Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Helloween

Mr. Buckley has stupid pundits
They're batshit even for wingnuts
Holidays are great occasions
for their online screeds and stunts


The Prudely Den Mother of the NRO troop of the Phalange Scouts of Winguttia takes the opportunity to ruin Halloween as best she knows how. Beware the feminists, kiddies! And Jonah, stay out of Derb's candy bag!

Lopez: How much Wicca is about feminism?

Sanders: Because Wicca is a pagan spirituality, emphasis is placed on Mother Earth, the Mother Goddess. Wicca found an agreeable companion in feminism as the feminist movement grew in the 1960s and 1970s. As women were looking to change things in the culture at large, they also looked to religion and liked the idea of a goddess.

Lopez: Is contemporary feminism inherently pagan?

Sanders: There are so many types of feminists in this country, that I couldn't honestly paint them with such a broad brush. [Ed. - Kathryn kicked her under the table for this] Sure, some are literally pagan in their beliefs.[Ed. - Ahh, much better!] And others have experienced legitimate discrimination as women. But I think that we wouldn't have ever needed feminism at all if professing Christians throughout history had lived according to the tenets of their faith (which we often don't) -i.e. to respect all regardless of sex or ethnic background.[Ed. - Kathryn is fuming now]

Lopez: You talk a bit about strong Christian women in the Bible. Why don't feminists focus more on them?

Sanders: Good question. We could learn a lot from them. They might be inconvenient though with the more radical feminist views that Christianity is oppressive and patriarchal. I think that their stories are inspiring. The early church and Jesus treated women with dignity unheard of in the ancient, pagan world.

Well, that didn't go perfectly, but mission accomplished I suppose. Feminists are yukky pagans. Suddenly, Jonah feels uncomfortable in his super hip Lulu Roman costume. Maybe he should have gone as the Michelin Tire Man this year, after all.

If feminists are "inherently pagan", then pagans are..

Lopez: Who is Gerald Gardner and why should I care?

Sanders: Gerald Gardner is the founder of Wicca. His life makes for a bizarre read. He was a British civil servant who lived overseas for much of the beginning of the 20th century. He lived in south Asia and became fascinated with local tribal culture, ritual knives, and nudity, among other things... Gardner invented some rituals that included some of his own personal proclivities. He also added some rituals from the flamboyant Aleister Crowley who called himself the Beast 666 and said some atrocious things about women. Adding in a reverence for nature and the old Celtic calendar and you have the roots of Wicca. I was surprised that many young people who practice Wicca didn't know about either of these men.

Excellent! Now for that candy.

Lots of candy.


80s Tees


All Consuming

Altamont Records


Burke's Books



Georgetown Book Shop

Get Ethical

Get Offended

No Sweat Apparel

Pornstar Clothing


Soylent Green

Tom Folio

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Wingnut All-Stars

It's really hard to pull off. I'm a research junkie -- it's so much easier than writing (an attitude that places me exactly opposite of that lazy sack of shit Jonah Goldberg).

But I am, and have been, working on it. I have book piles everywhere in my room now, and provided that I don't have to go back to the farm soon, the post will come.

Two things I will bleg about, however. I'm not good with a lot of aspects of computing. How does one get blogger to make each post into an individual page? Eh, it's hard to describe -- I dont know the technical jargon. But my blog now, the permalinks, are like Atrios's and Digby's. I'd prefer the permalinks to be like, say, Aunt Jenna's or TBOGG's.

Another thing: I dont have the slightest idea how to do photoshopping. I can reduce pics and clip them, but as far as drawing or combining images, I know nothing.

I'd like to have a pic of an acorn, with chicken's wings attached, superimposed over a baseball, as my "League's logo". Also, I'd like a picture of C3PO with a dollar sign photoshopped on his chest. This, of course, will be the mascot of the "Silicon Valley Randroids" whose members, if you must know, include the insane Dr. Peikoff, Jane Galt, Amber Pawlik, Alan Greenspan, and Sarah of Trying To Count.

Anyone who can do this for me, or teach my software-illiterate ass how to do it, will get full credit.

"Philadelphia Phucktards" should be the Phillies' "P" with something wingnutty in place of the baseball in the center (a small yellow elephant, perhaps). And I need, for the Pittsburgh Pom Poms, a pic of a cheerleader with pom poms photoshopped over the Union Jack.

