Monday, October 31, 2005

I Am Sam

I'm sure we're all just agog at Dear Leader's bold move in putting forth yet another conservative Catholic knuckle-dragger to fill a SCOTUS seat. Gee, if we didn't know better, we might think that the whole Miers episode was just a cheap ploy by a cornered White House to cynically whip up the potted plants that keep it in bidness.

It is of a piece with how these people do everything -- cynically and in bad faith -- and it should serve as a heads-up to the Democrats that they will definitely need to bring their A game to this one. Suddenly talk of candidates deserving a straight up/down vote is magically back in vogue, and already the Redneck Pope has given Scalito his sacred imprimatur. Praise Jeebus, His Assholiness has spoken!

Now, people wonder why the Democrats can't just do what they did in rolling Bush's Social Security scam. The answer to that is simple -- they didn't do a whole hell of a lot, besides refuse to compromise, which was the very least we could have expected. The old folks who vote, and refuse to allow their money to even be looked at cross-eyed did the rest, as did Bush's bad habit of never speaking to anyone who hasn't been screened and prepped.

(You know, Harvard, after a while even the thickest moron starts to wonder why it is you're so unwilling to just show up in front of an audience of random American citizens, and just start speaking extemporaneously about how great your plans and vision really are. I mean, if someone heckles you, fuckin' heckle him back -- after all, you've got the mike. So most people have finally gotten it that Bush will never ever speak honestly and extemporaneously to them about anything important, it's just ringers and boilerplate.)

The nomination talk naturally veers toward the nuclear option, but I prefer tactical bunker-busters. If I were Howard Dean, I'd find a clip of Bush's sanctimonious 2000 campaign promise to restore honor and integrity to the White House, and run the fuck out of it on every local affiliate in the country. I'd take every opportunity to remind people that this is a cheap stunt by a bloodied administration that hasn't done a single thing right. I'd send double-buffered rent-a-thugs to dig through Turd Blossom's trash and Big Time's files and stock portfolios. I'd do to them what they did to Max Cleland -- a montage of DeLay, Libby, Rove, Cheney, Bush, dead soldiers and Iraqi civilians, and the still-missing bin Laden. No stone unturned.

Fuck these assholes. Do you want your country back yet, or not? They're never going to just give it back to you, and they've still got that Diebold edge. You want a nuclear option, there it is. That Mr. Smith Goes To Washington shit gets you bupkis.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Season's Beatings!

So. Anything interesting happen while I've been out?

Just kidding. First of all, Happy Fitzmas to everyone who's spent the last two weeks sitting under the tree, mercilessly shaking the shit out of the presents, hoping to ascertain the veracity of the rustles and clunks within the boxes. Divining Fitzgerald's ultimate intent has kept every amateur kremlinologist out there going full-tilt for some time now, producing some great reading. (An excellent update and prognosis of the case as it stands can be found here.)

Of course, now that the initial buzz is already beginning to wear off, we return to the cold hard Christmas fact that no matter how good the presents are, they never quite hold up against the fever dreams of the previous two weeks. So SuperFitz is not going to bring the halls of corruption down around the despoilers' ears in some dramatic showing. Fitzgerald reminds us that law and jurisprudence, absent the Law & Order machinations, is rather boring and wonky and laden with polysyllabic invocations.

That is the way it has to be, but Americans are used to instant gratification. So we will chafe, and continue to try to divine Fitz' intent as to "Official A", a.k.a. Karl "Are you going to finish that?" Rove. Which is the way it should be. And it's nice to see the media lapdogs finally take a break from weather-chasing and start doing something useful for a change, but merely humping Fitz' leg and regurgitating his occasional gnomic utterances will not be nearly enough. Several myths must be dispelled and debunked, and other stories which have not been covered to date must be paid heed.

(And hey, kudos for showing a little restraint on the current two word repeto-meme describing Scooter as "Cheney's Cheney". Because, you know, I just wouldn't be able to resist calling the little fucker "Dick's Dick". But that's me.)

The media have a lot to answer for -- after all, had they just cooperated with Fitzgerald last year, people might have gotten a clue in time to do something about it. Now we are stuck with a hobbled administration, egged on by creationist troglodytes to continue burning it all down, despised by the rest of the world, and going broke on China's tab. Might have been nice to know all this shit last fucking year.

So fuck Judy Miller, fuck Matt Cooper, fuck Timmeh Russert, and fuck the New York Times. The only way to atone for yourselves, if indeed you even intend to bother trying, is to get up on your hind legs and do what you were supposed to be doing in the first fucking place -- finding out facts and putting them into context. Informing the public. Afflicting the comfortable, etc., etc. Make no mistake -- we are where we are because the people who are very well paid to find out facts and report them to the public, chose instead to simply regurgitate whatever the administration spoon-fed to them.

I mean, don't get me wrong -- I sincerely hope their Nantucket/Hamptons vacation homes are comfy and cozy and well-positioned near wherever Billy Joel happens to be driving, but thousands of people have died and continue to die for this bullshit. We will now enter a phase of sanctimonious hypocrisy from the Kay Bailey Hunchison claque that will make the picayune parsing of "is" and "alone" seem quaint by comparison.

