Hark, Hark! Mark Barks, Snarks, and Offers Hacktastic Remarks!

More tuneless tinkling from the Steynway piano:

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Above: Mark Steyn

[Dean Barnett]: Now Mark, we have some hard news to get into. Yesterday, as you probably know, Hugh had General Petraeus on for about an hour, in a very interesting interview. And yet your good friend, and your former colleague at the Atlantic, Andrew Sullivan, said that Petraeus’ appearance on this show pretty much announced him as a GOP tool. What are your thoughts on that?

MS: Yes, I think that’s a ridiculous thing to argue. I mean, you go where you think you can make the case and get a fair hearing. And the thing about Hugh is yes, he makes no bones about his particular political predisposition[…]

Sure. Like how HH refers to himself as “center-right”. He’s so up-front and honest he tries to present his batshit-insane reactionary politics as practically moderate!

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Above: Hugh Hewitt

but he does give people a fair hearing,

Absolutely. Like he was fair to, say, Joel Achenbach.

he’s been tough on Republicans with whom he disagrees

yeti.jpgOnly if they say something less than enthusiastic about the war, or if they stop short of a “kill teh Mexicans” approach to immigration, or if they oppose Mitt Romney 4 Prezdint. In other words, he’s only “tough on Republicans” on those rare occasions when they aren’t wingnutty enough or when they criticize the candidate for whom HH is a paid publicist.

and the idea that somehow this is a show that Hugh should be persona non grata for reasonable and serious people, I think is disgusting.

It is sooo disgusting! I mean, who could be more reasonable than a person who claims that just calling Bush’s domestic surveillance program illegal is “reckless behavior” “of the sort” that caused the Roman Empire to fall? Who could be more serious than a person who argues that in his brave act of sitting in a radio studio, he’s effectively on the front lines of the war on terror?

Anyway, about General Petraeus? Yeah.

I mean, I don’t quite understand why Andrew Sullivan is joining that crowd of, you know, John Edwards-type ninnies who say oh, no, we can’t go on this, and we can’t go on that. And to put Hugh Hewitt in that category, I think, is ridiculous.

Well, you know what wingnuts think of John Edwards. And you know what Andrew Sullivan’s sexual orientation is….

The fact of the matter is I think Andrew Sullivan and the New Republic reveal their fundamental immaturity on that. If this is a war worth supporting, it isn’t, it suddenly doesn’t change and become not worth supporting because a couple of lunatics do something crazy in some freaky jailhouse in Iraq. You’re demonstrating, when you argue that case, as Andrew Sullivan did, that you’re simply not morally serious. Look, there are strategic objectives in this war. You can agree with them or not agree with them. But Andrew Sullivan’s problem, for example, is that he’s always been a big emotional ninny on the war. A couple of days after September 11th, he was talking about, he was quoting W. H. Auden, the famous poem about September, 1939, and saying that this was the great cause of his generation now, Andrew Sullivan’s generation, and what an awesome privilege it was. That is a ridiculous emotional overinvestment in the moment, and it’s one reason why Andrew Sullivan has been all but useless on strategic clarity since. You simply can’t discuss this thing in those terms. It wasn’t an awesome privilege in September the 13th, and it isn’t a discarded, shabby banner now.

DB: Hey, Mark, if people are taking notes at home, I assume you’d want them to write down the word ninny and underline it three times.

MS: (laughing) Now, now, now, I’m not going…

DB: I mean, just because you…

Yeah, good job, Deano. Emphasize it. After all, “ninny” is apparently the new Wingnutien codeword for fagg0rt.

DB: Now Mark Steyn, what do you think of the narrative that we often see come forward, that the troops are the children, and we must save our children and bring them home. How does that strike you?

MS: Well, I think it’s immensely insulting. For a start, they’re actually a lot more mature than the left wing commentators shrieking about the children. I was behind a car with a bumper sticker the other day, and the bumper sticker said honor the dead, heal the wounded, end the war.

DB: Ugh.

Yes, what a horrible sentiment!