When I make the post(s), the pics will be fairly small: say, something like 150x150.

Again, if you can help me, you'll get credit. Maybe one of my three or four readers has some skillz?

Also, do any of you -- Cap'n, Michael, vermonster, anyone -- want the keys to this place? I may have to go back for a while, and regardless of that I just dont post enough to keep the traffic I occasionally get. Email or reply in comments and I'll try to figure out the process.


It's hagiography time at National Review; William F. Buckley, Jr. enters another decade of putrefaction petrifaction, which means the resident hacks at his rag are treating us to a barrage of nauseating encomia.

By now the devotion of wingnuts to Cults of Personality should not surprise. Neither should the wingnut habit of falsification raise any eyebrows, nor yet the wingnut predilection to hypocrisy, a sterling example of which lies in the Buckley pieces.

Wingnuts detest historical revisionism when such enterprises explode the national myths by which they perpetrate or perpetuate their various criminal-ideological enterprises. You know what I'm talking about; you know how they rail against "P.C. history" and all that. Yet they practice historical revisionism "better" than anybody: especially in the sense that wingnut revisionism is about lying, where genuine historical revisionism is about finding truth.

Here's John J. Miller (who looks like "a nearsighted Steve Guttenberg whose head got caught in a trash compactor"):

While Viereck and his liberal pals in academia were diagnosing conservatives as neurotics, Buckley was busy discrediting the John Birch Society and other assorted wackos. This was one of Buckley's most significant accomplishments: running "the forces of the hysterical right" out of the conservative movement. McCarthy does present a problem, of course, but it is wrong to suggest that Buckley and other conservative leaders had anything but a complex relationship with the senator.

And here's the Doughy Pantload:

Buckley employed intellectual ruthlessness and relentless personal charm to keep that which is good about libertarianism, what we'?ve come to call "social conservatism," and what was necessary about anti-Communism in the movement. This meant throwing friends and allies off the bus from time to time. The Randians, the Rothbardian anarchists and isolationists, the Birchers, the anti-Semites, the me-too Republicans: All of these groups in various combinations were purged from the movement and masthead, sometimes painfully, sometimes easily, but always with the ideal of keeping the cause honest and pointed north to the ideal fixed in his compass.

The falsification I want to deal with here is that Buckley threw off the "Decent" Wingnut Train the John Birch Society, surely the most insane American organisation of the last 50 years. Actually, Buckley threw off the train one Robert Welch, the John Birch Society founder and leader. It's an important distinction.

Welch was always a fanatic, a pure batshit nutjob, wishing to fight communism no matter where, no matter what the cost. You know the type: the unhinged ideologue who is quite willing to blow up the world to serve his beliefs. You know, like our modern neoconservatives. Which was hunky fucking dory with Buckley until Welch shifted focus. Welch started as an internationalist/interventionalist anti-communist, wanting to nuke Russia here and invade China there while imprisoning or executing "commies" at home. But then Welch decided that the "commies" at home (which he thought were everywhere: even Eisenhower, in Welch's words, was a Communist dupe) were the more important concern. The result was an implied retreat from batshit internationalism: Welch was more concerned with "tainted" American politicians than in persuing the great anti-commie international cause so dear to Buckley, soon to be manifested in the act of napalming every last Indochinese possible.

Anyone who waffled on the great crusade of killing commies abroad obviously had to be pushed from Buckley's train. So that's what happened to Welch, the paranoid. But the great number of John Birch Society members were absolutely not purged, because their fanaticism was still useful. Miller and Pantload are simply lying, and here is a definitive annihilation of their lies from the book, a golden oldie, Danger On The Right.

After reporting several instances of Buckley continuing to associate with and lend his authority to various causes joined by the John Birch Society, the authors say:

Perhaps Buckley's easy attitude about marching under Rightist banners with Birchers can be explained by the main thrust of his widely read editorial, "The Question of Robert Welch"... The editorial repudiated Welch but declared that the Birch Society included "some of the most morally energetic self-sacrificing and dedicated anti-Communists in America."