We need astute reporters and commentators who are on top of their game, who will point out the simple, obvious fact that, if there was nothing to hide, why did they try to hide it? What was the role of Michael Ledeen and SISMI (Italian military intelligence) in getting the "yellowcake" scam off the ground? Whether Plame was NOC or not, whether they knew it or not, that sort of information doesn't just "slip" -- so what was the purpose of leaking it? Once again, cui bono? If there's no money, then follow your nose, because this thing stinks to high heaven -- or at least the Oval Office.

And it's just getting started.

Also on this past week's radar is the belated withdrawal of the Church Lady, surely one of the more hapless and doomed figures to benight the political landscape since -- well, since Mike Brown, I suppose, though Brownie is now apparently a "conservative activist", rather than a mere hack who was way out of his depth. Doin' a heck of job there, Fucko.

Anyway, the Church Lady. Now the professional soothsayers fretfully intone cautious pablum about the "power" of the ultraconservatives who mau-mau'ed poor Miers. Dear Leader simply must nominate a diehard fanatic now, to appease his base. Well, he probably will, at that; Bush is nothing if not utterly, tiresomely, predictable.

But that is a different matter than whether he "must" appease his base. It may simply be time to tell these people to fuck off and die already. They are not the majority; they are not even a plurality. They commission weird little inside polls to attempt to persuade us that 99.9% of Americans seriously believe exactly the same things they believe. But the weapon that is really on the conservatards' side is money. Their support is deep, but depth is not width. More and more people are getting turned off by their sanctimonious bullshit.

What these people want more than anything else (besides a dinosaur ride into the clouds with Jeebus) is for the judiciary to see things their way. The media has been distracted by Roe v. Wade for fucking ever, but what these goofballs are really after is Griswold v. Connecticut. This was the precursor to Roe v. Wade, and it overturned the ridiculous Connecticut law at the time that prevented access to contraceptives.

For judicial mouthbreathers like these, Griswold is an abomination because of the "right to privacy" penumbra it imputed to the Bill of Rights. It is the heart and soul of judicial activism to them; as far as they're concerned, Connecticut citizens should have risen up and voted in legislators that would overturn it. Indeed, that is the way it's supposed to work on paper, but the practicality is often far different. People should not have to surrender their basic rights because subsets of morons happen to be politically aligned just enough to thwart rightful access to said basic rights.

Look, we are indeed a nation of laws and not men, but the whole purpose of the law is to enable men (and, not incidentally, women) to live their lives as they choose. That is, after all, what that pesky word "freedom" really means. Shall we align scads of women outside of abortion clinics with purple index fingers upraised, to help these losers get the picture already? Or do we just stop wasting our time trying to get through to them, and realize that they cannot be reasoned with? There is no longer any point to asking what the fuck is wrong with Kansas; eventually we have to realize that they are apparently content to have stupid people running their school system into the ground, and when they are no longer nationally accredited enough to get their kids into real colleges (as opposed to, say, Bob Jones "University"), they might get the message.

As a wise man once said, fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

Finally, we turn to what I think was, pound for pound, by far the story with the most potential impact: Iranian president Mahmoud Dontgiveafuckijad's threat to wipe Israel off the map.

As regular readers may have noticed, I never discuss the Israel/Palestine situation. It was one of the very first things I became politically aware of, way back in the day, and I suppose I was a fairly solid supporter of Israel back then. Gradually, as more tales of atrocities against Palestinian civilians came to light, that naturally shifted.

But at this point, I am essentially at a "fuck 'em both" stance on it. It's just not worth wasting time on -- these people have been at each other's throats for 5,000 years (or, for you morons out there, since shortly after God rode down on a dinosaur and created the entire universe on a weekend bender). They're probably going to be finding new and inventive ways to kill each other 5,000 years from now.

Actually, I do have a solution which neither side will like -- which means it's perfect: give them one week (or whatever suitably brief period of time) to pack their shit and leave temporarily. Then go in and fucking raze every temple, mosque, and holy arty-fact to the fucking ground. Enough is enough. The world has tried to mediate, in generally good faith, between two clans of cousins fighting over competing forms of Abrahamic dogma. So fuck it -- remove the rallying points, yank 'em up by the roots, pulverize them, scatter their ashes into the sea. You want to fight over fucking books? There's your fucking books. How do you like them now?

Ahem. At any rate, the bottom line is that Suckmycockijad's rhetoric is unacceptable. I keep waiting for mainstream Muslims to condemn this bullshit, but I suppose I may as well wait for Catholics to publicly criticize the Vatican for systematically protecting and enabling predatory pedophiles for decades. Religion does some crazy shit to people's brains; they will become utterly amoral, all the while sanctimoniously lecturing everyone else on their unforgivable decadence.

The [Iranian] Foreign Ministry said the international community was treating Tehran unfairly, accusing it of failing to come to Iran's defense when it comes under attack from the United States or Israel over claims it is developing nuclear weapons or supporting Islamic militants.

Awww. Boo-fucking-hoo. Look, douchebag, you are developing nuclear weapons, and you are supporting violent, murderous, Islamic thugs like Hezbollah. You think you're fooling anyone with this "peaceful use" shit, Mahmoud? Now, I'm certainly realistic enough to understand that we are in no position right now to forcibly, unilaterally disarm Iran, not without incurring horrible levels of civilian casualties. And I can even charitably envision a scenario where Iran wants nuclear weapons technology just to protect itself from its nuclear-armed neighbors (including, it must be pointed out, Israel).

