Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rudolph Giuliani, the Pavlov's Dog of candidates.

Get asked an embarrassing question, blurt out something to do with 9/11. All the time. Lather, rinse, repeat. 9/11. 9/11.

This is from The Democratic Party web page, via Firedoglake.

Giuliani also addressed a cell phone call he took from his wife, Judith, last week during his speech to the National Rifle Association...

"And quite honestly, since Sept. 11, most of the time when we get on a plane, we talk to each other and just reaffirm the fact that we love each other," he said.

Uh, huh….. That’s pretty rich, but unsurprising, since Rudy brings up 9/11 for every single thing that he stands for, even for unfettered personal ownership of handguns. Like that would have stopped the 9/11 hijackers, unless everyone on those planes was armed.

But what is very amusing about Rudy’s statement above is that he wasn’t even married to his current wife on September 11, 2001! So, how stupid does his statement above look when cast in that light?

Really, really stupid. But these people don’t care. All they care about is trying to scare the crap out of every single American so they can either get or retain as much power as they can. And they know that the national media isn’t going to grab one of their gaffs, like they did John Edwards’ $400 haircut, and make hay with it. So, they feel free to pound away with the only hammer they have. This kind of stuff should make most people slink away in complete humiliation, never to be heard of again. But not Republicans. They thrive on this kind of crap.

I wonder if this country is every going to get back our moral focus ever again. Because it sure doesn’t look like it now.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

“Liberal Press”, indeed.

O.K., a congresswoman who was on Dan Abrams’ show on MSNBC brought some pressure on the network and ultimately made Dan apologize for asking a “gotcha” kind of question when she was on his show blathering about how disgraceful the ad was. So, Dan had to apologize.

On the other side of the coin, that is pretty much how the entire press operates when it comes to the Democrats. Make issues out of nothing (such as John Edwards’ haircut and the ad) or try to nail Democrats at every turn (such as Tim Pumpkinhead Russert at the Democratic debate the other day when he threw in a loaded question in specifically to try to make Ms. Clinton look foolish). That’s O.K. As is Rush Limbaugh insulting soldiers who disagree with the war. Now, it’s his show, he can say what he wants on it. But expect for a few outlets like Keith Olbermann on MSNBC and McClatchy newspapers, everyone is silent on that. It’s fine to condemn the ad, but Rush Limbaugh gets a pass. It’s apparently fine to speculate Edwards is a “phony” in the national media because he paid a lot of money for a haircut, but all the right-wingers that act like insane people get a pass. And then, to make matters worse, Limbaugh goes on his show and then pretty much denies that he ever said any such thing, even though it is all over the web right now.

These people don’t even care they are so transparently biased and hypocritical.

And please note that one of those links is from a newspaper in Malaysia. I couldn’t even find a link to Tim Russert’s loaded question in any U.S. papers.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Important things that have happened and then vanished from public consciousness.

Invasion of Iraq on false pretenses.

Major bridge in Minneapolis collapses.

Neglect of American military veterans at Walter Reed hospital.

Virginia Tech.


Scooter Libby found guilty but subsequently had his punishment lifted.

U.S. Attorneys fired for not properly pursuing Karl Rove’s political agenda.

The politicization of the Department of Justice and many other supposedly non-partisan government agencies.

On the up side, everyone can tune in to watch the new adventures of The Bionic Woman.

More stuff from

This time about Dan Rather’s suit against CBS and how CBS tried to squelch the entire story about Bush not serving his time in the Texas Air National Guard. It is all but certain that Bush never did fulfill his obligations, yet he was given an honorable discharge.

I get madder and madder every time crap like this comes to light, that never gets any national attention. I am close to coming to the conclusion that about 70% of this country is crooked, on the take or have some other motivation other than to tell the truth. And 100% of those who control the national discourse. Well, 98%, when you subtract Keith Olbermann from the mix. I have no idea how that man still has a job at MSNBC, subset of mega-corporation GE. “We bring good things to light…” Not.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Wit and Wisdom of The Manchurian Candidate, as applied to the administration of George W. Bush.

Thanks, IMDB.

Marco: Intelligence officer. Stupidity officer is more like it. Pentagon wants to open a Stupidity Division, they know who they can get to lead it.

Raymond Shaw: There are two kinds of people in this world: Those that enter a room and turn the television set on, and those that enter a room and turn the television set off.

Marco: It's not that Raymond Shaw is hard to like. He's IMPOSSIBLE to like!

[a general greets Medal of Honor winner Staff Sgt. Raymond Shaw on his return to the U.S]
General: Congratulations, son. How do you feel?
Raymond Shaw: Like Captain Idiot in Astounding Science comics.

Raymond Shaw: It's a terrible thing to hate your mother. But I didn't always hate her. When I was a child, I only kind of disliked her.

Mrs. Iselin: Oh, Raymond, what is the matter with you? You look as if your head were going to come to a point in the next thirteen seconds.

Bennett Marco: You Arabic?
Eugenie Rose Chaney: No.

Marco: [covering the microphones] Mister Secretary, I'm kind of new at this job, but I don't think it's good public relations to speak that way to a US Senator, even if he is an idiot.

Mrs. Iselin: [to her husband] I keep telling you not to think! You're very, very good at a great many things, but thinking, hon', just simply isn't one of them.

Here it is, my long-awaited, fer-real endorsements for presidential nominees, for both parties.

Knowing that this might well tip the balance-of-powers-that-be, I wanted to put sincere and thorough consideration into this. Like, during lunchtime.

My choice for the Democratic nomination is, shall we say, iffy. I think Hillary would make a dynamite POTUS, which wouldn’t be difficult, given who she would be compared to from the last 30 years. I was lucky enough to get a chance to hear her speak about three years ago. She is a dynamic speaker. It’s hard not to get carried away. I would like to go with her. But, I am a bit nervous about that “Hillary as Satan” thing that she has going with some demented evangelicals. I am afraid, by nominating Ms. Clinton, the Dems would guarantee a very large Republican turnout at the polls. However, given that the Democratic nominee is probably going to be either black or female, it is pretty much a given that those thirty-percenters that still think Georgie is a god, or at least a demigod, will be highly motivated to show up and vote AGAINST the person that actually ends up on the Democratic ticket.

Now, in all actuality, I like John Edwards. I like his emphasis on the “Two Americas”. That is the truth, and it is nice to see someone keep banging away on the subject. But, unfortunately, I just don’t think John is going to make it. He would have to get off to a rousing start in the initial primaries, which is possible. But I just don’t think that he can counter Ms. Clinton’s name recognition, charisma, and money.

Barak Obama…. You know, I just don’t know that much about him. I have absolutely nothing against a black man or woman becoming president. I think either of those things would be a very good thing in the history of this country. It would be like Jackie Robinson playing for the Dodgers, raised to the nth degree. The thing that I have a bit of a problem with Obama is not race, but youth and inexperience. He does seem a bit green, no pun intended. Not that it might matter much. John Kennedy was pretty green as well, and he was a very good president at a very difficult time. So, Mr. Obama might end up being a very good president, given the chance. I am just not sure he is going to get that chance.

