Archive for the ‘Bush Derangement Syndrome’ Category

Olbermann Summarizes Eight Years of Bush in Eight Minutes

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Six months from now, it’ll be just like a bunch of tapioca pudding haters getting together to launch endless rants about how much they hate tapioca.

Final News Conference

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

I found The Chosen One’s comments about “the lack of clarity” to be ironic. Not just a little bit.

I disagree with the current President’s position on the bailout, to a degree I can only describe as “visceral.” But you have to admire people who have that Howard Roark thing going on. Not so much “the hell with what people think,” for to support that, you have to play to the crowd — can’t go against the popular opinion if you don’t take the time and trouble to find out what it is.

No, the determination to just plow on past the trailhead, because you’re already doing something, knowing that down that way lies a vast bunny-trail and it’s best not to take the first step down it. Really, this is why people despise him so much. It’s the Ellsworth Tooheys of the world that despise the Howard Roarks in a way nobody despises anybody else, anywhere.

When your position in the world is to mold and shape popular opinion, and fool vast multitudes of suckers into thinking these thoughts were originally theirs, it’s quite a kick in the nuts, I imagine, to see someone with real authority come along who doesn’t care too much about any of it. I suppose it might even feel like something of a fuck-you. It isn’t that, of course, but I think it certainly must feel that way if you have become accustomed to something else.

And so we’re told to despise George W. Bush, because he’s a “war criminal.”

Also because he goes to his ranch house in Texas and clears brush. Clearing brush is just as bad as being a war criminal.

We’re told these thoughts are our own, even though vast sums of money were spent to get ‘em planted in our heads.

And millions upon millions of us fall for it. They’re told what to think, they think it, and they go out and brag about what independent thinkers they are. It is exactly the kind of stuff that is melted away by history, and by not too much of it passing by. Like pissing on a snowman. And so, on the long-term vision of W’s legacy, our thoughts are already on record.

Update: Fred Barnes, on ten things the President got right. Not to be missed. So don’t miss it.

Update: Also, Sean Hannity’s interview. C’mon, you’ve certainly heard the other side of the story, often enough.

Man Gives up Daughter for BDS

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Or, to be more precise about it, to advertise the fact that he has a case of it…

Is there anybody, anywhere, who hates George W. Bush quietly?

An Egyptian man said on Wednesday he was offering his 20-year-old daughter in marriage to Iraqi journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi, who threw his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush in Baghdad on Sunday,

The daughter, Amal Saad Gumaa, said she agreed with the idea. “This is something that would honor me. I would like to live in Iraq, especially if I were attached to this hero,” she told Reuters by telephone.

Her father, Saad Gumaa, said he had called Dergham, Zaidi’s brother, to tell him of the offer. “I find nothing more valuable than my daughter to offer to him, and I am prepared to provide her with everything needed for marriage,” he added.

Everybody hates George W. Bush. They don’t all agree on the reasons why, I’ve noticed. Seriously. There are a lot of people who hate him, but they don’t all say Iraq is the cause. Some say it’s his smirk and his swagger. Some say it’s his pro-life position. Some talk about vacations at his ranch, clearing away brush. Although, remarkably, there never seems to be any dispute about what exactly his offense is, no passion at all in defining it…only in articulating that he has committed one.

I found the last six words of one of the closing paragraphs telling…

Zaidi’s gesture has struck a chord across the Arab world, where President Bush is widely despised for invading Iraq in 2003 and for his support for Israel. [emphasis mine]

Zowee.

Just imagine, for a moment, if there was widespread resentment against incoming left-winger liberal Presidential Messiah Figure Barack Holy Obama…and this resentment could be linked, however tangentially, to passions antisemitic in nature. How much would we hear about that?

Well, don’t imagine. Such resentments are there, and they’re already linked tangentially to feelings of white supremacy. We don’t need to wonder how much we’d hear about it. We know. The difference is, criticism against His Holiness The Annointed One, Higher Being Lightworker Obama, is never legitimized in the international press. Even when it’s benign, when it’s simple common sense, like “Der, you know, maybe the bandwagon Obama movement can wait until He tells us what exactly He intends to do about issue xxx once He is sworn into office.”

Conversely, this delusional fellow seems to be ready to give away his daughter for the sake of reaching out to other folks in the arab world who hate jews, and saying to them, “Here I am, I’m just like you.” That’s the way it works within America’s borders, by the way. If you hate Bush, you have to say so, the louder the better, so you can find others who hate him just like you do.

If Bush hatred was truly universal this wouldn’t be necessary. Everyone with a working mind hates, for example, being hungry. That is universal. There’s no need to say you hate being hungry. We take it for granted. So no one feels a need to advertise this, because there’s no fellowship to be built.

At the other extreme end of the spectrum, we would have…the desire to restore the Nazi movement? I’m told there are some skinhead kooks out there somewhere. Clearly, according to our modern sensibilities, they’re out of the mainstream. And so I imagine if you had these kinds of feelings, you would “advertise” them but as carefully and selectively as you can, and once you were fortunate enough to find someone of like mind, you would cherish their companionship. Because most people aren’t like you two.

This is why the effort to legitimize Bush hatred, as if it’s something mainstream, by advertising it at every possible opportunity, strikes me as particularly ludicrous. Me, I personally loathe lots of things. I loathe #34 on this list here with a passion. I have no desire to find other people who hate it as well, nor to make sure others know how much I hate it, nor do I care how many other people share my loathing of it. It’s something that inspires neither pride nor shame; it simply is.

I’m not at all surprised to find hatred of Israel is linked to hatred of George W. Bush. The advertising, the passionate search for others of like mind, gives this away. This bumptious pride that is revealed, once the layers are peeled away, to be nothing but shame. This is an anger people know, deep down, that they should not have, even across countries and religions. It is a hatred of other people not for what they have done, but for what they are. It’s just like the hatred of the modern skinheads, giving their secret signals to each other, trying to link up so they can keep on hating. Irrationally. Since the thought comes too quickly, to someone in solitude, that perhaps this isn’t a good hatred to have. It’s a heavy, cumbersome, awkward burden that requires many hands to lift — because it makes little or no sense, and those who have it, know it.

Bush Suddenly Not That Bad?

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Like father, like son. Now that we’re finished with him, his popularity rating starts to trickle up.

What, after we find a suitable replacement he’s not a war criminal anymore?

I’m almost tempted to think it’s the millions upon millions of dollars spent to make people hate him, that are no longer being spent. I would think that — but that would mean people don’t necessarily think for themselves. And they keep telling me they do.

Bush Belongs in Prison

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Moonbats unhinged.

An Ignorant Conversation

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Becky says this is a thoroughly ignorant conversation…

…and on that statement, she gets an approving nod outta me.

In fact, what the GOP campaign managers really should do, is sit down in front of this one clip and see how many chinks in the left-wing armor they can find. These “gentlemen” are not just speaking for themselves.

My favorite? The thing at the beginning is tempting — it’s cute when liberals believe in God so selectively, as in “proof there is a god,” small-g, and then tacking on afterward as an afterthought, oh yeah, right, hope nobody gets hurt — but my mind wanders closer to the end. There’s a contradiction between choosing a woman as a running mate, and chuckling in tacit approval when Hillary is called a bitch? There’s hypocrisy there? How so? Where lies the logical contradiction in proffering the notion, presuming McCain did so proffer (which he didn’t), that Hillary’s more of a bitch than Sarah Palin?

I’m tempted to defend the notion just to make a show of how big a heap of evidence there is to legitimize it; but of course, in so doing, I’d be legitimizing the attack.

Instead, I’m inspired to think of an occasion yesterday in which I was called out by a leftward-leaning gentleman in Canada, for another one of my crass generalizations: “Liberals are sexists.” The usual retort — I know of more than a few liberals that aren’t. He does have a point, since it’s always an invitation to re-think when individual attributes are ascribed to aggregate entities.

But can it not be denied, that there is something to the liberal mindset that treats men and women differently? With men, I get to pick and choose where to fling my criticism, with surgical precision, and our liberals won’t utter a peep of protest so long as I don’t say anything nasty about liberals. That guy is a jerk; this guy over here is an asshole; that other guy over there is a slob. Liberalism, being the modern embodiment of all breezy, casual, weak and lazy thinking, sees all of womanhood as part of a common unicellular construct — and so by implication McCain called Sarah Palin a bitch when he chuckled along with someone else calling Hillary one.

Future generations of younglings will wonder why, in our day & age, there was something wrong with calling certain women “bitches” after they had labored for so long and hard to be thought of that way. I’m not talking about children-of-children-yet-unborn, or anything. I think the children asking that question at some future point, are already breathing and suckling and filling diapers right now.

And among the “ladies” who have renounced any right or privilege of indignantly demanding “how DARE you call me a bitch??” by laboring long and hard to be thought of in exactly that way…Hillary Rodham Clinton ranks sky high. It is her political identity. It is her schtick. It is what she brings to the table in politics. It has been her persona since Gennifer Flowers’ face was on the tabloids. In sixteen years, she really hasn’t had too much else to say about things or too much else to demonstrate to us about herself.

And don’t even ask which one, between Clinton and Palin, I’d prefer to hear talking about something for a couple hours at a time. The former First Lady makes my head hurt. Whoever’s been coaching her that she should talk like that all the time is probably responsible for saving the country.

Thing I Know #58. To insult a man says nothing about other men, but for some reason, anything said against one woman is perceived to be said against everything female who ever lived.

Update: Cassy has an excellent roundup at Right Wing News as well as at her own site, of some more leftist idjits jumping on this “wonderful that Gustav hits when it does” bandwagon. Including this.

And others.

It would appear a talking point got faxed out from some central location.

She offers a hat tip to Michelle, who adds,

God is not on your side, gloating sleazeballs.