But the more I see a million assholes marching through Tehran every few Fridays screaming "Death to America" and "Death to Israel", the more I'm inclined to say "Fuck you, Iran". I don't care if this makes me sound culturally or religiously intolerant. If I'm gonna smack down the American Taliban, I'm going after these thugs too. There are fucking assholes in exotic cultures too, and like the US, it is up to the population to put its back down, start thinking for a change, and weed them out.

And I am not some rube with an "Ayatollah Assaholla" T-shirt, with a bumper-sticker hatred of The Other. I know exactly what the history is, and what the geopolitical ramifications are, and I have heard too many times about the incredibly hospitable nature of Iranians to not give credence to it. And I keep hearing how Iran wants to be taken seriously as a world power.

But if you want to be taken seriously, quit talking about wiping your neighbors off the map, and quit inciting your countrymen to come out en masse and get their Two Minutes Of Hate on. I know we haven't been as fair as we could (or should) have with you, and I know you hate us for our evil petrodollars, but this nonsense is not going to solve your problem.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Wanky Goes To Hollywood

It's enough to make me want to leave the state while he's here, even though Hollywood's almost 600 miles away. Get out of my state, Fucko. Go back to your tumbleweed farm and break open some Jim Beam. At least the whores on Sunset don't pretend they're not.

What's really cool about this particular visit is that W wanted to hook up with Schwarzenegger to make himself look better, but Ahnuld refused because it'd make him look even worse. Already California Dems have been mighty aggressive in tethering the upcoming special election (meaning it was commissioned by people in short yellow buses) as part of the "Bush-Schwarzenegger" agenda.

And I agree with the commenter at The Talent Show who wanted a cite for Bush's little meme. Probably pulled it out of the same place as his Master Plan For America, so you may want to check his sphincter for paper cuts.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Oh, what a month it's been, a veritable orgy of watching the mighty get their long-deserved comeuppance. Will Cheney step down and give the Republicans a shot at appointing the first vice-president who is black, lesbian, corrupt, and incompetent (the last two are not necessarily mutually exclusive)? Does the corruption go all the way to the top? (Of course it does, no news flash there, but the breaching of the usual plausible deniability is big.)

And will Tom DeLay bend over for the soap? Only the gang who bought him for a couple cartons of smokes know for sure. And even if he won't, they'll be glad to change his mind. And don't forget Scooter; he's got a purty mouth. It's alright, son -- just think about the aspens turning, and Saint Judy's patented deep-throat technique.

So now that we're almost three weeks into October, let's officially declare it a celebration for the rest of the month. Proctoberfest! It's what happens when the stinky finger of a special investigator probes all these arrogant bungholes and makes them squirm. Notice how that formerly cocky co-worker or idiot brother-in-law no longer has that sanctimonious spring in his step? Oh, he'll reguritate Oxycontin Limbaugh's boilerplate when pressed, but he no longer has any urge to buttonhole you on the Fronch wimp Kerry.

Payback's a bitch, and I dunno about y'all, but this shit makes my dick about as hard as if Jennifer Love Hewitt just walked by topless and eating a popsicle. And we're not even at the climax yet.

Hope the Kool-Aid drinkers have their umbrellas ready.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Crouching Scooter, Hidden Cheney

I'm not going to bullshit you, and pretend I got the inside scoop on the shit-hammer that's about to drop on this pustule of an administration re Rove/Plame/Libby/Cheney/Saint Judy D'Arc. There's fascinatin' readin' out there in them internets on the subject. Digby, for one. Atrios, of course. Billmon has some great insights, and Jane from firedoglake has been laying some ginormous wood on the subject. (I'm too lazy to link to them; look for them on the sidebar on the main page. And get me a beer while you're up.)

But with a preponderance of breaking news that the road to Cheney's cottage-cheese ass leads through Scooter's planted lips, I'm starting to feel all tingly at the prospects:

The New York Daily News is set to report in Tuesday editions that a well-placed source interviewed by the newspaper believes a senior White House official has flipped and may be helping the prosecutor in the case, RAW STORY has learned.

The Daily News will reveal that a top source believes that based on the questioning of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and his other contacts with the investigation, someone in the White House has turned.

All eyes are on Dick Cheney, the News says, as the investigation wraps up.

The piece follows on the heels of on a story by Bloomberg News and an article by RAW STORY last week confirming that the prosecutor is probing the Vice President.

Also under a microscope is the White House Iraq Group, an ad-hoc strategy group started by Bush chief of staff Andrew Card aimed at selling the war in Iraq.

The key is Cheney and the WHIG. As Digby put his "log line" on this subject several months ago, this whole thing really boils down to the White House resorting to unsanitary means not just as the usual political payback, but as a means of obscuring what they knew to be untrue; that is, they knew that the odds were very good that Wilson knew exactly what he was talking about, and was not talking out of school out of petty political motivation, but to set the record straight.

The problem is not the endless parsing of whether these fucks knew that Valerie Plame (or "Victoria Flame", if you prefer) was NOC or not, but rather their motives for trying to defame Joe Wilson with charges of nepotism. (Imagine, these people who work for George Walker Bush, suddenly having a problem with nepotism. I'm just sayin'.)

