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Al Gore=Hitler

[ 0 ] July 28, 2007 |


“Al Gore’s not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization. The goal is global carbon tax. The goal is the United Nations running the world. That is the goal. Back in the 1930s, the goal was get rid of all of the Jews and have one global government.” He continued: “You got to have an enemy to fight. And when you have an enemy to fight, then you can unite the entire world behind you, and you seize power. That was Hitler’s plan. His enemy: the Jew. Al Gore’s enemy, the U.N.’s enemy: global warming.” Beck added: “Then you get the scientists — eugenics. You get the scientists — global warming. Then you have to discredit the scientists who say, ‘That’s not right.’ And you must silence all dissenting voices. That’s what Hitler did.”

Via Rick Perlstein. And yes, this man is employed by a major cable television news network, and its name isn’t Fox. The dastardly liberal media, at work again…

If There Were a Dunce of the Week…

[ 0 ] July 28, 2007 |

…as many of you have predicted, it would be Gonzo. (Sigh. If only he actually were gonzo.)

My favorite moment this week (and I quote from his testimony): “I’m not aware, sitting here today, of any other U.S. attorney who was asked to leave. Except there were other instances, quite frankly, where a U.S. attorney who was asked to leave for legitimate cause.”

Jon Stewart’s response: “It would appear to many observers that the A.G. just admitted that some of the lawyers were fired for not legitimate cause.”

Eat the Rich; But First, Snack on Service Workers

[ 0 ] July 28, 2007 |

This, from Crazy Jesus Dolphin Lady, has got to be one of the strangest complaints about economic inequality I’ve ever read. After wondering what on God’s green earth billionaires actually do for a living, and after vaguely mourning that the “gap between rich and poor is great,” Noonan opens up about what she perceives to be one of great social corrosives begotten by the “new Gilded Age”:

There are good things and bad in the Gilded Age, pluses and minuses. I write here of a minus. It has to do with our manners, the ones we show each other on the street. I think riches, or the pursuit of riches, has made us ruder. You’d think broad comfort would assuage certain hungers. It has not. It has sharpened them.

Fabulous. In an era of “broad comfort” — when actual hunger and food insecurity has increased over the past decade — Noonan thinks we’ve all become a bunch of Goops. This is batshit. Regardless, her real annoyance here is not the hyper-rich — whose wealth she finds hopelessly incomprehensible — but the service workers who won’t keep their proper distance. In a sequence best described as the literary lovechild of James Lileks and Ann Althouse, Noonan deciphers the miseries of the age:

Here’s a moment in the pushiness of the Gilded Age. I walk into a shop on Madison Avenue daydreaming, trying to remember what it was I thought last week I should pick up, what was it . . .

“Hi! Let me help you find what you’re looking for!” She is a saleswoman, cracking gum with intensity, about 25 years old, and she has made a beeline to her mark. That would be me.

. . . What they are forcing you to do is engage. If you engage–”Um, thanks”–you have a relationship. If you have a relationship, it’s easier for them to turn you upside down and shake the coins from your pockets.

. . . There are strategies. You can do the full Garbo: “Leave me alone.” But they’ll think you’re a shoplifter and watch you. Or the strong lady with boundaries: “Thank you, if I need help I’ll ask.” But your reverie is broken. Or the acquiescent person: “Take me under your leadership, oh aggressively friendly salesperson.” But this is bowing to the pushiness of the Gilded Age.

No. “Bowing to the pushiness of the Gilded Age” means proposing tax cuts that would extend more than $11 billion in tax savings to the heirs of the Mars candy company while knocking $420 million from a program that provides heating assistance to the poor. Pushy, reverie-smashing service workers, I would submit, offer us no testimony whatsoever to the virtues or vices of the “new Gilded Age.” Undeterred, Noonan continues to scold the help throughout the rest of the column — berating sidewalk petitioners here, griping about restaurant servers there — while trying to maintain her status (perceived by Peggy Noonan alone) as a plain old middle-class girl from North Jersey.

Perhaps after gnawing her arm from beneath the president, Noonan’s wound has gone septic; perhaps when she wakes up each day, her head is simply filled with calliope music that must be transliterated into the semblance of political commentary. I really don’t know.

. . . Tom Hilton takes a few swings at the Dolphin Lady as well:

She never notices that the very rich don’t give a shit about the other 99.9% of the world? Or that across the economic spectrum, in ways minor and major, people have largely abandoned any notion of the public good? Or that in doing so, people are responding to a quarter century of indoctrination by Peggy’s ideological compatriots, beginning with her former boss? That this is a world she helped to create?

