Thursday, September 21, 2006
Can you get any more brazen than Karl Rove? From NewsMax:
Karl Rove Promises October SurpriseWow. It's one thing to plan an October Surprise ... it's another to be so contemptuous of the voting public as to announce you plan to do it.
WASHINGTON -- In the past week, Karl Rove has been promising Republican insiders an "October surprise" to help win the November congressional elections.
Rove is not saying what the October surprise will be. Asked if he would elaborate and give his thinking about the coming elections, Rove told NewsMax that his take largely parallels what RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman said in a Sept. 5 NewsMax story.
As for the October Surprise, Rove said, "I'd rather let the balance [of plans for the elections] unroll on its own."
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I have a bit of an upset tummy ...
Probably some Muslims poisoning the water supply.
Oops ... gotta run. I just hope the Muslims didn't use all the toilet paper.
Eek! A Muslim!
It must be weird to see the diabolical hand of Islam behind everything that ever goes wrong in the world. To stumble on a crack in the pavement and look around frantically for the jihadist who tripped you.
Perhaps you caught Pamela's predictable response to the military coup in Thailand. Well, let's dip our toe in the LGF cistern ... where the pearl-clutching is even more ill-informed and inane, if that's possible.
First, the background: General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, who led the coup, is ... gasp! A Muslim! OMG! When the Lizardheads learned of this, they went positively apeshit. Here's a small taste from the comments:
MacGregor: omg [Really, MacGregor, thanks for playing to the stereotype!]
thinkingmom: The violent, imperialistic, totalitarian political movement known as islam consumes another country. Poor Thailand. [Jeez, thinkingmom, let me know when you're having your next poker game ... I think I could get you to give me all your money just by glancing in the general direction of Mecca.]
MandyManners: Goodbye Southeast Asia. [Good Lord, these people really are ready to write off any country - sorry entire region - in the world at the mere mention of Islam, however tangential it is to the actual events at hand. It's like, FOX NEWS: Man in turban spotted at Korean barbecue ... MandyManners: Goodbye Northern Hemisphere! Ahem. I will try to speak slowly: Sonthi happens to be a Muslim. Thaksin happens to be a scumbag. Thailand is 95 percent Buddhist. This coup has abso-fucking-lutely nothing to do with Islam or sharia law or "dhimmitude" or suburban soccer moms getting their heads sawed off outside an anthraxed Walmart in East Bumfuck, Kansas, or any of the paranoid delusions you sick shut-ins blather on about to no end.]
jcm: Pull up the Thai target list, boys in blue, dust of the Thai OP PLAN. [That's the ticket, jcm ... let's attack another country for absolutely no reason! Fly off the handle much?]
Muadib: It just stinks of Islam spreading by the sword. [Uh, no, Muadib. That's your upper lip.]
Fast Eddie: The dominos are starting to fall. Wouldn't be surprised if Pakistan is next, nuclear weapons and all. [Uh, "fall" to a military coup or to Islam, Fast Eddie? Because ... um ... never mind.]
OceansideCon: I was speaking with a co-worker who was born in Bangkok a few months ago. I mentioned I was interested in visiting Thailand. She said it was not safe to go as it was going to "flip" to a muslim country soon. [What, she was like, "Goo goo gaa gaa mum-mum no no" ... ? Idiot.]
Cato the Elder: This is a nightmare. The violence will only worsen as the jihadis sense weakness and move in for the kill. [What violence? What jihadis? Do these people even skim the headlines of the stories they're commenting on?]
rtheyserius: Really bad news. Poor Thailand. Welp, Islam marches on. ["Welp"? Couldn't you have thrown in a "prolly", rtheyserius? Because then this would have been the perfect LGF comment.]
carradine: Almost no one has firearms in Thailand, they're BIG on gun-control here... So there's almost NO position citizens can assume except prone, or handzon ankles... [This guy's a real piece of work: a Baha'i who has lived in Thailand for years, and who does nothing to dispel his fellow Lizardheads' fact-free take on the situation ... and in fact he later adds fuel to the fire.]
Killgore Trout: My moonbat neighbors just returned from thailand 2 days ago. [Thanks for the update. Moron. I think you better go egg their house, just on principle.]
Odinist: Domino theory? Is anyone else seeing history repeat itself? Communists did it last century, Islamists doing it now... [Wait, Communists did what last century? Scared a bunch of yahoos so much that they cooked up nutty, ill-informed theories to justify invading a bunch of countries? Oh, okay, I see where you're going with this, Odinist!]
so.cal.swede: shit... thailand is an awesome vacation country, cheap, warm, good beer, beautiful nature. So long, Thailand. [So long, warm beer-drinking "nature" lover!]
rtheyserius: [answering this question:] Does the American Revolution count as a coup against the British? Jeez, folks, of course not. Get a grip, willya? An American Revolution coup against the British would have been something like Johnny Tremain sneaking into the Royal Palace in London with a bunch of armed comrads and deposing King George. [You set 'em straight, rtheyserius! The nerve of some people ... comparing our glorious revolution to their evil insurrection!]
Albemarle: If Islam expands in that region , we may asked to go back to Vietnam by Hanoi government , "Yankee come back. Save us !" [This is just so dumb on so many levels.]
And my personal favorite:
sandspur: After all that's gone on so far this week (and it's only Tuesday), I think it's time to declear the crudase. [Yay! sandspur wins the Booby Prize, given out to the LGF commenter who best combines ignorance of the facts, genocidal tendencies and atrocious spelling!]
All the news that's shit to print ...
I have mixed feelings about the military coup in Thailand.
