They’re just trying to change us

It was this attitude that George Lakoff keyed in on when he noted George Bush’s juvenile language about having to get a “permission slip” from the U.N. to invade another country (i.e. fuck them up the ass with a knife). The concepts of democracy, diplomacy and cooperation are absent from this right wing way of thinking; cooperation is surrender, period, end of story. Might as well give your wife a strap-on as allow a Supreme Court justice to consider what non-Americans have had to say about concepts like “cruel and unusual punishment”, and why are those pansy liberals putting these ridiculous obstacles to a little cathartic blood-letting, anyway? Rocky. Mountain. Oysters.

It’s for this reason that red staters like David Neiwert and I are skeptical about the Ron Paul thing. Hard right anti-interventionists that trade in conspiracy theories about the U.N. may seem anti-war on the surface, but don’t bet on it. Mostly they’re skeptical of what they perceive as a wussy version of modern war, with the Geneva Convention and the excuses about democracy and helping women. That the Bush administration was clearly full of shit with its phony concerns about democracy and human rights when they began the imperialist Iraq war maybe helped tame rage against them, but now that we’re losing, the hard right is pissed again at yet another indication that they hear the sounds of knives sharpening near their much-coveted* backsides.

So I think that’s why the Federalist Society is doing this, not because they care so much but because they’re trying to create the impression that liberals see the knife-grinding and are grabbing the lube, and nothing short of a constitutional amendment will save the tender rear ends of the paranoid right wing.

Girl cooties

I didn’t want to write about the John McCain and the word “bitch” incident for precisely the reasons that Cara articulates here—having to deal with all the people who’d scramble make excuses for his reaction, when they know full well that if someone had gotten up and made a similar racist slur about Obama, if McCain laughed and said, “Excellent question,” he’d probably be resigning from the campaign in disgrace right now. Not that I’m trying to set up some competition between racism and sexism, by any stretch,* but in just this very narrow area, there’s a social acceptance of misogynist terms where their equivalent in racist terms are considered beyond the live sex cams pale. There’s a series of complex reasons for this that don’t actually speak that much to the oppression people face on an individual basis,** but the bare minimum issue in this case is pretty simple: By accepting the word “bitch” in discourse about candidates for major elections, you’re signing tacitly onto the idea that women’s very presence in politics is unwelcome.

But I can see and have sympathy for the argument that McCain was just being a natural politician and doing what politicians do, which is to be hyper-agreeable to everything said by potential voters in an effort to get their vote. That doesn’t explain, as Cara notes, his refusal to participate in the ritual denunciation after the fact, which again I can grant wide berth for good intentions, because I personally hate the ritual denunciations and would pretty much like to see them disappear from the discourse completely, since it’s gotten to this point where not tripping over yourself denouncing this or that is being treated as acceptance of it. But that McCain has turned around and channeled what you might call the “pro-bitch” sentiment into a fund-raising letter crosses a big fat line and makes it hard to deny that he’s fully behind the use of derogatory terms intended to marginalize women from politics.

Review: A Tragic Legacy

Having taken what appears to be a Glenn Greenwald-based semi-defense of Ron Paul out to the woodshed a bit,* I come now to point out that just like with the guys at Sadly, No, I ‘m with Glenn 99% of the time, and I’m going to praise his book A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, which I finished reading today. The book is a run-down of the Bush administration’s failures from a non-partisan point of view; if you’re a sane Republican who has abandoned BushCo due to their incompetence and moral turpitude, then this book should work for you just as well as if you’re one of us hairy hippies who had Bush’s number all along. And it’s the perfect gift to give the conservative in your life that’s sitting on the fence, expressing doubts about BushCo but not wanting to go along with the hairy hippies, either. This book makes the case against Bush for people of all political stripes that aren’t sucked into the Manichean bubble that Bush has created for himself.

The book also serves as a warning against the temptation to engage in Manichean thinking, where you assume that you are on the side of Good fighting Evil itself, because such a worldview leads those who hold it to behave as BushCo does, as if any obstacles to you or your mission should be treated like Evil itself, and that the greatness of your cause allows for a “by any means necessary” course. Bush has set himself up as an emissary of god,** and therefore anything even perceived as an obstacle, such as injunctions against torture or respect for basic civil rights or respect for other human beings or for human lives, can be safely cast into the pile of Evil. By fighting monsters, BushCo has become a monster, and it will take a long time for the U.S. to recover from the damage wrought.

