Friday, April 22, 2005

Evangelical mobsters freak out another country club Republican

Good God!! I agree with Ted Olsen!!

Former Solicitor General, Federalist Society Lieutenant, and arch-Clinton Hater, Ted Olsen becomes the latest exhibit in Maureen Dowd's recent theory: "Republicans just scared other people. Now, they're starting to scare themselves."

Olsen gives a nicely reasoned argument as to how Tom Delay and Texas Senator John "I understand why they like to kill judges" Conryn are leading the country towards anarchy. For Olsen, the course charted by Delay, Conryn, and others in the "Justice Sunday" crowd represents the tyranny of the mob. Olsen joins John Warner, Chris Shays, and the articulate John Danforth, who wrote a screed similar to Olsen's, last week .

The current GOP coalition is obviously coming up against its own limitations. The core of the Republican party has always been the classic Federalist formulation of a strong central government combined with a pro-business focus which formed an alliance between the ruling class and an ever-growing middle class. It's the party of Hamilton, Clay, Lincoln (railroad lawyer), Teddy Roosevelt, Coolidge, Hoover, Eisenhower, Goldwater, and Nixon.

In 1976 and 1980, Reagan made a deal with the Federalist's and traditional Republican's version of Satan -- the working-class mob. A mob which happens to be socially conservative and which historically tends to be suspicious and downright hateful of the classic Federalist equation. Reagan courted the mob -- a mob overtly evangelical, subtly racist (which is why overt racism along the lines of Trent Lott's had to be so severely punished by the party chiefs), and ultimately anarchist in its outlook. Reagan forged the coalition by getting the country club/libertarian wing (himself included) to give lip service to the mob's platform, and a threw an anti-porn Attorney General Meese (echoed by the appointment of anti-porn Attorney General Ashcroft by GW Bush) to sate the mob. This paradoxical coalition served the GOP well from 1980 through the last election, enabling their takeover of the federal government.

And now Satan wants his due. The devil wants those nasty, principled judges to collectively burn in a huge, purging pyre so the mob's will (often referred to as "God's will") shall be done on Earth as it is in their fantasies.

These fantasies not only disturb social liberals, they disturb CEOs of multinationals. For every judge who won't order Terri Schiavo's feeding tube replaced and who interprets the 14th amendment as extending due process to homosexuals, is the same judge who will be just as strenuous when it comes to protecting the property rights of corporations, a judge who will continue to reaffirm the 14th amendment protections found in the 1886 case Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad.

Rule of law, especially when it comes to Lockean protection of private property, is the absolute foundation of the United States, as it was re-formed by the Constitution. What Olsen, Scalia, Danforth et al, so plainly see, is that if the mob can be emboldened to overthrow the judiciary on matters of feeding tubes, gay marriage, etc., and is ultimately successful in their overthrow,then the model for mob rule can be adapted for the overthrow of property rights. A sort of domestic domino-theory dynamic will be in place, which has some appeal to those on the left. And that's what has the country club/libertarian wing of the GOP freaked out.

What tangled webs we weave....

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Brooks vs. Roe

While I obviously disagree with Brooks over what should be done with Roe in 2005, I think he has a point-- I've made the same argument myself -- that Roe was indeed undemocratic and increased cynicism among social conservatives. My counter would be that Brown vs. BOE and Abington v Schempp had the same or similar effect as he describes, but we certainly don't villianize Brown today, and sane conservatives don't villify Abington. Pure, direct democracy is not an unadulterated social good. One would think that point would not be lost nor forgotten by a Jew who knew his history as one assumes Brooks does.

However, pregnant women who also happen to be poor, remain fair game for the bulk of American conservatives. Pregnant women of means had the option of abortion long before Roe, it just wasn't called abortion, the woman had a D&C which "just happened" to result in an abortion. A process Dan Qualye was all too familiar with for his own wife's tastes. Wingnut Senator Santorum's wife was also about to make a similar decision albeit under far more dire and different circumstances.

Hypocrisy and callousness marches on.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

It's A Wonderful Life?