Addressing itself to those Birch members, the editorial called on them to reject, "out of love of truth and country, his [Welch's] false counsels." Buckley said that, for Rightists there were "bounds to the dictum" that "anyone on my right is my ally." On moral grounds, he asked, "can one endorse the efforts of a man who, in one's judgement, goes about bearing false witness?" This was all the more true, said Buckley, because Welch insisted that there be no disagreement on the part of his followers with the central Welch thesis -- that the Government of the United States is, and has been, under the operational control of the Communist Party for a number of years. Yet by the time the Committee for the Monroe Doctrine was formed... those identified with the Birch Society who joined the Committee had not, with perhaps a few exceptions, disassociated themselves from the Society nor had they succeeded in ousting Founder Welch. But Buckley's name was linked with theirs. Anyone on his near right was apparently his ally.

The Buckley editorial, cutting up Welch while kissing Birchers on both cheeks, shook the American Right, caused anguished comment by the Founder, and was ...interpretated as a conservative manifesto reading the Radicals out of the ...movement. In truth, it was a lot less than that; Buckley had taken a hard line with Welch and a soft line on Birchers.

When the smoke cleared, Welch... had survived the wrath of Buckley's typewriter. Since February, 1962, Buckley and the National Review have resumed saying nice things about the Birchers and some of their activities.

Before the Purge That Was Not A Purge editorial, Buckley had said:

Q. Would you say that the structure of the John Birch Society is totalitarian or fascistic? A. No, I consider it reasonable that a man who founds an ad hoc organization of this character should have as much dominance over its affairs as he considers to be in the best interests of his organization's objective. If members of the John Birch Society do not like the way it is run, they can resign from it... Q. What is the future of the John Birch Society? A. I hope it thrives, provided, of course, it resists such false assumptions as that a man's subjective motives can automatically be deduced from the objective consequences of his acts.


A week later, when news came of the suspension of Major General Edwin Walker for seeking... to indoctrinate his troops with [John Birch Society] propaganda, the National Review leaped to the defense of Walker.

In June, 1961, as the wave of anger about the Birch Society continued, the National Review testily complained of the denunciations: "Why, it's enough to make one join the John Birch Society."

By 1962, alarmed that the national outcry against the Birch Society might harm the whole Rightist movement in general must have hit home with Buckley, Ergo, his editorial ["The Question of Robert Welch"]:

"Mr. Welch, for all his good intentions, threatens to divert militant conservative action to irrelevance and ineffectuality. There are, as we say, great things that need doing... John Birch chapters can do much to forward these aims, but only as they dissapate the fog of confusion that issues from Mr. Welch's smoking typewriter. Mr Welch has revived in many men the spirit of patriotism, and that same spirit calls now for rejecting, out of love of truth and country, his false counsels."

By 1963, however, when it was clear that the rejection had not taken place, the inevitable zag by the National Review followed the zig. As the so-called "card party" movement -- plugged, promoted, and manned by Birchers across the nation -- sought to stop the retail sale of goods manufactured behind the Iron Curtain, the National Review had some nice things to say[.]

Two months later... Buckley again took the soft line on Birchism:

"I tend to fear not that the pendulum is going too far in the direction of Mr. Welch, but too far in the direction of total nonchalance about the fact that a) conspiracies exist, and b) that they do accomplish great purposes."

By November... Buckley found himself called upon to go even further in his "anti-anti-Birch" position[:]

Buckley said that "...certainly it does not follow that Senator Goldwater has any obligation, in morals or in intellect, to repudiate all those who have associated themselves with Mr. Welch to make common cause against communism and socialism."

Refering to a reported statement by Senator Goldwater that "all the members of the John Birch Society I have met are good people," Buckley said that "a society is not to be judged by the excesses of individual members of it, any more than it must be judged by the excesses of its leaders." (Buckley did not tell his readers how a society should be judged, if not by its leaders and members.)

Buckley concluded with the declaration that he stood by his statement of a year previous: "...that I have nothing against, in fact I have considerable admiration for, the majority of those members of the John Birch Society, whom I have met or corresponded with -- and I judge them as individuals, not as members of the Society. But irrespective of whether one agrees with the general goals of the Society's members, as I emphatically do, genocidal assaults upon the membership of the Society and on candidates who refuse to condemn all members of the Society are unreasonable and undiscrimating."

Buckley has not applied the same nice yardstick to individuals in Leftist or even liberal groups such as the ADA; they are all usually lumped together.

Isn't that "genocidal assaults" line precious?

