Archive for the 'Mark Steyn Sucks!' Category

May 24 2016

Blind squirrels and acorns

Do sometimes get together.

If you have been coming here for a decent interval you know that I hold both the National Review and the Weekly Standard in utter contempt. I read them to find out how the ill informed voter thinks and to find satire worthy materials. But every so often they produce something praise-worthy and they deserve credit where it is due.

So lets all take a gander at William "The Bloody" Kristol's gem of Shakespere quotes about He, Trump. Enjoy the acorn.

But as to the competition: I asked, "What lines of Shakespeare best characterize Donald Trump?" I stipulated that you'd get no credit for comparing Trump's campaign to "a tale/Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/Signifying nothing." (Macbeth Act V Scene v) That one was just too obvious.

What did you all come up with? Lots of apt Shakespearean descriptions for Trump's campaign or the man himself. I feel I've done a good deed in enticing many of you back to Shakespeare (if you'd ever been away). In any case, here are a few apt and brief contributions (after all, "brevity is the soul of wit").

Regarding the outcome of New York's primary (and probably tomorrow's contests as well):

"Lord, what fools these mortals be!" (A Midsummer Night's Dream Act 3 Scene ii)

Regarding Trump's disparagement of John McCain and other POW's:

"He jests at scars that never felt a wound." (Romeo and Juliet Act II Scene ii)

Regarding Trump himself:

"An infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality." (All's Well That Ends Well Act III Scene vi)

And:

"The empty vessel makes the greatest sound." (Henry V, Act IV Scene iv)

And:

"Masters, do not forget to specify, when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass." (Much Ado About Nothing Act V Scene i)

And regarding the appropriate response to Trump:

"Never, never, never, never, never!" (King Lear V iii)

 

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Apr 02 2016

An unintentional April Fool’s Joke

A traveling man is a happy man. Or should be anyway. Normally I would be happy to be on the road again-even if the trip is back to the Whining States of America. But not this time. Thanks to the machinations of the little psychopath, the meetings I am heading to will be filled with unnecessary conflict. That I do not like. After all:

 

Ah, but such is life. After all those frequent flier miles are not going to earn themselves you know-and I am within 20K of making 1 million.

It was with considerable bemusement that I noted this post, which documented a welcome development-namely a desire to have Universities return to teaching history of Western Civilization ( a staple class for many majors at my beloved alma mater) back in the day. Now, that I will admit is a welcome development and as I have argued before should be a fundamental part of a proper education , regardless of your field of specialization.

In 1964, 15 of the 50 premier universities in America — including Stanford — required students to take a survey of Western civilization. All 50 offered the course, and nearly all of them (41) offered it as a way to satisfy some requirement.

But in the 1980s, minority students and faculty at Stanford asserted that requiring students to take the Western civ survey was implicitly racist. Jesse Jackson marched with an army of protesters chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, Western culture’s got to go.”

In 1988, away it went. Stanford then began requiring a course on a non-Western culture. By 2010, none of the 50 top universities required Western civilization, and 34 didn’t even offer the course.

Stanford students want it back. And they don’t simply want to dust off a shelved syllabus.

The Review writers, led by editor-in-chief Harry Elliott, seek a new way to study old ideas. Students want to know the good — the legacies of reason, freedom and innovation. But they also want to know the bad — the skeletons of wars, slavery and the Holocaust.

They also recognize that we seek equal rights and individual choice because we have inherited Western ideas about freedom and human dignity.

Why study Western civilization? As these students argue in their manifesto, by knowing the West we can understand how knowledge has grown over time; how dictatorships rise and fall; how ideas we now presuppose took many years and much struggle to gain traction; and why these ideas matter. Without such knowledge, students will take the heritage of their civilization for granted and be unable, or unwilling, to defend it.

 

For now we will set aside the fact that this article comes from the New York Post, not exactly a beacon of intellectual integrity, and focus on the conclusions drawn from the development.

Phib, like many conservative "scholars", takes an admirable development and twists it to his own devious purposes. A knowledge of Western Civilization is a good thing, but its is a worthless development if leads you to draw conclusions like this:

The war against what binds us together is trans-generational. The kids of the Progressive Era used the children of the Greatest Generation, the Baby Boomers, as their foot soldiers. Gen X saw the fruits up close when they were in college in the 80s and 90s. Though advancing in some areas, the Diversity Industry has seen a few setbacks as the Boomers approach their dotage and Gen Y gets a footing – good news for all of us.