And you should just see how, over the years, I’ve seen people work their cackles up when I dare to suggest that perhaps when liberal politicians measure their own policies in terms of how those policies would “help the least among us,” they’re setting themselves up to have a stake in more people falling into the demographic of those “least” — miserable…dependent…perhaps even endangered, or terminally sick. Supposedly “non-partisan” people just fly off the handle at the suggestion. How dare I imply that politicians and journalists might actually want people to suffer?

I’m pointin’ on up to the video clip…and I’m a-restin’ my case.

Newspapers Run Out of Anti-Bush Headlines

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

Now, here is some good satire. The Peoples’ Cube, via Gerard.

“There are only so many words one can string together while remaining impartial and objective – even if it’s such a fertile topic as our dumb and evil dictator President who is bent on bombing caribou herds back into the Stone Age in Alaska,” says Susan Stein, editor of The Village Voice, a mainstream New York newspaper. “Our paper is getting thinner with every issue. We are now considering running blank pages; we call it a “fill in the blanks” approach. Our readers are extremely educated and knowledgeable; they’ll get the point anyway.”

See how that works? You do not have to be of a certain mindset to get it; you do not have to have certain pre-formed prejudices in order to understand how it emulates reality, and once it does, how it is ridiculous and absurd. It was not created for the purpose of injecting absurdity into where it did not previously exist — it simply points out that the absurdity is there.

It visits itself upon what was strange, surreal, and weird — but subtle. It changes the degree of subtlety without changing the degree of strangeness, surreality or weirdness. As to whether the subject matter was strange or surreal or weird it allows the reader to come to his or her own conclusions…but only after backing the reader into a corner about it. That is good satire. It is not schmatire.

So, a sympathetic sorry-’bout-that to Mr. Pitts, and better luck next time to Ms. Churchwell. Nice try, folks. Satire is not that tricky. You just have to show some cleverness. Find a way to point out what makes sense in things that really do make sense, and point out what’s laughable in things that really are laughable.

Sure you can pump out some stuff designed to switch those two around.

But that’s called “propaganda,” not satire. There’s a difference.

Incurious

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

This is a look in the rear view mirror. Regarding the post previous, I tripped across a good editorial from 2006 by Jay Ambrose, which notes the lack of curiosity among those who tell us these interesting stories about President Bush’s…drum roll, please…lack of curiosity.

I’ve lost track of the linky navigation but it’s probably something you could re-enact without half trying. I think it when Anchoress, to The Captain, back to the Anchoress again, then out to Mr. Ambrose. Anyway, it’s wonderfully written, supported by facts where it needs to be, and makes a devastating point or two, smacking down on things that have been smacked before but not nearly enough.

The truth is that many of the critics who keep telling us that Bush is incurious are themselves incurious, loath to put their favorite asininities at risk through the exercise of open-minded, honest inquiry. Jonathan Chait of The New Republic argued prior to the list’s release that Bush was too dumb to be president, citing among other things the president’s supposed “disdain for book learnin’.” Had Chait been more inquiring himself _ is he too dumb to write for The New Republic? _ he might have learned that Bush has a thing for books. It was easier to rest his case on some meaningless impressions, sloppy analysis and one-sided evidence.

Once the story was out, Maureen Dowd of The New York Times reacted specifically to the news that Bush had read Albert Camus’ “The Stranger” _ and did so in typical dowdy fashion, shabbily getting in a line wondering if Mad magazine was “tucked inside the … classic of angst,” and telling us how absurd it was that the president would be reading the philosopher of the absurd. Not really. Camus _ who respected the moral possibilities of religious belief though not a believer _ was forever struggling with how you find meaning in the world. In an era in which so many are engaged in such a struggle, it makes sense for a serious president to ponder this novel.

Two years later, the pattern continues…hating Bush is a religion that brooks no heresy or apostasy.

The Phony “Bush Lied” Line

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Anchoress

What a long, strange trip it’s been, and here, some years later, we finally get someone in the press to tell it straight: Bush did not lie.

That someone is Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post, who writes…

Search the Internet for “Bush Lied” products, and you will find sites that offer more than a thousand designs. The basic “Bush Lied, People Died” bumper sticker is only the beginning.

Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, set out to provide the official foundation for what has become not only a thriving business but, more important, an article of faith among millions of Americans. And in releasing a committee report Thursday, he claimed to have accomplished his mission, though he did not use the L-word.

“In making the case for war, the administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when it was unsubstantiated, contradicted or even nonexistent,” he said.

But dive into Rockefeller’s report, in search of where exactly President Bush lied about what his intelligence agencies were telling him about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, and you may be surprised by what you find.

On Iraq’s nuclear weapons program? The president’s statements “were generally substantiated by intelligence community estimates.”

On biological weapons, production capability and those infamous mobile laboratories? The president’s statements “were substantiated by intelligence information.”

On chemical weapons, then? “Substantiated by intelligence information.”
:
In the report’s final section, the committee takes issue with Bush’s statements about Saddam Hussein’s intentions and what the future might have held. But was that really a question of misrepresenting intelligence, or was it a question of judgment that politicians are expected to make?

I’ll get to that in a second. But first let’s zoom in on what inspired Anchoress to say “Pinch me, I’m dreaming. Say it with me.”

But the phony “Bush lied” story line distracts from the biggest prewar failure: the fact that so much of the intelligence upon which Bush and Rockefeller and everyone else relied turned out to be tragically, catastrophically wrong.

Yes, how far we’ve come. If you could go back to 1991, nobody there would believe you when you told them we had a new President, who took down Saddam Hussein and got a litany of crap for doing it, weapons-o-mass-destruction or no. And, if you could go back to 2004 and tell ‘em our mainstream press used the phrase “phony ‘Bush lied’ story line,” that wouldn’t be believed either.

Hell. That much wouldn’t have been believed last year. It’s kind of a bombshell now.

Fred Hiatt continues:

And it trivializes a double dilemma that President Bill Clinton faced before Bush and that President Obama or McCain may well face after: when to act on a threat in the inevitable absence of perfect intelligence and how to mobilize popular support for such action, if deemed essential for national security, in a democracy that will always, and rightly, be reluctant.

See, this is what I think people are missing. We haven’t put too much thought into why, really, it comes so easily to people to accept that “Bush lied.” There are the defects in integrity and character that wedge them into absurd anti-war dogma, in extreme situations wherein perhaps, as Phil says, “sometimes war IS the answer.” People can go through things, and some of these things make it look like a good idea to oppose war, unconditionally, all the time, and forever. One of those things is — war. Veterans can go through combat, and come away thinking war is so awful, that there must be a better way — always. Understandable, I suppose. But that’s feeling, not thinking. Engaging in it at such a critical decision-juncture is, simply, a mistake. Other people want to look good…and have secrets and other inner demons that persuade them toward the idea that they won’t look that way, until they do something grandiose, costless and perpetual. Like engage in silly war protests. Maybe it’s to convince those around them that they’re good people when they themselves know otherwise…form your own opinion about that.

Other folks engage in the twenty-seventh item among the things I know about people, minus what I was told when a child:

27. People who make a conscious decision not to offer help or defense to someone who needs it, don’t want anyone else to help or defend that person either.

Apart from all that, of course, the timeless cliche is still true: War protests are great places to meet chicks.

These are all reasons why people become stridently anti-war; it isn’t all about being pacifist and cuddly and sweet. But there are less personal reasons. Reasons that have to do with money and not character defects.

The United States is a superpower. Those other countries out there, be they belligerent or no, have their own economies; and all economies thrive in certainty and wither in uncertainty. Our weapons are under lock and key, but our political resolve to use them is not. We can be de-fanged, easily, with our arsenal remaining completely intact.

So Hiatt has hit on the agenda behind the “Phony ‘Bush lied’ line” in which we’ve been buried for these last five or six years, without trying to, perhaps without realizing it. What is a sign-off item of concern to him, has been the primary sense of purpose to others from the very beginning. It is to escalate the political cost paid by future Presidents, now and forevermore, for even thinking about engaging in military aggression. Even for the most entirely valid, sustainable, defensive and non-preemptive reasons.

Being the “big guys,” we are not to do it. We are not to even think about it.

Is the artificial aggravation of such political exigencies…treason? Well, I wonder what the Founding Fathers would have to say about it. Reading over the founding documents, including the Federalist papers (starting with 2 through 5, but there are others), Washington’s Farewell Address, and the Constitution itself, you can’t help but pick up on the concerns they had about anything — anything — discouraging the executive from showing well-placed hostility at the right time and place, so long as it served the national defense. Apparently, they were big fans of Phil.

Those who mold, shape, and direct the anti-war movement draw on anti-war passions; that does not mean they are guided by those passions. They are guided by strategy. They have reasons for gelding America into such a grotesque national and international political status that she never fights, no matter what.

Until all contemplations of war by our legislature, and our executive, look like this…

In this chapter with Iraq, the objective has been to scandalize the preemptive strike.

If that’s been successful, the new doctrine in place is that we can’t raise a hand against the other guy, until we’ve courteously allowed him to get his licks in. I’m sure that looks noble to some, but that doesn’t mean that it is. And it certainly doesn’t serve our nation’s interests.

In fact, it gets us most of the way there, to the “don’t fight ever, no matter what” doctrine. About eighty or ninety percent, give-or-take.

Well, we know now, it wasn’t based on truth, and for the most part wasn’t even based on an attempt to be honest. I wonder if it’s succeeded. Time will tell.

How to Make a Citizen’s Arrest of a War Criminal

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Who’s a bigger bunch of dumbasses…these folks at DU

Form a team. We need teams in California, Texas, New York, and Washington, D.C., among other places. Your mission is to locate a war criminal from the list above in a public place, detain them, handcuff them, phone the police, read the criminal their rights and the charges against them, ask them if they have anything to say in response, videotape the arrest and post it online. Your team should include one or more people who can produce an excellent video and be extremely fast in editing and posting it online. Your team should include people capable of physically detaining your war criminal. Your team should ideally include a lawyer. And, of course, people who can read the charges and question the suspect. Everyone on your team should be able to keep a secret while you’re planning your arrest.

