Jun
8

I Never Would Have Guessed




Posted at 10:10 by HTML Mencken

Helen Thomas retired today. Wingnuts rejoice. And they aren’t the only ones:

Steve Benen and Kevin Drum agree that she had to go. Jonathan Chait says she shouldn’t have, but in a very backhanded way; actually the object of his post seems to be blarging at Tony Judt specifically, and at anti-Zionism generally (such uncharacteristic reticence at not conflating it with anti-Semitism, though; Chait’s next paycheck will do doubt reflect Marty Peretz’s and AIPAC’s displeasure).

Matt Yglesias, a slippery one, doesn’t say yay or nay, though he does seem to make the sapient point that no self-respecting professional blogger like, say, Matt Yglesias, with a veteran’s experience and battle-tested ninja skillz would ever “cut loose with” such “serious nonsense.” Heh, indeedy:

AFTER THE LATEST DEPRESSING news from the Middle East I think we have to start asking just how inhumane it would be for Israel to just expel the Palestinians from the occupied terroritories. The result would probably be out-and-out war with the neighboring Arab states, but Israel could win that.

All forced population transfers are humanitarian disasters, of course, but so is the current situation. It’s not like there’s not any room in the whole Arab world for all these Palestinian Arabs to go live in, it’s just that the other Arab leaders don’t want to cooperate.

posted by Matthew at 4/01/2002 06:05:00 AM

Ooops, sorry, that’s apparently not nonsense. It is more or less an endorsement of the forced ethnic cleansing of what the entire Village and all wingnuttia considers Bad People… so, well, someone give that boy a job! Hey, someone did! Anyway, Glenn Greenwald has more to say about the double standard.

Josh Marshall who, unlike those mentioned above, is actually a reporter (as well as a blogger), says he wanted to ignore the whole thing “[b]ut now since she’s retiring and was presumably forced out, I don’t feel right not addressing it. I’ve heard numerous attempts to, if not excuse, than at least mitigate her comments. And they don’t fly.” He makes the same, obvious, point I did about what was offensive in her commentary — the “to Germany and Poland” part was nasty — but then shows what he really thinks by slagging on the Euros and presumably, everyone who thinks the Zionist effort in Palestine is immoral; back in introspective mode, he sadly notes the consequences of senescence and concludes by basically saying that since both Jews and Muslims have suffered there for a long time now, everyone should forget history and work on a Green Line solution. He must have felt this post was too tame because a few hours later he pastes some absolutely righteous — by which I mean, morally and intellectually righteous, the kind that matters, not blood- or tribally- or religiously-righteous, the kind that is indefensible but quintessential among Israel’s apologists — objections from those whom he characterizes as the “screechy sectarian left.”

These guys* all have other things more or less in common. No, it is not their ethnic background, and I’m not talking about race and gender. One thing is that they all are Liberal Hawks and support or supported the Iraq War. No, not because of Israel. Because their political and ideological instincts are so similar to each other and, most importantly, to the Villagers — and, except for Marshall, who built his own thing, they owe their professional standing precisely to that fact. My teeth aren’t set on edge so much by the beneficiaries of Krugman’s Law above as by the people who make excuses for them, as if they have some precious, utterly unique value to the liberal blogosphere which cannot be replaced** by about a thousand bloggers*** out there who have consistently demonstrated better instincts and judgment about things that really matter. One can’t complain about the Village and at the same time cheerfully accept as brethren these Junior Villagers hired by supposedly netroots-friendly and most definitely netroots-supported institutions. Consider the above’s credentials, bear in mind the speed with which they were offered jobs and by whom, then ask yourself why Roy Edroso and Digby, who can write circles around all of them and whose political instincts have proven to be far more sound, were passed over for so long****. Why is that? And why would any netroots-type person not be bothered by it?

Troll Prophylactic: This isn’t about purity, this isn’t about perfection; anybody can diverge or dissent from this or that netroots belief. I’m talking about instinct and pattern, demonstrated over considerable time, that far more resembles acute Villageritis than any other particular trait. Even with regard to something so singularly important as getting the Iraq War right from the start… well, getting it wrong can be forgiven (though under no circumstances should getting it wrong be rewarded yet remember Krugman’s Law: getting it wrong is a necessary criterion for acquiring paid pundit gigs). For instance, in the cases of John Cole (who was wingnut) and Johann Hari (who, though a journalist and not a blogger is exactly the person to whom all the excuses proffered for Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein actually apply). Read Cole and Hari over time, appreciate the consistency, observe their sincere remorse, watch how they have learned — they are not gonna flip-flop between progressive and “centrist” positions for careerist, whichever-way-the-wind-blows reasons — then compare to those above.

* Along with Ezra Klein, but he hasn’t written about Thomas (yet). And I’m not sure of Mark Kleiman’s opinion on the matter, but he usually agrees with the rest of them and has made the same predictable mistakes; however, I can’t be bothered to check because I can’t stand reading him after I found out he’s still sucking giant green slimy goat balls.
**Except for Marshall, who is unique because of the difference explained above.
**And I’m not including myself in this because I don’t write well enough or often enough; many do, however, and some of them are my comrades here, commenters and bloggers.
*** Glenn Greenwald is an exception, was offered a job fairly quickly, but then he has legal expertise and is an utterly indefatigable arguer; he could not be denied.

Dept. of Corrections adds: Steve Benen has informed us via email that he never supported the invasion of Iraq War. HTML Mencken, putz that he is, thought he had a Carpetbagger Report post bookmarked in which Benen admitted to being briefly pro-war, and since he couldn’t find said bookmark to confirm as much while writing this post, he went with his own drug-addled memory. Mencken still believes that Benen suffers from Villageritis, but nothing can excuse Mencken’s stupid mistake, which he sincerely regrets. As punishment, S,N! orders HTML Mencken to refrain from all progressive activities (including recreational abortion, Ba’al worship, drug abuse, gay recruitment drives, flag burning, and bible stomping) for at least two full hours. We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

186 Comments »

  1. Smut Clyde said,

    June 8, 2010 at 10:32

    All forced population transfers are humanitarian disasters, of course, but so is the current situation.
    I suppose there is some reason why the idea of “no longer creating the current situation by propping up Israel’s economy with massive subsidies while its leaders ship people in from Russia to occupy new settlements built on land seized from Palestineans” is not really an option.
    But really, suggesting that the Israeli government should ethnically-cleanse an a population and drive them into the sea because other policies pursued by the Israeli government are even worse, that’s missing the point somehow,

    It’s not like there’s not any room in the whole Arab world for all these Palestinian Arabs to go live in
    Isn’t this what Helen Thomas was proposing (or rather how her words have been distorted), but with “Arab world” instead of Germany and “Palestinean Arabs” instead of Jews?

  2. Boney Baloney said,

    June 8, 2010 at 11:11

    Let’s be fair about John Cole: he’s the typical zealous convert, more Catholic than the pope. No, that’s opening a big can of child-molestation worms — let me give a more concrete example:

    “Well I’m a Snake-Handler myself, and I don’t think these people oughta –”

    “Yeah, me too. Four generations. I used to have to go to Snake-Handler Prayer & Indoctrination for an hour every morning before high school started. I remember 16 months ago when you asked me what exactly Snake-Handlers believed and I brought you those pamphlets. I think you’re overreacting.”

    “I think you’re not taking this SERIOUSLY enough! Every so-called Christian needs to pick up a rattlesnake in each hand and recite the Lord’s Prayer every day, or they’re just FAKING it!”

    “Keep carrying that banner, dude. See you on Sunday, okay? I gotta get back to work….”

    Cole, especially, knows exactly which topics benefit from leftist outrage and which don’t, and how hard to twist the throttle down to a millisecond of arc. His front pagers are sort of sad, but at least they post stuff other than Full Metal Olbermann about how Progressives are strangling Democrats, who need both hands free to continue punching themselves in the nuts, except they aren’t doing that, really, it’s only Obama’s second year in office, and the online community should shut up about it because D3mZ r00l. Bleh.

  3. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge said,

    June 8, 2010 at 11:46

    I’ve got insomnia, so I’m going to get into this and commit two sins in one: A—tl;dr, and 2—I’m going Godwin from the get-go, because it’s just built-in; there’s nothing you can do about it.

    The only thing Thomas really said wrong was one word: “back”. She didn’t mean return to present-day Germany and Poland, which of course most Israeli Jews didn’t come from in the first place. She was working from a picture in her mind of the ideal situation, where the Jews were indemnified for the Holocaust by being given a state of their own at the expense of Germany! You know, the people who actually committed the atrocity against them!

    I was 15 for the Six-Day War, but I remember being absolutely mystified long before that as to why some innocent third party had their country taken away and given to the Jews in “reparation” for a crime they had nothing to do with. I didn’t understand it then, and I don’t understand it now, but I’m much more incensed about it now, that’s one thing….

    If the Zionists were correct that only the possession of a territorial state with a government recognized by the world community can give a people any protection against genocidal atrocities like that (and I think they were) it was perfectly reasonable to give them one. I think a city-state like the Vatican would have done the job, but if not, Pommerania would have been perfect. Accessible by sea (at the pleasure of Denmark, though), and with good infrastructure (what was left of it). After Poland was bodily shifted westward, it was ethnically cleansed of Germans anyway.

    So Thomas was saying something to the effect of: “In an ideal world, shouldn’t the Jews be given a new state at the expense of the people who injured them?” (Germany and the part of 1939 Germany that’s in 1945 Poland.) Maybe she was so angry at this spectacle of 1.5 million people crammed into Andersonville-by-the-Sea that she thought it was 1947 again, I don’t know.

    We’ve learned recently that empathy is a bad thing, especially for a judge, but I sincerely believe that most people don’t think that. They’re just so completely blinded by their tribalist obsessions they literally can’t put themselves in someone else’s place. (And if you criticize any crime committed by the Israeli government, no matter how gross, you’re an “Anti-Semite”, rabid with “Judenhass”, who wants to repeat the Holocaust.) I just wish people who aren’t blinded by this obsession would try the simple thought experiment:

    You’re minding your own business, and suddenly an army swoops in and occupies your country, They throw you out of your home into a camp, or across the nearest border, into a country that doesn’t want you. An international organization based 6000 miles away has given them your country, in compensation for crimes committed against them on another continent, by yet another party you have nothing to do with. You say “Oh well then, that’s totally fair! I’m perfectly happy to live as a refugee or as a second-class citizen in my own country if it means I can atone for the sins of those other people 1000 miles away!”

    If you don’t think you would react exactly like that, then expecting the Palestinians to acquiesce in the current situation is completely hypocritical, because that’s what you expect of them. Well, I don’t know of any people in history who have just rolled over and played dead like that, and why should they be the first?

  4. Mona said,

    June 8, 2010 at 12:19

    HTML: False modesty ill-suits you. This — **And I’m not including myself in this because I don’t write well enough or often enough; many do, however, and some of them are my comrades here, commenters and bloggers. — is manifestly untrue.

    As to Jon Cole, his political arc and mine are nearly identical. I was already in extensive disagreement with social conservatives, but, as w/ John, the Schiavo Derangement caused me to understand that the GOP and its wingnuts merited distrust on everything, because they were capable of anything. Sean Hannity et al. were frighteningly powerful and rancid during that ghastly episode, and because John and I could be outraged by that, it made it possible to break from any association with those sectors which drove the debacle and see them as a larger issue.

  5. Lurking Canadian said,

    June 8, 2010 at 12:22

    Let’s be fair about John Cole: he’s the typical zealous convert, more Catholic than the pope

    I can’t figure out John Cole. He says his road-to-Damascus moment was the Terry Schiavo incident, but I don’t get it. I can certainly see that souring him on the Republican party, but I don’t see why it changed his mind about the “existential threat” of al-Qaeda, or why it made torture stop being OK.

    It’s like he just caught the sanity virus around the time of Terry Schiavo and hasn’t been able to kick it.

  6. Mona said,

    June 8, 2010 at 12:34

    Lurking Canadian wrote: I can’t figure out John Cole. He says his road-to-Damascus moment was the Terry Schiavo incident, but I don’t get it. I can certainly see that souring him on the Republican party, but I don’t see why it changed his mind about the “existential threat” of al-Qaeda, or why it made torture stop being OK.

    John and I have exchanged a good deal of email on the topic of Schiavo and it having caused us to part ways w/ former ideological comrades. I certainly cannot and do not speak for him, but believe I have some insight into what we both experienced.

    If one is a non-tribalistic sort, and is vested with a capacity for intellectual honesty, it is possible to actually begin listening to demonized Others when they are right about a major issue at the time the zeitgeist is against them. What else might they be correct about, and as an important corollary inquiry, what other bullshit has one accepted from the Bad Actors?

    At least that is how it went for me, and it seems to have been similar w/ John.

  7. Scott said,

    June 8, 2010 at 12:38

    My problem with the entire episode is the massive double standard.

    Helen Thomas says one wrong thing, and she’s forced out of her job and proclaimed the Worst and Most Horrible and Wickedest Person Ever and We Never Liked Her Much Anyway and Oh Boy, Maybe I Can Get in the Front Row Now, My Q Rating Will Skyrocket and I Can Finally Ask Obama Why He Won’t Do More to Win Over Rush Limbaugh.

