Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hillary Nixon

Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone thinks Hillary is The New Nixon and makes an interesting argument as usual.

"What people forget about Clinton is that she is basically a Republican at heart. She campaigned for Barry Goldwater once upon a time and even canvassed poor neighborhoods in Chicago looking for "vote fraud" by Democrats. She was president of the College Republicans at Wellesley. In 1968, at the height of America's most intense cultural debate in a century, she only abandoned the Republican Party because it backed Dick Nixon instead of her favorite, Nelson Rockefeller.

Which is ironic, because as a presidential candidate herself, Hillary has basically run exactly Nixon's 1968 campaign. Her stump speech from the get-go was all about the "invisible Americans," a nearly word-for-word echo of Nixon's revolutionary "forgotten Americans" strategy of that year. Like Nixon, she was targeting a slice of the electorate that had chosen to stay on the sidelines during a cultural war and secretly yearned for someone in the political center to restore order; it's no accident that Hillary was on the opposite side of every issue that sent lefties to the streets in the Bush years, from the war to free trade to the Patriot Act."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Midweek Quick Hits

MediaBloodhound reports on R2D2's endorsement of fellow robot Mitt Romney.

Glenn Greenwald provides ample evidence that "bipartisanship" is simply capitulation and appeasement.

Kagro X at DailyKos offers a similar thought.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Reality Bites (Back)

Select quotes from Seinfeld, "The Opposite" episode:

George : Why did it all turn out like this for me? I had so much promise. I was personable, I was bright. Oh, maybe not academically speaking, but ... I was perceptive. I always know when someone's uncomfortable at a party. It became very clear to me sitting out there today, that every decision I've ever made, in my entire life, has been wrong. My life is the opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have, in every of life, be it something to wear, something to eat ... It's all been wrong.

Jerry : If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.

George : My name is George. I'm unemployed and I live with my parents.

Victoria : I'm Victoria. Hi.


I don't need your stinkin' graphs, your charts, your indexes, your GDPs, your unemployment rates, your inflation rates, your analysis or your opinion.

All I need to conclude that a recession is coming is to listen to my friendly neighborhood propaganda merchant, the conservative talk radio host. Across the board, these partisan mouthpieces continue to maintain that a recession is all but a Democratic electoral fantasy, ginned up by an insurgent liberal base in an election season eager to pile on the Mount Everest trash heap of Bushian failures.

Time and time again, these Republican fluffers have called it wrong, from Iraq to Iran and everything in between, every prognostication and assessment upended by reality. In the immortal words of John Bolton, "even a stopped clock is right twice a day". But these people don't even have that much and are on such a losing streak that it is NOT coincidence. Odds being odds, no one who is taking one side or the other could ever be wrong every time. And yet the deniers are always the last to accept things like global warming and the imminent economic slump. The reason for that is so obvious I shouldn't have to even say it - it damages their paymasters' political fortunes. And so they scream over and over that it's their "opinion" and they're entitled to it and you traitorous liberals can "put it in your pipe" and smoke it. I actually heard one of these hacks (some tool named Jerry Agar) cite the upcoming Super Bowl celebration as evidence that the economy is just fine, thanks.

This is simply strategy under cover of commentary and opinion. Whenever I hear this kind of baloney I wonder to myself why it is in this society that it's lower than low to sell your body off for money, but it's perfectly fine to sell your soul and what comes out of your mouth. They can mock the "Reality-Based Community" all they want, but in the end, Reality Bites Back.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Moral Cowardice

In my research for the Case Against Hilary post, I came across the ancestors of blogs, primordial rightwing tirades documenting the sins of the Clintons. Neverending "scandal" lists, body counts and cases for impeachment. One of the more frequently cited nuggets of Clinton demonization is the November 9th, 1998 Washington Times op-ed by Marine reserve Maj. Daniel J. Rabil entitled "Please, impeach my commander in chief".

I emailed Mr. Rabil to give him a fair chance to discuss his op-ed in a civilized and respectful exchange. He told me he would contact me from a private email address but never did so. I was moved to reach out to him and write this when I saw on the Huffington Post that he had contributed $250 to Ron Paul's campaign. This raised a host of questions, namely how have his views changed, does he still stand by his op-ed, does he apply the same kind of standards to the current President, and why is it that so many military votes are lining up in support of a clearly anti-war, anti-aggression candidate like Paul?