The WHIG is the key to demonstrating their motives. What did they know, when did they know it, and how much did Bush and Cheney personally know, both about the factuality of Wilson's claims, and the tactics undertaken to smear Wilson?

Even Pravda has gotten in on the game:

As the investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name hurtles to an apparent conclusion, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has zeroed in on the role of Vice President Cheney's office, according to lawyers familiar with the case and government officials. The prosecutor has assembled evidence that suggests Cheney's long-standing tensions with the CIA contributed to the unmasking of operative Valerie Plame.


Starting in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the vice president was at the forefront of a White House campaign to convince Congress and the American public that invading Iraq was central to defeating terrorists worldwide. Cheney, a longtime proponent of toppling Saddam Hussein, led the White House effort to build the case that Iraq was an imminent threat because it possessed a dangerous arsenal of weapons.

Before the war, he traveled to CIA headquarters for briefings, an unusual move that some critics interpreted as an effort to pressure intelligence officials into supporting his view of the evidence. After the war, when critics started questioning whether the White House relied on faulty information to justify war, Cheney and Libby were central to the effort to defend the intelligence and discredit the naysayers in Congress and elsewhere.

So, um, who wants to be the one to break it to Richtard Cohen that Fitzgerald isn't wasting the taxpayers money at all, that this has ramifications reaching right into the very heart of the trumped-up justifications for invasion? Perhaps Richtard should take a break from ignorantly harrumphing in print, go back to tossing Meredith Vieira's salad for a couple months, then maybe see if there's room for him at The Corner, fetching apple fritters and forty-dogs of Bosco for the Doughy Pantload.

And for Christ's sake, I assume that the Democrats have more of a strategy for all this than "watch them self-destruct from the sidelines". If they are not aggressive and pro-active about this, if they do not step in and pimp-slap these motherfuckers, 2006 will be a wash. The political vacuum cannot persist; someone will have to fill the void. So be ready, chumps -- this is your brass ring. Death grip that mofo.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Daisy Cutters For Jeebus

Our good friend Craig at The Crazy Years points us to an excellent Harper's profile which neatly encapsulates the blustery hypocrisy foisted upon us by the publicly pious.

The apocalyptics may not be wrong. One could make a perfectly serious argument that the policies of Tom DeLay are in fact hastening the End Times. But there’s nothing particularly Christian about this hastening. The creed of Tom DeLay—of Tim LaHaye and his Left Behind books, of Pat Robertson’s “The Antichrist is probably a Jew alive in Israel today”—ripened out of the impossibly poetic imagery of the Book of Revelation. Imagine trying to build a theory of the Constitution by obsessively reading and rereading the Twenty-fifth Amendment, and you’ll get an idea of what an odd approach this is. You might be able to spin elaborate fantasies about presidential succession, but you’d have a hard time working backwards to “We the People.” This is the contemporary version of Archbishop Ussher’s seventeenth-century calculation that the world had been created on October 23, 4004 B.C., and that the ark touched down on Mount Ararat on May 5, 2348 B.C., a Wednesday. Interesting, but a distant distraction from the gospel message.

The apocalyptics, however, are the lesser problem. It is another competing (though sometimes overlapping) creed, this one straight from the sprawling megachurches of the new exurbs, that frightens me most. Its deviation is less obvious precisely because it looks so much like the rest of the culture. In fact, most of what gets preached in these palaces isn’t loony at all. It is disturbingly conventional. The pastors focus relentlessly on you and your individual needs. Their goal is to service consumers—not communities but individuals: “seekers” is the term of art, people who feel the need for some spirituality in their (or their children’s) lives but who aren’t tightly bound to any particular denomination or school of thought. The result is often a kind of soft-focus, comfortable, suburban faith.

Exactly. This is the true triumph of the wingnuts. After all, statistically most people are of at least average intelligence and reasonably sane. How to co-opt them into buying this nonsense? Make it a consumer choice. I hadn't been able to put my finger on it so well, but that is really my primary misgiving about these damned "megachurches" -- spirituality is not a fashion statement, nor is it a team sport. Really, it is (or should be) the ultimate game of solitaire, in a way. Sure, you probably want someone with a solid background in spiritual studies to bounce ideas off of, seek a little guidance here and there, etc. And fellow congregants can be beneficial for the same thing -- or at least provide examples of what works and what doesn't.

But for the most part, while you may have a support system for your earthly concerns and all, the point of real spirituality is that you're supposed to learn and think, and figure most of this out for yourself. The politically- (and financially-) motivated megachurch preacher is not supposed to be doing all the sorting and winnowing for you. That is not learning; that's regurgitating. Multiplied by 20,000 drones, that is not a mass learning experience, that's an event, that's a mob getting on the same page, which is exactly how the control freaks that run the megachurches -- and more importantly, the politicians they're in cahoots with -- want it. You think Tom DeLay's dick doesn't get harder than Chinese arithmetic when he sees 20,000 faithful voters swaying unthinkingly to whatever comes out of the pulpit jockey's headset mike?

So while we (and by "we", I mean me, but also many commentators who regularly take potshots at the wingnuts) spread prodigious lead at the looniest, we really have to keep a careful eye on the seemingly normal. These Stepford exurbanites are where the money is, hence it's where the real political activism takes hold. These are the people who are keeping the cracker barrel in business. And they think through their political issues about as carefully as they've thought out their spiritual path. (Which is to say, if you need Tom DeLay or any of his Brylcreem acolytes to explain or affirm anything to you, you simply haven't done enough reading and critical thinking, period.)