    Pat Buchanan spouts pro-Nazi crap for decades and decades, and no one gives a crap but the Dirty Fucking Hippies.

    Pat Robertson is an insane fundamentalist cleric, and no one gives a crap but the Dirty Fucking Hippies.

    Judith Miller prints lie after lie after lie to support Bushco’s drive to an illegal and unwinnable war, and the NYTimes covers for her, and no one gives a crap but the Dirty Fucking Hippies.

    Jonah Goldberg publishes a book saying anyone who’s not a Bushco Republican is actually a literal Nazi, and no one gives a crap but the Dirty Fucking Hippies.

    Dick Cheney fucks the country over hard, thanks to secret deals with oil companies, thanks to full-throated advocacy of torture, thanks to doing everything he can to wreck the nation’s democratic principles, both during and after his term in office, and no one gives a crap but the Dirty Fucking Hippies.

    Glenn Beck spends almost every show calling everyone he doesn’t like a Nazi and winking his encouragement for the Mighty Incontinent Teabagger Army to rise up and overthrow the government, or at least blow up some federal buildings, and no one gives a crap but the Dirty Fucking Hippies.

    Newspapers and TV stations nationwide adopt corporate and/or GOP spin and lies as fact, shovel them into the Holy Narrative, and never bother with any of the hard stuff like telling people when they’re being lied to, and no one gives a crap but the Dirty Fucking Hippies.

    If we held the rest of the Media Fuckosphere to the Helen Thomas standard, there’d be no one working in the Media Fuckosphere after about a month.

  8. El Cid said,

    June 8, 2010 at 12:41

    Holy fucking shit. I knew Yglesias was a pro-war liberal hawk shit, but I had no idea that he advocated the same genocidal ethnic cleansing that Helen Thomas’ remark didn’t in any way sound like.

    Thomas did the right thing by resigning, though, because like it or not she just never, ever would have been treated as a professional journalist any more. She would never be invited as any reporter to any where, no one would really seek to publish her, and she would just be ‘that woman who hates Jews’, etc.

  9. El Cid said,

    June 8, 2010 at 12:53

    Glenn Greenwald is an exception, was offered a job fairly quickly, but then he has legal expertise and is an utterly indefatigable arguer; he could not be denied.

    Salon pays Greenwald, as I understand it, to host his own blog. It’s more like syndication than a job. Salon doesn’t edit or involve itself in any way in its content, though there probably are some broad contractual guidelines.

  10. Ted the Slacker said,

    June 8, 2010 at 13:09

    Greenwald is dead to rights about the double standard, but I don’t really see the value of focusing on hypocritical behavior, such debates inevitably descend to the “I’m rubber, you’re glue” level of sophistication.

    The issue here is the extent to which some people get sucked into going along with what is “acceptable discourse”.

    I don’t read enough of teh libruhl blogosphere to know how all our brothers and sisters line up, but Greenwald I do read and perhaps it is because he is a civil liberties – especially first amendment – “extremist” (Joe Klein described him thus), it lends to him being even more resistant to getting hemmed in by parameters of “acceptable discourse”.

    Helen Thomas got canned not because she said something racist or anti-semitic or anti-likud or whatever, she got canned because she broached an unmentionable subject. Why should (Greater) Palestine be the location of the nation of Israel?

    Gasp. **silence**

    There are all sorts of phony measures of (journalistic) courage, but the truer measure, that which iconic commentators live up to, is the ability to bust through taboos, to widen the bands of acceptable discourse.

    I guess what would piss people like us off less is if those who remain bound by rules on acceptable discourse were more honest about how intrisically cautious they are. I don’t necessarily blame them for being cautious, but they could at least admit to being conservative part of the status quo.

  11. smedley said,

    June 8, 2010 at 13:15

    The ouster of Helen Thomas is another example of “political correctness,” you know, one of those things conservatives profess to abhor.

  12. Ted the Slacker said,

    June 8, 2010 at 13:27

    Thomas did the right thing by resigning, though

    I don’t necessarily agree. Obviously we don’t know all the circumstances, the extent to which she was pushed, but it’s not like at her age she’s got a lot to lose by calling Hearst’s bluff.

    She apologized for her question, and in almost any other scenario that would have been sufficient. But Hearst wanted her gone because she said something offensive about Jews, and Helen Thomas could have made a principled stand, demanding her employer didn’t fold to Establishment pressure. Not saying that this would have been the right thing to do, but she’d have been quite entitled to take this path.

  13. El Cid said,

    June 8, 2010 at 14:00

    I don’t necessarily agree. Obviously we don’t know all the circumstances, the extent to which she was pushed, but it’s not like at her age she’s got a lot to lose by calling Hearst’s bluff.

    Yes, she would. She was still trying to be a reporter. That’s going to require people answering your questions, inviting you to the White House press corps, and news media interested in printing / airing your work.

    As a professional, she probably realized (and was probably directly told by UPI) that none of those three would really be possible any more.

    She’s not dead. She might find some other capacity to respond or move forward. She might do books or interviews, whatever.

    Do you really see UPI keeping her on? Still being given a seat in the White House press corps and called on for questions? Being granted interviews or having her phone calls returned by sources? Because I don’t.

  14. Michael G. said,

    June 8, 2010 at 14:23

    smedley said,
    The ouster of Helen Thomas is another example of “political correctness,” you know, one of those things conservatives profess to abhor.

    Yes, I think that sums the incident up nicely.

    As to Greenwald and Salon, due to the syndication of his blog, he was forced to drop Goat Porn Wednesdays. So there was that.

  15. D.N. Nation said,

    June 8, 2010 at 14:26

    In short:

    1) I don’t give a shit about 90-year-old dinosaurs like Helen Thomas, whose role as is gives the betway crew some sort of legendary horseshit to peddle;

    2) They’re all fucking beltway bullshit to me, from the obvious ones to the junior grade to the wanna-bes. All of them. All of them support the construct, whether they like it or not, whether their knickers are fully in a twist or not. Sowwy.

    3) Here at Dealing With Double Standards Deli, I’m currently on customer #6,459. So you know, take a number.

  16. Ted the Slacker said,

    June 8, 2010 at 14:30

    I dunno El Cid. You’ve made the commercial case for Hearst asking her to leave, but not convinced me why it was clearly right for her to agree.

    If she is persona non grata in any journalistic capacity by virtue of one outburst for which she has apologized, she personally has very little to lose by fighting to stay. You could even argue that by agreeing to leave, she is acquiescing in Hearst’s decision to end her career.

    So just saying that if she had resisted her forced retirement, that would not necessarily have been the “wrong” thing to do.

  17. bjacques said,

    June 8, 2010 at 14:31

    Maybe Ms. Thomas had an “I’m too old for this shit” moment. It’s obvious she doesn’t have a history of saying anything like this, and I read the “go back to Poland and Germany” remark as, well, moving back to the countries they lived in before the Nazis came along. Not well-thought out, but not the “creepy” remark that a Jewish-American friend of a friend on Facebook tried to hang on her.

    I’m putting this one in the category of Zhidane’s head-butt. An impulsive and unwise move, but no real detraction from a distinguished career. She deserves better than this.

  18. D.N. Nation said,

    June 8, 2010 at 14:37

    I’m putting this one in the category of Zhidane’s head-butt. An impulsive and unwise move, but no real detraction from a distinguished career. She deserves better than this.

    Helen Thomas doesn’t deserve jack shit. What we should be talking about is what Ted mentioned earlier:

    Helen Thomas got canned not because she said something racist or anti-semitic or anti-likud or whatever, she got canned because she broached an unmentionable subject. Why should (Greater) Palestine be the location of the nation of Israel?

    But because the debate from our side is framed by social climbers who didn’t get invited to the Cool Kidz Table, you can forget actually going anywhere with this. Bring on the butthurt. Feh.

  19. bay of arizona said,

    June 8, 2010 at 14:45

    In MY’s defense, he was very introspective about his support for the war and wrote a book on how that reflexive-hawkishness is not a good idea. Which is more than you can say for the other KoolKids.

    Beginning in the late 1980s and continuing through 2004, the long-stagnant communities began to change. Huge numbers of immigrants came from the former Soviet Union. The influx of Soviet Jews revitalized community life, kosher food and restaurants and grass-root organizations. Germany’s open door policy also created problems and tensions with Israel. Nearly 250,000 ex-Soviet Jews applied for entry to the country, and approximately 190,000 were allowed in. More than half vanished after acquiring financial aid from the government and social support from Jewish agencies. Israel became concerned in 2004 when twice as many ex-Soviet Jews immigrated to Germany as went to Israel. After Israel complained, the Germans began to tighten the criteria for Jewish immigration from the former Soviet Union, insisting on an age limit of 45 and requiring the ability to speak, read, and write German.

    All Jews don’t automatically love Israel.One of the reasons for Israel’s right turn is the influx of Orthodox Jews from Russia. You’d be surprised at the number of liberal secular Israelis who have moved to America or Europe. Many liberals don’t want to be associated with those Likudnik policies.

  20. LittlePig said,

    June 8, 2010 at 14:48

    Scott nails it right off the bat : If we held the rest of the Media Fuckosphere to the Helen Thomas standard, there’d be no one working in the Media Fuckosphere after about a month.

    Exactly.

    And ted, slacker though he be, distills the essence of the unaskable question: Helen Thomas got canned not because she said something racist or anti-semitic or anti-likud or whatever, she got canned because she broached an unmentionable subject. Why should (Greater) Palestine be the location of the nation of Israel?

    That, of course, is unaskable because it leads directly into how religious beliefs are driving a key foreign policy of the United States of America, which obstenibly is not supposed to legislate religious favoritism.

    And the very reverend battleaxe of knowledge asks a couple I always wondered: 1) since we didn’t build the concentration camps, how exactly is it our fault? and 2) If you’re going to give somebody some land, it should be some of your land. The honest thing would give them something like upstate New York or Kent (although I doubt very much the respective Americans and British folk would have been real damn keen on that). What did the natives in Palestine do to deserve this? We rebuilt Germany, and their the ones that tried to kill all the Jews!

    It goes straight to religion and racism, openly supported by the United States. That don’t bear very close damn scrutiny, so yeah, once any one utters a complete reasonable question, the cry of “Nazi!!!” is sure to follow.

    Otherwise someones apple cart might be upset.

  21. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:02

    Holy fucking shit. I knew Yglesias was a pro-war liberal hawk shit, but I had no idea that he advocated the same genocidal ethnic cleansing that Helen Thomas’ remark didn’t in any way sound like.

    Yeah, this.

    The only thing Thomas really said wrong was one word: “back”. She didn’t mean return to present-day Germany and Poland, which of course most Israeli Jews didn’t come from in the first place. She was working from a picture in her mind of the ideal situation, where the Jews were indemnified for the Holocaust by being given a state of their own at the expense of Germany! You know, the people who actually committed the atrocity against them!

    Let’s not forget that she also included the US in this statement. Honestly, I think she was also talking about hard-line USAian (and other) Zionists who deliberately settle contested areas and have as many children as possible to bring about a complete Israeli state in the region. This is certainly not most Israelis, but it is un-fucking-cool and shows that there are right-wingers who are living in Israel who are NOT interested in peace or a two-state solution.*

    Do I think what she said was shitty? Oh, yes, I do. I don’t think that she was talking about ethnic cleansing, but bringing up the specter of the Holocaust is, you know, not okay, even if she didn’t intend it that way. Do I think that anti-Semitism exists in the Arab/Muslim community?** Um, did I just ask a rhetorical question? Do I think she should have resigned? Sure. It’s a load of crap that Erick “Goat Fucker” Erickson and Pat Buchanan still have jobs, but it was still the right decision.

    I have a lot to say about mainstream “liberal” bloggers, but this is already too long. (That’s what she said).

    *Not that all Palestinians are interested in this, either.
    **The pedantic and hates-looking-stupid part of me wants to qualify these terms out the ASS, but let’s just say that I know this is sloppy and a) I don’t want to bore you explaining, and b) I’m trying to work within the terminology most USAians use in these discussions.

  22. Ted the Slacker said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:06

    If we held the rest of the Media Fuckosphere to the Helen Thomas standard, there’d be no one working in the Media Fuckosphere after about a month.

    Except there isn’t a “standard” as such, just a set of arbitrary rules that set limits on acceptable discourse. That’s why it is a fuckosphere or fapmosphere and not some kind of shining example of a functional fourth estate.

    And talking of standards, we have POOP.

  23. LittlePig said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:08

    Do you really see UPI keeping her on? Still being given a seat in the White House press corps and called on for questions? Being granted interviews or having her phone calls returned by sources? Because I don’t.

    But isn’t that unreasonable? Yeah, it’s “the way things are”, but isn’t that sad is a country where questions are supposed to OK?

