Of Course He’s Just Like Batman – In the Bizarro Universe

If I’d had any cookies before reading this Andrew Klavan excerpt, they would’ve been tossed:

What Bush and Batman Have in Common
July 25, 2008

A cry for help goes out from a city beleaguered by violence and fear: A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds . . .

Oh, wait a minute. That’s not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . . a “W.”

You need glasses, you delusional fuckwit.

There seems to me no question that the Batman film “The Dark Knight,” currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war.

You need a new brain, you delusional fuckwit.

Off your medication again, I see. Let’s just take a moment to do some kicking with the spiked boots: Batman didn’t ignore warnings that terrorists would strike in his city, stubborn stupidity and a habit of posing in flyboy outfits doesn’t equal “fortitude” and “moral courage,” and Batman fought strictly on the defense. He didn’t go around starting wars against the wrong damned people and then proclaim himself a hero for it.

And I really don’t think the Nolan brothers had Bush in mind when writing this film, except when they were writing the beating-information-out-of-people bits. I noticed they were a lot more thoughtful about the morality of that, now that Monkey Boy George has shown us exactly why such things as torture are banned by international treaty.

I see your insanity continues to spew forth. What now?

Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.

Batman is villified and despised for being a dangerous, unknown quantity outside the law who also really fucks things up for the buggers getting rich off of other people’s misery. Bush is villified because he’s a raving fucktard who thinks he’s entitled to do whatever he wants. Batman struggles with the morality of what he does and makes every attempt to put serious limits on his own actions. Bush uses other people’s fear and uncertainty to grab as much power as he can, and you’d have to break his hands to pry it out of them. Batman ensures that the tools he has that could lead to people’s rights being violated are used for uber-brief periods of time, in as limited a way as possible, and then immediately ensures their destruction, further adding a layer of security by placing the really noxious tools in the hands of a man guaranteed not to abuse them. Bush recognizes no limits in either time or scope, places the dangerous toys in the hands of completely evil fuckers, and uses every trick possible to permanently expand his toolbox. Is that enough, or should I go on?

And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society — in which people sometimes make the wrong choices — and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell.

You just pulled that one out of your ass, buddy. It reeks of fresh bullshit.

Batman limits himself to one thing: making the dangerous people stop hurting the mostly innocent people. He won’t kill a criminal. He won’t use any more force than absolutely necessary. He hounds them only to the gates of Arkham, even when he knows there’s a chance they’ll break loose and wreak havoc again. You see, he has morals and a sense of proportion – neither of which your hero Georgie Boy possesses. He operates outside of the law, but he’s not lawless. Bushie, on the other hand, uses the excuse of “criminal sects” redefine the law to his liking, to accrue power to himself, and to satiate his own thirst for war.

By the way, just so you’re made aware of this, because I know it’s not something you and your reality-challenged buddies consider very often, especially not when you’re getting all hard over the latest round of torture and mayhem on 24, but: Batman operates in a fictional world. It’s not real. Heroes in fiction and heroes in real life sometimes have points in common (although not in this case), but they’re not the same. Fictional heroes, in fact, would quite often get their arses thrown in prison in this reality, no matter what kind of good they might be doing.

Things that work in fiction don’t work in reality. If Bush and his cronies had understood that, we wouldn’t have had government fucking officials citing Jack Bauer when trying to explain why torturing people is the right thing to do. The Jack Bauer Defense doesn’t make torture right. Saying that Batman’s feared and hated for the good he does doesn’t mean that Bush is feared and hated for doing good – he’s feared and hated because he’s a power-mad little fucktard who’s shat all over this country’s laws, ideals, economy and identity. He’s hated and feared because he deserves to be.

No amount of trying to equate him with Batman is going to change that. Get the fuck over it, Andrew. That big W on Georgie’s chest doesn’t stand for Wonderman, it stands for Whackjob.

Welcome to reality. Enjoy your brief stay.

There’s a Problem With God’s Sequencing Here

We’re all used to very religious people latching on to a coincidence and claiming the hand of God (or other deity of choice). But this is the clearest example of muddled thinking I’ve come across in a very long time.

Let’s set the scene first:

INDIANAPOLIS – An Indianapolis woman believes a higher power helped her and her two young great-granddaughters survive a shooting this week.

Before stray bullets from a gun battle ripped through her car, Charlotte Thompson didn’t even know what gunfire sounded like.

Common enough situation, o’ course: innocent people caught in the crossfire survive and thank God for it. We’ll skip ahead a bit here to see why Charlotte Thompson thinks she has better evidence than most for that divine intervention: we discover that the bullet hit a Bible, minced a Sunday school book, and ended up lodging in a watermelon:

“Right in the watermelon. Didn’t come out of the watermelon,” Thompson said. “The word of God and the Lord’s power saved. He sent the bullet into the watermelon.”

All righty, then. Now, let’s backtrack a bit, follow the path of the bullet, and discover why Dana choked on her drink:

Her 10-year-old great granddaughter was sitting in the back seat, shot in the stomach. “We heard this pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow,” Thompson said. “Then Shyann said, ‘Oh! I’m shot!’”

