More on Kuhn
I can't believe I'm actually on Duncan Black's side in this, but the article by CBS News' political analyst David Paul Kuhn keeps on getting blasted, as it deserves.
Who cares whether a blogger is a paid consultant to a campaign? It isn't like it's a surprise that political blogs are partisan. It's in their nature! Why does that have to be explained?
But what about if CBS News is in the tank for one side against another? That, as the Power Line points out, does matter. Why? Because CBS News holds itself out to be an impartial imparter of the day's events, whereas bloggers are explicitly what they are.
One of the most useful things I ever learned from reading Nietzsche is that History (or even the news) is not reported by disinterested parties ---and it is a lie to say it is. There is an ideological component in most everything we do as political beings. I'll take the musings of an ideological foe all day long so long as he has the intellectual honesty to cop to his biases. If he doesn't, then what he has to sell is irredeemably tainted and not worth consuming, anyway.
What Kind of Bullshit Is This?
Courtesy of Little Green Footballs, here's a completely offensive piece about the blogosphere by David Paul Kuhn at CBS News.
Internet blogs are providing a new and unregulated medium for politically motivated attacks. With the same First Amendment protections as newspapers, blogs are increasingly gaining influence.
An "unregulated medium," eh? This sounds like a touch of envy, but what can an FCC-regulated organization like CBS do about it? Kuhn goes on:
Like all media, blogs hold the potential for abuse. Experts point out that blogs' unregulated status makes them particularly attractive outlets for political attack.
"The question is: What are the appropriate regulations on the Internet?" asked Kathleen Jamieson, an expert on political communication and dean of the Annenberg School for Communications. "It's evolved into an area that we need to do more thinking about it.
"If you put out flyers, you have to disclaim it, you have to represent who you are," Jamieson said. "If you put out an ad you have to put a disclaimer on it. But we don't have those sorts of regulations for political content, that is campaign-financed on the Internet."
The message here is clear ---and entirely predictable coming from the Left: we need more government control of the means of communication. We need to have the FCC and the FEC on top of the blogosphere.
Of course, at CBS News, government regulations didn't prevent Dan Rather and Mary Mapes from knowingly pushing a lie built around forged documents ---all with the intent of sabotaging a Presidential election. But tools like Kuhn are certainly happy to promote the idea that an upstart medium like the blogosphere now bow down before state controls. What fucking bullshit!
Case precedent on political speech as it pertains to blogs does not exist. But where journalists' careers may be broken on ethics violations, bloggers are writing in the Wild West of cyberspace. There remains no code of ethics, or even an employer, to enforce any standard.
Here's where Big Media's understanding of the blogosphere fails most abjectly. Although there are many tens of thousands of active politically-oriented blogs out there, all but a relative few are obscure. Any of them, of course, are subject to libel laws, but the major players (e.g., InstaPundit, Eschaton, Power Line, et al.) already have a code of ethics, whether they wish to or not. It's called fact-checking in a real-time ombudsmen culture. These major blogs wouldn't have the readership and influence they now enjoy if they didn't immediately and conspicuously respond to the challenges made to the veracity of their claims. In this sense, the blogosphere is vastly more responsive to the demands of a meritocratic information medium than even conventional newspapers (which, when caught in an error, rarely do more than acknowledge it in some small place, buried inside the paper a few days later).
As Kuhn reports, the FEC is going to have its claws buried a little more deeply into the blogosphere by the time the next election cycle begins. But I find it particularly offensive that CBS News would be the one to promote any sort of government regulation of free speech when its own people, already ostensibly under such controls, are heedless of them. I guess it's just their way of fighting back against those who put the klieglight on Courageous Dan. And what a noble legacy for the network of Edward R. Murrow to bequeath to the American people: advocating an unwarranted intrusion into their freedom of speech. Great.
A linguist from the University of Pittsburgh has published a scholarly paper deconstructing and deciphering the word "dude," contending it is much more than a catchall for lazy, inarticulate surfers, skaters, slackers and teenagers.
An admitted dude-user during his college years, Scott Kiesling said the four-letter word has many uses: in greetings ("What's up, dude?"); as an exclamation ("Whoa, Dude!"); commiseration ("Dude, I'm so sorry."); to one-up someone ("That's so lame, dude."); as well as agreement, surprise and disgust ("Dude.").
