Friday, November 18, 2005

Lambasting O'Reilly

Many people -- including yr obt svt --have been screaming about Tub-O-Turd O'Reilly's comments apparently calling for a terrorist attack on San Francisco. Via Blondesense, I ran across The Dark Wraith, who posted an open letter to O'Reilly. Unlike much of my writing, the point is made without name-calling, oaths, or other degradation (although being mean to neocon wingnuts is one of the high points of my day).

This is a tremendously impressive piece of writing, even for a professor.

Herewith, and by permission, is the Wraith's "Open Letter to Bill O'Reilly":

Special Blog Post:An Open Letter to Bill O'Reilly

Dear Mr. O'Reilly:

You have received a small share of wrath from bloggers who are appalled and revulsed by your invitation to al-Qa'ida to bomb San Francisco without fear of retribution. That you deserve every angry word that has been published about you is not in dispute: you have earned that animus in its full measure, and you should receive more. Much more. Your right to speak your mind does not include the privilege of a wide audience; you should be fired that you may learn the right of speech carries the accountability for its consequences.

Far more diversity than you imagine may be found in the voices arrayed against you. I am hopeful that you will publish my Website in the list of your enemies: those who might have found some reason to continue their support for you need to see that your simplification of the world is not merely dangerous, but wrong, too.

I was born into a Republican family. I grew up during the Cold War.

Contrary to the facile way that era is now treated by many, the times were complicated and perilous, both at home and abroad; great men confronted the issues of those times. I learned to be what is now sometimes derisively called a "Rockefeller Republican." One of my uncles was a member of the Sierra Club; another was gay. My parents left a church, never to return, the Sunday the preacher thundered against John F. Kennedy. Eisenhower was a great man, but his vice president was something of a toad; and Barry Goldwater was just a little bit "out there" somewhere, more of a mild embarrassment than a contribution. Both of those men, though, regardless of how history and the institutional Left might treat their legacies, came to contribute something to the society. Despite their great flaws, I hold no grudge against either. They were Americans, and so am I.

The enemy back then was Communism, and its armies were to be vigilantly kept in check on a global chessboard, where most of the moves–actually, all of the good moves–were incremental. Nameless Air Force pilots patrolled the cold, night skies to keep us safe; young grunts tried to keep their eyes open through the miserable nights at Checkpoint Charlie; gunners stood watch ready, but never really believing, that those hills way out there on the plains of Europe could one day be a sea of Russian tanks to target in furious hails of artillery bombardment.

Men of long experience and extraordinary wisdom met with others of the same kind in places all over the world to maintain, and once in a great while expand, our sphere of influence. Occasionally, we made deals with the Devil, but we usually told ourselves that one day we'd get rid of him once and for all. That was the incremental vision of a world that we should hand off, generation after generation, a little better than we received it.

At home, we did our best to allow the tide of a liberal society to flow forward through the second half of the 20the Century, while trying to keep that inevitable process slow and introspective. That part was harder than keeping the Communists at bay: the American society was just bursting at the seams with new ideas, and everyone wanted everything to happen right then and there. Unrepentant kids wanted to tear it all down, and blustering ignoramuses wanted to hang them all in the streets.

Those who managed our world and our government were educated in the best traditions of Western Civilization. They had learned the lessons of history, philosophy, and science; and they were able to infuse into their policies and decisions a secular, rational mindset. They saw themselves as the caretakers of the Age of Reason, without any doubt at all that this was the age for all future ages.

All of that is gone, now. Men and women of your kind now stand prominent and proud in bitter anger at a world that is not exactly as you want it. An influential religious leader like the Reverend Pat Robertson warns that natural disasters will befall those whose beliefs and practices differ from his; an influential former political man like William Bennet says that crime rates would be lower if only we would remove people of color from our society; and you, sir, literally call down the most violent and destructive of our enemies—enemies who hate our nation, our beliefs, and even our very ways—upon those with whom you disagree on politics and social policies.

My God, Mr. O'Reilly, can you not see—can you not grasp—the utter shamefulness of what you said? What tribal, primitive god, or more precisely, what demon in the mask of a god, brought you to what you are?

Were you my boy, I would take a belt to you; and I would do so every time you opened your mouth to spew such filth. You see, Mr. O'Reilly, I'm Old School; and even though I abide to the extent I can the wise words of men like the rabbi from Nazareth, I haven't an eternity to wait for the world to come to my way of seeing things.

Make no mistake, though, sir: were you to be in the way of harm from our common enemies, I would defend you. That is the call of duty. More importantly, however, I would choose to defend you. That is the call of honor.