Therefore, I am going to go with Ms. Clinton. As stated earlier, I think she would be a very good president. She would certainly have her weaknesses, but doesn’t everyone? I also think it would be a total hoot if she were to be able to reconcile her differences on the campaign trail with Mr. Obama and nominate him for VP. Now, THAT would be a ticket, a woman and a black man. It would be great fun to see the heads explode of all the followers of Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. Rather like a mass screening of Scanners.

On the Republican side, I really have a hard time of imagining anyone of those currently running making any sort of a decent president. Now, the entire equation might be being fogged up due to the fact that they all are pandering to the extreme right of the party, whose influence dominates the primaries. Once the nominee gets past those, maybe, just maybe, he would start sounding like a real, sane person again and not like some neo-con war-bot, as they will have to then appeal to a much broader spectrum of voters. It just appears to me that none of the frontrunners have shown themselves to have any sort of principles. They will say anything to pander to that right wing base of the party, just so they can secure the nomination. John McCain is no longer an Episcopalian. He is now a Baptist. It isn’t terribly clear when that happened. Giuliani is now for everything the NRA stands for, expect that he wasn’t when he was mayor of NYC. And Mitt, geez…. Pro-gay, anti-gay, pro-life, pro-choice... Who knows? Fred Thompson hasn’t said anything of substance about ANYTHING yet, so who knows what the heck he would be like. We do know that he has the ability to procure one mighty fine red pickup truck, when necessary. Otherwise, he drives a big honkin’ SUV, like most other rich, white Republicans.

I guess I would like to go with John McCain, even though he is nothing like the person that used to be associated with the “Straight Talk Express”. Maybe, after the primaries, he would start acting like a real person again. In the past, he hasn’t been hesitant to criticize his own party. But his pro-war zeal makes me very nervous. We would probably be in Iraq in greater numbers than we are now for the foreseeable future, if he were to win. But he does say some good things about some subjects, such as torturing political prisoners who have not been charged with anything.

I really hope the Republican nominee is not Rudy Giuliani. He is popular enough that he might actually have a chance of winning, and he also seems to be a certifiable nutjob. No one in NYC who knows anything about him seems to like him, at all. That would be a very scary proposition. I might actually consider that move to Canada I had been joking about four years earlier.

Truthfully, I wish we could somehow end up with Al Gore as president. But that is never going to happen for a multitude of reasons. So, I am thinking out best chance of extracting ourselves out of this absolute mess that we are currently in would be with President Hillary Clinton.

There. Got that out of the way. What’s next on the agenda? Oh, yeah…. My endorsement for the best automatic dishwasher detergent. I’ll have to give that sincere and deep consideration....

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I originally wasn’t going to post this fake picture, I found it so disgusting. However, I decided that it is an attention getter, if anyone is out there still checking out this blog, and it also demonstrates perfectly the perfidy at work these days in the true-believer pro-war , pro-Bush conservatives of this country.

You can click on this link to go see the entire post at Sadly, No!, which is where I got this photo.

Here is the basic setup. There was an anti-war march in Washington D.C. recently. Lots of people were there, representing many groups, one of which is called Code Pink, a group of anti-war lesbians. Boy, if that isn’t enough to get the right’s collective knickers in a bunch, I don’t know what is. Lesbians AND anti-war! Mustn’t let that go unchallenged!

So, at the website of an obnoxious pro-war group called a Gathering of Eagles (this is the same group whose members just beat up the father of a young soldier who had been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, because he was using his son’s picture during his protest). On their website, they had posted (which has since been removed without explanation) a photoshopped picture of a group of Code Pink ladies with pink umbrellas and holding a big pink sign that says, in this photo, “We Support The Murder Of The American Troops!” And, of course, this got picked up by lots of conservative, pro-war bloggers and the right wingers went nuts. The outrage, according to the post at Sadly, No!, went on even after the photo had been shown to be faked.

I just cannot believe several things about this whole incident. The first is, of course, that anyone would stoop this low in order to try to manufacture outrage at their “enemies”. They can’t even come up with a coherent, convincing rational for their own position on the war, so they feel they have no alternative but to try to make their opponents into unfeeling monsters that are actively advocating murder of Americans. That established, they can then beat their collective chests with self-righteous anger about how inhuman the anti-war people are. They get to avoid the illogic of their own position, since they are so focused on someone else’s, even though it turns out to be totally without merit.

The dishonesty behind this action is absolutely breathtaking. I wouldn’t expect that kind of action out of a vindictive 10 year old. Well, maybe, but I would certainly hope for better. Adults, no. Adults should not act like this.

The second thing that amazes me is how many people actually believed this photo was the real thing. All these people desperately wanted to believe this photo was legit, as it would validate all their hatred at anti-war groups and lesbians, so much so that they didn’t even stop to ask some questions that would immediately come to mind in any sort of self-aware primate. For instance, aren’t anti-war people the ones who want our troops to come home SO THEY WON’T GET SHOT AT, BLOWN UP AND KILLED? Isn’t that kind of the point of being against the war? Who, in their right mind, would openly advocated the murder of our brave troops? That’s beyond insane. Isn’t “wanting our troops out of harm’s way” and “murdering our troops” rather at odds with each other?

However, logic is not something that is driving the political discourse on the extreme right these days. No, these nuts are searching for something, anything that will validate their own beliefs, no matter how ridiculous. So, they grab onto this kind of insanity. When this fraud was exposed, at least one conservative blogger, Rick Moran, kept a firm grasp on his conviction that Code Pink really does hold those feelings toward our troops, even if the photo happened to be a fake.

Again, from Sadly, No!, I give you Rick Moran:

Then again, what does it say about Code Pink that I saw no reason why they couldn’t have marched down the street with such a sign? Seemed real to me as I’m sure it did to many readers.

I would say that this is entirely the wrong question, Rick. The question is not what your predetermined beliefs say about Code Pink. It is what your predetermined beliefs say about YOU! You and all the people like you.

These people are beyond disgusting.

I’ve been reading Sidney Blumenthal at

We are SOOOOO screwed.....

(The clickthrough will take you to a short advertisement, then you get a site pass to Salon for an entire day. It’s pretty harmless.)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Republicans will try anything to win.

They know they have very, very little chance of winning the next presidental election, as things stand now. So, they are going to try to game the system. They have tried "voter fraud" as a way of supressing minority voting, which usually goes the way of the Democrats. That is a Karl Rove special. But that didn't work all that well in the 2006 elections. So, here is the latest thing they are trying.

There may be a ballot initiative in California , if it makes it on the ballot and then it passes, that would split the state's electoral votes along the percentage of ballots cast for each party. Yes, on the surface, that sounds "fair", I suppose. But no other state is going to do that. Every other state is a "winner take all" affair. This is just a ploy that is designed to siphon off electoral votes from the Dems and give it to the Republicans. It means giving the Republicans, without doing a single other thing, the electoral votes of a state the size of Ohio. The Dems would HAVE TO win Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania to counteract this.

This is fair? I am certain that the Rethugs would not have wanted to split the electoral votes from Florida in 2000 or Ohio in 2004. Either of those things would have given the presidential election to the Democrats. But no, this is just something that they will try in order to win. They know they can’t win on their abysmal record of the Iraq war, Katrina, race relations, the economy, etc. So, they must cheat. That is what this is, cheating. Make no mistake about it. This is a desperate, last minute ploy to rescue the Rethugs from an overwhelming defeat. The only positive thing about it that is out in the open and that we have the time to educate the voters in California about what is really going on.