Kiesling says in the fall edition of American Speech that the word derives its power from something he calls cool solidarity -- an effortless kinship that's not too intimate.
Junk Mail Mood:
As so often during the campaign season (thanks, I'm sure, to a few of my Democratic friends who put me on a list somewhere), I've once again heard from the Chairman of the DNC, the obnoxious craphound, Terry McAuliffe. What a sweetheart!
Your response to Washington Governor candidate Christine Gregoire's plea for help has been overwhelming. Thanks to your generosity, the recount in Washington will now go forward. With only 42 votes separating Gregoire and her Republican opponent, today we can ensure that every ballot is accurately counted. This could not have happened without you.
Then the age of miracles is not yet over.
Your incredible grassroots support is vital to our continued fight to ensure a full and legitimate count of every single vote in this election and future elections. In addition to our strong commitment to the recount in Washington State, the Democratic Party has empowered the Ohio Democratic Party to represent us as our official observer during the recount. We will make sure that every vote in Ohio is counted.
But didn't Mr. Blackwell just certify the vote yesterday? I think y'all are falling down on the job.
But we aren't stopping there.
After consulting with our Voting Rights Institute staff, Voting Protection Coordinators, Ohio legal team, Party activists, supporters, elected officials, and others, and after reviewing available information, the Democratic National Committee has decided to conduct a thorough investigation of key election issues arising from the conduct of the 2004 general election in Ohio.
Translation: the Democratic Party wishes to further burnish its image as a group of whiney-assed losers who want to poison the public's confidence in our duly elected representatives.
This investigative study will address the legitimate questions and concerns that have been raised in Ohio and will develop factual information that will be critically important in crafting further key election reforms. This project seeks to answer such questions as:
Why did so many people have to wait in line in certain Ohio precincts and not others?
Because the Ohio state legislature is too stupid to institute early voting.
Why weren't there enough machines in some counties and not others?
Because the Ohio state legislature and the counties of that state are too stupid to have provided more money for the purchase of enough machines.
Why were so many Ohioans forced to cast provisional ballots?
Because too many voters in Ohio are too stupid to know where they are supposed to cast their ballots. That, or they were trying to game the system by introducing a lot of confusion into the process, thereby creating a sense of widespread fraud. These sorts of problems are easily solved by the use of literacy.
We will find answers to help implement and advocate reforms in the future.
But, Terry, I just told you the answers.
Let me be clear. We do not expect either the recount in Ohio or our investigation to overturn the results of this election. But both are vital to protecting every American's voting rights in future elections. And the Democratic Party will never waver when it comes to upholding this sacred trust.
Federal elections deserve Federal involvement (i.e., funding and regulations) to ensure greater uniformity in the process. There needs to be national standards for these elections. If your party wants to work to that end, I'll support you. But this necrophiliac desire to gaze once again into the eyes of your dead hopes is unhealthy.
The New Google Usenet Interface Is Complete Fucking Crap Mood:
Have you had a look at the way Google is doing up the Usenet groups portal? It's fucking stupid. You need a protractor, some rabbit ears, and a small hand mirror to figure it out.
Was there a reason for them to change it? Terrible.
Fisking Bob Jensen
The notorious anti-war activist and [progressive] Robert Jensen, who moonlights as a journalism professor at my alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin, wrote a column in last Friday's local dog-trainer in which he applauds what he believes is our defeat in Iraq. Below is his column (in italics), interspersed with my fisking. Enjoy.
The United States has lost the war in Iraq, and that's a good thing.
A well-baited hook, certainly.
I don't mean that the loss of American and Iraqi lives is to be celebrated.
Because he supports the troops, see.
The death and destruction are numbingly tragic, and the suffering in Iraq is hard for most of us in the United States to comprehend.
Translation: I am better than you because I feel their pain.
The tragedy is compounded because these deaths haven't protected Americans or brought freedom to Iraqis - they have come in the quest to extend the American empire in this so-called "new American century."
I was under the impression that the Twentieth Century was America's Century. This century probably belongs to the Chinese. Then again, who knows (except clairvoyants like Jensen)?