MS: You don’t honor the dead by basically making their death a worthless sacrifice, you don’t heal the wounded by saying this is yet another war that America lost because of the emotional mawkish exhibitionism of a lot of self-indulgent and desiccated twits back on the home front. This is not how soldiers think. They’re not children. They’re grown men, they’re doing a more grown up job than most of the people bleating back at home. And they deserve real support, not this kind of misplaced nursery teacher coddling that looks cute on a bumper sticker, but it utterly meaningless.

Believe it! After all, Mark Steyn is a noted expert on the military mind. As he tells it, he’s practically a soldier himself. But yes, the troops need more of the sort of “support” that keeps them in the Iraq meat grinder. A very serious sort of support, unlike the faggy hysterical sort of support that demands that the troops come home from a pointless war doomed to fail the moment it was declared.

DB: Very well put. Mark Steyn, now you spent much of your spring and summer covering the Conrad Black trial. While you were in Spain, he was found guilty, and he’s apparently going to jail. What’s your reaction to that?

MS: Oh, well, I think that’s…you know, I’m the least anti-American non-American on the planet, but I think the federal justice system is a terrible system to witness close up. This is something that would not have been a criminal case in Canada, Britain, Australia, any advanced nation. And the idea of going to jail for 35 years for, in effect, business decisions, I think those things should be dealt within the boardroom, not in the courtroom. And Patrick Fitzgerald, who brought this case, he successfully colluded in the criminalization of politics in the Scooter Libby. And in this case, it’s about the criminalization of business. You’re undermining two of the key props of civilized society, capitalism and democracy, by thinking that every issue can be legalized. That’s the great fault in American society today.

Of course! The problem with America is that its legal system is too hard on white collar criminals! It is truly a national shame that Mark Steyn’s wingnut-welfare provider, Conrad Black, Lord Kleptocrat of DoubleCrossharbour, was subject to such an inquisition. Steyn’s plainly right to blame it on all the communists in government and the judiciary, people like Patrick Fitzgerald, who obviously have an ideological vendetta against honest capitalism.steynhead150.jpg


Comments: 37


Damn that liberal islamo-fascist Patrick Fitzgerald!11!

He’s probably a mexican, based on that surname…


Conrad who?


Wow. They need some new codewords. ‘Cause they just aren’t even trying anymore. Ninny! Ha, ha! Very subtle, let’s repeat it a number of times, and maybe we could even pluralize it so we can kind of lisp it a little so people know exactly what we’re saying.

And an irrelevant aside from the John Cole letter at the Instaputz link:
So, Hugh, I don’t hate him. In fact, I almost feel sorry for him. This will go down as the most incompetent and morally compromised administration in history…

Funnily enough, I don’t. Not even “almost”. Because while all that is clearly true, at least until we get stuck with Rudy For Prez!, it also ultimately does not matter since Dubya will never know it’s true. He’s not even capable of admitting the possibility that it might end up true.

The guy’s jumped off a thirty story building and is about halfway down, convinced history will prove him right when he said he can bounce–but by the time it’s demonstrated to him that he’s wrong, he’ll already be dead and won’t know anything about it. It’s the poor fuckers who have to clean up after the mess he made so they can let the traffic go again that will know. But they knew it was a bad idea from the start, or would have if anybody’d bothered to ask them.

Count Orlock (R-CT)

Funny how they never got around to actually talking about Sully Pooh’s (accurate) contention that Petraeus appearing on Hewitt’s show to shill for the war basically nukes his credibility as an honest broker.

Its all bullshit anyway. The only reason Petraeus was pushed out in front in the first place is because the civilian leadership are known liars and making a general the spokesmodel will give the GOP a little extra mileage on the “why do they hate the mighty and superhuman troops????” canard once people start pointing out that he’s full of shit.


You don’t honor the dead by basically making their death a worthless sacrifice

This is actually a great point. Which is why it is always wise to make good and certain that the war you are about to launch is a) winnable b) moral c) the only course of action left.

How incredibly sick that the wingnut conclusion is we have to send more people to die to honor those already dead. As Atrios pointed out, a quick lessen in sunk costs for these people is long overdue.

sigh. I needed some funny to start my week and instead I found psychopathy. Gonna be a long week.


