The Ground Zero Swimming Pool
As the ninth anniversary of the attacks on the United States comes to a close, and a small group of lunatics
gather to protest a mosque (that's not a mosque) at Ground Zero (though it's not to be built at Ground Zero), I hope going forward we as a people can do a better job of upholding the ideals that our country was founded upon. Our country may be divided right now, but it was never more so than at the beginning of the Civil War, and in his first inaugural address, Honest Abe had a message that should be remembered not just for Americans, but for all the world:
I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth-stone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
Kissing The Ring
Rick Perlstein has a great piece in the Nation about conservatives and how they anoint their presidential candidates:
Conservatism is, among many other things, a culture. The most important glue binding it together is a shared sense of cultural grievance--the conviction, uniting conservatives high and low, theocratic and plutocratic, neocon and paleocon, that someone, somewhere is looking down their noses at them with a condescending sneer. And to conservatives, McCain has been too often one of the sneerers. It is, as much as anything else, a question of affect.
It's a bit lenghty, but well worth the time to read. Go here
So, just so that we’re clear on this. We are building an army full of people who are still getting pension payments from an organization that the U.S. has designated a terrorist organization. And we are basing our entire future in Iraq on that army. Not only that, but when this army decides it’s going to take out its major opponent for power as it did last week, and doesn’t even tell us about it, we still back it up with air power and American troops as it stumbles. And then we tell everybody that this is a good sign.
to see who he's talking about.
McCain's Press Monkees
In one of the best blog posts I've read all year, Kevin Drum of The Washington Monthly gives us a nice rundown of just how much the mainstream media is in the tank
for John McCain:
McCAIN'S CRED....Via Steve Benen, MSNBC analyst Chuck Todd tells us why John McCain can get away with routine demonstrations of abject ignorance, like his recent proclamation that Iran is supporting al-Qaeda in Iraq:
Even if he gets dinged on the experience stuff, "Oh, he says he's Mr. Experience. Doesn't he know the difference between this stuff?" He's got enough of that in the bank, at least with the media, that he can get away with it. I mean, the irony to this is had either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama misspoke like that, it'd have been on a running loop, and it would become a, a big problem for a couple of days for them.
Italics mine. Let's recap.
Hit the clicky thing
to see how awful it really is.
Meanwhile, Atrios adds some insight
and points us to this new book from David Brock and Paul Waldman from Media Matters: Free Ride: JohnMcCain and the Media. Check it out right here
There's no doubt that McCain will be able to ride this wave to great effect. As for the coverage in the general election, the extent to which the mainstream media will deflect McCain's fuck ups and foibles, while providing just the right kind of puffery when he needs it, will be glaring to anyone interested in looking at this thing objectively.
And, of course, after all the destruction that's taking place on the Dem side, and the hagiographic articles being written for a shifty
dummy like Crashy McStupid, the Rubes will go ahead and pull the lever for at least four more years of slaughter and mayhem in Iraq.
God makes me Love the American People. Beer makes me stupid.
Obama's Speech and The Press
Jay Rosen over at Pressthink notes
that parts of Obama's speech were directed right at the mainstream media:
I was watching CNN for Obama’s speech. Moments after it concluded Wolf Blitzer was asked to tell us what he heard in it. Wolf’s ear is the big ear for the Best Political Team on Television, according to CNN. So he went first. And according to Blitzer, Obama’s speech boils down to a “pre-emptive strike” against various attacks that are still to come, in the form of videos, ads, and news controversies that are sure to keep Reverend Jeremiah Wright and “race” in play as issues in the campaign. (I don’t have his exact words; if someone out there does, ping me.)
Wasn’t the speech about that very pattern?
This is a style of analysis—and a level of thought—we have become utterly used to, especially from Blitzer but also many others on TV: everything is a move in the game of getting elected, and it’s our job in political television to explain to you, the slightly clueless viewer at home, what today’s tactics are, then to estimate whether they will work.
That Blitzer, offered the first word on that speech, did the savvier-than-thous, horse race thing tells you about his priorities (mistakenly “static,” as Obama said about Wright) and his imaginative range as an interpreter of politics (pretty close to zero.)
I point this out because this is exactly the kind of vapid horse shit we say every weekend on all of the policitcal chat shows. It's all about the "process", and rarely if ever is there any substantive discussion of a candidate's policies and how they might effect the public.
Jay has more, here
John Cole on how the Right is reacting to this flap:
Here's the rest
But for some reason, I thought religion would be different, but we now see that it is not. According to modern Republican orthodoxy, it matters not that you are a Christian, church-going, tax-paying adult who believes in God and believes in helping his fellow man and engages in widespread charity for those who are not well off. No, according to the new rules, you have to be the right kind of Christian, and all you have to do is have a minister who wears a flag lapel pin and shares your hatred for the gay and has a fetish for the fetus. Watch out, Christians. You need to believe in God, act in a Christian manner, AND have the right kind of counter-tops. You have been warned.
