Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sellers market

Click image for full Bruce Beattie/Daytona Beach News-Journal cartoon.

'Cause even with all the shit going on in world, Sunday still has to have funnies.

Flip flop flip

What does John McCain believe about torture today?

"Waterboarding to me is torture, okay? And waterboarding was advocated by the administration, and according to a published report, was used," McCain said. "I obviously don't want to torture any prisoners."

How many refugees

I'm a little leery of giving the McCain press operation an idea for a craven political gimmick, but here goes anyway.

Now that Duhbya is trying to prove mastery of the difficult ass/hole in the ground distinction by saying, "Run away," how many refugees can fit into McCain's houses? Can he fly them there on his campaign jet on loan from Cindy's family business.

By the way, I really don't care if Cindy is offended. What matters to me is that McCain has tried to portray Obama as an out of touch elitist, yet the houses and the $5 million middle class and Phil Gramm's whiners remark and the health adviser's claim that ER service should count as health insurance all show that McCain is the out of touch elitist.

If the McCain people are desperate enough to take this suggestion, it will backfire on them anyway. It will be an obvious pander (though the press will need that pointed out to them), and they'll have long-term lodgers (Christmas with John and Cindy!), which will probably necessitate their purchase of even more houses.

Image used under CCA 2.5. Click photo for details.

Hippie kids and god bless 'em

First, an apology: Earlier I called the victims of the St. Paul police intimidation 'loonies'. They believe things that I don't, that I sometimes find absurd, but there are things they are right about, too. And the truth is that there is something very wrong with this kind of policing.

The biggest point of agreement I have with these anarchists is that we use our rights or we lose them. The authoritarian instinct runs deep in government, especially in institutions run by Bushists and their sympathizers. They're happy to turn any conversation between people whose views they despise into some dark and violent conspiracy.

Not ignoring the past

Of course, we have seen before that some of these hippie kids are likely not to remain non-violent, and there are hints of it in some of the videos Glenn Greenwald is in or links to. However, there is a suitable and legal police response to this. That response does not include further trashing of the Constitution, and the SWAT-level raids are clearly about politics, not about law enforcement. We should all be very fearful of the continuing escalation of Big Brotherism.

In further defense of these young radicals, they do have a better record than police riot squads in confining their violence to property.

Official accountability?

Last (for now), there's missing accountability in our system for official violations of the Constitution. Ramsey Co. Sheriff Bob Fletcher, who is behind these raids, is not going to suffer any consequences for their illegality. I know that's a prediction, and I hate when other people make those; I'll happily retract it and apologize if someone can show me any single time in the past twenty years when a police official did time or paid a fine related to a rights violation (not including official violence). It just doesn't happen.

Further, the judiciary is supposed to restrain this sort of police misbehavior. Who is the judge or judges who signed these dubious warrants?

Storm surge of snark

The Republicans from Duhbya and Darth to McCain aren't so much afraid of the real hurricanes, Gustav and Hanna. What they really fear is the eye wall and storm surge of snark.

This is really too easy:

  • Suppose they gave an RNC and nobody came.
  • Photo-ops for a failed comb-over.
  • Balloon drop into 150 mph winds!
  • Obama had Invesco, but we'll always have the Superdome.
  • Republicans in disarray - you hadn't noticed already?
  • The RNC Welcoming Committee is all that's left. (And boy are they left!)
  • McCain, why did you vote against hurricane relief?
These hurricanes are a complete PR disaster for the Republicans. If they weren't such venal, unsympathetic, and incompetent bastards, I'd almost feel sorry for them. But no, they deeply deserve to have what goes around come back around to land on them.

I'll save my concern for the innocents who'll lose their lives, their property, and their livelihoods in what comes. The victims may, like Katrina's, have their lives disrupted for years. They are the ones who don't deserve four more years of Bushist Republican misrule. Among others.

Image in the public domain. You and I already paid for it.

Update: See also "How many refugees". The snark continues.

Flush the conservative movement

Andrew Sullivan still owes a lifetime of penance for enabling the Bushists, but this take-down of McCain's Hail Mary helps keep him out of neocon hell:

The Palin pick says much more about McCain than it does about Palin (all it says about her is that she didn't have the good sense to turn it down). What it says about McCain is that he is more interested in politics than policy, more interested in campaigning than governing, tactical when he should be strategic, and reckless when he should be considered.

He is as big a gamble as president as Palin is as vice-president. This decision was about gut, about politics, about cynicism, and about vanity. It's Bushism metastasized.

Nice to know that Sullivan's eyes are now open enough to see what's right in front of him. Seven years after, he has a clear-eyed view of the Bushists.

Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons. Click for details.

Vagina Americans unite!

Political opposites but gynecological twins.

With Samantha Bee's help, you can achieve parity in genital euphemisms:

  • fun pouch
  • love pita
  • little hood
(h/t wvng)

What the Bushists killed

My friend Tom at the Inverse Square points to this classic Kung Fu Monkey post from 2004. I can assert without fear of contradiction that nothing so perfect has been published anywhere in America on any newspaper's editorial or op-ed pages in all the years since.

This is definitely in the (large) category of things I wish I had had the talent to write.

Why age matters

Bill Clinton started in office as a young man.

The job plus the Republican persecution of his juvenile stupidity took their toll.

Duhbya is Clinton's age and started eight years later. Without makeup, his face already bore the marks of alcohol abuse, but you can't see them here.

Still looks like an idiot, maybe even moreso, though significantly aged.

Without makeup, Duhb looks really bad. And he doesn't even work that hard at his job.

McCain is older than either of them. Not older than they were at their inaugurations. Older than they are now. Not a baby boomer like them, a Depression baby.

Is it just me, or should McCain's before picture be his after picture?

Would he look like this running for re-election in 2012?


It's a very demanding job even if you take August off every year like Duhbya. McCain comes from a long-lived family, but it's the women who live long. He has already outlived his father.

Each image links to its source. I'm using them under various permissions. A couple stretch fair use. If you own rights to the worse Duhbya image or the Cryptkeeper and object to their use, I'll take them down.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pray it away

Why can't Pat Robertson pray Gustav away? If God is a Republican as the Republicans seem to think (but won't admit they think), why would he send a hurricane at this critical time?

Republicans have learned something since Katrina: They've learned to turn disaster to PR advantage:

"He wants to do something service-oriented if and when the storm hits and it's as bad as its expected to be now," the McCain source said.

They are also hoping to get McCain himself to a storm-affected area as soon as possible.
There he goes again, presumptuously acting as if he were already President.

Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

Update (8/31): More analysis, less snark at Massachusetts Liberal.

Wingnut brain implosion

You wouldn't think a wingnut would have enough brains to implode, but this could do the trick:

[Oil Ministry spokesman Assim] Jihad called [the contract with China] a major and significant move for Iraq.
Always good to know what we were fighting for!

Too hot for CNN

On Duhbya's gratitude, there's a single (illiterate) reader comment. Mine, among I'm sure a thousand others, didn't get past the moderator:

Duhbya: "No matter how badly I went astray, you loyal Republicans followed me off the cliff like lemmings. And I thank you for that. When I'm in the dock at the Hague, I know you'll be there with me."
Pretty tepid stuff.

Reaction stories tilt right

McCNN has been running stories all week that were entirely cobbled together out of Republican reactions to events at the DNC. Many of them had URLs that included 'gop' and 'reax'.