Wow… um… what to say?

Andrew Sullivan is a HoMOSEXSHULE, we knew that already, but he’s particularly H- ’cause he’s not manly enough on Iraq to want to see it turned into a glass desert? And he said overheated sentimental things after 9/11 (never mind the OTHER 250 million or so Americans who did likewise)? This is obviously proof of, um, something or other.

And the Left infantilizes the troops by, you know, not wanting them to get killed for nothing. Except, as Kevin and Gary R always say, we hate the troops and and to get them all killed. Heads they win, tails we lose. So the Repug position is, what? They’re big boys and girls and we should let them stay in Iraq to get limbs blown off ’cause a bunch of sociopaths lied them into believing Iraq = 9/11?

And speaking of “sociopaths”, prosecuting Conrad (Tiny)Black(heart) and Scooter “Bear Rape” Libby is now, um, “criminalizing politics”?? Wow, ’cause I guess if a white Repug guy does it it MUST be for a good reason. I guess all those guys cooking up meth in their basements only need to contribute money to their local Repug candidate and BINGO you can’t arrest ’em ’cause it’d be “criminalizing politics”. Whee! Rule of Law, Not Men, amen.


First, Steyn shouldn’t talk about overloading with emotional semantics. Passive-aggressive/cynical/frat-boy jocular is still an emotional flavor.

Second, the war was flawed from the start, and the soldier’s deaths are wasted considering they are in the wrong country with the wrong tactics, the wrong backers, the wrong mindset and the wrong leaders.

Third, Black has not only been convicted or accused because of the reasons Steyn listed.

Fourth, it *is* telling that Petraeus chose the venue that he did considering he is supposed to allay fears, send straight messages, not spin and determine a reasonable course of action – Hewitt is effectively against this! No, he cannot be dismissed as a government puppet, but worries are justified.

Fifth, sending the troops home is not automatically an act of saving them from the EVIL OIL CARTUHLZ N DBUSHITLER!!!!! but can also show that the people see soldiers as useful, professional resources that are to be honored, not used arbitrarily and carelessly but directed and used with only the safety of the US in mind. Iraqi Freedom falls well short on such points.

Yes, some criticism of the war is exaggerated, overly emotional, not very constructive or maybe even fabricated. The thing is, the criticism is fundamentally pointing in the right direction, while support for the war still isn’t ethically, morally, economically, strategically, politically, diplomatically or otherwise grounded in argumentation or analysis. All we get is globs of spit on our oh so insufficient collective manhood and faith.

Steyn’s only redeeming quality is basically his dislike of the war on drugs.

"Oh Stewardess, I Speak 'Nut"

Correction: Chief Grand Inquisitor Kenneth Starr, Tom DeLay, et al., criminalized politics.

Bush-Cheney, by pardoning (pardon me, “commuting”) lil’ Scooter, are politicizing crime.

Because (all together now): IOKIYAR


You got a point. But we should remember that certain democrats, more a part of a political class than the progressive movement, has done nothing to stop this development or, say, the War on Drugs. Not refuting your point, just trying to put some discredit where it is due.


Let me fix that colloquy about Conrad Black if i may:

DB: Mark, let me ask you about the man who often paid you lots of money, and who had you over to parties at his castle outside of toronto often. a man who, i should add, you never stopped shilling for as both a writer for him and a member of his social circle. do you think the fact that anyone anywhere has ever felt anything bad about him is fair? should he go to jail or should they build a shrine to him that blocks out the sun all the way from toronto to hamilton?

MS: haha what a leading question!!! no, seriously though, you take neither your hagiography nor your delving into the depths where my tongue meets his chocolate starfish far enough! Sir Lord Sri Ali Black is the greatest man ever as anyone knows. jail is for two groups: black and brown people and Liberal Democrats (NB steyn has argued that LDs should go to jail for corruption of the political process often). conrad black is someone who i would defend without fear, in print, and even without pointing out our prior relationship if that is what i had to do to continue being the world’s biggest ass tool in history.

