Wednesday, September 30, 2009

God damned retrograde

John Derbyshire, British stick-up-the-ass conservative, has come out against the 19th Amendment. Really, it takes some balls to deny a basic right to half the population, so I would have to give him credit if it weren't such a self-evidently terrible idea, for a few reasons.

First, I'm just going to quote Amanda Marcotte, because she put it too well:
If you think you can just repeal half the population’s right to vote because you don’t like the outcome, then why even bother with democracy in the first place?
Second, it's a tactical mistake. Generally, politicians don't get elected on the basis of denying rights to the people who are voting for them. Given that women vote at a higher rate than men, any politician associating with Derbyshire or NRO should be toast after this.

Really, this should serve as a meditation on the fact that conservatism in this country isn't about returning to the mom and apple pie 1950s of legend, it's about returning us to the Gilded Age of horror stories.

Rally in Belleville.

By Nazis, quite literally, for white civil rights after a beating that the police apparently decided was not racially motivated.

The worst part is, 55% of people on the poll at the bottom said that the rally was a good thing.

Were I a paranoid sort

If I were the type to jump at shadows, I'd see a conspiracy here. First, Newsmax pulls an article (by a long-serving columnist) promoting a military coup, next Thomas Sowell at NRO compares the president to a "Latin American charismatic despot" and asks "do we want to become the world's largest banana republic?"

It's almost like they're laying bare their deepest desires.

Ok, still.

Maybe not, per this congressman, a holocaust, but 45,000 extra deaths a year is pretty substantial in a country that's supposed to be the greatest on earth.


I was going to make fun of these, but I wish my subculture had a carnival like this every year. (Neither GenCon nor political conventions count).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

To my liberal friends.

There are people out there who hate this country. There are people out there who are, literally, discussing the possibility of a military coup against a duly elected president as though it were a desirable outcome:
There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic.

America isn’t the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn’t mean it wont.
Let's open that statement up. We are a mostly civilized republic with a set of democratic methods in place to choose our government. We do this every other year. We have changes in our legislative branch more frequently than any other civilized nation (British gov'ts are required to call elections every 5 years, The French are also on a 5 year cycle). And yet, there is talk that "patriotic general and flag officers [will] sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a “family intervention,” with some form of limited, shared responsibility." Let that sink in.

Has it? John L. Perry is advocating treason. There's no way around it. Despite his pro forma claim that "Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it," he is putting it on the table as a legitimate option. Newsmax speaks for a portion of the conservative base, one that's become more and more active of late. And why does he want a coup?
Top military officers can see the Constitution they are sworn to defend being trampled as American institutions and enterprises are nationalized.
Officers who failed to stage a coup after the Patriot Act, a far more destructive and unconstitutional measure than anything Obama has done or, really, is likely to do, was passed.
They can see that the economy — ravaged by deficits, taxes, unemployment, and impending inflation — is financially reliant on foreign lender governments.
Deficits run up by Geo. W. Bush, due mostly to his expansion of the class war against working Americans.
They can see this president waging undeclared war on the intelligence community, without whose rigorous and independent functions the armed services are rendered blind in an ever-more hostile world overseas and at home.
Because we recently reaffirmed what we thought we could take for granted, and said that torture is something that Americans don't fucking do.
They can see the horror of major warfare erupting simultaneously in two, and possibly three, far-flung theaters before America can react in time.
Due, in no small part, to the gutting of the diplomatic corps and the waging of a war of choice which seemed to provoke no proto-treason from these alleged patriots.
They can see the nation’s safety and their own military establishments and honor placed in jeopardy as never before.
That last bit, by the way, makes this notional coup a sectional rebellion, which the founders were sure would end in tyranny. So, while I hope, and am fairly certain that Mr. Perry is just shooting his mouth off (as he has every right to do), I just want to point out that this is now on the table. Someone writing in a publication aimed at the conservative base has put out the idea that a military coup is a legitimate option.

Let's count all the successful democracies that have had military coups. Spain had one that ended in a bloody civil war followed by decades of fascism. England had its last one in 1688. Greece had one in 1967, and is still recovering. What in the fuck does me mean by "If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized?" What fantasy world is he living in?