So, to recapitulate, Buckley did not purge the Birchers. He attacked the Society's leader, and that's it. Buckley is not the idealist man of principle his hagiographers make him out to be; rather, he's the consummate politician who skillfully covered himself and his magazine with the flimsy editorial on Welch. A close reading of Buckley's own words shows that he was not at all against "militant conservative action" as typified by the JBS. They were indeed wackjobs, as history has judged, yet Buckley agreed not only with their aims but with their means. His sole complaint was with regard to Welch's paranoia of communists at the highest levels of the US Government, and Buckley even managed to, uh, welch on that count. Pantload and Miller are, of course, pathological liars: Buckley never read the JBS out of the conservative movement. Judged on the whole, he was one of its grandest enablers.

Six Of The One, Half A Dozen Of The Other

OK, I was wrong: they passed the constitution (though by how much, and how cleanly, is very much in question). But as far as attitudes go, I still think what I said holds up.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Marble Douchebag

Roy notes a typically mournful post by the blogosphere's most intolerable gasbag/windbag/douchebag, Tacitus:

DOGS AND CATS, LIVING TOGETHER! Some Dutch people have staged a marital three-way, and the Values brigade, clad in togas, is crying "Vanitas!" which is Latin for "Damned fags."

To be fair, Tacitus' contempt, being classicist in style and Biblical in scope, reaches further back than the gay-nups thing: "No-fault divorce opened up a Pandora's box of easily-broken families... those wishing to pretend that a homosexual coupling constitutes marriage... decay of Western Civilization," etc. Then the dry-ice machine was revved up and he floated, one bony finger raised in reproach, back into his Temple.

As Professor Corncob says, read the whole thing, in which Roy notes the incongruity of Mr. Talking Statuary's complaint when Tacky and his party readily accept as moral something like, say, a company polluting a river to fatten its profit line. Republicans: moralists about sex, amoralists about things that count. Put another way, for Red State types, the worship of Mammon and, to shift mythologies, Ares (Tacitus's pseudoclassical style is contagious -- all the more reason to call for its extinction), is a wonderful thing indeed, but the enthusiastic worship of Eros and Ganymede (or if you're Andrew Sullivan on a lucky cybersearch, Priapus) is something worthy of damnation to Hades -- or, failing that, persecution at the hands of brownshirts who look to Santorum not only for ideological inspiration but also, presumably, for fabric dye.

As usual, Roy does great justice to the subject, and is a lot nicer about it than I could be. He even gives Tacitus credit for being consistently reactionary instead of being, as are so many other wingnuts, emphatic about the subject only where homosexuals are concerned.

Fine, he's not especially homophobic, but this is only compared to his fellow nutcases. Damning with faint praise can work for flesh and blood opponents, but marble can only be crushed with a sledgehammer. So let's get to swinging:

If the experiences of social legislation of the past half century have taught us anything, it is that tinkering with the basic institutions of family and moral structure by government fiat -- however well-intended -- is usually unwise and fraught with unintended consequences. No-fault divorce opened up a Pandora's box of easily-broken families and maladjusted single-parent youth; poorly-designed social welfare programs weakened family bonds to an oft-fatal degree; and now we see that the "civil union," intended as a sop for those wishing to pretend that a homosexual coupling constitutes marriage, is opening the door to polygamy. As is its wont in matters of the decay of Western civilization, the Netherlands is leading the way.

Senator Santorum, I believe that's your vindication.

First, some words about prose style. The quoted passage exhibits not a passing resemblance of classicism but a windy, stilted ("oft-fatal"?) affectation along the lines of an eighth grader's attempt to mime Henry James. So majesterial, so florid... trying so hard. Yeah. Classicism -- or its reasonable facsimile -- is hard and lean. Pithy. I admit I can't pull it off but that doesn't prevent me from seeing how spectacularly others fail at it. Tacitus's aim is gravitas; his effect is pure chloroform, however. His style serves the same purpose to the reader as Glenn Reynolds's content: to inspire wrist-slitting, begging-to-be-shot-in-the-head boredom. As far as style and content goes, Tacitus most resembles George F. Will in his most pompous and annoying period. If this is classicism, the sound you just heard was Cicero begging to be killed properly all over again.*

And what kind of megalomanical fuckwit would call himself Tacitus, anyway? digamma's the kind of classicist name one can respect, but Tacitus? Please. I mentioned this on the wingnut all-star post but I'll say it again: I used to enter chatrooms as "The Emperor Julian" and "alkibiades" but for the purposes of acting intentionally belligerent to the bad sort of Christians (with the former) or silly and lispy (with the latter). Fun. Humor. Even poorly executed, these are foriegn concepts to Josh "Tacitus" Trevino.