…or the famous couple depicted in this film clip linked by commenter Heather, at Rachel Lucas’ blog

Think they’re serious?

Gawd…I hope so.

Update 6/6/08: I desperately want to know how those teams are coming along; but I can only send e-mail to “davidswanson” by registering with DU, and registration with DU is supposed to meet the following terms:

Members are expected to be generally supportive of progressive ideals, and to support Democratic candidates for political office.

I’m going to go ahead and respect that. I do not meet this criteria.

Some of the nobodies who don’t come by to not read The Blog That Nobody Reads, might in fact meet it. Some of you might even be registered. I kinda doubt it…the nobodies tend to be the tolerant, thoughtful type…but who knows.

Someone please drop him a line. It’s clear they want to keep the details in the vest pocket to preserve that…heh…all-important element of surprise. We just want to know how the teams are doing. So that we Bush apologists can be properly cowed and intimidated.

Someone? Pretty please?

Update: Oh. Duh. I see it. david@davidswanson.org of convictbushcheney.org. Step 6, it says it nice and clear.

The request stands; I got a feeling a request from a DU member would hold more water.

We’ll have to keep abreast of this one…

The Three Points

Monday, May 12th, 2008

From I Love Jet Noise

During WWII, the Japanese were searching for a way to demoralize the American forces that they faced. The Japanese psychological warfare experts came up with a message that they thought would work well. They gave the script to their famous broadcaster “Tokyo Rose” and everyday she would broadcast this same message packaged in various ways hoping to have an impact on American GI morale. What was the message? It had three main points:

1. Your President is lying to you.

2. This war is wrong and illegal.

3. You cannot win the war.

Sound familiar? Maybe it’s because the U.S. mainstream media and the Democrat Party has picked up the same message and is broadcasting it to our troops. The only difference is that they claim to support our troops before they demoralize them.

Yes, it does sound familiar.

Barracks

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

Duffy notices our anti-war leftists have adopted a habit of couching their war protest behind some supposed “concern for the safety and well being of our troops.” And so it is with some bemused and frustrated curiosity on his part, and mine as well, that he links to the following clip:

Reactions from the Olbycrowd? Time will tell. If it was a betting pool I’d be putting my money on the square that says “RIGHT, and this is just further evidence of the corruption of BushHalliCheneyBurtonBlackWater blah blah blah…”

Just because I’ve seen that pattern hold up so well. Nobody who has anything whatsoever to do with these operations can ever actually be helped as long as the current President has the eighteenth letter after his name. Nothing can be done…ever…about anything…except a lot of complaining, and that name “Bush” always has to be stuck in there somewhere. That’s all they’ve done. About anything.

But I have an open mind. Let’s see what they do.

I just find it really amazing. If you’re out here, by which I mean you’re a civilian…good heavens. Lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle. Even if we dispense all the stuff for which people pay out of pocket and look only at the things to which they are “entitled.” Labels with big bold letters about MSG in their food, more labels about this-and-that may have been chopped up with machines that might’ve touched peanut products. Braille on the touch-keys of the drive-through ATM. Wheelchair ramps freakin’ everywhere. DO NOT USE THIS HAIRDRYER UNDER RUNNING WATER.

And then, on the other side of that green line, these guys are crapping on toilet seats that are half gone, and sharing their living quarters with big patches of mold. Hello?

Memo For File LVI

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

This week President Bush said something interesting about the democrats who are resisting an extension to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

“I suspect they see a financial gravy train,” Bush said, referring to lawyers pursuing class-action lawsuits against telephone companies who have turned over information to the government.

One indicator that he might be right about that, is that this isn’t the first time we’ve been arguing about this electronic surveillance. The most recent big ol’ melee occurred in early 2006 when former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez went up to the hill to testify about it, at which time the Old Gray Lady summarized things in that cool, clear-headed, balanced way she has

Spying on Ordinary Americans
Published: January 18, 2006

In times of extreme fear, American leaders have sometimes scrapped civil liberties in the name of civil protection. It’s only later that the country can see that the choice was a false one and that citizens’ rights were sacrificed to carry out extreme measures that were at best useless and at worst counterproductive. There are enough examples of this in American history – the Alien and Sedition Acts and the World War II internment camps both come to mind – that the lesson should be woven into the nation’s fabric. But it’s hard to think of a more graphic example than President Bush’s secret program of spying on Americans.

I like that headline the best.

Point is, I find it strange that the civil-protection battleground has been left untrampled in this issue until the second month of 2008. That just reeks of quid pro quo, doesn’t it? Okay Mister President, we’ll help you gut the “civil liberties” of “ordinary Americans” like a big bloated fish, just pay us back by opening a hunting season for our friends the trial lawyers.

Because you know what world we democrats live in, Mister President. You know litigation is the one industry we adore. You know these are the “corporations” that, in our world, aren’t “greedy.”

But maybe I’m reading something into it. Maybe there’s a good reason why, in 2006, spying on a cell phone conversation was just-plain-wrong, don’t-do-it, If We Let This Happen The Terrorists Have Already Won — and in 2008 it has nothing to do with principle, instead it’s all about tral lawyers collecting pelts. Maybe there’s a perfectly legitimate explanation.

Or maybe not

As Congress debates giving immunity to phone companies that assisted the government in tracking terrorist communications, trial lawyers prosecuting those phone companies have poured money into the coffers of Democratic senators, representatives and causes.

Court records and campaign contribution data reveal that 66 trial lawyers representing plaintiffs in lawsuits against these phone companies donated at least $1.5 million to Democrats, including 44 current Democratic senators.

All of the trial lawyers combined only contributed $4,250 to Republicans in comparison. Those contributions were made to: Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.), Rep. Tom Davis (Va.), Sen. Lindsay Graham (S.C.), Sen. Mel Martinez, and Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.).

One maxed-out lawyer donor, Matthew Bergman of Vashon, Washington, has given more than $400,000 in his name to Democrats. In the 2008 cycle alone he donated $78,300 to various campaigns.

Bergman’s law firm’s website says he also specializes in “identifying viable asbestos defendants, locating evidence and developing legal theories to hold offending companies accountable.” In 2004, his firm split a $4.3 billion payout from Halliburton with seven other law firms. $30 million of that was delivered to their firm’s asbestos victim clients.

I think it’s high time we had a serious debating or reckoning about what exactly an “Ordinary American” is. If I’m born in Pakistan to a Jordanian father and a Palestinian mother, grow up in Saudi Arabia, get recruited by Al Qaeda, work my way up in the structure to the point where Osama bin Laden trusts me to do some plotting with other terrorist officers over a cell phone which, while I’m using it in Syria, sends some signals over a network where American telecommunications interests could reveal a record of my calls to the CIA — maybe not getting sued for it — um…does that make me an “Ordinary American” even though I’ve never personally been to America?

It sounds like that should be off-topic from what the squabbling is about. But I don’t see anyone stepping up and saying that.

It seems what they want me to think, is that my civil liberties are in peril. Because Sprint (my carrier) might clue someone in on my text messages and my phone calls. If this is done, I’m told, life will become dreary and gray just like in that 1984 commercial before the girl throws the hammer into the movie screen.

That argument has one glaring problem that is terminal to it. Like all other non-stupid people, I don’t see the cell phone that way. I see it as a public venue. When I send a text message, I see it as a wad of bytes meandering toward someone who is familiar by way of a gazillion and one complete strangers who are not.

Nobody with a reputation worth defending has told me a cell phone call or a text message is equivalent to a face-to-face sitdown in a soundproof, empty room. Not one single time. And so when my sweetie and I are both working our asses off and I need to schedule a “date” by a text message, I get coy. I hint at things. I imply. I wink. And if it’s the day after and the date went extremely well, I save it until I get home. I don’t do pillow talk by way of text message.

For these reasons, I’m resistant to the people who are legitimately concerned about Verizon or Cingular releasing their records to the CIA. Yes, I do think they have something to hide. And as far as the people who are just worked up into a lather about the Government spying on their “private” conversations, I don’t think they’re “ordinary” either.

I think they lack common sense.

Because a genuinely “private” conversation doesn’t belong there.

A Bush Scandal…Collapses Under Its Own Weight

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Remember that bridge that fell apart because George Bush wasn’t providing enough funding to the infrastructure?

Yeah that’s okay…you probably didn’t have much faith in it in the first place did you.

Investigators said that the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis, which collapsed into the Mississippi River on Aug. 1, killing 13, came down because of a flaw in its design.

The designers had specified a metal plate that was too thin to serve as a junction of several girders, investigators say.

The bridge was designed in the 1960s and lasted 40 years. But like most other bridges, it gradually gained weight during that period, as workers installed concrete structures to separate eastbound and westbound lanes and made other changes, adding strain to the weak spot. At the time of the collapse, crews had brought tons of equipment and material onto the deck for a repair job.

The National Transportation Safety Board was to hold a news conference Tuesday to discuss its investigation.

The information released will be important to highway departments across the northern United States, which are planning their warm-weather inspection and repair programs. Usually they inspect for corrosion and age-related cracking, but that was not the problem in the Minneapolis collapse, investigators now say.

Flashback to five months ago

On Friday’s Countdown, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann charged that the “endless war and endless spending” had “crippled our ability to repair or just check our infrastructure,” as he hosted Air America’s Rachel Maddow in a discussion blaming the Minneapolis bridge collapse on Iraq war spending and unwillingness by conservatives to raise taxes. Olbermann quoted Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar’s charge of “messed up priorities” and New York Democratic Congresswoman Louise Slaughter’s labeling of bridge collapse victims as “almost victims of war” because “perpetual war depletes the funds available to maintain our infrastructure.” Maddow charged that America is “paying this incredible deadly price for a brand of American conservatism that hates and demeans government.”

Wow, Keith. It’s a good thing you don’t “courageously speak truth to power,” as the saying goes, even more often. Because then you might really be making an ass out of yourself.