On the one hand, deposed caretaker PM Thaksin Shinawatra is almost assuredly a crook. His dodgy business dealings are on record, as are his shenanigans in moving about his assets before he had to disclose them, as per the country's charter, to the Constitution Court upon being named Prime Minister the first go-round in 2001, when his Thai Rak Thai swept into power in a general election. I was living in Bangkok at the time, and it was the Thai political circus at its depressing best. Thaksin, head of telecommunications giant Shincorp, "divested" himself of a large chunk of his assets, "selling" or gifting them mostly to family members ... but also to his maids and chauffeur.
One day, you're driving a rich guy around, the next you're worth millions ... what a country!
Meanwhile, Thaksin's ultra-violent "War on Drugs" killed thousands in the countryside during its height in 2003. I have little doubt that the main effect of this rampage was to consolidate control of the lucrative methamphetamine trade in the hands of the biggest players and their police cronies, who were able to eliminate, in the most brutal way, their small-fish competition.
His escalation of the response to Muslim separatists in the South was similarly violent. And, like the War on Drugs, was popular with the Thai people at first ... until the corpses really started piling up and it became apparent that a solution to the trouble remained as elusive as it had ever been.
So, like Liberal Avenger, I'm not losing any sleep over what's been done to Thaksin.
On the other hand, as LA's commenter Gordo posits:
I think that in the long run, Thailand would be better off dealing with their criminal-in-chief the same way Italy dealt with theirs: by waiting for the next election and voting for his rival.Indeed. What Gordo says is true for any young democracy, and Thailand in particular seemed to be turning a corner. It had been 15 years since the last military coup - a very long time by Thai standards - and the 1997 Constitution (the "People's Charter") is considered the best framework for governance of the 16(!) that the country has had in 74 years as a constitutional monarchy.
It’s not nearly as satisfying, and the country does suffer for the time that the crook is in office, but it’s better than the constant cycle of coups and caretaker governments.
And while the king has been able to force the military junta to give up power in the past, some future king might favor a fascist takeover, much as Victor Emmanuel III granted his blessing to Mussolini.
Long, uninterrupted periods in which political transition is peaceful and democratic are crucial foundations for free nations, the rule of law and a vibrant civil society. Democracy doesn't spring fully formed from one election, or three ... or at the point of a gun, as everybody but Bill Kristol seems to understand.
So while everything Thailand built up, democracy-wise, in the past 15 years isn't completely gone, the country is now starting more closely to scratch than I think many people can immediately appreciate.
Finally, Gordo's point about Victor Emmanuel III is well taken. It's true that the current king of Thailand is as benevolent a head of state as one could hope for ... but he's getting on in years, and there is no shortage of anxiety about succession issues that will come sooner or later, and which will prominently involve the king's unsavory son.
And just because we are loathe to comment on anything - even something so close to the bone as the political situation in Thailand - without taking pot shots at wingnuts: Here's the realiably insane "Tits" McGee explaining how it's all the work of Islamofascists.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Yes, I suck ... blah de blah blah bloggity blah
Okay, well. This is kind of super-de-duper-de-eggs-a-la-Hooper top secret. Go here. It's what I've been working on for some time with the help of Snag and Gavin M.
... and while it's not completely done, it's done enough for you to check it out and go "Yaaay!" or "Pffft!" or "Ho-hum" or "Now I can die in peace" or "Heh. Indeed." or whatever you go when you see this sort of thing. (Especially if you have constructive criticism, and doubly-especially if you want to work on the project.)
I only ask that nobody go spreading the word on this thing yet. We want to launch it when all the moving parts actually work.
Cheerio! See you all in six weeks!*
(The asterisk after "kidding!" takes you back to the front of the sentence "Just kidding!" ... so, like, am I really kidding? Why, yes! But wait ... am I kidding about kidding? Or kidding about kidding about kidding? Ha! It's like a Moebius strip of insignificance!)
Friday, August 25, 2006
As some of you may know, I'm working on a project with Gavin M. of Sadly, No! called "Ultimate Wingnut Fantasy Wankball". It's a contest modelled on the various fantasy sports games out there, where you are given pretend money to draft various wingnuts like Glenn Reynolds or John Hinderaker to form a team under a salary cap.
There's a bunch of rules for how wingnuts in various positions ("Wankerback", "Eliminationist", "Jesus Lady" etc.) can score points for your team. At the end of the season, the team owner with the most points wins. Pretty simple, possibly pretty entertaining.
And the true beauty of Ultimate Wingnut Fantasy Wankball is that, unlike in other fantasy games where you merely tabulate the sporting exploits of distant, deified figures ... in UWFW, you, the owner, get to actively goad your players into scoring points for you by any means possible.
So. At this point we've got the scoring system laid out, a list of draftable wingnuts and some server space on which to create the website. Gav is doing the graphic design. We should be ready to launch fairly soon, but ...
I've hit a bit of a wall compiling the player profiles, stats and set salaries of the available wingnuts. I need some help. It's, shall we say, creative work ... basically, you get to make funny shit up to describe the wingnuts you know and love.
If anybody is interested in helping out with this aspect of the project, please email me at dpoeter-at-earthlink-dawt-net ...
For all of you who are interested in baseball and hometown loyalty, I'd like to invite you to participate in a little project.
About a year ago, I put together an All-Time All-Star team from the Bay Area for the Gilroy Dispatch. Click here to see it.
Now I happen to believe that this team would kick the ass of any All-Time All-Star team from any other part of the country. So here's a challenge for you ice-fishing Minnesotans, insufferable Bostonians and lapsed worshippers of the Archangel Moroni (yes, PP, I'm looking at you):
Put together your own local All-Star teams, let's plug 'em in to a tournament on Whatifsports.com, and let's see who gets to claim that their area produced the very best Major Leaguers that ever was.