The problem with declaring a war lost while it is still being waged or denouncing as a failure a policy that is still being implemented is that it is presumptuous. And where it isn't presumptuous, it is defeatist. And if not defeatist, it is willfully ignorant. Jensen can't know whether our military's actions in Iraq have or have not spared us other 9/11s here at home; he simply says they haven't. But who is he to say? Jihadists from all over the Muslim world have come to Iraq these past 18 months and tried their hand against our best, thus resulting in many thousands of their own deaths. Our policy of proactive strikes against Islamic terrorists has been a major success. But Jensen won't tell you that because he's got to stay on message.
So, as a U.S. citizen, I welcome the U.S. defeat, for a simple reason: It isn't the defeat of the United States - its people or their ideals - but of that empire. And it's essential the American empire be defeated and dismantled.
The question here (as there is none of Jensen's disloyalty) is what constitutes an empire. In its most conventional sense, an empire is a conquering power that permanently adds to its own possession the territory of those it vanquishes. Such lands and people become colonial possessions ---and the laws of the occupying power become their own. Colonies become subjects in every way.
But that isn't what America does. Not anymore, anyway. The way we impose ourselves upon the world is through the commerce of trade and ideas. And it is right that we do so because there is no contradicting the rightness of our example. We represent the triumph of virtually all of the most basic human and civil rights. We embody the power of self-determination, representative government, freedom of speech and religion ---all of it. Not only that, we are a remarkably generous and open society where the ideas of the free market have a liberating effect on human capital.
What other "empire" does such good?
The fact the Bush administration says we are fighting for freedom and democracy (having long ago abandoned fictions about weapons of mass destruction and terrorist ties) does not make it so.
Jensen is a liar. The connections between the Saddamites and global Islamist terror groups are extensive and unquestionable. How is it that he can persist with such a lie? It must be that he has no conscience. As for weapons of mass destruction, if this Administration can't prove that there were large stockpiles of such agents in Iraq prior to our invasion, it must also be that Jensen can't prove they weren't there. Right? Of course, denying Saddam's possession of WMD also makes it harder to explain the nicknames of some of his close associates, such as "Chemical Ali" and "Dr. Germ," but we won't quibble with that just now.
We must look at the reality, no matter how painful. The people of Iraq are better off without Saddam Hussein's despised regime,
They all concede that, don't they? Even when they don't mean it. Because the politically unpalatable alternative for anti-war tools like Jensen is to defend the legitimacy of Saddam's regime. Uh, so why don't they do that? Why doesn't Jensen just come out and say that Saddam was a legitimate ruler? It may be because he and his fellow travelers know how burdensome it would be to defend a regime like that, even if they privately support it.
but that does not prove our benevolent intentions nor guarantee the United States will work to bring meaningful democracy to Iraq.
This guy's a rectal probe. Is there any doubt of that? Jensen wouldn't dare say that our men and women aren't working to build a new Iraq to their faces.
Throughout history, our support for democracies has depended on their support for U.S. policy.
Shocking! In a related development, I hear that the President has callously decided to fill his cabinet with people who agree with him.
When democratic governments follow an independent course, they typically end up as targets of U.S. power, military or economic. Ask Venezuela's Hugo Chavez or Haiti's Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Heh, heh. Beautiful examples. Of course, our well-known economic warfare against Canada and Mexico, a couple of neighboring democracies, hasn't turned them back to the dark side of Bushitler's imperial designs, but there's time yet.
In Iraq, the Bush administration invaded not to liberate but to extend and deepen U.S. domination.
If extending and deepening our domination means that we can play some role in facilitating free and functional societies that now only produce terrorists and tyrannies, then extend away, baby!
When Bush says, "We have no territorial ambitions; we don't seek an empire," he tells a half-truth. The United States doesn't want to absorb Iraq nor take direct possession of its oil. That's not the way of empire today - it's about control over the flow of oil and oil profits, not ownership.
Jensen is, at bottom, a Marxist. In such minds, as they are, there is nothing that can't be explained entirely by the pursuit of wealth. Every other aspect of human society ---especially the bad ones--- is adjunct to that conceit.
In a world that runs on oil, the nation that controls the flow of oil has great strategic power. U.S. policymakers want leverage over the economies of its competitors - Western Europe, Japan and China - which are more dependent on Middle Eastern oil.
Keep in mind that this is an eminently justifiable position for our country to take. Would Jensen have us cede our influence to others without regard for the future growth of our own economy? What a stupid complaint! And if our only concern in the Middle East were access to oil, why didn't we just buy off Saddam and negotiate some cozy deals for all the oil we wanted? We could have lifted sanctions years ago and owned his ass outright. But we didn't do that because, as I say, there are other reasons to work towards a democratic Middle East besides just oil.