    And I talking about Helen’s actual question, not some “she wants to put Jews in gas chambers” horseshit some people are say. She screwed up the phrasing, big time, but how about “would it be reasonable to Jews to emmigrate to relieve the population pressures requiring expansion past the 1967 border”? Is that a “firing offense”? It probably is, and that is wrong. I don’t give a good God damn what some whackjobs in Germany did back in the day, if your *current* existence requires some extremely heavy handed dealing, why can’t other solutions be sought?

  24. LittlePig said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:09

    (and yes, I know damn well that population pressure has nothing to do with it, but that’s the obstensible rationale?)

  25. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:12

    Troll Prophylactic: This isn’t about purity, this isn’t about perfection; anybody can diverge or dissent from this or that netroots belief.

    In my personal experience, the Purity Trolls tend to be the centrists and people who support the mainstream “liberal” blogging sentiment. It’s funny, because moderate Repubs bend over backwards to accommodate the right wing of their party, but Dems ignore and marginalize the left wing. Let’s not pretend this doesn’t have an effect on political discourse in this country.

    “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings”

  26. Andy Axel said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:16

    This would qualify as a guest post at The Daily Howler if only you were far less kind to Josh Marshall — Somerby’s skull-thumping riff on careerist liberal bloggers, staring off into the middle distance as Rome burns, is one of the memes that plagues his site.

  27. Scott said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:16

    That’s why it is a fuckosphere or fapmosphere and not some kind of shining example of a functional fourth estate.

    I think I’d be fairly happy if, every time some media whore said something stupid or untrue or psychotic, someone would very pointedly ask them, their editor, and their publisher, why they should be employed any more.

    Okay, I think I’d be most happy if I got to kick the shit out of more media whores, but that’s even more unlikely than Buchanan getting fired for being a Nazi-loving motherfucker…

  28. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:16

    Here’s my question: if she weren’t Lebanese, would we still be having this discussion?

    Furthermore, if she weren’t a thorn in the right-wings’ side for years, would we still be having this discussion?

    In other words, I don’t think this is just about the discourse surrounding Israel in this country (though, of course, it’s a HUGE component of it).

  29. Pryme said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:19

    t’s funny, because moderate Repubs bend over backwards to accommodate the right wing of their party, but Dems ignore and marginalize the left wing.

    It’s because the Dems fear the GOP’s base more than their own. Always have.

  30. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:20

    I thought it was ironic (you can read more at my blog) that Helen Thomas, a woman who spent her entire life crafting words and skewering hyperbole, was hoist on her own petar.

    It’s a sad and shameful end to a woman of brilliance and substance. I will miss her.

  31. 77south said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:21

    moderate Repubs bend over backwards to accommodate the right wing of their party, but Dems ignore and marginalize the left wing

    It’s stupid cowardly electioneering. The Dems say they can’t implement sweeping reforms on any topic, because they aren’t in power. Then when they get power they can’t implement reforms, because it might make them lose power, and if they lose power how are they supposed to implement reforms? So they keep promising that after the next election we will get reforms, while they get to play business as usual.

    Of course, its still better than the republicans who promise to wreck everything forever when they get elected, and then try their damnedest to make good on those promises.

  32. St. Trotsky, Pope-in-Avignon said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:22

    It’s because the Dems fear the GOP’s base more than their own. Always have.

    Though to be fair, the last left-wing political assassin in memory was… shit, the guy who killed McKinley? If I were the Dems, I’d be more afraid of the GOP base too. Those fuckers is crazy.

  33. Jado said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:24

    Are we really suddenly concerned with the fate of a national media journalist? These are the people who dedicate giant swaths of newsprint and airtime to Michelle Obama’s cleavage. Is Helen Thomas the last true journalist who has always kept her attention, and by extension the attention of her followers, on serious stories of actual importance? Or is she yet another member of the churning class that occasionally swings over to a story involving facts, but spends most of her time with the great mission of distracting the American people from what is actually happening in their country and the world?

    I guess a “shorter Jado” could be “Why should I care?”

  34. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:25

    Though to be fair, the last left-wing political assassin in memory was… shit, the guy who killed McKinley?

    Oswald.

  35. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:26

    Is Helen Thomas the last true journalist who has always kept her attention, and by extension the attention of her followers, on serious stories of actual importance?

    Yes.

    This has been another edition of SASQ.

  36. g said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:27

    I’m agreeing with T & U.

  37. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:28

    It’s because the Dems fear the GOP’s base more than their own. Always have.

    I think part of the problem, too, is that the right wing is in lockstep with The Powers That Be. I mean, who doesn’t like someone who tells them that they should have more dominance and power? Meanwhile, the left says, “Uh, hey, Dems? We don’t really like that you are beholden to corporate interests. We kind of have a problem that you guys have such low tax rates. War is bad, even if defense contractors employ a lot of people in your district.” And we’re afraid to hold their feet to the fire because the alternative is so, so much worse and we have CONSCIENCES.

  38. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:29

    moderate Repubs bend over backwards to accommodate the right wing of their party, but Dems ignore and marginalize the left wing.

    Mild disagreement. I think the moderate Republicans make a show of bending to the right wing. After all, there’s still no ban on abortion or gay marriage or…

    They get heard more than liberal Dems but here’s the thing: they’re more committed voters and activists. If we on the left want our voices heard, we have to up our game. Don’t blame the moderates: they’ll oil the squeaky wheels just like the other guys do.

  39. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:32

    It’s stupid cowardly electioneering…So they keep promising that after the next election we will get reforms, while they get to play business as usual.

    Of course, its still better than the republicans who promise to wreck everything forever when they get elected, and then try their damnedest to make good on those promises.

    See, maybe I’m a cynic, but I’m starting to believe that this goes beyond electioneering and down to the pernicious influence of corporate money in the modern political atmosphere. I’m not sure a majority of Democrats really give a fuck about implementing reforms…in other words, as I’ve said before, we’ve become the lefty version of “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” Except we have a shitload more to lose than the right wing ever has.

  40. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:34

    I’m starting to believe that this goes beyond electioneering and down to the pernicious influence of corporate money in the modern political atmosphere.

    A large factor, no doubt.

  41. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:42

    I’m agreeing with T & U.

    Thanks! :)

    They get heard more than liberal Dems but here’s the thing: they’re more committed voters and activists. If we on the left want our voices heard, we have to up our game. Don’t blame the moderates: they’ll oil the squeaky wheels just like the other guys do.

    I don’t think that’s true at all. Let’s compare the numbers at a national tea party protest to the number of people at a national anti-Iraq War/pro-gay marriage protest. There are plenty of people on the left who are active. Should there be more who work harder (including me)? Yeah, of course. We’re going to have to fight hard for it.

    In terms of the blogging world, liberal democrats are shouted down and marginalized pretty much all the time. People who weren’t in lockstep with the Obama healthcare plan were considered to be complete assholes and closet libertarians. Fucking Kos called for Kucinich to be primaried for his brief (and most likely) symbolic opposition to the healthcare reform bill. I guess we were supposed to forget that Kos was against the fucking thing until about two months before it was passed.

    I don’t want a goddamn unicorn or even a sparkly pony. I just want acknowledgement from the mainstream Dems that ACTUAL lefties have an important place in the party and in society and I want to stop hearing purge-y, near-authoritarian rhetoric from people who are supposed to be on my “side.”

  42. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:43

    This includes John Cole, who fucking drives me crazy sometimes. But at least he has the excuse of being an ex-Republican.

  43. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:47

    Sorry for all the comments on top of each other. I also wanted to state that this is something that has been brewing in my head for a while, so if I seem disproportionately pissed off, it’s not necessarily because of what’s going on here, but the accumulation of about a year’s bullshit on top of the dread I feel in knowing that this country has been on a slide to the right since I was born.

  44. Progressive Center Left Grrl Voice of Truth said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:48

    I’m not sure a majority of Democrats really give a fuck about implementing reforms…in other words, as I’ve said before, we’ve become the lefty version of “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” Except we have a shitload more to lose than the right wing ever has.

    If they do care about reforms, they care about limousine liberal reforms. They don’t want to stop colonial wars, or crazy derivatives trading, but maybe we can extend unemployment insurance.

    The Centrist Liberal doesn’t want to rock the boat. He collects corporate money and leftist votes. Clinton pioneered the resolution to those seemingly opposed ideas: create a black beast that you can blame for your legislative “failures.”

  45. Scott said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:49

    In terms of the blogging world, liberal democrats are shouted down and marginalized pretty much all the time.

    I’d say we do alright in the blogging world — not tons of respect from the moderate bloggers or wingnut bloggers, but there’s a shit-ton of audience for the liberals of the blogosphere. We don’t do at all well outside of the blogosphere — I mean, you’ll never see an actual liberal blogger on TV, other than Kos…

  46. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:50

    The Centrist Liberal doesn’t want to rock the boat. He collects corporate money and leftist votes. Clinton pioneered the resolution to those seemingly opposed ideas: create a black beast that you can blame for your legislative “failures.”

    Yup yup yup yup. Which, you know, if the New Deal Democrat is dead (which, zomg it SO IS), then let’s at least admit it, motherfuckers.

  47. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:51

    Firstly, re: Helen Thomas

    Am I sad to see her go? Only about the circumstances. She’s been in the press corps since WWII – she’s overdue for retirement. And she may have been the best of the bunch in terms of the Washington Press Corps, but that is damning with faint faint praise indeed. The sickness and disease that has set into the way “journalists” cover the government is so widespread – well even the most adent BM “It’s not like there’s not any room in the whole Arab world for all these Palestinian Arabs to go live in.” Matt would be a huge improvement.

    And Helen’s reach? Again, aside from the circumstances, does this affect the overall conversation at all? Heck, even the circumstances are pretty much SNAFU – disagree with conservative orthodoxy in unapproved ways and get the boot.

    No, she’s sat through enough press briefings, and been ignored and not allowed to ask questions for more than long enough. I wish her well in her retirement. At 90. Sheesh.

    Secondly, and more importantly – Israel.

    Based on the “you can’t give away land that’s not yours” argument, the US couldn’t give bits of New York to the Jews, since it belongs to the First Nations.

    SRSLY, Israel may not be quite as old as Helen Thomas’ career – but I’m pretty sure that squatter’s rights would have kicked in by now. What’s that thing about the law and how important possession is to it?

    You know, I understand her point. I’d bet that there are plenty of Jews who would much rather have the German or Polish or wherever properties stolen from them than a right of return to Israel. But that ain’t ever happening – just like Manhattan isn’t going to get returned to the Lenape.

    Yeah, it’s unbelievably unfair. That’s one of the results of having to make decisions with out the benefit of hindsight. And made significantly worse by the fact that those making the decisions also lack foresight of any sort as well. I mean look at all the things that “nobody” could have been predicted.

    IMO, the real problem is that Israel continues to behave like, well like Israel does. She has no problems being a rogue state and engaging in whatever the current crop of psychotics in charge of her dream up. And that’s primarily because of US support. You know, individual Israelis and Palestinians can and do get along with one another just swell – and that’s with all the apartheid.

    Basically, tell Israel the same thing that was told to Iraq a couple years ago and is supposedly being told to Karzai every Friedman Unit for the past decade: “Get your shit together. We really could use these billions of dollars of foreign aid to give to bank CEO’s so you’re going to have to learn to play nice. And while the rest of the world may hate us a lot less now that W’s gone – you can’t count on our Security Council veto forever. We’ve got to start letting the Muslims know that the world will actually acknowledge it when they are the victims of atrocities.”

    Only this time, follow through.

    Then again, I’ve always been an optimist.

  48. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:52

    Let’s compare the numbers at a national tea party protest to the number of people at a national anti-Iraq War/pro-gay marriage protest.

    That’s not an appropriate comparison. Single-issue rallies have very little to do with an overall strategy. That’s like saying the youth vote for Obama indicates that John Kerry should have won in 2004 (OK, he did, but he should have been a clear winner).

    The far right is a lot more organized, a lot more vocal and a lot more committed. All those fundie churches in the south that have preachers sitting in pulpits railing about issues that right wing politicians pick up on and tailor their stump speeches to include? That doesn’t happen on the left. Ever. Even Calvin Butts of the Abyssinian Baptist Church doesn’t have that arrangement.

    Or all that gooey-rich wingnut welfare. It’s out there because it gets results.

    You want a more accurate reflection? Check out the hit statistics of right wing v. left wing blogs and newsites. Or FOX News’ ratings. Those folks are psychopathically committed.

    Much like Obama’s army was.

  49. glf said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:53

    Just wanted to comment that I totally agree with what The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge said.

  50. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:54

    I’d say we do alright in the blogging world — not tons of respect from the moderate bloggers or wingnut bloggers, but there’s a shit-ton of audience for the liberals of the blogosphere. We don’t do at all well outside of the blogosphere — I mean, you’ll never see an actual liberal blogger on TV, other than Kos…

    Sorry, but Kos is about as milquetoasty a liberal as I can think of. Maybe I should have said “liberals” or “lefties.” People like Kos go out of their way to disavow more liberal bloggers. God forbid they look crazy.