The rules are simple: You only get to pick players who were either born in your area or spent their formative years there. Thus, both Chicago and the Bay Area can claim Rickey Henderson.
That's just my way of avoiding the pitfalls of the old "nature vs. nurture" argument.
If nothing else, participating in this contest should distract Brad R. from his slumping Red Sox. As a special bonus offer, if Almost Infamous wants to build a team from the best players from Eurasia/Australia, he has my blessing. Other people can claim South America, and the Caribbean/Mexico/Central America if they wish. We'll cede Canada to David Frum. I'm not sure if anybody from Africa ever played in the Majors.
Oh, and here's a tip: To get started on building your team, go here.
If you're interested, leave your thoughts in comments to this post. On the Ultimate Wingnut Fantasy Wankball stuff, email me.
UPDATE: Here is my All-Time All-Star team of baseball players born "on a ship in the Atlantic": Ed Porray. Hey, he hits and he pitches!
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
The Dave Barry of sports writing, but dumber
More of teh silly, courtesy of ESPN's 'The Sports Guy':
SG: Glad you brought up Big Mac -- I stumbled across some highlight of him and Sammy doing their complicated/awkward handshake thingie and found myself thinking, "Was that really only eight years ago?" That's the fastest a sports moment has ever become dated. Seriously, it's like staring at a picture of a Negro League baseball team. Only eight years ago, not only were these guys humongous heroes, not only were they widely credited for helping to save baseball, but nobody had a clue that something fishy was potentially going on. It's crazy. It's like being a 13-year-old kid and remembering when you were 5 and still thought Santa Claus was real. What a bummer.Yeah. Sort of like how Enron completely blindsided us. Futures-trading corporate sleazeballs were cooking the books?!?! Professional athletes were using steroids?!?!? Sausage is made ... how?!?!??!?!1112lk3j2l1k11!!!!tobeornottobe!!@#!!!!???? Is there one person in the entire history of everything who could have possibly known this???!???!
Anyway, he continues:
In a way, I can understand why Giants fans still defend Bonds so rigorously. It goes much deeper than being in denial -- by admitting what happened, they would be admitting that every good memory he brought them over the last eight years was a complete sham. They HAVE to defend him. They HAVE to support them. I feel bad for the Giants fans. For instance, let's say someone reported tomorrow that Big Papi had been using HGH for the last three years. Know what I would do? Pooh-pooh the report. "No way. Couldn't be. They're full of crap." That's what I'd say. How else can you react? I'm getting depressed. ...No, Sports Guy, Giants fans do not defend Bonds because we are five-year-olds in denial over him using performance enhancing drugs. It's obvious he did, though it would be nice if somebody could get either a piss test or a court ruling that proved he did PEDs that were either against the stated rules of baseball at the time he did them or purchased/used illegally in the United States at the time he did them, or both.
Giants fans, or at least the ones I am familiar with, defend Bonds against being made Public Enemy No. 1 and Grand Mugwump and Official Lightning Rod of the Dastardly Order of Steroid Scapegoats. Which is actually a different thing.
Which brings us back to the ridiculous assertion that "nobody had a clue that something fishy was potentially going on" during the Big Mac-Sammy Summer of '98. Lots of people had a clue. Especially people who were involved in making money off baseball, from all the other players besides McGwire and Sosa (and Bonds) who also used PEDs to the owners of baseball teams to knowledgeable media types who generated lots of ad-friendly product from baseball.
McGwire had a giant bottle of andro prominently displayed in his locker, fer crissake! Ben Johnson got busted a full ten years earlier! Steve Courson blew the lid off the NFL's dirty little secret in 1991!
The point being, Bonds did not invent PEDs and was not the first athlete to use them. What's more, when he was using them from 1999 to whenever he presumably stopped, he almost assuredly faced competition more saturated with PED use than at any other time in baseball history ... thus rendering a trifle overblown all of the clutching of pearls over his approaching the home run record as if he alone possessed the Atom Bomb of steroids while those he played against got by on oatmeal, tossing around a medicine ball and good old-fashioned grit.
So, yeah, we defend Bonds, but not because his obvious PED use somehow makes "every good memory ... over the last eight years was a complete sham". Why would we consider those memories a complete sham when the sport at the time didn't give a shit about steroid use? Ben Johnson knew he was going to have to piss in a cup after every race, whereas baseball players were given a wink and a nudge by the very arbiters of their sport.
That's got to count for something in our assessment of Bonds, McGwire, Sosa and the rest of them. Consider the options of an athlete over the past couple decades: a. Do steroids, stonewall about it and get branded a scumbag by the self-righteous; b. Fess up about your steroid use and get blackballed as a stoolie by your sport; or c. Don't do steroids and resign yourself to life as a career minor leaguer.*
Then again, the Sports Guy liked it better when he still believed a magical fat man in a red suit delivered him toys. That's some pretty remarkable devotion to being ignorant. I'm not sure if he'll ever get any of this.**
*I almost forgot d. Don't do steroids*** and be a complete asshole about it (see: Schilling, Curt)
**Lest anyone think I'm so cynical as to demean the loss of innocence ... I'm not. It's just that I think it's kind of pitiful that the Sports Guy equates finding out that yes, Virginia, people are human, with the unmasking of various supernatural bunnies and fairies and elves who inexplicably give you crap.
Whereas, for me, it was only the fifth or
sixth most nauseating 30 seconds I've
spent reading a blog post ...
Hail to the ChiefFor once, words fail me. Must be the chunks I just threw up in my mouth.
