Be afraid Archives

February 7, 2007

Cartoons and caricatures

Ripped straight from yesterday's headlines:


You boho wonders showed us what's what in Pitchfork Town. I can only sit back and savor it all. You're harbingers of why I put so much hope in the younger generation.

Compared to this spooky cellar cavity pallorous clown kappery, the yippies look like yuppies. You were strainlessly superior -- the boomer press lynchery was putty in your hands.

The mayor looked like some officious dribble straw-boss out of Moon Mullins.

You made us all a cartoon strip. You, baby, are the three-D -- we're the flatlanders. You played us all like Gretsky and Orr.

May 5, 2007

Sisterhood Is Rancid

Help. The stench is in everything and I can't make it go away.

So now you know. It really does matter who's President and which party controls Congress. A Democratic-controlled Congress would never have passed the Partial-Birth Abortion Act, which banned intact dilation and extraction abortions and, in flagrant violation of Roe v. Wade, lacked an exception to preserve the health of the woman. A Democratic President would never have signed such a bill...

(more after the jump, as they say in the Mainstream Media and DKOS. And well worth the trip, in this case -- Ed.)

Continue reading "Sisterhood Is Rancid" »

May 15, 2007

Giuliani: the Republican Bill Clinton?

Rudy in drag I always used to say that the reason Republicans hated Bill Clinton so much was because he had taken their job away: with Democrats like Clinton, who needs Republicans? Now it begins to appear that maybe Rudy Giuliani is pulling a mirror-image version of the same trick. I hate to subject you to anything from the New Republic, but hold your nose for just a minute:

by Thomas B. Edsall

Many observers believe Giuliani's early success is the result of his calculated move rightward--a savvy effort to trick conservative voters into believing he is really one of them. But there is another possibility.... What if we are witnessing not Rudy moving toward the rest of the Republican Party, but rather the Republican Party moving toward Rudy? What if the salience of a certain kind of social conservatism is now in decline among GOP voters....

GIULIANI IS THE beneficiary of an upheaval within the Republican electorate.... the litmus test issues of abortion and gay marriage have been losing traction, subordinated to the Iraq war and terrorism. According to the Pew Research Center, 31 percent of GOP voters name Iraq as their top priority, and 17 percent choose terrorism and security. Just 7 percent name abortion and 1 percent name gay marriage.

The lions of the Christian right--Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson-- ... reached the height of their power in the late '80s, when, by a 51-to-42 majority, voters agreed that "school boards ought to have the right to fire teachers who are known homosexuals." Now a decisive 66-to-28 majority disagrees, according to Pew. In 1987, the electorate was roughly split on the question of whether "AIDS might be God's punishment for immoral sexual behavior." Today, 72 percent disagree with that statement, while just 23 percent concur....

It isn't just average voters who are driving this shift; many members of the GOP elite--whose overwhelming concern is cutting taxes, a Giuliani forte--would privately welcome the chance to downplay, if not discard, the party's rearguard war against the sexual and women's rights revolutions. Much of the Republican Party's consulting community and country club elite always viewed abortion and gay rights as distasteful but necessary tools to win elections, easily disposable once they no longer served their purpose. Now, with most of the leading GOP contenders demonstrating at best equivocal support for the sexual status quo ante, that time appears to be drawing near.

So -- with Republicans like Giuliani -- who needs Democrats? What happens to the Democrats' be-very-afraid culture-wars strategy when Rudy is the Crossdresser In Chief? This could possibly be fun. Rudy is as crazy as a bedbug, but he most always does look like he's having fun -- and people like that. All the Democrats, by contrast, look like people suffering from acid reflux at the funeral of an aunt who unexpectedly disinherited them.

January 19, 2009

Barack Obama: the libertarians' best friend?

"We can't allow any idle hands," he said. "Everybody's got to be involved." -- Barack Obama.

Can't we just? I'm pretty sure we could if we tried, and I'm sorry to say there are many hands that should remain idle. Involvement in his nebulous understanding of service is not at all appealing either. He's a recruiting machine for the "leave me alone!" party.