Incontinentia Buttocks

One of the many things a real opposition party would do is stop trying to carve out areas of war-related policy making that are “above politics.”

There are none.

What a surprise that the general in charge of the escalation is a political hack! Memo to those who haven’t been paying attention for the last six years: everyone this administration appoints is either an ideological nutjob, a partisan hack, or both.

Already, the decision by Democrats in the Senate to give Petraeus’s nomination a free ride on confirmation has come back to haunt them. This has been a major GOP-talking point for the last several months….and the Republicans have a point. If Congress wants to oppose this war, they need to start by just saying “no,” over and over again, to nominees, money, and every other war-related request by this administration.

Incontinentia Buttocks


Are you suggesting that if we just fix Hugh Hewitt’s toothache, his political attitude will improve?


Take this:

You don’t honor the dead by basically making their death a worthless sacrifice

Add this:

While you were in Spain

And you get this:

The Valley of the Fallen

Honoring the dead, wingnut style.


So is Steyn saying we’re not an advanced nation? Why does this Canadian wingnut hate America?


General Petreaus provides the republican legislators with a credible cover to extend the American occupation of Iraq for some period of time, be it three months or six or eighteen. And then, pragmatically, they will have to switch their allegiance from bush/cheney to their own constituency, for no other reason than their own political survival.

And every death, every american soldier and every Iraqi killed fighting the americans, every one of those deaths will be even more needless, pointless and ultimately wasted than the ones that came before. Much like the end-game in vietnam, the outcome is known, and every life spent at this point is a life wasted.

It is a long, ugly, slow motion mass-murder we are powerless to prevent….



OMFG!!! GI Joe Adventure Team! Nice find HTML!

Awesome. And the Steyn-Hewitt post coitial embrace is classic.

Hey, wait a mintue…where is he pointing that gun?


“GI Joe Adventure Team: Search for the Yeti”? As in the Abominable Frickin Snowman, that yeti?

So our uberpatriotic militaristic role model/toys now operate in the same alternate reality as homeopathy, bleeding Mary statues and those “Ghost Hunter” people?

Will the next Tom Clancy novel feature a suspenseful scene wherein SecDef ponders giving the OK to fire upon Santa’s sleigh, which some Tomcats locked onto for impinging on White House airspace at the very height of the War on Christmas?

a different brad

Hey. The ghost hunter people are far, far, far more cautious and rational than this Admin. And bigfoot might just exist, for real.
Careful what you call alternate reality. Dismiss too much and you’ll end up in one of your own.


“…thinking that every issue can be legalized.” How you coming with the dismantling of a nation of laws not men, wingnuts? “Extralegal violations are us!”


Hey. The ghost hunter people are far, far, far more cautious and rational than this Admin. And bigfoot might just exist, for real.

The ghost hunter people are silly persons who use lots of equipment they don’t entirely understand for uses for which it was never designed, and get all freaky about every little blip. It’s the equivalent of hearing voices in white noise. If they were ever to find anything, there would be compelling video, and the existence of ghosts would cease to be a topic of controversy.

Really, it’s also much like Right Blogistan pulling out and displaying, as a shiny bauble of truth, anything that might possibly be twisted into something that apparently seems to confirm the idea that there just me be a Global Islamofascist Conspiracy. They start with a conclusion, and then look for evidence. Ditto homeopathy, which has not only been discredited a thousand times over, but was so silly to begin with that it should never have even needed discrediting.

And Bigfoot. Like the WMDs that just gotta be there somewhere, not a single bit of decent evidence has ever been produced.

It’s important to keep an open mind, but no so open your brains fall out.


I find bigfoot’s existence to be more plausible than the idea that if we stay in Iraq forever we’ll have peace and democracy in the mideast.

And I’ve seen a ghost. I hold no opinions on whether it was an hallucination or “real” in some sense, but I quite clearly watched a man I’d never seen walk into my house through the front door and close it behind him. When I went inside he was nowhere to be found, and hadn’t been seen by the half-dozen some people inside. Unusually for the time I was stone sober when I saw it, and it weirds me out to this very day.