Here is the op-ed in it's entirety. It is a case study in the arguments, obsession and unhinged anti-Clinton venom of the time.


Please, impeach my commander in chief
By Daniel J. Rabil

The American military is subject to civilian control, and we deeply believe in that principle. We also believe, as affirmed in the Nuremberg Trials, that servicemen are not bound to obey illegal orders. But what about orders given by a known criminal? Should we trust in the integrity of directives given by a president who violates the same basic oath we take? Should we be asked to follow a morally defective leader with a demonstrated disregard for his troops? The answer is no, for implicit in the voluntary oath that all servicemen take is the promise that they will receive honorable civilian leadership. Bill Clinton has violated that covenant. It is therefore Congress' duty to remove him from office.

I do not claim to speak for all service members, but certainly Bill Clinton has never been the military's favorite president. Long before the Starr report, there was plenty of anecdotal evidence of this administration's contempt for the armed forces. Yes, Mr. Clinton was a lying draft dodger, yes his staffers have been anti-military, and yes, he breezily ruins the careers of senior officers who speak up or say politically incorrect things. Meanwhile, servicemen are now in jail for sex crimes less egregious than those Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey say Mr. Clinton committed.

Mr. Clinton and his supporters do not care in the least about the health of our armed forces. Hateful of a traditional military culture they never deigned to study, Mr. Clinton's disingenuous feminist, homosexual and racial activist friends regard the services as mere political props, useful only for showcasing petty identity group grievances. It is no coincidence that the media have played up one military scandal after another during the Clinton years. This politically-driven shift of focus, from the military mission to the therapeutic wants of fringe groups, has taken its toll: Partly because of Mr. Clinton's impossibly Orwellian directives, Chief of Naval Operations Jay Boorda committed suicide.

So Clinton has weakened the services and fostered a corrosive anti-military culture. This may be loathsome, but it is not impeachable, particularly if an attentive Congress can limit the extent of Clinton-induced damage. As officers and gentlemen, we have therefore continued to march, pretending to respect our hypocrite-in-chief.

Then came the Paula Jones perjury and the ensuing Starr Report. I have always known that Clinton was integrity-impaired, but I never thought even he could be so depraved, so contemptuous, as to conduct military affairs as was described in the special prosecutor's report to Congress. In that report, we learn of a telephone conversation between Mr. Clinton and a congressman in which the two men discussed our Bosnian deployment. During that telephone discussion, the Commander-in-Chief's pants were unzipped, and Monica Lewinsky was busy saving him the cost of a prostitute. This is the president of the United States of America? Should soldiers not feel belittled and worried by this? We deserve better.

When Ronald Reagan's ill-fated Beirut mission led to the careless loss of 241 Marines in a single bombing, few questioned his love of country and his overriding concern for American interests. But should Mr. Clinton lead us into military conflict, he would do so, incredibly, without any such trust. After the recent American missile attacks in Afghanistan and Sudan, my instant reaction was outrage, for I instinctively presumed that Mr. Clinton was trying to knock Miss Lewinsky's concurrent grand jury testimony out of the headlines. The alternative, that this president --who ignores national security interests, who appeases Iraq and North Korea, and who fights like a leftover Soviet the idea of an American missile defense -- actually believed in the need for immediate military strikes, was simply implausible. And no amount of scripted finger wagging, lip biting, or mention of The Children by this highly skilled perjurer can convince me otherwise.

In other words, Mr. Clinton has demonstrated that he will risk war, terrorist attacks, and our lives just to save his dysfunctional administration. What might his motives be in some future conflict? Blackmail? Cheap political payoffs? Or -- dare I say it -- simply the lazy blundering of an instinctively anti-American man? It is immoral to impose such untrustworthy leadership on a fighting force.