Now, imagine for a second that the Nation published a piece like this in, say, February 2003. Can you imagine the condemnation and possibly criminal charges that would have covered them? Now, listen for the crickets about this piece.

I may be disappointed in my side sometimes, but I take comfort in knowing the "advocating treason" is not on our list of "things to do when we lose and election."

edit: Newsmax apparently scrubbed the column. Full text here.

hurr I'm a durr

You're probably not holding this kind of conference, for one thing.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Census Paranoia.

"I'm not saying that ..." seems to mean "I'm heavily implying but maintaining plausible deniability."
The batshittery over what is, after all, one of the few tasks explicitly given to the federal government weirds me.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Blog?!

Let's see how long I can keep this one up. An outlet for my nerdy side.

In a Written Age

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Isn't there a law against this? Or is it just in poor taste?
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has announced to National Review that he will be personally leading a "truth squad" to the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, where he will make it clear to international leaders not to believe that the United States will pass legislation to deal with the issue.

It's nice to see how seriously foreign policy is taken these days -- when a member of the political minority will send his own delegation to an international conference, in order to undermine the government and tell other countries that they can't work with the United States.
Politics stops at the water's edge, indeed.

Update: According to the WSJ, from a column when someone they didn't like did this:
The Logan Act makes it a felony and provides for a prison sentence of up to three years for any American, "without authority of the United States," to communicate with a foreign government in an effort to influence that government's behavior on any "disputes or controversies with the United States."

Goldfish-like Memory.

From The Nation:
In fact, the very idea that Chicago could be the setting for the Olympics could have been hatched by Jon Stewart for a four-year supply of comedic fodder. To greater or lesser degrees, the Olympics bring gentrification, graft and police violence wherever they nest. Even without the Olympic Games, Chicago has been ground zero in the past decade for the destruction of public housing (gentrification), political corruption (it ain't just Blagojevich; I can't remember the last Illinois governor who didn't end up behind bars) and police violence (the death row torture scandals).
It was Jim Edgar, who immediately preceded Ryan. Can I write for the nation now?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Something Different.

My friend Becky and I will sometimes bemoan the current state of western intellectual life, and it's things like this that cause it. I get in this elitist snit because, fuck, 2 million copies of an airport novel about the Freemasons and I can't get a motherfucker to read some Orwell to save his life, but then I think, 2 million people putting words in their heads via their eyes. That's pretty massive. I mean, just on a sort of "fuck yeah, humanity!" level. We not only invented a way of taking thoughts out of our brains and sharing them with other people, we let enough people in on that magic that some jackass with a talent for exciting plots and minor puzzles can make a damn good living at it.

That's pretty cool.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Best. Labored metaphor. Ever.

From some RW site, via Sadly, No:
The political left in America is like a deranged passenger on a jetliner who repeatedly attempts to storm the flight deck and crash the plane, but who the crew and other travelers are limited in their ability to restrain due to obscure regulations (whose full implications were unforeseen when they were implemented) which give the unhinged would-be saboteur the right to move about the cabin freely.
"Liberalism is a mental disorder" mixed with a delightful dash of "look at how clever I am." Charming.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A quote, in the chilly morning.

From Margaret and Helen:
Let’s be clear about something: if you show up to a town hall meeting with a gun strapped to your leg, the point you are trying to make isn’t a good one. Fear never produced anything worthwhile.

Look at this toolbox!

There really are no words. It takes a special kind of entitled jackass to do what this guy does. The pimp video guy is, apparently, not just your average citizen outraged by the nefarious dealings of this fascist monstrosity, but a carefully groomed right-wing activist. Vide:
But despite these personal agonies, O’Keefe bravely moved forward and rightward. He was part of a discussion group at the 2008 CPAC titled “Conservative victories with the new media.” In the audience was famous conservative gay male prostitute Jeff Gannon, who, coincidentally, was a graduate of the “The Leadership Institute” which O’Keefe was representing. The Leadership Institute “recruits, trains and finds jobs for right-wing activists in the public policy field” and among its famous graduates is Karl Rove. Like Fox News, it seeks to make colleges more conservative. Obviously we can’t know for sure if this is the Leadership Institue, but O’Keefe, on his website “Feathers of Steel,” gives “Special thanks to the 4000 dollar 60 inch HDTV monitor LI bought me to produce and edit movies.” (Hmm, do we have a “sugar daddy?”)
It's really amazing the extent to which the right has a better activist training and placement apparatus than the left. It's almost as if there were some sort of vast conspiracy.