The Great Intelligence Scam

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

In what may very well be the most important story all week…and I really hope it isn’t…the National Intelligence Estimate has concluded that Iran is a big harmless fuzzy teddy bear. And a decent weighing of the available evidence yields the conclusion the NIE may be basing this on very little.

Yesterday’s big story was the Intelligence Community’s “Estimate,” according to which Iran unilaterally and secretly suspended its covert nuclear weapons program back in 2003, and hasn’t resumed it to date. We don’t know the sources and methods that underly this analysis, and it may well be that we have acquired some totally convincing evidence that justifies the astonishing conclusions of the IC’s assessment. But the “Estimate” itself is internally unconvincing–different agencies, notably the National Intelligence Council and the Department of Energy, are not convinced we have the full picture, and argue that we may not know whether the “halt” on which the IC hangs its analytical hat applies to Iran’s “entire nuclear weapons program.”

In other words, we seem to know that something was halted, but we don’t know if that’s the whole story. In Rumsfeld’s famous words, we don’t know what we don’t know.

A couple years ago, The Left started to stir up a public relations assault on the Bush administration, since the administration took action against Iraq and the discoveries of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) over there were disappointing to some. This public relations assault has only recently begun to subside. The response by defenders of the administration, has been that intelligence is an inexact science, dealing very little with what is known and dealing much more with what is supposed. Tellingly, The Left never cooked up a witty rejoinder to that one — because there is no witty rejoinder available, or because they perceived the payoff to be underwhelming.

Intelligence supposed there was somethin’ when there was nuthin’. Intelligence has been characterized as inexact, and this characterization has gone undisputed, in an America as divided as ever, an America that likes to argue about freakin’ everything. Also uncontested, is the assertion that if intelligence supposes there is nuthin’ when there is somethin’, the results would be catastrophic. And now this “perhaps better than random chance” intelligence is telling us there is nuthin’.

Maybe this conclusion is well-researched, maybe it isn’t. It does not appear to have been well-researched…

Huh. How concerned should we be?

The Insanity of Bush Hatred

Monday, November 19th, 2007

Last week blogger pal Phil sent me an offline with a link to a new editorial in the Wall Street Journal. It was written by Peter Berkowitz, a college professor now serving on Rudy Giulliani’s campaign and it had some interesting observations and conclusions about Bush Derangement Syndrome, or BDS:

Hating the president is almost as old as the republic itself….Bush hatred, however, is distinguished by the pride intellectuals have taken in their hatred, openly endorsing it as a virtue and enthusiastically proclaiming that their hatred is not only a rational response to the president and his administration but a mark of good moral hygiene.

My reply to this was something to the effect that if you really want to see some Bush hatred, start a link on this story over on FARK. So I set out to prove it. Of course, the results were just as satisfying in retrospect as they were predictable in prospect (since the link was not greenlit, you need TOTALFARK access to view it — well worth the money overall, but if all you want to do is see this then I wouldn’t recommend it).

One of my litmus tests for what Professor Berkowitz has been talking about, is the substitution of caustic wit for even-handed analysis — BDS has convinced many an otherwise reasoned intellect that no matter how complicated a subject, if it can only be connected somehow to George W. Bush then a biting snarky bumper-sticker-sized one-liner will sum up everything about it, leaving no worthy detail unmentioned. To help demonstrate that I worded the headline as Hating President Bush might inflict damage on your intellect. If you’re ready to type in a snappy comeback, it probably already has.

I was hoping to snag some haughty directions from some of the dedicated leftists, of the “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” variety. To my surprise, the dedicated left-wingers skipped right past that and busied themselves with proving the point, with snarkisms such as “What’s wrong with hating him simply because he’s a stupid asshole?” But you know, FARK is always good for giving you additional perspective on something. And it wasn’t long before user VictoryCabal tossed up a “rebuttal” by…drum roll please…Glenn Greenwald.

Okay, well this was interesting. Glenn Greenwald is pretty much the opposite of what I was talking about — you can’t get too much more distant from a one-liner bumper sticker slogan than Greenwald. He’s earned a reputation for grinding out monster treatises, that make my own ravings look like knock-knock jokes by comparison…no mean feat, that. But at least when you’ve finished a Greenwald piece, you know pretty much everything about a given subject that you’ll ever want to know.

Ah…actually, that last statement was a bit of humor. It’s not really true. It would probably be more accurate to say when you’ve read a Greenwald piece, you’ll see Mr. Greenwald’s intended thesis supported by cherry-picked evidence in every way that thesis can conceivably be supported…which is in itself a tragedy, because the core thesis to a Greenwald column is invariably something Greenwald himself would not confess. The thesis is always something ridiculous.

In this case, if stated, it would read something like this: “I intend to demonstrate that the Wall Street Journal is something you should not be reading if you’re a good liberal like me, and that since this editorial came from the Wall Street Journal, you should not be reading it unless you’re ready for me to call you a bad person for having read it.” Or…something like that. I read this Greenwald “rebuttal” top to bottom, and believe me, it attempts to prove or support absolutely nothing outside of that narrow scope.

The logic used by Mr. Greenwald is rather embarrassing. What he’s arguing is the essence of the argumentum ad hominem logical fallacy: He hopes to make his readers less enlightened, by pitching to them that they shouldn’t be reading the Wall Street Journal, showering them with anecdotes from the mid-1990′s in which WSJ was either caught off-guard, snowed, joshed, bullshitted — or observed being more inspective and critical of this-or-that Clinton scandal than Mr. Greenwald thought they should have been.

About GreenwaldOn the actual content of Berkowitz’s editorial, Greenwald is silent. So calling this a “rebuttal” is kind of like calling a Michael Moore film a “documentary.” It’s not altogether bad, what Greenwald wrote. It’s just poorly described. It should be given a different title, something like what I said above. Something like “I avoid WSJ and so should you.” But it is a rebuttal to nothing.

What’s embarrassing about Greenwald’s logic, is that it would be devastating to it’s author. Greenwald is the guy who got caught sock-puppeting last year. Ace of Spades compiled as decent a write-up on the episode as anyone else, and if you don’t know what sock-puppetry is you will by the time you finish. But since those articles investigate their selected subjects to the extent that Greenwald intends to investigate his, they come up a bit dry. A little short on entertainment value. So if you’re after that, you’d probably prefer Wuzzadem’s illustrated parody which has become an Internet classic.

In short, Greenwald is a self-promoting fraud, a self-flatterer, a show-off and if he isn’t an out-and-out liar, the best that could be said about him is that he regards blatant deliberate deception very casually if it is friendly to his goals. Allowing an energized zealot to cherry-pick your facts for you is always a bad idea, but allowing an energized zealot like Greenwald to do it is a very bad idea.

This is to be concluded not from apocrypha or legend, but rather from observed and documented events.

Glenn Greenwald, this time you have blown your foot off. At the neck. And, in so doing, you demonstrated Prof. Berkowitz’s point for him. BDS is damaging to the intellect of those who allow it to fester. Giving your “rebuttal” a fair hearing, we see someone with a very high opinion of himself who promotes himself as an accomplished scholar of constitutional law, setting out to refute the professor’s point, and rather sturdily proving it instead.

Durst Deranged

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

File this one under Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) if you file nothing else there.

Crazy Old ManVia new sidebar addition The Black Republican, we’ve learned humor columnist Will Durst wants everyone to know that all seven milestones on the way to insanity are in his rearview-mirror, and he’s still charging forward pedal to the metal.

In particular, he’s passed the second, fourth, and seventh — roared right on past ‘em. Compared to him, Ray Liotta, in that scene where Anthony Hopkins has him eating his own brain, looks like freakin’ Aristotle.

How far gone is he? Ever have one of those girlfriends who talks to you on the phone and you’re figuring, man, I’ve got some stuff to do that takes two hands…so you go do it…you forget to pick up the phone…suddenly you remember, and you figure you’re going to get that fast buzzing sound because she hung up, and you’ll be in trouble — but when you put the handset to your ear she’s still going on and has no idea you ever went anywhere?

Like that.

…uncouth, spiteful, boorish, vengeful, jingoistic, homophobic, xenophobic, xylophonic, racist, sexist, ageist, fascist, cashist, audaciously stupid, brazenly selfish, lethally ignorant, journalist purchasing, genocide ignoring, corporation kissing, poverty inducing, crooked, coercive, autocratic, primitive, uppity…

I Want To See

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

If/when the Republicans lose the White House next year, a book by Mark Crispin Miller telling us all about how the 2008 elections were stolen through liberal chicanery and shenanigans. Think I should hold my breath long?

We need a new word to describe people like Prof. Miller. People who fervently believe President Bush is the biggest dunce that ever walked the planet, and at the same time, has fooled and continues to fool everyone. How does a village idiot manage to get that done?

Media Dishonesty Matters

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

I was skimming over this great list of lying liars that was linked from Tom the Impaler, and strangely, it was in that exact instant that #24 began to be interviewed by my local radio guys.

No, I didn’t call. A pirhana might think a prairie dog a tasty treat, but predators should stick to their chosen territory. A liar our thirty-ninth President may be, but he’s still a smart man, and the Lord of the Sound Bite which I’m not.

But I would love to see something done to take this guy down. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a class of sixth- or seventh-graders was assigned to study the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution for two solid weeks…and then on Friday, sit down as a group and come up with twenty-five phrases that have something to do with what America is all about. With the text of those two documents fresh in their minds, get a good list of twenty-five things going.

And then, that Friday afternoon, Jimmy Carter is invited to address the class — and is presented with this question. You’ve said repeatedly that the current President is a disaster for the country. What do you, President Carter, envision as the ideals of that country?

Monday morning, the class cross-references the terms Carter used in his answer, against the list they drew up. Come up with an overlap. Make it a percentage. The results go on the innernets.

I venture to say we’d never hear from the windbag again.

He’s just not talking about what we call “America.” He’s talking about something else.

Enemy of my Enemy

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

She’s female, she’s gay, she’s a lefty blogger on DailyKOS and so she’s got a huge crush on Guess Who.

