January 15, 2005

Yeah, but "Waterplame" sounds like a hippie birthing technique

Greg joins the "stop with the -gate" bandwagon.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:43 PM

The Kos thing

I really don't even understand why some high-tier bloggers are even bothering to continue this discussion. It amazes me that once a suggestion has been thrown out by the Right- "say, didn't John Kerry molest a retarded baby in Vietnam?"- that anyone on the Left actually thinks that'll be eliminated from discourse.

We seem to have some fascination with the economy of the blogosphere all of a sudden... let's talk about the psychology of the blogosphere for a minute, okay?

Bloggers don't care. They just don't. They don't care if anything they say is one hundred percent pure bullshit. If they can feel good about themselves and extract one more day of joy out of their meaningless non-blog lives by snarking in someone's comments section, they will.

The accusations about Kos being a Armstrong Williams-esque shill for Howard Dean are bullshit. Everyone knows it. Why are we even bothering trying to legitimately counter it? It's bullshit, we all know it's bullshit, the right-wingers all know it's bullshit. But they know the "Al Gore invented the internet" line is bullshit too, and you still see it in weblog comments.

Oliver Willis or Jesse Taylor could write 2,000 of the most eloquent, intelligent words on the dangers of the current Middle East crisis. Within the first five comments, some dipshit loser will simply respond "oh, I suppose you'd rather have the army run by a guy who raped a retard in 'Nam, wouldn't you?"

They don't care. They don't care about their own self-evaluations. What matters- the only thing that matters- is that they said something they think was really clever on the comments section of some person they've likely never met.

In the three years I've been blogging I've seen college professors knowingly lie. I've seen gay men sell out their very soul for the sake of pretending that their President doesn't consider them an abomination. I've seen brilliant women with the most clever minds for pop culture force themselves to act stupid for the sake of convincing themselves of the infallibility of recent foreign policy. The right-wing blogosphere has removed itself from any realm of rational discourse and instead established only one principle: win the argument. It doesn't even matter to them what the fucking argument is. If some liberal said something, they're either a hypocrite, a liar, or a traitor. Don't worry, you'll make some shit up to validate that a little later.

The Daily Show has proven this: we've entered an age of satire. There is no other correct response. It's why I'm a cartoonist; because when these people from the WSJ and the American Spectator walk up and say "Markos Moulistas was a paid shill for the Dean campaign!" you just have to laugh.

Kos- it doesn't matter. Someone's made this comment about you. Two years from now, someone will make some kind of swipe about Kos and being paid by Howard Dean. There's nothing that's going to stop the right-wingers from doing it. It's their new code. Their new plaything. Their new copy-and-paste clever snark to make themselves feel like they "really got you there" instead of actually having a point. You've already proven it's bullshit. There's nothing more to do.

So just laugh at them. Because both you and they know it's bullshit. And when you laugh at them, and keep laughing, they realize their attempt to snark your comments section didn't work.

Update: In response to Atrios, I agree with what he said. I just want to clarify that by "not bothering" I don't mean we shouldn't fight back. Hell, I wouldn't be working where I am now if I didn't believe in fighting back.

My point is that this conversation has been declared irrelevant by the right-wing bloggers. It's part of their ammo now, and there's little that can be done about it by means of factual rebuttal. They don't care. No one proved that the Killian memos were forgeries, only that their accuracy wasn't verified. It doesn't matter- the Right will, until the end of time, say that they "proved CBS aired fake memos." They'll say until the end of time that Bill Clinton was a rapist, that Al Gore said he invented the internet, and that Richard Gere shoved a live gerbil up his anus.

I remember the day I became politically active. It was my senior year of high school and I was repairing my computer in front of the TV watching the House of Representatives vote to impeach the President of the United States. And my reponse to the only other occupant of the room- my cat- was not a listing of factual rebuttals or mentioning the hypocrisy of Bob Livingston, but a simple, gut reaction- "Are you fucking kidding me?"

I think there are way too many times when we actually bother to entertain these attempts from warbloggers to feel much more important about what they're doing than they actually are. I think shows like Crossfire would have survived- and thrived- if people on the left just responded to Bob Novak by saying "are you fucking kidding me?" and staring his bullshit down with supressed laughter until he ran off the stage crying. Conservatives try to implicate the left for "lowering the discourse." They're not worried about us lowering- or raising- the discourse. They're worried that we might get a clue and stop engaging them in discourse.

We've raised Ann Coulter to new heights by trying to counter her. She doesn't care. Michael Moore is delegitimized by the Right by means of sarcasm and humor. Dean was destroyed by jokes about the scream. If Crossfire opened every show with "and look what that crazy bitch said today," followed by a shot of Paul and James laughing their asses off, Ann Coulter would be the leggiest assistant corporate attorney in Accounts Recieving right now.