She ought to know.

Via, as usual, TPM:
"I never mentioned Hitler's name other than when the reporter came up to me afterwards," she said. "And I said, look, I am not making a direct comparison Obama and Hitler. I'm making a comparison between policies in countries, and that history has a way of repeating itself."

So does she believe that Obama and his administration are fascists, as cited above? "I don't believe -- no, I'm not saying that they are fascists," she said. "I'm saying, if you said ideals -- yes I do believe, when you look at the definition of fascism. Fascism is not government ownership of business, it is government control of business."

"I'm not saying he's a fascist, I'm saying he's the leader of a dangerous personality cult out to destroy our sacred liberties with his fascist ideals. Why won't you in the liberal media stop misquoting us?" And this isn't just any nutbag, this is a former Assistant Secretary of State from the Bush admin (proof, if additional proof were needed, of the extreme politicization during the last 8 years, and the dangers thereof).

I think that's the key difference between the extreme criticisms of Bush and the extreme criticisms of Obama. Code Pink, Cindy Sheehan and the other "Bush = Hitler" people never got near the reins of power in the Dem party. Now, we have elected officials and former administration appointees joining the mob. This is bad fucking medicine. This is why our institutions are breaking down. I hope these fucks are happy.


From MrChris, in this pandagon thread, a classic Sadly, No bit on the father of the young woman who played a prostitute in the latest conservative "exposé" of Acorn. There's probably a witty comment on the right's tendency to treat women like propety, but I'm not feeling up to it.

The de-laboring of American liberalism.

I've been reading a bit about the popular front in recent weeks, so this caught my eye (h/t LGM's twitter). The relevant quote:
Finally, it's somewhat disheartening that these events have received virtually no coverage in the progressive blogosphere, outside of labor blogs. Nothing from leading individual bloggers like Yglesias and Klein, nothing from TPM, nothing on Kos, nothing on Huffington Post, nothing at Think Progress. If I've missed something, let me know, but these key events in liberal politics are receiving absolutely zero coverage from people that should care deeply.
When did labor stop being important? I can haz popular front nao?


I tweeted earlier about Glenn Greenwald's piece on false balance in the news. This, folks, is what he was talking about.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Just the facts.

Called the Belleville PD about Rush Limbaugh's disgustingly racist comments. Will be pleased as punch if anyone gets back to me.


Just a random thought, but on election night, my buddy Marcus and I wrote "Yes we did!" on our white tshirts in sharpie when we went to the rally/party at the Alma Mater.

Just popped into my head for some reason. That was a good night.

Teabaggers, redux.

  • I look at the pictures of the march last weekend and think "sure are a lot of white people here." They see it and think "looks like America."
  • Can anyone identify this flag? It looks like a confederate design, but I can't find anything that matches?
  • Speaking of flags, ironic that the "don't tread on me" flag, originally designed to promote unity in the colonies, is being carried by secessionists.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Because TPM doesn't get enough links.

I am officially supporting this man's reelection campaign. Granted, my response would have been along the lines of "I wouldn't piss in your mouth if your teeth were on fire."

Excessive Douchebaggery, and cause for concern.

First, via TPM, Rush Limbaugh is either an idiot or an asshole.
"In Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, 'Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on," Limbaugh said.
As opposed to the old days, when black people were hanged with the white kids cheering "Yay, right on, right on, right on?" Do you think Limbaugh really believes that Obama caused this? Is he really convinced that Obama, just by being black and president, caused this otherwise articulate and well behaved young colored gentlemen to beat up a white kid? Or is it a case of teenage boys being their typical jackassy selves plus a complicated and troubled history of race in this country?
The Belleville News-Democrat is reporting that police are no longer thinking it's racially motivated, just bullying.
The video also shows students standing to cheer for the fight and using a cell phone to take photos of the bleeding victim.
Which should come as no surprise to anyone who was in high school recently.

Will we get the apology from Rush and the Right that they asked for after the Duke Lacrosse incident?