I also heard mysterious footsteps from the attic in that house too, though that could be explained by the colony of rats that lived up there.

a different brad

I’m a big fan of science, but not the egotism it sometimes involves. Mankind has plenty to learn about damn near everything, and there’s a much smaller difference between absurd and merely improbable than many want to admit.
There’s a difference between believing special crystals heal you by being worn as part of a hat and thinking it’s possible that a small remnant population of a not long extinct by the book species lives in intentional isolation from humanity.


Unusually for the time I was stone sober when I saw it, and it weirds me out to this very day.

I always felt ripped off that I didn’t get flashbacks. Acid was looking so cost-effective.


I used to gloat that I never had a flashback episode too. Then one evening in 1998 I was sitting at home with the front door open (of course, nobody else was there) when a very professional monkey in business casual attire came in, kind of brachiated across the living room and out the patio door.

I was like so totally “Whoa Dude, did you see that?” but of course nobody was there. I checked carefully. No MBA monkey in the back yard. Shit.

Left with no other explanation, I’ve decided it must have been a flashback…


Smiling Mortician

It’s not the business attire, nor even that said attire was “casual.” It’s not even that the monkey in question “brachiated,” which is a fine word. No, it’s that the monkey “kind of” brachiated.

It’s like Mmnffmf (some comedian whose name escapes me) once said: “I can’t bring myself to say ‘I guess I’ll mosey along now.’ It’s not that I can’t see myself moseying — I just can’t see myself guessing that I’ll mosey.”


My assumption at the time was that while the sartorially splendid monkey was making every effort to do his lineage proud with perfect brachiation, he had a bad hip, perhaps due to arthritis or an old polo injury, and the best he could muster was a kind of brachiation that left most observers, myself included, sort of confused…


Herr Doktor Bimler

The problem with America is that its legal system is too hard on white collar criminals!
Shame on you, HTML, you are trivialising Steyn’s argument. He is asserting that there is no such thing as a white-collar criminal, and rejects the possibility that any business decision or activity could ever be a criminal act.
It’s like the Benefit of Clergy. So as long as that monkey was dressed professionally in business casual attire, it had every right to brachiate through Mikey’s living room.

I think those things should be dealt within the boardroom, not in the courtroom.
And I think that some other activities should be dealt within the bar-room, not in the courtroom, but unfortunately the barman insists on pressing charges.

Herr Doktor Bimler

Are you sure about brachiating, Mikey? It didn’t knuckle-walk?
OK, for all I know, the ceiling of your living-room could be liberally festooned with rafters, ropes and handcuffs for the monkey to swing from. Would rather not speculate.


Andrew Sullivan and the New Republic reveal their fundamental immaturity on that.
For a start, they’re actually a lot more mature than the left wing commentators shrieking about the children.
They’re grown men, they’re doing a more grown up job than most of the people bleating back at home.
As I’m sure we all remember from what I knew as junior high school (now known as middle school) those who continually call others “immature” are generally the least mature & most childish. As well as most inclined to prostrate themselves before the altar of authority (teachers, the principal, or, in the real world, government). And of course there is nothing more mature than playing soldier, whether w/ one’s G. I. Joes, or with the lives of those who at least go to fight, though I suspect a lot of them are just playing soldier as well.

Smiling Mortician

a kind of brachiation that left most observers, myself included, sort of confused…

Ah, shit. It wasn’t the brown acid, was it, Mikey?


Ah, shit. It wasn’t the brown acid, was it, Mikey?

Seldom had to go down that rutted dirt path, living as I did in the land of Bear Owsley and Charley Cherry. When real chemists knew the real Lysergic Acid synthesis, and you didn’t even have to stretch to reach heaven…



I suppose a flashback is a possible explanation, but if it was a flashback I feel ripped off. All I get is a normal-looking middle-aged sandy-brown-haired guy with a big Saddam-sized mustache wearing a red flannel shirt tucked into jeans calmly walking through a door. I just figured he was my roommate’s friend or a neighbor or something. It seemed so normal; that is, until I asked my roommates and friends where the old guy went, and they looked at me like I was a lunatic. Yeah, that look right there!