Teacups and Scabbards
This guy will serve you tea
, and then fucking Nazi Stab you
. And, you probably deserve it...
The New Stupid
As Bill Maher helpfully reminds us
, undecided and independant voters, along with those shifty dullards known as Reagan Democrats, are just a bunch of ignorant idiots. That they might actually know who's running for president is a source of amazement. So, when I read something like this
, call me duely unfazed:
Can someone get Huckabee off the stage and end the most painfully embarrassing concession I think I've ever heard? I mean, put him out of my misery. Huckabee seems to have forgotten that this isn't the end of a grand, hard-fought race. It was a farce that everyone indulged because Huckabee's sort of a feel-good wingnut and had a good sense of humor. When he started on to 'Victory or Death' riff at the end I thought he might be about to end with a stunning crescendo of a ritual suicide. But apparently it was Victory or Death (or windy concession speech), the lesser known original version of the line.
And you thought snake oil sales had diminshed after the end of the 19th century? This joker actually vied for the Republican nomination this year. Here's the funny part: the American media treated this freak show like he was sane, and even weirder, important. Apparently he represented the views of a wide swath of Americans who had no voice in this race, so he was presented as their standard barer. The only problem is he's fucking insane. I find it nearly incredible that this country would elect someone as president that is more ignorant than George W. Bush, but the GOP came remarkably close to making this fraud the GOP nominee. I can't wait to see which kind of Dummy they produce for the 2012 contest.
Over to You, Matt...
Yglesias that is. He writes for the Atlantic Monthly, and he sure has got the GOP nailed down to a "T" here
This little GOP web video about Democratic unwillingness to agree to the gutting of the constitution is really pretty striking stuff. In essence, the Republicans are placing a heavy political bet on the idea of a terrorist attack happening some time while their "danger" clock is running. If Americans die, they'll be in a position to clean up. Conversely, if we still have some semblance of legal protections against government surveillance months from now and that clock's still ticking even though al-Qaeda hasn't slaughtered any innocents here in the U.S., they're going to look mighty silly.
That's the dynamics of this specific fight but, of course, it's also a microcosm for 21st century politics as a whole. And it's part of what makes the Republican Party, as currently conceived, so incredibly dangerous. Democracy is a highly imperfect method of getting good government. One thing that makes it work better is the general sense that if good things happen to a country, incumbent politicians will benefit from that whereas if bad things happen, incumbents will suffer. That often leads to election results that aren't really "deserved" since Jimmy Carter didn't cause the 70s oil crisis and Bill Clinton didn't cause the 90s tech boom. But it does keep the incentives where they belong -- insofar as things are under the control of politicians, the politicians try to make good things happen.
But not the post-9/11 GOP. Their political meal ticket is a population terrified of terrorism, and nothing whips that terror up quite like actual terrorism in London, Madrid, wherever. The result is a political party that simply can't adopt policies designed to ratchet-down the level of danger and anxiety.
Of course democracy is a messy business. That was sort built into the American version, and it's one of the things I find very endearing about it. That aside, until the GOP figures out that scaring the be-jesus out of everyone doesn't help them win elections, they'll keep at it.
Once a year, The Beast
out of Buffalo throws up their 50 Most Loathesome People in America, and it's always well worth a read. You can check it out, here
. I always pick through a few people I want to read about, and then I find it's so good I read the whole thing.
Courtesy of Ian Murphy, this is the best illustration of Rudi Guiliani I've ever seen:
Rudy! winds up being #6 on the Loathesome list, and here's what they had to say about him:
Charges: 9/11 Tourette's syndrome, compounded by compulsive lying. Despite the '93 WTC bombing, didn't act to put all first responders on the same radio frequency and chose to house his Emergency Command Center on the 23rd floor of WTC 7. Giuliani Partners consulting firm routinely did business with a Qatar ministry run by royal Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani, a man whose farm has seen guests the likes of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and Osama bin Laden. Wooed mistress and future wife with an NYPD chauffeur and trips to Southampton on NYC taxpayers' dime. Ruined the prospect of a Times Square tug-job.
Exhibit A: Stages phone calls from his wife during campaign stops-to show 'em he's got family values. Family values apparently do not include rudimentary put-it-on-vibrate cell phone etiquette. Invoked 9/11 to explain this.
Sentence: Victim of the next 9/11, which consists of two radio-controlled hobby planes smashing into his face.
Of course, we won't have Rudy! to kick around any more...