Second, also via TPM, man brings two guns to Obama event, denies being a copycat. Apparently just got out of jail for assault. I will pay for a round of drinks if anyone can find me one news story (not blog post, FOX news ok) about anyone bringing a gun to a George W. Bush event. I will post it here, and then buy you a round of drinks at the bar of your choosing..

I am pretty sure I will be drinking alone.

That fucker, again.

I'd like to take another look at the article I looked at earlier. It seems to me that there are a few assumptions being made that are just not correct.

First, basically, is that they're right. Now, this is sine qua non for any armed revolt, but it deserves saying. What's truly scary is what they believe they're right about. There's a commenter in the thread who, honest to God, believes that the swine flu vaccine is a plot to wipe out the majority of the world's population. That's over and above the classic RW belief that Obama is some kind of secret Muslim communist dictator who is stripping them of their vital liberties. The claim is there that Obama (and the other bogeymen for the Right - Speaker Pelosi, Barney Frank, and, for some reason, Van Jones) are "making a mockery of our Constitution" and must be stopped by any means necessary.

The stunning thing about this is that none of the actual reasons to rebel are supported by facts. This is a movement will and eager to kill fellow citizens over urban legends.

The second erroneous assumption is that, in the event of the prophesied rebellion, the army will face mass desertions as the patriotic young men of the armed forces will remember that their oath includes enemies foreign...and domestic.* And, should the devoutly-wished consummation occur, I have no doubt that they will. Because, frankly, a marauding fascist movement shooting people in the street for voting the wrong way in the last election and eliminating "undesirable" elements fits the definition of a "domestic enemy" better than anything I could have come up with on my own.

Third, the related assumption that in the event of the rebellion and the mass desertions that will follow it, the government will call in the UN and send foreign troops to kill Americans. I would, of course, remind the murder-fantasists that the last time we had a civil war, it was handled domestically, with federal and state forces augmented by a draft. Granted, given that this assumption a.) comes from the previous flawed beliefs and b.) is a rehashing of that 90s favorite New World Order conspiracy theory, it's pretty much dead in the water.

All these problems, basically, stem from the first wrong assumption. They assume that they are the rightful owners of this land, and that they will be able to strike down the usurpers. Their theory does not bear any resemblance to reality.

*The "and domestic" language has become a RW shibboleth. There's a group called "Oath Keepers" who seem to be dreaming of some kind of military coup, and it appears on teabagger signs frequently. It's up there with the McVeigh "Tree of Liberty" quote as a warning sign.

Monday, September 14, 2009

He's really that bad?

This is what Teabaggers actually believe. This is why they think it's ok to call for rivers of blood. They are either completely ignorant of the realities of living under a totalitarian regime, or they are so frightened that they honestly believe the Barack Obama, a man who is personally and politically moderate and pragmatic, is worse than Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Castro combined.

Really, take a nice browse through that photostream.

They've deified Joe Wilson, a man with troubling ties to the radicalized SCV and a history of racist foot-in-mouth disease.There are constant claims to legitimacy and majority (when, really, Obama was elected by a fairly wide margin, given how other recent races turned out), including some outright threats. Maybe this one is a step up?The Birthers, too, were out in force - one sign showed the forged birth certificate that Orly Taitz was flogging a few weeks back.
There was also, of course, some racist fuckbaggery...... and some charming displays of paranoia.Any claims that this was about health care or taxes got blown out of the water by the unrelated signs. This was an antigovernment protest. I think we're going to see more of them.The point is to get any conceivable allies together. The Right in this country is coalescing into an organized political movment.My favorite sign didn't make any damn sense. What's this "we" are John Galt?I didn't even bother to post any of the traitor flags, or the signs about the "tree of liberty" (which, may I remind you, is a quote most associated in recent years with mass murdering terrorist Timothy McVeigh). This is, again, the kind of rhetoric they're rocking. This is how they're talking openly about killing their fellow citizens.

Edit: Had to add this one. They're now proud of being terrorists?
(photos from NineTwelvePhotos on flickr.)

These fuckers.