That last statement is as full of bias as anything the diversity bullies might have said, and in another news flash, most of them do not hate themselves, no matter how much you want them to. The Baby Boomers, of which I am proud to be one, are not to blame for your twisted interpretation of history. You might want to go back and check your bias at the door-there is another conclusion, you know.

The misdeeds of our current economic system are trans- generational. They screw millennials  and boomers alike. And as the parade of Western Civilization proves, when people are deprived of basic necessities and dignity, there is a only so far they will allow it to go. If your cherished vision of American political commonwealth is under attack, it is because the inherent selfishness that underpins your vision of economic justice and "structure to be bound by ideas and principals" is not sustainable in the long term. Government is not, as so many of today's "principled conservatives" believe, transactional in nature. The history of Western Civilization teaches us that.

Or it would teach us that if you had bothered to actually do the homework. At the end of the post, Phib seems to show us,  by his failure to comment on it, that he needs to go back to school.

No matter what field students enter, they are well-served throughout their lives if they know how we got here. They can understand Donald Trump more clearly if they’ve read Machiavelli. They can see why it matters that Bernie Sanders is an intellectual descendent of Karl Marx.

I am afraid you flunked the final exam sir, and will need to retake the course.

This is what happens when people read too much Victor Davis Hanson and Mark Steyn and therefore fancy themselves as "learned" on Western values. Bernie Sanders is nothing like Karl Marx, just as Trump is really not Machiavellian at all. That would be Ted Cruz. If Sanders does owe anything to Mr. Marx, it is his anger at the blatant unfairness that our pursuit of obscene wealth creates. I hate to break it to you, but plenty of other non-communist authors had equal disgust with that unfairness. The Enlightenment is built on it.

Sanders has more in common with Otto von Bismark and FDR than Karl Marx, and much of the ideas he champions had their start economically in the late 1700's and 1848. Sure, he believes in regulated and  taxed private enterprise, but he does not seem to want the state to own banks and make cars. He believes in social benefits for the same reason Bismark did-because they build a stable society. The Germans were also not the first to draw this conclusion. As for Trump, well you should be looking to Wendell Wilkie, not Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli for a historical example.

Stupid study starts tomorrow afternoon.

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Jan 18 2015

Putting Fox News in their place.

I am back in "terrorized" Europe-having spent the last week in the Whining States of America, who-if judging by the news coverage-is collectively losing its mind about what's going on in Europe.  And let me be clear, I am not in anyway diminishing the severity of the incidents that happened in Paris and in Belgium. However, I think we need to put a more positive spin on things-namely that collectively, Europe is working together to identify the bad actors and get their hands on them. And as I noted previously-it was a terrible tragedy.

It was a busy week work wise-made extra difficult by both circumstances and the ablity of United Airlines to set new lows in customer service. The weather was crappy though, so I was able to watch a lot of American TV.

Thus it was fun for me to see, the French responding to the more egregious misreporting in the American news. In a segment entitled 'Shut the Fuck Up-Fox News", Le Petit Journal , CANAL + French version of the daily show provided a great put down of the lying liars at Fox. Since a lot of the videos showing translations on You Tube are edited to allow for translation I thought I would post the full episode here first. Its in French, unfortunately, but if you have any knowledge of the language whatsoever, you will be able to get the drift pretty quickly. I love the part where they post the news editor of Fox News' e-mail address and encouraged French viewers to e-mail Fox and demand an apology to France.

Hey, that's what the City of Birmingham in the UK did-as you will see in the clip below. Enjoy:

 

Fox News ! – Le Petit Journal du 16/01

Even David Cameron, no liberal he, was shocked at how stupid Fox could be. smiley

The translated version of the key segment featured below:

 

 

 

So the next time you hear someone ardently defending Fox as the "counter" to the so called Main Stream media ( which as I have told you repeatedly over the years , no longer exists). Show them this. And then tell them in French or English, to Shut The Fuck Up. (Or  ferme ta gueule ? if you wish).

UPDATE: Here is one more clip from an earlier segment. Check out the mocking "Barbie and Ken" reference.

 

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Jan 10 2015

Busy week.

And what a sad week it has been too.

The news from Paris is sad, tragic and sadly, all too expected in this day and age. In solidarity with the right of a free press to publish what it wants to and not be subject to censorship at the point of a gun- I am republishing one of the Charlie Hedbo cartoons. Oh, and fuck Mohammed too.

