Archive for July 9th, 2006

What The Rabid Ham Hock Says.

Nim gives the dishonest pro-Lieberman pundits what-for:

As you are so fond of explaining to the rabid pre-teens on the internets what is really good for them, let me explain what’s good for all of you: NOT calling the exercise of democracy “fascism” or “purging.” Some people with websites do not hold the reins of governmental power. They do not direct party funds. They don’t run the military. They have, in other words, no actual power. What they have are opinions and some facts. Sort of like yourselves. When they advocate the election of Ned Lamont, the only ability they have to effect this is to convince people that he is a worthy candidate. Worthy of votes, donations, and word of mouth to Connecticut voters. The voters of Connecticut will decide whether they agree. This is the point you seem to be missing. If enough voters in Connecticut decide that their views will be better represented by Ned Lamont than by Joe Lieberman, he should be elected. Right? This is how democracy works. If you disagree, you are just as free as Markos, or Jane Hamsher, or Atrios, to make your argument why Joe Lieberman is the better choice.

Let me suggest, however, that “Joe follows his conscience” and “Joe is bipartisan” may not be compelling reasons for a voter who does not agree with Mr. Lieberman on the substance of his beliefs. And when you attack the rabid lambs of the blogofascisphere, you’re insulting and denigrating not the purported kingmakers of the internet, but the people who read and contribute to these sites. This is the second mistake you’ve been making. Markos, Atrios and the rest do not have monopolies on truth any more than you do, and their audiences are quite aware of this. What the popular bloggers provide is not the shining light of truth, but fora. They’re basically glorified party hosts, and if the party ends, or the host starts acting like an ass, the party will go elsewhere. But it won’t go away. It could even end up back on your doorsteps, if you had opinions and information that were of interest.


Stop focusing on the messengers, and focus on the message. If you believe that Ned Lamont’s campaign is misguided, and the voters of Connecticut should have fewer choices on election day, explain why on the substance of the candidates’ positions. I’m glad Joe Lieberman has a conscience (which I sincerely believe he does), and that he is willing to break with his party when he does not agree with them. If, however, Joe’s conscience causes him to cast votes that make his constituents unhappy, he runs an electoral risk. See the difference? Joe is not being challenged because he has a conscience and does not toe the party line, he is being challenged despite those traits. Because he breaks with the party on issues of importance to lots of people and lots of voters.

“Lieberman deserves support, because he votes against your beliefs and interests.” That’s basically what you’re saying. Think about it.

This is perfectly spot-on. The only thing that I would add would be to point out that there are races where the party establishment is backing a challenger against an incumbent. Progressive Dem Akaka in Hawaii has been targeted with a centrist challenger, and moderate Republican Chafee in Rhode Island has been targeted with a conservative challenger. And yet none of the pundits who bemoan the “purging” of Lieberman for insufficient purity have any problem with it when it comes from the actual party power structure.

I guess as long as the challenger is to the right of the incumbent, everything is as it should be.

2 comments July 9th, 2006 at 08:33pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Lieberman,Media,Politics,Wankers

Minimum Movie Violence Requirements

This is… odd:

…Amir [Muhammed], 34, is one of this country’s leading independent filmmakers, and from the point of view of the authorities, something of a pest. His newest film, “The Last Communist,” is, as he puts it, “a semi-musical documentary road movie” based on the life of Chin Peng, once the leader of the outlawed Malayan Communist Party. (Mr. Chin, now 84, is an exile in Thailand.) It was to have been the first local documentary to open theatrically in Malaysia. Instead, it is the first Malaysian film to be banned at home.


After a screening was held for Malaysian members of Parliament, the home minister, Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, said the real problem was that the absence of violence in the documentary could create the misconception that Chin Peng was not himself violent. “It will be like allowing a film portraying Osama bin Laden as a humble and charitable man to be screened in the United States,” Mr. Radzi told a local newspaper.