I know I’m a Jewish lesbian and he’d probably have me killed. But still, the guy speaks some blunt truths about the Bush Administration that make me swoon…

Okay, I admit it. Part of it is that he just looks cuddly. Possibly cuddly enough to turn me straight. I think he kind of looks like Kermit the Frog. Sort of. With smaller eyes. But that’s not all…

I want to be very clear. There are certainly many things about Ahmadinejad that I abhor — locking up dissidents, executing of gay folks, denying the fact of the Holocaust, potentially adding another dangerous nuclear power to the world and, in general, stifling democracy. Even still, I can’t help but be turned on by his frank rhetoric calling out the horrors of the Bush Administration and, for that matter, generations of US foreign policy preceding.

No, I am absolutely opposed to taking away this delusional woman’s right to say what’s on her mind. But now that we know what’s rattling around in what passes for her brain…seems the rest of us have some obligation or another to protect her from herself. Don’t we? I mean, she’s pretty much admitting to this unhealthy crush on this Kermit character who she admits to knowing, with little doubt, would have her killed if he could. I mean, that’s about as insane as smacking your own forehead with a hammer.

Par for the course, where our good Kossack friends are concerned.

Idiots and Segways

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

To be fair about it, this has always been Item #18 on the Things That Don’t F@!!*!”!ing Matter list:

President Bush fell off of a “Segway”

Well, there is clumsiness, and then there is irony. Throughout yesterday, my plan was to just leave this latest event unmentioned. But in the end, I had a flash of realization.

I’m just not that big of a person.

It might not have been instant, but the bad karma a former British tabloid editor got calling President Bush “an idiot” for falling off a Segway in 2003 got him four years later as he broke three ribs when he accidentally hit a curb driving a – wait for it – Segway (h/t Say Anything via Glenn Reynolds).

As reported by Access Hollywood on August 21 (emphasis added):

Piers Morgan may be a great judge of “talent,” but clearly, riding a segway is not one of his own.

The “America’s Got Talent” judge broke several ribs this weekend as a result of a Segway accident, and may not be able to appear on tonight’s season finale.

Hysterically, on June 14, 2003, the tabloid Morgan was then editor for, the Daily Mirror, ran a headline “You’d have to be an idiot to fall off, wouldn’t you Mr President,” along with a rather disparaging article with these pictures of Bush’s accident (emphasis added):

THE makers promise it will never fall over…

So even George Bush should be able to use the Segway personal two-wheel transporter without tumbling off.

After all, it’s kept upright by some of the most sophisticated gyroscopes known to man, linked to a series of computers to detect the slightest movement.

But if anyone can make a pig’s ear of riding a sophisticated, self-balancing machine like this, Dubya can.

The President climbed on, stumbled a bit, then crashed off the other side – before it had actually gone anywhere.

And this is the man who used to fly fighter planes.

Cue John Lennon: Instant karma’s gonna get you. Gonna knock you off your feet.

Nonsensical Rules…It Must Mean Bush

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Guess what folks, employees in an agency of the federal government now have to follow some rules, which in certain cases make little-to-no sense at all. Have you ever heard of such a thing?

Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Goddard Space Flight Center are up in arms over a new requirement by NASA that they submit to detailed FBI scrutiny of their backgrounds in order to obtain clearance to go to work. They are claiming that the agency may be trying to control or silence them about issues like global warming.

The new security clearance requirement, which involves interviews of neighbors and checks into the distant background activities of scientists, many of whom have worked at JPL and Goddard for as long as thirty years, is puzzling because both locations have little or no involvement in secret or national security research. Indeed, by law, NASA’s activities and the research its scientists engage in are required to be publicly available.

“Almost nobody at NASA does classified work,” says Robert Nelson, a veteran scientist at JPL who heads up the photo analysis unit on the Cassini-Huygens space probe project exploring Saturn and its moons. “I think this is really all about NASA director [Michael] Griffin putting a security wrap around us.”

Yup, throughout modern history enormous, leviathan government agencies have imposed rules on the people who work for them, rules that run contrary to common sense, or to the notions of lots of people about the way things ought to work. Through all the decades hearing about such boondoggles, I had no idea President Bush was responsible for all the red tape, or that it was being wielded to put a choke-hold on global warming alarmist research.

Why, now that you point it out to me, it makes perfect sense.

I got my own idea of what this is about. The latest “Everyone Else Is Linking It, I Might As Well Too” story on global warming, of which you and I could have read just about anywhere yesterday (but my hat tip goes to Buck), does sufficient damage to the Chicken Little dogma that you just knew a backlash was inevitable.

In 2004, history professor Naomi Oreskes performed a survey of research papers on climate change. Examining peer-reviewed papers published on the ISI Web of Science database from 1993 to 2003, she found a majority supported the “consensus view,” defined as humans were having at least some effect on global climate change. Oreskes’ work has been repeatedly cited, but as some of its data is now nearly 15 years old, its conclusions are becoming somewhat dated.

Medical researcher Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte recently updated this research. Using the same database and search terms as Oreskes, he examined all papers published from 2004 to February 2007. The results have been submitted to the journal Energy and Environment, of which DailyTech has obtained a pre-publication copy. The figures are surprising.

Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers “implicit” endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis. This is no “consensus.”

The figures are even more shocking when one remembers the watered-down definition of consensus here. Not only does it not require supporting that man is the “primary” cause of warming, but it doesn’t require any belief or support for “catastrophic” global warming. In fact of all papers published in this period (2004 to February 2007), only a single one makes any reference to climate change leading to catastrophic results.

One out of 528.

That came out on a WEDNESDAY.

This National Agency Check stuff — being breathlessly reported for the benefit of a paranoid-liberal readership that has never heard of NAC before and suspects Bush skullduggery anytime they encounter something they don’t understand — came out on a THURSDAY.

Wednesday…Thursday. Discharge, ricochet. Action, reaction. Push-me, pull-you. Once again, the global warming mindset tries like the dickens to look like “science,” and ends up looking more like a religion. I’m not the first to point it out, and I won’t be the last.

As for Bush Derangement Syndrome, in three decades it will look just like pet rocks and mutton-chop sideburns do today.

Coy Mistress

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

If I were tasked to make a time capsule the size of an Altoids breath strips tin, with only one tiny hunk of paper sealed inside that is to capture the spirit of 2007 for the benefit of those unsealing it in 50 or 100 years, I think this piece is a great candidate. It is as unremarkable as it is representative. Captures everything we’ve heard since the day after Saddam Hussein was captured.

I THOUGHT of Andrew Marvell and his four-century-old verse when I read that General David Petraeus had said: “I can think of few commanders in history who wouldn’t have wanted more troops, more time, or more unity among their partners. However, if I could only have one, at this point in Iraq it would be more time.”

But Petraeus’s “coy mistress,” the broken Iraqi state, is not about to give in. The stated goal of the Bush administration’s escalation of the Iraq war is to buy time so that the warring and hostile factions in Iraq can work out acceptable compromises and power sharing. But the Iraqi factions don’t want acceptable compromises and power sharing. They want power for themselves.
:
Yes, it might be possible to pacify Iraq with a million-man American army of occupation over a period of 10 to 20 years. But not even that is a given. The military reality, as Colin Powell warned, is that the United States doesn’t have a big enough Army to pacify even the city of Baghdad. One neighborhood can be brought to heel for a while, but as soon as the American troops move on security, falls to pieces again.

The political reality is that Americans are fed up with George W. Bush’s bold attempt to reorder the Middle East and impose democracy by military force. What has now been so thoroughly revealed as a recklessness born of ignorance and a stubborn unwillingness to know has brought only disaster that cannot be repaired by a few more months or years of undermanned surges.

The entire article reads like this. Winning a war is one thing, but we don’t “have a big enough Army to pacify even the city of Baghdad.” And “reality is that Americans are fed up with George W. Bush’s bold attempt to…impose democracy by military force.”

Toss in a quote from a seventeenth-century poet, and the concoction is ready. Yet another intellectual titan is waggling his finger at that swaggering southern simpleton George W. Bush…I guess for starting “his” war. But there’s plenty more concoction where that came from, so fire up the conveyor belt. This is just one ingot, representative of tons of hot melted liquid anger. And contemptuousness.

But he’s right, isn’t he? Isn’t he just, oh, so incredibly right?

Well he’s certainly given that impression. That is how he earns his paycheck…by “looking” right. And contemptuous people do that naturally, since the surest path to contempt is a sincere belief that you’ve thought things out and someone else hasn’t. But it’s widely understood this is a complex affair, and it’s a small component to a War on Terror that is an even more complex affair. So it seems wise to take a couple steps back and see how this “rightness” works on the broader equation.

Nutcases from the middle east are trying to kill us. What do we DO? Act…or not? And I have to ask this because if we’re to smack our foreheads and glean any cherished bits of wisdom from this holy epiphany from the Boston Globe and apply them to the situation at hand, why, every lesson I can think of falls into the “Not Act” column.

And this is the item our editorialist seems to have missed. If the issue is that “Americans are fed up,” well, I think it can reasonably be stated that Americans are fed up with doing nothing while nutcases from the middle east try to kill us. If someone wants to challenge that, fine, maybe we should go ahead and duke it out. We got an election coming up. If populism is to decide national security issues, maybe the election should be about that: Are we just tin cans, beer bottles and metal ducks? Or are we a thinking people who engage the enemy when there is one?

As popular and plentiful as this kind of editorial tone is at the moment, I expect it will come as quite a shock to people living in 2107. It will have been a fact recorded by history that President Clinton signed an act of Congress, incorporating regime change in Iraq into U.S. policy. And, it will have been a fact that President Bush acted on this, and assembled a coalition to enforce previous resolutions by the United Nations. Clinton and the U.N. said; Bush did. We can conveniently ignore half that sequence because it’s politically popular with the print media to make this look like “Bush’s war,” but future generations will have to explore the legal framework of what happened here just to begin inspecting the times in which we live. And by then, all who stand to benefit from the misrepresentation that George Bush just woke up one morning and decided to ravage and rape Baghdad, a Xanadu-like utopia in which birds sang and children flew kites yadda yadda yadda…will be dead. Or frozen. Such deceiptful opportunists will, by then, much more closely resemble the “coy mistress” in her ultimate fate: Her lifeless body crumbling away in a tomb somewhere, worms deflowering her of the very virginity she coyly shielded from her erudite suitor.