Now for the substance: the argument itself is classical, if one considers a wingnut trope dating back to Eisenhower to be classic. In the 50s the first railings against allegedly hedonistic European social democracies were minted; the country usually mentioned was Sweden. Now it's Holland, which is no problem for the vast majority of Tacitus's red state comrades, clay-eating white trash who are certain that pretty much anywhere in Northrun Yoorup, Satan's at work encouragin abortion, suicide, atheism and redistrabyooshun of wealth among those commie bastards. On the other hand, thanks to Tacitus's link, some of them may look up Portugal, smiley-face turning back to frown when they realise it's a country of idolatrous Papists. Oh well.

Anyway, for years progressive Euro democracies have been loathed by wingnuttia as permissive, which nicely dovetails with Tacitus's greater leitmotif of the decline of western civilisation (and you thought it was a punk rock movie).

Which, after noting Tacitus's servile Santorum reference, brings me back to Roy's post's title. Gay marriage, legal threesomes: for Tacitus and Santorum, these are but preludes to the total annihilation of the family unit. At root, that's how they see it: as nihilism. Hence the assumption that liberals will degrade society to the point that it will make just as much moral sense for a man to marry a dog, as Senator Santorum admitted in a carelessly honest moment. Forget love, forget legal pragmatism, forget human nature (which is, ironically, what conservatives otherwise like to say they never forget): these are of no concern when the Bible commands otherwise!

Of course all that's obvious. We're dealing with the American Taliban here, after all. Less obvious, but interesting and particularly wounding to The Marble Douchebag who likes to think he's Master of History as well as Lord of Language, is the concern expressed in the first comment to the post (how did it slip through their filter?):

There is nothing inherently earth-shattering about polygamy. Lots of societies have had it (or still do) and they actually WORK as societies. Hell's bells, in Utah, polygamy is STILL going on in not so small ways (I lived there for 7 years: polygamy DOES exist all over the place there). The ONLY problem with it in Utah is that is usually is coercive, involves minors being given to adults (uncles, cousins) as if they are property.

As long as adults are fully and absolutely not coerced in any way, and as long as they have full choice to leave (not enslaved to an institution of any type), then I can't complain, and neither can you. It is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE DOING, AS CONSENTING FREE ADULTS, IN THEIR PRIVATE LIVES. Sheesh. Worry about what's going on (or not going on, poor prudes) in your own bedrooms. It is not your place to dig into anyone else's.

This is the historically and anthropologically informed civil libertarian counter-argument which functions as Vandal to our Roman wannabe. One could add that de facto polygamy was the rule rather than the exception throughout the history of Western Civ, at least among those who could afford it. While it's true that marriage was an inelastic institution for the Greeks and Romans, this had nothing to do with sexuality and everything to do with orderly inheritance of property. Well, that and structural misogyny, which explains much of its allure to wingnuts. In practice, everyone had lovers; the Euros (and especially in the last couple centuries, the French) are more worthy heirs of Western sexual tradition than we. And the Old Testament endorses it, too.

The chaste-until-married, thereafter exclusively monogamous, flamingly heterosexual past that the Marble Douchebag and his comrades seek to return to never existed. It's a myth. Well, the Romans believed in their myths, too. In only this sense does the intolerable, pompous fucktard known as Tacitus resemble the classical past.

*Edit: I revised this sentence; a better comparison had slipped my mind.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Play Ball

MLB playoffs began today; my Cardinals won (apologies to TBOGG, a Padres fan since the days of Nate Colbert).

Here's what I'd like to see:
White Sox defeat Red Sox
Angels defeat Yankees
Cardinals defeat Padres
Braves defeat Astros

White Sox defeat Angels
Cardinals defeat Braves

Cardinals defeat White Sox

But it wont happen that way; I think the Angels could win it all. It wouldn't hurt my feelings to see the White Sox win it all (not only are they long due -- I like parity -- but it would be another dagger to the psychotically masochist hearts of Cubs fans worldwide, and I'm all about giving the people what they want, assuming the subhuman drunken fucktards and Trixie-yuppie "baseball fans" of Cubs Nation qualify as people), but I think they'll choke somehow.