 

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And maybe I'll publish another one too.  And while I am at it, fuck Islam. (Click to see propely).

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As angry as this apostate religion makes me; as disgusted as I am with their stupid dietary laws, the shitty way they treat women, the clothing things they make women wear-and how frustrated I am that these people will not assimilate into European society, I also have to think hard on what the facts really are.

Contrary to the assertions of some, Islam is not overrunning Europe:(click to see properly)

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A disgruntled and radicalized minority is indeed a problem as this week has once again shown us. But one needs to remember the world has over a billion Muslims. They are not going away and we can't kill them all-no matter how much some of our neocon masters would like to try. And I also have to remind myself that it is a minority. Most of the Hijab wearing set here in Germany just want to live their lives. (and they speak better German than I do).

So yea, I am disgusted and angry. I'm tired of Islam's sickness infecting parts of the world I like. I want the women to take off the hijabs and abayas, put on some dresses and shoes and dress like a Western woman.  But in the end, cartoonist Joe Sacco may have it right. And with his cartoon I will close. My deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives this week in and around Paris. The Western World HAS to prove that it is better than these thugs. ( Click to see the cartoon properly-its worth reading).

joesaccoonsatire1200

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Jul 10 2014

Recent Reading

On the trip over to Normandy-I had forgotten to charge my I-Pad. So I grabbed a book from the shelf to read on the train. Boy am I glad I did. It was an honor to re-immerse myself in this book.

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Schlesinger, a life long liberal, was also an outstanding historian. And a superb writer. He never struck a mismatched key. For the writing alone-this book is worth a read, but more importantly, it is a stirring defense of humanity in government, and the willingness to adopt a creed other than that which inhabits the current GOP: " I got mine, fuck you!"

One of the most interesting things about reading the letters of Arthur Schlesinger is the quality of the discussion between him and those like Joseph and Stewart Alsop and many others. They held differing view points-but because they had the shared experience of a demanding education, and having to actually earn their way onto a writing staff-and live under an editor, the quality of what they produced was far superior to what the intellectual children, who presume to even think they have a right to sit at the grown ups table, produce now. The Krauthamers, Chunky Bobo, the plagiarist Malkin, all the members of the Liars Club-cretins like William Jacobsen, John Hinderaker, Mark Steyn, 3/4 of the blogosphere ( especially the mil-blogs)-what they produce is trash when held up in comparison to the quality of the writing that went forth from the great writers of the 50's and 60's. Near the end of his life Schlesinger saw this decline of intellectual rigor-and rightly chastised it, particularly those who fell for the shame that was what he called "Gingrichism" in the mid 90's. Altogether great history-a story the above listed children can not even begin to appreciate.

This is worth the money to buy.

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Jun 03 2014

Sideshow Bowe

It is with sad and undisguised disgust that I watch the collective conservative freak out of the release of SGT Bowe Berghdahl, the only prisoner of war held by the Taliban. In the early morning of June 30, 2009, Berghdal went missing from his unit's small outpost in Mest, a restive area in Paktia province. Within several hours, radio chatter from the Taliban indicated that they'd captured the soldier.

He spent the next five years in captivity, growing gaunt in the numerous propaganda videos that the Taliban trickled out to the press. On numerous occasions, they publicly threatened him with execution. Many Afghans and some Westerners in similar positions had been tortured, decapitated, or shot to death.

This passed weekend he was released by his captors in exchange for 5 prisoners being held in the concentration camp prison in Guantanamo Bay. And then the hounds of hell came rushing loose from the caves of the Glibertarian Kingdom.

And who was leading the way? Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods and The Town Hall Harlot herself.  She is pretty much setting a record for hysterical posts screaming about the man, which is a lot considering that this little specimen of female self loathing is always hysterical about something. But in this case-she has her well oiled plagiarism machine working till all hours of the night.

Over on Facebook or any of the normal blogs its no better either. The ranting is especially virulent. It runs along a consistent set of themes:

1) Obama negotiated with terrorists.Which is an interesting whine considering it simply makes him well, President, and is doing the same thing that Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush did.