Hence the longstanding U.S. policy of support for reactionary regimes (Saudi Arabia), dictatorships (Iran under the Shah) and regional military surrogates (Israel), aimed at maintaining control.
But what is the War for Iraq also accomplishing, Bob? It is contributing to the security of Israel (an underappreciated phenomenon these days), it is engaging the Saudis in ways they never dreamed of before (sooner or later, they, too, will have to face the reality of a democratized neighborhood and the birth pangs that accompany it), and it is opening up all sorts of possibilities next door in Iran. The Iranians now have a new dynamic: the world's greatest power is just to the west of them ---and working with their old enemies to create a new society. It is just such change that this President means to effect, regardless of your Leftist whining.
The Bush administration has invested money and lives in making Iraq a platform from which the United States can project power - from permanent U.S. bases, officials hope.
Yeah? So? Did that keep the Japanese or Germans from succeeding?
That requires not the liberation of Iraq, but its subordination.
Which you were so concerned about that you spent the past two years screaming against their liberation. Can you understand that they have spent generations being subordinate?
But most Iraqis don't want to be subordinated, which is why the United States in some sense lost the war the day it invaded.
How terribly deep.
One lesson of contemporary history is that occupying armies generate resistance that, inevitably, prevails over imperial power.
Really? Have you ever heard of the Second World War? Or is that not sufficiently "contemporary"?
Most Iraqis are glad Saddam is gone, and most want the United States gone. When we admit defeat and pull out - not if, but when - the fate of Iraqis depends in part on whether the United States (1) makes good on legal and moral obligations to pay reparations, and (2) allows international institutions to aid in creating a truly sovereign Iraq.
Jensen is not to be respected. The moral obligation we have to "reparations" for Iraq depends on our commitment to seeing the job through, not in withdrawing and paying them off. And when we achieve our goal of a free and stable Iraq, it will not be because we have worked to turn over sovereignty to some goddamned joke like the United Nations. It is outrageous to see that neo-communists like Jensen, who very obviously distrust the power of America to do good (just like the loser Jean le Kerrie), still believe in the superior moral authority of world bodies such as the UN to arbitrate and legitimize nascent democracies. Where do such delusions come from? How can an educated man believe that the UN can accomplish anything without the support of the United States and our allies?
We shouldn't expect politicians to do either without pressure. An anti-empire movement - the joining of antiwar forces with the movement to reject corporate globalization - must create that pressure.
Shit, son, you couldn't even get your base out to win the last election. How do you think you're going to bring down the tide of democratization in the Middle East? How do you think you're going to stand in the way of a global economy and the rise of the middle class in countries all around the world?
Failure will add to the suffering in Iraq and more clearly mark the United States as a rogue state and an impediment to a just and peaceful world.
If we're such a bunch of Nazis, Bob, then why are you still drawing pay at a public university? Why aren't your books being burned on the South Mall? Have the Feds come into your house in the middle of the night and dragged you off in some Kafkaesque nightmare of unreason? Do fuck off.
So, I'm glad for the U.S. military defeat in Iraq, but with no joy in my heart.
Yeah, we already got the money shot in the first graf, comrade.
We should all carry a profound sense of sadness at where decisions made by U.S. policy-makers - not just the gang in power today, but a string of Republican and Democratic administrations - have left us and the Iraqis. But that sadness should not keep us from pursuing the most courageous act of citizenship in the United States today: Pledging to dismantle the American empire.
Need it be said that such tools as Jensen are only allowed to speak and live freely because of this "empire's" commitment to liberty? As a taxpayer in this state and an almunus of the university at which Jensen works, I'm concerned that my money and my school's reputation are being wasted on account of this hypocrite.
Bob, if you're so offended at the corporate power structure, why don't you quit your job with the University of Texas and take up with MoveOn.org or Media Matters or some other Leftist klavern?
This planet's resources do not belong to the United States. The century is not America's. We own neither the world nor time. And if we don't give up the quest - if we don't find our place in the world instead of on top of the world - there is little hope for a safe, sane and sustainable future.
Jensen would rather have the world live under the thumb of tyrants and terrorists. That much is plain. If he cannot recognize American exceptionalism and appreciate what we do as a liberating force for good in the world, then it's time to call him and his what they are: the enemy.