Today, McCNN runs a Sarah Palin reaction story. It is emphatically not a Democratic reaction story - it leads with Republican reactions from the McCain campaign (how's that a reaction?), from Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), from Jim DeMint (R-SC), from John Boehner (R-OH), and even from Duhbya (R-disaster).

Then and only then does the story get to reaction from Democrats. This is another reason I call the network McCNN.

Yes-but factchecking

One of the perennially irritating practices of is its insistence on tut-tutting about how something a Democrat didn't actually say is misleading. Its carping about Obama's acceptance speech falls almost completely into that category.

Factcheck less fair on taxes than Obama

Factcheck's first point is its best. Obama does need his taxes on the wealthy to pay for his programs, and he didn't say so. But there are still major omissions in Factcheck's take:
  • Obama is asserting this equation: new program costs = new revenues + savings. Factcheck doesn't even try to quantify new program costs.
  • Factcheck objects to Obama's failure to mention continuing deficits. This is a non sequitur. Obama is only talking about the contribution of his promises to the deficit, not the deficit as a whole.
  • If Factcheck's goal is also to add context by raising the question of the aggregate deficit, it's irresponsible not to point out that McCain's plans are significantly more indebting than Obama's.
Not even a nit

Next, Factcheck asserts that Obama is unfair to McCain about McCain's 2003 statement that we could muddle through in Afghanistan. But Obama is showing how slow McCain has been to reach his current judgement about Afghanistan, and the distinction Factcheck wants to make between "could muddle through" and "may muddle through" is a distinction without a difference.

Factcheck dishonesty

Third, Factcheck is captiously dishonest, attempting to hold Obama responsible for statements he didn't make - shades of Al Gore and "inventing" the Internet. Here's the bullshit:
  • Obama says he will cut taxes for 95% of working families. Factcheck moves the goalposts and says his plan will only cut taxes for 81% of all households.
  • Obama says McCain's plan will leave 100 million Americans without a tax cut. Factcheck demurs that only 66 million households would be high and dry.
  • Factcheck follows up with another non sequitur : "We'd also note that retirees would fare quite a bit less well than working families under Obama's tax plan: The TPC estimates that 32 percent of households with a person over age 65 would see a tax increase." Obama did not address this. If he had, he would have said that only the affluent, investor class retirees would see an increase and that for most of them it would still be modest.
Guys, the units have to match. If I say my body temp is 37 °C, you can't say I'm misleading you because I didn't give the temperature in Fahrenheit!

Evasion and division

Fourth, McCain's "joke" about the middle class starting below $5 million was an evasion that he never remedied. Obama had given a direct and honest answer. When McCain does as well, then Obama should stop using McCain's "joke" against him - and start using his direct answer.

The fifth item at least takes both campaigns to task for presenting partial pictures of McCain's ridiculous "health plan."

Checking something he didn't say

Item six is back to flaying Obama for something he didn't say. He said the McCain supported Duhbya 90% of the time. He didn't make the Broderist Beltway argument that partisanship is bad and ought to be symmetrically avoided. He said, for chrissake, that Duhbya is bad and that McCain by his record offers four more years of Bushism. Anyone who's not spending his evenings kissing Joe Lieberman's ass could figure that out.

Central tendency

Last, Factcheck "catches" Obama in an error, mistaking the mean for the median. Most Americans don't know the difference, and the median is a much fairer way to assess overall equity anyway. You, me, and Bill Gates have a mean income of one third of Bill's income (unless you're Warren Buffett or T. Boone Pickens sneaking a peek). The median of the three of us? Much lower. Factcheck's catch of Obama's need to omit retirees is valid, assuming that wasn't clear from context. But I'm not listening to the speech in detail to rebut such small potatoes.

On the whole, Factcheck and Brooks Jackson do a terrible job of enlightening us as to the actual facts and a terrific job of muddying the water to the benefit of John McCain.

Republicans can get annoyed on their own behalf at Factcheck's other pieces, but I don't see this happening to them very often. I suspect, in fact, that Factcheck feels the need to provide journamalistic faux balance by padding out its checks with this kind of carping so that the count of Democratic sins roughly matches the count of actual Republican bullshit.

But I haven't studied that in detail. Maybe Factcheck could fact check itself. Ha.

Update (9/5): CNN shovels these same claims forward as if they were perfectly unassailable.

On the side of the loonies

These self-described anarchists act as if politics is street theater, and the world they would like to live in is probably something from the fever of youth, but I can't interpret this story as anything other than heavy-handed police harassment:

St. Paul Police spokesman Tom Walsh said they were executing a search warrant.

"The cause for the search warrant is not public at this time," Walsh said.

As many as 30 police officers entered with guns drawn, according to witnesses in the building.

"The convergence center is simply a gathering place and is not used for illegal actions -- it is a place for workshops and trainings," a statement from the protest group said. "Tonight, we were watching films and sharing food."

"We are now accused of a simple fire code violation," the statement said.
I do count myself anti-authoritarian in the Constitutional sense. This raid is fruit of the police attitude set free by the scoundrels' PATRIOT Act and the Bushists' open contempt for the Constitution.

Update (8/31): See also "Hippie kids and god bless 'em", in which I apologize for calling them loonies.

Fooling around

I haven't commented on the latest Bigfoot hoax, but this National Geographic story makes me realize that, even though it's not political, it tickles many of my underlying themes.

Choosing to believe bullshit

Most people believe what they choose to believe. That alone is enough to explain why Duhbya is President and why someone as detached from reality as John McCain still might possibly succeed him. Voters don't reason from facts. They choose factoids that satisfy their needs and braille their way to a non-rational conclusion. It's funny that the very people who most resent the family relationships of humans to other animals also most exhibit reliance on instinct over reason.

Purveyors of bullshit thus have an audience that is not only willing but eager. The so-called experts burned a "hair" off the ape suit and found that it burned like a synthetic, petroleum-based fiber instead of like a hair, but they didn't say anything about it until after the hoax was exposed. They didn't follow the facts until they had to.


The so-called experts also waited for the ape suit to thaw and didn't have the smarts to do any definitive testing. They must have been trying to confirm the bullshit instead of falsifying it.

If it lies on the ground like bullshit and smells like bullshit and contains masticated grass like bullshit, it probably is bullshit. At best, it may have been adulterated with possum guts.


The Montauk Monster is another good case. This is not about Georgia hicks. It's about New Yorkers who think they're sophisticated and not taken in by the bullshit that might fool a rural American. No surprise that Fox News is front and center. Is there any truth to the rumor that Neal Cavuto is related to this monster?

The press is useless in sorting out bullshit, though they will report when someone else sorts it out. Sometimes.

This is why creationism (hellooo, Sarah Palin) and ancient astronauts and astrology and fundamentalist religion are dangerous. They make us fall for obviously stupid claims. Meanwhile, the Chinese are working on stuff that actually matter.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bullshit density 75% and rising

That gesture from the Republicans about Obama's acceptance speech is not a thumbs down. It's the finger.