Facts are of course no match for misanthropic platitudes uttered from on high, but what holds people back from productive volunteering has nothing to do with a desire for dissolute idleness or a commitment to suckling a poor civic spirt. The biggest obstacle is lack of time. The work week demands a lot from people. In many places it's hard to get to the places and people that need assistance. It's hard as well to find care for the family members who can't fully care for themselves. In spite of that, and according to the government's own figures, "In 2007, 60.8 million volunteers dedicated 8.1 billion hours of service to community organizations." That's formally reported volunteering and it's pretty good. Goodness knows how much more is done informally. On the wildly unlikely chance that it's not good enough, there are better ways to approach it than through sanctimonious eructations. Shorter hours, better pay and public transport would be a good start.

February 5, 2010

It's Bedlam out there

One of luxury fringe effects of SMBIVA-ism... we can talk sensibly about the GOP. Enter the recent much footballed Kospoll on Repub mind sets -- here's the lede take of some fireworks peddler calling itself Sam Stein over at Arianna's bath house:

A new poll of more than 2,000 self-identified Republican voters illustrates the incredible paranoia enveloping the party... The numbers speak for themselves -- a large portion of GOP voters think that President Obama is racist, socialist or a non-US citizen...
  • 39 percent of Republicans believe Obama should be impeached
  • 36 percent of Republicans believe Obama was not born in the United States
  • 31 percent of Republicans believe Obama is a "Racist who hates White people"
  • 63 percent of Republicans think Obama is a socialist
  • 24 percent of Republicans believe Obama wants "the terrorists to win"
  • 21 percent of Republicans believe ACORN stole the 2008 election
  • 23 percent of Republicans believe that their state should secede from the United States
It then quotes the fearless uberpimple of the kos-hive himself, summing it all up:
"This is why it's becoming impossible for elected Republicans to work with Democrats to improve our country...

They are a party beholden to conspiracy theorists... They think Obama is racist against white people and the second coming of Lenin. And if any of them stray and decide to do the right thing and try to work in a bipartisan fashion, they suffer primaries and attacks. Given what their base demands -- and this poll illustrates them perfectly -- it's no wonder the GOP is the party of no."

Would that the Dem pwog-base could be so chilling, eh?

Okay, okay, don't task me with the Orthrian symbiotics of all this: the loons are on the march... we all must rally round the Magic Negro or we'll have Squadristi in the streets of our cities. What outfit have you chosen?

July 2, 2010

A Day In The Life

Have you ever been to one of those meetings where everyone else has just a little something , oh, wrong with them. You're pretty sure they're comrades. They have all the right shibboleths. You can denounce the bourgeoisie in the bathroom without causing any sudden, unfortunate spattering. They all get a definite misty-eyed look when the word "labor" floats across the room. But they keep plaguing you with offers of untagged C4 when the conversation is really supposed to be about fixing the printing press.


If you have, or know the feeling, and wonder how those deep cover Russian spies were caught, the Stiftung Leo Strauss has a post of interest.

October 22, 2010

The Punishment Freaks

John Halle offered some thoughtful responses to Robert Parry.

The partisan obsession with punishment continues. So it's worth taking a quick look at recent history, starting with ACORN's fate. The organization was targeted with a "sting" video by a wingnut impresario who enjoyed dressing up as a pimp. The Democrats took it at face value and voted to defund ACORN. The sanctimony ran thick and heavy until, unsurprisingly, it turned out that the video was a fake. Then they wanted the whole affair to go away. But only after they flew off the handle and punished one of their best supporters.

In fact, the agenda for the first two years of the Democratic majority has shown a greater focus on punishing the base than on enacting any of the base's cherished policies. The policies that did get enacted were laughably bad. The Democratic response to the dismay created by them was to hector and ridicule the critics; drug tests, mental hospitals, etc. Is there any reason the base should not punish the party? Punishment is entirely appropriate.