Arguments that I’m Supposed to Take Seriously for Some Reason

[ 0 ] July 27, 2007 |


More generally, I think a moderate tone is a good idea in these things. Otherwise, you run a high risk of looking like a jerk when you have to admit you’re wrong; or a real jerk when you pretend the whole thing never happened. Posts on what embarassing morons your opponents will be bitterly regretted if, say, it turns out that there is no such contractor at Beauchamp’s base; as will fulminations about left-wing lies if Beauchamp’s stories are corroborated at his court martial. Safer to say that your best judgement lies one way or another, and leave it at that.

But that’s not quite right, is it? At least at LGM, we’ve been somewhat skeptical of the story’s veracity from the beginning. We have not argued that the things that Beauchamp says happened indeed happened; indeed, while we’ve maintained that the stories are plausible, we’ve had our doubts as to particular details. For my own part, learning tha Beauchamp has indeed served in Iraq lends credence to his story. But that’s not really the point of the post that Megan cites. The boys at Blackfive, Michelle Malkin, Glenn Reynolds, and so forth have asserted that the story cannot be true for… some reason. Americans wouldn’t do that; nothing that the New Republic publishes can be trusted (except, presumably, for all of their pro-war stories and pro-war editorials); Beauchamp is a loser who writes poetry, and therefore must by lying, etc.

While it may turn out that Beauchamp is manufacturing this stuff out of whole cloth, none of the attacks that the wingnutosphere have launched have emanated even the faintest whiff of a good faith argument. Rather, they’ve depended on ad hominem assault, character assassination, non-sequiter contentions, and direct intimidation. I would grant a mild exception to the initial Goldfarb post, which at least tried to deal with the substance of the TNR diary.

But TNR’s defenders seem to think that it is a defense to say, “Well, everyone who’s talking about this is evil; and also, bad things happen in war.” Both could be true, and wouldn’t tell us whether *these* bad things happen. Some bad things mostly don’t happen in war (at least, not recreationally): squads don’t all start, say, cutting each other’s genitals off in the rec hall… Those aren’t idle questions; they need an answer better than “I friggin’ loathe Michelle Malkin.”

Sure, but that misses the point of my, and Digby’s, and Glenn’s posts rather dramatically. Michelle Malkin and Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive may actually be right about this case, but that doesn’t legitimate the approach that they’re taking. I suppose that I would ask Megan this: Do you think that there is any piece of evidence that Scott Thomas Beauchamp could provide that would convince Michelle Malkin and her crew that his story was legitimate? Do you remember the Jamal Hussein fiasco? Have you noted how many residents of right blogistan still insist that the weapons of mass destruction are in Syria, and that Saddam Hussein had close operational links with Al Qaeda? Do you understand why I’m bringing all of these up at the same time?

See also Ezra.

Fill in the Blank Friday Blogging

[ 0 ] July 27, 2007 |

So I don’t know about all you folks, but I am not so much a cat person. So much as I like the cute kitty photos each Friday (thanks, Rob!), I’m thinking about adding my own special flavor to the weekly standards.

With that, dear readership, I am requesting your help. What would you like to see (within reason)? Friday puppy blogging? Dunce of the week? A Friday Random Ten? Movie of the week?

Help me help you.

I am Shocked, Shocked to Find that the Saudis are Unhelpful!

[ 0 ] July 27, 2007 |

It would be comic, but for the tragedy:

Now, Bush administration officials are voicing increasing anger at what they say has been Saudi Arabia’s counterproductive role in the Iraq war. They say that beyond regarding Mr. Maliki as an Iranian agent, the Saudis have offered financial support to Sunni groups in Iraq. Of an estimated 60 to 80 foreign fighters who enter Iraq each month, American military and intelligence officials say that nearly half are coming from Saudi Arabia and that the Saudis have not done enough to stem the flow.

One senior administration official says he has seen evidence that Saudi Arabia is providing financial support to opponents of Mr. Maliki. He declined to say whether that support was going to Sunni insurgents because, he said, “That would get into disagreements over who is an insurgent and who is not.”

Who could have guessed when we launched a war designed to revolutionize the Middle East that the most conservative and reactionary regime in the area wouldn’t be overtly helpful? It’s almost as if reactionaries don’t care for revolution, although I understand how that basic insight could be lost upon a crew that started out as Trotskyites, became reactionaries, and have of late tried to restyle themselves as revolutionary liberals.

A Day in the Life of Ace O. Spades, Heterosexual

[ 0 ] July 27, 2007 |

While I spent the evening trying to keep my dog from licking her wound from yesterday’s expensive knee surgery, Ace O. Spades — the blogosphere’s greatest living heterosexual — was wringing out the jizz mop and calling it a day after thinking about Scott Thomas Beauchamp for nearly 24 consecutive hours.

To save readers time, here’s the Reader’s Digest condensed version:

12:37 a.m.: OMG, I totally have a source who knows who Scott Thomas is — someone who works at TNR! We’ve been Google messaging all night! I totally believe my anonymous internet friend is for real, because some other blogger said so! Tomorrow is going to rule!!!111ONE!!EXCLAMATION PO11NT!!!!111!