That obscene gesture is about the only Republican part of the story that's not complete and total bullshit. Twenty paragraphs, here goes:

  1. The finger above
  2. Previously canned McCain press release: "misleading speech" - this bullshit thoroughly debunked tomorrow
  3. The temple bullshit, already slapped down hard, plus lies about bipartisanship and the thoroughly dishonest $42,000 figure
  4. More ready than the guy who has been wrong about everything, but at least this is an interpretation, not pure excrement
  5. The Hollywood jealousy bullshit, anonymously sourced
  6. Everything's relatively new, compared to John McCain
  7. Where did the phrase "unusually generous" come from? A McCain press release?
  8. More temple bullshit from operatives who spin more than a gyroscope
  9. Anonymous bloggers weigh in with ... nothing - Obama will raise taxes, but only on the rich.
  10. Again with the bullshit about that one guy who made $42,000 and had to pay more - he probably had Cayman Island tax shelters that the IRS found smelly.
  11. Direct quote from Obama - how did this get in here?
  12. Obama zinger - wha?
  13. Tucky Bounds calls Obama's zinger an insult that ignores ... what exactly did McCain do?
  14. Bounds raises an AP story, but CNN doesn't bother to quote it. Maybe they're afraid the AP will sue.
  15. Another direct Obama quote - is CNN trying to let a Democrat speak? That's three whole paragraphs out of 20.
  16. Bounds knows that McCain's "plan" to eliminate the deficit is such a huge mound of bullshit that every American alive - and most of our dead - would have to eat it by the shovelful to get rid of enough to make a dent. Yet with a straight face, he takes Obama to task for honestly not promising to eliminate the deficit that McCain's mate Duhbya caused with his plutocratic tax cuts and his deceptively sold war in Iraq. Seriously, Tucky has a breath-taking, sociopathic amount of gall, which requires him to speak a brown blizzard of bullshit lest his head explode.
  17. Cocktail dress Leslie Sanchez, who has the credibility of an evil stepmother, decries Obama's utter failure to provide a spreadsheet. He has big ears, sure, but he's in no other way similar to Ross Perot. Even Alex Castellanos thought Obama's speech was good, but not Leslie.
  18. A fourth paragraph of Obama! Heads will roll.
  19. Fifth. Gurgling sounds from McCNN's Republican political officer. Frothing at the mouth. Call a veterinarian.
  20. Leslie missed the fact that Obama's revenues would come out of her hide and that of her wealthy buddies. Then she claims that it's the Democratic solutions that have failed. Look around you, kid. Constitution? Bird-cage liner. Iraq? Improved from total fucking disaster to future Iran-dominated theocracy - yay! New Orleans? Abandoned, screwed over, never repaired. Financial system? Deregulated into chaos and bankruptcy and teetering always on the brink of ruin. Human rights? Waterboarded into submission.
Let me say again: There is no reason whatsoever to believe anything a Republican politician ever says. None, nada, zip, zilch. They don't know their ass from their elbow, and they don't want to know. Knowing might make all their essential production of bullshit too cognitively dissonant to manage without tics and tells.

Last, it seems that there are an awful lot of Republican reaction stories on McCNN. And I do mean awful. Will the Democrats get such a privilege? Hey, McCNN, as long as you're quoting anonymous blogger reactions, I'm available. I'll even clean up my fucking language, just for you.

Update (8/30): Linked to the promised debunking.

Mel Gibson starring in Maverick

Ohmigod, McCNN is now calling Sarah Palin a maverick.

Look, they didn't pick that word by accident. It came to them straight from the McCain campaign or from a McCain supporter in editorial management.

Now, if the GOP can just get Mel Gibson to play McCain, they'll have their teen road movie fully cast. They can publish the script on McCNN as they write it.

A real journalist would be embarrassed by the headline. Maybe one of those who still works for CNN will make them take it down.

Breaking - decisive factor in Palin nomination

McCain needed a veep who's shorter than he is! As long as she leaves the heels at home.

Walking around punditry

Ed Rollins, despite being a Republican operative, actually manages a commentary on Sarah Palin that's not blithering. I have to admit that that was unexpected. Usually his species is completely incapable of anything that's not hagiographic spin.

There are some facts in it that I wanted to know, and it's not all about atmospherics and personality like this piece of abject middle school idiocy. Some wingnut pundits would christen a 30-lb. granite boulder the second coming if McCain had picked it to be VP.

Rollins is a bit more realistic, as demonstrated by this shocking candor:

[W]in or lose or draw, she is a future star of a party in desperate need of young people and women role models.
Rollins is a Republican, though, so maybe he profits by the soft bigotry of my low expectations. There's a lot of what he says that's wrong in silly ways.

He hits the vacuous spin points like an old pro, raving about Palin's new celebrity then dissing Obama for his. IOKIYAR!

He offers cheeky bullshit that's already well-known as bullshit:
[L]ike Reagan, Obama's speeches are his own words.
Reagan's speeches included a few words of his own, but no one ever claimed, except in obeying the speechwriter's omertà, that he wrote them. When Peggy Noonan wrote the obligatory self-effacing white lie about her work for Reagan in On Speaking Well, the wink between the lines lingered like a relative of the Cheshire cat's smile.

And, Rollins claims that Obama hasn't put forward a program. Huh? Was he watching with the sound turned off? I suspect that he and the GOP would rather leave the public ignorant so that they can hint darkly and speciously of socialism.

Rollins also lauds McCain's choice as a brilliant Hail Mary pass. Just last week, we were hearing that Obama should be miles ahead. Why is it that McCain needed a desperate move to save his campaign?

Still, all in all, bullshit, but slightly deodorized from the usual conservative majority at CNN. Attaboy!

(Side note: Ramesh Ponnuru provides a rare post on the Corner that's not a gagging mix of sycophancy and saccharine.)

Sclerotic stasis he can believe in

It's amazing that anyone who would write this could get through graduate school. But this is a rather commonplace occurrence these days when completely unjustified laissez-faire economics is so stylish on the right.

A few of Navarrette's abject stupidities:

  • It's hard to "thread the needle" between LBJ's Great Society and Duhbya's lazy-unfair society. - Yah, if your thread is too thick to fit in a yawning chasm that dwarfs the Grand Canyon.
  • With individual responsibility on full display, no one needs mutual responsibility. If you sink, it's your fault, and why should we help you? - People who assume this generally deny that the government has ever helped them. When they do, you can start asking them about the schools and universities they went to and who paid for them, the roads they travelled and who paid for them, the public safety agencies and who paid for them, the Internet and who paid for it, etc., not to mention all the crises that can befall us without making us morally defective or stupid or less than normal.
  • Government can't to anything right, and his evidence is Katrina. - Republican government can't do much right. If Navarrette were even a schosh open-eyed, he could see public sector successes everywhere. Bill Clinton's FEMA would have been in New Orleans promptly; he took the mission seriously. Duhbya didn't, and the results speak for themselves, but Navarrette is saying, "Nah, nah, nah, I'm not listening."
He finishes up with:
This is a party that maintains power by trying to convince people that our country is a dark place, devoid of opportunities, and that the answer is to elect more of them.
Oh, fuck you, Ruben. There is no Democrat, not a single one anyone has ever heard of, who has tried to convince Americans of this. Lots of unprincipled Republicans like you have tried to convince Americans that that's what Democrats believe, but it's a lie. Yeah, I just called your smarmy, wingnut, no-account, willfully stupid ass a liar.

What Democrats actually believe is that America can and should be better than it is. You apparently think it's perfect, Katrina and all. Yeah, sclerotic stasis you can believe in!