  51. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:55

    Sorry for all the comments on top of each other. I also wanted to state that this is something that has been brewing in my head for a while, so if I seem disproportionately pissed off, it’s not necessarily because of what’s going on here, but the accumulation of about a year’s bullshit on top of the dread I feel in knowing that this country has been on a slide to the right since I was born.

    I know a blog that’s looking for another co-writer :-)

  52. Chris said,

    June 8, 2010 at 15:58

    All forced population transfers are humanitarian disasters, of course, but so is the current situation.

    Wow. It’s like the fucking wingnuts who after thirty years of tax cuts and deregulation start taking their toll, can’t imagine a solution other than more tax cuts and more deregulation.

  53. The Tragically Flip said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:00

    Let’s be clear here, if Helen Thomas was a right wing icon, they would have rallied around her to save her job. The left doesn’t work that way because we have those whatcha-call-em…”ethics” and since we can’t really defend what she said on substance, and it isn’t just the usual noise machine misquoting or miscontextualizing of something, we don’t/didn’t rally around her and off she goes.

    Not that our rallying would necessarily have saved her, but it might have. This is all part of the “a liberal is someone who won’t take his own side in an argument…” thing. Thomas is a strategic asset to the left, since she does try and keep the powerful honest. However we don’t fight total war the way the right does where everything our side does is good and pure and so when the hounds go after someone who did step beyond the bounds, we just can’t muster enough outrage to protect them.

    I hate the people who went after Thomas and who are currently celebrating her downfall, but I can’t bring myself to write the sort of things needed to try and handwave/rationalize away what she wrote. I do happen to think it was wrong to plunk Israel down on top of the people who were already there, but they’re there now and it would be wrong to make them all move to a new statelet in Europe or Utah or wherever some convenient empty space exists for some idealized Jewish state. The solution can’t require mass displacement. Even the damn settlers in the West bank probably can’t be moved by force, though they can get given the choice: Live in a Palestinian state by Palestinian laws, or leave peacefully with reasonable compensation paid by Israel (which allowed them to move there in the first place in violation of the UN charter).

  54. dex said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:00

    thanks guys – good post, solid thread.

  55. Chris said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:04

    I’m putting this one in the category of Zhidane’s head-butt. An impulsive and unwise move, but no real detraction from a distinguished career. She deserves better than this.

    Well, if you wanted me to have sympathy for Helen Thomas, comparing it to Zidane was the right analogy to use. That horse-fucker in the Italian team deserved it.

  56. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:04

    And not one reference to T&U’s massive yabbos.

  57. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:05

    Oops.

  58. The Goddamn Batman Eschews Labels For Himself, Although He's Always Had A Deep-Seated (And Closely-Held) Affection For "Bugfuck Crazy" said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:05

    Um, OK. You say it’s not about “purity” or “perfection”, but then you cite “Villageritis” (a truly hideous neologism) by linking to a years-old post that implies that because Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias discharged some firearms that one time with Megan McArdle, the fix is in. I don’t think that I’d want to spend five minutes with MegMac under any circumstances, let alone in a situation where either or both of us had loaded weapons (although, if such were the case, five minutes might be the maximum amount of time that we could be in the same company and leave both of us breathing), but that’s neither here nor there. “Villager” seems to be the equivalent of “hipster” for anyone who’s on more than half-a-dozen blogrolls. If you want to purge something, purge that word from your vocab. Full fucking stop. Let it go. None of you are Sally Quinn, for christ’s sake.

    As for Helen Thomas, well, I know that we all wanted her to be this immortal, fearless warrior for truth, but we’re all grown-ups here, more or less.

  59. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:06

    That’s not an appropriate comparison. Single-issue rallies have very little to do with an overall strategy.

    Okay, yeah, that makes sense. Similarly, I would also say that the left side of the political spectrum is much less homogeneous than the right (in a shit ton of ways), so it’s difficult to create an overall strategy consistently.

    The far right is a lot more organized, a lot more vocal and a lot more committed. All those fundie churches in the south that have preachers sitting in pulpits railing about issues that right wing politicians pick up on and tailor their stump speeches to include? That doesn’t happen on the left. Ever. Even Calvin Butts of the Abyssinian Baptist Church doesn’t have that arrangement.

    Or all that gooey-rich wingnut welfare. It’s out there because it gets results.

    But, I mean, this also goes back to my point about the far right working within the system. The institutions and networks that they have far exceed the resource of your average leftist barista.

    I think I’ll revise my stance a little, though. It’s a feedback loop–leftwingers are ignored and marginalized, so they become fed up with working for change, so then they’re ignored and marginalized even more. Add the fact that the rightwing has the money and most of the attention of the mainstream newsmedia, and, you know, do we ever have a chance?

  60. The Tragically Flip said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:06

    A few other liberal bloggers get some teevee time. Greenwald, Hamsher, and Marcy (pre “blowjob”) come to mind. Chris Bowers was on hardball a few times, and said once that he often turns down TV requests since he doesn’t like doing it.

    Some of this is about the relative reticence of liberal bloggers, who are something akin to normal human beings and not conscience-cauterized sociopathic media climbers like the Erickkk Ericksons and SE “Two Initials, One” Cupps of the world.

    Honestly, think about how you would feel about going on CNN and facing the possibility that Malkin’s fuckwitted minions might start checking your countertops or O’Reilly’s ambush-team might follow you around. Kos makes fun of the hate mail he gets but not everyone is that thick skinned.

  61. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:06

    Well, if you wanted me to have sympathy for Helen Thomas, comparing it to Zidane was the right analogy to use. That horse-fucker in the Italian team deserved it.

    My thoughts exactly.

  62. ice weasel said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:07

    Great fucking thread. Sincere thanks to all. I’d add more but it would be merely be another voice restating something that would likely be less well put than others have before me.

  63. 77south said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:07

    And not one reference to T&U’s massive yabbos.
    Ahem. lets keep it civilized in here. The term is gazongas. Massive gazongas.

  64. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:08

    That horse-fucker in the Italian team deserved it.

    Yea, I’m sure Thierry Henry was thinking precisely the same thing after the red card. Who wants to win a World Cup for their entire fucking nation when the honor of a psychotic egomaniacal twit is at stake?

  65. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:09

    I know a blog that’s looking for another co-writer :-)

    Hey, you know, I’ve been intending to start a blog for, like, two years, but I can’t get off my ass to do it, and I’ve been worried that I can’t keep enough content in it to make it worth reading…

  66. LittlePig said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:09

    Furthermore, if she weren’t a thorn in the right-wings’ side for years, would we still be having this discussion?

    T&U, I will always think of Helen’s firing as “Ari Fleisher’s Revenge”. We’d be having this discussion, but the discussion itself would have been about however Helen managed to shoot herself in the foot, not necessarily about Israel or Zionism. Hurt fee-fees would have been involved, but they just as easily could have been any right-wing bugaboos that have enough general traction (although not many things besides Middle Eastern stuff comes to mind. I don’t know if Helen could have said any bad enough about Southern Baptists or Catholics to merit expulsion)

  67. not a gator said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:10

    One of the reasons for Israel’s right turn is the influx of Orthodox Jews from Russia. You’d be surprised at the number of liberal secular Israelis who have moved to America or Europe. Many liberals don’t want to be associated with those Likudnik policies.

    What’s even odder is that a lot of the ultra-Orthodox (haredi, let’s say) aren’t really all that interested in displacing Palestinians either. These are the “we say who is a Jew” people who’ve managed to get a stranglehold on the allegedly secular state. They don’t join the army–in fact, many of them are on welfare or their household support comes from a working, yet still multiple-baby-popping wife. (It’s similar in the US, but instead of welfare they run various illegal schemes for support. We call them chassads.)

    While they’ve supported right-wing politicians, they really don’t feel a part of the state (because it’s evil and secular, men and women working together as equals, total mayhem!) and they don’t tend to be lining up to settle Palestinian areas. (Hell, most of them are only fluent in Yiddish, in a country where Hebrew and English are the official languages. There have been scandals with their really crappy schools not meeting state standards.)

    So who are the Likudniks?

  68. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:11

    Add the fact that the rightwing has the money and most of the attention of the mainstream newsmedia, and, you know, do we ever have a chance?

    Yes. Of course. Obama is living proof of that. Remember, it’s supposed to be Madam President right now.

    Also, the American people get fed up and when they get fed up, they want change. Right now, I think the right wing is thinking they can steal an election or two, but here’s the thing: America is not fed up right now.

    Scared? Perhaps. Angry? Yes. But they don’t hold Obama OR the Dems responsible for the oil disaster or the economy tanking. The healthcare debate is a thing of the past, and people are looking to the November elections to give Obama and Congress a fresh chance to clean up the problems the nation as a whole feels.

    In other words, we’re missing the forest for the trees. This IS our chance. Every thirty or forty years, the political pendulum swings. Now it’s the left’s turn.

  69. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:12

    The Tragically Flip said,
    June 8, 2010 at 16:06

    Yeah, and a lot of the mainstream “liberal” bloggers talk shit on Hamsher, Greenwald, and Bowers. (I haven’t heard much shit-talking on Marcy, but I could have missed it). Not that they don’t deserve it sometimes…but instead of just disagreeing with them, a lot of more moderate Dems dismiss them as kooks and want to drive them out.

  70. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:12

    Hey, you know, I’ve been intending to start a blog for, like, two years, but I can’t get off my ass to do it, and I’ve been worried that I can’t keep enough content in it to make it worth reading…

    Which is why I’m offering a part-time position on my staff¹

    ¹You know the drill.

  71. LittlePig said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:13

    I guess a “shorter Jado” could be “Why should I care?”

    Sorry, Jado, but that’s an unaskable question, you’ll have to get canned.

    Helen Thomas’ firing is not the big problem here.

  72. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:13

    Honestly, think about how you would feel about going on CNN and facing the possibility that Malkin’s fuckwitted minions might start checking your countertops or O’Reilly’s ambush-team might follow you around.

    Sign me up! I’ve got mob friends who owe me favors.

  73. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:18

    In other words, we’re missing the forest for the trees. This IS our chance. Every thirty or forty years, the political pendulum swings. Now it’s the left’s turn.

    I think that *might* be true (I’m a bit of a pessimist, if you haven’t noticed), but what version of the “left” are we talking about, here? Because I’m not really all that stoked about the supposed extremists that we currently have in power. The funny thing is that the American public is much farther to the left than they realize, but, you know, we’re, like, ignorant and being lied to and shit.

  74. not a gator said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:18

    Let’s be clear here, if Helen Thomas was a right wing icon, they would have rallied around her to save her job. The left doesn’t work that way because we have those whatcha-call-em…”ethics” and since we can’t really defend what she said on substance, and it isn’t just the usual noise machine misquoting or miscontextualizing of something, we don’t/didn’t rally around her and off she goes.

    Word.

    It’s what makes us different from them. Personally, I don’t want to be like them.

  75. creature said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:19

    The descent of the American Dream into the depths of dispair and dementia it has reached is a combination of the relentless onslaught of destruction by the right wing power junkies, corporate henchmen with bags of money to support aforementioned scumbags, coupled with media juggernaut that markets the actions and creeds of the wreckers of reality to a public held in ignorance and oppression. So it won’t change until the field is leveled and the truth is not just revealed, but believed. The whole ‘Israel is all-precious’ is just another scam foisted on way too many people. Everyone who points out the ugly, vile rot of the situation is marginalized or murdered (figuratively, usually). The cover is being pulled away, and it is revealing more and more of the perversion that is Zionism, the apartheid of the Palestinians and the US’s complicity and culpability in the whole situation. I guess that qualifies me as a left wing wacko, huh?

  76. LittlePig said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:19

    What’s that thing about the law and how important possession is to it?

    The one that only applies to white people? The one that requires a military to enforce? Yeah, that one.

    My point was not that they should give the land back, it’s that WE HAVE DONE FUCKING ENOUGH FOR THEM. What did my country do to become a vassal state for Israel?

    Let them work out that “possession” argument, alternately phrased as “might makes right”, without my tax dollars funding the process.

  77. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:20

    Which is why I’m offering a part-time position on my staff¹

    ¹You know the drill.

    Also, too, “drill.” Heh.

    Sounds good. I’ll have you know I’m a terrible procrastinator. (Why do you think I’m here?) But I will try hard not to be.

    You can email me–it’s my nym @gmail.

  78. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:20

    I think that *might* be true (I’m a bit of a pessimist, if you haven’t noticed), but what version of the “left” are we talking about, here?

    I’m talking about the folks that got Obama elected. They may feel frustrated, with good reason, but they want to do something. They just need to rally around a cause.

    The oil spill would work, of course.

  79. Chris said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:21

    It’s because the Dems fear the GOP’s base more than their own. Always have.

    I think part of the problem, too, is that the right wing is in lockstep with The Powers That Be. I mean, who doesn’t like someone who tells them that they should have more dominance and power? Meanwhile, the left says, “Uh, hey, Dems? We don’t really like that you are beholden to corporate interests. We kind of have a problem that you guys have such low tax rates. War is bad, even if defense contractors employ a lot of people in your district.” And we’re afraid to hold their feet to the fire because the alternative is so, so much worse and we have CONSCIENCES.

