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In Which “The Newsroom” Is 24 For The Intellectual Liberals

January 2nd, 2013 No comments

I’m a bad liberal. I admit it. Sometimes I put stuff in the trash that belongs in the recycle bin. I flick my cigarette (bad liberal) out the car window. I got sick of Keith Olbermann, no matter how much I agreed with him and I despise Laurence O’Donnell. I mean, despise.  The second Rachel Maddow ends, the TV is off, hopefully before he starts speaking.

Let me put this right up front. I’ve never seen The Newsroom and, even if I had HBO (which I don’t) I wouldn’t watch it. I’ve seen clips from it and it looks great. I love the cast. The writing is top notch. The problem is – it’s not real life. It is, like all TV, a dream world. It’s a world I’d love to live in, full of the proper mix of reason and passion where you win arguments with facts (“All presidents have used stimulus and you’ve never called them socialist”) and you’re not told “SHUT THE FUCK UP!! YOURA FAGOT. GO BACK TO NOTRH KOREA!!”

(Sidenote: I love the new North Korea focus. They can’t use Iran anymore because they actually realize that they wish the US transformed into a theocratic society.)

A scant 2 months after 9/11, Fox TV came out with the show 24.  Stop and think about that. TV shows just don’t create themselves overnight. What this implies is that pretty much the day after or even of 9/11, some one saw and opportunity to turn it into cash. Not just cash, but an electronic bully pulpit preaching that all Muslims wanted to kill us and that only the US could save the day. And do it all in 24 hours. This kind of propaganda is not unprecedented but it took 20 years for a show about wacky Nazis to get to TV after WWII. Did the propaganda campaign known as 24 work?

A few years ago, One News Now, a fake news site run by the American Family Association, asked its xtian readers if they thought torture was a viable option in the war on terror. These salt-of-the-earth, turn-the-other-cheek, that-which-you-do-to-the-least-of-these xtians responded with a deafening FUCK YEAH! Just how loud was the response? 89% said they had no problem with it. Bear in mind that after WWII, the US prosecuted Japanese soldiers for waterboarding Americans.

Even liberals ate up the whole “they hate freedom” bullshit that 24 pedaled. And you can’t really blame them. Most people wanted comfort and assurance that a once in lifetime event wouldn’t happen again. So much so, that we took off our unalienable rights with the Patriot Act and put them in the bin with our shoes at the airport. In the end, though, 24 served only to increase national paranoia and hits on the job site at the CIA and FBI.

You’re going to tell me The Newsroom and 24 can’t be compared. Getting all sweaty from running around diffusing bombs isn’t the same thing as getting all sweaty because you’re living on coffee and running downstairs to not get caught smoking. True. But at the concept level, it’s the same thing: Intrepid People Intrepidly Saving The World From The Enemy. In the case of 24, the enemy wore turbans, long beards and spoke a foreign language. In The Newsroom, the enemy wears suits, flag pins and speaks a foreign language – Teabaggese.

Wingnuts don’t have a problem with blood and violence. They love seeing people get the shit literally kicked out of them. Their default action is “punch”. Liberals don’t. We’d prefer our smack downs bloodless. We’d rather eviscerate with words (raises his hands) than violence. To put it in teabagger terms: Liberals think the motherfucking SHIT out of teabaggers – HOO-ah! The pen is mightier than sword, weak limbed thinkers are told, but smugness in the safety of your facts rarely protects you from getting stabbed. Paradoxically, reason tends to incite violence.

In dream world of  The Newsroom, that hermetic seal stays unbroken. Sure, danger will happen, but in the end everything works out. The danger, though, isn’t the lulling thoughts that every works out. The danger, or at least the reason I don’t watch it, comes from the knowledge that it takes a fictional character to speak the truth to power. Put another way, very few politicians want to speak the words spoken on that show. Even fewer want to act on them. And that’s a big problem – investing energy in a show that not only mirrors reality but outdoes it.

I’m not up for watching a show that leaves me saying, “Wow. If only someone had the guts to say that in real life.”