Listening this morning to the news about President Bush's visit to the supposedly non-existent Social Security trust fund, whereupon he claimed that the US Treasury Bonds in the filing cabinet were essentially worthless, that they were "just IOUs", I couldn't help but recall this bit of dialogue from the film classic, It's A Wonderful Life:

GEORGE BAILY: No, but you . . . you . . . you're thinking of this place all wrong. As if I had the money back in a safe. The money's not here. Your money's in Joe's house . . .[to one of the men]. . . right next to yours. And in the Kennedy house, and Mrs. Macklin's house, and a hundred others. Why, you're lending them the money to build, and then, they're going to pay it back to you as best they can. Now what are you going to do? Foreclose on them?

W. POTTER: Heck yes, I'm foreclosing. I'm repossessing the filing cabinet and all it's IOUs for more tax breaks for the top 1%, Wall Street boondoggles for my wealthy contributors, and for more military largesse, you simpleton.

BAILY: But Mr. Potter, we all voted for you, us country folk, we trusted you with our money; we've trusted the federal government ever since FDR restored trust in the banks and in our government. He said that we would band together for the good of all.

W. POTTER: And you believed that fairy tale? Good Lord, son! Listen, that's the problem with you people, you trust the government, you trust your money, and you've been trusting in Social Security just because....well, just because up until now the government made good on its fiduciary promises by keeping the currency stable, by paying its debts, by backing its securities in the past. But that's all smoke and mirrors. I'm here to disillusion you idiots and prove that you shouldn't have and can't trust the government because.....well, the government CAN walk away from its promises.

And to prove to you that the government CAN walk away, I AM walking away and taking your money to boot. Lesson learned. We're going back to way things ought to be; the way things are -- Law of the jungle, Social Darwinism -- no safety nets UNLESS you're in our club. And we make OUR safety nets by conning money from idiots like you.

GEORGE BAILY: But aren't we all in the club, aren't we ALL Americans?

W. POTTER: Holy smokes, sonny! You still believe in the nation-state? Son, that went out years ago. When that bomb blew up them Jap cities, it blew up the nation-state. Now all we have are multinationals and their toadies like the World Bank. You want security, buy some stock.

GEORGE BAILY: But Mr. Potter, we did. We bought Enron and WorldCom.

W. POTTER: Shoulda bought Carlyle baby, it's the ONLY game in town.

GEORGE BAILY: But it's privately held by you and your friends.

W. POTTER: {eerie snicker for extended period.....}

This post appeared in The Franklin Press 4/22/2005

Friedman Logic

Tom Friedman of The New York Times never ceases to entertain --
Today's syllogism is interesting:

a. The Jihadists have been busy with us in Iraq and that's a big part why we haven't been attacked here at home. (Basic regurgitation of the flypaper theory)
b. The US forces are slowly but surely gaining the upper hand in Iraq
c. The Jihadists, being thwarted on Plan A -- defeating the US on their home turf -- will revert to Plan B -- blowing something up here.
Therefore, we can expect an attack soon here at home and the Friedman (and Rove) approved hermeneutic posits a narrative which the headline is "US Victory Close at Hand in Iraq Obvious say Pentagon Sources, as Terrorists Revert to Bombing the Fuck Out of More Vulnerable Homeland."

The old Texas coin toss: Heads I win, tails I win; l use your fucking $20 goldpiece and palm it.

Demonstrating a curious pathology, Friedman perfectly channels and then projects the neoconservative worldview onto the mind of his hypothetical Jihadists. (To make it easier to follow, I have translated Friedman's unspoken projections in parentheses following the key points in the neocon fantasy.)

"If the Jihadists (American neocons) defeat us (the anti-American Muslims) in the heart of their world, and force us (them) from Iraq (Iraq) , it will have a huge impact on the Arab street (American penis) and shake every pro-American Arab regime (make the fundies believe that the Rapture is imminent) . The Jihadists (Neocons) have always understood that Iraq (Iraq) is the ballgame. Iraq (Iraq) is the big one. Winning there is what really advances their (our Wilsonian) agendas."