June 3, 2005

City on the Edge of Completely Insane

As Ezra notes, it's close to impossible to read Ben Stein's assesment that Deep Throat's assistance in Nixon's departure from the White House led to the Khmer Rouge genocide and not conclude that Ben Stein is at the very least a pathetic partisan and in the highest liklihood totally out of his mind. Luckily, his rhetoric is backed up by that ever-lovin' bastion of rational thought and unbiased moderation, Peggy Noonan.

By Noonanstein's logic, if we could go back and time and stop Felt from bringing down Nixon, we should, for the sake of several hundred thousand Cambodian lives. It's the "would you kill Hitler" debate addressed in many a time-travel movie, only with the idea that stopping a man from reporting one of the great crimes of this nation is a good thing, and a script written by two right-wing lunatics with a maternal devotion to a political party not seen since Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate.

Strangely, this seems almost a kneejerk reaction in line with those used to defend Bush's gross incompetence over the last three years in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Right defends Bush's failure to capture bin Laden and the death of over 1,600 soldiers in a bogus WMD hunt by complaining that The Liberal Media™ simply isn't reporting all the good news to come out of the disaster. Similarly, devotees of all things not-liberal such as Stein and Noonan are so desperate to whitewash that fact that Nixon was, you know, a frikkin' criminal sociopath, that they'll argue that we're simply not reporting his stature as the only force protecting the Lower Asian Peninsula from being massacred. Gosh, it's almost as if Nixon secretly did things that were so great they overshadowed massive criminal activities. And to think, only two people fanatically devoted to him noticed it. Funny, that.

Let's hope some of Ben Stein's Money is going toward whatever medication you take for massive delusions of grandeur.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 4:27 PM

June 2, 2005

It's totally unfair the way you don't talk about Lee Harvey Oswald's great penmanship

The Washington Post's closing chapter on Deep Throat is barely dry (warning- spoilers!) and the painfully expected comparisons from the Right have already begun- it's a clear sign of liberal media bias that Linda Tripp is villified for gloating about her subversive, deliberate attempts to entrap and destroy the President, while a mysterious, unidentified informant to two young reporters portrayed by captivating Hollywood actors that spawned a growing sense of political intrigue over three decades is, for some strange reason, of interest to the American people. Damn liberal media!

Personally, I think the conservatives would have a better chance blaming John Goodman for the SNL skits. It makes almost as much sense. But we've seen the argument before- Conservatives declare the media "liberal" and then use it as an excuse to justify Fox News. Now, conservatives declare Felt and Tripp's actions equal to justify outrage over not treating their actions equally. Ironically, Felt's actions led to the criminal prosecution of numerous conspirators for legitimate crimes, while Tripp's phone hijinks led to one single indictment- her own.

Which of course leads to the other attempted comparison here- Nixon broke the law, but it's okay, because we say Clinton did too. Forget the fact that Felt claimed the President was a criminal and helped prove it, whereas Tripp claimed the President was a criminal and failed miserably to do so- something that might be a slight factor in history's judgement of the two's relevance. Claiming a lack of fairness in the revelations of Clinton's crimes avoids the key issue that right-wingers hate to be reminded of: outside of xeroxed pamphlets and fundraising videos, there weren't any revelations. It's almost comical- convicted felons are on TV right now complaining that Felt revealed the truth and he should have kept his mouth shut, while their accomplices on the right side of the blogosphere are bitching that no one wants to listen to their nonsense about the 78 people Clinton ordered killed.

The only thing that suprises me here is that Jonah Goldberg of all people is actually jumping in on this, as if the blatant fact that his mommy was a key player in the Clinton witch-hunt and in fact directly instructed Tripp to break the law doesn't have any bearing on his viewpoint. Then again, MSNBC had Gordon Liddy on last night explaining the merits of virtue and legal obedience, so on second thought, go ahead, Jonah, ride that rocket. A conflict of interest seems to be the most dangerous form of conflict you're interested in volunteering for anyway.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 4:13 PM

June 1, 2005

Beyond Godwin

Pandamanda highlighted an article this morning by the right-wing loonies at Human Events Online called "The Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries." Here's a tip for those of you with not a lot of time to spare: you only need to read the first two on the list. That's the purpose of the entire article.

