Friday, October 17, 2008
I'm John McCain, and I enjoy brains.
I'm Chris Matthews, and I feel a shiver up my leg.
And I'm a polar bear, and if helicopters didn't frighten and confuse me, I would shoot Sarah Palin from one.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Yesterday it seemed we never would smile again
Wouldn't matter what we ventured, or how...
Looked as though the fun was over 'till who knew when.
That was then
This is now.
Back in business and ain't it grand?
Let the good times roll.
Yesterday things were out of hand -
Now they're under control.
Back to normal
Back to usual
Let the fun resume.
No more doom and gloom
No more bust, just boom!
Back in business and overnight
Well, all right!
Business is just dynamite!
Let the good times roll.
- Various gangsters, Dick Tracy, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
It's been a long time coming, longer than I had any right to expect it would be, so I suppose we should all be grateful that it took this long to play out: I hate everyone.
Why? Is there something else going on?
I should point out that I don't hate everyone everyone. Not you, for example, gentle reader, or even you, over there in the corner picking your nose.
No, I hate our presidential candidates and I hope to God and all his angels that Thomas Jefferson was wrong when he said that voters in a democracy get the government they deserve.
For months, I walked around New York in a happy daze, convinced, with the small majority of the country, that there was "something about Barack Obama" that we couldn't put our fingers on. But we all knew it was good. After seven and a half years of staring at my shoes and clenching my fists in embarrassment every time the slackjawed chief executive muttered something about freedom hatred or his own deciderhood, the idea that this country might possibly trade up for an energetic young biracial man with the oratorical skill of your favorite college professor struck me as not merely encouraging, but miraculous. It said something good about the country.
To some extent, I still think that. Obama leads McCain in the polls, and when pitting the one against the other - the progressive against the reactionary, the deep-thinking, big-eared peacenik against the twitchy warmonger who thinks the world stopped moving during the Vietnam War - you can't help but notice that people have gotten more reasonable in the wake of the Fool of Crawford.
Of course, that was before the stock market collapsed like a giant whoopee cushion under the corpulent collective ass of idiot deragulatory legislation authored by people from both parties (Goldman Sachs AND JP Morgan Chase Bear Stearns WaMu What Do You Call The Bank That Owns Everything, Again? are two of Obama's biggest campaign contributors. I would imagine that he finds himself in favor of globalizing the economy and indifferent on the subject of monopoly, wouldn't you?). That giant farting sound you hear is all your money going into your neighbors' worthless houses.
And nobody really has a clue what to do about this particular meltdown. The horse is gone; there's no point in closing the barn door now. Worse, for many Americans, there's no one to hate, so, like me, most of us are content with hating politicians. The truth, though, is that we should be taking a much harder look at ourselves.
Who took out all these loans they couldn't afford, again? Who bought house after house and unquestioningly accepted the banks' own assessments of properties that it had a financial interest in overpricing?
More to the point, who allowed these goons to wander in and out of Washington with wheelbarrows full of our money and pockets lined with congressmen? It's not like we didn't know the people we were electing were venal and crooked; we just trusted them to act in the interest of their country on the theory that it would be their own best interest, as well.
Our elected officials, it turns out, are as stupid as we are. And even though Obama seems smart, even though he seems like a guy who wants to help people find a common ground and discover their own inner big-eared deep-thinking peacenik, nobody in American history ever got to the top by being friendly and easygoing all the time. Of course, some have rotted so thoroughly that they can't even hide it anymore, like poor old John McCain, who was actually a very decent guy once upon a time, before 2004, when George Bush and Dick Cheney (a lipstick-free pit bull if ever there was one), started telling everybody that he had a bastard child - worse, a darkie.
Having been shat upon so vigorously by the vast Republican sphincter that now occupies the best seat in the Oval Office, McCain clearly thinks that this is the way to win an election. Why else would he hire a silly-ass thug like Sarah Palin, who can't complete a sentence except to croon to racists and dickheads that Obama "pals around with terrorists?"
In a way, as insane as some of his ideas are, it would have been nice to see somebody take pity on poor Ron Paul and prop the old guy up as the paragon of virtue he clearly is. Why else would he sit there harassing Alan Greenspan through decades of a perfect simulacrum of economic prosperity? Why would he continue to harp on the economy when what the morons who go to the polls every November really want to know is whether or not them faggots is going to be prancing around in bridal gowns?