Meanwhile, scholars and schoolkids studying the invasion of Iraq, will study not just that, but what came before. Would that we were diligent enough to do the same in our own time — but we are blinded by the bright lights of political exigencies.

What do we DO? What is our DECISION? Not just with the current situation in Baghdad, but with the overall issue of global terrorism? Such petulant inquiries simply summarize the thinking state of a mature and responsible adult; with apologies to Donald Rumsfeld, we make our decisions with the situations we have. To simply ask the questions, all but silences impertinent editorial pieces just like this one, which by now surely number in the tens of thousands. And it also reminds us that this, after all, is not George Bush’s war. It belongs to all of us, and we are on defense not on offense.

If we can be made to forget that for fifteen more months, we’ll see a Democrat in the White House. If not, then we won’t.

Jefferson Quotes on the Executive Branch

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

Earlier, I had made a passing reference to this gaffe of Senator Clinton’s, in which she as much as promised everybody around the world that the United States would be pulling out of Iraq someday soon. Against reason and common sense, we are now being instructed to believe there is nothing wrong with what Sen. Clinton said, and there is everything wrong with anyone who might have the temerity to point out possible negative consequences to her remarks.

Someone who’s been drinking way too much of the Kool-Aid made the comment that when Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman criticized her in writing for her remarks, it was the latest example of the administration behaving in a way that was “not very Jeffersonian.” I questioned what Thomas Jefferson would have had to say about it, and got back the usual nonsense: I was a dimwit for thinking Jefferson would have said anything besides what I was told he would have said, and furthermore, I was a dimwit for thinking “Jeffersonian” has something to do with what Jefferson would have said.

I guess, all-around, it’s something of a sin to do any thinking for yourself. You’re just supposed to do as you’re told and think what you’re told to think — unless you hate George W. Bush, then you can go ahead and tell others what they’re supposed to be thinking.

Well…maybe I really am just a big dummy when all’s said and done. I just can’t get it through my thick skull that members of Congress should be allowed to say whatever they want, and it’s all good. This is a bit much for me to grasp. And you know what keeps getting in my way? Ironically it’s that rhetoric that’s been flowing non-stop from the Bush-haters themselves; you know, all that “America is despised around the world” stuff. It usually takes on a flavor of: We’re oafish, unaware of people in other countries and the effect our ill-considered actions has on their situations. I mean, if that’s all true there must be some consequences to our duly-elected lawmakers saying some things. Right? These are the people who decide what America is going to be doing next.

So if there’s suspicion about my country around the world, and the suspicion exists for the reasons I’ve been told…there’s gotta be some limit to what our lawmakers say before their mutterings have a deleterious effect on international relations.

You can’t have it both ways.

But what would Thomas Jefferson have said about the Clinton/Edelman flap? I had my doubts that he would side with Sen. Clinton, since doing so would involve a notion that congressmen can say whatever they want about the executive, but the executive and his subordinates can’t say butkus about congressmen. After finding a page of Jefferson quotes about the executive branch, I have even more doubts. There’s a recurring theme of concern over the executive’s ability to operate freely, to marshal a sense of judgment that only an individual can. To make decisions outside of committee.

Of course, it should be pointed out that Jefferson functioned as an executive for eight years. As far as I know, service in the Continental Congress, aside, his resume is a little skimpy in taking on the burdens of, and enjoying the authority of, a congressman. That is, discounting his role as President of the Senate in John Adams’ administration. None of that compares to the tempestuous power struggles that occurred between his administration and the other two branches of government.

But the point stands. Bush haters, in Congress and elsewhere, want the President to be gelded. Many among them have been aroused to this desire by a sense that the Florida election of 2000 was way too close. Jefferson fretted mightily about the executive being gelded. And he was in no position whatsoever, to endorse the idea that the President’s authority should be compromised just because his election fell short of a landslide.

All His Issues

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

You know what I find seriously frightening about this?

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama told a group of abortion rights activists Tuesday that he would accomplish universal health care for all Americans by the end of his first term.

It’s this messy panoply of seemingly unrelated issues, this mushbucket o’liberal goodness. Let’s try that paragraph again, shall we?

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama told a group of abortion rights activists Tuesday that he would accomplish universal health care for all Americans by the end of his first term. [emphasis mine]

Now, what does lowering the American health care system into a Canadian-style quasi-socialist crater of swamp sludge, have to do with killing babies? When did these two issues become fused together? I can be in favor of my girlfriend killing one unborn baby after another unborn baby after another, and at the same time, place more of my trust in the free market to handle my health care needs, can I not? In fact, one would think it would be easier to form an alliance that way. I’m told people who believe in the free market are “greedy” and “selfish”; if that’s true, wouldn’t my hypothetical make sense? As in, now that I’m safe, now that my own Mom didn’t abort me, I want to horde all this American capitalist goodness for myself. Right?

Or we could go the other way. I want a socialized medicine system so that everybody is covered. I don’t care if we all have to wait in line nine months for a kidney replacement, as long as we get the same treatment rich-or-poor…and I want all those babies to be born. That would make even more sense. Communism has something to do with commune, and I want as many people as possible in that commune so we can keep that communist health care system working.

Why has Obama seen fit to fuse these two issues together in this direction? If I want socialized health care, why do I want the unborn to be slaughtered?

I can think of only one answer: As part of an attack on the individual. Socialized health care is an attack on the individual. Abortion-on-demand is an attack on the individual.

There is more:

Speaking to the Planned Parenthood Public Affairs Action Fund’s annual conference, Obama also touted his understanding of women’s issues and his support of abortion rights and sex education.
:
Obama…also took aim at the current Supreme Court.

“It’s time for a different attitude,” Obama said. “We know that five men don’t know better than one woman.” [emphasis mine]

Only on that last point do I see any kind of logical cohesion to the way Obama is soldering these unrelated issues together, since I know Democrats have worked hard to spread the lie that any opposition to unrestricted abortion rights, flows from some unmerited masculine influence on public policy. They deal a great insult to womanhood, by denying that anyone statistically significant, possessing ovaries, could value unborn human life.

The rest of it is a hopelessly jumbled mess, or…provides unusual insight into the sinister workings of our liberals. Or both.

Sex education, for example. Back and forth the yelling has been going, about whether sex education reduces unwanted pregnancies, or increases them. Well. People who are in favor of reckless sex education, skipping over the reading-writing-rithmetic so the teacher can put condoms on a zucchini…are in favor of abortion rights. Huh. Gosh, y’know, if the sex education program was really effective in preventing pregnancies, shouldn’t that go the other way? As in, alright we’re teaching our kids how not to have an unwanted pregnancy, so we don’t need abortion on demand?

How come it seems nobody has that vision? If anybody does, someone in Obama’s advisory panel doesn’t think they’re worth very many votes and aren’t worth going after.

And what’s up with this apparent insult to all thinking men? Five men don’t know better than one woman. Yeah, yeah, I understand the political motivations at work, he’s trying to stop his supporters from deserting for Hillary. Odd that he would word it that way, then — it sounds like he’s saying a woman knows better than five men, and if that’s the case one wonders why he’s gumming up the works instead of dropping out and throwing his support to Sen. Clinton. And what case, in particular, could he have been referring to? Didn’t he say?

It ordinarily simply doesn’t do for a candidate to a high-profile office, to attach himself to so many issues in one speech, each of which are only weakly attached to each other. This makes very little sense…until one reviews the history of Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood.

Then it makes perfect sense. One woman knows better than many men, free health care for all, more abortions, teachers drill your kids on sex education whether you want it or not. But it sends chills up your spine. It’s called “eugenics,” and a century ago it was a highly-fashionable dream for the future of humankind, dreamed by egghead elites in America and in Europe.

I think Obama has done us a favor here. It’s past high time we had a national discussion on just what is the real agenda behind socialized health care in the United States, and explored just how much abortion rights have to do with it. Maybe, just maybe…horror stories about incompetent quacks amputating the wrong testicle, or greedy HMO’s waiting all year to approve brain surgery, haven’t got anything to do with anything. Maybe the real issue is just having more abortions. Maybe it’s just a scheme to hook up the hungry mouth of the abortion industry, as much a greedy and money-grubbing medical industry as any other, to the public teat. Maybe it’s all about that.

It’s worth thinking about. To anybody who thinks it isn’t, I say this: Obama thinks he will gain more votes than he will lose, saying the weird incomprehensible things he said. Someone, who knows what they’re doing and what they’re talking about, told him so.

Olberspanking

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

Via blogger friend Misha at Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, we learn about this spanking delivered to Keith Olbermann, who’s been richly deserving of such treatment for quite some time now.

Olbermann goes on and on accusing President Bush of almost every crime in the books, until the end when he demands that both he and Vice President Cheney resign from office. This is nothing new for Olbermann; he has used his television show as a platform for calling for the President’s resignation for years now. Its probably why his audience has shrunken from pitiful to non-existent.

Nothing much for me to add here, except one thing: Calls for an incumbent President of the United States to resign, or to be impeached, would be tapering off right about now if they were well-thought-out and sincere. He’s two and a half years into his second term. If Congress woke up today and said “that’s it, dammit, we’re going to impeach this guy right now,” I think maybe by sometime around Labor Day 2008 you’ll see the Senate vote to convict him, and maybe he’ll step down to avoid that. As we get later and later into ’07, this becomes progressively more futile.

But the calls for impeachment are reaching a crescendo. Which means they’re patently insincere.

