Saturday, January 13, 2007

Low-Life Liars

Lately, I've been thinking about shutting down the blog. I haven't come to any 100% solid decision yet, one way or the other. But I've spent probably an hour or two per day, on average, writing for this thing and would really appreciate being able to devote that time to other, slightly more productive pursuits.

But that's only half the story. The real reason I have lost some of my initial zest for blogging has to do with what's going on in the news. I've been writing Crushed by Inertia for a bit more than 2 years now. For all that time, plus an additional year and three-quarters, America has been fighting a bloody, unwinnable war against a vaguely-identified, largely inscrutable enemy. I have voiced my opposition to this insane brutality, if not daily, than at least regularly.

I just don't know what's left to say. I suppose I could just drift over to other topics and stop repeating myself about Iraq all the time, but it wouldn't feel right not to address that big horrible thing our country keeps doing that's in the news every day.

Here's the trouble with our entire public discourse right here.

At the moment, conservatives are pretending to be shocked (shocked!) about Barbara Boxer's remarks to Condi Rice about who pays the costs of the war. Taken out of context, a bit of Boxer's rather extensive comments may sound as if the Senator is degrading Dr. Rice for not having a family. So long as you scan her comments carefully looking for something about which you might object.

Here's the non-offensive "offending" text:

“Who pays the price?” Boxer asked Rice, who is unmarried and doesn’t have children. “I’m not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You’re not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families.”

Not so outrageous, right? She's making a simple point. The Americans who suffer and will continue to suffer for Bush's War are not the politicians making the big decisions in Washington. They are the soldiers and those who love and depend upon the soldiers. I mean...yes. An important point, but not a particularly novel observation. Note, as well, that Boxer includes herself in the category of people who will not pay a personal price for the war.

Here's Tony Snowjob's response:

White House spokesman Tony Snow called Boxer’s remarks, made during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting Thursday, “outrageous.”

…”Here you’ve got a professional woman, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Barbara Boxer is sort of throwing little jabs because Condi doesn’t have children, as if that means that she doesn’t understand the concerns of parents,” Snow said. “Great leap backward for feminism,” he added.

Oh, man...Tony Snow pretending to care about great leaps backward for feminism! That is classic! Here's Tony Snow on abortion:

If South Dakota has led the way toward a democratic eruption, it also has shaken up the political marketplace by rejecting the popular rape-and-incest exception.

The loophole doesn't make moral sense. If life begins at conception, children conceived through rape and incest are human beings. They are innocent of crimes, even if they are the byproduct of horrendous violence against women. So on what basis should we permit their destruction?

If one argues that a woman would suffer trauma by bringing such babies to term, what would prevent other women from citing trauma as an equally cogent reason for their abortions? Trauma introduces an obligation to pay special heed to the victims of rape or incest.


As a hilarious sidenote, that quote comes from a Townhall column Snow wrote in March of last year. I have pulled it, however, from the blog E Pluribus Unum, because Townhall has apparently removed it and all of Snow's other writings from their website.

Hmm...Why would they delete Snow's ramblings? It's almost as if...they know it sounds backwardfuckass insane to refer to cases of rape and incest as "loopholes."

I mean, let's be honest...Who among us hasn't know at least one young girl who decided she'd really like to have a fetus aborted, but is afraid of the potential legal ramifications?

"Fear not!" says Tony Snow, champion of the Feminist Cause. "All you have to do is submit to violent sexual assault by a stranger! Or, if that doesn't pan out, probably because you are too ugly, simply fuck a close male family member! It's a total loophole!"

So, okay, Snow couldn't be more full of shit if he chased 10 Taco Bell value meals with a gallon of prune juice. Granted. Here's my favorite warmongering, nasty but still somehow adorably befuddled conservative pundit, Andrew Sullivan, on Boxer's remarks, which he deems "vile."

That's the only word to describe Senator Boxer's ad feminam attack on Condi Rice yesterday. There was a trace of homophobia to the smear as well. This kind of attack is like the "chickenhawk" smear and worthy of low-life liars like Michael Moore. We really should be able to debate national security without the politics of personal destruction. The senator should apologize. Today.