“I turned around and looked and she raised up her shirt and I could see the bullet,” Thompson said. “I could see where it went in and where it went out.”


Police later showed Thompson the path the bullet took through her car. She now believes that path was guided by God.

“Came through the door, hit her, then it went to the Bible,” she said. The Bible was sitting on the seat between the two girls. “It went in here and come out here and it shredded my Sunday School book. The Word of God slowed the bullet so that it didn’t kill anybody.”

Did anyone else spot the problem with the sequence? The word of bloody God didn’t stop the bullet until after the child got shot in the stomach.

If this is the best God can do with stopping bullets, I think I’m better off an atheist, thanks so much. I’ll just line my car with hardcover copies of The Lord of the Rings. That’s actually thicker than most Bibles: I doubt I’ll even need a supplementary Silmarillion or The Hobbit for added protection. Even then, I won’t be claiming the power of Tolkien influenced a screaming chunk of high-velocity lead.

Why is it that belief in gods leads to such horrifically muddled thinking? I mean, do you really have such a tremendous urge to glorify God that it allows you to ignore the fact a ten-year old got shot in the stomach? Is it really okay that your God’s this inept?

At least with the laws of physics, you’re not left wondering what the kid might have done to piss them off.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

One step closer to my dream of seeing Rove handcuffed and marched off to jail:

Three weeks ago, Karl Rove blew off a congressional subpoena and refused to testify on the scandal surrounding the politicization of the Justice Department. Today, the House Judiciary Committee recommended contempt charges against Rove for his defiance.

The House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines, 20 to 14, to cite Mr. Rove for defying its subpoena to testify in an inquiry into improper political meddling in the department.

“Mr. Rove has left us no option,” said Representative John Conyers, the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the committee. Mr. Conyers expressed regret that the committee had been forced to use its subpoena power.

Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) noted in a memo, “Mr. Rove has refused even to appear before the Committee and assert whatever privileges that he believes may apply to his testimony, relying on excessively broad and legally insufficient claims of ‘absolute immunity’ — never recognized by any court — in declining to appear.”

The vote doesn’t literally cite Rove for contempt, but rather, recommends that the full House hold Rove in contempt through a floor vote.

This is delightful. I think we’ll have to have an open bar tonight, my darlings. To Rove, and his new roommate Bubba! May he get exactly what he deserves.

In the “this is rich, innit” department, we have Sam Brownback wringing his hands over Chinese spying:

Yesterday, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) expressed fear that “foreign-owned hotels in China face the prospect of ’severe retaliation’ if they refuse to install government software that can spy on Internet use by hotel guests coming to watch the summer Olympic games.” Brownback, who is pushing the Senate to urge China to reverse course, said China’s action is “not right” and “not in the Olympic spirit.”

This morning on CNN, asked by host John Roberts if China’s action amounts to “spying,” Brownback continued his outrage:

BROWNBACK: This is the public security bureau in China requiring the installation of hardware that they can listen to anybody and everybody’s and their communications and their recordings that are sent over the internet in a real-time purpose or over long-term. That’s spying, John. […] Your
internet communications can all be monitored in a real time basis by the public security bureau of the Chinese government. I think they’re clearly intent upon spying. they’re going to be spying.

Uh, Sam? You’ve got no ground to stand on there, buddy. You’ve been humping virtually limitless, warrentless wiretapping in America for half of forever how. How’s that different, pray tell?

When asked about the difference between the Chinese and American spying practices, Brownback said, “We don’t put the hardware and software on hotels.” He added that the Chinese program can be used on journalists,” “on athletes,” “on their families,” “democracy advocates,” and “human rights advocates ” — seemingly oblivious that all these groups could be spied on here as well. (HT: Atrios)

Riiight. Go on, pull the other one, it’s got an NSA agent on.

Right-wing fuckwits seem to have a terrible time with facts. They’re totally blind to the fact that facts are still facts even when the facts say things you didn’t want to hear:

In 2006, after the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) released a study showing that Democrats got more favorable coverage than Republicans, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly hailed the organization’s president, Dr. Robert Lichter, as “a truth-teller.” On his Fox News show, O’Reilly praised Lichter’s findings as definitive proof “that the media leans left” because “the stats are the stats.” [Fox News, 10/31/06]

But now that the CMPA has released a new study — using the same methodology — that found that ABC, NBC, and CBS have been tougher on Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) than Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) recently, O’Reilly has changed his tune about the validity of Lichter’s research.

See? We’ve got a dumbshit saying spying’s wrong if another country’s doing it, but not if America does it. And we’ve got an extraordinary fucktard saying that the methodology of a study is peachy-keen – unless that study doesn’t say what he wants it to say, in which case, the methodology is wrong. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, boys.

Someone get these people a ticket to reality, please.

The Right-Wing Death Machine

I’ve been meaning to do several posts: one on the shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, one on the disturbing rhetoric of violence and death that so obsesses the neocons, and an article in the National Review that spews hate even while it’s preaching tolerance.