If he’d at least brachiated through the door I could feel my drug/ghost experiences were complete. Sadly, I guess I have to do more! In a haunted cemetery! *sigh*

I suppose I should point out that a couple weeks before this happened, one of my dumbass roommates and some mutual dumbass friends had rampaged through a neighboring town’s cemetary, knocking over some headstones and breaking others (they didn’t have a shovel with them, thank Eris). If that wasn’t fucktarded enough, they kept souvenirs: pieces from various tombstones and statuary. Soooo, if one was inclined to go with the ghost hypothesis, there’s some “evidence.” Angry spirits, going through doors, booga-booga.

(Punchline is that all involved were caught and convicted. How? They were turned in by my roommate’s best friend. It turns out that one of the desecrated graves belongs to best friend’s grandma. Justice is served, I guess.)

Oddly enough, years later I did in fact spend a drug-addled night in an extremely creepy cemetery (Evergreen Cemetery in Everett, WA). I saw nothing out of the ordinary, besides the dug up bones around the makeshift pentagram no doubt made by moronic goth tweens, or the other bones just poking out of the ground, or the big spooky looking 40 foot tall pyramidal crypt. And the people making out on the top of it.


Cemeteries are a hoot. I lived in an apartment at Cinedomes and Overpass in Sacramento back in the eighties with a tall trailer-park blonde from North Carolina for a while. Right next to this huge apartment complex was an equally huge cemetery. Whenever I needed to give my dear beloved flowers, I’d just hop over the wall and gather a nice, fresh bouquet.

On those hot Sacramento nights, we’d take a blanket, some chicken littles and a bottle of wine and sit out there all night…


Note: If you’re a crankster of a certain age, you’ll remember chicken littles. Yummy little chicken sandwiches KFC sold for $0.29/each. We’d be so geezed up all the time it was hard to eat, so we’d buy ’em ten at a time and just try to pack one down every couple hours…


My personal fave for examples of how “center-right” and reasonable Hugh is, is when he commended Arthur Herman’s insane Weekly Standard article endorsing the invasion of Iran and seizing all their oil wells. Sayeth Herman:

…the scenario would not end here. With the systematic reduction of Iran’s capacity to respond, an amphibious force of Marines and special-operations forces could seize key Iranian oil assets in the Gulf, the most important of which is a series of 100 offshore wells and platforms built on Iran’s continental shelf.

North and South Pars offshore fields, which represent the future of Iran’s oil and natural-gas industry, could also be seized, while Keogh Island at the far western edge of the Persian Gulf, whose terminus pumps the oil from Iran’s most mature and copiously producing fields (Away, Maroon, and Achaean, among others), could be rendered virtually useless. By the time the campaign was over, the United States military would be in a position to control the flow of Iranian oil at the flick of a switch…

…[our war plan] must therefore be predicated not only on seizing the state’s oil assets but on refusing to relinquish them unless and until there is credible evidence of regime change in Tehran or—what is all but inconceivable—a major change of direction by the reigning theocracy.

Then Hewitt worshipfully interviewed this lunatic on his radio show.

Yes, that’s just the reasonable, non-partisan voice Gen. Petraeus should choose for honest questions about Iraq.


[…] Plus: Nice try. Steyn struggles with his own inconsistencies. Notably for this piece, how does he degrade Native American religions and homosexuality, defend monotheism (and its homophobia), yet remain the numero uno Islamophobe of world wingnuttia? How indeed: by implying that Islam alone among the “Abrahamic” religions has ever endorsed polygamy. Oooo-kay. On the other hand, Steyn exhibits amazing reticence in not calling Merrill a “ninny“. […]


[…] Hark, Hark! Mark Barks, Snarks, and Offers Hacktastic Remarks! […]


[…] learned that wingnut-welfare courtesy of Conrad Black paid better than being a critic of musical theater — he’s been at it ever since. Not exactly the resume of someone who can reassemble a […]


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