But should men, women, and children suffer and die because you have delivered them to the murderous hands those enemies, I would take action. Were the civil society unable, infected as it is by men of minds like yours, to decline the obligation to exact retribution upon you, then I would have no qualm in exacting vengeance upon you.

Should you exhort your followers to seek pro-active harm to me, ensure first that they do not read this open letter. You might find that, when they have seen what I have to say, they will find that I am not as you have characterized all who disagree with you; you might find, instead, that they would affirm that you do, indeed, need that belt taken to you. You might find that they, too, are Old School.

And you might find that, unlike you, sir, most Americans are people of honor.

The Dark Wraith has spoken to you, Mr. O'Reilly.

I had not read the Wraith prior to seeing his letter. Now, however, he has been added to the list of commentators I check daily. He should be added to your daily checks, as well. In addition to the letter lambasting O'Reilly, the Wraith (a professor of economics, math, and finance, among other things) is running a crash course on economics... which might finally let me understand the stuff I couldn't grasp in Econ 101, lo, these 30 years ago.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Update on O'Reilly=Terrorist Symapthizer

Okay, I'm slow, I admit it. I got permission from Skippy to post his comments back on Saturday; his original post was on Friday. Here it is Monday night (check your local calendar for date where you are), and...

It's already done.

Go to Google, enter "terrorist sympathizer", click "I feel lucky" and -- volia! -- there's Bill "Tub-O-Turd" O'Reilly's pitiful excuse for a website.

Thank you Skippy (and all the others, especially at Kos).

Target? No, thanks.

The lovely-yet-talented Mrs 618 and I have enjoyed shopping at Target for years. Now, however, Target has knuckled under to the mouth-breathin', Bible-thumpin, hooker-humpin', sister-marryin', gun-rack-in-the-pickmup, neoconpoop wingnut brigade. As reported on AmericaBlog, Target is now letting their pharmacists force their religious beliefs on their customers, by refusing to fill prescriptions -- prescriptions, mind you, signed by an MD-type -- for the "Plan B" emergency contraceptive, if it goes against their beliefs. In fact, Target says (first) that this is required under the Civil Rights Act, but also says (second) that "Plan B" is the only product to which this particular civil right applies.

I don't know about you, but if Target is gonna let the mouth-breathers tell a woman she can't have "Plan B" after being raped (or even if she got drunk and made a mistake), I don't think I need to spend my hard-earned money supporting them. It's bad enough I have to support the neoconpoops (and I would like to thank whoever coined that term) through payments to the IRS.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Bombing O'Reilly

After O'Reilly's comments the other day (about how al Qaeda should blow up San Francisco), a movement started at Daily Kos (and was picked up by countless others) to Google-bomb O'Reilly, and have his name pop up when Googling "Terrorist sympathizer", much the way Googling "miserable failure" takes you to Twig's White House bio.

I spent a fair amount of time working on a snarky-yet-reasoned approach to this idea.

Then I read Skippy's take, and realized he said it all. Perfectly.

Herewith, Skippy's commentary (reprinted by permission. Really)

da bomb
here's an excellent light of bill o'reilly's latest comments on how al qaeda should blow up san francisco...why not google bomb him as a terrorist sympathizer?after all, his words make him a terrorist sympathizer. anyone who encourages a terrorist act is a terrorist sympathizer. and we don't condone any terrorist sympathizer making statements like that on american airwaves. no terrorist sympathizer for us!damn that terrorist sympathizer!

Works for me.

Update: Added link to the original Kos diary (with apologies to HollywoodOz).

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Ya GOTTA Check These Out!

The Wizard of Oz, Little Ricky Santorum and Gomer Pyle, and GOP Holy Cards.

All at 2 Political Junkies.

Don't have anything in your mouth, though... unless you want to have to replace your keyboard.

Buh-bye, Georgie...

From Capitol Hill Blue, via American Samizdat:

GOP Leaders to Bush: 'Your Presidency is Effectively Over'
Nov 4, 2005, 08:13

A growing number of Republican leaders, party strategists and political professional now privately tell President George W. Bush that his presidency "is effectively over" unless he fires embattled White House advisor Karl Rove, apologizes to the American people for misleading the country into war and revamps his administration from top to bottom.

"The only show of unity we have now in the Republican Party is the belief that the President has failed the party, the American people and the presidency," says a longtime, and angry, GOP strategist.

With the public face of support for Bush eroding daily from even diehard Republicans, the President faces mounting anger from within his party over the path that may well lead to loss of control of Congress in the 2006 midterm elections and the White House in 2008.

"This presidency is in trouble," says a senior White House aide. "Even worse, I don't know if there is a way out of the trouble."