Hard to Believe
According to a Newsweekstory in their latest issue:
Seventy-nine percent of Americans believe that, as the Bible says, Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, without a human father, according to a new NEWSWEEK poll on beliefs about Jesus.
Sixty-seven percent say they believe that the entire story of Christmas--the Virgin Birth, the angelic proclamation to the shepherds, the Star of Bethlehem and the Wise Men from the East--is historically accurate. Twenty-four percent of Americans believe the story of Christmas is a theological invention written to affirm faith in Jesus Christ, the poll shows. In general, say 55 percent of those polled, every word of the Bible is literally accurate. Thirty-eight percent do not believe that about the Bible.
That is simply incredible. Four-fifths of the American people believe in the virgin birth of Jesus of Nazareth?
Ohio Isn't Florida
David Limbaugh writes about the Green and Libertarian parties' manuevers for a recount of the vote in Ohio ---with John Kerry's support:
On election night, Kerry apparently saw Ohio 2004 as a potential Florida 2000 -- a state whose electoral votes could reverse his defeat -- and so delayed conceding the election until the next day when a challenge seemed farfetched. Nevertheless, his decision to spare America the uncertainty of another protracted series of contests was wise and decent.
When the Green and Libertarian candidates sought a recount, Kerry continued in that posture, saying he wouldn't get involved. But this week, he appears to have changed his mind -- by trying to intervene in their suit to include Delaware County in the recount -- yet says he hasn't. Kerry campaign attorney Daniel Hoffheimer denied Kerry was trying to overturn the Ohio outcome, but said Kerry just wanted the recount to proceed in all counties to ensure that all votes were counted. Is that a vintage Kerry flipflop or merely sophisticated Kerry nuance that is beyond the ability of ordinary mortals to fully understand?
Just for the record, all the votes have been counted. Hoffheimer must mean he wants all the votes recounted. That seems to be the new standard for Republicans these days: They have to win twice.
You know, folks, even the traitor Michael Moore has admitted that the Republicans won fair and square. Time for certain others of you to wise up and come to the same conclusion.
A Concoction? NRO's Jim Geraghty has a nice little rant on the traitor Michael Moore's influence on the Democratic Party this past election, including this summation of Moore's belief that "there is no terrorist threat":
[...] Moore admits that more terrorist attacks are inevitable, but that his point is that the chances of any individual being killed by a terrorist is small. He audaciously points out that no Americans were killed in terrorist attacks in the United States in 2000, 2002 (Hey, how about the D.C. sniper? Or the LAX shooter?) or 2003. And that the chances of an American dying of a terrorist attack in 2001 were 1 in 100,000.
Moore is trying to mitigate the reality of Islamofascist terrorism by arguing that the number of people who have been murdered is too small for such a great nation as ours to get too exercised about it. Now, despite the utter irresponsibility of this view, let us consider our nation's reaction to the atrocities of 11 September 2001: it shut down our airspace, shut down our stock markets, gravely taxed and wounded one of the world's great cities, and dealt a serious economic blow to many important domestic industries, such as transportation and tourism. There is no question that it exacerbated the recession of that year and that there are still reverberations from that loss of confidence.
My point, obviously, is that the damage done to our society by the murderers of 11 September 2001 went well beyond those "few" thousand dead. And it was inflicted, in the immediate sense, by nothing more than four airplanes and a small group of fanatics.
Next time out, it could be several train or truckloads of fertilizer on a bridge or near a school or a mall. Five hundred dead.
It could be a couple of cropdusters loaded down with nerve agents, passing over a football stadium. Five thousand dead.
It could be a small nuclear bomb, detonated in the middle of a major city. Fifty thousand dead.
This is not a movie or a nightmare, Moore-on; we all saw what can happen with our own eyes and felt it in our own hearts on that awful day three years ago. War was made upon us by psychopaths who believe in the dominanace of Islam. It will happen again ---and not because terrorism is a tool of fear to be used against America by a class of plutocrats who want to keep us down, but because Islamofascists are determined to kill us. You think that's a concoction of the Bushitler War Machine, Inc.? Do you have the [courage], all you paranoiac Leftists, to say that Islamofascist terrorism is being used as a pretext by the minions of Halliburton and the super oil conglomerates to steal our civil rights and break us down? Do you have the nerve to say what number of innocent Americans would be an acceptable number to see murdered in the next attack?
