Saturday, January 13, 2007


Talkin 'bout My G-g-g-generation

At the left is a picture of yours truly, monchie b. monchum, at age 13. Roughly seven months before that photo was taken, President John F. Kennedy was murdered and America was never the same again.

Nor was I.

Before JFK was assassinated, I believed in America and in "liberty and justice for all." I still do, in fact. But I was learning, and would continue to learn during the succeeding decades, that many powerful folks in our government and political system don't really believe in the core values that the United States of America is supposed to represent.

The assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy -- as well as the dishonesty and incompetence that led to Vietnam, and the subsequent rise of the authoritarian right wing with its utter contempt for America's freedoms -- made many of my generation skeptical of government and politicians. Those pols and pundits who tried to conceal their anti-freedom leanings by wrapping themselves in the flag and portraying themselves as more-patriotic-than-thou were especially deserving of disrespect. How could they be patriotic when they urinate and defecate on the core values that America is supposed to be all about?

The two greatest political lessons many early (born roughly 1946-1954) baby boomers learned from our experiences were a) "liberty and justice for all" is a worthy and noble goal for America; and b) it is not just a right but a duty for Americans to question authority.

Which brings us to Rod Dreher, a conservative pundit for National Review who's just recently learned the value of questioning authority. He's 40 years old, which means he's a post-boomer -- Generation X -- and unlike early boomers, Mr. Dreher came of age around the time of the Iran hostage crisis and the subsequent dishonest propaganda barrage of the Reagan era. Facts and logic became irrelevant; feelings became triumphant. It was Morning in America. It didn't matter that the president's facts were all wrong, because he made us feel good about ourselves. Only those evil liberals cared about facts. The Age of Truthiness had begun, two decades before Stephen Colbert coined the term.

After watching Dear Leader's speech the other night, Mr. Dreher had an epiphany, a Road to Damascus Moment. In a commentary on NPR, he explained:

As I sat in my office last night watching President Bush deliver his big speech, I seethed over the waste, the folly, the stupidity of this war.

I had a heretical thought for a conservative - that I have got to teach my kids that they must never, ever take Presidents and Generals at their word - that their government will send them to kill and die for noble-sounding rot - that they have to question authority.

On the walk to the parking garage, it hit me. Hadn't the hippies tried to tell my generation that? Why had we scorned them so blithely?

Why indeed? I do believe our experiences during childhood and adolescence help to mold our political values. I came of age when some of our most respected leaders were murdered, while other leaders betrayed core American values. Mr. Dreher came of age in an era of a Pravda-like Fantasyland, when young minds were pumped full of fact-impaired BS, and questioning right-wing authorities was considered evil.

Rod Dreher gives me hope for America. We will probably never agree on most issues, but at least we can both accept the proposition that questioning authority -- whether that authority is conservative or liberal or whatever -- is an important tool for preserving America's freedoms. As history has demonstrated on numerous occasions, blindly following dishonest authoritarian leaders is the road to a society's destruction.

Inspired by Glenn Greenwald and mahablog.

Friday, January 12, 2007


The President Who Cried Wolf

Not surprisingly, the best response to the latest madness of King George came from Keith Olbermann, a rare voice of sanity in the cable news nuthouse. Crooks and Liars has the video and transcript.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


More Enemies of the State

Steve at No More Mister Nice Blog reports on the latest dastardly media villains identified by our oh-so-patriotic compadres on the right wing:

You probably can't imagine Al Roker and the Weather Channel as sinister tools of the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy, but that's because you're blind to the true depths of liberal depravity.

Let's see...they've already gone after the Teletubbies, Sponge Bob, and the dancing penguins of "Happy Feet." I can't wait till the wingnuts start their campaign against those sinister traitors at the Home and Garden Channel.

('s a good thing they don't know about Logo...yet.)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


And Now for Something Completely Different

Some early Spinal Tap, back when they were dirty fracking hippies...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Enemy of the State

When I heard that Sean Hannity's new solo Faux News show features a segment called "Enemy of the State," it immediately conjured up thoughts of blacklists and gulags. Now, I don't mind a segment that's devoted to folks the host thinks are bad people, but couldn't it be called something like "Today's Outlaw" or "Villain of the Day" or "Worst Person in the World"? (Oops, I forgot -- that last one is already taken.) But "Enemy of the State"? What state? Seanhannistan?

In a way, it's fitting that the first person to be named "Enemy of the State" was actor Sean Penn, since his father, director Leo Penn, was blacklisted by a previous generation of authoritarian right-wing thugs during the McCarthy-era madness.