    I agree with this.

    If there are people on our side of the aisle who were wrong, we’re just as adamant about criticizing them as we are the right wing – there are no moral qualms like that for them. That’s why we were willing to take on the Southern wing of our own party, while all they did was open their arms and make them feel welcome. That’s why anti-communism has a long and respected history among Democrats (going all the way back to Wilson) and there’s no comparable anti-fascist movement among Republicans – they’re still gushing over Franco and Pinochet.

  80. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:22

    You can email me

    Test email on its way.

  81. Even The Goddamn Batman Has His Limits said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:23

    T&U:

    Yeah, and a lot of the mainstream “liberal” bloggers talk shit on Hamsher, Greenwald, and Bowers. (I haven’t heard much shit-talking on Marcy, but I could have missed it). Not that they don’t deserve it sometimes…but instead of just disagreeing with them, a lot of more moderate Dems dismiss them as kooks and want to drive them out.

    See, now, I disagree with Greenwald quite a lot, but I admire him for sticking to his principles. Hamsher, though, completely screwed the pooch IMO when she co-signed that letter with Grover Norquist. If she’d issued the letter solo, that would have been one thing, but Grover Fucking Norquist? I really, sincerely wondered if she was high when she did that.

  82. not a gator said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:27

    The funny thing is that the American public is much farther to the left than they realize, but, you know, we’re, like, ignorant and being lied to and shit.

    Ah, but it’s “socialism for me and not for thee” and that’s where it all breaks down.

    Also, everyone dreams of being superrich enough to actually be taxed in the highest bracket and is hence against it. As someone whose people came from the bottom and the top (and came together after the great equalizer of WWII and the GI Bill), I know very well how rich people handle being taxed out the wazoo (vs how the destitute survive) and right now raising taxes on the richest (including “death taxes”) sounds like about the most rational thing imaginable; but I can’t seem to convince anybody else of this.

  83. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:27

    I’m talking about the folks that got Obama elected. They may feel frustrated, with good reason, but they want to do something. They just need to rally around a cause.

    Okay, yeah. Despite my absolute HATRED of calling people and knocking on strangers’ doors, I worked during the Obama campaign because I felt like a) I had something to believe in, and b) Sarah Palin COULD NOT become Vice-President, and if she did, I was going to do what I could to prevent that. I didn’t expect magic out of Obama, but I’ve become progressively more distressed and cynical about our political situation. If there was a way to restore the feeling I had the day after the election, or when I saw him speak, I would be all for it.

  84. The Tragically Flip said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:28

    The left is always going to be fractious and disorganized, the circular firing squad is inevitable. The thing we have to do is realize this has advantages, even if they’re hard to notice over the disadvantages.

    For one thing, we don’t all march like lemmings after a leader who is going badly wrong. Yes, DailyKos has that moron who keeps posting the picture diaries, and a cadre of lock-step goons, but as compared to the slavish devotion the right displayed to Bush, this is a pale imitation. Obama critical diaries make it to the Rec list all the time, and no one gets banned for it.

    We’re more self-correcting than the right, even if we do find it harder to muster our forces and all march on the same objective when that would be desirable.

  85. Chris said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:28

    What’s that thing about the law and how important possession is to it?

    As LittlePig said, it’s a white people only law. Goes all the way back to Ayn Rand, property rights champion, who hated Israel for its socialism but sided with it because Israelis, you see, are a civilized people and Arabs are savages and that’s what it’s all about.

    Being inside a wingnut’s mind is like being in a Southern country club where you never, ever side with the black waiter against the white club member, even if you fucking hate the club member and even if the waiter’s as dead right as Jefferson Smith, because it just ain’t done.

  86. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:29

    If there are people on our side of the aisle who were wrong, we’re just as adamant about criticizing them as we are the right wing – there are no moral qualms like that for them. That’s why we were willing to take on the Southern wing of our own party, while all they did was open their arms and make them feel welcome. That’s why anti-communism has a long and respected history among Democrats (going all the way back to Wilson) and there’s no comparable anti-fascist movement among Republicans – they’re still gushing over Franco and Pinochet.

    Also, people (especially right-wingers) admire forceful bullies, even if they’re wrong. Which is why the way the Democrats have played the game over the past few years fucking GALLS me and makes me wonder if they don’t really give a shit about what happens as long as they’re re-elected.

  87. Lawnguylander said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:30

    It’s because the Dems fear the GOP’s base more than their own. Always have.

    Or maybe it’s because wingnuts actually do represent the GOP’s base. Just take a look at any poll on a significant issue and you’ll always find that insane 28% agreeing with each other. Republican politicians always have to at least pander to these assholes when they’re in power and obstruct on their behalf when they’re not. The kind of people you find in the comments sections of lefty blogs don’t come close to making up the base of the Democratic party on their own. Not in numbers and not always by being ideologically representative. I’ve never seen a poll that measured support for HCR amongst the netroots for instance but I’d bet that it’s far less popular with them than it is with the party’s actual base. All the whining about being hippy punched isn’t going to change anything.

  88. Chris said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:31

    Ah, but it’s “socialism for me and not for thee” and that’s where it all breaks down.

    Zacktly. The Bull Moose platform was essentially “socialism for Real Americans,” which is what kept it in the Republican base – the Democrats were still the party of unAmerican inner city immigrants.

    Same thing, later on, with the South.

  89. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:32

    See, now, I disagree with Greenwald quite a lot, but I admire him for sticking to his principles. Hamsher, though, completely screwed the pooch IMO when she co-signed that letter with Grover Norquist. If she’d issued the letter solo, that would have been one thing, but Grover Fucking Norquist? I really, sincerely wondered if she was high when she did that.

    Yeah, actually, I agree re: Hamsher. I was going to qualify that, but I’ve already posted a shit ton. BUT the thing is, even when she’s said something that wasn’t *that bad* but wasn’t within the liberal orthodoxy, people have freaked the fuck out like fucking Republicans. I’m not a fan of hers, really, but come on, guys.

  90. Chris said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:33

    Also, everyone dreams of being superrich enough to actually be taxed in the highest bracket and is hence against it. As someone whose people came from the bottom and the top (and came together after the great equalizer of WWII and the GI Bill), I know very well how rich people handle being taxed out the wazoo (vs how the destitute survive) and right now raising taxes on the richest (including “death taxes”) sounds like about the most rational thing imaginable; but I can’t seem to convince anybody else of this.

    I’ve seen mainstream polls that had up to three quarters of respondents saying that taxes on the rich should be raised.

    I don’t think it’s as unpopular as you think it is. It’s just that no one’s talking about it right now (the teabaggers, the supposedly “populist” base in politics right now, are being very careful not to call for it).

  91. Pryme said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:34

    See, now, I disagree with Greenwald quite a lot

    (*GASP*) And yet you live?

    (J/k; it’s just I’ve been seeing too many “Greenwald doesn’t make mistakes” comments around the ‘Nets over the past few months, and it’s starting to affect me)

  92. not a gator said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:35

    For one thing, we don’t all march like lemmings after a leader who is going badly wrong. Yes, DailyKos has that moron who keeps posting the picture diaries, and a cadre of lock-step goons, but as compared to the slavish devotion the right displayed to Bush, this is a pale imitation. Obama critical diaries make it to the Rec list all the time, and no one gets banned for it.

    Well, as long as this continues to be true, I’ll continue to be here. On the other hand you have places like HuffPo, much like the worst “safe space” of the 1990′s, which is an echo chamber stuffed with simpering idiots for every health charlatan and fraud working today. They prey on people whose brains were fried by too many drugs way back when and promulgate errant nonsense secure in the knowledge that anyone who posts the truth (about vaccines, homeopathy, etc) will get banned, not them.

    PEOPLE DIE BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE THIS SHIT. Sure, we’re all going to die, but why die in horrible pain, with festering wounds, or twenty years early because you fell for health frauds? (Or worse, what about babies with compromised immune systems killed by vaccine preventable diseases because Mommy Jennifer refuses to vaccinate her precious Mykynzy?) SCUM. There are no other words.

  93. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:36

    the supposedly “populist” base in politics right now

    Also, yes, grrrrrr there is no fucking leftwing populist movement in this country. It’s left to the unions, which don’t affect that many people’s lives and, quite honestly, can make people feel as disempowered as they do by their employers.

  94. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:37

    I cut Hamsher some slack on that Norquist letter. She got her lunch stolen for it, deservedly, but people make dumb mistakes with the best of intentions, and it’s clear she a rotten political operative. Norquist took her to school. Let’s hope she’s learned the lesson.

    Doesn’t mean I agree with her all the time, and it doesn’t mean she’s more wrong than me. Just means we bring our individual wisdom to a problem.

    Same, too, with Greenwald. I’ve respectfully disagreed with him on any number of occasions.

    It’s the purity trolls that muck the works up when it comes to dialogue. I consider myself a liberal and my positions, what I want for this country, make me one. But I also see that the nation is not necessarily caught up with me, so I also understand that some allowance, some tolerance, has to be made for that. Progress comes in increments, sometimes tiny, until a breakthrough occurs.

    Purity trolls like Alan Smithee here at SN can’t fathom that, but then I suspect those people are very lonely, very angry people who remember only the times they cried loudly enough to get their way and not the hundreds of times even that didn’t work.

  95. not a gator said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:41

    http://whatstheharm.net/ Check out “medical”.
    Quackwatch Victim Case Reports These stories will make you cry.

    I wish I could find Randi’s personal recollections about the Popoff exposure when he and his cameraman, Shaw, met some people who had literally spent their life savings to see Popoff to receive a healing. Unfortunately my Google-fu clearly is not all that good. I thought it was published in SWIFT, but I couldn’t find it there. :-P He talks about the human toll of health fraud and it’s truly moving.

  96. Chris said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:41

    PEOPLE DIE BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE THIS SHIT.

    The key reason why conservatives infuriate me so much more than the left.

    Sure, I’ve met the mythical “liberal elitists” on college campuses, plenty of them (the “semi-political, but mostly, they just smoke a lot of pot” breed). And sure, these people can be smug and puffed-up enough to make me want to smash their faces in, but in terms of what they actually do to society, the answer’s nothing – most of them are too high to even remember when election day is. The right, on the other hand, kills people practically every day either through deliberate action or indifference.

    That’s why I vote Democrat and will keep doing so. I’ll stomach a few useless beatniks if it means another million innocent Middle Easterners don’t have to die.

  97. not a gator said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:42

    It’s left to the unions, which don’t affect that many people’s lives and, quite honestly, can make people feel as disempowered as they do by their employers.

    Unions aren’t even populist to begin with, for most values of “populist”.

    The original populists were farmers, in case that jogs your memory.

  98. woodrowfan said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:43

    well, this is a &#%^$^&$&* cheery thread!

  99. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:44

    I cut Hamsher some slack on that Norquist letter.

    I didn’t care that much, personally, but I thought it was dumb, dumb, dumb. Really, I have no problem working with legitimate, non-crazy libertarians on anti-war/defense and civil rights issues (as long as they’re not anti-choice hypocrites). I don’t think Norquist falls into that category, but I can see why she would want to work with him.

  100. Chris said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:44

    It’s left to the unions, which don’t affect that many people’s lives and, quite honestly, can make people feel as disempowered as they do by their employers.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0610/38183.html

    Might not even be up to the unions for much longer. Having thoroughly wrecked the working class, they’re onto exterminating anything that might help them pull themselves up. They really do want the Gilded Age back in force.

  101. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:44

    Gator,

    You mean ,a href=”http://www.bible.ca/tongues-popoff-39-17Mhz.htm”>this?

  102. not a gator said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:45

    I don’t care about beatniks. I’m bothered by the “speak no evil” crowd. Granted, thanks to the internet, a thousand flowers bloom. Plenty of people have walked away from HuffPo for … basically … sucking. But I am truly troubled by the echo-chamber-creators for whom the greatest sin is harshing their buzz.

    Remember 1990′s feminism? Remember when 1990′s feminism ran smack into reality and now young women–who are feminists–won’t call themselves feminists because of the eau de nonsense?

  103. brantl said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:45

    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge is dead on the goddamn money. And so was Helen.

  104. not a gator said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:46

    No, actor, that’s just a timeline of how Popoff was exposed. I’m talking about some personal comments about it that Randi made many years later about some people he met outside the venue. They never made it on tv.

  105. Pryme said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:47

    The kind of people you find in the comments sections of lefty blogs don’t come close to making up the base of the Democratic party on their own. Not in numbers and not always by being ideologically representative

    So…what? Progressives are “the base of the base?” Does this mean that the best we can hope for is for passionate pseudo-Republicans and DINOs to periodically rebel and fight on our behalf for an issue here and there?

    I mean, it seems like liberals are like rappers. I remember when Ice Cube was rhyming about robbing and shooting; now he’s doing movies about taking his stepkids camping. It’s like once a liberal or progressive gets a some TV-time or scribbles something for a prominent newspaper, they lose a little of their ideological street cred. If that’s the logic, there won’t ever be a “true liberal” having anything resembling influence in politics because once they receive some attention they’ll be people screaming “Sellout!”