1:12 p.m.: Fiddlesticks! The cat’s out of the bag. Ha! Scott Thomas Beauchamp has a stupid blog! Ha! Stupid hippie!

1:28 p.m.: OMG! Naked chicks kissing!

1:52 p.m.: So it looks like Beauchamp is getting married to someone at TNR. Oh, and by telling you that, I helped get my source fired. That really makes me mad! This is so like the Valerie Wilson-Joseph Plame thing! Er . . .

4:33 p.m.: I can’t believe people at The Corner don’t care about this like I do! And they won’t link to me! I’m so mad! So mad that I’m going to waste the rest of my day on Google! I hate J-Pod!

4:43 p.m.: Other people use Google, too. That’s so cool! Stupid MSM!

5:43 p.m.: I’m now very interested in Scott Beauchamp’s romantic history, because . . . um . . . shit, I dunno . . . because of . . . . um . . . Stephen Glass!!!!ONE111!!!1

6:08 p.m.: I still can’t believe J-Pod isn’t giving me any respect! I hate journalists! Bloggers rule! Dan Rather! Dan Rather! Dan Rather1

7:01 p.m.: All this activity has left me a little chafed. Sorry. I’m going to stop now.

7:57 p.m.: No, wait a minute! I have speculations and more speculations!

8:09 p.m.: Did I mention that someone got fired because of me? That sucks! Stupid MSM!

8:22 p.m.: Wow, Beauchamp’s blog really sucks!

11:23 p.m.: Bloggers are funny! Ha! Stephen Glass! Stephen Glass! Stephen Glass!

The spectacles and pagaentry/The thousand things you’ve got to see

[ 0 ] July 26, 2007 |

I am in Washington D.C. this weekend for the American Constitution Society conference, so blogging from me will be sporadic for a couple days. However, for your reading pleasure I have a new TAP article arguing that, in spite of predictions from various quarters that John Roberts would be the harbringer of the “Unity ’08!” Court, last term’s highly divided Court illustrates the vastly more likely scenario.

The Story On Louise

[ 0 ] July 26, 2007 |

A flashback from GFR about the NYT reporter who implied that Foer had some doubts about whether “Scott Thomas” was a soldier: apparently she was responsible for one of those “based on some highly dubious random anecdotes I will assert that women now want to be housewives” stories.


[ 0 ] July 26, 2007 |

The phrase “ad hominem attack” acquires new meaning… The primary evidence against Beauchamp is, uh… I’m not sure. They think he’s kind of a loser, and since Americans don’t do such things, he must be lying.

Look, I have no idea what Private Beauchamp experienced in Iraq. I would think, however, that the fact that we know he was in Iraq would serve to bolster, rather than detract from, his credibility. That he’s written in various fora in the past would also, I think, serve to bolster his credibility. Not for this bunch of losers, though.

There probably is some subset of the wingnutty stupid enough to believe that American soldiers do not commit atrocities. I doubt that anyone who has ever served in or closely studied the military could believe such a thing, but wingnuts and facts have never mixed well. I suspect that for most of the bloggers involved in this nonsense, however, the point is to rebuild the fantasy of the American soldier. Americans may do awful things, but our job is to pretend that they don’t; on the one hand, revealing the true costs of war makes it harder to argue that we should be in one, and on the other pointing out such atrocities is a betrayal to the troops that are fighting. This last, I think, comes most often from people with actual military service. It’s bad enough that somebody wrote such things, but to find out that the author is actually a soldier is a kick in the gut, a betrayal. This is why there’s so much more rage now that we know who Beauchamp is; he betrayed his comrades, betrayed America, and gave aid and comfort to the enemy by talking frankly about the things that happen in war. Recall that one of the primary wingnut complaints against John Kerry was that he talked about the awful things that happened in Vietnam; no meaningful effort was made to deny the things that he said, because the fact that he had spoken at all was the true disloyalty.

On some level, I can even respect that sentiment. Young men in war suffer incredible pressures, pressures that civilians can’t begin to comprehend. Sometimes they do horrible things, but they probably wouldn’t have done them if they hadn’t been placed in extraordinarily difficult situations. Facing criticism about such actions from people who cannot understand the context can be extremely unsettling. Nevertheless, horrific behavior on the part of soldiers is an inevitable part of war, and as such needs to be taken into account when we think about war. To do that, we need to face facts, and not pretend that awful things never happen.

Oh, the Things We Won’t Know

[ 0 ] July 26, 2007 |

Via Jessica and Yglesias, a sad reminder of how far we haven’t come. In fact, of how far we’ve regressed:

A Personal Defense

[ 0 ] July 26, 2007 |

Scott Thomas issues a defense of his TNR Diary. The fact that he’s willing to open himself up to the inevitable wingnut smear jobs does give me more confidence in the veracity of his accounts.

…and the smears begin.

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