Evil Selfish PeopleWhat hardcore leftists like Olberdouche seek to do here, is to create a lot of noise in hopes of promoting an illusion of widespread loathing against President Bush’s policies. This is something they don’t want to discuss directly, because what they seek to defeat is the President’s recognition that some people are just-plain-bad. In their world, everyone is sympathetic, except for Republicans, conservatives, and other people who might obstruct their political agendas. Yeah, it’s really that bad. You saw off some guy’s head while he’s still alive, I call you evil, there’s something terribly wrong with me. You vote Republican and I call you evil…that’s quite alright.

Mainstream America doesn’t trust this. A lot of people disagree with me that we were right to invade Iraq. But I think some people on the planet are inherently evil, in the classic sense — not because they vote for one party or another, but because they shoot schoolgirls in the back for daring to go outdoors without head coverings when their school has been set on fire. That kind of evil. And I think whether Iraq was a mistake or not, as far as our foreign policy is concerned, we’d better damn well be ready to invade the next regime of genuinely-evil people, because those regimes are out there.

I think it’s the job of the military to stand ready for such things, whether they come to pass or not. Be ready. There’s evil in the world, and the job of our military is not to be an entitlement program for educational and health benefits — it is to carry out state-sponsored violence, and to be ready at all times to do that.

On those points, mainstream America overwhelmingly agrees with me. The “Olbermann Brigade” would like to pretend otherwise, but that’s just the way it is. You look into some of the most obvious truths, and you find situations where the majority happens to be correct; that’s what’s happening here. So the best shot the Olberflunkies and the KOSsacks have for electing liberal democrats next year, is to run against “George Bush’s policies,” without specifying exactly what those policies are. If they were honest, they’d say they’re running against President Bush’s recognition that it’s possible to be just-plain-evil without being a conservative Republican. It’s possible. They’d identify themselves as seeking to defeat that paradigm in our public policies, and they’d lose.

Kanye West Doesn’t Care About Poor People

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

Really.

What Is A Liberal? V

Monday, February 26th, 2007

What is a liberal? Many things define what the word has come to describe nowadays…few of them good. And a big chunk of them fall under this brief essay by Gary Kamiya, which was linked at Jawa, which in turn was linked by Good Lieutenant.

In a nutshell: Yes, they know they’re whacked-out wombat-rabies bollywonkers crazy. That’s why they’re high-fiving each other and calling everybody else stupid.

Make sense now? Wonderful. Ice cream has no bones, turn on the radio I want to fly a kite, they’re coming to take me away haha.

Is there life after Bush?
We’ve been hating him forever, but he’s leaving. Now we have to decide what to do with the rest of our lives.
By Gary Kamiya

Hating George W. Bush sometimes feels like a full-time job…I’ve been forced to deal with this wretched president for so long that hating him has virtually become part of my identity…Pretty soon, we won’t have Bush to kick around anymore. And I’ve started wondering: What are we going to do then? …Maybe we Bush-haters are extreme and obsessive. But Bush made us this way.

You can tell from the ellipses sprinkled in there like raisins, I’m facing a challenge teasing it in a way that it makes sense. Kinda like making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. But Mr. Kamiya demonstrates that all things do not have to be sane, to be revealing.

I’m not using Dowdisms to change the meaning of anything. Go read the whole thing.

One more time: These people want to decide what our public policies are going to be, foreign and domestic. And when they talk about “dissent == patriotism” they aren’t talking about dissent against them or their compatriots; they want blind obedience in that area. Once we’ve had a chance to inspect what they think and what they want to do, the more responsible folks among us wouldn’t trust them to walk the dog. Want proof? You only have to click.

Update: You know, I’m doing some more thinking about this and, as I attempt to find out anew what makes these people tick, a thought occurs to me that raises far more questions than it answers.

If I hate somebody or something…let’s just strip all the emotional turmoil out of it and call the thing “X” instead of “George Bush.” If I hate X, and I’m accepted into a community wherein all others present similarly hate X, there really isn’t going to be a lot to be said when you discount all the marginal conversations that could be fairly categorized as off-topic. “Hate to threadjack, but…” type-stuff, “when is this feature on your blog going to be available again,” stuff like that. Maintenance issues aside, there isn’t going to be much call to exchange ideas.

I mean to put it more concisely, if I hate X and you hate X, what more is there to be said? I suppose we could come up with new and creative ways to express our hatred of X, turning the whole pointless exercise into a more stimulating vocabulary-building experience. Loathing X, pontificating grandiloquently against X, for hatred’s sake spitting my dying breath at X, et al. Or, we could compare notes on what widely-visible fountainhead of opinion strikes us as being unfairly biased in favor of X, and resolve to ensure nobody ever drinks from that wellspring without a large grain of salt. Or, we could have some extremely brief conversations about “this is my reason for today for hating X.” And I would expect once we agree that this is a valid reason, the conversation would shift to something else.

Or…I suppose we could come up with personal priority lists about reasons for hating X. I could offer the opinion that “Reason #43 on your list is significantly weightier than Reason #27, which I consider to be a tangential issue” — and then we could debate that.

I see very little of the above on DailyKOS or other left-wing resources. I think it’s fair to say most of what is actually offered therein, is a lot of bloviating about how much smarter the people in there, are compared to the rest of the normal folks out here.

Which is remarkable in itself. Since, a few personal entanglements aside, they don’t appear to know a great deal about one another, apart from their shared dislike of George W. Bush. It’s almost as if…I would say, exactly as if…the hatred of George W. Bush is some kind of litmus test for intelligence. If you share it, you pass, even though your facts can be wrong, your grammatical construct can be atrocious, and your spelling looks like you’ve been letting a cat walk on the keyboard, and your logical arguments have more holes than your average kitchen sponge.

But if, by process of elimination, we’re down to just a lot of huffing and puffing about how much smarter our blue-staters are compared to our red-staters — or mostly down to just that and nothing more — how much liberal stuff could be uploaded on a daily basis? I mean, anywhere? What’s the point of mentioning it over and over again? If there was truth to it, of the self-evident variety or otherwise, the contributors themselves should be able to see they’ve crossed into the “doth protest too much” territory at a breakneck pace, and move on to something else.

I suppose that criticism might have merit wherever it is directed. Even here, to some extent, some might say. But good heavens. In all of human literary history, has any medium of written communication become so voluminous, so repititious, about so little, as the left-wing blog during the Bush II presidency? I suspect Mr. Kamiya has correctly identified a “future hangover” concern that is entirely meritorious, but severely underestimated just how much of a problem it will be.

Collaboration Is Needed

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

…amongst our friends on The Angry Left. I recommend some kind of big national convention, with an extra-extra-early first draft of the 2008 democrat party platform to follow.

They need to figure out what really cheeses ‘em off. Something does. They need to direct their attention away from the lame duck President soon…which they might do. They might. They might not. They might keep President Bush at the center of their message, up to and past the point where he’s no longer relevant, leaving the electorate sucking air in pondering what a Democrat President would do from 2009 to 2013. They might go sailing right over that cliff. It seems clear to me that their success is tied to their ability to get the horse in front of this wagon.

Well, I do not want them to succeed. I want them to fail. But I don’t want it to be a cakewalk for Republicans, either. When a Republican wins over a strong Democrat, we get presidencies like…Lincoln’s. The current President’s first term. Reagan’s first term. Yes, Jimmy Carter is weakness personified, but he was the incumbent. When the challenger is mortally wounded before the contest even starts, or is a strategic weakling, the victorious Republican gives us leadership like…Nixon’s presidency. Reagan’s second term. Bush’s dad’s term.

So I want Democrats to give Republicans a run for their money. Not like John Kerry in ’04. That was a statistical squeaker, but Kerry was a weakling. Even today, nobody knows what the hell he was saying. And nobody’s more pissed at him than the average Democrat.

And so, next to Democrats who agitate the public with messages that are overly-simplistic and easily-digested, nothing irritates me more than Democrats who agitate the public with messages that are self-confusing and hopelessly-tangled. The message cannot be clear, if the reason for dissatisfaction is not clear. And I daresay in the annals of political dissatisfactions in American history, no grievance has ever achieved so much volume with so little definition or cohesion, as the one our Angry Left seeks to mobilize now…that they’ve been trying to mobilize for six years. It’s as if they themselves are wholely unable to answer the question: Why is it that you guys are so angry anyway?

To those who say there is no confusion about this, I offer the ramblings of this poor agitated soul over here. Something to do with “netroots and grassroots.” Having declared that he will not support John Edwards after the fair-haired one fired those two ditzy liberal female bloggers, he seeks to answer the mystified query from his peers:

This seems crazy to me. This is going to be your make-or-break issue? This? Not Iraq, Iran, health care? Nothing that could happen over the next 12 months could change your mind?

And he does have an answer. Or two. Or more.

I don’t understand any of it, myself. But I think you guys had better get together and put your house in order. You’re not yet ready to contend.

On Libby’s Trial

Sunday, February 4th, 2007

I can see there is one forensic skill that has risen to involve paramount importance in reading about the Libby trial: The ability to distinguish objective statements from subjective ones. I’ve come to that conclusion because over time, I’ve observed a skill that has snowballed into a crushing level of weight and importance in writing about the trial, involves mixing objective and subjective statements together so that they all look alike.

Yeah, that’s right. On this subject, writers and readers assume opposite roles in an inimical relationship. Writers seek to bewilder and confuse readers, and the few readers who are interested and genuinely curious, seek to drag said truth kicking-and-screaming out of the writers.

What else am I supposed to think. After all, what happened here — within the story. What’s the most that could have happened, and what’s the least that could have happened.

Cheney’s shadow hangs over Libby trial
Testimony points out his role in trying to dampen Joseph Wilson’s criticism
By R. Jeffrey Smith and Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writers
Updated: 9:37 p.m. PT Feb 3, 2007

Vice President Cheney’s press officer, Cathie Martin, approached his chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, on Air Force Two on July 12, 2003, to ask how she should respond to journalists’ questions about Joseph C. Wilson IV. Libby looked over one of the reporters’ questions and told Martin: “Well, let me go talk to the boss and I’ll be back.”