2) Second, he released some bad guys.  People say he should not have done that. However, as the Christian Science Monitor points out-they were going to have to be released soon anyway:

But dealing with people you find odious – your enemies – is how most wars end. And with the US set for full withdrawal from Afghanistan at the end of 2016, the prospect of a crushing defeat for the Taliban is pretty much nil. Getting POWs back, whatever the circumstances of their capture, a crucial goal.

Did Obama just swap five dangerous "terrorists" for Bergdahl, as Sen. Cruz alleges? It depends on your definition of "terrorism."

Four of the five men released into Qatar's custody, where they are supposed to remain for at least a year before being allowed to return home, were indeed senior members of the Taliban movement. The Taliban have been seeking the release of the five in exchange for Bergdahl since 2011, and there had been fitful progress in that regard, with Qatar acting as a mediator, since at least 2013.

Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai has sought in recent years to find a reconciliation deal with the Taliban, and the release of the "Guantanamo Five" has been a part of those efforts.

 

Boo fucking who. The guy is home and that is the main thing.

3) And of course now we come to the real turd in the punchbowl-the guy is alleged to be a deserter. Soonergrunt over at Balloon Juice addresses this in a quite logical fashion:

I don’t know if SGT Bergdahl voluntarily walked off his camp and surrendered to the enemy or not. Just because a few fellow Soldiers in his unit say that doesn’t make it so. The most powerful communication system in an Infantry company is what we used to call “S-5–rumor control.” I’ve never been in a unit that wasn’t essentially a knitting circle with automatic weapons. Young Soldiers, for whom boredom is an almost constant companion (punctuated by moments of sheer terror) can give the most catty junior high school girls’ clique a run for their money. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong, but I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in it without some corroboration. So I’ll hold off judgment on that. It’s also been brought up that he supposedly sent some emails to one or more people expressing doubts about US military actions. So did I. So have a lot of guys who then went out and did the very best they could do for their buddies and their country. It’s irrelevant anyway.

We’re getting out of Afghanistan, and the treaties to which this nation has repeatedly pledged itself require that we release Prisoners of War and repatriate them home. Taliban are distinct from Al Qaeda in this respect because Taliban could be considered the government forces of Afghanistan (whether legitimate, loved, respected, or not) while AQ isn’t anything but a bunch of thugs under international law. So this idea that we gave up valuable prisoners for one guy and that makes it a bad deal is bullshit on its face. We were going to release them. We were REQUIRED to release them under international law that we largely wrote. Whatever intelligence value they had was long since wrung out of them, in some cases literally. One of them had laid down his arms and pledged to work with the new government of Afghanistan prior to the Pakistani government taking him prisoner more as a propaganda tool and removing a potential political problem than anything else, I am given to understand. So we got something we wanted for doing something now that we would have done in a few months for nothing anyway. That’s not exactly brilliant poker, but it was pretty well played.

We don’t leave our people behind. That’s an Army value. The people ranting about this whole thing either don’t understand or don’t care about that simple concept. Whatever SGT Bergdahl may have done or not done, we don’t leave our people behind. If it hasn’t already, the Army will shortly start a 15-6 investigation, so called in reference to the Army Regulation that describes such things. You’ve probably heard the term “Board of Inquiry.” They are essentially the same thing. When the Army has concluded what the circumstances of SGT Bergdahl’s capture and captivity were, then they’ll make some decisions, but I’ll just note for the record that US POWs have rarely been punished for their actions or inactions while in enemy hands. Many, many of the POWs in Viet Nam, including John McCain signed documents created by their captors confessing to war crimes and indicting their fellow POWs and the US. Former CW4 Michael Durant, taken prisoner by a Somali warlord after being shot down in the battle of Mogadishu (Blackhawk Down) made problematic statements to a TV camera that were subsequently shown around the world. None of these men were ever subjected to disciplinary action upon repatriation to my knowledge.

So I’m glad that SGT Bergdahl will be reunited with his family, at long last.

David Graham over at the Atlantic points out much the same thing-pointing out too, that Obama made clear that he was not going to be bound by a stupid Congressional obstacle if it conflicted with his powers as Commander in Chief.  So much for the "he broke the law argument".

Obviously there is going to be an investigation. The Army will make a decision one way or another. And it will have to weight all the factors including what he suffered in captivity.  And somehow it will have to prove its case in court, if it has one. Personally,  I think all this public outrage is doing the defense attorney's job for him-it will make it impossible to prosecute, even if the Army did want to.