At the root of Moore's understanding of terrorism is a diseased sort of pacifism caused by self-loathing and moral cowardice. He and people who think like him lack the courage to stand for American exceptionalism or to accept our power in the world. They would rather be perceived as tolerant, post-modern ironists too cool to be bothered with such sentiments as patriotism and idealism than to genuinely support for others what they never had to earn for themselves. Democracy for Iraq? "But they were just fine as they were!" Justice for Saddam? "But he was never a threat to us!" Blah, blah, blah.
In many ways, America is an heroic culture. It is certainly a great nation ---the greatest of our time. And it is thus that heroes and great nations require their antipodes. They seek them out to define themselves by the standards of History: what will be their contribution to the advancement of the human race? We are fortunate that, in this time, we may be at least a witness to what our President and our military can do to move the world against the tyranny of militant Islam. It is an enormous and courageous undertaking ---and we have the power to transform whole nations. Do America and her friends choose to do this out of idleness or because of some irrational desire to conquer? No. I think History will show that we have done these bold and dynamic things for the most basic reasons of all: the peace and security of our own people.
Kookology Now Playing: "Toys in the Attic" by Aerosmith
You know, when I first heard about this story, I thought it was a joke. But no:
Twenty John Kerry supporters met for their first group therapy session in South Florida Thursday, screaming epithets at President Bush as they shared their emotions with licensed mental health counselors.
The first of several free noontime therapy sessions at the American Health Association in Boca Raton was designed to treat what mental health counselors have dubbed Post Election Selection Trauma (PEST).
"If I had a cardboard cutout of President Bush, and these people wanted to throw darts at it, I would let them do it," Robert J. Gordon, AHA executive director, told the Boca News after the session. "It's no joke. People with PEST were traumatized by the election. If you even mention religion, their faces turn blister-red as they shout at Bush."
I was thrilled to see David Brooks' column criticizing "Meet the Press" for having the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jerry Falwell on, as representatives for the religious left and right, respectively. Sharpton is a "reverend" in the same sense that Col. Sanders was a military officer.
I actually had a mouthful of soda pop when I read that ---and almost didn't get it down.
Former American fugitive Marc Rich was a middleman for several of Iraq's suspect oil deals in February 2001, just one month after his pardon from President Clinton, according to oil industry shipping records obtained by ABC News.
And a U.S. criminal investigation is looking into whether Rich, as well as several other prominent oil traders, made illegal payments to Iraq in order to obtain the lucrative oil contracts.
Why did this sleazy crook get a Presidential pardon again? Oh, because his wife gave $400,000 to the Clinton Double-Wide Library fund.
CNN's been running a story the past couple days about how they feel they got lied to by the military on what they thought was the eve of the invasion of Fallujah. Turns out, the Marines' spokesman they had on camera was sending out signals to see how the nutjobs in Fallujah would react to the impression of an imminent attack.
But as Glenn Reynolds, quoting Austin Bay (no link provided), puts it:
"The thing is, when CNN gripes about the Pentagon using them, it's a pretty hollow gripe. . . . Didn't CNN dupe us, after a fashion? As I recall, Saddam let CNN keep its Baghdad bureau open in exchange for 'suppressing' or 'sugar-coating' stories that would have exposed the depravity and evil of his regime. Didn't a CNN executive admit this (though not so bluntly) in a NY Times op-ed?"
Yup. That's about as devastating a retort as you'll ever see. The Commie News Network needs to shut up and take it.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 6:03 PM CST
Post Comment |
Updated: Thursday, 2 December 2004 6:07 PM CST
Meretricious Atrocity Now Playing: "Strange Way " by Firefall
You know something? I don't care what Kristen Breitweiser thinks about anything. Did her husband's death in the atrocities of 11 September 2001 somehow endow her with the moral authority that makes her bald partisanship acceptable and immune to criticism? That's what she and her Democratic puppetmasters want from her when she gets up in front of the cameras and imparts her wisdom, but I'm not interested in that crap.
Quit using your way to the top, lady. Whatever purpose it is you think you're serving, it's already been discharged and disposed of. Now it's time to keep quiet.
One month since John Kerry didn't disgrace our country. Let us congratulate ourselves.