So keeping that particular demographic in mind, let us turn to another part of Craig's comment, one which I had been thinking about as well:

As to Chimpy and his video backup singers...has anyone in the media even asked why the thing was televised to begin with? If he wants to talk to soldiers and really hear what they think, it seems privacy would be in order, as I will assert that no soldier can tell you what he really thinks in TV-friendly language.

Since this little PR stunt, I have taken a bit of scarce spare time, and checked out a few righty blogs to see what their take on this is. As expected, it is somewhere between denial and delusion. Some have taken pains to smear the Today show, who had the temerity to discuss the prepping and rehearsing of this sham, because Today show cupcake Michelle Kosinski got caught sitting in a canoe in a flooded New Jersey town as two men sloshed past her, in what was clearly ankle-deep water. This sort of reasoning, if applied consistently to the apparent rigors of conservative thought and practice, provides some illumination as to why we are where we are right now.

This just in, Righty McRighterton -- even your hated Olbermann showed the Kosinski clip and had a good laugh. Doesn't matter; she's fucking hot, and her career will just keep chugging forward until she marries up into the incestuous upper echelon, where Richard Cohen was banging Kati Marton while she was married to Peter Jennings, but before he (Cohen) hitched up with newsmilf Meredith Vieira. And Marton is now married to uber-diplomat Richard Holbroooke. Got all that? Glad you didn't become a "legitimate" journamalist?

Anyway, where were we? Ah yes, Dear Leader's fumbling, stumbling, mumbling PR stunt with his favorite props. The righties have decided to take the tack of calling into question the very legitimacy of the question of whether they were prepped, whether the event was scripted. Well, Alison Barber, the Pentagon official seen on the infamous pre-sham satellite feed, was the one using the word "scripted". And any honest observer of the actual event cannot but come away with the clear impression that the dialogue was stilted, the recitation of figures rote and rehearsed, and that it was due to more than just the usual satellite delay.

And it is not unnoticed that the only non-white soldier was the token Iraqi. Do I have to go digging through statistical abstracts to find actual numbers that demonstrate the racial mix of the US military, the Army in particular, or can we take it as a given that this was not an honest cross-section of our troops?

And there's a reason for this, just as there's a reason this thing was trotted out in front of us in the first place. As Craig pointed out, there was no reason for this dog-and-pony show. If Bush truly wanted an honest assessment of the troops on the ground, he could have commissioned a survey. He could have had generals anonymously poll troops. He could even have done some legwork and research himself, compiling facts and anecdotes, gathering and analyzing data, and presenting it to us in a clear, unambiguous manner.

Bwaaaahahahahaha! Had you going there for a moment, didn't I? For Bush, learning interferes with nappy time and bikey time, talkin' with Jeebus and deluding himself into thinking that there aren't at least 10,000 people in the legal community infinitely more qualified than the Church Lady for that fucking SCOTUS seat.

So clearly the rationale for this obviously scripted and rehearsed event was to put a PR face on Bush's folly. There is simply no way an honest person could see that tape and arrive at another conclusion. Bush's complete lack of preparedness and knowledge showed, and the leading nature of the questions, as well as the disastrous pacing of the answer made it obvious to anyone with half a clue what was going on.

The problem is, it will still work as planned on the people it was designed to work on. It wasn't meant for you or me in the first place; it was meant to bolster the base.

As such, they can probably tell themselves "Mission Accomplished", even though in all practicality, that staged bullshit -- just like all of Bush's cherry-picked crowds and carefully staged photo-ops -- didn't accomplish a single goddamn thing to help those troops, or this country.

And for that, they can all go straight to hell.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Hazy Shade Of Pinter

Used to be when the Swedes wanted to show their odd sense of humor, they'd do things like give the Nobel Peace Prize to Henry Kissinger, or let Yngwie Malmsteen think he could be bigger than ABBA over here. (I kid the Yngster, he knows I kid.)

Now they've used not one, but two Nobel Prizes this year to slap Dear Leader upside his jug-eared drug-addled melon head. You think he even knows, much less cares?

They've oiled their wagon wheels so we don't hear them sneaking off. They've given up on circling them. They realize it's a pure waste of time and energy to reason with Bush (and by extension, Americans, at least in the political sphere) anymore.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The New Mantra

From this point on, whenever Dear Leader's gibbering visage darkens my poor television screen, whenever the faithful court stenographers report on one of his mighty deeds -- whether it's a canned videoconference with some of the folks fighting and dying for Bush's hallucinatory conversations with God....

....or whether he's taking a dump or a nap, the first thing I will be thinking is this:

I wonder if he cleared that with James Dobson.

Let it be our collective koan. Let it motivate us to drive all the troglodytes back to their fucking cave, and this time to roll the rock in front of the entrance.

Enough is enough. It's time to remind the Bushies that we're their bosses not their pets, and to remind the Dobsonites that in a free country, they are free to go fuck themselves.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Triumph Of The Shrill

Are conservatives truly that willing -- no, eager -- to sacrifice pragmatism for supposed principle?