It will no doubt be considered extreme to raise the question of whether this president is a national security risk, but I must. I do not believe presidential candidates should be required to undergo background investigations, as is normal for service members. I do know, however, that Bill Clinton would not pass such a screening. Recently, I received a phone call from a military investigator, who asked me a variety of character-related questions about a fellow Marine reservist. The Marine, who is also a friend, needed to update his top-secret clearance. Afterward, I called him. We marveled how lowly reservists like us must pass complete background checks before routine deployments, yet the guardian of our nation's nuclear button would raise a huge red flag on any such security report. We joked that my friend's security clearance would have been permanently canceled if I had said to the investigator, "Well, Rick spent the Vietnam years smoking pot and leading protests against his country in Britain. His hobbies are lying and adultery. His brother's a cocaine dealer, and oh, yeah -- he visited the Soviet Union for unknown reasons, while his countrymen were getting killed in Vietnam."

Do I show disrespect for this president? Perhaps it depends on the meaning of the word "this." If Clinton were merely a spoiled leftist taking advantage of our free society, a la Jane Fonda, that would be one thing. But you don't make an atheist pope, and you don't keep a corrupt security risk as commander- in-chief.

The enduring goodness of the American military character over the past two centuries does not automatically derive from our nation's nutritional habits or from a good job benefits package. This character must be developed and supported, or it will die. Already we are seeing declining enlistment and a 1970s-style disdain for military service, squandering the real progress made during the purposeful 1980s. Our military's heart and soul can survive lean budgets, but they cannot long survive in an America that would tolerate such a character as now occupies the Oval Office. We are entitled to a leader who at least respects us -- not one who cannot be bothered to remove his penis from a subordinate's mouth long enough to discuss our deployment to a combat zone. To subject our services to such debased leadership is nothing less than the collective spit of the entire nation upon our faces.

Bill Clinton has always been a moral coward. He has always had contempt for the American military. He has always had a questionable security background. Since taking office, he has ignored defense issues, except as serves the destructive goals of his extremist supporters. His behavior with Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey was bizarre and deranged -- try keeping a straight face while watching mandated Navy sexual harassment videos, knowing that the president's own conduct violates historic service rules to the point of absurdity.

For a while, it was almost possible to laugh off Mr. Clinton's hedonistic, "college protester" values. But now that we have clear evidence that he perjured himself and corrupted others to cover up his lies, Bill Clinton is no longer funny. He is dangerous.

William J. Clinton, perhaps the most selfish man ever to disgrace our presidency, will not resign. I therefore risk my commission, as our generals will not, to urge this of Congress: Remove this stain from our White House. Banish him from further office. For God's sake, do your duty.


There are some real gems in here worth analyzing.

He leads out strong, declaring, "We also believe, as affirmed in the Nuremberg Trials, that servicemen are not bound to obey illegal orders." I would ask Mr. Rabil if the same standard would apply to those being asked to use "enhanced interrogation" methods which have historically been illegal and immoral.

"Yes, Mr. Clinton was a lying draft dodger, yes his staffers have been anti-military, and yes, he breezily ruins the careers of senior officers who speak up or say politically incorrect things." Would he characterize the never-seeing-action chickenhawks Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, and many many other neocons as draft dodgers? Clearly in his mind there were few things so contemptible as avoiding military service. And what does he have to say about the firing of generals like Shinseki and Casey who dared to tell King George what he didn't want to hear?

He goes on, "After the recent American missile attacks in Afghanistan and Sudan, my instant reaction was outrage, for I instinctively presumed that Mr. Clinton was trying to knock Miss Lewinsky's concurrent grand jury testimony out of the headlines. The alternative, that this president --who ignores national security interests, who appeases Iraq and North Korea, and who fights like a leftover Soviet the idea of an American missile defense -- actually believed in the need for immediate military strikes, was simply implausible."... "In other words, Mr. Clinton has demonstrated that he will risk war, terrorist attacks, and our lives just to save his dysfunctional administration. What might his motives be in some future conflict? Blackmail? Cheap political payoffs? Or -- dare I say it -- simply the lazy blundering of an instinctively anti-American man?"

If he takes such offense to wag the dog scenarios and taking risks to save a President's political hide, is this the kind of offense that brings Mr. Rabil to support Ron Paul now?

The real money shot for me however, is this characterization of the military... "The enduring goodness of the American military character...". Enduring goodness? This fallacy, this fantasy, this rightwing assumption that our military and Americans in general are some who inherently "good" is the most dangerous concept ever to arise in America.

