeed. But clearly the nation has a lesson to learn about those with no military experience who fantasize and romanticize war, and the soldiers who get sucked into their pomp and circumstance, especially those who emerge from losing wars declaring they “know how to win wars.”

-jb

p.s. Some minute additional editing of list done to no great effect.

Some people are bigger than others.

Jul 16, 2008 in Music, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

After 25 years he is still a force of nature, uncontained, unrestrained, and deservedly so.


Morrissey, “All You Need Is Me.”

People who accuse me of thinking Obama to be the Messiah are silly, cuz the Mozzer is:P

-jb

Just another friendly reminder.

Jul 16, 2008 in Clintonitis, Clueless Conservatives, Politics, Stupidity, War on Terra

Atrios reviews the facts:

Jan 20, 2001 Bush Inaugurated
Jan 25, 2001 Richard Clarke sends Condi Rice memo, warning about al Qaeda. Rice does nothing.
August 6, 2001 Bush gets memo titled “Bin Laden Determined to strike in US.” Bush responds by telling the briefer, “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.” Then does nothing.
September 11, 2001 Bin Laden strikes in US.

I’m going to sit here now and wait for the next winger to tell us how it was Clinton’s fault. I wonder if they’ll agree that Obama gets his first year off without having to bother defending the country…

-jb

A grain of truth would have done…

Jul 15, 2008 in Economy

Not a boulder. Today’s times are nearing self-parody:

WASHINGTON—A panel of top business leaders testified before Congress about the worsening recession Monday, demanding the government provide Americans with a new irresponsible and largely illusory economic bubble in which to invest.

“What America needs right now is not more talk and long-term strategy, but a concrete way to create more imaginary wealth in the very immediate future,” said Thomas Jenkins, CFO of the Boston-area Jenkins Financial Group, a bubble-based investment firm. “We are in a crisis, and that crisis demands an unviable short-term solution.”

Solutions abound!

Current bubbles being considered include the handheld electronics bubble, the undersea-mining-rights bubble, and the decorative office-plant bubble. Additional options include speculative trading in fairy dust—which lobbyists point out has the advantage of being an entirely imaginary commodity to begin with—and a bubble based around a hypothetical, to-be-determined product called “widgets.”

The most support thus far has gone toward the so-called paper bubble. In this appealing scenario, various privately issued pieces of paper, backed by government tax incentives but entirely worthless, would temporarily be given grossly inflated artificial values and sold to unsuspecting stockholders by greedy and unscrupulous entrepreneurs.

“Little pieces of paper are the next big thing,” speculator Joanna Nadir, of Falls Church, VA said. “Just keep telling yourself that. If enough people can be talked into thinking it’s legitimate, it will become temporarily true.”

Kunstler says, “We are a Wile E. Coyote nation.”

George W. Bush’s name will connote the same in history. He will be remembered as the ultimate representation of the folly America undertook. Indeed, of every folly.

-jb

Democrats & Republicans Find Common Ground In Not Understanding Satire

Jul 14, 2008 in Uncategorized

Thomas Tallis does not comment on matters involving automotive repair, because he has never really understood that kinda thing. Ditto quantum theory. Democrats and Republicans so starved to be outraged that they can’t parse a really, really simple bit of satire should stfu with a quickness. It’s OK if you don’t know how to read an image. Lots of people have zero familiarity with Sontag and they get by just fine. It’s when they try to weigh in on concepts they don’t get that they make themselves look like dumbasses. Unfortunately and as usual, both candidates have consented to appear culturally illiterate on this one, in the hopes of appearing to take the high ground. Way to elevate your campaigns there, you schmucks, both of youse.

If anybody needs Thomas Tallis, he is over by the 12-packs.
-TT

Tales of Doom

Jul 13, 2008 in Uncategorized

Crazy moonbat liberal Matt Simmons lays the smack down re; Peak Oil:

He’s correct. The majority are looking to point fingers when they should be contemplating solutions. He also raises the chilling prospect of spot shortages.

So where does your food come from?

-mg

Tony Snow, early departer.

Jul 12, 2008 in In Memorium, tony snow

We are all born, and at some point we die; brackets that enclose our lives, a vice that ever tightens. Tony had a chance to see Death coming for him and make his peace, and end I would want rather than a sudden interruption like Tim Russert’s.