I hope the Braves squeak by the Astros; Houston's the only team I fear right now and I'd rather not have the Cardinals face them.

Losing Al Reyes is gonna hurt. Right on cue, the bullpen stunk it up today -- thank God we had a big enough lead to begin with.

I didn't really mind it that Boston won last year. I was even sort of happy though they beat the Cardinals to do it. But fuck off, already -- I'm tired of the Sox. No, it's not to Yankees-fatigue level, yet, but still.

The Cardinals are a real worry. I don't care what they say, something's wrong with Pujols. George Will could pitch better than Ray King and Jason Marquis have of late. We're really gonna miss Rolen now. Morris sucks ass. I hope they pull their shit together.

Anyway, speaking of baseball and wingnuts like George Will, here's a link for the new people:

2005 Wingnut All-Stars.

Enjoy. And yes, longtime readers, I'm still working on the comprehensive follow-up. I may be able to get through with it before the World Series is over, but no promises.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Where Is The Howard Baker Of 2005?

Steve Gilliard, when staying clear of subjects involving the US military and 1960s radicals, is worth reading:

Here's a question: what if Patrick Fitzgerald really does indicts people on a conspiracy charge?

Judy Miller wasn't cooling her heels just over sourcing. She was the link to something larger.

Now the WaPo is running a story implying that the scandal runs into a White House conspiracy.

Once you get over the idea of chortling about Rove, Libby and maybe Cheney in the dock, think about this: the leadership of this country could be facing criminal charges. With all the talk of conspiracy charges, it doesn't seem like a report is all we get here.

What bother me is this: I mean, Rove and Libby would have to resign, Cheney wouldn't last much longer. So what does Bush do? DeLay and Frist are also under a cloud.

This should be really scary to anyone who's sentient. Bush, isolated and under pressure? Not a scene I want to imagine. Not for a second.

People like to beat up on the Dems for lacking courage, but compared to the GOP, they're freaking Audie Murphy. Who in either GOP caucus is going to step up to do what has to be done. Which is gently shove Bush aside. Come on, a government ripped apart with indictments is one which cannot function. New leadership would be needed.

It comes down to this: when will the GOP stand up for the country? Because they run the show. They have to decide whether they will stand up for the party or the country.

If they do not stand up for the country, they will turn into a rump party.

You know getting rid of Bush seems like a great idea, but then you're left with the reality of President Hastert. Which is like Pinnochio without Geppetto. And God knows who his VP would be, Roy Blunt?

There are things worse than Bush's presidency. Like Hastert's.

Aside the ridiculousness of the last sentence, this is good stuff.

New Abu Ghraib pictures (far worse than before, allegedly; these are from the batch that made even Lindsay Graham say he was nauseated) come out soon. Bush's response to Katrina was an exercise in political lemmingry. Iraq goes as badly as ever. Now here come the indictments. The line from mere unpopularity to total pariah is thin, as Richard Nixon could attest, but once crossed...

Bush is crossing it right now. Fortunately for the health of the country, several of his fellow rats on this political Titanic also find themselves without a lifeboat. DeLay is toast. Frist is fucked.

The question then is not so much who's next, but who's going to turn on the rats.

Politicians, though bloodless and soulless, are like other life forms: the first instinct is self-preservation. At least that is normally the case.

Thus the mystery here. The Rethugs seem to be so conditioned to stay "on-message", to be so loyal to Dear Leader, that there has been no one yet to step forward.

In contrast, remember Watergate. That took awhile to get traction, too, but once it did, and people recognised that Nixon was political poison, an orderly progression started. Republicans in Congress like Howard Baker and John Anderson came out against Nixon. No one wanted to appear openly obstructionist.

Of course, these circumstances are rather different in that there is no viable opposition in Congress from the other party. Republicans during Watergate had to come out against Nixon because they were in the minority in Congress. No such luck this time.

Gilliard's "for the good of the country" is laughable; since Disraeli, Anglosphere politics have been about the good of the party first, after the individual politician's own self-interest, of course. Be more cynical, Steve. Remember the natures of whom you write.