Amanda notes:

The other big surprise is that the distinguished (as it can be with Phyllis Schlafly on it) panel didn't supress their worst urges and put The Communist Manifesto above Mein Kampf. You'd think these fuckers would be grateful to the Commmies for giving the news a reason to pretend that Reagan wasn't a mean old asshole who supported apartheid during the 5 year long funeral.
Unfortunately, Amanda has missed the point entirely. I knew before even clicking the link that The Communist Manifesto would be #1, with Mein Kampf right under it. That's the entire point.

The list is meaningless, and not in the "I'm a liberal and therefore think this is meaningless" sense, but in the sense of, Human Events doesn't actually have a list. It's pointless. The purpose of this article was, in a subtle but influential way, to emphasize the growing right-wing theme that Communism surpasses Nazism as the greatest evil of all time.

It's the "beyond Godwin" strategy- since it's taboo and ineffective to compare liberals and other non-conservatives to Nazis, the Right wants to make Communism the great evil of the next generation in order to make more effective comparisons. Both socialist and fascist rhetoric exist in today's version of democracy- yet only the former are villified by the Right because of this strategy. "Socialized medicine" is enough to destroy months of proposals for universal health care, yet the suggestion that indefinite incarceration of declared state enemies is somewhat contrary to the Framers' intentions is met with horrific scowls of "partisanship" from... well... the folks at Human Events Online.

There's the other big component as well: Nazis were before Reagan, and emphasizing the evil of the Soviets by comparison adds even more weight to the righteousness of Saint Ronald. This is one of those subtle excercises from right-wingers in branding Communism as the greatest evil to face mankind, not out of the actual belief that's the case, but in the knowledge that shaping it as such makes those depicted as its conquerors even more majestic.

That doesn't mean Communism wasn't bad [/understatement of the century] but it's quite clear that there are political motives behind taking an evil power and emphasizing its evil to make your opposition to it seem even more righteous. Those who disagree haven't been reading the news for the last 36 months.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 2:02 PM

May 31, 2005

Damn fine weather

If you live in California, there is officially no longer any reason to watch the Weather Channel ever again. Why would you, when David Lynch can just tell you the weather.

I. Am. Not. Kidding.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:22 PM
Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:03 PM

Say what?

Cheney predicts eventual victory on Larry King:

In a wide-ranging interview Monday on CNN's "Larry King Live," Cheney cited the recent push by Iraqi forces to crack down on insurgent activity in Baghdad and reports that the most-wanted terrorist leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had been wounded.

The vice president said he expected the war would end during President Bush's second term, which ends in 2009.

"I think we may well have some kind of presence there over a period of time," Cheney said. "The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

So the "last throes" of the insurgency will end... sometime in the next four years or so? Lovely.

Update: Marshall caught it too.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:26 AM

May 30, 2005

Huge Memorial Day Promotions

Via TBogg, yet another right-winger sporting a Michelle Malkin brand "Support .05% of our Troops" sticker on the side of his laptop complains about the Memorial Day Doonesbury strip listing the names of those who fell in Iraq:

In his neverending quest to promote himself, Garry Trudeau has devoted "Doonesbury" to listing the deaths in Iraq. Ignore him. He is a controversy junkie.
He then lists the names of those who died on September 11th.

Heh. Interesting. So.... the nationally-syndicated cartoonist doing a memorial strip is listing the names of the dead because he's a "controversy junkie" in a "neverending quest to promote himself." Some sniveling little coward with a weblog, however, is deliberately raising a controversy about the strip, followed by listing the names of the dead in a quest to promote himself... by god, that man's a hero.

No, no... wait. Yeah, he's actually a cowardly little asshole who decided that the only troops he gives a shit about are the ones who died in a way that makes his views feel validated. I got it right the first time.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:42 PM