I had the opportunity this afternoon to be part of a relatively small group who heard President Bush talk, extemporaneously, for around forty minutes. It was an absolutely riveting experience. It was the best I've ever seen him. Not only that; it may have been the best I've ever seen any politician. If I summarized what he said, it would all sound familiar: the difficult times we live in; the threat from Islamic fascism--the phrase drew an enthusiastic round of applause--the universal yearning for freedom; the need to confront evil now, with all the tools at our disposal, so that our children and grandchildren can live in a better and safer world. ...
The conventional wisdom is that Bush is not a very good speaker. But up close, he is a great communicator, in a way that, in my opinion, Ronald Reagan was not. He was by turns instructive, persuasive, and funny. His persona is very much that of the big brother. Above all, he was impassioned. I have never seen a politician speak so evidently from the heart, about big issues--freedom, most of all. ...
It was, in short, the most inspiring forty minutes I've experienced in politics.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Hey! What if hitting myself in the head with this hammer makes me smarter? It'd be great!
Via Retardo via Wolcott via Hersh, comes this telling passage:
Cheney’s office supported the Israeli plan, as did Elliott Abrams, a deputy national-security adviser, according to several former and current officials. (A spokesman for the N.S.C. denied that Abrams had done so.) They believed that Israel should move quickly in its air war against Hezbollah. A former intelligence officer said, “We told Israel, ‘Look, if you guys have to go, we’re behind you all the way. But we think it should be sooner rather than later—the longer you wait, the less time we have to evaluate and plan for Iran before Bush gets out of office.’ ”
Cheney’s point, the former senior intelligence official said, was “What if the Israelis execute their part of this first, and it’s really successful? It’d be great. We can learn what to do in Iran by watching what the Israelis do in Lebanon.”
Leaving aside trivial matters like, you know, morality, one can only conclude that these bozos really, really, really suck at war. If there were fancy sabermetric stats for being competent at war, Cheney would have an OPS of, like, -1.543, and your buddies would all snicker if you picked Abrams earlier than the 650th round of your fantasy draft. Rumsfeld? Well, let's just say that even Joe Morgan would have long ago stopped touting his "intangibles" and put a fork in him.
And it's like their suckiness at war is rubbing off on the Israelis or something. Say what you will about decades-long military occupations, ethnic cleansing and whatnot, but generally speaking, Israel has been pretty decent at the whole war thing from your basic "achieving objectives" metric. Until this latest invasion of Lebanon, that is. Which we now learn from Hersh was embarked upon with all the careful strategerizing of Johnny Knoxville sticking his nutsack in a toaster oven "to see what happens".
Now this is very interesting, because the Bush Administration has been called out on a lot things, from mongering equal parts fear and power, to leaving no corporate crony executively unblown. But one thing this crew always had going for it was the widespread perception that, yeah, so maybe they don't care about black people, maybe they're hurtling us into unprecedented debt, maybe they're losing us allies like Bill Bennett hemorrhaging $100 chips in Atlantic City ... maybe so, but at least they know how to - in the words of Toby Keith - "put a boot in your ass".
And make no mistake, there are a lot of people who think like Toby Keith in these'm hair Yoo-Nighted States'm Erika. And to those voting folks, for the longest time, it didn't really matter if ass or asses unknown being injected with said boot weren't in fact the particular ass or asses that perhaps deserved the insertion of our brand of footwear. It was good enough to know that somewhere out there, some theoretical ass was being rudely and painfully alerted to the sudden, violent presence of an uninvited houseguest, shape of: boot ... form of: in your ass.
Again, it didn't really matter if the Bushies picked the right ass or "exaggerated" the threat of that ass to hinder our God-given right to put our boot in it. It didn't matter, as long as - and here's the crux of it all - we were in fact, actually and in reality, "putting", not-entirely-metaphorically, that oh-so-state-of-the-art "boot" in that isn't-it-all-just-the-height-of-heterosexuality "ass".
But now the facts are in. Or, I should say, they've been in for some time (from at least the revelation of the piss-poor planning for post-war Iraq, if not with the escape of the al-Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan), but it is only now, as we awake from our slumbering-giant-awakening-induced slumber, that a majority of us are finally getting that the facts are in.
And the facts are these: The Bush Administration fucking blows at putting boots in your ass. Despite having the most powerful military the world has ever known, they are 1-for-2 in hot wars against Third World nations. And the "1" - Afghanistan - is pretty much a broken-bat blooper, to give the administration more credit than it deserves.
That's just a really bad boot-putting-in-your-ass record. It should also be noted that on the colder fronts of the Great War on Terror - Iran and North Korea - the Bushies are similarly crap. Let's call it "putting a carrot-and-stick in your ass" and consult the statistical record to discover that, surprise! They totally blow at that, too!
Learning now from Hersh that the neocons in the administration are actively exporting Cheney Brand Military Incompetence - Now With More Bumbling! to Israel? Well, it's not exactly surprising that they would be offering such un-sage advice. That's just how these nitwits roll. Even though them counseling Israel on what fights to enter is like Jacquie Mackie Po-Packie advising people on pick-up lines.
But it is somewhat baffling that Olmert seems to have valued the Bushies' input. I mean what could Cheney and Abrams have possibly said? "Jump right in, Ehud! The quagmire's great!" ... ???
At any rate, lest we get too lost in typical Parrotline tangentery, let's revisit the main point: These guys suck at war. The upside is, enough Americans are waking up to this truth to possibly shift the balance of power in this country this fall, so maybe, hopefuly, pray with me here - the other boot will finally drop and all of our collective asses will be that much safer.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
'Beware that you are ready before you pass this seal'? Oh, Jesus, we've got a live one
It’s not like this is a new thing. From Victor Davis Hansen’s gentleman farmer posturing to the mealy resolve of John Podhoretz, bemoaning Judeo-Christendom’s supposed lack of ruthlessness is a staid tradition in Wingnutopia.