I hope that the Dems will come out and hit this hard. I have heard lots and lots of silence about this up to now. They better not just let this slide and then complain about it later, a la John Kerry, after the Democratic nominee loses.

marcel marceau has passed away

I suppose, in his honor, I won't say anything.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The major hurdle facing the industrialized world in the next thirty years.

The major challenge, if not an outright hazard, to the industrialized nations of the world in the next thirty years is not going to be global climate change. Oh, that is surely going to be a very significant issue. But my bet is on the depletion of cheap energy sources, primarily oil, but perhaps also coal and hydroelectric as well. Our entire economic infrastructure is based on the existence of very cheap, readily available energy on which our entire economic engine is based. If you make energy into a very high priced, relatively scarce commodity that causes conflict between regions, states, or countries, and you have the makings of a global upheaval.

I, for one, do not want to see wars being overtly fought for control of oilfields. We are getting rather close to that scenario right now in Iraq. If we have regional conflicts that are exclusively about who gets the oil, then there will be some major-league players that will become involved. China, Russia, Japan and Europe are not about to sit still and let the United States gain control of foreign oil fields in the Middle East, Africa or South America. The U.S. could find itself at odds with countries that we now think of as allies. If it became a free-for-all, where each country was out to solely protect its own interests, then there could be a war that has never been seen before. It would not be the Red Team vs. the Blue Team. It could possibly be a war on many fronts involving many different nations, none aligned with any of the others.

If I were president, I would make finding some energy alternatives a national priority. It should be on the order of a 21st Century Manhattan Project. If we, as a global society, are to maintain any sort of structured civilization, we need to do something about this problem in the next twenty years.

More of that “unintended results” stuff, this time in our favor.

This is from T Rex at FireDogLake.

Dear MoveOn member,

Yesterday, an amazing thing happened. After the Senate’s shameful vote, and after President Bush called MoveOn “disgusting,”1 our email started to fill up with messages like this one:

"I’m currently in Iraq. I do not agree with this war, and if I did support this war, it would not matter. You have the RIGHT to speak the truth. We KNOW that you support us. Thank you for speaking out for being our voice. We do not have a voice. We are overshooted by those who say that we soldiers do not support organizations like MoveOn. WE DO.

YOU ARE OUR voice."

And then came the donations. By midnight, over 12,000 people had donated $500,000—more than we’ve raised any day this year—for our new ad calling out the Republicans who blocked adequate rest for troops headed back to Iraq.

The message from MoveOn members was loud and clear: Don’t back down. Take the fight back to the issues that matter.

That’s very nice of President Bush to make such an effort to bring the anti-war forces such visibility.

Friday, September 21, 2007

We do live in a Kafka-esque world.

The Senate just voted, twice, to condemn the ad from, which played a bad pun on a name, calling General Petraeus, “General Be-tray-us”. But the Senate could not summon the votes to vote for either the restoration of habeas corpus or making the military follow their own rules about allowing military personnel just as much time at home as their have when stationed overseas. No, that was apparently just to much to ask or to even expect.

After everything that has gone on in this country for the last six years, the Senate votes to condemn a newspaper ad. John Kerry being called everything from a liar, a coward and a traitor in the last presidential election was O.K. A newspaper ad is over-the-line. And that still didn’t stop Bush from taking a staged question at his press conference to blast away at the Democrats anyway.

I am having a hard time writing about anything these days. Does anything actually make sense anymore? It’s difficult to summon up the indignation and energy to write about something seems to be totally without logic at its heart. I might as well write a post complaining about black holes.

I do wonder if historians 30 or 40 years from now are going to be able to sort this all out. Our current crop are not doing a very good job of it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Imaginary conversations with my very conservative brother.

I always have imaginary arguments with people, usually ones that I am very upset with at that time. I always allow myself the maximum of righteous anger over a point on which I have the ultimate high-road position. Plus, since this is all imaginary, I also allow myself the ability to put together narratives and arguments of which Clarence Darrow would be proud. And I sound a bit like Orson Wells.

I have been in the holding pattern of various degrees of annoyance at my oldest brother. I sort of place him in the last of the 50’s generation. Cars are his passion, conservative are his politics. He went into the army during the height of the Vietnam war and somehow found himself stationed along the DMZ in South Korea. Therefore, although he was in Vietnam for a short period of time, he did miss most of the bloodshed that went along with the rest of his generation. He and my next to oldest brother, who was of the 60’s “hippy generation”, still don’t get along very well at all. That is an oil and water family situation if I have ever seen one.

He now says that the Army instilled discipline in his life and would not change a thing in his life. It is no surprise, I suppose, that he views the current political situation as do many ex-military types. He hated and still hates, I suppose, Bill Clinton and liberals, and believes that Democrats are about as dangerous as any terrorist might be.

In my imaginary arguments, I am always able to blast away into infinitely small bits any point he raises about how the war in Iraq is a good thing, or that George Bush is doing a good job. I am always able to take every single thing that I have read or heard from the progressive blogs and Keith Olbermann in the last four years and wrap it up into a concise and devastating argument that leaves absolutely no room for rebuttal. Any attempt to do so on his part looks amazingly foolish. I leave the fray victorious, not in the fact that I changed his mind on any of the subjects he holds so dear but on making him realize the absolute nonsense upon which he has built his belief system.

Of course, this points out several psychological points about me. One is that I am great when it comes to making imaginary arguments but pretty crummy about actually coming out and saying exactly what I think, especially to family, damn the consequences. Secondly, I still haven’t gotten over the older brother/younger brother dynamic, even though I am in my 50’s and he is in his 60’s. Like that time when I was about 10 and we were throwing a baseball. I missed the ball and got plunked. I immediately ran into the house, crying, while he stood there, calling me a pansy. O.K., there is still that millstone hanging around my neck, I suppose.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Speaking of "West Side Story" and zombies.....

Sorry, I don't have the ability to embed a You Tube at my blog with my computer. Every time I try, it bombs the web browser.

Here’s a metaphor that I hadn’t thought of before.

Jane Smiley, at HuffPo:

The Republican Party now seems to work like a gang, in which the most valued qualities in members are loyalty to the gang and the leader, obedience to authority, and violence toward outsiders. The gang is constantly having to prove its dominance, and so candidates for leadership vie with one another for the most tyrannical or violent rhetoric, rhetoric which simultaneously demonizes those who don't accept the authority of the gang and the leader and removes all rules and laws for the gang and the leader. No one is exempt from the wrath of the gang. In this case, the Republican party has now separated itself fairly clearly from the general American population, and as Americans support it less, they come to seem to the Republicans to be more and more the enemy. The far away enemy is one thing, in terms of threat (think Al Qaeda, Shiites, Sunnis) but the enemy close at hand is more threatening because their enmity is seen as a "betrayal."

Well, what more needs to be said about that? The Republican party now resembles The Sopranos. Or "On The Waterfront". Or "West Side Story"....

More of the same: Attack anyone who disagrees with the Republican party.

This is apparently true, even if the person happens to be a soldier in the U.S. Army, and was just killed in Iraq. That has absolutely no bearing on the discussion. As George Bush famously said, “Either you’re with us, or you’re against us.” We just didn’t know to what lengths people would take that statement.