If there has been a unifying cause in American conservatism over the past three decades, it has been a passionate desire to change the Supreme Court. When there were arguments over tax cuts and deficits, when libertarians clashed with religious conservatives, when disputes over foreign policy erupted, reshaping the judiciary bound the movement together.

Until Monday, that is. Now conservatives are in a roiling fight with the White House over President Bush's nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to the high court. They fear that the president may have jeopardized their dream of fundamentally shifting the court by nominating someone with no known experience in constitutional issues rather than any one of a number of better-known jurists with unquestioned records.

Movement conservatives -- the real kind, as opposed to the neocon/theocon grifters who have merely co-opted the movementarians' direct-mail tactics to further their own distinctly non-conservative agenda -- are waking up from their delusions. They apparently believed the incoherent babble Bush spouts when it's time to water the potted plants. It didn't occur to them that they were merely another section of the political greenhouse that requires regular watering.

This just in, people -- George W. Bush's actions do not exactly illuminate a principled commitment to the stated ideals and precepts of Christianity, either. He can piously proclaim his fealty to Christ all he wants; when we see him wash Jerry Nadler's feet, perhaps we can conclude he means it.

Whatever the case, it appears that their lack of gruntlement is serious, and bodes poorly for the Boy Genius.

"No one has anything against her," said William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and one of the first conservatives to register his disappointment. "But the idea that one is supposed to sacrifice both intellectual distinction and philosophical clarity at the same time is just ridiculous."

For more than two decades, conservatives have been developing a team of potential justices for the high court in preparation for a moment such as this. They point to jurists such as Judge J. Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, Judge Michael W. McConnell of the 10th Circuit and Judge Priscilla R. Owen, newly sworn in on the 5th Circuit, as examples of people who have not just paid their dues but also weathered intellectual battles in preparation for reshaping the Supreme Court.

That's the key right there -- the very nomination of Miers in the first place obviously signals that Bush senses that he has already squandered whatever political capital he thought he'd accrued in his overwhelming 3% landslide mandate last year. He doesn't have the horses for a fight over someone like Luttig or McConnell, and apparently he realizes that his usual doses of blustery bullshit won't change that.

So even though Miers would suit their needs perfectly well as a pliant cipher, it's just not good enough for Billy Kristol and the rest of them. No less a slavish Bush idolater than Ann Coulter showed her irritation with Bush's nonsense on Real Time the other night. They've painted Bush into a major corner with their discontent. His post-Rita strutting work-shirt poll bump already dissipated, forcing him to retract Miers' nomination makes him look even weaker. With Patrick Fitzgerald's report expected in just a couple weeks, that's hardly enough time for a weakened administration to throw its diminishing weight behind a conservatard firebrand.

Which is why I heartily entreaty them to please, oh please don't throw us into that there briar patch!

Only 28 percent say the country is headed in the right direction while two-thirds, 66 percent, say it is on the wrong track, the poll found.

"There is a growing, deep-seated discontentment and pessimism about the direction of the country," said Republican strategist Tony Fabrizio, who believes the reasons for their pessimism differ for those in one political party or another.

Among those most likely to have lost confidence about the nation's direction over the past year are white evangelicals, down 30 percentage points since November, Republican women, down 28 points, Southerners, down 26 points, and suburban men, down 20 points.

Heh-indeedy. Yeah well, you can just go ahead and suck on it, NASCAR dads and security moms. (Especially the security milfs, a demographic I'd be happy to target, then sleep for a while, then target again.) This is your idiot, the one you lectured the rest of the world as pussies and traitors in defending. And guess what? He's not a true conservative, he's pissed away your kids' futures and given the spoils to his cronies, and the country's gone to hell while certain groups of knuckle-draggers took over the process by whipping up fears of homos getting married. Great prioritizing.

Several bloggers have noted that the elephant in the room with movementarians' discontent is that nominating a known quantity is what they feel is their just reward for doing so much heavy lifting for the Republican establishment for the last forty years. They want that ticker-tape parade down Main Street; they want to rub it all into the faces of their hated opposition. They have a hard on for this vision of hairy-armpit lesbos and effete perfessers crying into their hash brownies.

But what conservatards failed to calculate into their blessed dream of a Leave It To Beaver conformatopia is that the majority of Americans really is still moderate. We tend to forget that, because the screamers have had the mic for so damned long, but it's true. States are purple, not red or blue. People just want to have a more-or-less equal opportunity to have decent jobs and education and live their lives. Part of this requires infrastructure, which is boring and wonky and crumbling around our very ears because everyone wants it, but no one wants to pay for it.

That's what cracks me up about this Miers deal, because she's exactly what the movementarians want -- a reliable corporate stooge, which is exactly what they are. I'm sure they think their "principled" stand is roughly akin to Samson pulling the temple down around him, and if that's what they want to do with their little house of cards, I say let them.

Of course, there's always the fear that Bush would replace Miers with a true barking-at-the-moon loon. Anything's possible, but this administration is already crumbling under the weight of its scandals. The odds are at least 50-50 that Fitzgerald has a bomb to drop (whatever his political bent, Fitzgerald seems to be serious and tenacious; if he had nothing he probably would have said so long ago, and not wasted everyone's time); Judy Miller is likely already in the process of making a deal to save her own scroungy ass; and David Safavian may drop a serious dime on some big fish. The Republicans' woes are just beginning, not ending, and they need to start preparing to minimize the bloodshed in next year's midterms.