In Which If Belief Is Valid Then Belief Is Valid

June 19th, 2009 1 comment

Netroots Nation starts unveiling panels and such including this very poorly written one

A New Progressive Vision for Church and State
date and time TBA

The old liberal vision of a total separation of religion from politics has been discredited. Despite growing secularization, a secular progressive majority is still impossible, and a new two-part approach is needed–one that first admits that there is no political wall of separation. Voters must be allowed, without criticism, to propose policies based on religious belief. But, when government speaks and acts, messages must be universal. The burden is on religious believers, therefore, to explain public references like “under God” in universal terms. For example, the word “God” can refer to the ceaseless creativity of the universe and the objective validity of human rights. Promoting and accepting religious images as universal will help heal culture-war divisions and promote the formation of a broad-based progressive coalition.

Unless I’m mistaken, this sounds like it’s about the role of religion in liberal politics and how to meld the two.

[Hate me]

The conversation has to happen with the understanding that nothing will ever change with regards to the role of G/god in US.  Liberals will never ever convince wingnuts and zealots that we’re not actually going to Hell or that we don’t hate America.  It’s never going to happen.  What we can do is expand the center by showing the less militant Christians that, contrary to popular belief, some Christian are Democrats and showing the less militant Atheists that, contrary to popular belief, being Christian doesn’t mean you want to shoot abortion doctors.

It’s called…ohhhh, what’s the word for it – “dialogue”and “compromise”. And it’s what too many liberals right now are ripping the shit out of Obama for doing.

Seriously, folks – did you expect Obama to ride into town on a white Vespa and dismantle the core principles of America in six months?

OMG!  He chose RICK WARREN to give the inaugural invocation instead of a transgendered Wiccan?!  To the pillory with the traitor!

It’s time for liberals to realize that screaming “throw the Christians back to the lions” defines the word “counter-productive”.  America’s dominant religion is Christianity.  Sorry!  I don’t like that fact, either.  True, a lot of “Christians” don’t go to church.  True, a lot of “Christians” believe Jesus hates far more people and groups than he actually does.  I’m sure there are many “Christians” that don’t know the first thing about their professed religion.  But they do know when it’s threatened and will knee-jerk vote against any candidate that speaks against it.  Is it moral, logical or consistent?  Of course not.

Thus, it’s time to come up with some kind of plan on how to re-introduce sanity back into the discussion of religion in America because it’s not going anywhere ever.  The best we can do is de-link and de-demonize liberalism from Satanism and urge Christian social progressives to take back their religion from the Dobsons and Falwells and Eliasons of this world…and to tell the Dawkins and the Harris’ to chill the hell out.  (No pun intended)

Don’t think it can be done?  Watch The Education of Shelby Knox on Netflix and watch hardcore evangelicals as their attitudes towards gays soften to the point where Mom marches at a pro-gay rally.

Can we have (as one my least favorite songs ever says) a world with “no religion, too”.  No, we can’t.

Can we have a world where religions tolerate each other?

Yes, we can.

[/Hate me]

NOTE – If you can’t attend Netroots Nation then you can catch a lot of it in Second Life at the appropriately named Netroots Nation in Second Life

Categories: Democrats, Netroots Nation, Religion Tags:

In Which I Offer An Analogy On The Prisoner Abuse Photos

May 14th, 2009 1 comment

So here were are.  Democrats won pretty much everything they could win and yet it’s still not enough.  For some reason (and it holds true for Republicans, too) we’re compelled to eat each other.  I recently listened to a conversation where the..well…combatants went after each other for not being liberal enough.  This kind of  political pissing contest just doesn’t help.  I’ll say it again – too many people projected their own views onto Obama in direct contrary evidence to the facts.  “I’m not anti-war.  I’m anti-stupid war.”  Which part of “not anti” don’t you understand?

You could have backed Dennis Kucinich but you didn’t so with all due respect – STFU.  (And DON’T give me your rationalizations about needing to win the White House.  If you compromised your values then you compromised your values.  End of story.)

The latest “outrage” comes over releasing more photos of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.  Yes, Obama reversed course on this.  No, it’s not a betrayal.  Why?  Because we already know what happened.  The reports say that there’s nothing new.  It’s just more of the same.

For the past couple months, Obama has slowly begun mending fences with the rest of the world and making it clear that the US is not some kind of closet-gay, date-rape jock.  We need to focus on that.  We need to make the apologies we need to make, take our lumps when they’re warranted and, to coin a phrase, “Move On”.  Look – the bush administration was evil – utterly and non-debatably evil.   They shredded the Constitution, ruled with unbridled hypocrisy and forced us to say that we were Canadians when traveling overseas.