Clearly, however, the collective stupidity shown by all the usual suspects makes me wonder about how screwed up the land of my birth is becoming. Everyone needs to chill the f*ck out and remember this little tidbit of advice:

 

 

Nuff Said.

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Sep 16 2013

And while we are on the subject……

Of Mark Steyn-a completely useless man.

Here's another point of view that highlights my steadfast belief that Mark Steyn should just go fuck himself:

“Had we rolled out something that was very smooth and disciplined and linear, they would have graded it well, even if it was a disastrous policy. We know that, because that’s exactly how they graded the Iraq war,” – President Obama.

So take that-you worthless Canadian turd.

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Sep 15 2013

True to form

I hate Mark Steyn. He is once again proving himself to be the worthless piece of shit that he is.

Over at the National Review, the resident loony bin of the crazed zealots in America, Steyn is crying because he did not get his "splendid little war".

For generations, eminent New York Timeswordsmiths have swooned over foreign strongmen, from Walter Duranty’s Pulitzer-winning paeans to the Stalinist utopia to Thomas L. Friedman’s more recent effusions to the “enlightened” Chinese Politburo. So it was inevitable that the cash-strapped Times would eventually figure it might as well eliminate the middle man and hire the enlightened strongman direct. Hence Vladimir Putin’s impressive debut on the op-ed page this week……….

This is what happens when you elect someone because he looks cool standing next to Jay-Z. Putin is cool mainly in the sense that Yakutsk in February is. In American pop-culture terms, he is a faintly ridiculous figure, with his penchant for homoerotic shirtlessness, his nipples entering the room like an advance security team; the celebrities he attracts are like some rerun channel way up the end of the dial: Goldie Hawn was in the crowd when Putin, for no apparent reason, sang “I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill,” which Goldie seemed to enjoy. In reality, Putin finds his thrill by grabbing Obama’s blueberries and squeezing hard. Cold beats cool.

Maybe someone should remind this douchebag guy of the facts.

1) The majority of the American people do not want to go to war over Syria. The President has to deal, unlike a smug Canadian pundit, with that stark fact.

2) Our own Congress doesn't support it. Except for Daddy Warbucks McCain and Lindsey, "I never met a war I didn't like". Graham, most Congressmen are hearing and heeding the desires of their constituents to stay the hell out.

3) The US has already wasted a lot of its military, economic, and political capital on two failed wars in the Middle East-which in turn sets the back drop by which any military intervention in Syria will be judged.

We'll not even get to the fact of the lives wasted-in these wars that douchebags like Steyn advocated from the safety of their Canadian Citizenship-never having to serve or take any risk themselves.  Like William "The Bloody" Kristol-Steyn is always willing to sacrifice other people's children for the long lost idea of American global hegemony.

See, guys like Steyn can't seem to make up their minds. On the one hand he and his gang of deluded neocon wannabes bemoans the fact that Obama has usurped the Constitution on many issues. ( Soon we will hear the asshole Steyn screaming BENGHAZI for the thousandth time). On the other hand, "If you follow the Constitution, the power to make war resides in the Congress. Period. That the Congress has allowed that power to drain away, and/or that the Congress has allowed its constitutional authority to atrophy, is beside the point. If it wishes to reassert those powers, it is perfectly within its constitutional mandate to do so. Yet that seems to be the very thing that some of the more serious critics of the president's recent actions are arguing against. It is at the heart of every proxy argument being raised about the president's "waffling" or the country's "credibility."

Which is what is really at the heart of Steyn's whining. He could care less about the people of Syria, anymore than he cares about the majority of people in America. He just wants another cudgel to use on Obama, who he has made clear repeatedly he regards as an illegitimate President. What he fails to realize is that it does not cost the US anything to try Putin's proposal-if it fails the option to use force is back on the table, and maybe, just maybe, we might actually stumble onto the real use of force that makes the most sense: a Turkish Invasion of Syria. Which would go a lot farther towards changing the situation "on the ground" and putting the fear of God into Assad.

Syria has a problem-but it is a Syrian problem. US does not have to “own” Syria or Putin's  proposal. That is something that Steyn cannot imagine – because he is so trapped in his stupid dreams of American exceptionalism. An idea whose time has long passed. 

I have a better idea. Let's lob a couple of cruise missiles at Mark Steyn's house. That would provide a decisive result, one that literally thousands of cruise missiles into Syria cannot. It would rid the world of a worthless muck raker-providing him the exit from this mortal coil  he so richly deserves.  It would be a positive result-by eliminating someone or something that is sucking all the positive ideas out of American society.