It's probably a futile desire on my part - I just wish we had some kind of hero again; someone to look up to and say, "Ah, here's our man! Here's somebody we can trust to do the right thing no matter how personally harmful and unpopular it turns out to be!" I've never met that person, or even read about him in the news while he was alive. Instead, each faction of the country has its own rabble-rousing fearmongers telling it that if you're not careful, those people (the blacks, the fags, the Christers, the soldiers - depends on where you are) will come and take away everything that's yours.
And the funniest thing is that the only people doing any taking are the rabble-rousers themselves, who convince us, over and over again, to hand over our money, our national dignity, our children who want to play soldier, for safekeeping while they fight off everyone who disaggrees with us.
In the meantime, of course, as we stare across fences and growl at each other, they spend our money like drunken sailors, kill our children in greedy wars, represent us to a world full of angry nuclear powers as ignorant bullies, and leave us arguing over scraps, still convinced that we have nothing to fear but our neighbors.
email Sam Thielman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, September 25, 2008
And Matt Taibbi over at Rolling Stone has had it with all of you. He tells you so in "The Lies of Sarah Palin," available here.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
And now, someone I never thought I would praise: Patrick J. Buchanan, who, uncomfortably, appears to have been, well, right the whole time. Maybe not about everything, but certainly about one big thing he predicated his entire presidential run on: the economy.
And strict constitutional constructionist Ron Paul also appears to know what he's talking about, after being mocked by many, many people (including myself), namely the stupid, stupid STUPID bailouts of institutions that broke themselves on greed.
And finally, Jonathan Lethem on politics in the most recent Batman movie, which he only saw for the first time as the market started to slide into oblivion. Please note: NOT BORING.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The screencaps of her account were almost immediately taken down, but "almost immediately" is like, years in internet world. Manhattan media blog Gawker picked them up, and since this is both depressing and newsworthy, they will be all over the internet very soon (click to enlarge).
"This is a shocking invasion of the Governor's privacy and a violation of law," says to McCain-Palin campaign manager Rick Davis. "The matter has been turned over to the appropriate authorities and we hope that anyone in possession of these e-mails will destroy them. We will have no further comment."
And I hope that anyone in possession of a winning lottery ticket will turn it over to me, but the chances are slim. Sadly for Mr. Davis, having nothing to do with the theft of this information I am free to post as much of it as I want, due to pesky amendments like that great big one at the beginning.
Accordingly, here is real live proof that Sarah Palin was using her personal email address to conduct government business, along with a screencap via Gawker, which has the rest of the emails and quite a bit of other material, altered to redact the Sean Parnell's email address (c'mon, guys, that's no way to behave). Palin's account is closed for the duration, so no point in hiding it. Send an email to email@example.com for a bounceback proving that she has closed the account, presumably destroying evidence in the ongoing "Troopergate" investigation in the process.
From: Sean personal2
To: Sarah's Personal Email
Sent: Jul 23, 2008 5:40 PM
Subject: Re: Looks like it's my turn in dan's crosshairs
Yesterday, as I set the record straight on my support for you and my ads, Fagan asked if I supported ACES. I told him I did, gave my reasons why and now he's replaying it over and over next to my ad where I tell people I'm for lower taxes. (which was my legislative history, voted against a state income tax, fought Tony's long range financial plan that included five new taxes, didn't raise taxes when oil was at 9 dollars a barrel, cut spending instead.)
It got ugly and will be.
Thursday, July 24, 2008 2:14 AM
To: "Sean personal2"
Subject: Re: Looks like it's my turn in dan's crosshairs
Arghhh! He is so inconsistent and purposefully misleading! I am sorry Sean. He can keep trying, but you are the right one for the congressional position and he KNOWS it (that's the inconsistency!)…remember how he said it all only really matters on matters like LIFE, honesty, ability, etc…all those things you are (as opposed to attributes of your opponents)? He knows you fit all of this, and conservatives', and Alaskans' criteria. His fighting you reveals some evil stuff going on with him. Does he want someone OPPOSED to the life issue in Congress? NOT capable of working with both parties? NOT experienced and capable and standing strong on all the right issues?
I am so sorry he does this.
Monday, September 8, 2008
"The prayer of the scientist if he prayed, which is not likely:
'Lord, grant that my work increase knowledge and help other men.
'Failing that, Lord, grant that it will not lead to man’s destruction.