This morning's Face the Nation was instructive, as much for what wasn't said as for what was. When Sam Brownback expresses his displeasure with the Miers nomination, you can be sure that this wink-and-a-nod "trust me" shit is falling on deaf ears. Even Bobo seemed to have momentarily misplaced his kneepads, and was in (for him) full panty-twist mode. Chuck Schumer, in asking aloud about Karl Rove's consultation with James Dobson re Miers, got downright pissy at the notion that Dobson was privy to information that had thus far been withheld from the US Senate.

Too bad he didn't go to the next step and ask a very fundamental question -- why are people like Dobson and Falwell and "Pat" Robertson being consulted on policy decisions in the first place? If they want some political say-so, then let them run for fucking office like everyone else. Let them run their ideas out to the American citizens at large, and see what happens. They know what will happen, of course, which is why they'll never do it. Till then, I have no idea why anyone should give a fuck what Dobson thinks, and I wish to hell somebody would grow a pair and ask. And indeed, either Schumer or Leahy should be licking their chops at the opportunity to drag SpongeDob into the confirmation hearings and ask him just what the fuck. Letting Arlen Specter have that glory would just be chickenshit.

The conservatives have been exposed by their symbiotic relationship with the theocon grifters. For decades we have been told by idiots like Dobson, Limbaugh, et al, that most Americans agree with them, but that they have been kept down by the media. Obviously this is ridiculous, but the dynamic feeds the persecution complex that motivates these imbeciles. Now that both of them are seeing, for different reasons, that their trust in George W. Bush was terribly misplaced, it's time for the Democrats to step up and pit those factions against each other.

Hopefully Fitzgerald's upcoming announcement is the starting point for just such a strategy. It is vital that they start making the Republicans' woes accrue to them, and reclaim Americans' trust in their ability to govern. Because the real danger here is the trend toward fascism, and a power vacuum caused by a Republican collapse, in the absence of Democrats' ability to fill that void, could very well cause the rise of a faux-populist fascist movement. People start getting into some crazy shit when they see their country going down the tubes.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Edifice Rex

Can't these people just overcompensate with Hummers and Viagra prescriptions, like everyone else?

Even by Silicon Valley's outsized standards, David Duffield is thinking big.

The software mogul, whose PeopleSoft was wrested away by Oracle, wants to build a 72,000-square-foot home in the San Francisco Bay Area that would dwarf the White House and nearby Hearst Castle. The custom-made, three-story mansion would be on 22 acres in Alamo, a tony suburb about 30 miles east of San Francisco. The estate would feature a tennis court, stables, pool and large garage.

I dunno. Obviously this sort of things whips up my innate distate for conspicuous consumption. But Duffield is one of those folks who has walked the talk in his profession -- he is apparently well-loved by his PeopleSoft employees, and has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to saving dogs and cats, since there are still enormous numbers of people who are too selfish, lazy, and retarded to take care of their fucking pets themselves.

So there's that. Duffield's philanthropic endeavors, while maybe not quite on the scale of Bill Gates, still bespeak a certain measure of character. And his dream home, his would-be Garage Mahal, bespeaks a different side, a rather ugly streak of almost uniquely American (at least in modern times) yahooism. When you get right down to it, Duffield really just wants to get into a pissing contest with Larry Ellison, it seems.

It's tacky, but it's hard to get too worked up about it, when we don't walk the talk about anything else. We bitch about gas prices and wastefulness, but NASCAR seems to be chugging right along. We complain about wasting arable land and scarce resources, but the masters of the universe seem to have little or no trouble persuading taxpayers to foot the bill when it comes time to build a new stadium or racetrack or whatever. They don't exactly build those things on the landfill out in the sticks.

In the face of that persistent trend, I find it difficult to single out Duffield to receive our heaps of contempt, scorn, and dismay. The 8000 square foot home he plans to raze for this monstrosity looked gorgeous, from what pictures of it I've seen, and it should be far more than enough for two people. I don't see how a 72,000 sq. ft. monstrosity is going to grant them happiness, but this is what happens when the idle rich get bored.

I have a feeling that there are more Americans who are envious of Duffield's extravagance, rather than disdainful of his oversized footprint.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Brass Flunky

Two Supreme Court nominations within weeks of each other. This is roughly the judicial equivalent of Comets Halley and Kohoutek colliding in space, or at least performing a tantalizingly close pass. Too bad it's wasted on such an unworthy preznit.

Having shot what was left of his political wad by shoving John Roberts and his SCOTUS training wheels right up into the seat vacated by Rehnquist's desiccated soul, Bush decided to split the difference by nominating a reliable cipher to fill the seat of Sandra Day O'Connor (formerly TV's Maude).

The coverage is essentially a rerun of what we saw with Roberts -- pro-life or pro-choice? Pro-gay-marriage or anti? For Christ's sake, in this day and age, with the complex, earth-shattering issues this nation faces -- as we enter a phase of declining hegemony and dwindling political, financial, and resource capital -- this is all we can fuckin' worry about?

We measure our standard of living here in the US in two major ways. One is in terms of raw dollars -- GDP; GNP; per capita income; etc. Those are clear numerical metrics. Very easy to quantify in a money-driven society. And we're kicking ass in those areas -- on paper at least.