Holy fuckstick. I disagree with pretty much every single aspect of that statement. Even some of the punctuation. In fact, let's look at that again, and I'll bold everything that's clearly objectionable.

That's the only word to describe Senator Boxer's ad feminam attack on Condi Rice yesterday. There was a trace of homophobia to the smear as well. This kind of attack is like the "chickenhawk" smear and worthy of low-life liars like Michael Moore. We really should be able to debate national security without the politics of personal destruction. The senator should apologize. Today.

(1) The only word? I mean, even if you think that Boxer's comment was out of line, Andrew won't allow for any other possible interpretation. What about "inappropriate"? "Offensive?" "Hurful"? "Misguided"? No, the objective truth about Boxer's statement, printed above, is that it's vile. Why? Because it was said by Barbara Boxer, whom Andrew dislikes.

(2) Why is it necessarily anti-feminist for Boxer to point out that Rice will be personally unaffected by the costs of this war? Now, if you wanted to do some research on Barbara Boxer's history of questioning members of the Bush administration, and discovered that she had never made a similar comment to a male member, you would have the beginnings of a case. It would still be inconclusive, unfortunately, because the stakes of the war debate have never been as high as they are at this crucial turning point, so perhaps the question never seemed as pertinant to Boxer before. Also, perhaps Boxer simply does not know the family status of all the male Bush administration members, while Rice's singleton status is a well-known and frequently-discussed matter of public record. But you could at least say "here is some inconclusive evidence to suggest that Boxer meant the 'childless' remark as a feminist attack." Of course, Andrew has done none of this legwork, and makes none of these exceptions. He just assumes that Boxer's vile statement attacks Rice in an anti-feminist manner.

(3) A trace of homophobia? Guh? Here's the Boxer quote again:

“Who pays the price?” Boxer asked Rice, who is unmarried and doesn’t have children. “I’m not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You’re not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families.”

CONDI RICE HAS NO IMMEDIATE FAMILY! She is single, childless and both of her parents are dead. Is she gay? I have no idea. Who gives a fuck. She's warped and evil, that's all I care about. And Boxer's calling her out on frogmarching other people's families into a kill zone without having any personal stake in the outcome. I have no idea where Andrew sees homophobia coming into play here.

(4) I also don't see any smear. She doesn't even address an adjective at Condi. She simply uses the pronoun "you." There is nothing wrong with being an adult woman with no husband or children, therefore pointing this information out can not be considered a smear.

(5) "Chickenhawk" may be considered a smear, but it's such an accurate and succinct way to describe the critique of unenlisted war supporters, I don't think it qualifies. It upsets these people so because it's so dead-on accurate.

(6) How hilarious is it that he calls "chickenhawk" and "childless" vile smears, and then thinks nothing of referring to Michael Moore as a "lowlife" in the very next sentence. Andrew, Andrew..."Lowlife" is far more personal and vicious an attack than "chickenhawk" or "individual with no immediate family." You're implying that Michael Moore is a lesser biological form than yourself. That he is subhuman. War supporters self-identify as hawks, so the only offensive term there is "chicken," which is something elementary-school kids call one another. Grow the fuck up.

Also, though it's exceedingly common to hear right-wingers call Moore a "liar," I have only ever seen evidence that he occasionally employs questionable reasoning. No one has ever demonstrated to me any proof that there is a direct lie in one of his films.

(7) Why is Sullivan pretending that Americans have ever debated national security in a sensible, reasonable manner. Bush allows for no such thing as this "debate" which you speak of. He's the Deciderator, remember? What he says, goes. And he says, "bomb those sandy bastards"!

(8) "The politics of personal destruction," eh? You mean, like outing a covert CIA agent because she's married to a political enemy? Or like continually questioning the sanity and sincerity of a former Vice-President, one-time Presidential candidate and environmental activist over the course of multiple decades? Or, perhaps, implying that a war hero may have shot himself in order to secure medals? Or using an opponent from your own party's adoption of a non-white baby as an opportunity for cheap race-baiting? Those are all pretty personal, destructive tactics...