'Failing that, Lord, grant that my article in Brain be published before the destruction takes place.'"
- Walker Percy, Love in the Ruins
Sunday, September 7, 2008
P.J. O'Rourke: "The Problem is Politics"
"Laugh, Both of You" will be a weekly addition to this blog in which I try to find something both Republicans and Democrats will find funny. Republicans, for example, will be amused that the Democratic entry is a music video and the Republican entry is an essay, while Democrats will giggle that P.J. O'Rourke is still the funniest Republican.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
PAPPY whips off his hat and slaps JUNIOR with it
- Joel and Ethan Coen, O Brother, Where Art Thou?
THEY WANT A WEAK AMERICA
When another friend suggested that Obama was much more popular in Europe than he is here, Jason responded, "Of course he is! They want a weak America!"
As a whole, Europeans don't, of course, want a "weak America" if they know what's good for them. Europe is filled with borderline or full-blown socialist republics that can't afford to spend a penny on defense because of bloated public works and benefits programs; in England, you have to make a significant amount of money for it to even be worth working - going "on the dole" is a decent living. With words and with soldiers supplied to the UN, we keep their countries safe for them.
In this country, a similar scenario has been a conservative nightmare for decades. Ronald Reagan sold himself to the American public as the scourge of the "welfare queen," a woman he had read about in the New York Times and described with some measure of hyperbole (four welfare-collecting aliases became "eighty," $8,000 in fraud became "$100,000"). If enough of these people become a drag on our public funds, the theory goes, we'll have to cut defense spending, which would put us at the mercy of those people who want a weak America, whoever they may be.
And the new version is probably not worth restarting the Cold War over.
"That's a little cowardly," said my friend.
"Think what you want," said his grandmother. "The whole nursing home feels the same way."
I ranted to David, my editor, who is a native Australian, that this was the exact opposite of what old people actually need: Obama wants to start wide-ranging healthcare reforms, using taxes on the wealthy to benefit the poor and indigent. If you're elderly and in a nursing home, you stand a good chance of reaping the benefits of an Obama presidency.
"And racism keeps them from voting in their own self-interest!" I practicallly screamed.
David was unperturbed.
"Then they deserve exactly what they get."
Yes, as Mitt Romney so often said during his campaign, "Washington is broken!" and as he said last night, "We need a conservative Washington!" These aren't out-of-context quotes, mind you - they were the mantras of his campaign for the nomination and now they're part of John McCain's presidential bid, which supposedly exists to use Republicans to shake up a Washington, DC that overwhelmingly supported President Bush whenever it could, to the extent of prosecuting a war on false pretenses and creating an illegal prison in Cuba.
Sarah Palin has joined the McCain campaign to represent voters who feel disenfranchised: normal people who have problems with their kids, need to juggle engagements, grew up worrying about money, and don't trust the federal government.
The choice, as Mike Murphy accidentally pointed out in that MSNBC clip, is entirely cynical. On the one hand, Palin is the governor of Alaska. As long as McCain is alive and in office, she will never be able to affect policy or change any significant aspect of the government; McCain will do as he pleases, which, given his impulsive remarks about Georgia, will be unpredictable at best.
On the other hand, if (God forbid) the 72-year-old cancer survivor dies in office, America will be left with a mother of five (including a Down syndrome infant), who was last seen threatening to fire the town librarian for refusing to censor books that Palin didn't like, who got her passport in 2006, who drove a rift between townspeople by dragging, of all things, abortion into a mayoral election in a town of 6,000, and who considers the Iraq war and a $30 billion oil pipeline missions from God like some mirror-universe Blues Brother.
Palin has been lauded, by McCain and by herself, as someone who opposed the "bridge to nowhere" (which she not only supported until it was all but scuttled, but used as campaign point in her gubernatorial campaign), who fought evil dumbass Ted Stevens (for whom she created an admiration society), and as an enemy of earmarks (which, in the pork capital of the universe, she of course is not).
Obama, bizarrely, has revealed himself to be not merely the wiser and more gracious candidate, suggesting that the media "back off" stories about her family life without even a mention of her incredible claim that she has just as much experience as he does (20 months as leader of the country's 47th-largest state - by population - apparently equals three years in the senate, eight years in the state legislature, and 22 years as an organizer on the South Side of Chicago), but also the more conservative.
Sam Thielman is a New York-based writer. He can be reached by email at sam.thielman at gmail dot com.