Doesn't poll as important

... but it's the foundation of American civil society. Like Glenn Greenwald, I've noticed the absence of Democratic promises to restore the Constitution and the rule of law to American government. And I've missed them.

Why not Michael Palin?

He's not:

  • a woman
  • young
  • conservative
Nominating Sarah Palin for VP is a strategic move, just as Joe Biden was for Obama. McCain is going after PUMAs with a woman, though she's poles apart from Hillary in policy. I had expected a tactical move to put a blue state in play - Pawlenty, say.

In a rational world, McCain would have to give up his attacks on Obama's experience, since Palin is younger and has served as governor of Alaska for half the time that Obama has been in the U.S. Senate. In other words, she's much less ready to step into the Presidency than he is. But we don't live in a rational world.

An irrational world has its uses, though. Imagine an oblivious apolitical citizen stumbling upon them on the campaign trail.

"Hi, I'm Sarah Palin. I'm running for Vice President. I'd like you to meet--"

"Nice to meet you, young lady. Is this your dad?"

Is Palin enough of a frothing wingnut to galvanize the crazy GOP base? The CNN story doesn't mention any evangelical cred, and I've only known her name for a few days, so I can't tell. Her resume, as opposed to her sex, says that McCain has doubled down on drilling oil wells as his winning issue.

Update (8/31): For another Michael Palin reference (in the headline and waaay too contrived), see "Biff called Wanda".

Not on C-SPAN early enough

Network coverage is increasingly bullshit-ridden. They'd rather let raving lunatics like Pat Buchanan strain his voice as if what he says has any value. And they miss things like this:

He told his story of losing the Indiana factory job he'd held for 30 years and then said America needed a president who paid more attention to "Barney Smith" not "Smith Barney."
I didn't tune to C-SPAN soon enough to hear Barney Smith, but obviously somebody's TV cameras were rolling:

Truth hurts

The McCain campaign is really, really not going to like this analysis by CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand. To their lights, it's far too willing to lay down the simple truths that McCain wants to obscure in bullshit. I suspect that even now men are shouting into telephones...

Here's something I like:

Barack Obama added a few new words to the mix, all drawn from his personal experience: food stamps, scholarships and loans. It's the language of the working class, and it's turf John McCain can't compete on.
Directly in her own voice, Sinderbrand tells us the truth.

She also puts her readers before the Republican spin machine with this:
McCain's campaign ran a masterful media campaign this convention week -- doling out leaks and false leads on his VP search, and releasing daily attack ads designed to inflame Democratic rivalries -- in an effort to claim a small share of the spotlight.
She also sprinkles in good illustrative chunks of Obama himself. Nice work.

Champagne and caviar for everyone

... everyone making more than $200,000 $1 million a year, that is. For the rest, the usual Republican pittance.

Notice how the bio blurb whitewashes Fiorina's utter failure at HP!

The GOP, party of CEOs failing upward. They may or may not believe that the business of America is the enrichment of themselves, but that's the "principle" they act on.

Update: Preventively removed the hyperbole to avoid baiting the trolls.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Temple of their familiar

Wingnuts write columns filled with calumny about Obama's Greek columns at Invesco.

This is stupid for any number of reasons, not the least of which is Duhbya's old stage.

The meta problem, as usual, is that the media takes foolish, hypocritical Republican bullshit and rushes it into print with none of the context that would make it look foolish and hypocritical.

The Republicans know that they can form impressions in the weak-minded by flinging this poo, and they lack the good conscience not to.

(h/t Metulj at KnoxViews)

Update (8/29): An ironic take on the media's sloppy eagerness to forward the most stupid Republican BS.

Update (8/31): Unbelievably, McCNN has updated their bullshit story and floated its vacuous Republican drivel back into their "top" stories.

Irresistible prediction

Wingnut pundits will say that, well, Obama's speech wasn't as good as King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

Thing is, Obama is running against John McCain, not Martin. And that comparison is not one that the conservatives want to make.

Update: K-Low obliges sixteen minutes after my prediction. I guess I see the thrill MSM pundits get from their horse coming home. Their problem is that it happens so seldom, yet they keep on betting.

Ten percent chance on change

I'm not willing to take any chance on John McCain.

Barack is drawing strong distinctions between himself and Bushist Republicans everywhere.

McCain, I'm sure, will mewl and caterwaul that this is unfair. After all, McCain has taken one day off from negative ads.

"It's time for them to own their failure..."

Amen, Barack.

Update: Jonah Goldberg mewls and caterwauls in that peculiarly triumphalist Republican way.

McCain's universal health care

Another one of John McCain's idiotic advisers, John Goodman (no, not that John Goodman), is now going to have to step down from the campaign. Here's his "universal" health care proposal:

"I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime," Mr. Goodman said. "The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care.

"So, there you have it. Voilá! Problem solved."
This is a typical Republican solution - do nothing. Define the problem away. Torture is illegal? Define everything we do as not torture. Surveillance without a warrant is illegal? Claim the Authorization to Use Military Force permits it. Or the Constitution. Darth doesn't want to comply with laws securing and preserving historical records? Define the VP as his own branch of government.

Of course, Goodman has already contributed to McCain's health care plan, so his bullshit "ideas" are already policy. Well, masquerading as policy.

When will Americans as a whole figure out that Republicans are bad for us?

(h/t CNN)

Supposed attacks - a double dip

Amy Holmes starts her blog item with:

As John Kerry fulminates over supposed attacks by Republicans on Democrats' patriotism, I might remind readers that it was Bill Clinton who seemed to call into Obama's love of country when he said on the campaign trail in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Supposed? She can't even admit that they have happened over and over again? Probably she has even made some of those attacks. Certainly her friends have.

Republican pundits view their job as advancing the cause. Democratic pundits view their job as analyzing events honestly from a Democratic perspective.

Republicans don't care if what they say is obvious bullshit as long as it sticks in the narrative. Democrats care about what's actually defensibly true.

The reason that stupid people overwhelmingly vote Republican is that Republicans understand that they only need impressions, not actual knowledge to decide what they believe.

One other thing: Does McCNN know that it's using an item from National Review's Corner?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I was a doubter, too

Obama's candidacy is not just a candidacy. Like Hillary's, it's a symbol. When the primary season started, I didn't think that either could win the Presidency. Now that Obama has won the nomination, I think it's possible, though by no means assured. From day to day, I have just about all the feelings expressed in this story.

Here's the thing: It is vital for the country to elect Obama, not as a symbol but as a daily leader. The nitty-gritty business of repairing the Bushist damage has to start as early as possible (and it still may be too late).

Obama will no doubt be imperfect. His youth will help sometimes and hurt at others. I suspect that his foreign policy work will be much more intelligent and flexible than McCain's juvenile bluster.

Not news, but still an outrage

Dick Cheney lies about torture:

"No nation in the world takes human rights more seriously than the United States," Cheney said at the American Legion's annual convention.
Ya, we take rights so seriously that we write tissues of lies and call them legal memos. We redefine words and then do things to prisoners that were war crimes when the Nazis and the Japanese did them in WWII. We punish underlings for crimes but not their bosses.

Yeah, we take rights seriously.

And what's with the American Legion giving Darth a platform? Do they agree with him?

Four more months!