Where is the "enduring goodness" to be found when Americans are abusing and stacking naked Iraqis in piles to humiliate them for kicks? Where is the "enduring goodness" when American security corporations are allowed to gun down dozens of innocent Iraqis and gang-rape young women without punishment? We are the most incarcerated population in the world, and yet every single soldier or KBR/Halliburton/Blackwater employee that we send off to represent us is inherently "good", even though they are drawn from the very same DNA pool that produces, junkies, rapists, sadists, serial killers and school shooters.

Perpetuation of the myth that Americans are by nature good is simply a mechanism to prevent any and all introspection. It is designed to destroy conscience and remorse and shame. It is designed to remove our humanity so that we become indiscriminate killing machines, unthinking and unwilling to examine our own behavior in the sunlight of morality.

Where are "patriots" like Mr. Rabil as their precious military is used as a backdrop for propaganda, like the floodlight square in New Orleans? Where are they now that the military is but an extension of the defense contractors? Why are they not applying the very same standards of outrage to what has happened in the last 7 years and standing up with the same volume and speaking out?

Because to do so would be to admit their own errors, hypocrisies and humanity. Supporting Ron Paul is not enough. It is time for Mr. Rabil and his contemporaries to own up their mistakes and take their medicine like the tough guys that they claim to be.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

NIE: Iran Not Pursuing The Bomb; Bush: Lying

Now it comes out that government intelligence agencies in the National Intelligence Estimate unanimously agreed that Iran had stopped trying to develop a nuclear weapon. And that this assessment has been out for some time. So when recently the President goes up there and condescendingly lectures the rest of us about WWIII and Iran getting nukes, he is doing so KNOWING that he is lying to the American public.

The intel changes yet he insists it doesn't change the policy or rhetoric. What this is is an admission that the intelligence doesn't factor into the decisions. If it did he would have to adjust at least slightly. But he doesn't.

So he is admitting that he lied and mislead leading up to the Iraq invasion both with the claims of WMD and the lie that he hadn't made his mind up about attacking in the months before the invasion.

It is also creates even more suspicion of his illegal domestic spying programs and it's purpose. He doesn't care what the intelligence has to say so this must serve some other purpose. I continue to believe that it is intended to gather information on political opponents (as well as keep the GOP in line) to be used to coerce and blackmail them.

In the end, it's simply time to impeach. He clearly has contempt for the American people's right to know ANYTHING. You will never get honesty from these guys on incredibly important issues. And the other alternative, that he walks around unaware of what is in the NIE is absolutely frightening. If that is the case there simply is no argument against impeaching him.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Frank Rich: Who's Afraid of Obama?

Frank Rich in Sunday's New York Times makes a similar point about the trap of a Hillary nomination:

The unspoken truth is that the Clinton machine is not being battle-tested at all by the Democratic primary process. When Mrs. Clinton accused John Edwards of “throwing mud” and “personally” attacking her in a sharp policy exchange in one debate, the press didn’t challenge the absurd hyperbole of her claim. In reality, neither Mr. Edwards nor any other Democratic competitor will ever hit her with the real, personal mud being stockpiled by the right. But if she’s getting a bye now, she will not from the Republican standard-bearer, whoever he may be. Clinton-bashing is the last shared article of faith (and last area of indisputable G.O.P. competence) that could yet unite the fractured and dispirited conservative electorate.

The Republicans know this and are so psychologically invested in refighting the Clinton wars that they’re giddy. Karl Rove’s first column for Newsweek last week, “How to Beat Hillary (Next) November,” proceeded from the premise that her nomination was a done deal. In the G.O.P. debates through last Thursday, the candidates mentioned the Clintons some 65 times. Barack Obama’s name has not been said once.

But much like the Clinton campaign itself, the Republicans have fallen into a trap by continuing to cling to the Hillary-is-inevitable trope. They have not allowed themselves to think the unthinkable — that they might need a Plan B to go up against a candidate who is not she. It’s far from clear that they would remotely know how to construct a Plan B to counter Mr. Obama. The repeated attempts to fan “rumors” that he is a madrassa-indoctrinated Muslim — whether on Fox News or in The Washington Post, where they resurfaced scurrilously on the front page on Thursday — are too demonstrably false to survive endless reruns even in the Swift-boating era.