I'm Not a Liberal, but I Play One at Time Magazine

One of the most annoying and dishonest tactics the so-called "liberal media" (SCLM) uses is to hire pundits who aren't liberal to represent the liberal point of view. They've been pulling this con job for decades now, and actual living and breathing liberal pundits have long been an endangered species in the SCLM. I remember watching CNN's "Crossfire" in the early to mid Eighties when the pundit "from the left" was an ex-CIA guy named Tom Braden who at best was slightly to the left of Bob Dole.

Which brings us to Time Magazine's phony liberal pundit, Joe Klein, who I have loathed since he was a phony local liberal pundit on NYC's WCBS-TV. Klein recently began blogging and -- no surprise -- used his very first post to smear actual liberals such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Also not surprisingly, Klein demonstrated his trademark dishonesty when he claimed to have been an opponent of the Iraq War since 2002 when transcripts say otherwise. Hint: When you say that it was the right war but the wrong time, that doesn't make you an "opponent."

Bona fide liberals such as Atrios (and here and here), Boo Man, Greg Sargent, and Ezra Klein are busy bees today, exposing Joe's misrepresentations and distortions.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Meet the New Anger...

As someone who's long been familiar with the foam-at-the-mouth style of rhetoric favored by the right wing for the past several decades, I'm alternately amused and...well, angered when so-called "conservatives" start tut-tutting about the Angry Left: "Oooh...they used a naughty word -- the left is completely unhinged!"

Haven't they ever listened to their own compatriots' radio talk shows. After all, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, et al are hardly paragons of civility. And this anger is hardly new. I remember a certain NYC far right talk show host on an ABC-owned radio station, circa 1987, exclaiming, "I hope all those fags get AIDS and die!"

And he kept his job, despite complaints from the gay community.

So, this morning, following links from Atrios and Matt Yglesias, I was pointed to an article from National Review Online about the so-called "New Anger" in American politics, particularly but not exclusively among liberals. I just shook my head in disbelief when the author of the NRO article wrote:

"When [the New Anger] did arrive in politics, New Anger found homes on both the Left (e.g. Howard Dean) and Right (e.g. Ann Coulter), but the Left provided much more commodious quarters."

Talk about a textbook example of intellectual dishonesty! Look, Howard Dean doesn't even come close to using the kind of violence-and-genocide-tinged rhetoric that is Coulter's trademark. Some examples:

"[Canadians] better hope the United States does not roll over one night and crush them. They are lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent."

"I think a baseball bat is the most effective way [to talk to liberals] these days."

"When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors."

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building."

"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens's creme brulee. That's just a joke, for you in the media."

I've found only one Howard Dean quote that that even approaches Coulter's typical vileness: "I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for, but I admire their discipline and their organization." And he later clarified that as applying only to Republican leaders, not Republican voters. And guess what: If a Republican said the same exact thing about the Democrats, even without the clarification, I would've just brushed it off as typical political rhetoric...not the poisonous Coulter-style brand.

Yeah, Howard Dean is just like Ann Coulter.

And Canada is just like Nazi Germany.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Monchie's First Time...Catblogging

This is monchie's little buddy, Slugger. He's approximately going on two years old and is a very affectionate and chatty little guy. Future catbloggings will usually be on the traditional Friday.

Condolences go out to Kevin Drum, the man credited with pioneering Friday catblogging, on the passing of his feline companion, Jasmine. May she find a comfy spot in kitty heaven along with monchie's late pal, Pee-Wee.


The Both-Sides-Are-Equally-to-Blame Meme

Tiny Revolution has an insightful comparison of Holocaust deniers in Iran and right-wing Iraq Clusterfrack deniers in the U. S., such as Michelle Malkin. Seems like Iran isn't the only place that gives nutjobs a prominent platform to promote their wacky views. Here's a taste:

[E]very society has hatemongering nutjobs like Malkin. So the mere fact that she exists isn't remarkable. However, normal countries leave them to fulminate in their parents' basement. Abnormal countries let them host "conferences" or put them on Hannity & Colmes.

Two nitpicks: 1. I would replace the word "normal" with "healthy" and the word "abnormal" with "unhealthy"; and 2. Healthy countries do let them host "conferences" -- they just don't sponsor them and their leaders don't put in personal appearances.

That said, this post led to a discussion in the comments section as to whether right-wingers are more susceptible to this type of whackjob denial than lefties are. Well, there are lefties who claim, for example, that there's no evidence the Pentagon was hit by a passenger plane on 9-11 -- but I don't see them getting invited onto cable news programs or writing columns for The New York Times.

The lefty whackos who are the equivalent of the Malkins and Holocaust deniers have long been relegated to their parents' basements, while, starting about 20-25 years ago, the righty whackos have been invited back upstairs and onto cable news shows and daily newspaper op-ed pages.

In healthy societies, both brands of nutjobs would still be in the basement.

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