And as I mentioned, a Hastert presidency being worse than Bush's is preposterous. Here's what will happen. Bush will be crippled by scandal for the remainder of his presidency. Like Clinton was, except without the approval of the populace. Each day that goes by that the Republicans don't come out against Bush is a day that wingnuttery itself becomes more permanently discredited to the public. Nothing but good can come of this. Don't worry: government will function, checks will go out, offices will be open, and we'll be as safe as we ever were (hahaha!).

It's just that the wingnut initiatives won't come, thank god. Now aren't you Dems sad that you didn't hold up the Roberts confirmation? Thanks, dolts, you confirmed a Rehnquist clone who'll menace the court for the next 30 years when, if you'd waited a few days, you'd have had all the political capital in the world to send wingnuttery the way of the dodo.

We're about to witness the felo-de-se of the wingnut elite. Don't be sad, and don't worry. Reach for the popcorn. It couldn't happen to more deserving people. The decent wingnuts -- Chaffee & McCain, say -- aren't going to be hurt. They'll stick around. There'll be a Republican Party after this. This is a purge of the kleptocrats and Nixon clones. How could that be a bad thing?


(Grrr. Second attempt. I had this all written-up in a way that pleased me, which is difficult, then Firefox crashed; I lost it all.)

Here's something I never got to here at the time, but meant to. And I might as well put up something at least mildly interesting since my friend Dayn Perry has sent me beaucoups of new traffic.

Consider this:

In his memoirs, General Ulysses S. Grant wrote:

I was bitterly opposed [to manuevers by the Polk adminstration that led up to war], and to this day regard the [Mexican] war, which resulted, as one of the most injust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation...It was an instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory.


To us it was an empire of incalculable value; but it might have been obtained by other means. The Southern rebellion was largely an outgrowth of the Mexican War. Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions. We got our punishment in the most sanguinary and expensive war of modern times.

Allow a moment for digestion.

Yes, General Grant too made the "Chickens Have Come Home To Roost" argument.

New readers may notice names of people I find interesting linked to the right and interpret that as an endorsement. One name is guaranteed to give offense. I don't think it necessarily should.

In case you're curious, there was no outrage at these words of Grant's; indeed, sales of his memoirs were wildly popular and provided the nestegg by which his widow comfortably lived her remaining years.

I don't believe in karma. No one is taking cosmic tally. But I admit that, especially in my personal life, I frequently wish I did believe in it. Sometimes I pretend that I do. At the same time, knowing what modest bit I do of our country's history, on "geopolitical karma" terms ...well, I'm scared shitless of the prospect.

But I'm in the minority. Most people believe in some sort of cosmic judgment. You get what's coming to ya. Well, if this is an acceptable belief if applied to individuals, why not the same for countries? If not, why not? If so then ..why the hesitancy to get to the logical conclusion in our case?

But fuck metaphysics for now. History is causal; actions have reactions. The moral relativity of action to reaction is not the point, though for the sake of argument I will readily concede that reactions are often as nasty or nastier than the instigations. The point, rather, is that the instigations can and should be seriously curtailed if not completely ceased.

Why in God's name are we anywhere in the world where we are not wanted?

*Edit -- I've tinkered with it; still can't get it like the original, but it's the best I can do right now. My bad karma? Fuckola.

I Know What You're Doin'

Two rightwing hacks, Instayokel and the New Zealand Bear, have gone into a politically clever business:

Identify some wasteful spending in your state or (even better) Congressional District. Put up a blog post on it. Go to N.Z. Bear’s new PorkBusters page and list the pork, and add a link to your post.

Then call your Senators and Representative and ask them if they’re willing to support having that program cut or — failing that — what else they’re willing to cut in order to fund Katrina relief. (Be polite, identify yourself as a local blogger and let them know you’re going to post the response on your blog). Post the results. Then go back to NZ Bear’s page and post a link to your followup blog post.

The result should be a pretty good resource of dubious spending, and Congressional comments thereon, for review by blogs, members of the media, etc. And maybe even members of Congress looking for wasteful spending…

How very noble. No one likes wasteful guvment spending, after all. And this is after Katrina and Rita; every little bit counts, does it not?


The true motive of these hacktastic jackasses is transparent. It's a grassroots diversion.