Congressional leaders journeyed to the White House before Bush left on his South American tour this week to tell the President that his legislative agenda on the Hill is dead, his latest Supreme Court nominee faces a tough confirmation fight in the Senate and he is facing open revolt within party ranks.

"The Speaker is having an increasingly difficult time holding his troops in line," says a source within the office of House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert. "Anger at the President grows exponentially with each passing day."

At a recent White House strategy session, internal party pollsters told the President that his approval rating with Americans continues to slide and may be irreversible, citing his failed Iraq war, the failed Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers and his failure to deal decisively on a number of fronts, including Hurricane Katrina, the economy and the Valerie Plame scandal.

In meetings, leaders and strategists have suggested a number of things that Bush must do to try and save his presidency and GOP prospects in upcoming elections, including:

  • Apologize to the American people, Congress and our allies for misleading them on the reasons for invading Iraq;
  • Revamp the White House staff from top to bottom;
  • Fire Rove.

"We keep coming back to Rove," says a GOP pollster. "He has escaped indictment, so far, but the feeling within the party is that another shoe is ready to drop and the longer he waits to jettison Rove the greater the damage. As long as Karl Rove remains at the President's side, the Bush presidency is effectively over and he is just riding out the days until the nation elects a Democrat to replace him. Even with Rove gone the damage may be irreparable."

Bush, however, has dug his heels in on Rove. When a GOP strategist suggested last weekend that the President fire Rove, Bush exploded.

"You go to hell," he screamed at the strategist. "You can leave and you can take the rest of these lily-livered motherfuckers with you!" The President then stormed out of the room and refused to meet further with any other party leaders or strategists.

Bush's escalating temper tantrums and his intransigence on political issues increase Republican worries about the long term effects on both his presidency and the party's prospects in upcoming elections.

"Right now, George W. Bush is the Republican Party's chief liability," says a GOP strategist who has advised Presidential campaigns for 30 years. "The entire political future of the party and perhaps the nation now rests on the shoulders of a President that no one - Democrat or Republican - believes in or trusts."

Just what we need: a petulant, spolied-rotten little whiny preznit who throws hissy-fits when anyone dare imply Lord God King Georgie-poo might possibly, in some small way... be wrong.

Yes, it's good to think it's time to stick a fork in the Chimpster, but when someone is this unstable, that person is liable to do anything. And this particular psychopathic manic-depressive loser has launch codes for "nukuler" weapons.

Are there any adults in the White House these days?


From the fine folks at American Samizdat:

The Christian Right and the Rise of American Fascism
By Chris Hedges for Theocracy Watch

"Dr. James Luther Adams, my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School , told us that when we were his age, he was then close to 80, we would all be fighting the 'Christian fascists.'

"The warning, given to me 25 years ago, came at the moment Pat Robertson and other radio and televangelists began speaking about a new political religion that would direct its efforts at taking control of all institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government. Its stated goal was to use the United States to create a global, Christian empire. It was hard, at the time, to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously, especially given the buffoonish quality of those who expounded it. But Adams warned us against the blindness caused by intellectual snobbery. The Nazis, he said, were not going to return with swastikas and brown shirts. Their ideological inheritors had found a mask for fascism in the pages of the Bible."

He was not a man to use the word fascist lightly. He was in Germany in 1935 and 1936 and worked with the underground anti-Nazi church, known as The Confessing Church, led by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Adams was eventually detained and interrogated by the Gestapo, who suggested he might want to consider returning to the United States . It was a suggestion he followed. He left on a night train with framed portraits of Adolph Hitler placed over the contents inside his suitcase to hide the rolls of home movie film he took of the so-called German Christian Church, which was pro-Nazi, and the few individuals who defied them, including the theologians Karl Barth and Albert Schweitzer. The ruse worked when the border police lifted the top of the suitcases, saw the portraits of the Fuhrer and closed them up again. I watched hours of the grainy black and white films as he narrated in his apartment in Cambridge ."

He saw in the Christian Right, long before we did, disturbing similarities with the German Christian Church and the Nazi Party, similarities that he said would, in the event of prolonged social instability or a national crisis, see American fascists, under the guise of religion, rise to dismantle the open society. He despaired of liberals, who he said, as in Nazi Germany, mouthed silly platitudes about dialogue and inclusiveness that made them ineffectual and impotent. Liberals, he said, did not understand the power and allure of evil nor the cold reality of how the world worked. The current hand wringing by Democrats in the wake of the election, with many asking how they can reach out to a movement whose leaders brand them 'demonic' and 'satanic,' would not have surprised Adams . Like Bonhoeffer, he did not believe that those who would fight effectively in coming times of turmoil, a fight that for him was an integral part of the Biblical message, would come from the church or the liberal, secular elite.