  106. not a gator said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:48

    Having thoroughly wrecked the working class, they’re onto exterminating anything that might help them pull themselves up. They really do want the Gilded Age back in force.

    Of course they do. They climbed up the ladder, now they’re kicking it down to earth.

    What gets me is that Reel Murkins are cheerleading the effort. Everyone thinks they’re going to be the king or queen; nobody accepts the likelihood of being the peasant.

  107. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:48

    Gr. Link fail

    This

  108. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:49

    Well, it included some of his personal observations, which were taken from “The Faith Healers”, Randi’s book about the incident.

  109. 77south said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:49

    well, this is a &#%^$^&$&* cheery thread!
    You wan’t a cheery thought? how’s this: What if the apocalypse is happening right now in slow motion? What I mean is, what if starting now nothing ever gets better? No final catastrophic orgy of destruction, just more pollution, more disease, more deforestation, more starvation and more hatred. A boot stamping on a human face forever and it’s already been going on for decades?

  110. Chris said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:49

    Remember 1990’s feminism? Remember when 1990’s feminism ran smack into reality and now young women–who are feminists–won’t call themselves feminists because of the eau de nonsense?

    No, I wasn’t really paying attention in the 1990s (too busy learning math and writing and not doing my homework on time). But it sounds like the exact same thing happened to “feminists” that happened to “liberals.”

  111. woodrowfan said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:50

    I cut Hamsher some slack on that Norquist letter.

    I don’t. You don’t cooperate with someone like Grover, who is trying to de-legitimize not only the entire political left, but the middle as well.

  112. not a gator said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:50

    I don’t think it’s as unpopular as you think it is.

    I think living in the South is getting to me. :P

  113. woodrowfan said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:51

    You want a cheery thought? how’s this: What if the apocalypse is happening right now in slow motion? What I mean is, what if starting now nothing ever gets better? No final catastrophic orgy of destruction, just more pollution, more disease, more deforestation, more starvation and more hatred. A boot stamping on a human face forever and it’s already been going on for decades?

    starts singing “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”

  114. not a gator said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:53

    BUT the thing is, even when she’s said something that wasn’t *that bad* but wasn’t within the liberal orthodoxy, people have freaked the fuck out like fucking Republicans. I’m not a fan of hers, really, but come on, guys.

    It’s not what she said, it’s who she said it with.

    Far be it from me to be a purity troll, but Grover Norquist? The guy who basically advocated running up a defense budget debt so as to destroy every other government program? That guy?

  115. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:54

    Unions aren’t even populist to begin with, for most values of “populist”.

    The original populists were farmers, in case that jogs your memory.

    That was sort of my point, which wasn’t particularly clear. Sorry.

    I’m the descendant of Midwestern farmers, and members of at least one side of my family were populists and involved in the movement.

  116. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:56

    re:possession (heh)

    You forget that in wingnut world, Israelis are honorary whites with all the privileges (and then some) that implies – well at least until the Second Coming starts.

  117. not a gator said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:58

    Actor, I looked at your link, and I don’t see what I was thinking of. Specifically, James Randi and his cameraman, Shaw, are sitting outside the venue and they overhear some people talking about the money they spent to get there and trying to get a healing and their health problems, etc. What was so sad is that this one woman had spent literally everything she had to try to meet Popoff and was now going to go home disappointed. Randi and Shaw looked at each other and Randi says he literally started weeping because it was so horrible.

  118. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:58

    You don’t cooperate with someone like Grover, who is trying to de-legitimize not only the entire political left, but the middle as well.

    Oh, I’m not defending her, no way. I said I cut her some slack which implies I’m pissed about it, but…

    Here’s the thing: in a hyperpartisan day and age, who would have imagined Newt Gingrich and Al Sharpton on the same side of an issue (education reform)? I’m sure Hamsher justifies her decision with rhetoric along those lines.

    She was foolish, but that’s no reason to dump her in the trash.

  119. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 16:58

    It’s not what she said, it’s who she said it with.

    Oh, I get that. I wasn’t talking about that in particular. It just seems like she’s on notice now.

  120. woodrowfan said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:00

    the difference between Helen Thomas and Pat Buchanan is that people apparently LIKE Buchanan (I hear he really is nice in person, despite his vile views) and Helen made people uneasy (as gadflys often do) so as soon as she said something stupid and offensive (and it was both) the Village called for her head so they could be ride of her. She really had gone past her “best by” date, but, unfortunately, no one else form our pathetic press corps came forward to fill the role of asking difficult questions that she filled….

  121. John D. said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:00

    “Yes. Of course. Obama is living proof of that. Remember, it’s supposed to be Madam President right now.”

    Pardon me, Actor, but do you mean it’s “supposed” to President Clinton right now, or that it’s “supposed” to be President Palin…after Grifter Bitch, natch, poisoned (or otherwise did away with) John McCain?

    “Scared? Perhaps. Angry? Yes. But they don’t hold Obama OR the Dems responsible for the oil disaster or the economy tanking. The healthcare debate is a thing of the past, and people are looking to the November elections to give Obama and Congress a fresh chance to clean up the problems the nation as a whole feels.”

    Sigh. I wish I could agree with this, I really do, but if things continue to get worse, and Obama continues to act like a feckless corporate stooge, I think it’s naive in the extreme to assume the people aren’t going to hold the President of the United States responsible for the horrible condition the country’s in. It won’t matter tuppence if the Dems aren’t “to blame” (and who says they aren’t?), they’ll be held accountable nonetheless. Obama’s the President, not some some powerless, defenseless waif. He was elected to fix things, and things have gotten a hell of a lot worse on his watch. Saying it’s not his fault isn’t going to cut it, even if it’s true. “Fair” has nothing to do with it.

    As for Helen Thomas, very sorry to see her go out on this note.

  122. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:02

    Pardon me, Actor, but do you mean it’s “supposed” to President Clinton right now

    This. Obama wasn’t even on the radar when the election was all but handed to her.

    I think it’s naive in the extreme to assume the people aren’t going to hold the President of the United States responsible for the horrible condition the country’s in.

    Sure. Could happen. He has two years to make sure it doesn’t, and we should help.

  123. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:03

    not a gator, I’m going to go back a few posts now and talk about this:

    I don’t care about beatniks. I’m bothered by the “speak no evil” crowd. Granted, thanks to the internet, a thousand flowers bloom. Plenty of people have walked away from HuffPo for … basically … sucking. But I am truly troubled by the echo-chamber-creators for whom the greatest sin is harshing their buzz.

    Remember 1990’s feminism? Remember when 1990’s feminism ran smack into reality and now young women–who are feminists–won’t call themselves feminists because of the eau de nonsense?

    YES YES a thousand times YES. THIS is partly what I have been trying to get at. It’s like Democrats are so afraid of losing ground, and so traumatized by the Bush administration that a lot of them are unwilling to entertain any notion that Obama has done shit that is fucked up, and instead dismiss legitimate concerns as the rantings of unicorn fetishists.

  124. not a gator said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:03

    I’m the descendant of Midwestern farmers, and members of at least one side of my family were populists and involved in the movement.

    Ah. Good for your family. Mine (the German side) were filthy Republicans (despite almost starving to death during the 20′s and 30′s) although they had picked up some Populist-vintage anti-Semitic beliefs. (Yeah, yeah, “everyone was doing it”.)

    I was aghast when I found out that the “Northern bankers” had actually colluded on business dealings to keep Jews out, meaning “the j000z” had exactly nothing to do with the grain price collapses of the 20′s and 30′s. But try telling a winger that. (“That’s what they want you to think! It’s a conspiracy!” Ugh.)

  125. Lawnguylander said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:05

    So…what? Progressives are “the base of the base?”

    Says who and What do you mean by “progressives?” Because I was talking about the white, college educated, health insurance having, relatively well off subset of people who make up the readership of lefty blogs. Limousine liberals as some would call them.

    If they do care about reforms, they care about limousine liberal reforms. They don’t want to stop colonial wars, or crazy derivatives trading, but maybe we can extend unemployment insurance.

    Unemployment insurance extension is a limousine liberal issue?

  126. not a gator said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:09

    to entertain any notion that Obama has done shit that is fucked up, and instead dismiss legitimate concerns as the rantings of unicorn fetishists.

    What’s even sadder is that by not holding Dem leader’s feet to the fire, we provide cover for the march rightward. Hasn’t Obama himself hinted that he can take more progressive stances if the ground is prepared? This isn’t a threat, he’s just stating reality. The progress, for example, on gay rights has happened because the gay rights movement has been full court press for decades. Tactics like coming out to family members and coming out at work have changed the minds of the people, to the point where anti-gay rhetoric has become increasingly unpopular.

    On the left side of the aisle, we don’t, for the most part, follow leaders; the leaders follow us. We succeed when we convince not only ourselves, but most of the voting public of the correctness of our position. Republicans and Nazis can run coordination campaigns (Gleichanschaltung) but that doesn’t, and shouldn’t, work for us.

  127. LittlePig said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:12

    You forget that in wingnut world, Israelis are honorary whites with all the privileges (and then some) that implies – well at least until the Second Coming starts.

    You who? Not me, that Israelis are white is implicit in my statement. Wingnut world, hell, general consensus is that are white.

    Who said anything otherwise?

  128. woodrowfan said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:13

    Hasn’t Obama himself hinted that he can take more progressive stances if the ground is prepared? This isn’t a threat, he’s just stating reality.

    Remember the famous story about what FDR said to a group of liberals advocating some position, “I agree with you, now go out and make me do it.”

  129. Chris said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:14

    I was aghast when I found out that the “Northern bankers” had actually colluded on business dealings to keep Jews out, meaning “the j000z” had exactly nothing to do with the grain price collapses of the 20’s and 30’s. But try telling a winger that. (“That’s what they want you to think! It’s a conspiracy!” Ugh.)

    It’s always easier to blame an outsider than a member of your own group.

  130. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:15

    Ah. Good for your family. Mine (the German side) were filthy Republicans (despite almost starving to death during the 20’s and 30’s) although they had picked up some Populist-vintage anti-Semitic beliefs. (Yeah, yeah, “everyone was doing it”.)

    Well, at least you’re making up for it. :) Both my sets of grandparents were farm kids, and my biological maternal grandfather (he died before I was born) was a hardcore populist. My dad’s side of the family isn’t/wasn’t quite as active or extreme, but we also had a LOT of ministers in the family and they were the conservative (in the traditional sense), “keep your head down and keep working” types.

  131. John D. said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:17

    “This. Obama wasn’t even on the radar when the election was all but handed to her.”

    Yeah, we but we to thank for that? Or is it that the elites saw Obama would be a much better handmaiden for the status quo while suckering in the rubes with the offer of a “Change” that would never materialize? (Much moreso than Clinton, who was far better known than he was at the time.)

    “Far be it from me to be a purity troll, but Grover Norquist? The guy who basically advocated running up a defense budget debt so as to destroy every other government program? That guy?”

    Well, Gator, during his campaign for the Presidency, Al Gore had a photo op with Fred Phelps. Does that mean you didn’t vote for him?

  132. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:19

    What’s even sadder is that by not holding Dem leader’s feet to the fire, we provide cover for the march rightward. Hasn’t Obama himself hinted that he can take more progressive stances if the ground is prepared?

    Yup, which is why I get pissy at the purity moderates. I know I keep going back to the healthcare debate, but I think it was wrong with the Democrats in a nutshell. Moderates were like, “Okay, this is great!” even though they knew it wasn’t great. And lefties were like, “Uhhh, wait a second, guys. This is kind of bullshit.” And moderate Dems were like, “YOU SHUTUP. If you keep talking like that, hcr will FAIL. Besides Ezra and K-Dog think it’s teh awesome!” So, you know, these people have been SO AFRAID that they’re willing to capitulate to the Democratic line, even if the Democrats themselves say, “Hey, if you push for this shit, we will do it.” And, as you said, it totally provides cover for the right wing.

  133. woodrowfan said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:20

    Well, Gator, during his campaign for the Presidency, Al Gore had a photo op with Fred Phelps. Does that mean you didn’t vote for him?

    yeah, but I bet Gore didn’t know who Phelps was at the time, and Jane H knows very well who Grover is..

  134. woodrowfan said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:21

    Well, if Strasburg is a flop, then I say we should impeach Obama! One of the President’s duties is to see that DC has a winning baseball team, something no one has done since, um, FDR…

  135. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:22

    Who said anything otherwise?

    Ahhh, sorry. I blame Obama for my illiteracy.

  136. Lawnguylander said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:22

    Yeah, actually, I agree re: Hamsher. I was going to qualify that, but I’ve already posted a shit ton. BUT the thing is, even when she’s said something that wasn’t *that bad* but wasn’t within the liberal orthodoxy, people have freaked the fuck out like fucking Republicans. I’m not a fan of hers, really, but come on, guys.

    Why should any of her critics “come on” and would you want anyone to if you’re not a fan of hers? If we thinks she’s a self interested stooge why does it make us fucking Republicans to want to not see her supposedly representing liberals on CNN and such as? As a compromise though, I’m fine with her doing some blogging heads segments with her honorable pal Erick Erickson. It’s where they both belong.