Amid all the lockstep, on-message Republican attempts to paint Hillary's endorsement of Obama as, what?, a lie, don't miss this:

Pennsylvania Sen. Robert Casey Jr. at one point feigned shock at the idea that the Republican Party was asking for four more years in the White House, promising the party of President Bush and McCain "not four more years, but four more months."
I'm delighted that Rudy Giuliani will deliver a keynote at the RNC. Let the Republicans showcase his unpopularity all they want.

There's also something funny about the two stories I've linked to. One of them is labelled "GOP reaction," yet the other is also filled with Republican spin. Ah, the GOP, so much bullshit that it didn't all fit into a single story!

Update: If you like this item, you might like an oldie from May 1.

Biff called Wanda

Stupidity wins! Blather a half length back.

Click image for full Tom Tomorrow/Salon cartoon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Don't feel much like dancing

On this old post that I link to at right, I've been attempting to keep a commenter named Sunshine from continuing to feel entitled to her own facts.


Others are welcome to enter the fray. Commenters with a basic grasp of current events and enough logic to recognize basic fallacies preferred but not required - after all, this is a blog.

Cindy could date a married man

... but Elizabeth Edwards is obligated to air John's dirty linen in public. The witless level of double standards in political "journalism" is staggering.

Side note: David Vitter watch, day 411. Quick, can some AP hack please ask his wife what she knew and when she knew it!

Update (8/27): So. This little item is very popular. So is this one. What they have in common is candidates' wives and thoroughly vapid coverage from the media. But the reason that the media delivers so much drivel is partly that we keep clicking on it.

Items about substance, even if snarkily phrased, get much less attention and comment. War? Who cares? We want to know about the sex lives of politicians! Sad but true.

Looking for a wedge

The Bushists will be trying to find a way to muddy up Michelle Obama's wonderful speech last night. Here's a first attempt from Leslie Sanchez:

Is it the dress or what's in it? Michelle Obama covered the key milestones but the image of her in a cocktail dress left us wondering.
Cocktail dress? That's the best bullshit you can fling against the wall? Seriously, if that's a cocktail dress, you're not getting invited to the good parties. Too much boorish behavior, I would guess.

The vacuousness of the Bushists is always on display. If they have two brain cells to rub together, they're hiding it. They've got nothing.

Cheeky substance

Reacting to the Republicans' yawning charisma gap, Tucky Bounds is rich to tell McCNN to look for substance in Barack Obama, but I'm all for looking for substance. Here's McCain's:

  • He's supposed to be a maverick, but he has voted increasingly in lock step with the Bushists.
  • He's supposed to have foreign policy credentials, but he doesn't know Shi'a from Sunni, constantly advocates for war, and pursues the goals of his campaign manager who lobbies for Georgia with bluster and noise.
  • He's supposed to be a reformer, but he played the campaign finance system.
  • He opposed torture then acquiesced in Duhbya's doing it.
  • He knows nothing about the economy, though he's happy mouthing disproven Republican bullshit about it.
  • He says he's a "Republican change agent," when there's no such thing.
  • He flip-flops like a bluefish hauled up onto the beach.
That substance in your cheeks? Not what I'd choose to govern with. Real substance? Bring it on. All McCain has is years - all the years since he finished very close to dead last in his class at the Naval Academy.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Life imitates art

Actually, journalism ignores comedy, but that just doesn't have the same ring.

Jon Stewart lays it out for the cable news blatherers. To their credit, CNN gives a summary that had to sting, starting with:

Jon Stewart took after the "established" media for getting too cozy with candidates and regurgitating campaign spin when it comes to political coverage.
Then, McCNN proceeds to fill its Political Ticker with abject propaganda from two Republican political operatives who don't even try to find anything but a way to spin Democrats. And McCNN "balances" them with Bill Schneider, who is not only center right but who seldom misses the chance to push out some vacuous RNC mantra - "No one will mention Obama’s middle name here."

McCNN is still not Fox, but it's willing to be Fox if that will get it laid. Or MSNBC. Or even Media Whores Online, if it could just figure out which way is the right was to get on its knees.

Obama '16


We could not possibly get that lucky.

Updated with links 8/26.

Surprise, surprise, surprise

Ed Henry blithers about the now disappointed expectation that McCain would lie low during the DNC. If he read me, he'd have a better idea that this might happen.

Seriously, why is it that professional political journalists have so little insight into the subject they cover? What are they doing all those hours I'm doing my real job, when they could be learning interesting facts? Are they just sitting in the hotel bar exchanging conventional wisdom with their colleagues?

Ed, by the way, if you'll deign to read here, you might notice in your own report that McCain is no longer the face of his own attacks. This is an important fact for your future analyses. Just a hint.

Wyatt Earp's here

Tim Pawlenty and Nick Searcy, separated at birth?

Busy day today. This lame "Fugitive" reference may be all there is. Sad, I know, when there's so much bullshit abroad in the world that I can't find time every stinking day to fling it back at its creators.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Family values

Joe Biden's back story, which I didn't know (h/t Atrios):

Biden made it work. He won, and became the youngest senator. But before he could even take office, Neilia, his two sons, and their baby daughter were in a brutal car accident in Delaware. Neilia and the baby were killed and the boys, Beau and Hunter, were badly injured. Biden stayed by their side during their recovery and initially refused to return to D.C. to take his Senate seat, acquiescing only after then-Majority Leader Mike Mansfield pushed him to take it.

Biden vowed to remain a fixture in his sons' lives. Valerie became their surrogate mother, and Biden began the daily commute from Wilmington to Washington that made him an Amtrak champion for life. Even after Biden met and married his second wife, Jill, five years later, he didn't surrender the back-breaking schedule. "Kids keep a thought in their heads for 12 hours," he says at one campaign stop. "They aren't gonna keep it for 24 hours."

Transportation for the help

How many servants fit on this bus?

Click image for full Gordon Campbell cartoon.

Outrageous when a Democrat fights back

McCain's been playing middle school bully for weeks now, and Michael Scherer is offended by the fact that Obama is now fighting back. Some liberal media!

When the only tool you have is your outrage

Everything looks pretty much like a snub.

People who lose have a hard time getting over it, especially when it was close, especially when Hillary's candidacy was such a potent symbol of advancement to women everywhere.

And Paul Begala whining that Obama should have consulted Bill Clinton? God, this guy is posing as an analyst. If Obama had consulted Bill, Begala would be incensed that he didn't take Bill's obviously wonderful advice.

Clintonistas, if you care about the country, get the chip off your shoulders.

Score one for Joe B.

He has used bullshit, my favorite word, in public.

"This is bulls**t. This is malarkey," said Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "This is outrageous. Outrageous for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, sit in the Knesset ... and make this kind of ridiculous statement."
He was referring to Duhbya, so I owe him a bonus point, too.

Invading McCain's base

Maybe the selection of Joe Biden is an attempt to subvert McCain's lead in the press corps. Here's Wolf Blitzer's Freudian slip:

Knowing Biden as I do, this will be a feisty moment.
If so, it's not working yet. Can you imagine such a dismissive lead for McCain and the RNC as Wolf sticks on Obama and the DNC?
And now the selling begins.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

When your wireless PDA raps its ring tone at 3 a.m.

... it's a text message that Joe Biden is Obama's veep. None of the 150-year-old tethered phone technology that McCain knows how to answer.