He does add something interesting in the thought that the GOP could be setting themselves up by betting all their money on the Clinton horse.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Case Against Hillary

Is Hilary so much better than the next candidate that we are willing to return to this? Granted that much of this obsession and infatuation is simply due to the nature of the rightwing we now have to deal with. But it is still baggage that they bring with them in a return to the White House.

Does anyone really think that the zombie-robot halfbreed Republicans are going to behave better this time around? Really? I think they're already drawing up plans to exhume the corpse of Vince Foster and are going to skullfuck the shit out of it until they pass out in an orgy of conspiracy theories and hate radio!

These were the Glory Days of the radical right, the years in which the vaunted media and smear machine was built upon the innuendo, rumor and slander of the 90's. This awful machine is finally in decline, disgraced and defrocked, picking on 13 year-old kids, 9-11 widows and Parkies. They no longer have a thing to say and must fill their airways with any battle they think they can win. Entire media industries and companies were built by hyping up every titillating detail of the Clinton's personal relationship and by inflating and outright inventing scandal after scandal until they had built up enough of a list that the sheer number of grievances could convince the ordinary person that some of them must be true.

This is the only game they know how to play. So why on earth would we give them the ball back?

And this time Bill is going to have a whole helluva lot of time on his hands. How long will it take for him to lean back in a White House chair, stick his hand down his pants and give the rightwing everything they have been dreaming about? There is nothing that the rightwing loves more than to obsess about what Bill is doing with his Lyndon Johnson.

They have already destroyed the Clinton's reputation and legacy for political profit, leading to this modern hell of Republicans hegemon. Did the last 7 years not suck enough for you to want ANYTHING BUT THAT?

Put the Clintons back on Pennsylvania Ave and the happiest people in this country will not be Hil or Bill or Nancy or Harry. It will be Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity and O'Reilly. It will put millions more dollars in every one of their sleazy pockets. They will fill countless hours of airtime with apocalyptic declarations, personal smears, wild speculation and a glorious return to the halcyon days of phony moral outrage. Dozens upon dozens of books will be penned by hateful smearmongers in their Kaczynski-esqe madness, documenting the conspiracies and sins against humanity and our Republic.

Just Google "Clinton scandals" and you will find pages of diatribes and sanctimonious tirades declaring an end to all decency and honesty. They won't even need to write anything new, and this time they have FOX!

I for one have had enough of the rightwing and their sadistic madness. Their fanatical dreams of a "Permanent Majority" are shattered, and it's clear now the real meaning of the phrase. Like so many other slogans, this little slice of propaganda never really meant it's literal interpretation, a party which wins year after year, an electoral dynasty. Rather, it was the vision of a one-party government, converting every department and governmental body into an arm of the Republican Party, enforced by fascist rightwing politcal thought control, reinforced by obediant media propaganda.

The Hilary as a frontrunner narrative is a trap. The rightwing still controls the media despite all that's happened and despite widespread unhappiness and animosity ordinary citizens have for it. Simply put, they literally OWN the media. The vast majority of corporate funds are pouring into Hilary's coffers, setting her up as the defacto nominee, despite all the misgivings and skepticism of the party's base. She is being fixed up as the man to beat because she is the opponent they match up the best against. And as a bonus, if their fang-bearing candidate cannot defeat her despite media control and fearmongering, then at the very least they will be able to make tons of money doing what they do best, speading hatred and divisiveness among the electorate, personally smearing and destroying any chance she would have to be reelected.

What should be clear by now from the vicious efforts of partisans such as Karl Rove, Tom Delay, Bill Frist, Dick Cheney, and the Hannity/O'Reilly/Limbaugh syndicate of media mongrels is that divisiveness is a foundational political strategy of the GOP. While it's clear to the more detached observer that Hilary's divisiveness is seriously hyped, there exists no better tool to divide the electorate and stir up partisan animosity than the Clintons.

Ultimately what I am trying to say is that while the rightwing hysteria may simply be the nature of their tactics and less the fault of the Clintons, to ignore the history and baggage that this creates while determining the nominee is utterly foolish. The first and foremost consideration when voting in the primaries should be how much a candidate reflects your views. Picking a nominee mainly on "electability" simply does not work. This is how we wound up with John Kerry who couldn't defend himself from attack, rather than the supposedly less generally electable Howard Dean, who would have CLEARLY hit back.

