Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Monday, March 31, 2008


Only Congress has the Constitutional right, by the representative will of the people, to commit public funds. The Bear Stearns deal is a dangerous precedent and a dilution of Congressional prerogative. (bold in original)

They seldom miss a chance to grab more power. They really don't believe in a democracy or even a republic.

Mark Steyn's feelings are hurt by a woman, so he calls her one of hoards of "cobwebbed feminists." The inference of a vagina covered by cobwebs is so hilariously inappropriate, so hopelessly geriatric, that it has to be culled from the dim recesses of Steyn's empty attic of a brain. Daddy's words, or maybe an uncle, or a family friend.

That's a good little authoritarian, Mark. Daddy (or whomever) would be so proud.

Speaking of which, Kathryn Jean Lopez is concerned that Islamics will outbreed Catholics. And what are you doing about it, honey? You're not getting any younger you know, and we've all seen what happens to those selfish women who delay taking care of men and babies to have their own careers. Why aren't you popping out little Catholics, instead of thinking you're as good as a man and pretending you're a political writer?

They mean what they say and they say what they mean

There's a whole genre of chic lit called colloquially "Had I But Know." (HIBK) "Had I but known that the man I married was really a fortune-hunter with a mad wife and a homicidal mother-in-law, I never would have moved to this remote yet exotic island, where my life is in danger." Etc. The reader knew all along, of course, because when you pick up a book with a nervous-looking woman in a huge, billowing gown standing before a castle on the cover, the HIBK is implied.

And now we have a HIBK presidency, when all of us who looked at the cover of this particular book knew perfectly well what was going to happen. It was inevitable. Just as anyone who read the Republican Party platform knew perfectly well what they planned to do. It's not a secret. All you have to do is pay attention.

Via Chris Floyd, we see that Obama plans to run his foreign policy just like everyone else indebted to the military industrial complex. Now we know, and there should be no surprise later. Via Juan Cole, we see that everything the US government does in Iraq makes Iran stronger, and this is no surprise either. It's not an accident. People who pay attention have been saying for years that Bush will try to instigate an attack on Iran. Cheney said a foothold in the Middle East is essential to gain some control over their oil as it slowly grinds towards depletion. We are in the Middle East to stay, and that won't change.

So war with Iran, which everyone says is impossible, will almost certainly happen. It's what the Cheney administration wants, and they get what they want or people die. If I'm wrong, great. But we have to talk about this. This issue is too important. We can't be so afraid of looking stupid and being called conspiracy nuts that we remain silent.

The Cheney administration really does do what they say they will do.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I Know You Are, But What Am I?

Digby says:

I wrote about this before, but I think it's worth reiterating. The "special
relationship" between John McCain and the press is particularly dangerous in
one respect: he is not held accountable for his words on the stump, (while
Democrats' are used against them as if they'd carved them in stone from Mt
Rushmore) and he's not held liable for his gross and obvious panders and
policy shifts. I'm not sure I've ever seen a politician have this kind of
industrial strength teflon before.

Update: Classic Somerby...

"It’s all about Nam, [Chris] Matthews said. McCain served there, and we multimillionaires didn’t. “That gives him a moral edge over of us,” Matthews said. And then, the key part of his statement: That gives him a moral edge—and we show it. Shorter Matthews: We refused to serve during Vietnam. And because we feel so guilty about it, we refuse to serve today too."

Nam is an excuse; they'd fawn over him anyway, because whether they like it or not, he is theirs. If the Inner Circle rejects him, they are nobodies. How many times have we seen this? It's not exactly a surprise.

Forget the merits, pro and con, of the individuals. It is Republicanism that is corrupt and unworkable, the same way communism was unworkable. They vow to destroy the government, eradicate the common good, and establish their own religion as the state religion. If you waste your time denouncing their candidates, don't be surprised when they are easily replaced and you have to start all over again from the beginning.

And we have to treat Democratic candidates with the same skepticism and scrutiny. Why is everyone quiet about both candidates' vow to stay in Iraq? How valid are elections that ignore the will of the vast majority of the people of the nation?

Our national identity doesn't matter. Our need for belonging doesn't matter. Democrats don't matter. Stopping the crimes we are committing is all that counts.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Larry Kudlow is concerned that the dollar seems limp. Flaccid, even. He thinks Europe is laughing at its weakness.

Folks are making fun of the dollar. Our enemies around the world are pointing to the unreliable dollar as evidence of American weakness. Weakness as a financial power. Weakness as a national-security power. Does an unreliable currency symbolize an unreliable nation?

Kudlow thinks it's time to elect McCain, because the former soldier will make the dollar "surge" and stand erect.

Strengthening the dollar isn’t only good financial policy, it’s an act of patriotism. A patriotic dollar will show our jihadist enemies and the rest of the world that there will be no declinist America.

Indeed, the dollar is still the world’s reserve currency, with the vast majority of financial transactions running through the dollar. By reminding voters of this fact -- by placing the U.S. dollar front-and-center in his campaign and emphasizing that there will be no falloff in dollar responsibility if he’s elected -- McCain can more than bolster his agent-of-change credentials and his standing as an economic reformer.