(9) Note to Democratic politicans: Feel free to ignore all advice from Andrew Sullivan.

Okay, so Andrew is wrong wrong wrong about this particular issue, a shocking 9 times. It has to be some kind of land speed record.

But he's been right about a far more important issue for at least a few months now. I'll probably never forgive him for calling me a traitor for opposing the Iraq War (not personally, of course) back in 2003, but few bloggers have been as on top of the Bush administration's bungling and torturing (the ol' B&T) in the past year than Sully.

And that's really the galling, infuriating thing about this entire faux-scandal that makes me want to quit blogging. It's all just a distraction from the carnage in Iraq, and when I write about its naked stupidity, I just end up catapulting the propaganda a bit for Team Bush and distracting all of you from what's important.

So here are Boxer's actual comments in context. Taken together, they are an eloquent and, in some places, heart-breaking assault on the war Rice helped to start and run. Notice that they have nothing at all to do with Condi's personal character or choice of lifestyle.

So from where I sit, Madame Secretary, you are not listening to the American people. You are not listening to the military. You are not listening to the bipartisan voices from the Senate. You are not listening to the Iraq Study Group. Only you know who you are listening to, and you wonder why there is a dark cloud of skepticism and pessimism over this nation. I think people are right to be skeptical after listening to some of the things that have been said by your administration.

For example, October 19th '05, you came before this committee to discuss, in your words, how we assure victory in Iraq, and you said the following. In answer to Senator Feingold, "I have no doubt that as the Iraqi security forces get better -- and they are getting better and are holding territory, and they are doing the things with minimal help -- we are going to be able to bring down the level of our forces. I have no doubt" -- I want to reiterate -- "I have no doubt that that's going to happen in a reasonable time frame." You had no doubt, not a doubt. And last night, the president's announcement of an escalation is a total rebuke of your confident pronouncement.

Now, the issue is who pays the price, who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, within immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families, and I just want to bring us back to that fact.

NPR has done a series of interviews with families who have lost kids. And the announcer said to one family in the Midwest, "What's changed in your life since your son's death?" The answer comes back, "Everything. You can't begin to imagine how even the little things change, how you go through the day, how you celebrate Christmas" --

Mr. Chairman, could I please --

SENATOR JOSEPH BIDEN: (Off mike) --

SENATOR BARBARA BOXER: "You can't begin to imagine how you celebrate any holiday or birthday. There's an absence. It's not like the person has never been there. They always were there, and now they're not. And you're looking at an empty hole. He has a Purple Heart, the flag that was on his coffin, and one of the two urns that we got back." He came back in three parts: two urns and one coffin. He's buried in three places, if you count their house. He's buried in New Jersey. He's buried in Cleveland.

That's who is going to pay the price.

And then you have the most moving thing I've ever heard on a radio station, which is a visit to a burn unit and a talk with the nurse. Devon suffered burns over 93 percent of his body, three amputations: both legs, one arm. His back was broken, internal organs exposed. As the hospital staff entered the room, they would see photographs on the wall, pictures of a healthy private standing proud in his dark-green Army dress uniform.

"It's very important," says the major, "that nurses see the patient as a person, because the majority of our patients have facial burns, and they're unrecognizable, and they're extremely disfigured."

So who pays the price? Not me. Not you. These are the people who pay the price.

10 comments:

Sharkbait said...

This morning I checked my email, and clicked over to the headline of the NY Times, read the latest idiotic move by our unelected post turtle, and then immediately blog hopped to the bloglines bookmarked link to see what you had to say. This is what I do almost every morning.

See, I knew you'd be there. I'm COUNTING on you being there.

I got about eight words in before I clicked through to the actual page. I needed to know for sure if you were still there and that my bloglines feed wasn't just a relic of a blog long gone. Whew!

I was also attepting to add a hit, in some pathetic hope that if this was a popularity contest you would get my virtual vote and stick around.