Indeed, it is difficult to recount the number of times a Tacitus or a Pamela Atlas or an Adam Yoshida has reworked the lyrics to that infectious, mid-1990s novelty hit by Skee-Lo, i.e.:
I wish we were a little bit crueler
I wish I was our ruler
I wish we had the will to nuke Mecca
I would ‘do’ her
I wish I had a Muslim in a room like in ‘Doom’
And my graphic card was newer
… So it is hardly surprising that yet another call for all good Christians to ‘Level thy Enemy’ is making the rounds in the Right Blogosphere. And true to form, it is being welcomed to much acclaim and grave harrumphing, meeting as it does the stern, faux gloomy approval of the many dedicated fabulists who are invariably “pained” and “saddened” to concur that, indeed, our love for innocent life is so great that we must now steel ourselves to rending far more of it limb-from-limb.
That this is just another in a long line of clumsy, desperate attempts to discover the mythical lever that engages the built-in obsolescence of evolved human morality means little. That it is entitled “On the Virtues of Killing Children” merits some attention. But leaving aside, for the moment, the oh-so-shocking title, it is fitting that the essay’s author calls himself “Grim”. For it is in this guise that the most pretentious wingnuts so love to cloak themselves – as “grim realists” who bravely struggle with their inner Col. Jessups to remain patient with those of us who cannot yet “handle the truth”.
Despite the outpouring of tough-minded, strictly heterosexual praise for “On the Virtues of Killing Children”, Grim’s little foray into amorality is hardly novel or earth-shattering. As an argument for a particular course of action it is, in fact, derivative, utopian, linguistically stilted, structurally incoherent, riddled with strawmen, devoid of answers to common rebuttals of similar arguments, dependent upon improbable sea changes in common attitudes towards conduct in war, lacking in evidence to support its conclusions, blind to the very predictable negative externalities that would result from its being put into practice, and, in a word: dumb as fuck.
As such, the best possible response to “On the Virtues of Killing Children” is simple mockery. To wit: The essay is piffle, the author is ignorant and/or insane, the audience which lapped it up is not to be trusted with sharp objects. Which, of course, was indeed the most common reaction in the comment thread to the post and elsewhere.
The reaction to that reaction was equally predictable: “Why will no liberal present a serious counterargument to this post?” Those who ask that question seem to believe that the absence of such a response means no response is possible, thus validating the author’s presentation of his argument via the construction of a resistant (and only coincidentally female, really) interlocutor who is deflowered by his own superior logic and manly resolve.
Never mind the existence of thousands of years of philosophical debate over these very ideas … not to mention that such rightwing claptrap is dealt with daily in the Left Blogosphere. And, in fact, several people have made perfectly fine rebuttals to the specifics of “On the Virtues of Killing Children” in the very comments accompanying the essay.
At any rate, seeing as how I haven’t posted in, like, a week or something, and in the spirit of reaching out that Mrs. Robinson over at Orcinus has so ably encouraged recently, here’s this liberal’s rebuttal to the argument that we need to give even less of a shit than we already do about bleeding, concussed children dying in fear and pain:
That’s fucking insane. And barbaric. And the opposite of what we’re supposed to be fighting.
Now to be fair (I’m not sure why I should be, but still), Grim and his supporters want everybody to know that “On the Virtues of Killing Children” is just an ordinary utilitarian argument, and how could anyone serious possibly read anything more into it than that, just because of the title?!?
(Which is sort of like calling your line of clown apparel the “John Wayne Gacy Collection” and then wondering why everybody thinks you’re a creep … but never mind.)
At any rate, the utilitarian argument. Grim posits that “not caring if children die” when we attack will cause our enemies who use innocents as shields to stop doing so, because it would cease to be effective protection for them, thus ultimately saving more children.
There is a host of problems with this idea, not least of which are the various counters to utilitarianism itself. It should also be noted that conservative philosophy is very much at odds with utilitarianism, so whatever those who applaud Grim’s thesis consider themselves to be philosophically, they are deluded if they think they are “conservative”.
But even if we accept a utilitarian framework as basically good, it doesn’t necessarily follow that more good results than bad would come from following Grim’s recommendation. Here is part of his exchange with the pliable strawlady of his fevered imagination:
Her eyes grow wide. "You are mad," she says.Damn! The strawlady gave up way too soon, and just when I was starting to like her. Shut up, strawlady, just shut up! You had me at “You are mad”!
"Not so," I answer. "Consider: when the enemy seeks to kill our child to motivate us to surrender to his will, is it not because he believes that the danger to the children will move our hearts?"
"It is," she must agree.
"And when he hides among children," I add, "why? Children do little to deflect artillery. Must it not be because he knows that we -- we ourselves -- fear for the children, even his children?"
She nods, silently.
"Then it is proven," I say. "It is our love of these innocents that endangers them. If we did not care if children died, they would be in little danger."
Anyway, the strawlady’s gormlessness aside, how do we know that “the enemy” – terrorists, insurgents, Hezbollah, et. al. – “hides himself among children” for the sole purpose of guilt-tripping us into not firing on them? Grim doesn't offer any evidence that this is so.
Isn’t it likely that the more mundane requirement for survival as a guerrilla fighter – hiding from one’s more powerful enemy – is at least as much a reason for this practice? Does Grim really believe that eliminating, through some collective decision to be merciless, our avoidance of civilian casualties … would somehow cause Iraqi insurgents to suddenly don uniforms and form into neat little lines, the better to sportingly square off against our Blackhawk helicopters, tanks and howitzers with their rifles and IEDs?