Believers in Nothing
John Podhoretz describes the mortal pessimism that now consumes the Bush-hating Left:
Right now, in Ukraine, we are witnessing a genuine democratic revolution against the post-Soviet status quo, with hundreds of thousands of ordinary people refusing to allow an election to be stolen by kleptocratic thugs.
And who is celebrating this spontaneous, powerful and entirely progressive uprising? The Right, and no one but the Right. The good news is being blasted out of Kiev by conservative bloggers (particularly the married couple "Tulipgirl" and "Discoshaman") and promoted by conservative bloggers stateside.
Bloggers on the Left largely greeted the uprising with skeptical distance and worry. Because the president offered his moral support to the uprising, obsessively anti-Bush commentators seem reflexively to be skeptical of it.
This democratic uprising follows by only a few months the democratic triumph in Afghanistan -- a world-historical event that seemed to disappoint the Left because it went well.
Could it be that the liberals and Leftists among us would be far more enthusiastic about these triumphs if only a Democrat were President? The very idea is revolting in its superficiality, but what else would account for the Left's resistance to the forces of democratization now at work? Do women's rights groups go out of their way to praise this President for making possible the enfranchisement of millions of Afghan women? Do civil rights advocates applaud the end of the Saddamite horrors and welcome the potential of a new and free Iraq? No. They're still too busy pulling their puds over scenes from Abu Ghraib.
To know that such people are sitting on their hands because it is a Republican President ---this Republican President--- who is bringing these things to fruition is to see the absolutely lowest sort of partisanship become the norm.
But, really, there's no need to wonder whether these same liberals and Leftists would be in favor of, say, a President Gore's nation-building because there's no reason to believe that Gore or Clinton or any other Democrat of the last 30 years or more would have seen the moral and historical imperative to act in such a way. That would be because such a Democratic President would have found a hundred different ways to defer and delay and deliberate, never daring to lead his party out of the wilderness of their contempt for the military and for the righteous causes of war. A Democratic President (of the current kind) would have chased his own tail as well as the tails of the UN and France and whoever else was in line to avoid the commitments that George W. Bush has made. That is to what such a leader would have been reduced by the moral cowardice of his own party.
The anti-war Democrats are a truly sorry and incoherent mess. They have no guiding principles but hatred and paranoia. Stand up for self-determination and civil and human rights? Not these clowns. They're too busy being better than the "Rethuglikkkans."
In Defense of Cheap
I'm picking up here on a complaint at one of my favorite Leftist blogs about Red State America and Wal-Mart shopping. The usual gripe, see, is that the mullet-wearing, mouth-breathing drones who frequent Wal-Mart are actually harming their own economic self-interests, as well as falling prey to the mass consumerism of cheap, homogenizing products.
On the latter point, I'm not going to defend what we do as a retail culture. It is truly disturbing to consider what crap our society depends on to keep people employed and/or entertained. To see how much we need fads, fashions, and gimmickry to keep this economy going is right up (or down) there on the ladder of repulsion with sausage-making and law-passing.
But, from the consumer's perspective, Wal-Mart is a great and welcome deal for working-class citizens ---and all the elitist sniffing and harrumphing to the contrary isn't going to change that. As a commenter over at The Left Coasterremarked, the fabled mom-and-pop grocery that Sam Walton supposedly ran out of every small town in America is a myth; in more cases than people might like to admit, the coming of Wal-Mart in many of these small rural communities was a long-overdue kick in the crotch to generations-old family monopolies at the local retail level. Poor choices, inflated prices, and lots of other parochial problems that big city and suburban types wouldn't know about finally had their day of reckoning. Niche or custom retailers can usually survive and should be supported whenever possible. But having just one horse in a one-horse town for your everyday needs is an invitation to abuse.
I go to Wal-Mart maybe once or twice a month. They have good prices on many items and services that I wouldn't even consider buying elsewhere. For example, I always go there to get my oil changed. They do it quickly, cheaply, and they never try to pull the Jiffy Lube stunt of rooting around under your hood looking for shit that you "really ought to have replaced." They just do what you ask them to do and leave you coming back with the knowledge that they'll do the same the next time. Good on them. Because if you screw a customer, you don't see him again. Playing it straight is how you keep people satisifed.