There are few things more horrible to see than someone imagining widespread death and destruction and practically rubbing his hands in glee. This fucker, however, is doing just that. Hiding behind a false sense of patriotism, he plots an American version of the killing fields. In the first weeks, he imagines that "numerous politicians, Obama hacks, federal judges, and media members would be killed" and "this period would be remembered as the time of purging." "Obama supporters would be summarily executed in their homes and on the streets," he continues, probably imagining himself holding a gun to the head of his neighbor, who had the gall to put an Obama sticker on his car. Political structures break down, as
"local law enforcement and the state’s National Guards would be providing humanitarian assistance only, and their orders would include not firing on armed Americans and using their own firearms only to defend women and children, having already experienced losses themselves for interfering with summary executions of male Obama supporters."
What he's describing is Yugoslavia in the Heartland.

It gets worse. As his blood gets pumping, he begins to imaging a grand new world order. University professors, he assures us, would be "targeted for killing," and California would be sealed off, and anyone attempting to flee eastward would be shot on sight. "At the local level, those bureaucrats who had exceeded their authority would also be targeted," he writes, which I can only assume means a settling of petty, parochial grudges - the teacher who taught evolution, or perhaps the building inspector or social worker.

While never calling for a race war (perhaps realizing that, being a convert from Judaism to Orthodox Christianity, he himself would be a target if one broke out)
, he cannot stop himself from enjoying fantasies of seeing the untermenschen purged.
"Obama could empty the prisons and attempt to arm any inmate who would support him. The upside to this move is that America would rid itself of a large portion of its prison population as these individuals were gunned-down mercilessly."
"Despite the unfortunate sub-war that broke out along racial lines during the revolution, racial tensions are at the lowest they have ever been, because the race-baiters and welfare-pimps are all dead or awaiting execution."
He also rhapsodizes about anyone crossing the border being met with deadly force, and proposes what is essentially slavery.
"inner-city youth would be working on public projects for food and shelter, with misbehavior or criminal activity met with summary execution."
He also discusses, at length, the fact that execution by firing squad will be common for everyone from petty criminals to enemies of the state.

This fucker's dream world is a toxic mess, a revolution allegedly fought for freedom that, before the first shot is fired, turns into a vicious nightmare. Our most sacrosanct rights, including freedom of religion, are trampled. "Churches would also be released from their current constraint on addressing political issues, but radical America-haters like Jeremiah Wright would be tried for treason." and "As a further amendment to Freedom of Religion, those religious entities that refuse to abide by the Constitution and foment sub-cultures and lobby for “religious law” are banned, their assets seized, and said assets distributed to Americans for the “general welfare” — regardless of the recipient’s religious beliefs or lack thereof." He flatly admits that "free speech would be curtailed," and seems to relish the idea of prisions sitting empty, except for those awaiting trial and their inevitable execution.

The most shocking thing? The death toll. This fucker figures on at least a sixth of the country (50,000,000-70,000,000) dying during these uprisings.

It's easy, on the left, to dismiss the teabaggers as whiny babies upset because they lost an election, or uneducated hicks, but it's more dangerous than that. Our society is so fractured, so unable to trust in its basic political institutions, that there's fertile ground for extremism to flourish. I doubt that this blogger has enough followers to form up even a decent fire team, but the danger he represents is all too real.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

To the teabaggers and seccessionists.

A message from General W. T. Sherman.
You people of the South don't know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about. War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it… Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth—right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, shut out from the markets of Europe as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. If your people will but stop and think, they must see in the end that you will surely fail

It's been a while.

So, DI published "An open letter to our ignorant student body" this Friday, and begat a comment shitstorm. Most of the comments, predictably, were of the "nuh-uh" and "who do you think you are" variety. One, however, stood out:
Students don't care because their voice doesn't matter. It won't bring back the chief or the things that made the university great. Who cares anymore if the university becomes a ****hole. More likely than not, the reason why my best friend didn’t get in here with his perfect ACT score is because of the high percentage of international students. Hey I have got an idea, let's raise tuition again and again!
Yes, the Chief is why no one cares anymore. Since he left, the world is grey and nasty, Lincoln Hall that much more crumbly, the international students that much more . . . international. Since the Chief is no more, we have all felt the leaden hand of the school administration, keeping instate students down, taking more and more of our money to give to the perfidious "international." Woe, woe is us!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

[citation needed]

I've long since given up on assuming that stupid people on the internet are performance artists. There is a rich stockpile of stupid out there, and we are mining it like fucking gnomes on crack.