This is from MyDD, via KargoX at Daily Kos.

Montana Republicans Says Dead Soldier Too Stupid to Write NYT Op-Ed (Left in the West)

Sgt. Yance Gray hailed originally from Ismay, Montana. He died earlier this week. His death gained attention because he was one of seven authors of a recent New York Times op-ed criticizing the continued occupation. Now, a prominent Montana Republican is saying Sergeant Gray probably wasn't smart enough to actually write the op-ed.

Barely a week after the death of Montana soldier Yance Gray, Dave Rye is attacking him, suggesting that he was neither intelligent enough to have written an editorial expressing discontent about the war nor able to escape the clutches of liberal propagandists.

Dave Rye Says:

September 13th, 2007 at 10:08 am

Pardon my skepticism, and certainly no disrespect for the dead Montana soldier, but in my time in the Army I never heard such a word as "recalcitrant" escape the lips of any Staff Sergeant. I doubt if it’s spoken all that much in Ismay, either.

The soldiers had the help and probably the encouragement of a writer with an agenda, from a newspaper which has always had one. Its continually declining circulation now mainly consists of those who want desperately to consider themselves sophisticated as well as compassionate, even if that means always branding the U.S. as the chief villain on the world stage—-in fact, especially if it does.

I await the inevitable onslaught from outraged liberals. (Is there any other kind?)

This just shows, one more time, that there is no limit on what these people will do to get their own way. They will say and do anything. That’s part of their whole game plan. The rest of us were just having a hard time catching up, because no one in their right mind would think that civilized people could actually behave like this.

I detest these people who pull out their timeworn little mantra, “Support Our Troops!” whenever they feel threatened. They, of course, really never “support the troops” themselves. They let our brave soldiers fight and die for no particular reason anymore, while thumping their chests and telling everyone how evil Democrats and liberals are. They don’t fight for a better idea of why we are actually in Iraq. They don’t fight for getting them better equipment that might save their lives. They don’t fight for better conditions at Walter Reed Hospital for wounded vets. They are actually for cutting benefits for returning soldiers. They are for getting rid of all support for head trauma injury studies that might help out our wounded vets.

No, the only time that “Support Our Troops!” becomes an operational phrase is when they either want to deflect attention from some real problem or to bash their political opponents that they see as mortal enemies. This was just on display this last week. Don’t we all remember the “outrage” of those on the right regarding the ad that criticized General Petraeus, calling him “General Betray Us”? How loudly and self-righteously they screamed that no one, absolutely no one, should criticize our troops. (As if the General getting in front of Congress and saying just what George Bush wanted him to is the same thing as “our troops.”) All we heard about was how awful it was that anyone would criticize our brave troops. However, now that the message is different, then a dead soldier is fair game.

Why not? That's the rules of the game, according to the Karl Rove doctrine.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


I did something incredibly lame and stupid the other day. I am not happy with myself, and am having a hard time gathering up the self righteousness required to write a post complaining about someone else.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Looks like Bush is getting hammered in the press.

After his speech last night, he deserves it. Now, I will admit that I didn't watch Bush. I never do. I have a hard time controlling my urge to throw a brick through the television screen. He pisses me off just by the way he talks and acts, much less the stuff that he actually does say.

Apparently, Bush thinks that parts of Baghdad are returning to normal life, and there are 36 different nations there to fight an evil enemy that threatens an ally of ours.

Almost every single thing I have read today is pointing out how much of a fantasy Bush's speech represented. (Again, I will admit that I don't read the hard line conservative columnists or blogs.) I am heartened by the fact that our media is now not swallowing this baloney anymore. But Bush seems to think that he can "surge" 30,000 more troops into Iraq, keep them there for almost a year when the original plan was in weeks or months, and then announce a "reduction" in troop levels when manpower levels don't even go down to the pre-surge levels. What kind of moron thinks that the entire country will buy such nonsense?

I predict that Bush is going to be judged by history much harsher than LBJ. LBJ at least knew he was in a trap and didn't know what to do about it. Bush apparently thinks that if he repeats something often enough, not only will he come to believe it but that everyone else who hears him will as well.

I really don't want to get into a conversation with a really uber-conservative who originally thought the war in Iraq was a great idea and Bush could do no wrong. But I really wonder what they are thinking now.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What was that about the “liberal media” again?

Media Matters for America did a rather comprehensive study about the columnists carried by the nation’s newspapers. Here is what they found.

· Sixty percent of the nation's daily newspapers print more conservative syndicated columnists every week than progressive syndicated columnists. Only 20 percent run more progressives than conservatives, while the remaining 20 percent are evenly balanced.

· In a given week, nationally syndicated progressive columnists are published in newspapers with a combined total circulation of 125 million. Conservative columnists, on the other hand, are published in newspapers with a combined total circulation of more than 152 million.

· The top 10 columnists as ranked by the number of papers in which they are carried include five conservatives, two centrists, and only three progressives.

· The top 10 columnists as ranked by the total circulation of the papers in which they are published also include five conservatives, two centrists, and only three progressives.

· In 38 states, the conservative voice is greater than the progressive voice -- in other words, conservative columns reach more readers in total than progressive columns. In only 12 states is the progressive voice greater than the conservative voice.

· In three out of the four broad regions of the country -- the West, the South, and the Midwest -- conservative syndicated columnists reach more readers than progressive syndicated columnists. Only in the Northeast do progressives reach more readers, and only by a margin of 2 percent.

· In eight of the nine divisions into which the U.S. Census Bureau divides the country, conservative syndicated columnists reach more readers than progressive syndicated columnists in any given week. Only in the Middle Atlantic division do progressive columnists reach more readers each week.

This is more of that “common knowledge”, opinion driven fact-less facts that I was railing against earlier. Everyone “knows” that the media is has a “liberal bias”. No one wants to really find out the truth, however, as it would interfere with the things they already know.

Here are some other observations I have about the media and its biases.

· Of all the cable news programs and hosts, only one, count them, ONE, can be considered to be liberal. That is Countdown on MSNBC with Keith Olbermann. Everything else on cable is primarily or exclusively conservative. Fox News in totality, not just their hosts like Bill O’Rielly and Sean Hannity, but also their anchors such as Brit Hume, Glenn Beck on CNN, the list goes on.

· Newspapers thought of as ultraliberal such as The New York Times and Washington Post are nothing of the kind. The New York Times, courtesy of Judy Miller and her publishers, became a leading advocate of war with Iraq when the White House would feed the Times selective information, it would be printed in the Times as fact, and then the administration would use that story to back up their own position. The Washington Post editorial board was very much pro-war prior to the invasion. Their ombudsman gets very testy when liberals point out the errors and inconsistencies of the stories in the paper, but become very apologetic when conservatives make criticisms.

· ABC is owned by the Disney corporation. Disney is not known for its liberal leanings. ABC was responsible for airing a very misleading “documentary” entitled “The Path to 9/11”, which attempted to blame the Clinton administration for not preventing the attacks of 9/11. CBS, along with Viacom, is part of the Sumner Redstone National Amusements empire. CBS terminated the contract of retired Army Major Gen. John Batiste, consultant to CBS News, after he appeared in a political ad for critical of President Bush and the war in Iraq. Yes, CBS did employ Dan Rather who was not a fan of George Bush and went overboard on a story regarding Bush’s non-service during Vietnam. However, please note that he is no longer employed by CBS. NBC is part of the GE empire. The employment of Keith Olbermann aside, huge corporations are not normally liberal. Big business is the domain of the Republicans.