Then again, I see it always coming for me, something I have avoided at least twice not counting various moments driving.

Death truly does lurk in our peripheral vision every day, frightening deeply when looked upon directly. It has no feelings, it discriminates against none.

Our bodies are imperfect devices for accessing this world. The fear that they are the only option for existence is more than most people can bear. While safeguarding against death is a matter of daily prudence, we wish to live and speak as if we were eternal, or perhaps to attain the quality of enduring. I wrote six screenplays (and started a seventh…) with the intention to make a certain kind of mark on the world not quickly forgotten, and while writing on an obscure blog steeped in the muck of the world is certainly less than I’d hoped for, there is always that bit of satisfaction that it would leave something of me behind for a little while longer were today my last. At least if somebody wanted to see more than a picture of my face or hear more than the kind words of loved ones, there would be that (as long as Mike G. keeps paying for the server…).

Whatever one thinks of Tony Snow’s life and what he chose to spend it doing and saying, one should note the common motivations, and the fate we all share.

-jb

Video/Question of the Day

Jul 10, 2008 in Music, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

How did Mary Timony ever avoid becoming an international sex symbol?


Helium, “Superball”

-jb

What would Brian Boitano do?

Jul 10, 2008 in Christian Right

Pretty sure Jesus wouldn’t approve of this either…

Two years ago on Thanksgiving Day, after refusing to pray at his table, Hall said he was told to go sit somewhere else. In another incident, when he was nearly killed during an attack on his Humvee, he said another soldier asked him, “Do you believe in Jesus now?”

Hall isn’t seeking compensation in his lawsuit — just the guarantee of religious freedom in the military. Eventually, Hall was sent home early from Iraq and later returned to Fort Riley in Junction City, Kansas, to complete his tour of duty.

He also said he missed out on promotions because he is an atheist.

“I was told because I can’t put my personal beliefs aside and pray with troops I wouldn’t make a good leader,” Hall said.

Michael Weinstein, a retired senior Air Force officer and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, is suing along with Hall. Weinstein said he’s been contacted by more than 8,000 members of the military, almost all of them complaining of pressure to embrace evangelical Christianity.

As most should know, thisispretty old news.

While there’s certainly little reason that Christian belief should prohibit one from joining the military (although Christianity might lead one to rethink a military industrial complex and jingoism run wild), one has to wonder why people who feel so strongly about Christianity translate that into such un-Christlike behavior. It’s lose-lose, pissing on Jesus and the Constitution at the same time.

-jb

Tha’s deep, dawg…

Jul 09, 2008 in Barack Obama, Disappointing Dems

This should spin your cerebellum a 360 or two…

…it does not seem obvious to me that a politician who changes public positions has less “character” than one who avoids changing positions long after the evidence has turned against him merely to avoid the appearance of being a softie. One kind of politician panders to the public’s appetite for particular policy positions. The other panders to the public’s appetite for politicians who can avoid the appearance of pandering.

Still, a middle (or high) ground does exist. This is a democracy, and a representative one at that, and when we have small men who want to be tyrants like George W., who strut and preen about how tough and consistent they are while blundering everything they touch, nobody is served. We do elect politicians to represent the people, but we want leaders to inspire the people to do better. And while Barack Obama has succeeded in presenting enough of his thoughts for us to see that he isn’t by nature a down-the-line liberal, the passage of the FISA bill today was a missed opportunity to lead.

Our people may gradually continue to find the Constitution more and more quaint each year. That puts pressure on politicians, but if they cannot convey the importance of the Constitution to the people, then they are violating their oath of office and succumbing to political Gomorrah. The GOP is already a lost cause for anybody with a libertarian bone in their body (unless you’re a single-voter issue on guns…and if you are, my, aren’t you the brilliant one?), but the Democrats are on life-support right now. It is now incumbent upon the people to lead.

-jb

Always the last to know.

Jul 08, 2008 in Uncategorized

What with Thomas Tallis salting the earth and Sharon bustin’ our nuts weekly (actually, not this week…she must be in a coma or something) we need a little humor around here.

I was met with great sadness this eighth of July, two thousand and eight. It appears that the creator of some of my favorite videos has been banned from YouTube. St. Sanders produced parody videos that featured some of the great guitar players of the world over-dubbed with comically amateurish playing. It was original comic genius that worked on a great many levels and for his sins he was banished. Regardless of those humorless fucks at YouTube his fans carry on his work:

You can find the bulk of his work here.