So now that we’ve got a decent President that wants to fix it, why would we want to remind everybody of this fact?  We’re in a relationship with the rest of the world.  We’re just getting out of the dog house and you want to put us back in?

Allow me to go Bob Newhart here for a sec.

Hey, honey!

Good day at work?  Did you get the flowers I sent?

Well, I love you and I just wanted to show you.  I’ve been kind of a shit lately and I know how lucky I don’t have to sleep on the couch anymore.

Yeah, I know.  Fucking your sister was wrong.  Taping it was even worse.  I’m really sorry.  I’m so happy that we’re working through it.  I really don’t know what I was thinking.  Thank you for forgiving me.

Oh, while we’re on the subject, there’s something I wanted to tell you.  We did it more than once.  A bunch of times, actually.  Dozens.  I’ve got a lot more tape.  Hours.  Man, your sister is a freak!  There’s this one part where she wants me to put underwear on her head and chain her to –

No, I know you saw that part, but this was a different time.  You didn’t see that specific one.  That was on…just a sec, lemme check the time stamp on tapes.  Have a seat, we’ll watch them together.  I feel really good that we can do this together.

Why are you crying, honey?  I thought we were past this?

See?  It’s not helpful.  In fact, it’s cruel and unproductive.  It’s going to put the US back on the couch again.  We don’t need to be there.

This isn’t about denying the truth of what happened.  The truth is already out there, backed up with photographic evidence.  The US abused prisoners under the bush regime.  It’s not useful to release every single photo of every single instance.  It changes nothing. A photo of a dog attacking a prisoner at 21:38 holds the same weight as a photo of a dog attacking a prisoner at 21:39.  It’s abuse.

The only reason to release more photos is a self-serving one – for Democrats to prove we were right all along.  But we already proved that.  Repeatedly.

So, to use my recently coined phrase, let’s move on and get to the business of healing the wrongs we committed.

In Which Facts Are Stupid Things

February 21st, 2009 2 comments

Facts are stupid things.
Ronald Reagan

Ok, so Reagan really said it but probably not on purpose.  He was quoting (or tried to quote) John Adams.

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

I could, of course, have just started this off with the quote without providing any context and we all could have had a good laugh at Reagan’s expense.  But then I would be doing what Our Country Deserves Better PAC does.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but we have a new president and there are some people that believe that he will DESTROY AMERICA (emphasis NOT added).  Despite a wealth of evidence to the contrary, they believe he’s a radical communist, a soclialist, that he’ll sell us out to Africa, that he dealt drugs, that he’s on the down-low and (though I’m sure it’s a joke) that he’s a voodoo priest.  These are the same people that crow that after 30 days he’s “changed nothing” and that sneer about him not being “bi-partisan”.  This would imply that they would EVER consider working with him, period.  It’s the same as saying “I’ll stop punching you in the face when you stop asking me to stop punching you in the face.”

Before I go on, I want to acknowledge that latte-sipping liberals such a myself engage in the same disingenuous fiddling that dickheads like OCDB PAC does.  (See, that was a little meta-joke there!)  The main difference, I think, is that we generally cave in like Pelosi and Obama have over the Patriot Act.  Democrats will actually vote for what they believe in as opposed to the ‘licans who’ll skunk the stimulus bill despite the fact that it was reported they wanted it to pass.

Ok.  That’s out of the way.

Take a look at the most recent volley from the stomach of OCDB PAC.

As opposition to Barack Obama’s collectivist, big-goverment economic policies & confused and weak national defense/foreign affairs policies grows, support for Obama has taken a hit in the polls.

The Gallup polling organization has been conducting a daily tracking poll and in the past month Obama’s job approval ratings have plunged by 19%.  The drop in support has been particularly noticeable among Independents and Republicans (one month ago a narrow plurality of Republicans approved of the way Obama was handling his job, now a majority of Republicans say they disapprove).

Down 19%??  Holy shit!  If, as they say, his approval rating is down 19% he’s in pretty big trouble, isn’t he?  It sounds like the entire country has deserted him!  Buyer’s remorse, as the wingnuts’ new talking point says.

Not surprisingly, it’s not true.

I’ve been…let’s call it “monitoring” the OCDB Facebook page and chiming in occasionally.  So, I left this on their message board

Numbers are fun! Obama down 19%! He’s gotta be sunk now! 19% is a really big number! It’s a lot. But you’ll notice that the actually poll numbers aren’t used.