Puh-fucking-leeze. And with that, out the window goes the argument. Because if it is possible to raise serious doubts about the effectiveness of his prescription on its most basic level - militarily - then all the other counterarguments to do with predictable negative externalities, social mores, etc. are merely icing on the cake.
Which isn't to say that icing ain't good eatin'. There are a zillion more reasons to scoff at Grim’s fairy tale. Here are a few troubling questions for him, just off the top of my head:
- When we openly declare ourselves to be callous child-killers, how exactly is this going to play as propaganda in the Muslim world and elsewhere? Is the assuredly negative reaction something we should factor into this decision? Or does it seem more likely that our allies and would-be allies in this struggle will be swayed, strawlady-like, by the impeccable logic of “On the Virtues of Killing Children” … if only we could get them all to read it?
- Seeing as how the Iraqis that we’re fighting, and the Iranians we propose to fight, haven’t actually killed any of our children … isn’t it kinda sorta putting the cart before the horse to be complaining that we haven’t killed enough of theirs yet? I mean, obviously motives trump everything – and ours are always pure and noble, while theirs are always debased and savage – but don’t results count a tiny bit, too? To put it in baseball terms, isn’t deciding which enemies to fight sort of like drafting players for a team? And isn’t Iran sort of like a high school pitcher? You know, love the “tools”, the upside’s out of this world … but we just can’t risk an invasion on such an unproven quantity? Maybe better, you think, to go with an enemy out of college, like an al Qaeda, that’s got at least four solid years of “actually attacking us” under its belt?
- Admit it … isn’t it just a little bit embarrassing to be so scared of a group of people that your country’s military has completely fucking outgunned and surrounded, that you stay up nights worrying about whether we’re killing enough of them? With sufficiently hardened hearts?
- Did the whole “With great power comes great responsibility” bit in Spider-Man just go completely over your head?
- Is our concern about innocent life even something we can turn off and on? And if we can turn it off, how easy is it to turn back on?
- Is “bigger hammer” really the only tool we have available in the foreign policy shed? Did our needy neighbor borrow all the economic levels and diplomatic lubricants we used to have, and not return them or something? Because, what a dick!
P.S. To everybody who wondered about my positively Gallic holiday from blogging in the comment thread below:
First of all, thanks for checking in regularly to see if I had come out of hibernation. I apologize for not letting you know if or when I would be posting again. You all deserved some sort explanation for my absence long before now. So here it is:
I stopped posting for a couple of reasons. The DSL thing really happened. But when I got my service back I found myself pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed not having to monitor insane wingnuts every day to collect material for this blog. (There’s a frequent comment that appears on blogs like this one, it goes something like: “Thank you for reading the crazy people so I don’t have to.” Sometimes it’s just good to take a break from teh crazy.)
There were also some personal issues, which I won’t describe in too much detail. Nothing to do with health; nothing to do with fear of getting “outed” by the likes of Pasty & Pattycakes, Attorneys at BWAHAHA*; somewhat to do with finances; a lot to do with marriage. I’ll only say that most of the turmoil is winding down, there is light at the end of the tunnel and leave it at that.
Finally, I hope I will be posting regularly again. Don’t want to make any promises, but that’s the plan.
*Good guess, though, Bas.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Going on Day 5 of no DSL
Earthlink, I hate you. I hate spending money I don't have on Internet Cafe rip-offs. Things I could have blogged about in the past week:
- How much Earthlink sucks.
- The Lost finale.
- How much I hate American Idol.
- Cuchullain vs. Muhammed Ali in Pattaya.
- Not being able to send or receive email.
- Thanks to fucking Earthlink.
- Also, thanks to the SBC-AT&T merger fucking providers down the pipeline.
- Like Earthlink.
- The hatred of labor expressed by wingnuts who celebrate free movement of capital but seek to confine humans.
- Earthlink sux.
- SUSSXxxxxzQ@#@!!@@!@@@@! the big ONNE!!!!111!!!!
- Bye, I am out of time.
PS An attempt to produce something funny in less than 30 seconds: Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the Internet cafe where he had to go spend too much money becuase his Earthlink DSL connection was down alao0w3487q97(*&(*)^! fucker!
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
This is rich ...
Via Dave Neiwert at the invaluable Oricinus, we learn of a semantics war raging between Andrew Sullivan and Hugh Spew-itt over the old-but-recently-exhumed term "Christianist".
Go. Now. Read it all, etc. etc. et. al. ibid. op. cit. pud. enda.
Now, I'm not one to go to bat for Andrew Sullivan normally, but this remark from Hewitt bears scrutiny:
Sullivan objects to the political positions of many evangelicals, but given the widespread support for these positions -- opposition to the judicial imposition of same sex marriage for example -- Sullivan refuses to engage their positions on a case by case basis, and instead invents a new description in an attempt to deligitimize them.
Andrew Sullivan refuses to engage the evangelical (or Christianist, or Dominionist) position on same sex marriage? Is Hewitt talking about the same Andrew Sullivan who has written a fucking 400-page book called "Same-Sex Marriage: Pro & Con"?
Sullivan obviously doesn't need me fighting his battles, nor am I particularly keen to do so ... but, well, sheesh.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Stop it, Michelle. Just stop it.
You're embarrassing yourself. And you're making us all sick to our stomachs. Here's Michelle Malkin on a charming little encounter she had with an NSA security guard today, on a trip to the National Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade, Md.:
One interesting thing happened worth sharing: When I missed the turn for the museum, I had to drive through the guard booth. Because I officially entered the NSA premises uninvited, I was pulled aside into the parking lot by security. They asked for my driver's license and my Social Security number. And then one security guard looked me straight in the eye, unembarrassed, and asked if I was a citizen.So Michelle's for profiling brown people. We all know that, yada yada yada. But one can be for some distasteful security measure that must be taken (I am not saying I am for profiling, this is just for the sake of argument) - without openly reveling in it. And when that unfortunate, but necessary security measure is taken against you, yourself ... the normal response is not to say, "Thank you, sir, may I have another?"