I don't really get the complaints about Wal-Mart. They make about as much sense as Leftists ranting about the insidious influence of the Fox News Channel (as though CNN and MSNBC are paragons of journalistic integrity). Wal-Mart might be a disaster for many small retailers and they may be a bunch of chickenshits to the local labor force, but they are a huge economic player in this society and they are a boon to the low and middle-income family who are looking for reliable goods at decent prices. Keep their feet to the fire and point it out when their influence on manufacturers, growers, and entertainers steps over the line, but recognize that they are a major employer and an important resource to small-town America. And how bad is that?
Go See The Incredibles
In an effort to use up a batch of free passes with an expiration date on them, I've seen several movies this past weekend with my family, and the best of them is The Incredibles. It's just a lot of fun and beautiful to look at. A solid plot, great characters, and lots of humor. And as a demonstration of computer animation, it is probably the most intense thing I've ever seen.
I also see The Incredibles as being a serious post-9/11 message for the American family. That's a hokey take on things, I'm sure, but there's a lot in here about individual responsibility being the basis of a healthy family life and of society as a whole. We are obligated to use our powers for the greater good. We are obligated to keep evil from prospering.
Oh, and we're not supposed to develop a crush on cartoon characters, are we? Maybe it's just Holly Hunter's voice, but Elastigirl does it for me. My eldest brother used to have a crush on Betty Rubble, so what the hell? It's not like I'm into Japanese anime porno.
But They're Not French Mood:
Via the Belmont Club, here is a list from the always-excellent GlobalSecurity.org of 28 non-US military forces helping us in Iraq. It is an impressive list of true allies and friends of Iraq ---nations that Jean le Kerrie should never have insulted as he did.
I still think we need to invite some Gurkhas over to handle these Zarqawiites. And I'll bet there's plenty who'd like some revenge for the loss they suffered a few months ago at the hands of those savages. The Gurkhas would be fucking them up.
A Really Useful Idiot. No, Really.
This here is a useful article from Peter Dreier in Dissent magazine in which the professor explains, by the numbers, all the nuts and bolts of the 2004 Election and what liberals ---I mean "progressives"--- can do to gear up for the next time out.
Naturally, Dreier (who, equally naturally, is a director of the Urban and Environmental Policy program at Occidental College) is a pure spring of Leftist misinformation and the usual low-grade paranoia of the electorally unfortunate, but this is still a useful article. Maybe all the more because one can see how seamlessly the [progressive] community's mistaken beliefs have been internalized in their rhetoric. For example (pour example for my Democratic friends):
[...] the assault on Kerry's military record in VietNam, and his later anti-war activities, started with the right-wing news outlets, repeating the accusations of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT) and similar groups close to the Bush campaign. Although the SBVT only spent about $500,000 to broadcast its TV ad attacking Kerry's war record, it received tens of millions of dollars in free publicity, first in the right-wing media and then in the mainstream media. This "echo chamber" effect helped cast doubt about Kerry despite the fact that in-depth stories in several papers challenged the credibility of the SBVT's allegations. This allowed SBVT to dominate the news, turning Kerry's war record into a liability rather than an advantage.
What part of this narrative is not slathered in crap? It was John Kerry's stories ---and not the Swift Boat Veterans'--- that were proven false. Christmas in Cambodia? Running CIA agents up the river? The circumstances of Kerry's Bronze Star? The first Purple Heart? John Kerry got taken to school on all of this stuff and personally copped to none of it. Dreier is simply lying or delusional if he thinks it's the Swifties who have the credibility problem.
But Dreier goes on:
For example, the New York Times' expose of the close ties between the Bush campaign and SBVT, and the widespread distortions in the SBVT attacks on Kerry, did little to repair the damage already done to the Kerry campaign. For one thing, the mainstream media outside the two coasts did not report the Times' expose. It did not "echo" through the radio talk show circuit. Liberals have no counterweight to the close-knit right-wing web of think tanks, talk shows, and columnists.
As I say, this guy is really interesting. I mean, you don't think it's possible that someone can believe such things until you see them presented in what is, in many other respects, a rational essay. For Dreier, there is the "right-wing media" and the "mainstream media." What would he even recognize a left-wing media?
Elsewhere, Dreier seems to make the point that the Democrats' loss was not for want of the proper message, but for the proper messenger. I suspect that this sentiment will become even more prevalent among the party faithful with the passage of time. How many Democrats today, for instance, have any problem dismissing someone like Michael Dukakis as a terrible nominee? What is there about John Kerry that would preclude the same fate? Nothing at all.