Personally, I waited to find out till just now, and I'm fine with that. I'm also not that excited about Biden, but there it is. I hope he's comfortable with strong message discipline, which is essential to any Vice Presidential candidate, not to mention any sitting Vice President. I have my doubts.

Can we now move on to winning the election?

Antidote for bullshit

Krugman hits the bullseye, then splits his own arrow.

[W]hen the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities looked at the report, it made an interesting catch. It turns out that Treasury’s hypothetical families got all their gains from the so-called middle-class provisions of the Bush tax cuts: the Child Tax Credit, the reduced tax bracket for lower incomes and marriage penalty relief.

These all happen to be provisions that Mr. Obama proposes leaving in place. In other words, the Bush administration itself implicitly defines the middle class as consisting of people making too little to end up paying additional taxes under the Obama plan.

Of course, all the evidence in the world won’t stop Republicans from claiming, as they always do, that Democrats are going to impose a crippling tax burden on ordinary hard-working Americans. But it just ain’t so.

"It just ain't so" is the safe characterization of virtually anything the Bushists, including John McCain, say about social class, income, and taxes.

Kit Seelye and Patrick Healy, in the same allegedly liberal newspaper, of course give the he-said-she-said battle of press operations with no attempt at proportion or lie-catching.

Friday, August 22, 2008

One way to find out

Wireless is wonderful. Cords are an awful, often frustrating mess. Cordless handsets, cell phones, wireless mice? All terrific.

But if you really want to find out if 1 watt cell phones cause cancer, put 60 watts through space to run a lamp or charge your laptop.

Harvard number one

At what, exactly? At some arithmetic expression of various objective factors - endowment, library volumes, selectivity, etc. - that capture wealth and infrastructure very well. But what's important in a college education is always much more subjective - the quality of teaching, the availability of mentors who share passion for a subject, and peers whose impact is often greater than the faculty's, to name a few factors that US News can't measure first hand.

This is far too crude a measurement to distinguish between universities in pretty wide bands. Next year, some other place will probably be number one, but only nominally.

Lysol won't cover the stink

Calling what McCain has been doing a "strategy shift" is sweet. "Going negative" or "attacking" would have been much more vivid and accurate.

I especially liked this bit of frippery:

Even the luggage handling is smoother, those who travel with McCain say.
Those reporters who travel with McCain?

This is all just politics. Our press corps doesn't expect anything higher minded. Shouldn't we?

Yummy editing

Newsweek teases its story of real estate desperation with this:

[A] palatable sense of desperation among realtors in areas hit hard by the housing crisis.
Tasty! The word you're looking for is palpable.

Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Duhbya have millions to spend to stay the hell out of their vanity ranch in Crawford.

Need a briefing, John?

While CNN is off in the VP weeds, pretending it's breaking news that their reporters are staking out Joe Biden and Evan Bayh, there is still real war and real journalism going on in Iraq (h/t Joe Klein).

John McCain claimed he didn't need a briefing on Russia's invasion of Georgia, and he might have been right. After all, one of Georgia's lobbyists runs his campaign, despite his made-for-media, bullshit purge of a few of his lobbyist buddies.

The renewed civil conflict in Iraq, however, is a return to the Sunni-Shi'ite distinction that McCain still needed Joe Lieberman's help with, despite at this point what surely must have been hundreds of briefings.

Don't Duhbya and the Bushists prove once and for all that we need a leader who will listen and learn? McCain would bring four more years of going with the gut. Voters who want more of the same are choosing the longest self-service colonoscopy on record.

Missing link

Whenever I read about food-borne disease outbreaks from plants, I look for the reporter to state plainly that E. coli, salmonella, and listeria all come from animals and that a plant merely acts as a vector for them out of industrial agriculture onto our plates.

Again this time, no such statement.

No, I'm not a vegetarian. I just think people should know important facts.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Facts, who needs 'em?

Obama was born in Hawaii. Tough shit, wingnut tinfoil idiots.

Will this fact deter wingnuts from believing every wild bullshit story about Obama or any other Democrat or liberal? Uh, no, of course not. You have been awake some portion of the last, oh, forty years, haven't you?

In fact, this thorough slap-down, pwning debunking won't even stop the wingnuts from believing that Obama was born from the same womb as Osama bin Laden. The wingnuts are just that committed to never learning anything that differs from their prejudgements.

Ain't never been there, they tell me it's nice

Obama needs to get fierce and get on the offensive. He doesn't have to get mad but, as Carville says, he has to show how much he cares.

Carville's right about practically everything else in his piece, particularly about the economic records of Democrats vs. Republicans, as Larry Bartels has written about (and Paul Krugman covered months ago). There's a good wedge just lying around for just that purpose.

Pick your favorite gibe and put it on a T shirt:

  • McCain doesn't count his condos.
  • The White House would make an even dozen.
  • Ask me how many houses I have.
  • Can you pay? I left my wallet in my other ... house.
  • I'm out of touch with my real estate empire.
  • Ain't never been there, they tell me it's nice.
Update: Obama picks up the wedge and spanks McCain with it. Yay!

Republican (i.e. false) equivalences

Ralph Reed (R-Robertson/Abramoff) helps John McCain raise $1.75 million. William Ayers, reformed but still radical, once gave Barack Obama $200. This is the McCain campaign's bullshit:

“If Barack Obama wants to have a discussion about truly questionable associations, let’s start with his relationship with the unrepentant terrorist William Ayers, at whose home Obama’s political career was reportedly launched," [Brian] Rogers said.
Rogers uses the weasel word reportedly to disclaim any responsibility for the truth or fairness of the allegation. McCNN misses its responsibility to rebut the allegation completely, letting this pass without any comment on its credibility.

This is of course right in line with Republican arithmetic about taxes. Any tax cut for us will be $200, for them millions.

Honorable service

Every McCNN story about Obama sharply distinguishing himself from McCain has a quote like this:

"John McCain has provided honorable service to our country 35 years ago,..."
Yeah, I added the 35 years ago. What has McCain done for us lately? Rank and increasing Bushism.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Telescoping history

Another Confederate widow has died - but not the last. Key dates in the story:

  • 1848 - birth of William Cantrell
  • 1864 - enlistment of Cantrell in the Confederate Army
  • 1915 - birth of Maudie White Hopkins
  • 1934 - financial marriage, husband 86, wife 19
  • 1937 - death of Cantrell
  • 2008 - death of Hopkins
This is interesting because it shows how huge a span of history the relationships of one person can encompass. Cantrell could have known someone born before the Revolution.

I started to think about time spans when I realized that my daughter had been born longer after the Vietnam War than I had been born after World War II. It was shocking to me that she must think, as I had about my parents' childhood war, that her parents' war was safely settled.

Of course, with John McCain gaining ground and after 2004's vast cultural divide, it's obvious that Vietnam is not settled.

Update: Almost forgot - she married him in part for his Confederate pension. Who paid these pensions to a treasonous army? The former CSA states [--Peggy Harris]. Yet 40 acres and a mule never materialized.

Dishonest and a crook

There's no reason to believe anything Jerome Corsi says, writes, or belches out onto the Internet.

He's in it for the money. Yours, mine, anyone's.

Lie, cheat, steal, it's all the same to him. Sue him and his wife owns everything.

Why is someone who couldn't buy credibility if it were half off at Credibility Barn on everyone's television? He's a bestselling bullshitter.