The time has come to end the dollar’s freefall. The time has come to end the international ridicule of the greenback. Making the dollar strong will America strong.

Could he possibly make it any clearer that this occupation is a matter of pride for so many conservatives, a personal ego boost? As if knowing our soldiers are holding a gun on the rest of the world is the most wonderfully warm feeling they've had since childhood.

Haaretz reports on Cheney's recent trip, and the article has a great deal more infomation than other articles on the same trip.

"America's commitment to Israel's security is enduring and unshakable, as is Israel's right to protect itself always against terrorism, rocket attacks and other attacks from forces dedicated to Israel's destruction," Cheney said ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert....The vice president also said on Saturday that, "we must not and will not ignore darkening shadows of the situation in Gaza, in Lebanon, in Syria and Iran, and the threats these areas pose to Israel....."

In welcoming Cheney, [Ehud] Olmert mentioned Iran first when outlining the subjects he planned to discuss with the vice president. Israel considers Iran to be the greatest threat to its survival, and rejects Tehran's claims that its nuclear program is not designed to produce arms.

Cheney wants a permanent foothold in the Middle East. He obviously does not consider ethics or morality in his decision-making process. He has no regard for the value of human life. And there is no one to stop him from achieving his goal.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Charlotte Allen is much better than you.

Charlotte Allen, last seen tarring all women with the stupidity brush in a ferver to insult Barack Obama, returns to her favorite subject, her religion, and how we all should celebrate it.

Your religion, or lack thereof, doesn't matter. Only Allen's religion is important. In fact, it's so important the entire world, as observed throught the locked and tinted window of her car as she drives past it, must observe it in the manner she deems appropriate.

Different neighborhoods on my route home provided little variance in this trend; whether the genteel and expensive post-Christian enclave in Northwest Washington where I lived, or the mostly African American and presumably fervently biblical ward in which the religious order that hosted my Good Friday liturgy resided, the general atmosphere remained consistent. A line of blue-jeaned college students snaked outside the door of my neighborhood pickup bar, the Cactus Cantina, as it did every other Friday night. Cars cruised and horns honked, and clusters of young people on the prowl for weekend adventure crammed the sidewalks.

The working-class Latino neighborhood through which I drove, whose residents nominally shared my Catholic faith and for whom Viernes Santo is a solemn fast day commemorating Christ’s death, was unseasonably merry: roaring crowds on the sidewalks, glittering lights from the bars, beer bottles smashing periodically against the asphalt.

Worse yet, there were only "spring" recipes in her favorite cooking magazine, and St. Patrick's Day falls during Lent, which means more drunken carousing. The situation is so dire that Allen laments:

Millions of American Christians will nonetheless celebrate Easter this year with church and sunrise services, and family lunches and brunches. But these commemorations are nowadays generally private and muted. Most schools and workplaces drone on in routine without even acknowledging the holiday (except in Hawaii, whose Good Friday legal holiday somehow survived a constitutional challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union).

Gasp! Imagine, in a diverse nation, private religious celebrations are being celebrated privately. Instead of the State enforcing religion, it holds it separate! And equal!

But Allen ends her post with hope, for "We are all Easter people." If she means Easter Island people, destined to die off due to their own excess, yes, she is indeed "Easter people."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


From Think Progress:

Fox News’s senior vice president for operations and engineering, Warren Vandeveer, admitted to the New York Times yesterday that Fox’s Midtown Manhattan newsroom was recently infested with bed bugs. “An exterminator determined that the incursion was limited to a ‘very small area in the newsroom,’” but added that the home of the employee who brought the pests into work had “the worst infestation he had seen in 25 years in the business.” Vandeveer says the bugs have now been “totally eradicated.”

I always thought they were scum; it seems they're just pestilential.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

No, No K-Lo

Men can admire female beauty (it's only natural) without wanting to take that beautiful woman to bed.

No, they can't.

If you don't want people to keep calling you a virgin, don't talk like one.
Juan Cole has an interesting take on Fallon's resignation.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates denied Tuesday that the abrupt resignation of Admiral William Fallon as CENTCOM commander indicates an imminent war against Iran. I think Gates's denial is credible. There is no sign of an American war on Iran, which would involve key positioning of warships, materiel and troops. There is no congressional mandate for such a thing, despite the non-binding Kyl-Lieberman resolution in the senate. A provocation is not out of the question, but it would be a risky move in an election year and could easily backfire on the Republican Party (ask Aznar in Spain).

My guess is that the real reason for moving Fallon out is not Iran but Iraq....

Having such a big dissenter as CENTCOM commander is inconvenient for the Republican Party at a time when John McCain is admitting that if he fails to convince the American people that the surge is succeeding, he will lose the presidency. That is, Fallon may have run afoul not of Cheney on Iran but McCain on Iraq. This may be Bush's first favor to the Republican nominee, who after all had a career as a naval officer himself.