 

 

 

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Mar 26 2013

Some things remain constant in the universe

Such as the fact that on any given issue, Mark Steyn will be wrong about it. How do you know Steyn is lying? His lips are moving or his fingers are touching a keyboard.

Over at The Atlantic. Conor Friedersdorf points out the latest example of Steyn's hypocrisy by examining his unaplogetic defense of the decision to invade Iraq. You should read Steyn's self serving blabber first, then read Friedersdorf's skilled dissection of it.

He exposes Steyn as the complete hypocrite he has always been.

What neoconservatives never seem to understand is that you go to war with the citizenry that you've got. Urging a war of choice that requires more years of fighting to win than the citizenry will permit is itself an error. If guys like Steyn didn't realize, when they were calling on the U.S. to invade Iraq, that Americans would tire of fighting there after a decade of conflict, thousands of troops killed, and hundreds of billions of dollars spent, they should blame themselves for missing the obvious. If America looks weak for failing to win the war, we have Iraq hawks to blame for urging a war that required far longer to win than a democratic citizenry was ever likely to want to fight (and that might well have been unwinnable regardless of how long we remained an occupying force).

The Iraq hawks would be culpable even if they'd encouraged war without making any predictions about its likely cost. Instead, the hawks spent the pre-war period assuring Americans that victory would be sure and swift; proclaimed "Mission Accomplished" soon after the invasion; and started speculating in those heady days about regime change in Iran and Syria. It isn't ADHD that caused so many to support the invasion only to turn against the occupation. Many of the Americans who changed sides were misled by the faux-assurance of writers like Steyn, who puffed themselves up as if they were speaking obvious foreign-policy truths, openly mocked academics and pundits who warned of impending calamity, and most incredibly, continue all these years later to act as if subsequent events have vindicated their analysis. The hawks who say we'd do well to stay in Iraq and secure Bush's victory aren't winning converts in part because their predictions about how the war would unfold have been proven so spectacularly wrong by events — without their admitting it — that no one takes them seriously.

Some things just never change can always be counted on.  The sun coming up every day, for example, and the fact that you can always count on Mark Steyn to be a douchebag.

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Nov 08 2012

After action report.

Its Thursday now, and after 13 hours of sleep last night-I went to bed at 6:15 PM- I feel much better.

Meanwhile, the post mortems on the election have begun. And as I expected, some people are learning all the wrong lessons. Writing off the results of the election to a bunch of parasites doesn't get you any friends. Giving your pompous speeches on self sufficiency won't either. I already work hard as does just about every member of the 60,000,000 who voted for Obama. The more you guys delude yourself about this misguided idea of "dependency"-the more it makes the rest of the country want to kick your ass. People don't want handouts-they want a level playing field. They want the incredibly rich to understand that decently compensating and benefiting one's employees is not an act of kindness-its an obligation of being part of the civilized world. And they don't want pompous bastards telling them what to do with their bodies-and what they should do if they are raped.

John Cole has it right, "  when you insult folks and dismiss them, they tend to get mad and they tend to want to kick your ass.". That had a lot to do with my feelings on the election-the more I heard that because I felt strongly about decent benefits and wanting what I was entitled to, that I was a "moocher" the more emotionally invested in Obama's victory I became. Well played wingnuts-well played. 

So what are the lessons learned here?

First for the Democrats, they should heed Jon Chait's warning:

Democrats will not keep winning forever. (In particular, their heavy reliance on young and non-white voters, who vote more sporadically, will subject the party to regular drubbings in midterm elections, when only the hardiest voters turn out.) Eventually, the Republican Party will recast and reform itself, and the Democratic Party’s disparate constituencies will eat each other alive, as they tend to do when they lack the binding force of imminent peril. But conservatives have lost their best chance to strike down the Obama legacy and mold the government in the Paul Ryan image.

Which of course begs two important questions. 1) How effectively will the Democrats use that time they have before the day of defeat comes? And 2) How well will they be prepared to persevere when the day of defeat comes? More importantly, will they heed the message that came from the stridency of the folks who didn't vote for Obama? The unspoken message is that admit it or not-steps will need to be taken to get America's financial house in order. The real challenge will be to do so in a responsible fashion that does not resort the Draconian-and quite evil-methods of Romney's running mate, the "zombie eyed granny starver" Ryan. Spending cuts are going to have to come-as is the repeal of the Bush tax cuts. Finding a good middle ground will be hard. And much as he might rightly be able to point to the immensity of the damage done by the idiot who preceded him, in the second term, Obama will own everything that happens, for good or bad.