  137. Chris said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:24

    Yup, which is why I get pissy at the purity moderates. I know I keep going back to the healthcare debate, but I think it was wrong with the Democrats in a nutshell. Moderates were like, “Okay, this is great!” even though they knew it wasn’t great. And lefties were like, “Uhhh, wait a second, guys. This is kind of bullshit.” And moderate Dems were like, “YOU SHUTUP. If you keep talking like that, hcr will FAIL.

    I still say that debate was a disgrace and a waste of a perfectly good year.

    Maybe Obama could have passed a public option and maybe not, but the fact is that he never even fought for it. He never even tried to push a public option through, he just compromised and compromised until he had one of the most anemic bills ever written and then, the conservatives threatened to veto that too. LBJ wouldn’t have stood for that shit.

    Yes, I’m happy the bill passed, if only because preexisting conditions are no longer a barrier to health insurance. But it could have been so much more if the man had had the balls to fight for it.

  138. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:26

    Or is it that the elites saw Obama would be a much better handmaiden for the status quo while suckering in the rubes with the offer of a “Change” that would never materialize? (Much moreso than Clinton, who was far better known than he was at the time.)

    John, anyone who can afford a serious run for President is a corporate tool. Period. It doesn’t matter his or her stance. They need hundreds of millions of dollars to succeed. What people with money saw in Obama was someone who had already raised tens of millions from “the little people” and had already made a name for himself by winning a bunch of primaries and caucuses.

  139. Chris said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:28

    John, anyone who can afford a serious run for President is a corporate tool. Period. It doesn’t matter his or her stance. They need hundreds of millions of dollars to succeed. What people with money saw in Obama was someone who had already raised tens of millions from “the little people” and had already made a name for himself by winning a bunch of primaries and caucuses.

    What made FDR and the rest different, then?

  140. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:31

    Why should any of her critics “come on” and would you want anyone to if you’re not a fan of hers? If we thinks she’s a self interested stooge why does it make us fucking Republicans to want to not see her supposedly representing liberals on CNN and such as? As a compromise though, I’m fine with her doing some blogging heads segments with her honorable pal Erick Erickson. It’s where they both belong.

    First, I didn’t say that you’re a Republican if you don’t like Jane Hamsher. That would be fucking retarded. What I meant is that I have been hearing a lot of “shun the unbeliever” type of rhetoric from Democrats that disturbs me. People aren’t just accusing her of being self-interested; they’re saying she’s not a “real progressive” or a “real Democrat,” and that kind of shit has been extended to all sorts of people who don’t follow the party orthodoxy.

    Second, it’s not like Hamsher hasn’t done a lot for the movement (especially the healthcare reform movement) in the past. Her saying/doing dumb shit doesn’t make her a secret Republican.

    Again, if you think she’s self-interested and full of shit, that’s fine. I partly agree with you. My beef is with people who have chosen to demonize her and anyone who agrees with her.

  141. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:31

    What made FDR and the rest different, then?

    Well, Roosevelt is an old and very very rich name in American politics, for one thing…but it would be foolish to compare elections from seventy years ago to elections now. The entire campaign finance process is very different, and politicians back then ran in primaries knowing the final candidate would come out of the infamous “smoke filled rooms” of the conventions, so primary money was far less important.

  142. LittlePig said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:31

    Man I had a lot of typos today.

    This really gets me, though. I just hate my tax dollars going to kill brown folk that didn’t do anything to me. Corruption? Some of that is inevitable, I can live with that (I prefer Democratic corruption to Republican corruptions, because at least in Democratic corruption the little guy gets a little something out the deal). Lack of regulation? I don’t like it, but I can live with it – people voted Republican, as they sowed so shall they reap. But flat-ass paying money to get random strangers offed? I have a real problem with that.

  143. blowback said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:32

    I know this is way down in the comment and won’t get any attention, but HTML, you should go back and read the Josh Marshall piece again to see a near perfect example of liberal racism. Hint: which people is he refering to in “And people need to go back to living in the present not in history”?

  144. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:32

    Maybe Obama could have passed a public option and maybe not, but the fact is that he never even fought for it. He never even tried to push a public option through, he just compromised and compromised until he had one of the most anemic bills ever written and then, the conservatives threatened to veto that too. LBJ wouldn’t have stood for that shit.

    Yup. And that “but Republicans are just so meeeeeeeean” bullshit excuse only goes so far for me, I’m afraid.

  145. Chris said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:36

    About the bigger picture to this whole Helen Thomas mess (Israel and the blockade);

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100607/ap_on_re_mi_ea/gaza_blockade

    After having initially lifted the blockade on a “temporary” basis, Egypt is now making that state of affairs “indefinite.” This is definitely a loser for Israel; they get to stop a couple of humanitarian convoys, but the convoys succeeded far beyond what they’d expected.

    Given the fury in the rest of the Arab world on behalf of the Palestinians, there’s good reason to be hopeful that the blockade won’t come back. Sure, the government in Cairo is a bunch of corrupt crooks and yes, they can keep their people under much tighter control than a Western country could. But at the end of the day, they can’t afford to ignore their own people too completely, and the fact is that the local populists are hopping mad.

  146. Lawnguylander said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:36

    Maybe Obama could have passed a public option and maybe not, but the fact is that he never even fought for it. He never even tried to push a public option through, he just compromised and compromised until he had one of the most anemic bills ever written and then, the conservatives threatened to veto that too. LBJ wouldn’t have stood for that shit.

    If he knew all along that Lieberman or Nelson had the power to torpedo a public option or Medicare buy in and that they would, what sense did it make for him to fight for it? Reid fought for its inclusion and how did that turn out? It almost sank the whole thing. As for LBJ, he did stand for a lot of shit from members of his own party, see Civil Rights legislation, but he could afford to because he had some Republicans he could count on. Obama usually doesn’t and definitely didn’t with HCR.

  147. Chris said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:38

    Yup. And that “but Republicans are just so meeeeeeeean” bullshit excuse only goes so far for me, I’m afraid.

    If I recall, Jennifer had a pretty eloquent rant saying the same thing, but I can’t for the life of me remember where it was. But yes, I agree. If they’re mean, be mean back at them.

  148. John D. said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:43

    “yeah, but I bet Gore didn’t know who Phelps was at the time, and Jane H knows very well who Grover is..”

    Oh, right, silly me. How could we ever think of holding Gore accountable for actions taken of his own free will? It’s not like he had a staff to clear potential candidates for photo ops and other such bullshit “I’m a-runnin’ for President!” moments, eh? “Uh, Mr. Vice-President, this Phelps character appears to a fascist psychopath and the head of a family of inbred crazies who picket peoples’ funerals…”

    We seem to have a fucker up double standard in which we hold completely powerless folks at the bottom like Jane Hamsher to a far higher ideal than those at the top, such as Clinton, Gore and Obama. Jane makes a political miscalculation – as Helen Thomas did – and unendingly pays a price for it with a certain crowd of zealot “moderates” who never fail to find excuses for genuine political powerbrokers who repeatedly fuck over their supposed base of support again and again.

    That’s another thing that seperates us from the Rethuglicans: They actually try to punish those on their side who betray them.

  149. LittlePig said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:46

    LBJ wouldn’t have stood for that shit.

    LBJ would have had the goat-fucking pictures on the front page of the New York Times by now.

    “Hardball”? Please, people don’t know the meaning of the word, least of all Tweety.

  150. woodrowfan said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:47

    Phelps supported Gore in 1988, before Phelps started his national hate-fest. Sorry if Gore didn’t have a magic crystal ball to foresee what Phelps would become.

  151. Lawnguylander said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:48

    Second, it’s not like Hamsher hasn’t done a lot for the movement (especially the healthcare reform movement) in the past. Her saying/doing dumb shit doesn’t make her a secret Republican.

    No, it makes her a person who says and does dumb shit and supposedly on our behalf. Whether some people think she’s a secret Republican is irrelevant. I just don’t get the instinct to stick up for dumbass bloggers when they prove themselves dumbasses. The only bloggers worth any sustained loyalty are the ones who prove that they’re consistently valuable which in time will probably include almost nobody. Except the ones who make us laugh.

  152. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:49

    What made FDR and the rest different, then?

    That’s weird. I posted a response, IT APPEARED, and now it’s gone! FYWP!

    The election process was different back then. FDR faced primaries, true, but ultimately the candidate was chosen in the infamous “smoke filled backrooms” at the convention, so money was much less of an object.

  153. LittlePig said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:49

    About the bigger picture to this whole Helen Thomas mess (Israel and the blockade);

    Hell, she made have done it to make a point. Falling on the sword at the right moment makes a helluva media spectacle, and some uncomfortable questions might just see the light of day.

  154. John D. said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:50

    “John, anyone who can afford a serious run for President is a corporate tool. Period. It doesn’t matter his or her stance. They need hundreds of millions of dollars to succeed.”

    I know that, Actor. I’m not unaware of certain basic realities. I wish I knew some way out of this particular Catch-22, but I don’t. I do think we’re all on the same side here, despite some disagreements, and I don’t want to come off as too shrill.

    I just don’t think it’s necessary to blind ourselves as to what kind of people are “leading” us, and Obama has repeatedly shown where his loyalties really lie. Just because the other side is psycho batshit crazy as well as crooked and corrupt doesn’t make “our” bastards any less crooked and corrupt. I honestly wish I knew what to do about this, but I see no way out of this trap…

  155. Lurking Canadian said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:50

    there’s no comparable anti-fascist movement among Republicans

    Sure there is. The entire party is an anti-fascist movement. Just ask Jonah.

    Well, if you wanted me to have sympathy for Helen Thomas, comparing it to Zidane was the right analogy to use.

    In more ways than one. I quote a French comedian whose name I never heard:

    Before the Headbutt: I love Zidane! Zidane is a great Frenchman! Zidane is a hero of the French! Vive la France!

    After the Headbutt: Who? You mean that Algerian guy?

  156. LittlePig said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:52

    ultimately the candidate was chosen in the infamous “smoke filled backrooms” at the convention

    I hold the exceptionally politically incorrect belief that that process was better overall. Cronyism? You bet, but it beats having the hate-filled and the stupid making the decisions.

  157. Jim Crow said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:54

    I hold the exceptionally politically incorrect belief that that process was better overall.

    You betcha.

  158. Chris said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:54

    Thanks for the joke, LC.

    But not completely true – I think most of us still love him. I was in France just a month after the world cup and there was already a song out called “Coup de Boule,” with the chorus repeating over and over “Zidane he strikes!”

    I sure as hell still love him, and will be very, VERY mad if the Italians don’t get the crap kicked out of them in this cup, preferably by the French.

  159. Jennifer said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:54

    I think it’s pretty clear that Helen Thomas was referring to Israelis (illegally) settling Palestinian territory in the “go back” comment. Also, did you know? That snippet was taped back in May…yet somehow only “surfaced” when it provided a useful distraction from the continuing scrutiny of the latest Israeli outrage. I posted on this over at my place…my thought being that continuing on the path we’re on (both Israel and the US) pretty much can only end with a horrific genocide on one side or the other. IMHO, the focus on History’s Worst Monster, Helen Thomas, is more damaging not because it distracts from the most recent outrage, but because it distracts from the inevitable denouemnent if things continue on their current trajectory – which is, I believe, the conclusion that prompted Helen’s remarks in the first place.

  160. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:56

    I just don’t think it’s necessary to blind ourselves as to what kind of people are “leading” us, and Obama has repeatedly shown where his loyalties really lie.

    As a Hilbot, I smile quietly to myself.

  161. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:59

    I hold the exceptionally politically incorrect belief that that process was better overall.

    The short period that we’ve had a winner-take-all primary season seems to indicate that we had better candidates under this process. It tends to concentrate power in the hands of an elite few “who know better,” which tends to mitigate populist candidates. It might possibly have excluded Obama, even.

    On the other hand, it forces militants in the party to come to the table if they want a candidate considered, whereas the primary season can see an insurgent candidacy steal a few early primaries and suddenly have a lousy candidate taken seriously (Mike Dukakis).

  162. TruculentandUnreliable said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:59

    We seem to have a fucker up double standard in which we hold completely powerless folks at the bottom like Jane Hamsher to a far higher ideal than those at the top, such as Clinton, Gore and Obama. Jane makes a political miscalculation – as Helen Thomas did – and unendingly pays a price for it with a certain crowd of zealot “moderates” who never fail to find excuses for genuine political powerbrokers who repeatedly fuck over their supposed base of support again and again.

    Uh huh.

    No, it makes her a person who says and does dumb shit and supposedly on our behalf. Whether some people think she’s a secret Republican is irrelevant. I just don’t get the instinct to stick up for dumbass bloggers when they prove themselves dumbasses. The only bloggers worth any sustained loyalty are the ones who prove that they’re consistently valuable which in time will probably include almost nobody. Except the ones who make us laugh.