According the Gallup (and, please remember, if you don’t back up your statements with links, nobody will check because he’s hated SO MUCH that nobody cares if it’s true or not) Obama started off with at 67% approval rating. (http://www.gallup.com/video/113977/Obama-Job-Approval-Ratings-High-First-Days.aspx). The new poll has him at….63%

It’s much more dramatic to say that his numbers fell by 19% than he dropped 4 points.

You can also just make up a number that sounds good, too. Do the math, folks. Here’s the Gallup graph – http://www.gallup.com/poll/113980/Gallup-Daily-Obama-Job-Approval.aspx

For the sake of math-iness, let’s say Obama had a 70% approval rating and and it fell 20%. 10% of 70 equals 7 – double that to get 20% and you’ve got 14. 70-14 equals 56.

That’s not terribly close to 63.

Dissent IS patriotic and there’s much to dislike about Obama on both sides of the aisle. But, please, don’t be dishonest about it.

To which Joe responded.

Paul: We take issue with, “Dissent IS patriotic and there’s much to dislike about Obama on both sides of the aisle. But, please, don’t be dishonest about it.” Especially since we provide the graph with the number scale showing the poll results at each interval.

I’ll help you out with specific numbers on specific dates, but I’d ask in the future if you have a question about something we put out, simply ask and we’ll be happy to provide you with clarification or supporting material. But we don’t appreciate people suggesting we’re somehow dishonest. I surely think you’d want us to treat you in the same accord and fashion, yes?

OK, so here we go:

Gallup Daily Tracking Poll
1/21/2009 – 1/23/2009:
68% Approve
12% Disapprove
Net Approval Margin: 56%

Gallup Daily Tracking Poll
2/16/2009 – 2/18/2009
62% Approve
25% Disapprove
Net Approval Margin: 37%

That’s a drop in Obama’s job approval rating by 19% in less than one month.

OK – we’re good now?

HUH?  Wait.  Go and look at the link to the email they sent out.  I see “approve”.  I see ” disapprove”.  What I don’t see is 1) any numbers at all and 2) any reference to “net job approval”.  Sooooo…how, then, do you use numbers that don’t exist to make up a metric that you never defined?  Wouldn’t you call that…um…what’s the word I’m looking for…dishonest?  Isn’t this the same math that got us into the economic debacle that we’re in now?

If you’re looking for some fun, you’d could do worse than join their Facebook group.

In Which The Face Of Hate Can Look Like Your Mom

January 16th, 2009 2 comments

I’ve talked about Janet Folger’s ode to Hate Week,  The Criminalization of Christianity: Read This Book Before It Becomes Illegal!, previously and while I don’t claim to be an expert on christcon propaganda, I think you could easily use it as a template.  The most important thing about lying for jesus is to sound as if you’re not.  Keep two things in mind: 1) christcons aren’t actually Christians because if they were they’d know that 2) Jesus isn’t stupid.

I bring this up because @stacyharp started up with the “HUSSEIN” stuff again with this little mini-poem to dick-ishness:

Who else thinks calling Barack HUSSEIN Obama is insulting? I’m curious because if you do, take it up with his mom. She named him

Context means nothing to christcons.  Despite the fact that “Hussein” among Muslims is like “John” among Americans, there is only one “Hussein” and he blew up the World Trade Center for no other reason than that he hated freedom.  This means that all men named “Al” are Italian gangsters and all women name “Stacy” will, after they die, find themselves sitting next to the 9/11 hijackers in Hell sputtering, “b-b-but I was sooo moral!”  She repeatedly claimed that she wasn’t being snarky and that “I like middle names” and proceeded to spend the rest of the night calling him “Hussein”.

When I asked Stacy (who, if she doesn’t personally enjoy taking it up the ass, doesn’t mind other Christians who do as long as their married and not fags) if Jesus would be respectful and call him President Obama or be a dick and mock him, she oddly refused to answer the question.  It’s par for the course and the reason that christcons are not actually Christians but using Christ’s words as a jumping off point to rationalize their own hatred and to profit off the fear of others.  Does it really take a biblical scholar to understand that Jesus was not a sarcastic dick?

“Hey, Pilate, you must be a faggot because you keep talking about morning wood!”