I couldn't help it. I answered affirmatively and then told him: "I guess I'm not supposed to editorialize, but it is really refreshing to hear a security guy ask that question out loud without apologizing." He and his colleague chuckled. Appreciatively.
My own personal tale: Upon arriving at Honolulu International after being abroad for nearly three years, I was asked by customs officials to accompany them on a little trip to "the room". You know, the one where "that" happens. Most definitely not fun. But also not as horrible as the movies would lead you to believe.
Anyway, while I was obviously unhappy about having my nutsack handled by a very large (but thankfully, very gentle) Samoan man*, I understood why this was happening to me. Namely, that my battered passport showed all kinds of border crossing stamps, from Thailand to India, Japan, Malaysia and elswhere, and then back to Thailand. Exactly what you'd expect to see on the passport of an expat working in Thailand who had to periodically deal with visa issues ... but also what you might see on the passport of somebody moving drugs around, or being otherwise up to no good.
The point being that I understood why I had been red-flagged, and I was okay with that. And I wasn't about to make a case for my "rights" or any such crap ... 'cos I just wanted to get the fuck out of there as quickly as possible and with no bruises on my colon.
But was I going to thank the guy with my balls in his hands and his finger up my ass for doing a heckuva job to protect America? THE FUCK I WAS! Like, thank you for singling me out as a model scumbag and anally probing me? Would anybody with a shred of personal dignity do that?
But that's essentially what Malkin did ... obviously over a personal affront much less offensive than what I went through, but still. And her - I don't know, dare we call it self-hatred? - is so enormous that she brags about it on her blog.
Disgusting. And more to the point, pathetic.
As an epilogue, the big customs agent was in fact apologetic to me. Both before the probe - when he said, "I'm sorry, but I have to ask you to come with me." - and after, when he said, "I'm sorry about that, but I was just doing my job."
And you know what? I appreciated that.
*Don't be jealous, teh l4m3!
UPDATE: Psychoanalyis from afar, and with no qualifications, is extremely inadvisable. But I can't help it. I am just struck with how the above linked post by Malkin seems to reveal some sort of split personality. Like, there is Michelle, the Filipina ... and Michelle Malkin, the insane, crypto-racist wingnut pundit. And while Michelle, the Filipina might have felt somewhat nonplussed for being so obviously singled out over her non-white appearance, Michelle Malkin, the mainliner of Kool-Aid, was able to completely compartmentalize that experience ... and in fact, view it from a detached perspective as happening to some disembodied "suspicious brown person", and hurray for that!
Like I said, armchair psychoanalysis ... inadvisable. But fun.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
O! Asshat! My Asshat!
So. Better late to the party, then never to arrive … that’s my philosophy. And a pretty handy one, seeing as how I go days between posts and would never get to partake in any of the hip jokes if I subscribed to the momentarian ethos of the blogosphere.
Plus, there’s usually a few half-drunken rappin’ 4tays still laying around to swig from, and some crusty spinach dip.
But it’s one thing for little old lame-ass me to arrive a week or so late to some meme – in this case, bagging on Ed Morrissey’s project to reclaim the phrase “101st Fighting Keyboardists”. It’s quite another for Capped-On Ed hisself and his loyal wingnut seamen [Ewww! – Ed.] to show up a couple of years late to a running joke, then claim it to be “defenestrated” by their tardy commentary.
Writes the Cap’n on his super-duper clever new toy (invented by Tbogg two years ago):
Yesterday we saw some goalpost-moving as the lefty bloggers attempted to equate "chickenhawk" with child molestation -- which again questions why they used it for anything else prior to the formation of the 101st FKs. It's a tactic born of desperation, as they see their favorite namecalling device defenestrated.That comment was in reply to this trenchant analysis by cabinboy Mitch Berg:
It's a good thing I have Cap'n Ed and King on the air with me on the NARN show. They are both very diligent in reminding me that when I slag on leftyblogs that there are exceptions to the rule; when I refer to leftybloggers who've been comedically outmaneuvered as "shrieking like a cagefull of poo-flinging monkeys", both were very conscientious about reminding me that there are exceptions. Josh Marshall, Matt Yglesias, Jeralynn Meritt [who?], Flash [double who?] - they tend to be able to separate the fever from the swamp. ...Capped-On Ed continues with his elaboration on cabinboy Berg’s point:
… namecalling is all these sites have. Writers like Glenn Greenwald, John Aravosis, Peter Beinart have actual argument on their side; they don't need to resort to name-calling to make themselves feel better. We may not agree with them, but we respect them and feel challenged by their arguments -- and they make us better at what we do with that challenge.Well. Color us pwned. You know … !!!!11!!!fourscoreandsevenyearsago!!!1!etc!!! We are so sixth-rate intellects. But let’s respond anyway, with a bullet-point stylee:
Others, however, simply make up slurs and silliness and pass it off as wit. One such example that I have seen recently is a perfect example of this. [Exampleporn! - Ed. Wood] Some sites have now taken to referring to me as Special Ed. [Not this one! – Gein, Ed.] This supposedly sets them apart as intellectuals. …
That's all they've got, these vapid and emotionally stunted people with computers and free time [Uh, we've also got pron - blindEd.], on both sides of the political spectrum. They can't win with argument, so they use invective and silly schoolyard taunts instead. They fill their posts with obscenities [He's fucking on to us! - *&$@#!Ed.] and dance around with delight every time they come up with another taunt. It's the perfect example of why we formed the 101st Fighting Keyboardists [no, um, Tbogg did that two years ago … but carry on – Dept. of Ed.] and adopted the chicken hawk as our mascot. It reveals the intellectual bankruptcy of these very bloggers ... and provokes them into revealing it themselves.