I guess if you left I could always search around for another political blog that spells it all out for me and makes me passionate about politics. But where would I find one that is backed up by the credibility of excellent movie reviews?!?! I don't WANT to have to start a new relationship with some strange blogger I don't trust! I want to keep coming to you with my confusion and wonder.

When it comes to politics I am no leader. I admit it, I am a follower. I don't know what to say, write, or even think sometimes. But I am discerning, and a good decision maker.

You, my dear, are a blogging political leader. People come to you for perspective, laughs, and the comfort of knowing somebody out there GETS IT.

If it sounds like I'm guilt-tripping you into sticking around, I am.

Did you ever see Pump Up The Volume?
;-)

Anonymous said...

I am new reader, but in the short time i've read some of your work, i enjoy most of it. I understand your feelings toward continuing this blog if shit fails to change. But you gotta believe your voice is being heard and has resonated. Whether you continue or stop, your blog is just as important as the thousands of others that have kept a critical eye on our current political state. I enjoy your reviews and your political rants are very informative and bring a fresh perspective to the topic. peace...

Lons said...

Well, I'm not the best at taking compliments, but my thanks to the both of you. I'm glad you're enjoying the little blog project here. It's easy to get discouraged once you see that traffic plateau, so it's extremely pleasant to hear that I've managed to reach some interested readers out there.

(I like how Atrios refers to the old days when "only 500 people a day" visited his blog. I'd need about 200 more regulars to get there!)

As to what you were saying, Drummer, it's less about effecting a positive change. I never actually thought that would happen. In fact, I've been consistantly surprised at the way certain bloggers like Kos and Glenn Greenwald have actually managed to influence the discourse.

Really, I'm just running out of ways to call President Bush an asshole. I'm going to have to start cursing at him in other languages or something if I want to keep this up much longer...

steve c. said...

Shut the blog down now. I urge you to pursue a job at the LA WEEKLY at once!

Anonymous said...

Hello, I'm a new reader of your blog in China and have the similar age with you. I read the article about your wife's delivery last year in a casual searching. My son come into the world two months ago. Enjoy your works and blog style. Do you really intend to shut down your blog? I have taken it into my favorite.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I'm a new reader of your blog in China and have the similar age with you. I read the article about your wife's delivery last year in a casual searching. My son come into the world two months ago. Enjoy your works and blog style. Do you really intend to shut down your blog? I have taken it into my favorite.
---Why cannot I login this blog netsite with my gmail account? I have to choose the identity of "anonymous".

Olaf Legend said...

have you consider adding pink colour to your blog? It can be most eyecatching.

steve c. said...

Don't foget to check out FECES of rthe FUHRER on youtube!

steve c. said...

Feces for the Fuhrer O

imsmall said...

DISCRETIONARY FEMINISM

A woman has been sentenced to receive two hundred lashes
And jail time--for a rape done by a gang of seven men
All unrelated to the victim: she was under-cautious
In her proximity, but so she learned her lesson then.

It is the "Muslim" way but most especially as it is
Interpreted and implemented by our friends the Saudis--
Yet moralists discretionary turn their eyes from this
For friendship´s sake--make no mistake--or even they applaud these

Progressive indicators because our cohabitant
Within the bed of oil has made for palms greased all around;
So we may overlook it because getting what we want
We tolerate injustices no matter how profound.

However let it be a country as Sadaam´s Iraq,
Or even say Iran today--outside of the exclusive
Friendship association Good Old Boys (the US pack),
Why then denouncement and concern becomes ultra-effusive.

Then those same moralists decry "female victimization,"
Though than their Saudi counterparts the women in the case
May live freer substantially with less discrimination,
But so faux-feminism bears a schizophrenic face.

Such policies however as the US foists upon
The various Arab emirates and lands of the Koran,
All tend pejoratively to impact the women there,
As in Iraq: US know-how may lack some savoir faire.

Get off your high horse, hypocrites,
And cease to moralize
About some other peoples--it´s
Presumptuous and unwise;
In fact distortion as it flits
Amounts to telling lies.