The rightwing establishment is setting us up once again. The trap is for the media to prop up Hilary as the nominee so that she can be torn apart all over again, limiting her to one term at most.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Feinstein's Monster

I don't want to use the word "hate" here, but the level of my contempt for Dianne Feinstein is maxed out. Glenn Greenwald sums it all up pretty nicely here for those who aren't aware of her cowardly and treacherous corruption in yielding everything that Bush could have asked for. I can't begin to explain how important it is to make sure that we rid the Democratic Party of double-agents like her. As far as I'm concerned, her and her BFF, Charles Schumer are no better than the warmongering neocon doppleganger Joe Lieberman. As Greenwald cites in his column, as a representative of the people of California and a Democrat, polling shows her party's constituency as being 90% opposed to the radical Bush regime. And yet for some inexplicable (it would seem) reason she plays along with the most unpopular and dangerous President I have ever seen. Can someone please look into this obvious case of corruption? There is no good reason other than personal profit that she would allow the lawlessness of this administration to go unchecked. NONE.

Something is rotten in the state of California, and it's the decaying corpse of Dianne Feinstein's integrity. Thankfully, some Californians are moving to censure her.

I can't begin to explain to you how difficult it is to express my anger here without resorting to vulgarity.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Still Here

I will be posting a big piece about a possible Clinton nomination shortly. Until that is finished I want to give a big shout-out to my 2 new least favorite people in the world, Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, for selling not only the people out, but the very rule of law and our Constituional democracy by confirming Attorney General Mukasey. Nothing will change - there still will be torture in our names and the President will continue to operate above the law.

There is a special place in hell reserved for these two cowards.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dodd and The Doddering Dems

I have been waiting for a candidate to ignite the Netroots' passion. I wonder if that man is Chris Dodd? Over the last week or so he has singlehandedly railed against the telecom immunity included in the FISA bill. Now, those ahead of him in the polls will ultimately try to co-opt the success he is having with standing up for this, but it needs to be acknowledged right now the job that Dodd is doing.

He has pledged to wrestle this legislation down to the mat by placing a hold on it and by ultimately using the filibuster to stop it. Not only does he need support and encouragement, but other candidates need to be pressured and told that to ignore Dodd's effort will be a grave mistake.

Please act now and encourage Senator Dodd to stand up for you and your rights against the corporations who have conspired with the Bush Administration's lawbreaking and subversion of our Constitution and Rule of Law. The public is with him.

Giving ANY lawbreaker retroactive immunity is wholly unacceptable and threatens to undermine our institutions and systems. These companies were well aware that setting up special rooms and giving Bush unfettered and unsupervised access to all the information flowing through their systems was clearly illegal. The argument that is coming from the usual rightwing opinion prostitutes is that these companies should not be punished because although they knowingly broke the law, it was patriotic in nature. Since when do giant corporations do ANYTHING which does not result in their profit or gain? The answer is that they do not. Ever. Companies are not "patriotic" or benevolent or generous. They exist to sustain and generate profit for themselves and their shareholders. PERIOD. There simply are no other motivations whatsoever and believing otherwise is either stunningly stupid or stunning dishonest.

I have long wondered if this administration had something on certain congressman who seem to have no backbone whatsoever and cave in time and time again. Given our government's history of using intelligence organizations like the CIA and FBI to blackmail political opponents (MLK), is it really so wild of an idea to think that one of the purposes of this surveillance could be to shake down the opposition as well as enforce party unity?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Irony is Dead

The same crowd who get downright militant about abortion and saving fetuses are downright militant about helping children whose parents don't have the means to afford decent healthcare!

They're now going after
the family of a 2-year old girl whose story was featured in a political ad supporting SCHIP.

So they want all these poor or unfit parents who can't handle the cost and responsibility of having a child (for whatever reason) to HAVE to carry the baby, then act like the world is coming apart when someone wants to help that child's parents afford healthcare FOR THE SAME CHILD. I've said this many times before, but this is beyond hypocrisy, this is madness.

What a sick freaking place this country is.

Glenn Greenwald has been all over the telecom/Bush administration skulduggery.
• Keith Olbermann discusses as well.