Denver and St. Paul

The conventions are coming. Violating my usual rule against speculation when a week or two of waiting would reveal all, here's what I expect.

The Democrats go first, apparently because they don't hold the White House and therefore don't have home court advantage. The media will tell us how much of a polling bounce Obama should get from his week of "overwhelmingly postive [sic] coverage." They'll conveniently forget the recent events of Obama's overseas trip, when the McCain press operation released attack after attack.

Tucky Bounds and his conscienceless corps of spinners will be at their blast faxes again. They know that they can count on a compliant media to type them up in the name of faux balance without ever noticing the larger story. That's what happened when Obama travelled, and the media kept posing naive questions about why the trip didn't do him more good. The answer was staring them in the face on their own web sites, but it would have been impolite to their old pal McCain to notice.

The media won't notice that they're being used again. They never notice. They're too busy sniffing for middle school level scandal and gossip.

What could the Obama campaign do about this?

First, immunize. McCain is going to attack the stadium speech again, for example. Parry and counterattack. Prep an ad that shows previous stadium speeches. Richard Nixon spoke before a Billy Graham Crusade in Neyland Stadium when it only held 95,000. Say, "Politicians of all stripes who can fill them have spoken before stadium crowds for many years. It's what they have to say, not where they say it, that's important." Repeat for any wedge you can foresee the Republicans using.

Second, attack. Have surrogates prepped and ready. The distant surrogates should attack strongly and repeatedly. McCain's loopiness is a legitimate issue. Close surrogates - the ones that you might have to take responsibility for - should have talking points ready. Democrats are awful at sticking to a script (Joe Biden); ask Ted Kennedy (if he's well enough) or Al Gore to tell them the vital importance of sticking to your message and not stretching a bridge too far. Then, dammit, don't back down.

Third, prepare your own blast faxes for the Republicans' week in St. Paul. Put them on the defensive for a change. Be sure you give the lazy media an irresistible catch phrase to tag each story, like "McCain knows the drill."

For the past thirty years, though, Democrats have been slow learners about Republican politics. I don't see any reason to think that's suddenly changed.

Look for McCain to lead the polls by Labor Day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Catching up after your coma

McCNN gives us the Authorized Biography of John McCain for all the curious voters who've been unconscious for the past two years or even longer. Should you be able to vote with an EEG so flat?

Can we expect an equally friendly Obama hagiography? I'll be watching for it. Hey, Bigfoot was almost real the other day.

Update: I didn't realize for a moment that McCNN had already posted the answer, albeit with a link in small type. Here's the result: McCain called to duty vs. Obama unexpectedly lucky bastard. Incredible!

Nasty, brutish, and long

The escalation branded the 'surge' by the Bushists was timed, intentionally or not, to follow ethnic cleansing rather than to prevent it. Meanwhile, those torture rooms that the neocons told us they had closed were still operating - and not just under our supervision.

Update: Newsweek has the happy talk. Swimming pools! Groovy. Of course, two drownings, no female swimmers, no Sunnis from next door, and outrageous expenditures. In short, Iraq.

Isn't it rich?

The best bullshit peddlers are Republicans - by a long shot. Here's the sequence:

1. John McCain defines rich this way:

“So I think if you’re just talking about income, how about five million?” he later added. “I’m sure that comment will be distorted, but the point is that we want to keep people’s taxes low and increase revenues.”
2. Barack Obama, whose definition was $250,000, jokes about it:
“Which I guess if you’re making $3 million a year, you're middle class,” said Obama.
3. McCain mouthpiece Tucky Bounds retorts:
Obama is “shamelessly distorting” McCain’s comment.

"Remember when Barack Obama said he was ‘tired of distortion, name-calling, and sound bite solutions to complicated problems?’ Neither do we," wrote Bounds.

So, one campaign claims the well-worn and debunked standard issue Republican bullshit that tax cuts for the wealthy paradoxically increase revenue. The other campaign makes a completely legitimate and humorous dig about McCain's crazy claims. Yet, it's McCain's campaign that accuses Obama's of distortion. Up is down. Big Bushist Brother loves you.

If you have a job like Tucky's (Eric Fehrnstrom), you can't have a functioning conscience because you have to say shit like that. You're not being paid to put the best face on your candidate. You're being paid to pull wool over the eyes of the credulous as the first step in giving them a bullshit bath.

And these are the so-called Christians.

No way out

Contrary to CNN's false teaser headline ("Ticker: Minnesota Republican to skip convention"), Norm Coleman (R-MN) is going to the Republican convention in St. Paul. He just wishes he weren't. He wishes he didn't have to be associated with all the laughingstock Bushist bullshitters who will be appearing there in prime time.

Many of his Senate caucus-mates are trying to alibi out of the Duhbya disaster by staying home. They're saying, "George Duhbya Bush? I've met him, but we're not friends. Acquaintances, no more."

Coleman will be keeping his head down, even though he fits right in with the Bushists. I expect Al Franken to take full advantage of the conservatism-induced stupor that will be on bald display in their back yard.

For the Republican Senate cowards who suddenly don't want to be anywhere in the frame with Duhbya or Darth, the association is still easy to make:

  • Open: empty chair
  • "Fill in the blank is skipping the Republican convention this year."
  • Fade into montage of the two embracing, signing legislation, grinning together.
  • "After all these years of supporting in lock step every Republican disaster from George Duhbya Bush and Dick Cheney, fill in the blank is now ashamed of them and doesn't want his picture taken with them."
  • Stop on the most damning photo.
  • "Wouldn't it be better for name of state to skip Republican fill in the blank?"
  • Fade to candid of Democratic challenger out listening to the voters.
  • "Vote name of Democrat."
  • Fill the seat with someone who'll change directions for the sake of America.
  • (FEC blah-blah-blah)

Pander to me

[A]s the Saddleback forum revealed, McCain might finally be approaching his comfort zone on faith.
McCain has finally, finally learned to pander to the fundies, and this elicits a laudatory piece from McCNN.

Born into the bully faction, married into the wealthy faction, thrust by electoral necessity into the fundie faction, McCain is finally hitting the trifecta of Republican politics. Duhbya did this long ago in a different order: Born into the wealthy faction, Roved into a fundie, and Cheneyed among the bullies.

By definition, any man who can satisfy all three factions has to learn to pander deeply and without conscience and would therefore be a bad President.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Falling on his syringe

Those Greeks and Turks keep sending testosterone-laced supplements (scroll to middle of page) to Bulgaria:

The coach for Bulgarian middle-distance runner Daniela Yordanova said he was responsible for her positive doping test. Yordanova was banned Friday after she tested positive for testosterone June 13. "It was a big shock for me, but I should say I am fully responsible for Daniela's positive test," Dimitar Vasilev said. "I've always tried to buy medicines for her physical recovery from well-known companies. But last spring, I bought some medical goods from Greece and Turkey and most probably they caused the problem. Obviously, she consumed some contaminated food supplements."
Jeez, he couldn't come up with a better line of bullshit than to blame foreigners?

Thought you said 'dogs'

War on drugs, war on dogs, what's the difference?

Either way, you don't expect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to still apply, do you?

If this sort of thing can happen to the township mayor, you better believe it could happen to you. Over marijuana, not even an opiate.