· Several newspaper columnists have been caught giving pro-Bush administration stories while getting paid for them. This is not objective journalism, this is shilling for money. That is extremely unethical behavior not to tell your readership that this isn’t an unbiased opinion instead of a paid political announcement.

· The Sunday talk shows on the major networks lean very much toward Republican and conservative guests. Statistics show that the trend seems to be running about 60% Republicans to 40% Democrats. In many instances, some of these shows (such as Meet The Press on NBC) have exclusively conservative Republican guests. There is no attempt to get an even-handed debate going with participants from both sides of an issue. Those Democrats that do get invited on are usually Joe Biden (not the most steady of liberals) and Joe Lieberman, who is now officially an independent but bashes the Democrats and praises the Republicans much more often than the other way around. And then there is that little matter of Tim Russert on Meet The Press, who never challenges his guests when they make controversial statements, and who (according to testimony during the Scooter Libby trial) always assumes, when talking to a politician, that the conversation is off the record and must get permission to use the information, rather than the other way around like reporters are supposed to do. Plus, on the many shows which he was on that dealt with the Scooter Libby trial, he never mentioned his role in the entire mess, as if that were nothing consequential. And there is also the little item where one of the staffers from Dick Cheney’s office stated, during that same trial, that they liked the Vice President “use” Meet The Press to “get the story out”. This does not sound like a liberal network to me.

· Local papers tend to get their national stories from national sources. Often, those national stories are just repeated without any attempt at analysis or fact checking. Local television markets are even worse. For years, one television station in my market constantly referred to the Iraq war as “The War Against Terror”, when it was not at all conclusive that there was any relationship at all between Iraq and any terror plot anywhere in the entire world.

There’s more. There always is. But you get the drift. By hammering away on the concept of a “liberal media bias” for decades, conservatives have totally reversed the situation such that it is now exactly opposite of the original complaint, which may or may not have ever truly existed. Due to the constant barrage of complaints and in an effort to appease the complainers, the national media has now become predominately conservative. But no one acknowledges that. “Common knowledge” still has it that our national media is liberal.

If that is true, I wonder why liberals, especially in the lefty blogs, rake the national media over the coals when they see the job of an independent press being ripped to shreds. That certainly doesn’t sound like a liberal press to me. What conservatives are REALLY complaining about, in my mind, is that the national media does not always mindlessly parrot the Republican talking points and actually does push back on the propaganda being fed to them at times. That is really what is ticking off the conservatives. It isn’t that the press is liberal, is that it isn’t a compliant tool to be used by the Republican party for any purpose that they please.

But I have also found that there is no arguing with “common knowledge”. Facts be damned, reality is what one wants to make of it, apparently.


Here's the chart from the Media Matters study. You should be able to figure out the red and blue color coding. Gray is a "centerist". I would probably take issue with David Broder being called a centerist and Maureen Dowd as a progressive. She takes pot shots at Dems quite often, John Edwards' haircut being just one example.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Oh my God! Manos: Hands of Fate as a rock opera!

For all the Misties out there.

I feel compelled to write something.

My blogging these days has been slowed by several factors, including an increase of actual “work” to do while at work, a 12 year old who likes to play on the computer while simultaneously watching TV and playing a Gameboy, and a general sense of depression that nothing ultimately matters anyway. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen, regardless of whether anyone actually does anything or not. Certainly, beating away at a keyboard isn’t going to change much, especially in the harsh light of a readership that can truthfully be referred to as somewhere between non-existent and ethereal.

But, as I have a blog, it sort of demands some sort of care and feeding on my part. Perhaps not on a daily basis, but at least sort of a passing recognition of its existence. “Oh, crap! That’s right! I have a blog. Geez, I better go do something about that, I suppose. I’ll just check out what’s on television first. “Gilligan’s Island” on TV Land? Great! I hope it’s the headhunter episode.”

Today’s the seventh anniversary of that horrible day back in 2001. It doesn’t seem that long, although lots has happened since then. I still remember going home and sort of curling up into a fetal ball on the couch in front of the television. But today doesn’t seem to be much about that anniversary. There is a lot more attention about the Petraeus “report” in front of Congress. Lots of lights, lots of skepticism. Not much is going to change. We all know that now. One hallmark of the Bush presidency is the constant moving of the goalposts, the constant milestone just “six months down the road”. After that, everything will be crystal clear. Except that after the six months expires (also known as a Friedman Unit, or “FU”), many in the media seems to have forgotten the clarity that was supposed to emerge when Bush and his war machine asks for yet “more time”.

As many have already pointed out, just a few more “FU’s” and it will be time for Bush to leave office. At that time, Bush will be able to hand the entire mess over to the next person to inhabit the White House, and then let them take all the crap, from either or both sides, about how badly the war is going and how can we get out with a minimum of damage to everyone involved?

This is from Eugene Robinson at the WaPo:

The next six months in Iraq are crucial -- and always will be. That noise you heard yesterday on Capitol Hill was the can being kicked further down the road leading to January 2009, when George W. Bush gets to hand off his Iraq fiasco to somebody else.

It's clear by now that playing for time is the real White House strategy for Iraq. Everything else is tactical maneuver and rhetorical legerdemain -- nothing up my sleeve -- with which the administration is buying time, roughly in six-month increments. Appearing before a joint hearing called by the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, Gen. David H. Petraeus probably won the respite Bush wanted when he said that U.S. military objectives "are in large measure being met."

Stalling, that grand old American tradition. Put off the bad things that are surely bearing down on you as long as possible. The unfortunate truth to the matter is that the United States is going to be embroiled in Iraq, and probably Afghanistan, for decades to come. This is what comes of the neocon “vision” of a limited engagement, in and out of Iraq in two months, the oil revenues will pay for the war, and there is no need for any post war planning for occupation or fighting an insurgency because it isn’t going to happen. Three months may end up being 20 years and thousands more Americans dead. And that is only the tip of the tallyboard of all the detrimental things that have happened or will happen because of the actions of George W. Bush and his gang of neocon thugs that wanted a war, regardless of the lack of a valid rationale driving the idea. They wanted a war, just because.

What a country. How the heck did we ever get to be the predominate country in the world?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I have an admission that I am not terribly proud of.

Oh, nothing too sensational or titillating. That’s a little too much to expect from me at this point.

No, this is about how I am viewing what is going on in this country. As anyone who has looked at anything I have written in this blog over the last year, I have been quite upset and depressed about the direction that this country has been taking and the attitudes and opinions of many of our citizens that have allowed and even promoted that appalling direction (i.e., “toward a big flippin' cliff”). I just cannot get a handle on the fact that so many people in this country hold their ideals so dear that they start to ignore reality in order to hold on to those ideals. That, to me, is one definition of insanity.