The New Three Branches

The distinctions between the corporations, the media and the government have melted away. This is mainly due to the erosion of all checks and firewalls intended to prevent the cross-pollination of corruption between the institutions. Of course those firewalls have not been simply eroded over time like limestone formations in the wind, but they have been deliberately dismantled piece by piece, primarily by the corporations. The primary goal of any corporation is to simultaneously grow and maintain profit. Over recent decades, those who lead and manage these giant corporations have become more overtly political.

This is not necessarily due to these individuals' inherent partisanship, but more likely due to the simple idea that in order to maximize profits at all costs, political considerations should be factored into any business goal. And so the mentality develops among managers and in the boardroom that Republican control will DIRECTLY result in increased revenues and profits.

The mouthpieces like Rush, Coulter, O'Reilly and Hannity are not philosophers concerned about the state of the human soul. Rather, they are simply salesmen, working to create demand for rightwing products while at the same time working to frame the competition's products as defective and harmful. The rise in demand for conservative leadership had more to do with marketing than anything else. It has long been established on Madison Avenue that marketing creates demand for products that one would never think of purchasing. This is fact.

And so what has happened over time is that the giant corporations realized that acquiring news companies was worth far more in terms of overall market value than in whatever profits they could wring out of dead industries like radio and newspapers. Combine that with the infiltration of the government by pro-corporate forces or outright agents and you have domination of political opinion and promotion of the rightwing agenda.

Privatization is simply the attempt to substitute corporations for the government. And the media companies, whose duties used to be to provide a check on the government are now owned and operated by the same corporations who are attempting to seize permanent control of the government.

Which brings us to FISA. The Democrats are trying to pass RESTORE, an attempt to restore some of our legal protections against domestic spying. People seem to be missing the forest for the trees here. Bush is seeking to protect his corporate conspirators in illegally spying on U.S. citizens by pushing for immunity for those telecommunications companies who cooperated with him in handing over the phone and internet records of the entire country. I haven't seen any proof just yet, but I think it doesn't take much connecting the dots to realize that this is the government outsourcing the job of spying on the American citizens to the corporations. And the one thing I know about corporations is that they have some very sophisticated tools for data mining. It's not the mere fact that every single bit of digital information about you is being stored and archived, but how is that information being used. The government has used information in the past to blackmail it's political enemies. Do you think the Bush Administration would hesitate to use the advantage of knowing everything about you?

The internal politics of a corporation do not contain a shred of democracy in them - they are dicatorships. So when these same companies execute a takeover of the government, they're going to institute the methods and practices that keep the cash flowing.

The eradication of checks and balances, the control of information, the dissemination of propaganda and misinformation, the domestic spying and blinding loyalty to an all-powerful leader constitute the primordial ooze from which fascism evolves. But in the end, it's just business. And all three players in the dynamic - corporations, government and the media - seek to protect each other's interests and jobs as they are really three separate, but equal branches of the same ruling body: Finance (Corporations), Administrative (U.S. Government) and Public Relations/Marketing (Media).

Friday, October 5, 2007

Personality Crisis

Apparently we on the left are Stalinists today. A few weeks ago, according to Bill O'Reilly, we were the KKK and the Nazis. And after that, FOX's Tammy Bruce said we are the Gestapo. I'm not sure what we'll be tomorrow but I'm sure it's bad. Let's see, most of the 20th Century Villans have been mined, so where will this go next?

Maybe science fiction? I would love it if we were the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica. No, that's probably too obscure. Let's see... I know - we're the orcs from Lord of the Rings! Ah crap, we can't be orcs, because we like trees. OK, scratch that. Let's just hear from the chickenhawk himself (full transcript here):

RUSH: In fact, folks, I'm going to say something that might surprise you a bit. I'm beginning to consider the possibility that the Democrats have just moved beyond ideology, in terms of what propels them. And by that I mean, I don't think that it's just liberalism that's propelling them. There is something further and more disastrous and more dangerous going on, and I think they've become Stalinist-like. What we're seeing here from Wesley Clark, Media Matters for America, all the Democrats on the floor of the House and Senate, denouncing me, a private citizen, this is not just liberalism. It's Stalinist, using the power of the state to intimidate citizens. I have mentioned to you I don't know how many times, and I've asked you to conduct this experiment: When you are with a group of people at a party, I don't care where, even your friends and maybe some in the group you don't know but most of the people you do -- notice how scared everybody is to say anything for fear of making others uncomfortable, or for fear of offending somebody, or for fear of being ripped to shreds for making somebody uncomfortable, or offending them.