The right-wing bloggers don't want to hear our rebuttals. The President doesn't want to hear the Democrats' counter-proposals. History will never look back on this time and discuss how changes were made through the art of rational bipartisan discussion. But I'm damn sure history has a chance to look back on this era... and laugh.

Second update: fixed earlier spelling errors.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:45 AM

January 14, 2005

Sometimes you can't see it when it's directly in front of you

I'm not trying to brag about saying it first or anything, but I'm honestly happy to see that other people have started to notice the blatantly obvious thing I noticed very quickly after the election: until otherwise noted, the Democratic frontrunner for 2008 is still John Kerry.

Once again, I'll point out that there's a huge span of time from now until then, but once again I'll point out that they were writing articles about Kerry in 2001. If Kerry's thinking of giving it another go, it won't be long until we start to see signs.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:28 AM

Speaking of working for think tanks

Apparently, being illegally and covertly paid by the White House to push domestic policy is exactly the same thing as declaring openly that you're working for a political candidate.

Jesus. If people like Glenn Reynolds pretend any harder to be stupid, do you think they could actually forget how to breathe?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:07 AM

Who funds the Watchmen

I'm going to have to disagree with the Editors on their pessimistic take on Soros and other left-wing think-tank financiers:

It's great that the nice left-wing billionaires gave us all this money, but it's a fucking sad commentary on the state of liberal politics that we have to rely on sympathetic billionaires for support. I'm not sure that there's an endless supply of sympathetic billionaires out there to prop us up.
Now, admittedly, I'm no longer impartial in this situation. As most of you are aware, as of three months ago I've been working for one of those think-tanks.

These comments are my own, and part of the personal hobby that is this site- and with that I should say that one of the reasons I wanted to work for the Center is because of my disagreement with The Editors' argument. They're looking at this as if this isn't exactly how the right wing has been working- and succeeding- for the last two decades, possibly longer.

First of all, every single one of these think tanks, both left and right, are non-profit organizations. By definition, they rely on the financial backing of donations. In fact, given these groups, not to mention the cries for public-backed election systems, what part of American politics isn't dominated by the funding of private donors?

As for the billionaires: with the exception of people like Jerry Falwell, who exploit a religious angle to line their coffers, there's hardly a right-wing think-tank that's in the black without the help of multi-millionaires. The Washington Times is a money-losing publication, and Murdoch barely turns a profit with the New York Post- a magazine so wretched he had to lower the cost of the paper to twenty-five cents just to compete with the Daily News. Richard Mellon Scaife and John Olin have given tens of millions over the last decade to groups ranging from pundit war rooms to the College Republican Party.

Republicans should be worried that liberals are promising to offer more money: it's the most powerful tool against them. They know this, because they've been using the same strategy since before I was born.

Are The Editors correct that there isn't an unlimited supply of billionaires? Yes. And they're right in any implication that the Right has far more of them than we do. But saying that liberals want to give us millions of dollars to fund progressive organizations like the Center, or Media Matters, or MoveOn- the organizations that frankly any successful liberal is going to need on their side for this new era of politics- is absurd.

Liberals have been whining for years that we need to fight back against the right. That's exactly what places like my office, among many other things, does. Our resources to do so don't exactly come from magic elves in a hollow tree.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:01 AM

January 13, 2005

Complete and total failure

Courtesy of a DailyKos user, here's a comprehensive list of the Bush Administration's utter bullshit on Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:51 AM

January 12, 2005

I'm on the internets

A new single-panel strip is up at the website of the American Progress Action Fund. Enjoy.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 4:45 PM

Freedom on the march

Simply amazing. The three most prominent stories for the last week from the "everything's going swell in Iraq!" department have been:

Rationalizing the creation of Salvadorian-style death squads in Iraq,

Proposing that we imprison captured "enemy combatants" permanently- for the rest of their lives, without any form of trial or even evidence against them.

And finally, this is all in light of the announcement that we have officially called off the search for WMDs.

Huh? What? Something about Brad and Jennifer?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:11 AM

Random dribblings of the morning

1. I happen to love the term "payola." It's just so fun to say. You actually picture payola as something of tangible form; as if payola was a breakfast cereal. "Armstrong Williams liked to put chopped bananas and 1% lowfat milk on his payola." "Payola: it's part of a balanced breakfast."