Mayor Calvo came downstairs into a new time in America, in which no one is presumed innocent and guilt is only an assumption away.
My guess: If you looked into the operating history of the Prince George's County Police, you'd find aggressive use of civil forfeiture laws to fund special projects out of alleged drug money.

Something else that I had to go find myself: The PGCP is under a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice for excessive force and civil rights violations, ironically related to its K-9 unit.

Noticing the lie

McCNN offers this defense of John McCain:

Sometimes you just have to take it on faith.
Uh, guys, how has blind credulity toward Republicans (or Democrats, for that matter) worked out in the recent past? Did you learn anything like maybe a little skepticism?

Of course, we all know that you're too polite to notice that Christian pastor Rick Warren lied when he claimed:
"[W]e have safely placed Senator McCain in a cone of silence."
It's foggy, but I seem to recall something about bearing false witness. Wasn't that forbidden or something? And this is the guy whose reassurance of McCain's unquestionable probity you're instantly accepting.

Look, politicians run late, and there's probably no story here, despite three - count 'em - bylines. But wouldn't it be the right role for a journalist to ask impertinent questions to find out whether there's a story?

Nah. Never happen.

Obama campaigns - of all the damn gall

Can you believe Obama? First he shares a politic hug with McCain. And the very next day, he's out campaigning again! He even criticizes his opponent. The nerve of some people, to flip-flop like that.

At least, that's how McCNN and the AP see it:

So much for hugging in church.
What a vacuous lead.

Market fetishists' paradox

Why is it that Libertarians won't accept the verdict of the marketplace of ideas?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Just a sound check

Click image to see full Mike Luckovich/Atlanta Journal Constitution cartoon.

McCain steals one of Ronnie Reagan's infamous throwaway lines. Hey, that couldn't be bad, could it? Pretty sly on Luckovich's part, though.

Clift notes

Eleanor Clift ladles on the bullshit:

  • Repetition is the key, and we journalists can't be bothered to repeat the truth. The lies are so much more interesting.
  • Obama's lead has "melted away". Check the polls - pretty damn steady.
  • Please, Democrats, puh-leeze, run a Republican-style dirty campaign. We miss middle school backbiting.
  • Democrats shy away from sleaze, not because they're better, but because they're non-confrontational and rationalize that as high-mindedness.
  • Tsk-tsk, the election has become a referendum on Obama's personality (thanks, RNC, good talking point!), so Obama better show that McCain waffles and reverses and that he'd be another four years of Bushism.
Could we please have a real liberal somewhere instead of concern trolls like this?

Elmer Fudd was armed

There's a Thweatt in Texas. Must be a wascawwy wabbit.

"Can I have a hall pass, Mr. Earp?"

I can hardly wait until some Klebold wannabe challenges the football coach to draw. That'll make the evening news.

No values

That's me. Anti-torture? Not a value. Pro-fairness? Are you kidding? Against offensive wars? That's not a value, dammit. I say 'fuck' and I love the word 'bullshit', so I can't be a values voter.

Instead, values voters are those who pray for a thump on the forehead from God. Lacking that, they'll settle for inflicting shame and celibacy on the rest of us. Oh, and low taxes.

Can we stop with the bullshit euphemisms and just call them conservative fundamentalist voters?

Covering the wingnuts

Nope, that's not Eddie Bauer that Mark Preston is talking with. Remember Gary Bauer? Yep, he's a "prominent social conservative." Preston also talks to Phyllis Schlafly, the ridiculous self-hating mom of a gay son and the woman who manages somehow to make Lady Thatcher look both moderate and stylish. And he rounds out the wingnut trifecta with William Murray. No, not that Bill Murray.

Preston is a regular Groundhog Day of blithering right-wing politics.

Oops, I missed Tony Perkins. Not the self-help infomercial guru overplayed by Ben Stiller or the Deadipal heir of Bates Motel - another Republican guy who wants to police your genitals and mine as if that's what Jesus cared about.

I also missed Mike Farris, another lunatic Republican-Jesus-freak best known for indoctrination through home-schooling.

What's the story now, a quinfecta? Does that make us all quinfected? And Preston is delivering criticism of John McCain from the right. Yeah, buddy!

Psyched out

Should psychologists take part in interrogations? For all the debate here, I don't think this is a hard question.

If an interrogation is a crime and particularly if it is a war crime, any participation is a crime. If the psychologist says he was trying to prevent harm, he'd better have some actual actions, not just a post hoc rationalization to show for himself. If he doesn't, far from extenuating his presence, his acknowledgement that he knew harm was likely incriminates him.

On the other hand, legal, ethical, and moral interrogations are not only possible, they're essential. Psychologists who know how to detect lies? They're needed. (I'm reading Telling Lies, by Paul Ekman.) Psychologists who can advise interrogators how to gain trust from their prisoners. Needed.

Enablers of torture? Uh, easy to say no to that.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Right to bribery

Ted Stevens (R-AK) asserts in his defense the right to accept bribes. He says that Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution forbids his trial. Here's the text:

[Senators and Representatives] shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
That's the Republicans for you. Separation of powers means to them that Congress can't oversee the Executive, but the Executive can't stop Congress from corrupting itself. Hoo-boy, all pigs to the trough right now!

Rip tides of narrative and reality

The national press is rightly impressed with Obama's fundraising, but focusing on that rare apparent advantage obscures the reality that bleeds through lower in the story:

Republican officials point out that, when the RNC totals are combined with the $21 million in cash that McCain held at the end of July, they actually have slightly more money available for the White House contest than do Democrats. (Combined figures show Republicans with $96 million and Democrats with $94.3)
So, parity. Forget the Republican underdog story. It's bullshit.

Combine this parity with unmeasured but almost certain Republican advantages in 527s, and the ocean of slime coming from the right will get deeper and deeper before the tide ebbs off the beach and leaves us.

We'll see if there's a strong enough rip current to drown Obama. I hope he's strong enough to swim around it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Third person omniscient bullshit

Glenn Beck is so full of bullshit that it's hard to know where to start cleaning it up.

Here, he starts and finishes with this utter nonsense:

"This is for America. This is for NATO. This is for Bush." These were the phrases that the president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvilli, told me were on Russian bombs...
I suppose Saakashvilli has super hearing to match the super vision that gives him the ability to read chalk off of falling bombs. Beck must think so. He takes everything Saakashvilli says as if he's George Washington and James Madison and who else could he roll into his ball of over-the-top hyperbole?

Later, Beck gives the UN the back of his hand for merely condemning the Russian invasion - as if the U.S. has done anything stronger. Oh, I forgot, we cancelled a joint military exercise with Russia. That'll teach 'em!

Beck would be an embarrassment to McCNN if they were capable of it. When will they have a liberal host who gets months and months of promotion? Never, that would make too much sense.

But someone ought to be reminding viewers and readers that Russia is engaged in the same sort of violation of international law in Georgia as we are Iraq.

Unbelievable gall

It's scary how bereft of any unselfish principles the Republicans are.

Barack Obama is too Presidential overseas, and there's a week-long shitstorm on cable about it.

John McCain meddles in the Russia-Georgia crisis, and the Washington Post finally catches up to Digby with a story on A16.

But he's not presumptuous. That's a bad thing, and no Republican can be bad by definition! IOKIYAR!

I would really prefer to have a President who holds himself to the same standard he holds others to. Without that, there's no morality, there's no ethics, and there's no law. Remind you of anyone?