They rail against Political Correctness because they don't want to ever be ashamed of what they have to say. They want to be proud of their bigotry and selfishness. They want to be proud of their greed and their cruelty. One of the main spearheads of Bushism is to break down all barriers to their conduct. To subvert the law, to undermine any institution which provides oversight, to generally attack any body which would seek to impose any kind of accountability or regulation on their activities.

But the dirty little secret here (of many) is that they have their own version of Political Correctness, on display for all the world just last week in the form of the MoveOn ad "controversy". Clearly, it was deemed a bad thing to use language that supposedly questioned the loyalty of a sitting general. The rightwing version of "patriotism" is merely a tool to enforce their own restrictions on speech. Look at the labels applied to war critics - Anti-American, America Haters, Unpatriotic and Traitors. This is clearly intended to shame the opposition into silence. You can't call an Asian an Oriental and you can't call Petraeus Betrayus.

What do you think we'll be next week?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Centrism vs. Radicalism

David Brooks is at it again, pissing me off to start my day. According to Brooks:

"the netroots candidates are losing"
"Clinton has established this lead by repudiating the netroots theory of politics."
"the netroots are losing the policy battles."

Glenn Greenwald has the perfect analysis which I'd like to add something to if I can.

This argument is moldier than the block of swiss my grandmother keeps in her freezer. I would call it rhetorical jujitsu, but that's giving it far too much credit. Let's call it political reverse psychology. Brooks plays the Concern Troll, supposedly advising all those radical, nutjob bloggers that they really need to stop being so rude, because they're hurting their chances to win elections. They should soften their stance and come to the "center". The evidence of this is supposedly Hilary Clinton's lead. But the concerned advice he's dishing is just a trap.

Ultimately, the Right has lurched so radically far out on the wing that when the pundits and demagogues are herding and frightening people back into the "middle" politically, they are really landing firmly in the CENTER-RIGHT, not in the old center. They expanded the limits of rightwing politics while dividing the country, thus keeping the middle or center from naturally evening out at the true halfway point.

Imagine it's a football game with the regular guy voter sitting in the stands watching the game. While Joe Sixpack is consuming beers and copious amounts of nitrates and sugars, he's being distracted by the cheerleaders (Paris), halftime show (American Idol), obnoxious announcers (O'Reilly/Rush/Hannity) and O.J. running the ball to the other end zone. Meanwhile, one of the teams is gradually moving their defensive goalposts five yards back at a time. So when Joe Nascar begins to sober up from his Budweisers, he doesn't realize that one end zone is now 20-30 yards deeper than the other. All the while the announcers ignore or cover up the fact that the field has changed.

In the end this is yet another example of the rightwing using it's old media marketing and propaganda machine to rebrand the definitions of terms associated with liberals (as the word "liberal" itself has been rebranded by conservatives as practically a slur). Take the word "radical" - here is the Websters definition as applied to politics:

"of, relating to, or constituting a political group associated with views, practices, and policies of extreme change"

Is that the first image that comes to mind, or is it the street-fighting, unwashed, unshaven, stoned hippies turning main street into bedlam? While the latter was once true there are two problems with it. Firstly, those Sixties Radicals are (lamentably) GONE. Yet the rightwing keeps on digging up the bones of those hippies and skullfucking them to scare the pants off of the ignorant and close-minded, despite their having melted away decades ago. Secondly, it's a favorite technique in which the rightwing negatively labels and brands the opposition so that they themselves cannot be accused of being the actual radicals (see my previous post on the term "fascist").

Thankfully, "Tightey Whitey" Brooks has been so consistently and spectacularly wrong about so many hugely important subjects that it's quite reassuring. You really have to wonder about these pundits who have gotten it so consistently wrong each and every time over the past half-decade. Don't you think once in a while, some of these NostraDumbAsses would get it right just out of sheer luck? You could make a mint betting against these guys' predictions and my money's on the Netroots.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Out of Town

Hey all - I'll be out of town this weekend in Vegas so there won't be any new posts until Tuesday. Thanks for visiting and there will be much more here in the coming weeks.

– Lefty