But here’s the admission. Part of me is sitting back as a dispassionate observer, watching all these goings on, somewhat akin to someone sitting and reading a novel or watching a movie, secure in the knowledge that, whatever happens in the novel or movie, it has no ability to affect that observer. Of course, this is not true. Things that are going on right now have the ability in the future to affect me, personally, a great deal. But that part of me is just sitting back, watching all this, taking it in, and wondering just how big of a train wreck we are going to see.

I have been castigated in the past for admitting this. The accusation is, if I really feel that way about how bad things might get, then it is up to me to get off my big duff and actually go do something about it. On one level, I agree with that assessment. Things don’t happen by themselves. Bad things do not tend to fix themselves. Someone has to force the issue. But part of me has always been an observer. I watch things. I watch people. I love books and movies. I suppose my approach to those things are influencing how I actually view reality. I am sitting back and taking it all in, wondering what is going to happen and how it might all end up.

I am fascinated, at one level, about Bush’s approach to dealing with foreign countries. He expects them to support the U.S. fully, in everything that we do, with no questions asked, no matter how insane, convoluted, hypocritical, or potentially damaging to that other country our actions might be. If the don’t take this approach, then they are “against us”. And for those who really get on Bush’s bad side, he either ignores them totally or threatens to bomb them into oblivion. (The other part of me is appalled and extremely worried about this truly frightening spectacle of a man who seems to view reality the same as he would a game of Stratego. But this post is not about that part of me. Tune in later in the week for more of that.)

I admit that I am really wondering what truly terrible things might occur if Bush goes ahead and bombs Iran. That’s what he really wants to do, given all his speeches in the last few weeks indicate. And he is being pushed by some of his advisors, whom he apparently trusts. Could our Army really be defeated and overrun? What would the ramifications of that be? What if he drops an atomic weapon on someone who has not threatened us? What would the world reaction be?

It’s all very fascinating, if you are able to divorce yourself from the notion that you are actually a participant in our current situation, as opposed to the spectator that I sometimes envision myself to be. It’s easy to be that when you have no immediate stake in the outcome. I have no sons or daughters in the military. I have a job that isn’t going to go away if the stock market collapses. I am about 10 years away from retirement; I can probably ride it all out until then.

Of course, it isn’t like that at all. The repercussions of Bush’s insane actions over the last seven years and his potential actions in the coming year before he leaves office could very well affect me in a very personal, very dramatic, very negative way. But sometimes, it’s easier on the psyche to just assume the “observer” status.

Actually, that may be what is wrong with a lot of the citizens of this country. They do not have the imagination to understand how they, themselves and their loved ones, may be very personally affected by Bush’s actions. I call it a “congenital lack of imagination”.

One part of Michael Moore’s film, Fahrenheit 911, that I will not forgot is about the mother who lost her son in Iraq. Moore interviewed her before and after her son was killed. Before, she was very proud of her son and the military, and she was very supportive of the role the U.S. was playing in Iraq. And then her son was killed. She changed from proud and supportive into a grieving mother who could not understand why her son had been taken away from her in those circumstances. It was very heartbreaking to watch. But after that, my second reaction was, “Well, what did you EXPECT might happen? Did you not think about why we were over in Iraq and the insane rationale for the war we had been given BEFORE now?” See, a congenital lack of imagination. Bad things are always going to happen to someone else, not to me. Not to my loved ones. Not to my country.

I suppose I am a living proof to myself that this observer status that I have really been falling into is a sham, a chimera. Things going on right now really do have the ability to affect me and the comfortable little life that I have carved out for myself. I have evidence, right in front of me, that actions should be taken.

I have fallen into the psychological trap that is affecting the thinking of a great percentage of the rest of this country, and I am rather ashamed to admit it.

“Bush advisers favor current war strategy”

That’s the headline that greeted me this morning on Yahoo. Well, I just cannot say how much this surprises me. Hooolllleeee Crap! Let’s just keep on doing what we have been doing! Why didn’t I think of that? Sort of sounds to me like “Stay The Course!” without really saying that. Which we all know how well that particular scheme has been working.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I guess there are some Republicans with real values and a conscious, after all.

Many of them are becoming ex-Republicans. I have read several stories about how many Republicans at the state level in Kansas have switched affiliations and become Democrats. Here is another example, Chris Koster, the head of the GOP Caucus in the Missouri State Senate. Via Firedoglake, here is part of his farewell speech.

. . . In a prior era, during the tenure of former Republican Senator Jack Danforth, political moderates existed comfortably within the Missouri Republican Party ranks. Today, Republican moderates are all but extinct. When I came to the senate, I naively thought I could influence a change in this regard. It is painful for me to admit today that I was wrong.

Part of my decision today should quite clearly be viewed as a formal break with the new Missouri Republican philosophy, particularly regarding issues on which I have always differed with Republicans; namely, stem cell research, the vigorous protection of workers’ rights, support for an increase in the minimum wage, and defense of an independent judiciary.

However, part of my decision, I hope, will also be viewed also as an embrace of the Democratic agenda, as my three years of involvement in Jefferson City has created a strong and sincere personal desire to turn my own attention toward more progressive directions, toward championing the state’s poor and disabled communities, expansion of economic opportunity in our urban centers, and support for family planning services.

Each of these convictions, it is clear to me, flies more comfortably beneath a Democratic flag.


Let us be clear as to their extremist agenda. The Republican desire is to criminalize early stage stem cell research in our state. The very same Harvard scientists celebrated throughout the world for their potentially life-saving research would, within the borders of Missouri, be imprisoned for fifteen years for conducting the identical laboratory work. Researchers actively recruited by the States of Kansas, Massachusetts, Illinois or California would be prosecuted and imprisoned here at home. Go to Boston for your Nobel Prize; come to Missouri for your leg irons. And the Missouri Republican Party not only tolerates this lunacy, but embraces it.

Their far-right crusade has infected everything, from the life-saving research itself, to economic development in our state, to the sale of the MOHELA assets, to the larger debate over abortion, to the nomination of curators and high governmental appointees, to the reform of our State’s Medicaid system.

I cannot in good conscience remain in Republican ranks and pretend that attempting to modulate extremist priorities is enough. Faced with such stakes, there is no compromising left to be done. . .

Very nice stuff indeed. I wish more people, including Democrats, would be so forthcoming about what exactly is wrong with the Republicans today. Many within the Democratic party are somewhat nervous about accepting these ex-Republicans into our ranks. I can see why. Many, especially in the so-called Red States like Kansas and Missouri, still hold many ideals that aren’t quite liberal. But here’s my take on that. The Democratic party is supposed to be the “Big Tent” party, room for everyone. That isn’t just talking about skin color, gender, and nationality. The Democratic party should be open to new ideas. Now, the question becomes, how far can this process go and the party still be somewhat homogenous in its beliefs? We have already seen a number of the newly elected “Blue Dog” Democrats vote with the Republicans on war funding.

My position, for what its worth, is that anything that marginalizes the current Republican party is a good thing. We need two healthy, coherent and trustworthy parties in this country. Just as we need checks and balances within the federal government, we need checks and balances within our political system. The current Republican party does not fit the bill. It needs to be broken apart and remade, perhaps around people like Chuck Hagel. I doubt he and I hold many of the same beliefs. But I trust him and would vote for him, just for that reason. Bush’s hard core supporters, the 30% of this country that really thinks that Bush is a god and Democrats are the source of all evil and will do anything they can, legal or otherwise, to reach their goals MUST be isolated and marginalized. This very vocal minority must not be allowed to drive policy in this country just because they have suceeded in hijacking the control of one of the major political parties.