The Parry argument is that punishment will make things worse for the base. But the base is in a no-win situation already. Cooperation with the party means their punishment will come from the Democrats. Non-cooperation means it will come from the Republicans. The one thin hope is that sufficient punishment for the Democrats, now, will force better behavior from them at a future date. That's all that's left, and it's entirely the Democrats' fault.

What My Inbox Told Me

The Parry threads are getting a little bogged down, but that's no reason to stop feeding into the bogs. Or maybe it is. Was I blogging? But anyway. Parry's argument is based on what his inbox tells him. My inbox tells me many things too, e.g. I could have an enormous penis and get Christian debt relief. I don't consider this indicative of a broad trend. There might be a few debt-free Christians running around with enormous penises, but my inbox is still not a good gauge of reality. Parry's is, for some reason, and it's difficult to resist a poke or two at the resultant crackpot rationalism.

July 12, 2011

Fear the coven

There's a tiresome lot of hand-wringing pouring into my inbox about the dire Teabagger threat. A sample from Alternet, which bombards me with almost as much mail as the DCCC: "Michele Bachmann, the Queen of the Tea Party, has ideas that are truly extreme."

Well then, Michele and I have something in common; I have truly extreme ideas too. Big deal. This preoccupation with crazy-ass clowns on the Right is a favorite liberal campfire narrative. Rrraaaw head and bloody bones! Make my skin crawl, NPR!

My lefty mailing lists are a mixed bag on this subject, but I'm not entirely a voice crying in the wilderness there. On Doug Henwood's list, recently, a chap with whom I agree more often than not wrote, quite cogently,

I continue to believe, as I have since about 1967, that radicals should stop paying so much attention to the far right. It wasn't the far right that gave us the Wr on Drugs, the War on Crime, and the Effective Death Penalty and Anti-Terrorism Act.
Hear, hear.

The reference to 1967 rings true to me. It was shortly before that -- 1965, I think -- that I travelled from my little Kentucky town to Southern California and met my first Teabaggers. They weren't called that, then, but it was absolutely the same species -- middle aged suburban white-collar white people who were furiously pissed off at everything, for no very obvious reason in their fairly comfortable lives.

I remember being very puzzled at the idea that these people were somehow "conservatives". My home town was intensely conservative, in the straightforward sense of being much attached to existing institutions and ways of life. But the Teabaggers of 1965 were quite deracinated -- they had nearly all come to SoCal from somewhere else, and really had no stable matrix of social relations, apart from the office, and no established folkways, apart from driving in cars a lot. Their "conservatism" wasn't a matter of clinging to what they knew and liked; it seemed largely a matter of resenting what other people were doing elsewhere -- a heavily mediatized engagement with the great social spectacle as seen on TV.

It struck me then and strikes me now as a chimaera bombinans in vacuo -- a sort of maelstrom of furious mental energy expending itself without effect in railing at phantoms -- a titanomachia taking place almost entirely in the memesphere.

Oh, sure, they'd sometimes tip the scales to some particularly clownish galoot in a Republican primary, but I'd already decided by that point that the electoral charade wasn't something of any consequence.

No doubt I was affected at an early age by the wisdom of my grandmother, who being asked what was the difference between Republicans and Democrats, replied, "You vote for the Republicans if you want a depression and the Democrats if you want a war." This was before our present enlightened days, when either party can give you both.

December 7, 2011

Send in the clowns

It's amazing to me how much time and mental energy my Dembo friends spend watching and reading and thinking about the downmarket mud-rassle among the various Republican aspirants, that extraordinary collection of buffoons (with one stuffed shirt for uncomic relief). It hadn't come quite into focus for me before how multiply degrading it is to be a Democrat; not only to you have to hold your nose as regards your own guy, but you feel obliged to dirty your mind with thoughts of people like Herman Cain. I am very much enjoying my own serene indifference to the whole process, even though it seems reasonably likely that one of these buffoons (or perhaps the stuffed shirt) will be the next president.

About Be afraid

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in the Be afraid category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

anti-anti is the previous category.

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