This is very reassuring to read and Cole knows the situation far, far better than I, of course. But I would feel more at ease if I didn't suspect that the White House has already written off the election, and had already declared that whatever the president did was legal.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

He'll be feverish after so much thinking.

I had hoped to discuss someting else, but Jonah's being stupid again, and there's such a thing as civic duty.

This is one area where I most profoundly disagree with cultural libertarians. The more the state gets out of the business of policing the sin, the more the rest of the society needs to get into the business of condemning it....I agree with [Jonathan Rauch] entirely that some social deception is necessary to maintain a healthy society. But once the deception has been exposed, forcing everyone to take sides, everyone must in fact take sides. One can be humane or sympathetic, but they should also judge.
(I think I know who edited this post.)

Why, Jonah? Why is everyone obliged to take sides and judge? If the state declares the issue none of its business, why would it be the business of private citizens? That certainly smacks of the nanny state to me. Not even God wants people running around pronouncing moral judgements and delivering punishment; that right is his alone. Judge not lest ye be judged, vengence is mine saith the lord. Keep your nose out of consenting adults' bedrooms, saith I.

But no Jonah would be complete without the barnacles sticking to his whale. Jonah quotes a commentor:

First, marriage involves a public ceremony (with a state required license) with a public vow to forsake all others. A married man visiting a prostitute violates that public vow, and so the matter cannot be said to be private. Whether it should be criminal is another matter.

Quick, call the cops. Someone's getting divorced and refusing to forsake all others!

Friday, March 7, 2008

While You Were Sleeping

Jonah Goldberg says a lot of stupid things. Liberals are fascists. Progressives are authoritarian. The white man is the Jew of liberal fascism. And on and on and on and on. But by far the stupidest thing he's ever said is that the message of the latest version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers says, "...we should make peace with the fact that there is war and conflict in the world because that is the nature of humanity itself and it's better to stay human than surrender to a new order of eternal peace and unity if it would cost us our souls."

But first, let's explain the context. Jonah went to the movies, as he so often does. He chose The Invasion, but did not go into the movie without mental preparation.

Anyway, I figured the 2007 remake would try to conjure some anti-Bush or
anti-war themes (if memory serves the movie was actually filmed a couple years
earlier). I was right. For most of the movie, it seems like it's about the Iraq
war. At least the war is constantly being referenced in the background. For most
of the movie I surmised that they were trying to make some sort of point about
how sleeping (when the pods take over) is the moral equivalent of political
apathy. If you close your eyes, oppression and conformity win, or something like

I haven't seen the movie but I've seen the 1956 version and the 1978 version multiple times, and read the book. Jonah's probably right, although the message is probably closer to this: If you close your eyes, people like Jonah win.

For Jonah everything is political, even (or especially) movies, and if a review of the movie can hawked for a few bucks to the LA Times or take up some space at the National Review Online, so much the better. Case in point:

But then, at the end of the movie, the moral of the story seems to be turned completely on its head.
Which is more probable, the filmmaker suddenly flipped his message 180 degrees, or Jonah gets it wrong again?

Yeah, I think so too.

Earlier in the movie some Russian diplomat gives a speech about how if we lived in a world without conflict and war we would be in a world where we cease to be human. This little speech is recalled at the end, and the lessen seems (again I say "seems" because I'm not sure the filmmakers really knew what they wanted to say) to be that we should make peace with the fact that there is war and conflict in the world because that is the nature of humanity itself and it's better to stay human than surrender to a new order of eternal peace and unity if it would cost us our souls.* *Yes, it's pretty much exactly the same lesson of the Jasime storyline in the "Angel" series.
No. No it really, really isn't. Jasmine didn't eliminate violence, she surrounded herself with it. Jasmine had her general, Angel, and his team to carry out the violence. Jasmine says, "They're my eyes, my skin, my limbs, and, if need be, my fists." She ate her followers. And those who were not eaten lost all free will, which was the point of the storyline. We're the free will gang, Gunn shouts, because despite the peace and surety of surrendering all your decisions to your god, you have to give up too much in return. Loving and being controlled by Jasmine made Angel and his gang happy, but it also made them horrifically indifferent to suffering, including their own. Everything is easier, and they no longer have to question anything. Keeping that feeling of being cared for and belonging, and of course making their god happy, was all that mattered.

After Jasmine's spell is broken, Fred also rejects Angel's belief that they have to be cold and indifferent to fight her. Fred asks, "That the world we're fighting for? The right to be heartless, an uncaring shell? To be dead inside?...Well, I don't know about you, but... I'd take [pain] over being a shell any day." Peace and unity are not costing people their souls. It's not a choice between war or humanity. It's a choice betweeen making your choices yourself, no matter how difficult and painful that may be, or letting someone or some god tell you what to do, no matter how terrible that action may be. Free will or obedient servitude.

But Jonah doesn't see this, just as Jonah doesn't see how his beloved conservative ideology translates into suffering for so many people. He made his choice, despite all his protestations of libertarianism, and he chose obedience to authority over free will.

God bless W. F. Buckley and pass the ammunition.