But in the other primary metric -- that of comparison of quality-of-life statistics with those of other industrialized nations -- we are typically very low on the food chain. Health care. Infant mortality. Literacy (and by "literacy", I mean effective written communication, not just the usual half-assed cipherin'). Awareness of politics, geography, science, economics, history, and other important disciplines that directly affect how the world operates. Financial literacy, too.

What we see from that discrepancy is that we are fat and ignorant. Some of us may be happy with this situation; some may just have been distracted into thinking they're happy. Many of us are just too ignorant to know any better, addled by repeated infusions of Cheez Doodles and reality TV.

So what you've got, with the nomination of the manifestly unqualified Harriet Miers, is a collective distraction -- oh, whatever will we do about Roe v. Wade? -- framed by a complicit corporate media. This is not an accident; this is exactly how they want it. By "they", I mean the media themselves; I mean the corporate cronies and grifters that put Bush back in to represent them. They employ this same distraction against both wings quite effectively, and it works every damned time.

The media would rather talk about fetuses dancing on the head of a SCOTUS decision, instead of how much money their corporate owners make from telecommunications bills, from deregulating the people's airwaves, from giving the people's bandwidths over to Clear Channel and Viacom so they can sell you HDTV and cable/satellite systems -- and you still get stuck watching the commercials that used to be the price for having "free" TV networks. Wait till the subscription model for satellite radio reaches market saturation, and see if they don't stick commercial time in there, too.

Anyway, that's the real deal with the Church Lady. The public face of this is to keep the usual groups riled up, while the real reason she's there is to serve as a faithful lackey to the defense contractors and energy grifters that bankroll these fuckers. Just like Bush himself.

They don't want you to feel their hand picking your pocket; they don't want it to occur to you that the term "working poor" essentially did not exist a generation ago. They don't want you to ponder the ever-widening gap between the 1% who own nearly half the assets and all the levers of power, and the growing numbers of people who have to work multiple jobs just to survive. They don't want to you to think about the logical contradiction of Bush blabbering incessantly about the wonderfulness of the "private sector", while he throws kajillions of your tax dollars at Halliburton and Bechtel and Fluor for Gulf Coast reconstruction/gentrification/Disneyfication/denegrofication.

It is much easier to sell the Christofascist agitprop of Prefab Conflict Product™, than to do something useful and let Americans in on the game. Most of them don't really want to know anyway.

I have no idea whether Miers is really an evangelical fruit loop, or a feminist in disguise. I have a pretty good idea that she will do what she's told. I also have a pretty good idea that despite the regular bleats of "religious persecution" from the usual wingnuts in Dinosaur Jeebusland, if they even thought Harriet Miers might be an agnostic or (gasp!) an atheist, even if she kept it to herself, you'd never hear an end to the cheap moralizing and high-handed sanctimony.

It doesn't occur to those yahoos that that road runs both ways. An atheist wouldn't stand a chance in a campaign for major political office in this country. I defy one of these persecuted morons to explain precisely how, if they're so picked upon, it happens that troglodytes like James Dobson and Jerry Falwell are regularly consulted about important issues like Supreme Court nominees and matters of official national policy. Rather than slavishly reporting whether the Redneck Pope has his sacred thumb up or down for Harriet Miers, a responsible media might want to ask why anybody living in the real world ought to give a fuck.

Just another in a long line of things on which we keep falling further behind the rest of the industrialized world.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Time Out

As fate (and a judicious student loan application) would have it, I have been accepted into an accelerated degree program in Project Management. With some moxie and/or gumption, I will have a nice fat BSBA in February of 2007, shortly before my fortieth birthday. This will enable me to escape the benighted employment (and cultural) backwater I find myself mired in, and finally graze some greener pastures.

Despite my evident full-tilt inclination toward eviscerating the retards who dare to control our lives and herd us with their political theater, I do have other interests, as well as a few ideas which may very well turn out to be financially viable. I humbly submit that I would be cheating myself, as well as the rest of humanity, were I not to endeavor to make the most of my peculiar innovations.

So I soldier on. Between full-time work, 1½ hours commute time per day, a too-small amount of family time, and an ever-growing "honey-do" list, there is precious little to insert the required time to read and study and communicate effectively in an educational environment. This necessitates some rethinking of priorities, and at least a short-term drop-down in posting frequency here.

The cool thing about this situation (for me, anyway) is that, just in the context of configuring my time constraints, I've already been jonesing to do more in here. So many things to riff and rip on, just this past week alone. Tom DeLay finally getting what's coming to him (hopefully). Saint Judy getting out (undeservedly; she's a worthless hack/enabler/tool of Satan). The Passion of the Brownie, flaying himself before Congress while pointing the finger -- and taking the heat off his corporate overlords, like a good shameless toady should. There's a lot of ground to cover.

But it will still be there the next time I saunter in, be it in a week, or two, or more. Probably I will go with a Jim Kunstler weekly screed at first, until I find my rhythm with my new commitments. There will always be bullshit to discuss, because the people we examine always (and, more importantly, only) dispense copious amounts of bullshit. And we'll always keep our eye on the proverbial ball. That's what I attempt to do here at the Hammer -- watch that fucking ball so closely, I can describe the stitches to you.

So please be patient, check back in periodically, definitely check out the archives, and thanks for your continued readership. It means a lot to see people coming back for more, and to get where I'm coming from.