● When one wingnut blogger - out of the hordes who have dumbly endured the “101st Fighting Keyboardists” taunt, originated by Tbogg and perfected by The Editors – finally stumbles, years after the fact, upon the blindingly obvious tactic of embracing an insult and reveling in it to disarm its mocking firepower … it is not a victory. It is a baboon playing with string, accidentally tying a working slip knot.
It is, quite literally, one amongst 1,000 chickenhawks pounding on keyboards for 10 million man-hours finally producing a crappy Petrarchan sonnet ... that only really works if you count the near-rhymes. It is validation of the old adage that even a stopped clock tells the right time … only instead of “twice a day”, it’s “once in two years.”
For the past few days, we've watched the jabbering, jostling wingnutosphere marvel over the mundane strategery of reclaiming an instrument of mockery. It has been not a little reminiscent of “2001: A Space Odyssey” – with Capped-On Ed in the role of the ape who picks up the bone … the howling primates played by a cast of thousands pinging stupidly away … Queer Nation as the monolith … Kos as Hal … Tbogg as Dave … Michelle Malkin as, I don’t know, Gary Lockwood or something.
● We use schoolyard taunts against Capped-On Ed because people who play pretend dress-up sailor are practically begging for it. When they are also Midwestern call center managers in real life, they might as well just direct deposit their milk money into our IRA accounts.
● When cabinboy Berg refers to “leftybloggers who've been comedically outmaneuvered”, it is worth noting yet again that it was a “leftyblogger” who invented the very funny and useful (if day-before-day-before-yesterday) construction “101st Fighting Keyboardists”*. Not Capped-on Ed, certainly not Mitch Berg. So claiming to have the comedy goods on said leftybloggers as if you had willingly hoisted yourself on your own petard for everybody’s amusement - is akin to Adolph Eichmann demanding credit for “Springtime for Hitler”.**
What’s more – and this lesson ought to be heeded by Berg and Capped-on Ed and every other comedy-challenged wingnut who has tried so earnestly and tortuously and scantily to dissect humor in the weeks since Stephen Colbert hit the "Bombed-Heard-Round-the-World":
Saying something isn’t funny can actually be funny. But only if you say it in a manner which is generally accepted as funny. If you can accomplish that feat, people might even begin to regard you as funny. And after regarding you as funny … perhaps they might even begin to consider you as qualified to judge whether what other people say is funny or isn’t funny. The upshot, if such an unlikely chain of events plays out? That thing you were saying wasn’t funny, way back in the beginning … may be regarded by people as actually not funny!
BUT … and this is a big “BUT”*** … if you choose the decidedly more treacherous route, and attempt to say something isn’t funny without you, yourself, actually being funny in the process of saying that particular something isn’t funny … all that will happen is people will look at you funny.
Got it? Good. Now go fuck yourselves.
* Actually, it was “Keyboarders” originally; “Keyboard Kommandos” in its final form.
** Ooh! Godwin! Ward Churchill! Zero Mostel! Passed off as wit!
*** Saying “big but” at any given time is funny to six-year-olds; perhaps a starting off point for would-be wingnut humorists? Like, “baby steps”?
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
What's cookin' down at the Circle J?
Jesus-H-Fucking-Christ-Getting-Anally-Double-Penetrated-By-A-Strap-On-Tag-Team-of-Ann-Coulter-and-Amy-Sullivan ... I'm glad I didn't have my shit together enough these past few days to participate in this colossal wankfest.
Sorry 'bout the lack of posting
Uh, not much else to say. The hair of the dog ate my homework.
Monday, May 08, 2006
ParrotLine 'Circular Firing Squad' edition
Kevin Drum is so boring ...
UPDATE: Go to Liberal Avenger's space age bachelor pad to memorialize your dying words.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Your sniglet for the day
As a side note, for those of you who are either too young or too old to recall the meteoric rise to fame of Rich Hall and his cheesy "sniglets" - and their equally meteoric fall to obscurity - there is even a sniglet for your condition: "luckyasfuckitude". Thankfully, we no longer call funny made-up words "sniglets". In that sense, we can have our "truthiness" and eat it, too.
But back to "parodynoia". In the wake of the AnnieAngel Affair, it bears repeating just how crazy a place these here datanets really are, full of scoundrels and liars and cheats. What is real and what is not? Is Gary Ruppert really a righteously misguided fool ... or a deep cover parodist? What about the Right Brothers?
And if we have cause to suspect the above personalities of pulling our collective leg, how long is it before we cast a suspicious glance at the likes of Pastor Swank and Adam Yoshida*?
Or, for that matter, John Hinderaker and Jeff Goldstein?
Could they all be parody? Could it - the datanets, itself - be one giant joke being played on us, the earnest rubes who need big warning labels on our humor to identify it as such ... who never quite "got" what Andy Kaufmann was up to ... who are still gullible enough to believe in something called "truth in advertising"?
To take it even further ... are all of you in on the joke? Is it only me who is playing the naif here, while the rest of you bastards chuckle secretly at my gormlessness?
You see where this is going? How this line of inquiry can only end badly?
Hence, "parodynoia" ... your (un)sniglet for the day.
*Who, by the way, has decided to progressively indent the posts on his blog as if they were part of a comment thread, for some reason known only to genocidal Canadian shut-ins.