It’s a lot of stuff that heavy blog users probably already know, but Glenn is such a good, sparkling writer that it’s easy to breeze through it without getting bored. And it’s a hefty reminder that we need, as the loyal opposition in this nation, to stay on this stuff like white on rice, because only by maintaining our outrage about abuses and dedication to stopping them can we even begin to set this nation on the road to recovery. The rest of the world hates our nation right now, but showing the world that Americans themselves oppose this administration will provide the rest of the world an alternate view of us as perhaps salvageable.

The big value-add for blog readers in getting and reading this book is the case that Glenn makes for how the Manichean worldview not only allows those who hold it to railroad all morality and human decency in their cause, but also gives them an irrational belief that victory is certain (so long as you hold steadfast to the worldview). Bush has completely shut down any entertaining of the idea that we give up on the possibility of victory in Iraq, even though he probably doesn’t even quite know what victory would look like. (A peaceful, democratic Iraq that sent him thank you cards full of free oil that could be turned around and sold for pure, price-fixed profit, probably.) Worse even than that, this belligerent belief that victory is attainable just through the will to power has led BushCo onto the path of war with Iran, which would, at bare minimum, be a total disaster that would destroy any remaining good will for the U.S. around the world and could have ominous possibilities for our ability to even hold this country together on the homefront. But in Bush’s world, we are Good and Iran is Evil, and therefore god will make us win, so long as we maintain the faith. Scary stuff.

There’s some reason to believe that sanity might be getting, if not the upper hand, at least enough of a hand in D.C. to delay the run to war with Iran until Bush is safely out of office and we can start moving past this national nightmare. It’s tough to say; Glenn makes the case that if Bush wants it bad enough, he’ll get his war with Iran, period. Which is why I view this situation as a race with time; will Bush be stalled from getting his war long enough to get him out of office? It’s quite possibly our only hope.

At least in my own egocentric mind, I suppose

It’s a question of how much Bush believes his own bullshit. Glenn thinks that Bush himself is a true believer in the Cult of The Shrub, but I have my doubts sometimes, and think it’s just a disingenuous political pose designed to pull in the suckers (whose mentality is well-evidenced on your average pro-war blog, i.e. mean and stupid). It’s an interesting question, but it’s actually pretty irrelevant for Glenn’s thesis to hold together—what Bush believes in his heart is not nearly as important as how he acts, and he acts, for all intents and purposes, like the true believer that Glenn describes.

Washington state: ‘Pastor Hutch’ threatens Microsoft again over pro-LGBT policies

He’s a persistent cus, that Rev. Ken Hutcherson Antioch Bible Church, friend of Latvian fundamentalist hate organizations and the self-proclaimed White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives “Special Envoy.”

For years he’s tried to prevent pro-LGBT legislation from passing in Washington state without any success.

He got up at a shareholder meeting last week to announce his new initiative — Hutcherson will destroy the LGBT-friendly Redmond-based software giant by calling for millions of evangelical activists and allies to buy up Microsoft shares and use that power to demand a return to traditional (i.e. anti-sodomite) biblical values. He said it will be their “worst nightmare.”

This is where I draw the line

Not sure why she thinks going up in years would be going down in sexism, except that if you go up in years, then he might be making more money, but that means the “Oh my god, I make more money!” problem is non-existent, so what’s the issue here? But setting aside the logic issues, I’m fascinated by the unspoken assumption that women are the ones more eager, more desperate, more afraid of being alone. They’d have to be, if they’re the ones hiding shopping bags. If men care about compromise, they could, you know, hide the shopping bags of ego hurt if they’re big enough babies to flip out over dating women that make more. And then they’d have a chance to grow as human beings, which is not an opportunity afforded by hiding shopping bags.**

There’s not really a scrap of evidence that women are more eager to give up their freedom to get married than men are. There’s a good reason to think that once women get into relationships, they have less power to get out than men as a general rule (internalized sexism, family obligations, social pressures, financial concerns, etc.), but at the beginning, especially with financially independent women of the sort Dowd describes, why assume this extra dose of desperation? A guy who starts to throw a hissy fit at the sign of shopping bags when you’re first dating each other is probably a guy who gets his phone calls returned not very often, because he fits cleanly into the category of “better to be alone than with that dipshit”. Sure, some nimrod will pick a guy like that up—there’s never an end to human stupidity in these matters—but to generalize to most women, to make a trend out of this implies that women are more desperate as a rule than men. And I see no reason to believe that.