2. I have become utterly fed up with using "gate" as a suffix. Every major scandal that happens in this country should not be called "something"-gate. We're already calling the Williams thing Payolagate. Jesus, that's stupid. Stop it now. Think of a new word. The magic new word people managed to come up with "payola" all those years ago!

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:33 AM

January 11, 2005

Because I'm a f%*&ing dork, okay?

For reasons of- well, nostalgia, I guess, I decided to fire up my old copy of Final Fantasy VII. For reasons I am positive relate to complete insanity, I found myself choking up within five minutes of Aeris' theme music playing.

This game is eight years old, for crap's sake. Is is a Pavlov thing? Like when Bambi's mom gets shot or something? I haven't played this game since sophomore year of college and as soon as I start playing the damn thing my mind immediately goes "Dude- you know what's gonna happen. And Cloud will never be able to love her."

I swear, if I can do just one thing before I die, it's write a story that can do that to people. In the meantime, I think I'm going to go find a Complete and Utter Dork support group.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:42 PM

One final snark

No, I don't condemn any right-wingers for salivating over the CBS firings, but I do have to make one final note on this whole deal.

Despite the bragging and braying from conservatives and Guys With Websites who "defeated" Dan Rather, there's still the slight issue of Bush's Guard service- something that, in the midst of the outrage over typography, everyone seemed to stop discussing.

A series of unverified documents was enough to send the right side of the blogging aisle into nuclear mode, and in the end, four people have lost their jobs, and the multi-decade career of Dan Rather finishes with a frayed end. And while claiming victory, the conservatives seem to have no issue about the actual questions raised by CBS' original investigation. Was Bush AWOL? What happened during his lost year? Why did he fail to take his flight physical and become grounded? These were not important, but attacking Dan Rather for screwing up was.

So while I don't have any major love or admiration for Dan Rather, I offer him this bit of comfort in light of the possibility that this incident will be his legacy: if these conservatives have proven anything, it's that they clearly hold you to a standard higher than they do the President of the United States.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:15 PM


And you thought the November 2 election was an example of how divided-down-the-middle this country was: the DNC chair race has two apparent frontrunners: an anti-abortion Southern Democrat who works part-time at a conservative think tank... and Howard Dean.


Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:12 AM


Just to be clear after my previous outburst, I'm not defending Armstrong Williams here. He did something highly unethical, and the White House very likely did something illegal. My point was this is an issue that really rises about the stupid "so why isn't (insert side diametrically opposed to my view) talking about (insert issue to which that side clearly looks bad)?" argument.

I agree with everything Atrios says in this post. But as far as, for example, Glenn Reynolds not talking about Williams... well, duh. Of course Reynolds doesn't want to talk about Armstrong Williams. It's just silly to think that the response from the right was going to be anything other than the response they gave for Abu Ghraib, Enron, and Rush Limbaugh being a drug addict- for the first few days they claim it's not really a bad thing. Then, when that's completely and utterly impossible to claim anymore, they claim it's "not so bad" which allows the inevitable declaration that those damn liberals are being "unfair."

If you say this certain blog hasn't said something, they'll link to another blog that did, because all blogs are individual- until they need to represent the ideology as a whole. Long story short: you can't win, because they only want to argue on the ground rule that they're already right.

It's part of a general rule I discovered a while back: the nature of liberals is to identify hypocrisy. The nature of conservatives is to claim martyrdom. Conservatives are going to talk about issues like these. They're just going to do it on their terms, when they have just as much an opportunity to whine about liberals being hypocrites as liberals have to point out when conservatives are flip-flopping.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:03 AM

January 10, 2005

Jesus tap-dancing Christ

In light of the numerous liberals cleverly demanding to know why various conservative bloggers have not sufficiently discussed Armstrong Williams and the numerous conservatives cleverly demanding to know why various liberal bloggers have not sufficiently discussed CBS, I would like to take this opportunity to personally rise above the fray and declare the utmost confidence in the size of my own penis.

I swear to god, the half of the blogosphere that isn't run by five-year-olds is run by monkeys who like to hurl their own shit at each other.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:54 PM

Newest comic - "You'd think by now"

With the redesign, you'll see the home page now has the nifty feature of a direct link to the most recent cartoon in the upper right corner. Please, enjoy.

On a side note, this strip reminded me I have yet to actually take advantage of the proximity to the areas more, shall we say, sympathetic to the established losers of the War Between the States that apparently litter nearby sections of Virginia. While I'm not exactly jumping up for joy at the prospect of visiting the Confederate Museum or anything, I suppose I'll have to check it out, if only to actually see what happens if I actually use the term "get over it" in from of anyone in the building. Odds are it will involve being chased down I-395 in a pickup truck.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:21 AM