If peeling the remaining moderate Republicans off, one by one, and getting them on the other side of the aisle is what it takes, I’m all for it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Bush reminds me of leaders during The Great War.

These are the clowns that just thought that starting a war would be a good thing, and it would all be over in a matter of weeks, if not months. And when things didn’t turn out that way, they had no clue of what actually WAS going on. Losing hundreds of thousands of soldiers in a single battle that was fought in trenches, in knee-deep mud, and lasted for over a year didn’t cause their resolve to waiver in the least. They had their principles, they had their beliefs. Information to the contrary wasn't going to change that.

Admittedly, the stakes were much higher at that time, as the entire continent was engulfed in the flames of war, and the technology of the day made it very difficult to get reports from the field. All of which makes Bush even less understandable. I am truly coming to believe that this guy has no clue, and he just really does make decisions “by his gut”. The latest book by supposedly a neutral or even sympathetic author (I’ll try to get the name and link later) shows that Bush doesn’t even care what reality is. He truly does “make his own reality”, just as Karl Rove suggested those long years ago. However, it isn’t in the way that was suggested. It is more in the line of “La la la! I can’t hear you, reality!”

I am just astonished that a man with his severe limitations ever got in a position to be elected president, much less actually be elected twice. And I am even more astonished and hugely disappointed that there are still people in this country who think that the Democrats are the evil ones. What WILL it take to get everyone to recognize what a bone headed slacker this guy is?

UPDATE: Well, it just keeps on coming. Bush, while in Australia for the APEC summit, referred to the meeting as "OPEC", which yielded laughs from the audience. And he referred to his host country as "Austria". What an embarrassment.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Truths I have come to believe, as told by 1940’s and 50’s science fiction films.

Having become somewhat of an authority on the subject of classic science fiction films, the good, the bad, and the truly terrible, I thought I might try to summarize what I see as truisms that are consistently made when watching these wonderfully kitschy sci-fi films.

1. Spaceships:
a. Will only move through space while the rockets are blasting away. If the rockets stop working, then the spaceship stops dead in space, thus demonstrating the highly overrated nature of that scientific principle, inertia. (Rocketship X-M, Manhunt in Space, Angry Red Planet)
b. Will be encounter a dangerous meteor shower every single trip into space. (First Spaceship on Venus, Rocketship X-M, This Island Earth, Missile to the Moon, Flight to Mars, Twelve to the Moon, Destination: Moon, Space Probe Taurus.)
c. Will feel the effects of zero gravity while in outer space only once during a trip into space, usually at the beginning of the trip, to great comic effect. There will be no further evidence of weightlessness after that. (Rocketship X-M, First Spaceship on Venus)

2. Aliens from outer space:
a. Are often really gorgeous women who wear either mini-skirts or leotards. They either strongly desire to do a man’s every bidding, or make men into slaves. (Fire Maidens from Outer Space, Devil Girl from Mars, World Without End, Cat Women from the Moon, Queen of Outer Space, Phantom Planet, Missile to the Moon, Flight to Mars)
b. Being intent on the conquest of Earth, will always pick the most out of the way, desolate place on the face of planet from which to launch their conquest. (The Beast with a Million Eyes, Robot Monster, The Brain from Planet Arous)
c. Must always be shot at or blown up, even though the alien has done absolutely nothing harmful or threatening to any Earthmen. This is just because they are aliens. (The Day the Earth Stood Still, Space Probe Taurus, Phantom from Space, The Cosmic Man)

3. For a scientific expedition to really run smoothly:
a. It must have someone along that will provide comic relief. (The Lost Continent, Angry Red Planet, The Atomic Submarine, Rocketship X-M, Forbidden Planet). If no wisecracking human is available for this task, robots may be used. (Forbidden Planet, First Spaceship on Venus, Planet of Storms)
b. It must have at least one woman along who, regardless of her academic qualifications, is required to serve coffee to the men and clean up their dirty dishes (It! The Terror Beyond Space, The Thing from Another Planet, Angry Red Planet, Radar Men from the Moon) NOTE: This requirement is invalidated if number 2 is applicable.

4. Radiation:
a. Causes small things to grow really big. (The Amazing Colossal Man, The Monster that Challenged the World, The Beginning of the End, Them!, Attack of the Crab Monsters)
b. Except spiders, which get big for other reasons. (Tarantula!, Earth vs. the Spider, The Horror of Spider Island)
c. Except, sometimes, radiation makes people really small. (The Incredible Shrinking Man, Dr. Cyclops, Attack of the Puppet People)
d. Except, sometimes, radiation just mutates people while keeping them the same size. (The Hideous Sun Demon, Hand of Death)

5. Scientists who work by themselves are either blinded by science and can no longer tell right from wrong, or are up to no good in the first place and they know it. Either way, they are not to be trusted. (Forbidden Planet, Hand of Death, It Conquered the World, The Atomic Brain, The Fly, The 4-D Man, Mesa of Lost Women, She Demons, Blood Creature, Terror from the Year 5000, The Colossus of New York, Dr. Cyclops, Wasp Woman, The Invisible Boy, Donovan’s Brain, The Hideous Sun Demon, Wild, Wild Planet) This is especially true if the scientist is not an American. (The Manster, The Flesh Eaters, The Killer Shrews, Tarantula!) Karmic retribution is normally handed out to these scientists at the end of the film.
a. The exception to this rule is the lone scientist who sees the obvious danger and tries to warn everyone of the danger confronting the world in the face of overwhelming skepticism. (Them!, The Giant Behemoth, The Beast from 20 Thousand Fathoms, It Came from Outer Space, The Giant Claw, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Island of the Burning Doomed, X, the Unknown)
b. Sometimes, these lone scientists also invent a “leap of technology” weapon which can be used to save the world. (Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, The Giant Claw, Invisible Invaders, Target Earth, Beginning of the End)

6. Military men are gods who know everything and really can do no wrong. (It Came from Beneath the Sea, The Deadly Mantis, Reptilicus)
a. This is especially true when in conflict with the blinded scientist of number 5. (The Thing from Another World)
b. They can be authoritarian, rude, sexist pigs who eventually show their soft, caring side, at which point, a beautiful lady will overlook his obvious faults and fall madly in love with him. (20 Million Miles to Earth, Forbidden Planet, The Monster that Challenged the World, The Fiend Without a Face, It Came from Beneath the Sea)
c. If stationed in a foreign country, military men look upon the local inhabitants as backwards and ignorant and expect the locals and local authorities to bow to the wishes of the U.S. military, even in very industrialized, civilized countries like Canada (Fiend Without a Face), Italy (20 Million Miles to Earth), Denmark (Reptilicus) and Japan (Varan, the Incredible).
d. Military men feel like they can set off an atomic bomb pretty much anywhere they want to, at any time, for very unclear reasons. But, in the 1950’s, this is seen as acceptable behavior. (The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, The Deadly Mantis, Rodan, Killers from Space)

7. If there is a volcano nearby, it will explode. (One Million Years B.C., Mysterious Island, The Land that Time Forgot, The Black Scorpion)