For the Republicans the lessons are more stark: "Being in bed with extremism doesn't work-it just pisses people off".

Alas I fear that the GOP won't learn this lesson but will learn exactly opposite. The forces of lunacy, who say that the party should be even more conservative are already gearing up their efforts.  The slime is already starting to crawl out of the woodwork, like Herman Cain advocating the creation of a third party. I find this more than a little amusing-since its clear that the GOP could probably have won this election, just as they could have won in 2008,  if they had not gotten so off the deep end groveling to people who are not worthy of anything but utter contempt. The Teabag wing has to be put out of its misery, like Old Yeller,  taken out back and dispatched quickly with aid of a loaded shotgun.

Will the Republican Party mature, reach out, and bring in the old guard centrists who were/are the adult voices in the room so that they can be competitive and work for the Common Good? Or will the Tea Party GOP dig in, become even more extreme, and further obstruct the Common Good in order to advance their increasingly narrow partisan agenda? Does Romney's defeat lead to a more reasonable Republican Party or one that is even more extreme and intransigent? 

 

 

The answer should be a definitive yes-the party has to go back to its roots. Unfortunately this requires and honest understanding of the facts and the truth-and the information machine of conservative American is quite ill equipped to do this. Connor Friedsdorf, writing at The Atlantic points out very well how the right is not served well by its insistence on living in an echo chamber. One big reason that so many conservatives are disappointed today-is that they had no one telling them the honest truth. They believed they could live in a world where they made up the "facts"-and they bought those lies hook line and sinker. In a proper world, it should lead to a massive loss of revenue for Fox and a decline in readership for  Hinderaker and the rest of the swine like William Jacobsen who inhabit the Liars Club. But it won't:

Barack Obama just trounced a Republican opponent for the second time. But unlike four years ago, when most conservatives saw it coming, Tuesday's result was, for them, an unpleasant surprise. So many on the right had predicted a Mitt Romney victory, or even a blowout — Dick Morris, George Will, and Michael Barone all predicted the GOP would break 300 electoral votes. Joe Scarborough scoffed at the notion that the election was anything other than a toss-up. Peggy Noonan insisted that those predicting an Obama victory were ignoring the world around them. Even Karl Rove, supposed political genius, missed the bulls-eye. These voices drove the coverage on Fox News, talk radio, the Drudge Report, and conservative blogs. 



Those audiences were misinformed.



Outside the conservative media, the narrative was completely different. Its driving force was Nate Silver, whose performance forecasting Election '08 gave him credibility as he daily explained why his model showed that President Obama enjoyed a very good chance of being reelected. Other experts echoed his findings. Readers of The New York TimesThe Atlantic, and other "mainstream media" sites besides knew the expert predictions, which have been largely born out. The conclusions of experts are not sacrosanct. But Silver's expertise was always a better bet than relying on ideological hacks like Morris or the anecdotal impressions of Noonan. 

Sure, Silver could've wound up wrong. But people who rejected the possibility of his being right? They were operating at a self-imposed information disadvantage.

Conservatives should be familiar with its contours. For years, they've been arguing that liberal control of media and academia confers one advantage: Folks on the right can't help but be familiar with the thinking of liberals, whereas leftists can operate entirely within a liberal cocoon. This analysis was offered to explain why liberal ideas were growing weaker and would be defeated.


For all the conservative whining about the "main stream media" they missed the main point-those folks understand the profession of journalism far better than their conservative counterparts. Jon Stewart pointed this out a couple of times last year when interviewed by Fox. The media as a whole is not biased politically-it is biased towards sensationalism .Still, even with that handicap they for the most part kicked the right wing news media's ass:

In conservative fantasy-land, Richard Nixon was a champion of ideological conservatism, tax cuts are the only way to raise revenue, adding neoconservatives to a foreign-policy team reassures American voters, Benghazi was a winning campaign issue, Clint Eastwood's convention speech was a brilliant triumph, and Obama's America is a place where black kids can beat up white kids with impunity. Most conservative pundits know better than this nonsense — not that they speak up against it. They see criticizing their own side as a sign of disloyalty. I see a coalition that has lost all perspective, partly because there's no cost to broadcasting or publishing inane bullshit. In fact, it's often very profitable. A lot of cynical people have gotten rich broadcasting and publishing red meat for movement conservative consumption. On the biggest political story of the year, the conservative media just got its ass handed to it by the mainstream media. And movement conservatives, who believe the MSM is more biased and less rigorous than their alternatives, have no way to explain how their trusted outlets got it wrong, while the New York Times got it right. Hint: The Times hired the most rigorous forecaster it could find. It ought to be an eye-opening moment.