    This isn’t about defending Jane, per se. It’s about pushing against the bullshit rhetoric that I saw. I mean, you may not have seen what I’ve seen, or you may have interpreted it differently, but it disturbed me. But, you know, I could be overreacting or misinterpreting. In context of everything else, I doubt it, but I don’t care enough about Jane Hamsher enough to argue about this particular point.

  163. John D. said,

    June 8, 2010 at 18:14

    “As a Hilbot, I smile quietly to myself.”

    Well, I think the two of them are as peas in a pod. Hillary would have been pretty much the same, except for a few stylistic differences.

    “This isn’t about defending Jane, per se. It’s about pushing against the bullshit rhetoric that I saw.”

    Agreed, but it’s more than even that: Rank-and-file Democrats have been so beaten down by the treacherous scum ‘leading’ the party for the past 30 years that I think there’s an almost pathetic sense of relief whenever some conveniently smaller, weaker target rasies their head and provides a handy scapegoat to vent frustrations on. This provides a release of sorts, and certainly beats challenging those at the top.

    “Phelps supported Gore in 1988, before Phelps started his national hate-fest. Sorry if Gore didn’t have a magic crystal ball to foresee what Phelps would become.”

    I just had a quick look through Phelps’ Wikipedia listing (and rather fell like I could use a shower to wash off all the filth); it doesn’t say when the fucking monster began that particualr part of his career, but it does list a clear pattern of ugly, vindictive, and just plain out-and-out psychopathic behavior since 1977. Nice try, though.

  164. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    June 8, 2010 at 19:07

    Mona,

    Interesting to see you here again. I’m writing to let you know that I’ve been put on notice regarding your commentary. While I think you’re spot on regarding HTML’s false modesty (perhaps the quantity of his posts is lacking, but surely not the quality) – I do find your second comment very difficult to understand.

    Let me see if I’ve parsed it correctly – that John Cole’s 180 degree swing on a number of issues from agreement to conservatives when he viewed himself as a conservative to agreement with liberals now that he views &c. … is because he’s a “non-tribalistic sort”. Is that correct?

  165. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 19:29

    Hillary would have been pretty much the same, except for a few stylistic differences.

    Yea, but we knew that going in. She had honesty on her side. Odd to say.

  166. jim said,

    June 8, 2010 at 20:00

    The Moar You Know:

    That snippet was taped back in May…yet somehow only “surfaced” when it provided a useful distraction from the continuing scrutiny of the latest Israeli outrage.

    Seems to have worked like a charm: the attack is already a non-story & “Helen Thomas: Hitler’s Secret Love-Child” is the main event.

    Sure reeks of paybacks for all those years of her pointing out the heinous policies of Cheney’s Brush-Clearing Hand-Puppet & the galloping stupid-fever of the many knuckle-draggers (not all of them born-again Goopers) who were saying he was the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel. That her 2000-2008 “GOP=FAIL” lament was a solo performance that got her a rep as a nasty old crone tells you everything you need to know about the DC Press Corpse.

  167. Spaghetti Lee said,

    June 8, 2010 at 21:57

    I think what Thomas said was reprehensible. I think the way that the right and pro-Israel people reacted to it was even more reprehensible. I have no great love for the Israeli government, but I think people who are cheering on Thomas for taking on the Zionists are forgetting that we’re dealing with actual people here, most of whom weren’t even born when Israel was created, and who couldn’t help being born there anymore than I could help being born American. I don’t think “justice” enters into the equation in any “solution” that involves the mass expulsion and repatriation of an entire ethnic group. Are you non-native American types going to pack up and move back where your ancestors came from? It’s just weird to see liberals laugh at blargy wingnut bullshit about Mexicans or blacks, and then turn around and say similar things about Israelis.

    But, like I said, the fact that she just got so abruptly and mercilessly shitcanned for touching the third rail of politics keeps me from being too angry at her. Open debate should be allowed even if you disagree with it, and you can’t have open debate with the threat of blacklisting looming over your head.

    As far as Obama goes, I never go into a conversation intending to punch hippies or marginalize liberals. But I do think it’s not a question of ideology, but one of history, to admit that progress is both slow and relative, and that expectations should be kept low. Personally, I think Obama is our best president since Johnson, and Pelosi the best speaker since Rayburn. I think that some people farther left than I take it as a personal threat when I point out how things have improved and ask them if they really want President McCain. Because crazy wingnuts are still out there, and still have lots of clout and are itching to get back into power. I don’t think it’s an attempt to threaten anybody if I say that. I think it’s just a fact. And I think another fact is that, while self-criticism is a good thing, if Democrats and liberals spend too much time on it, they will lose. That’s just politics-you need to build useful coalitions in order to accomplish anything.

    My 2 cents, probably way too late for anyone to care.

  168. LittlePig said,

    June 8, 2010 at 22:43

    Jim Crow said,

    June 8, 2010 at 17:54 (kill)

    I hold the exceptionally politically incorrect belief that that process was better overall.

    You betcha.

    Go fuck yourself. That’s how FDR and Truman got in. Remember Truman, the guy that integrated the armed forces?

  169. LittlePig said,

    June 8, 2010 at 22:45

    The short period that we’ve had a winner-take-all primary season seems to indicate that we had better candidates under this process.

    Uncle Ronnie, Poppy Bush, Bill Clinton, Dubya – oh yeah, helluva track record.

  170. LittlePig said,

    June 8, 2010 at 23:03

    It’s just weird to see liberals laugh at blargy wingnut bullshit about Mexicans or blacks, and then turn around and say similar things about Israelis.

    When and where, exactly, are Blacks and Mexicans using my tax dollars to kill folks they don’t approve of?

  171. Spaghetti Lee said,

    June 8, 2010 at 23:06

    LittlePig, I’m talking about citizens. Nowhere in the world are the citizens and the government the same thing. Is every Israeli really a Netanyahu hardliner?

  172. actor212 said,

    June 8, 2010 at 23:09

    Uncle Ronnie, Poppy Bush, Bill Clinton, Dubya – oh yeah, helluva track record.

    Um, Obama, too. Just sayin’. And eight years of peace and prosperity under Clinton is nothing to sneeze at.

  173. LittlePig said,

    June 8, 2010 at 23:20

    Is every Israeli really a Netanyahu hardliner?

    Not at all. But their right-wing whack jobs are running the country, just like we had eight years of right-wing whack jobs running our country. I didn’t like my tax dollars to go to blowing random Iraqis to bits any more than I like my tax dollars going to blowing random Palestinians to bits.

    The Israelis are free to go to Hell in their own fashion, just as our country is. I just hate to have to finance that descent for any country but my own.

  174. LittlePig said,

    June 8, 2010 at 23:26

    Um, Obama, too. Just sayin’. And eight years of peace and prosperity under Clinton is nothing to sneeze at.

    No, but the smoke filled rooms still had a better track record, at the Presidential level anyway. It acted as an extremism filter. We might have avoided McGovern, they might have avoided Shrub.

    Neither is perfect, and there is a lot in the smoke filled room approach that is lousy (although Jim Crowism ain’t one of them, lest we consider how President Thurmond would have worked out). And it was a smoke-filled room Democrat during the time that Democrats were the racist bastards overall that finally drove the stake in.

  175. LittlePig said,

    June 8, 2010 at 23:36

    Nowhere in the world are the citizens and the government the same thing

    That statement doesn’t bear a whole lot of scrutiny either. I see “Iran” discussed, not “Ahmadinejad”. “Saddam” got mentioned a lot, but it was still “the Iraqis” by and large. If you saying Israel is the only instance of a nation’s name used instead of the nation’s leader’s name, you need to catch up on your reading.

    Or just watch the BBC. “Today the United States announced…” That is a common construct that is unremarkable.

    The average Israeli citizen is pretty much screwed over the way the average American citizen was screwed over in the choice of war with Iraq. We are trying to do better, although we aren’t doing so hot (thanks to the equivocations of Obama), but if Israel is a democracy, somebody’s voting these nuts in. Did Bibi promise peace and then not deliver? (aka “did he pull an Obama?”) The man may have had, I don’t know. At least Obama was stuck with an invasion of an innocent country when he took office; the flotilla thing was an active act.

    Otherwise somebody needs to show me why chocolate (one of the banned items on Gaza’s list) is a weapon.

  176. Aristophanic Chorus of S,N Regulars said,

    June 9, 2010 at 0:41

    omfg fuck u concern troll!

    how dare you criticize the voices of corporate friendly progressivism! you’re damaging the party irreparably! you’re the REAL reason we can’t get anything done!

  177. Chris said,

    June 9, 2010 at 0:45

    Spaghetti Lee,

    For my money, the disgusting thing about this incident is that statements like “all of you go live in [insert country here]” are standard fare coming from the right wing and the Israel lobby, when applied to Palestinians. A solid quarter of Americans believe the entire Biblical land belongs to the current state of Israel for religious reasons, which gives no land at all to the Palestinians. Mike Huckabee came right out and said that a Palestinian state should be carved out of Saudi or Egyptian territory during the campaign, which is exactly the same thing Helen Thomas is saying here. And it’s not limited to the end-of-days evangelical nuts, as Matthew Yglesias indicates.

    For me, I don’t support eliminating the State of Israel (I don’t think it should ever have been created, but as you point out, it’s been around for longer than most Israelis have been alive). I don’t think most of the SadlyNaughts do either. But the torrents of outrage that have been directed at Thomas from people who’ve been advocating the exact same ethnic cleansing for decades is beyond nauseating, hence the reaction you see here.

  178. Jared said,

    June 9, 2010 at 6:42

    “(Marshall) must have felt this post was too tame because a few hours later he pastes some absolutely righteous — by which I mean, morally and intellectually righteous, the kind that matters, not blood- or tribally- or religiously-righteous, the kind that is indefensible but quintessential among Israel’s apologists — objections from those whom he characterizes as the ‘screechy sectarian left.’ ”

    What does this even mean? That uncritical supporters of Israel tend to caricature their opponents? I don’t think Josh Marshall is an “uncritical” supporter of Israel, just a supporter. Further, since Thomas popped off, I’ve read a lot of variations on the post Marshall links to (for example, at Cole’s place), so I don’t think it’s an uncommon argument being trotted out. As for the argument itself, that Israel is a mideast solution to the “European” problem of anti-semitism, it misses the simple fact that “Palestine” was the name given by the Romans to…Israel.

  179. tttt said,

    June 9, 2010 at 8:11

    So, we’re really going to hold people responsible for things they said when they were 15? Even if they’ve been consistently on the correct side of the issue for, say, the last 5 years?

  180. iEl Gato Negro! said,

    June 9, 2010 at 10:17

    ¿¡Not Bible Stomping!?

  181. actor212 said,

    June 9, 2010 at 15:48

    No, but the smoke filled rooms still had a better track record, at the Presidential level anyway.

    I still think it’s too soon to judge, but I understand your point. I think part of the problem comes in the form of warping the primary system with the check and balance of soopahdelegates. That’s being fine-tuned I suspect.

    My problem with the backdoor* deals is that the wings of the party have less say in the ultimate packageº that’s presented to the public. This forces movement politics¹ to the sidelines, not a bad thing in many cases but it’s undemocratic at the very least and it also means that ideas get left behind that could be valuable.

    *VButtSecksR
    ºVPR
    ¹VBowelMovementR

  182. fish said,

    June 9, 2010 at 23:37

    I’m not sure a majority of Democrats really give a fuck about implementing reforms…in other words, as I’ve said before, we’ve become the lefty version of “What’s the Matter With Kansas?”

    Careful here, you might say something crazy like “I don’t think it is a good idea to vote for a Democrat, maybe I will vote for Nader” and then all the shrieking harpies will rip out your throat.

  183. fish said,

    June 9, 2010 at 23:49

    And eight years of peace and prosperity under Clinton is nothing to sneeze at.

    Except for the peace part.

  184. hubris said,

    June 10, 2010 at 15:05

    You couldn’t be more wrong on Johann Hari – he’s as slippery as they come – intelligent guy but just as willing to speak lies for power as any of the other Village idiots you mentioned

    I’ve been watching him since 2002 – found these pages

    http://web.pitas.com/tvn/HarisGame14_04_2003.html

    http://web.pitas.com/tvn/hari318_04_2003.html

    which might be of interest

  185. The Wrath of Oliver Khan said,

    June 10, 2010 at 18:00

    I just had a quick look through Phelps’ Wikipedia listing (and rather fell like I could use a shower to wash off all the filth); it doesn’t say when the fucking monster began that particualr part of his career, but it does list a clear pattern of ugly, vindictive, and just plain out-and-out psychopathic behavior since 1977. Nice try, though.

    Seriously. All Gore had to do is run a simple Google search. I can’t imagine how he could have overlooked Phelps’ Wikipedia entry. Sloppy sloppy.

    What?

  186. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    June 11, 2010 at 16:34

    I certainly don’t agree with Benen all the time, but it’s certainly more often than not. If he does have Villageritis, I’d call it a mild case with only very rare outbreaks of Hippie Punching. I’d characterize it as more of a chronic case of Convetional Wisdom Syndrome – but compared to full blown Villageritis, Benen’s practically asymptomatic. Although, that is grading on the curve.

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