The truth is that the deficit is in the toilet because of Iraq, tax cuts, and gifts to the pharmaceutical and energy sectors. With it being politically suicidal (and that should be a hint, wingnuts, how unpopular your philosophy really is) to choose the typical Republican response to the hurricanes -- doing nothing -- spending's gonna skyrocket from its already intolerable levels. These two wingnuts know what's coming.

Thus "porkbusters", a silly distraction so that the truly wasteful policies favored by wingnuttery do not change. In other words, "Billions For Big Oil, The Upper Class, And Military Contractors, Not One Cent For Infrastructure Or Social Programs."

It's an old trick, really. I can give an example from my area. Most of the big farmers are wealthy, white and Republican. They constantly complain about that scourge, "Government Spending", and its result, taxes. Okay, I say, please return the thousands you got this year in subsidies while refraining from sending your children to public schools, using public roads, and consulting with the county agent (for starters). After the mushroom cloud, the rage and aploplexy, comes an incoherent rant in which (it's inevitable) the true wastes are denounced and blame is diverted. People -- black people, yes yes -- on welfare are the real problems, and don't you say my subsidies are welfare because by God I work for a livin.

Same with Instayokel and The Bear Who Shits In The Woods: What are you talkin about, Iraq and the Upper Class Tax Cut when you've got this here bridge to nowhere they're building! Don't look at the President, look at Congress!

Harry Reid has already recieved a negative rating from the hacks:

Harry sent a letter that included this: .."the Executive Branch also needs to do a better job of managing projects.


Genuine porkbusting's a fine hobby; when it's initiated by pigfuckers is when I get suspicious.

Oh, Lemme Guess!

Atrios says:

I don't want to go to deeply into *why* so many people seem to be charter members in one of the many End Times clubs, though I do imagine it has something to do with it being the ultimate affirmation of some deeply held belief.

We all have our own version, I suppose, which says something about us. But in any case I was struck by Kevin Drum's version of the apocalypse, which was kind of a new one.

Now this should be really fun, especially since I can't access the page (Washington Monthly's site seems to be down right now), but I'll hazard an off the wall guess anyway:

I bet Drum's version of the apocalypse is that anyone to his left gets any political power in this country whatsoever.

After all, it hasn't happened since 1944, and Drum sleeps much easier because of that fact. Compared to Kevin Drum, the average New Dealer, say, was extreme left -- which says not so much about the objective leftism of the New Deal as much as it says about Kevin Drum's brand of "acceptable liberalism" centrism.

It's an easy conclusion to draw.

By the way, I never blogged on the content of the last link. I regret it. Irony is seldom found so richly in these matters; Drum, the quintessential modern centrist, actually taking to task one of the godfathers of squishy-centrist technocrat liberalism for not being technocrat enough! Sweet.

Schlesinger, hagiographer of our country's first technocrat administration, is apparently too shrill for Drum's tastes (but then Drum is on the record as admiring Max fucking Boot; as is the case with most squishy centrists, they are comfy indeed finding themselves in admiring "opposition" of the far right). Read Drum make the Aww, Bush Isn't All That Bad case and try to contain your urge to vomit.

Has Schlesinger changed? Hard to tell. He had a personal interest in being apologist for the objectively right-wing Democratic administration he served. His President was son of a Nazi-phile, ran to the right of Nixon, nearly helped to blow up the world. Now, with little personal interest clouding the issue, and geopolitical and domestic shenanigans coming from their traditional Republican sources, it's easier for Schlesinger to see the awfulness of it all. Also, the Grim Reaper approaches; others from that era have been making their mea culpas as they hear the skeletal hand begin to rap on their doors. But Drum doesn't care about that -- he'd have been right there with the Bundys, Berlin, Schlesinger, McNamara, et al, anyway; they were his type -- he cares about the context, dammit! See, Arthur, Drum says, you have listed the cases of awful wartime adminstrations in the past, but you havent made the case that Bush is as bad or worse, so nyah. And George, John, Dick, Donald and Alberto say thank you, Kevin.

Anyway, neoliberals: Fuck em and feed em fish heads.

*Update: Ahh, now the page loads for me. His version of the apocalypse is interesting and has little to do with politics (though you could say it's yet more ammo for luddists -- not a bad thing). Oh well, I wanted to rip him for a while anyway.: he's gotta pay for that "left bias" and "admirable Max Boot" shit.