On Libby’s return, Martin testified in federal court last week, he brought a card with detailed replies dictated by Cheney, including a highly partisan, incomplete summary of Wilson’s investigation into Iraq’s suspected weapons of mass destruction program.

Libby subsequently called a reporter, read him the statement, and said — according to the reporter — he had “heard” that Wilson’s investigation was instigated by his wife, an employee at the CIA, later identified as Valerie Plame. The reporter, Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, was one of five people with whom Libby discussed Plame’s CIA status during those critical weeks that summer.

Highly partisan, incomplete summary. Those descriptors are subjective, not objective — you don’t find them to be “true,” instead, you either agree with them or you don’t. So what happened? Scooter Libby, apparently after having consulted with the Vice President, produced a summary of Wilson’s fishing expedition that left out something someone else would have wanted left in. Oh, NOES!!! The Vice President is doing things different than the way things would have been done by someone else who is not the Vice President!

I mean, am I misreading that? In what way?

Read the rest of the story. It seems to imply that Libby just found out from Vice President Cheney that Joseph Wilson’s wife had a hand in sending the ambassador to Nigeria, and lied by omission when he said “he had heard” this was the case. If indeed that is what the story is implying, do we have that information? And come to think of it, what would that be, objective or subjective? You could say it’s objective…you could…if it could be objectively measured that Scooter should’ve spilled what someone else thinks Scooter should’ve spilled. Well, the phrase “someone else thinks” removes this matter from the realm of objectivity.

That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be mentioned. What it means is, by itself, this is not news.

There are two defenses I can see that are suitable for both Libby and the Vice President’s office. They both deal with the “perjury trap.” The first comes under the category of “Things That Make You Go Hmmmm” and it is from, of all people, Ann Coulter.

The way Libby remembered it, NBC’s Tim Russert was the first one to tell him. But the way Russert remembers it, he didn’t tell Libby about Wilson’s wife. (And the way Wilson remembers it, he was sent to Niger by Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise.)

Try this: Who told you Wilson was sent to Niger by his wife? Who told you a bipartisan Senate panel concluded that Joe Wilson was lying when he denied that his wife had sent him to Niger? While we’re at it, who was the first person to correct you on your pronunciation of “Niger”? I don’t remember, either — and I’m not running a war.

The second is the product of a Clinton-lovin’ liberal by the name of Marc Perkel and, as such, it relies on confusing the objective with the subjective. Like they say in hokey pokey…that’s what it’s all about. The specific subjective notion is that the perjury trap is “abhorrent.” It must be abhorrent, because a court found it to be abhorrent.

Oh no, Perkel’s comments are not written with regard to Scooter Libby’s trial. The subject is Clinton’s impeachment trial in the Senate. I’m gonna rag on this guy for a few paragraphs. His introduction promises, by implication, a logically durable argument and he doesn’t deliver.

Perjury Trap / Legal Perspective / Definitions

In the case of United States vs. Chen, 933 F.2d 793, 796-97, A perjury trap is created when the government calls a witness before the grand jury for the primary purpose of obtaining testimony from him in order to prosecute him later for perjury. United States v. Simone, 627 F. Supp. 1264, 1268 (D. N.J. 1986) (perjury trap involves “the deliberate use of a judicial proceeding to secure perjured testimony, a concept in itself abhorrent”). It involves the government’s use of its investigatory powers to secure a perjury indictment on matters which are neither material nor germane to a legitimate ongoing investigation of the grand jury. See United States v. Crisconi, 520 F. Supp. 915, 920 (D. Del. 1981). Such governmental conduct might violate a defendant’s fifth amendment right to due process, Simone, 627 F. Supp. at 1267-72, or be an abuse of grand jury proceedings, Crisconi, 520 F. Supp. at 920. See generally Gershman, The “Perjury Trap”, 129 U. Pa. L. Rev. 624, 683 (1981).

The Chen case goes on to say, “If a court divines that the purpose of repetitious questioning is to coax a witness into the commission of perjury . . . such conduct would be an abuse of the grand jury process.”

Perjury Trap as applied to President Clinton

The facts of the matter are rather obvious. This whole process, ever since Starr was appointed was an Impeachment in search of a Crime. Having investigated Whitewater, TravelGate, FileGate, the Foster Suicide, and a number of other artificial scandals, and having failed to find a crime, Starr was running out of things to investigate. Then one day Linda Tripp comes forward with a tape of Monica Lewinsky talking about having sexual contact (not sexual relations) with the President. Starr interviewed her without a lawyer and attempted to put a wire on her to get the President.

In spite of the fact that Starr had actual knowledge of the Lewinsky affair, he failed to reveal his knowledge to the President’s counsel. The idea was to catch the President by surprise in the Jones deposition. As we all know, having sex is neither a criminal act nor an impeachable offense. However, it is extremely embarrassing and it is something that most of us would tend to lie about. In fact, we as a society have a lot of sexual phobias and because we Americans can not face our own sexuality, we as a society deal with it by lying about sex. In other words, lying about sex is an established American custom. I would point out that although most people consider the President’s behavior to be sinful, sexual behavior is a human instinct that is more powerful than reason and is necessary for reproduction; and, if not for such instincts as depicted by the President’s behavior, the human race would have been extinct millions of years ago. But that’s another argum ent that I will save for another day. My point here is that because our American culture will not face sexual behavior from a realistic perspective, it is normal and expected in our society to lie about sex. This is especially true if you are an elected official.

Perkel leverages this reasoning with “the combination my of legal skills, my political skills, and the logical disciplines my of being [sic] a computer programmer.” It is the last of those, grammatically scrambled as it may be, for which I have the most respect. It is the only one of his credentials I can match, and I apply reasoning skills to what I’m reading in the news each and every day — skills I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t programmed computers.

But there are some key differences between Mr. Perkel’s background and mine.

For one thing, I would never use my achievements as a computer programmer, just by themselves, to convince someone to listen to the wisdom of my argument. It’s pretentious, and I think it would be ineffective. People don’t understand it. Anyone who does understand where such an argument is going, probably understands it because they’ve programmed computers themselves, and I can pretty much promise they will look at it differently. You’ve got better-than-even odds they’ll figure out that programming is an activity you might as well just pass up if you lack the reasoning and deductive skills to look at things, and figure out what they mean. And to strategize. And to organize. But — people being the way they are, if a hostile mindset does indeed have this background, he’ll use it to fortify his own argument.

“That guy’s programmed computers. He must have strong reasoning skills. I’d better listen to him.” Never heard anyone express those ideas in sequence…about me or about anyone else. It’s just not the way people work.

And that brings me to the second difference.

If an observer does indeed have adequate reasoning skills, from the experiences of computer programming or from something else, the application of those skills to Mr. Perkel’s argument is going to take place as his argument is pursued. One statement at a time. As a thesis. What’s Mr. Perkel’s thesis? Perjury traps may violate the fifth amendment. He found a court that says they do, and that they are abhorrent…although he concedes the Supreme Court has yet to comment on the issue. But it’s all a red herring in Clinton’s case anyway, because “lying about sex is an established American custom.”

I wonder what this guy has programmed. Here he is writing about the “logical disciplines” he has from his computer programming, carefully defining where the legal jurisprudence has been created and where it has not been created, and then rather than following this logically he just dismisses it all by saying truth doesn’t matter.

So whatever a logical discipline means to him, at least within the scope of Clinton’s impeachment, it’s got something to do with a concept antithetical to what’s true…not something that rests upon what’s true or can establish what’s true.

Perhaps because of this, he’s lost track of — again — what’s objective and what’s subjective. Perjury traps are “abhorrent.” All right, I agree. But who says so? Just because Perkel and I agree on this, doesn’t make it universally so. It’s an opinionated statement. Someone else might say otherwise. And…lying is expected in matters of sex. Really? Even in grand jury testimony? Expected by who?

ClippyHey, ever use software built by a computer programmer wholly unaccustomed to dealing with the viewpoints of others? It’s pretty frustrating, and most computer users have been through the experience at least once. Maybe Mr. Perkel has unintentionally identified what’s wrong with how some computer applications are built. Computer programmer thinks when you’re writing a letter, you must want Mr. Clip-It to jump up and say “It looks like you are writing a letter!” and offer some helpful tips. Eh, very few people want that. But somewhere, a computer programmer figured out, heck, if he was the guy writing the letter he’d want to see Clippy. Ipso facto, that’s what everybody else wants too.

Does it work? Well speaking for myself, I’ve never met anyone who’s seen Clippy, who doesn’t want to kill him. He’s like Microsoft’s answer to Jar Jar Binks.

But some of our programmers live in tiny worlds, where Clippy is a sight for sore eyes. And lying about sex is expected. They’re simply unaccustomed to dealing with the viewpoints of others, unless said others already think in the same way. They may be experienced at figuring out what to type in to make the computer do this-or-that, but there’s other stuff to be done too. Like, when the computer does something else, you’ve got to figure out why it’s doing that. And even more importantly than that, and more germane to “logical disciplines” you pick up from programming and apply elsewhere — nobody’s actually going to tell you to make the computer do that. You’ve got to figure out what the user is going to want.

Mmmkay, anyway back to the subject at hand. Objective…subjective. As far as the modern culture and the prevailing viewpoint therein, and the history of that prevailing viewpoint — we’re at an interesting crossroads. People are acting mighty peculiar. Conservative, liberal, other…it seems everyone wants to be applauded for their ability to think things through. Nobody wants to be accused of thinking things, just because someone else gave them instructions to think those things.

But look at what’s up here. Scooter Libby hands Cathie Martin a note. Cathie Martin thinks something should have been on the note that isn’t there. She testifies to this effect and someone else figures this is news.

What useful information has been passed around here? Looks to me like we got some testimony out of Martin, that she thinks things should’ve been worded differently. No shit. I’m sure a lot of folks are going to think this post should have been worded differently. Did anything else newsworthy happen that day? Anything? Hello? Buuueeeellleerrr?