-mg

Dissent on Obama.

Jul 05, 2008 in Barack Obama, Uncategorized

One thing about the FISA issue that made me take some time to think about it is the nonplussed reactions I’ve seen from independents who revere the Constitution but seem essentially okay with the compromise, like Andrew Sullivan. Sullivan, who has certainly not impugned the arguments of Glenn Greenwald and has given them some air, finds relief that a Democratic candidate is playing to win and sees power in Obama switching gears of his own accord rather than in reaction to Republicans, rendering them even more impotent. I find that a pretty dry, hard piece of bread to swallow considering Obama didn’t plan the timing of the FISA vote, and the whole thing is a capitulation to basic premises devised by the Bush administration. So I’m still working to understand Sullivan’s position. To me, the simplest argument would be, “Let’s save this battle for later, when we have a Democratic president and Congress working together.” It has some strategic merit but it’s completely useless against people who have already decided Obama is some devious lying carnival huckster, and I can’t say it often enough that this was a stand that would have helped Obama more than it would have hurt him. I’m not yet convinced it’s good strategy.

But Sullivan sees only cleverness and concludes that it’s overly dramatic to run around with one’s head cut off unable to ever be sure where Obama stands:

He wants withdrawal from Iraq as prudently as possible. That this might take longer than sixteen months, even though that is the goal, is Bush’s fault, not Obama’s. Yes, he does want to expand access to private healthcare, engage Iran with more than bluster, raise taxes on the successful, pass immigration reform, end torture, and restore America’s moral reputation in the world. And he intends to do it without acting like a rigid, purist ideologue, of the kind Krauthammer admires and of the kind that has driven us into a ditch in Iraq. His adjustments in the post-primary campaign take the hard edges off his clear policy positions, defuse some obvious weaknesses, move aggressively to the center … and use his money advantage to win the thing. Er: he’s a skilled politician. I know the Republicans are used to Democratic candidates being knocked about and defined and pummeled from the get-go. But Obama is different. Hadn’t you noticed that yet?

I think Obama needs to continue to work to assuage people’s concerns about his adjustments. I look at that list and I can believe in most, but I wonder if Obama wouldn’t decide next week to make some concessions on torture.

I don’t know. But what I can rest assured of is that Republican nitwits who think they have some advantage because Obama is pissing off some liberals need to keep in mind the flip-flopper unhesitant liar they’re running, and the piece of shit idiot they think was the greatest president ever for the past 8 years. Liberals just felt like we were going to get a president custom-made to order, and while some of us may throw bigger tantrums than others, I’ll say it again: Barack Obama is still positioned to be the greatest president of my lifetime. And despite some election game playing, I think he will be the most effective progressive since LBJ. All while trying to fix what Bush broke, which would be only slightly easier for Obama than trying to do all that while having a pitbull chewing his balls off.

-jb

Barack Obama on the FISA compromise.

Jul 04, 2008 in Uncategorized

Found here.

So let’s be straight here. Obama’s vote to strip telecom immunity from the bill is undercut by his overall support for the bill. His explanation of how the bill does kinda sorta maybe offer some accountability is generalized and weak. His talk of how he’s “happy” to take his lumps for it, and how if you find it a dealbreaker, that’s “OK,” sounds dangerously complacent. The buried suggestion that it’s okay if the NSA has a bank of computers sorting through anything we write on the internet or say on our phones 24/7 because it’s only an algorithm doing the frisking must be aired fully, and the skipping over of the constitutionality of the law is fairly transparent.

But then there’s this bit:

For the truth is that your organizing, your activism and your passion is an important reason why this bill is better than previous versions.

As in, the real reason the FISA “compromise” is happening is because only a small part of America is interested, outraged about corporate immunity for fascism and defensive about the Constitution. That group is matched by another small part of America that is dedicated to free public relations for corporations, unfettered executive power and pulling a train on the Constitution in the name of saving the country (as anybody going after the Constitution would). They have a political machine they’ve spent years tailoring to their most radical, whereas ours is gunshy, afraid of its base and its own shadow to boot. Democrats have been ingrained to act that way because voters in the middle don’t pay attention and will readily punish them over vague perceptions and surface-deep innuendo. They may appear recovered from the mindless slaughter of the 2002 and 2004 elections, but they sense only the tiniest amount of slack. Yes, we are supposed to believe the future can be different.