8. The universe treats people who aren’t intelligent, adult, good looking white males who are in the military in the following manner:
a. Pretty island native girls/women get killed. Caucasian women on a tropical island, surrounded by the natives, usually don’t. (Blood Creature, She Demons, From Hell It Came)
b. Dumb, drunk or oblivious white guys get killed, most deservedly so, because of their dumb, drunk or oblivious actions. (War of the Worlds, Target Earth).
c. Heroic white guys do occasionally get killed, but always in the pursuit of a noble cause. (Them!, The First Man Into Space)
d. Attractive female scientists hardly ever get killed. (The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, It Came From Beneath the Sea, Tarantula!, When Worlds Collide, This Island Earth, Kronos, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, The Thing from Another World, Angry Red Planet, First Spaceship on Venus, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Revenge of the Creature, Robot Monster) On the other hand, attractive female lab assistants sometimes do get killed (It Conquered the World). Only when everyone else dies, does the attractive female scientist die. (Rocketship X-M)
e. Teenagers understand more than most adults and can be counted upon to save the day. (The Blob, Teenagers from Outer Space, The Giant Gila Monster, Invasion of the Saucer Men, Earth vs. the Spider, Teenage Caveman)
f. Annoying little kids are everywhere and will do the stupidest thing possible at the worst possible moment. Still, they always survive and everyone loves them. (The Black Scorpion, 20 Million Miles to Earth, Valley of Gwangi, Tobor, the Great, The Invisible Boy)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Larry Craig is now an ex-senator from Idaho.

He resigned under disgrace for propositioning anonymous gay sex in a men’s room of the Minneapolis airport. I take it the pressure from the Republican party was huge for him to resign. They just couldn’t deal with him in the Republican party. They thought that he didn’t represent what they stood for and asked for him to resign, which he ended up doing.

Except that’s not really what’s going on. The Republicans forced him out because he was a huge embarrassment to them, one more huge embarrassment on top of a long string of huge embarrassments. I saw that some Republican spokesmen were quoted as saying Craig would be resigning before Craig, himself, actually said anything. That’s how much they wanted him gone.

Many bloggers and some newspaper columnists have noted (lots to choose from, I am not going to provide links) that it is very telling that no one asked David Vitter, a Republican congressman from Louisiana, to resign, after he got caught up in the “D.C. Madam scandal”, where it came out he, a married man, bought time with hookers. Prostitution is illegal in the District of Columbia. Oh, and just for the prurient at heart, he liked to be dressed up in diapers during their time. No, that scandal seems to have passed by with nothing much more being said, as had numerous other scandals that I noted in my previous post on the subject.

I cannot believe how hypocritical the modern Republican party is. There can only be two things that could account for this double standard. One is that Craig is from Idaho, a purely Republican state with a Republican governor. When Craig resigned, it then falls to the governor to appoint his replacement. And you know that a Republican governor is not going to appoint anything other than a hard core Republican. So, the Republicans calling for Craig’s ouster knew their party would suffer no numerical penalty. This is not the case for David Vitter, as Louisiana has a Democratic governor.

The other possibility is that what the Republicans are really worried about is the homosexuality part of this scandal, just as they were with Foley and his taste for young male Congressional pages. Since Vitter was just caught with a prostitute, then that isn’t really any big deal for them. The hardcore Republican supporters are virulent anti-gay, so it fits within the Republican paradigm to oust a homosexual in their ranks, or at least ones that don’t stay safely in the closet while voting against civil rights protections for gays and lesbians. However, to take a stand on Vitter would be solely to take a stand on the morality of the issue, which isn’t happening. To do that, they would be casting judgments on a very large percentage of the white male population that makes up the Republican party who have done exactly the same thing. Prostitution, or just plain messing around outside marriage, is not something that anyone wants to bring up. You cannot go around and criticize behavior that many within your party take for granted. I lived for a long period of my life in Alabama and Mississippi, and you can’t tell me that doesn’t happen.

Personally, I think that it is a combination of both of these. The Republicans are weary of their own scandals, both sexual and otherwise, that have dogged them for the last several years. They were probably very happy to get the chance to jump up and look like they are taking a principled stand against what they see as amoral behavior. The only problem is, of course, that really isn’t what they are doing. And I think it is INCREDIBLY hypocritical that these same self-righteous people who are getting caught with their pants around their ankles are the same people who went after Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinski scandal. That was, after all, strictly heterosexual and didn’t involve prostitution. It was an affair, however ill conceived, between two consenting adults. That doesn’t describe any of what is happening with the Republicans. Yet, all I hear is deadly silence, except in this latest case. To repeat, Bill Clinton, the sitting President of the United States, was impeached for having an affair and then lying about it. The stuff that seems to be going on lately is much worse, on the "morality judgment" scale, than anything Clinton ever did. Yet, where all all those calls for bringing "morality back to government" that we heard about so often eight years ago?

I don’t share many of the same beliefs and opinions of those on the right. However, I will acknowledge that very many of them are really supporting the Republican party because the belief that it stands for what THEY believe in. And I have to give them their due on that. However, I am hoping that this extreme loyal base of the Republican party is beginning to see how the Republicans in office have used them, just as any carnival barker would use any unsuspecting rube that happens by. They are being taken for a ride, just so these cockroaches can keep their powerful jobs with their powerful perks, which sometimes includes being able to by high-priced D.C. prostitutes.

I’m hoping this loyal, up to now, base will just sit out the next election. I am a firm believer that this country needs at least two, very strong, very ethical political parties, if for no other reason than to keep each other honest. Any time either of them, and I do mean Democrats as well as Republicans, get too far out of line, they need to be reminded who they actually work for and what they actually represent. Personally, I am much more upset with Republicans about the Iraq war, about the stink of corruption that seems to pervade the modern Republican party, about trying to make, by whatever means available, this great country into a single party rule. However, it is takes the sexual misconduct of their numbers to break up the modern Republican party, then so be it.

UPDATE: Well, I see that some Republicans have tried to answer this question of hypocracy and double standards. Their answer? Larry Craig pleaded guilty. David Vitter did not. That, to me, seems to be very much splitting hairs, as "pleading guilty" is a very legalistic term. It seems to me that David Vitter had a press conference that made it to national TV saying that he was sorry and all that. He never said he was guilty from a legalistic point of view, but it sure seemed to me that he was admitting to something.... According to Wikipedia, this is what he said at his press conference:

This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible. Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there - with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way.

He didn't come out and say, "No, that never happened, I am totally innocent." Therefore, this really smacks of just casting around to find something, anything, that would make an acceptable comeback to mounting criticism. "Pleading guilty", THAT is the Republican standard? You can do whatever you want, and as long as you don't actually admit to your actions in front of an officer of the law, then everything is fine? How ridiculous is that?

As I have said before, I am constantly amazed about how people these days seem to think that as long as they have some sort of comeback, no matter how implausible it may be. Just as long as it is even remotely possible, then that is all that matters. The person uttering such nonsense won't acknowledge what an ass he is making of himself. As long as they can come up with some sort of malarky that absolutely no one in their right mind would buy from a five year old, much less an adult, they feel they somehow have a defensable position. I guess that is partially the fault of our press these days, which let these outlandish claims go by unchallenged.