It would be nice if folks would learn the right lessons from this and move back to a more balanced seeking of information-but they won't. And ass rockets like the National Review and Michael Barone are determined not to let them. Which leads to one final point, this cycle of self destruction cannot continue. Americans have to figure out how to have political conversations without them devolving into a shouting match. I tried to have one at work today with my incredibly still pissed off co-workers. It failed miserably. The Economist writing in a post yesterday points out I am not alone in this dilemma.

 

AFTER a panel discussion on the US elections hosted by a Dutch radio station the other night, I got to talking to a fellow American who's looking for work stateside. His Dutch government-funded job had been eliminated by austerity measures, so he was trying to convince his wife of the virtues of moving back to America. The main reason he was hesitating was the mood of vicious and increasingly entrenched political animosity. "Do you get the feeling," he asked, "that it could get violent?"

I said I didn't know. But it's certainly not a silly question. A recent broadcast of "This American Life", which focused on people who have lost close friends in recent years over politics, seemed to capture the mood pretty accurately. One sequence portrayed a student with a life-threatening pre-existing condition that until recently rendered him uninsurable, who has stopped talking to a conservative friend who refuses to support ObamaCare because he said it felt as though the friend didn't value his life. A conservative man describes being unable to continue talking to a former friend who supports a president he is convinced is destroying the country. Two sisters can't agree on who is being rude and condescending to whom after a furious falling-out over political philosophy.

Barack Obama has just won re-election, but America remains a country bitterly divided, as it has been for well over a decade. The divide is simultaneously very narrow in numerical terms, and gaping in ideological or partisan terms. This is what strikes one most strongly looking back at America from across an ocean: the country seems repeatedly embroiled in savage 51-49 electoral campaigns, and it seems to be increasingly paralyzed by irresolvable rancor between right and left.

And think about it for a second: this is bizarre. If Americans are in fact divided between two extremely different political ideologies, it would be an extraordinary coincidence if each of those philosophies were to hold the allegiance of nearly equal blocs of support. That situation ought not to be stable. Adherence to these two ideologies ought to shift enough just due to demographics that the 50-50 split should deteriorate. And yet the even split seems to be stable. What's going on?

 

I'm not sure-but I blame a part of it on my tea sniffing friends who have decided that there are moral absolutes in politics. There are not, and it would be better if we stopped pretending that there were. Realistic arguments over policy don't happen any more especially in places that are rather backward to begin with,  like it was in Alabama. After enough bad starts you quickly learn to avoid politics altogether, since it is impossible to have a political conversation. Every conversation one tries to have risks a descent into Republican talking point hell. When I try to refute those points with facts, it falls on deaf ears. This has to change.

Setting aside the policy issues we're facing over the next four years, I think the most immediate need is for Americans to find a way to live civilly with each other. "This American Life" brought on a pair of writers, liberal Phil Neisser and conservative Jacob Hess, who've written a book ("You're Not as Crazy as I Thought (But You're Still Wrong)") about their efforts to find a way to talk to each other and agree to disagree on fundamental philosophical and moral issues. There need to be a lot more similar efforts along these lines. This election has put Barack Obama back in office, and returned him a Democratic Senate and a Republican House. Over the next four years, legislative battles are going to continue to be savage and hard-fought. Neither conservatives nor liberals are going to change their minds en masse about fundamental issues of political philosophy. The top priority is for Americans to figure out a way to keep these divisions from dividing the country into two hostile armed camps that are incapable of talking to each other.

The extremes have gotten too much influence on both sides of the aisle. The biggest lesson learned is that the center has to come back to the fore and the extremists have to be marginalized so we can go back to having the national conversation that must be had-what kind of a nation does the citizenry want to build and how do we work together to achieve it?

That's a lesson we all should be able to learn. But, alas, I fear the US just won't want to.

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