Mr. Amir said, “I think this is the first time a film has been banned for not being violent enough.”

Only in not-America.

July 9th, 2006 at 07:09pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Movies,Weirdness

“Grover’s Not That Likable.”


Not likable.

Jonathan Singer at MyDD writes about an interesting Washington Post article that claims, rather unconvincingly, that powerful and creepy anti-tax, anti-government activist Grover Norquist is losing influence due to his entanglement with criminal lobbyist Jack Abramoff.


Over the past six years, Norquist has been a key cheerleader and strategist for successive White House tax cuts, extracting ironclad oaths from congressional Republicans not to even think about tax increases. And even before President Bush’s election, he positioned himself as a gatekeeper for supplicants seeking access to Bush’s inner circle.

But in the aftermath of reports that Norquist served as a cash conduit for disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the irascible, combative activist is struggling to maintain his stature as some GOP lawmakers distance themselves and as enemies in the conservative movement seek to diminish his position.

“People were willing to cut him a lot of slack because he’s done a lot of favors for a lot of people,” said J. Michael Waller, a vice president of the right-leaning Center for Security Policy who for several years was an occasional participant at Norquist’s Wednesday meetings. “But Grover’s not that likable.”

On the other hand…

For now, Norquist’s well-publicized financial links to Abramoff, who has pleaded guilty to corruption charges and is cooperating with prosecutors, have had little obvious impact on Norquist’s prominence. Nor have they affected his signature event: the meeting every Wednesday morning at Americans for Tax Reform, where officials of conservative organizations, activists and lobbyists gather with Republican politicians to swap notes, make plans and coordinate messages. The June 28 meeting in downtown Washington was packed.

“I don’t think he’s lost one iota of influence in conservative circles,” said Cesar Conda, a Republican lobbyist and a former top aide to Vice President Cheney.


…[T]he apparatus he has created for conservatives — with fundraisers, social dinners and weekly meetings not just in Washington but in 43 states and even Europe — has become too important to destroy.

“Grover supplies grass-roots power, which is why lobbyists want him on their side,” said John Feehery, executive vice president of the Motion Picture Association of America. “He senses where he can get activists around the country riled. He’s a master organizer on specific issues.”

As for Wednesday mornings at ATR, Feehery added, “I still think it’s still the place to be.”

There are some examples of Republicans gearing up opposition and staying away from his meetings, but until I hear Bush and Rove have turned their backs on him, I’m not impressed.


Now the overall tenor of the Weisman article is that Norquist’s influence is diminishing, and to the extent that is true, Republicans are doing the right thing.

But the fact remains that top Republican lobbyists and activists continue to go to Norquist’s meetings and pay homage to the corporatist leader enabling him to continue to wield at least some power in Washington. And Republicans’ willingness to tolerate Norquist even after it has become clear that he was an integral player in Abramoff’s power scheme serves as yet more proof that the Republicans have no intention whatsoever to change.

Certainly, Republicans will put out the word that they are sending Abramoff and Norquist out to pasture (there are a number of quotes to this effect in the Weisman piece, and the article, in and of itself, evidences and effort to undercut Norquist). But when push comes to shove, Republicans continue to welcome him as a key ally.

And while this might seem like a little too much insider baseball for most Americans to pay attention to, the fact that many Republicans continue to embrace on of Jack Abramoff’s closest allies is plain enough for any voter to understand.

Unfortunately, I think the plain truth is that most Americans still have absolutely no idea who Bush’s dodgy pal Grover is, although I suspect if they were properly introduced, they would not find him very likable either. Any such introduction should include not only his Abramoff involvement, but also some selections from the Grover Norquist Quotation Hall Of Fame, like the one about drowning government in the bathtub, and the one about bipartisanship being date rape, and the one about how Democrats will be much more docile after they’re neutered.

I hope the Democrats really do have plans to shine some light on this bearded cockroach, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

3 comments July 9th, 2006 at 12:00pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

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