(via latfh)

And one more thing!

From R.S. McCain's article quoted below:
If Messrs. Podhorhetz, et al., wish to promote conservatism among American Jews, let them find some way to encourage Jewish families to move to small towns in the Heartland, where their kids can grow up hunting, fishing and hot-rodding the backroads. A guy with a gun rack in the back window of his four-wheel drive truck may occasionally vote Democrat, but he's extremely unlikely to be an out-and-out liberal.
I wonder if Mr. McCain knows that hunted meat is generally not kosher. Or has given any thought to the value and persistence of urban Jewish communities. Or if he's just the same sort of "philo-Semite" who loves the Jews as a means to an ends.

This is real, pt 303

I wonder if Michael Medved is an idiot, or just loves him some anti-semitism.
"For most American Jews, the core of their Jewish identity isn't solidarity with Israel; it's rejection of Christianity."
He might as well have written, given the conservative audience he's writing for "Man, we Jews are still all jazzed about killing Christ." I mean, it can't be that Jewish tradition tends to lend itself to progressive causes, or the unique place that civic duty and good citizenship holds with Jews as a result of their unique history in the United States, the only reason for a Jew to be liberal is either as a substitute for real Judaism or antipathy towards Christians.

When I read RW and fascist publications, one of their favorite tactics is to call someone a "sabbath goy," a gentile who works for the Jews. I wonder if one might not apply a mirror term to Jews who work with the far right.

As an aside, I'd also like to take issue with McCain's statement that "evangelical Christians are overwhelmingly pro-Israel and philo-Semitic." This is only true to an extent. The types of evangelicals who really love Israel and the Jewish people are not in it for the best interests of the Jews, or because they respect the most stable of the Middle East's few secular democracies, but because Israel has a role to play in bringing about the end of the world. I think philo-Semitic might be a stretch, there.

Just a nibble.

No, Iraq is a place where people live, not a place for us to project our fears and fantasies (that goes for the both of you).

Sunday, September 6, 2009

This is real, pt 301.

Human Events may become my favorite place to look for installments to this series, as they published this gem. Aside from some delightfully stereotypical dreck about the difference between the sexes, and a charming bit of gay-bashing, Marsden reveals how disconnected she is from the real world with this:
When men see $45 underwear on a male model in a Hugo Boss ad, what he’s likely thinking (besides “he looks gay”) is that the guy’s wearing the fiscal equivalent of his next beer keg. This is why the underwear purchase loses out.
I have never known anyone to measure beer in kegs. I have never known anyone to buy a keg for himself (except, once, to supply a free-beer-for-all birthday party). The correct conversion between Hugo Boss briefs and alcohol is 3 handles of bottom-shelf liquor, two fifths of decent liquor, 3 cases of Pabst or similar, or 5 sixers of good beer (my numbers may be a bit off because of the recent tax hike here in IL - I'm still adjusting). Marsden's column is full of that phony, sour-tasting populism that conservatives like to trot out alongside their policy pronouncements - when I skimmed Marsden's it seemed to be a standard "I don't want to be a Delta, khaki is such a filthy colour" column of the sort that Human Events and WSJ put out on a regular basis. With a friendly nudge to make you feel like part of the club.


Of all the fringe political entities out there, I think the one that most burns me is the soi-disant "anti-jihadist movement." They are a loose group of people dedicated to the idea that a vast, implacable Muslim conspiracy exists, bent on destroying once and for all Judeo-Christian culture and replacing it with a universal Caliphate. If you've ever seen Daniel Pipes or Robert Spencer on the news, or blundered across Bat Ye'or's Eurabia in a bookstore, you've seen them.

Frankly, they frighten me, and I'm a white, Midwestern Lutheran. I am not in their crosshairs. When I read their writings, or see them on TV, I can't help but shudder, though. Something about their wild-eyed insistence that they are fighting a thousand-year struggle against the hordes of Islam bothers me. Something about their insistence that a racial and religious war is coming chills my bones. It chills me, not because I am a dhimmi with my head in the sand (as the anti-jihadists love to call anyone who disagrees with them), but because those who warn most loudly of racial strife are those who do their best to cause it.