But no, we can not expect one politician to do it for us alone. While Democrats argue and split, the Republicans vote near unanimously, knowing that their base has already made a Faustian deal to sacrifice liberty for an illusion of safety. Even when they sense themselves losing scores of elections in November, few see a way forward without keeping the base happy. In fact they sense that if they keep at their game, they may still be rewarded with at least the presidency. It’s a weak hope, but the ability of Democrats to blanch with fear of being seen on the wrong side of a security issue is the ace up their sleeve.

Now one can and should argue that fearlessness from Democrats at this point is precisely what will undo this cycle. Stop being a politician, be a believer, and good works shall follow.

But in the end, we’re asking our representatives to make the first move, while the American people get a free pass for slumbering through or wildly cheering the systematic dismantling of the Constitution. If we were being responsible, the politicians would have different ideas of what positions are “safe.”

Barack Obama promised to not be one of those “leaders” who ran up to the opposition pre-emptively surrendering, yet on this issue (and the unconstitutional shell game known as funding of faith-based programs), he appears to be doing exactly that. Even worse, he’s ceding territory where all indications point to him not needing to. Isn’t the gap in public opinion indicative that Obama could safely oppose this bill, if he simply stood up for himself in doing so? Or does public apathy/enthusiasm pitted against stopping the FISA bill create a danger zone that could trap Obama under heavy fire? Defending the Constitution should create overwhelming majorities, yet today it registers below the radar.

Yet he says to us that this bill is not as bad as it could have been because of us. We are to feel a sense of accomplishment, but this also means that it is as bad as it is because of us. We can call our politicians cowards, but we are, as a nation, not clear that we want them to be otherwise.

On that point, he is painfully correct.

There is no bright side here, save that continued vigilance will find more purchase in an Obama administration than it can ever hope for under McCain.

-jb

The stupid will never stop.

Jul 03, 2008 in Uncategorized

The treatment of Democrat presidential candidates in four steps:

1. WaPo (or some other MSM outlet) tries to manufacture a scandal, in today’s case it’s about Obama getting a better mortgage rate than the average.
2. Rightwingers drool and sputter over teh mega-scandal.
3. People with functioning brains come along and, in this case, note the definition of the word AVERAGE affirming yet again that the world’s most powerful nation is buffeted daily by the oral flatulence of malignant buffoons.
4. The story dies in the MSM eventually with no admissions of wrongdoing, while it becomes official rightwinger canon forever.

-jb

This post don’t have no name.

Jul 02, 2008 in Uncategorized

People whose stupidity is so advanced that they think of the scientific method as a liberal plot to deprive them of their faith in God are generally not worth engaging; the reason you don’t feed trolls is that they just get fatter, and these guys are trolls. The whole project is rooted in the far right’s recent, very hilarious crush on some entry-level postmodernism; some of them like to argue that any presentation of data is inherently biased, depending on the ideology of the presenter. The heavy irony in this is, of course, that it’s college-level crude readings of Marxist literary theory that bequeathed us this notion of dismissing something by uncovering its ideology. (Specifically, this dude laid the groundwork, though he had a rather deeper understanding of the whole process than “LOL you’re biased!”)

This unwieldy business is all by way of saying LOL, you’re an idiot to the always-good-for-some-laughs fellers over there on the fringes of the far right, who have this idea that any presentation of data that doesn’t shore up their hypotheses must be 1) driven by “an agenda”; 2) deliberately falsified, and/or 3) incomplete, for reasons attributable to (though never provably so) the “agenda” ascribed in 1). There are two reasons why one should never bother getting into it with dudes like these, and they boil down to “they don’t have the intellectual courage to admit they’re wrong” and “they believe in attrition (def. 3) as rhetorical tactic par excellence.” (I know everybody already knows what attrition means, but I like to have my definitions out on the table.) Here, they keep asking for “raw data,” either unable or unwilling to grasp the concept that a peer-reviewed scientific study counts as raw data. Huge, huge lulz to be had, if you can stomach them. But how would I know whether there are lulz, anyway? Easy: I’ve seen the data.
-TT

UPDATE: Non-title by jb