(To a soldier in Gethsemane) “If you wasn’t carrying a spear then I wouldn’t call you a spear chucker.  The fact that you’re a nigger don’t have nothing to do with it.”

No – it doesn’t.  So why couldn’t she answer that question?  Because she knows somewhere in her tiny little hate-filled heart that she’s wrong.  I’ve heard Jesus described as a Libertarian.  I’ve heard him called a Repbublican.  I’ve heard him described as being against welfare.  Each of these claims takes so many leaps of logic and perversions of Scripture that you might just as well call Jesus a Nazi.

christcons love Janet Folger’s book.  I like it, too, because the lies are so blatant, the logic so loose and the hypocrisy so obvious that even christcons tend to back off when confronted with them.  Folger uses three main tactics –

1) Misdirection – A christcon judge got turned down for a federal judgeship not because of unwise, racist rulings he made but because (waaaaaait for it) he taught Sunday School.

2) Hypocritical Snark – It’s ok for Folger hack and slash at the gay community but the moment they criticize christcons it changes to “so much for ‘tolerance’ and ‘understanding’, huh?”

3) If Apples, Then Oranges – There is a whole section of the book on Nazi Germany.  Why?  Is America the new Nazi Germany?  In a word, yes.  Because if Hitler did [x] then a liberal politician will do [x], as well.  It’s the only logical outcome.  The vast majority of examples used in the book don’t actually bear relation to America.  There is so much prefacing of “In Europe…” and “In Canada…” that you wonder if you picked up the wrong book.

I guess Stacy used to write for Renew America until Folger called and said she wanted her act back.  Maybe that’s why a friend DM’d me and called her “unoriginal”.  I mean, when you resort to this kind of juvenalia

– P.S. are you a real BEE? If not, stop impersonating one here on Twitter

– is that the best insult you can do? You who hide behind a BEE

you’re drowning and, by the look of it, possibly NOT in water.

Notice, though, how she says “is that the best insult you can do?”  Not “argument” or “case” but insult.  I think, during the whole exchange, I did my best to stay away from the insults since that’s what they (and Folger) look for.  One of the scams works this way – spur the mark (in this case, me) on to a point where they call you a cunt and then rest your case because, after all, that’s proof of the evil of godless liberalism.  It’s the jesus version of “what choo say ’bout my mama?” ploy.

Because Jesus always talked shit about people’s mamas.

In Which This Is How We Lose

January 6th, 2009 No comments

Before the election, my friend Roy Zimmerman wrote a song called “How Can We Lose” with the lyrics – “Everybody’s asking/how can we lose?/No – I’m serious – how?”

As with the Red Sox, I was one of the doubters who felt certain that the Democrats would find some ingenious way to shoot themselves in the foot.  And they came pretty close a few times.  Somehow, though, they managed to scrape by.  Theoretically, it should have been an actual landslide, but, whatever.

Now that we’ve won, let the losing begin!  Really, party unity is TOTALLY over-rated and we’re just going to let the Republicans walk all over us anyway, right?  So, fellow Democrats, pick up your pitchfork and jump on the bandwagon and join in the Alternate Invocation!  Nevermind that Obama just picked an openly gay for director of the Office and Management and Budget.  THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

Again, I don’t like Rick Warren and I think Christianity is pretty silly in general but until such time as the non-religious form an actual voting block then we’re just going to have to cope with the fact that there are plenty of bible-thumpers out there and, sad to say, we should allow them to be under our big tent.

Democrats love talking about having dialogues.  I’m going to admit that I don’t always mean it.  Some people are just assholes.  Rick Warren is an asshole – there’s no doubt about it.  But ask yourself what the real significance of Warren giving the invocation.  Without googling it, who gave the last bush invocation?  Or the first one.  Did [name of preacher] who gave Clinton’s invocation stop him from getting a blow job?  Or instituting don’t-ask-don’t-tell?  bush didn’t really give a shit about the religious right.  Why would you believe that this means that Obama is a homophobe and he sold out his base?

Stop sniping.  Please.  Stop screaming about how YOUR cause has not gotten it’s perk because you didn’t vote for McCain.  There were plenty of other candidates you could have voted for.  It’s just plain passive-aggression.  Sorry.

We have the majority.  Let’s act like it and stop fracturing ourselves into infinite, almost indistinguishable sects…like the christians do.