"His critique of the prominent research universities, along with the media, was no less withering. These institutions, self-absorbed, compromised by their close relationship with government and corporations, given enough of the pie to be complacent, were unwilling to deal with the fundamental moral questions and inequities of the age. They had no stomach for a battle that might cost them their prestige and comfort. He told me that if the Nazis took over America '60 percent of the Harvard faculty would begin their lectures with the Nazi salute.' This too was not an abstraction. He had watched academics at the University of Heidelberg , including the philosopher Martin Heidegger, raise their arms stiffly to students before

"Two decades later, even in the face of the growing reach of the Christian Right, his prediction seems apocalyptic. And yet the powerbrokers in the Christian Right have moved from the fringes of society to the floor of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Christian fundamentalists now hold a majority of seats in 36 percent of all Republican Party state committees, or 18 of 50 states, along with large minorities in 81 percent of the rest of the states. Forty-five Senators and 186 members of the House of Representatives earned between an 80 to100 percent approval ratings from the three most influential Christian Right advocacy groups – The Christian Coalition, Eagle Forum, and Family Resource Council. Tom Coburn, the new senator from Oklahoma , has included in his campaign to end abortion a call to impose the death penalty on doctors that carry out abortions once the ban goes into place. Another new senator, John Thune, believes in Creationism. Jim DeMint, the new senator elected from South Carolina , wants to ban single mothers from teaching in schools. The Election Day exit polls found that 22 percent of voters identified themselves as evangelical Christians and Bush won 77 percent of their vote. The polls found that a plurality of voters said that the most important issue in the campaign had been 'moral values.'

"President Bush must further these important objectives, including the march to turn education and social welfare over to the churches with his faith-based initiative, as well as chip away at the wall between church and state with his judicial appointments, if he does not want to face a revolt within his core constituency."

Jim Dobson, the head of Focus on the Family, who held weekly telephone conversations with Karl Rove during the campaign, has put the President on notice. He told ABC’s 'This Week' that 'this president has two years, or more broadly the Republican Party has two years, to implement these policies, or certainly four, or I believe they’ll pay a price in the next election.'

"Bush may turn out to be a transition figure, our version of Otto von Bismarck. Bismarck used “values” to energize his base at the end of the 19 th century and launched kulturkampt, the word from which we get 'culture wars,' against Catholics and Jews. Bismarck ’s attacks split the country, made the discrediting of whole segments of the society an acceptable part of the civil discourse and paved the way for the more virulent racism of the Nazis. This, I suspect, will be George Bush’s contribution to our democracy."

Chris Hedges, a reporter for The New York Times, is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning . He holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School . His next book , Losing Moses on the Freeway: America 's Broken Covenant With The Ten Commandments is published by The Free Press.

This could be a very scary development. As the next post points out, some Republicans are complaining that Bush's presidency is "effectively over". If that is the case, Bush may cave under the pressure from the Fascist far-right in order to "ensure his place in history" (Nooo problem there, Georgie, your place is guaran-damn-teed: "Worst. President. Ever."). Hopefully, though, Chimp will continue to screw them as he has since day one.

The "Talibangelicals" (or "Texas Taliban", take yer choice) have taken advantage of our complacency to achieve a position of power in this country, a position they want to leverage into their view of a "Christian Nation". Of course, their view of a Christian nation includes an absolute ban on abortion (with one lunatic Senator urging the death penalty for doctors who continue to perform them), the elimination of science from American life, and the complete perversion of the Bible to their own twisted, sick "philosophy".

One of the most high-profile members of this crowd is Little Ricky Santorum (whom one of the Philly papers referred to as 'one of the finest minds of the 13th century'); others include Jeb Bush, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and the rest of the "usual suspects".

These are the people who want to take us back to the "good old days", when a woman's place was in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant; when "coloreds", "Nigras", and other even more-insulting terms knew their place was at the back of the bus, if not just being legally considered to be property; when heretics could be burned, drowned or otherwise painfully executed (how much you want to bet that wasn't an unspoken part of "Abu Al" Gonzales' "torture memo"?).

Yet, if one really examines what these mouth-breathin', sister-humpin', Bible-thumpin', southern redneck MO-rons are saying, it is that they want to drag us back to the days of the Old Testament, the days of a vengeful, wrathful God, smiting and destroying, not the forgiving, all-loving God of the New Testament that they claim to follow.

These people must be stopped.

Apologies Due...

... for not having posted anything in such a long time.

My only excuse? Two jobs are a hassle and my kid has the flu.

(Hmm, wonder if I could turn that into a song of some sort?)

Anyway, sharp-edged analysis, biting sarcasm (especially against the Chimpistration) and miscellaneous musings to follow shortly.