They also frighten me because of their deep contempt for what they claim to love. They claim to love the West, in all its glory as the font of science, art, religion, music and technology. Their West, though, is the insular, inward-looking world of the Middle Ages, aware of the outside world only as a threat. The reject the Enlightenment, the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions (except as an example of the superiority of the West), the political and cultural changes that gave us universal suffrage, birthright citizenship, and popular elections. They hate, and I do not think hate is too strong a word, the idea of republican government. One needs only look at their self-chosen titles and iconography - baron this or that, crusaders' crosses, references to Holgar the Dane and Brigid of Sweden - to see their contempt for everything the West has built since, say, the reign of Barbarossa.

This contempt spills over into the political parties the support. Their anti-modernism and longing for a mythical golden age make them natural allies for reactionaries and fascists. The fracas within the movement over the decision of some members to support the Vleems Belang party of Belgium, a party that glorifies Belgians who served in the SS, shows this fault line. The glowing mentions of the BNP and right-wing German groups on the movement's blogs show them for the fascists they are.

Most disturbing, though, is the behavior of Jewish anti-jihadists. Jews, of all people, ought to be able to see through the "anti-jihadists." A look at the rhetorical tricks used by the anti-jihadists shows them to be eerily similar to those used, both in ages past and today, by anti-semites. Accusations, for instance, of collusion between the banks and Muslims ought to sound familiar, as should accusations of a great Leftist-Muslim conspiracy. The innuendos about improper relations between Muslim men and non-Muslim women common in the movement also should send warning shivers down the spine of anyone who remembers history. The accusation that Muslims are "parasites," and the officially-disavowed but still-common label of "subhumans" should sicken listeners. While I have not yet seen any accusations that Muslims murder Christian or Jewish babies for Eid, I would not be surprised, as accusations that Muslims fabricate wholesale any violence against them are common in the anti-jihadist sphere.

I know that this seems an odd thing to harp on, since we have our own troubles here, but I believe they are connected. The forces of reaction where many hats, but are united by a hatred for everything we have built over the past few hundred years.

Re: Nixonland.

Speaking as a liberal, when are we going to grow some balls and stop running scared? The right - both the cultural right and the corporate right - has been defining the terms of the game so well for so long that we're scared of our own shadows.

We also love the circular firing squad. I've seen people threaten to vote third party in 2012 on the left because of [insert failure of the Obama campaign/admin here] since the end of the primaries. I've seen people threaten to withhold time and money from the national party because we left Max Baucus stay in, or didn't fight hard enough for Franken, or didn't immediately push for single-payer, or didn't let Kucinich win the primary. Our House Speaker, supposedly our party's leader in Congress, is being challenged in a primary. We love to make things easy for our opponents.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Where to start, where to begin.

I'm not even going to comment on the politics here. I'm just going to look at one statement.
Chris Stigall, a Kansas City talk show host, said, “I wouldn’t let my next-door neighbor talk to my kid alone; I’m sure as hell not letting Barack Obama talk to him alone.” (from NYT).
This is fucking sad. When I was 6(ish, 1993-Matty says "6 and a Half!") my next door neighbor took care of me for a few days when my mom was in the hospital giving birth to my baby sister (Incidentally, also in Kansas City). My first winter living alone, my next door neighbor loaned me and Mike a snow shovel because we were idiots and forgot to buy one. When I first moved in to my apartment, about a week after moving in, I dropped a glass and cut my foot kind of badly. My "next door" (across the hall, I guess, but closest to me), gave me a handfull of band-aids, even thought he didn't know me from Adam. What kind of sad, paranoid Hell is Chris Stigall living in where he distrusts his next door neighbor that much.*

Edit: We took class time out to watch John Glen's return to space when I was in grade school, we watched Colin Powell's speech to the UN in chemistry class sophomore year. I didn't get a damn thing done in health class because I was arguing about the Iraq war with my teacher (who referred to me as his "liberal buddy, Matt"). The idea of interrupting class for a big speech is nothing new.

*the freaking out because the POTUS wants to say "hey, let's not drop out of High School is a different issue.**
** I lied, sorry. I did talk about the politics.