A post on Dawg’s Blawg made me realize these things aren’t separate issues at all. They’re all tied together into one horrible cult of death. Forget the right-wing noise machine: they’re not just noise. They haven’t been since they got their bloody hands all over the federal government.

Dr. Dawg puts it in stark terms:

Far too many on the Right (with a few honourable exceptions) are pathologically obsessed with death, with hurting and killing other people. Whether it’s capital punishment, endless wars, waterboarding,
easy access to
handguns, knee-jerk defences of police brutality and sadistic, racist southern sheriffs, or shooting abortion doctors, they lap it up and howl for more. And in the US they take it that extra mile: they would literally rather have their opponents tortured and/or killed than discuss the issues.

The leading lights of the liberal movement call for cooperation, toleration, and positive solutions to problems. They reach for science, reason, and diplomacy. The right reaches for weapons.

Listen to the rhetoric of their heroes:

This evening we learn from the Knoxville News that officers entering the home of murder Jim Adkisson “found Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder by radio talk show host Michael Savage, Let Freedom Ring by talk show host Sean Hannity, and The O’Reilly Factor, by television talk show host Bill O’Reilly.”

The presence of somebody’s books in a mentally disturbed person’s home does not make them accessories to a killing. But right-wing rhetoric toward liberals and humanists like those who attended the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church has been exceptionally violent for years. Liberal groups are often called “Nazi” or “Nazi-like” by O’Reilly (he even said that about our own Arianna Huffington). Savage says he’d “hang every lawyer” who tried to establish constitutional rights for Guantanamo prisoners, describes Obama as an “Afro-Leninist,” and said the folks at Media Matters were “brownshirts.” He describes Rep. Wexler as a “Nazi” and calls Nancy Pelosi a “Mussolini.”

As for Hannity, he said that “there are things in life worth fighting and dying for and one of ’em is making sure Nancy Pelosi doesn’t become the speaker (of the House).” Think about it: “worth fighting and dying for.”

And that’s just a sampler.

Ann Coulter says liberals should be beaten with baseball bats and tried for treason (she’s not clear about the order in which these events are to take place.) Dick Morris says they’re “traitors” who should be decapitated.

You don’t hear that from the left. There may be a few isolated instances, but it’s not our heroes, not our talk show hosts and writers and opinion-makers, certainly not our political leaders, who call for the deaths anyone and everyone who has the audacity to hold a contrary opinion. When have you heard of a Democratic presidential candidate singing about bombing Iran? Bet you a dollar you can’t name an instance.

It fascinates and horrifies me, this fixation on violence from the very same people who claim the upper hand on morality. They bitch about violence in movies and video games, wring their sweaty hands and try to pass legislation “to protect the children,” and yet their political speech is filled with more vivid violence than you’ll ever find in Grand Theft Auto. Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

They bleat endlessly about the sanctity of human life, then murder abortion doctors, leave unwanted children to languish in abuse, filth, and poverty, and urge the death penalty on the retarded and the young. This tells me that their concern for fetuses has nothing at all to do with human life, and everything to do with controlling women. Everything they do is about control. And if a control freak can’t manipulate people with superior arguments and persuasion, well, violence controls too, right?

So they resort to fear. They call for the deaths of their opponents because they can’t defeat the living. They want power and authority. There’s no greater power and authority than that which comes from holding a person’s life in your hands. Just ask any serial killer.

Even when their hearts are superficially in the right place, the disturbing fixation on violence and death is manifestly present. Ed Brayton at Dispatches From The Culture Wars found a right-winger who wants to do away with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and on the surface it seems like this is a person with his head screwed on straight:

Here’s a shock: Deroy Murdock, a contributing editor to the National Review Online, has come out strongly in favor of allowing gays to serve openly in the military. It’s quite a powerful essay, in fact. He contrasts the fact that the Pentagon is continually lowering standards and granting exceptions to get people with violent felony convictions on their record into the military while throwing out gay soldiers with impeccable service records and badly needed skills:

Between 2006 and 2007, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee recently revealed, convicted felons accepted by the Marine Corps rose 68 percent, from 208 to 350. Equivalent Army admissions rocketed 105 percent, from 249 to 511. Between 2003 and 2006, U.C. Santa Barbara’s Michael D. Palm Center calculates, “106,768 individuals with serious criminal histories were admitted” to the armed forces.

Last year, the Army gave moral waivers to 106 applicants convicted of burglary, 15 of felonious break-ins, 11 of grand-theft-auto, and eight of arson. It also admitted five rape/sexual-assault convicts, two felony child molesters, two manslaughter convicts, and two felons condemned for “terrorist threats including bomb threats.”

“The Army seems to be lowering standards in training to accommodate lower-quality recruits,” RAND Corporation researcher Beth Asch observed at a May 12 Heritage Foundation defense-policy seminar in Colorado Springs.

Conversely, expelled military personnel include Arabic linguists and intelligence specialists who help crush America’s foes in the War on Terror. “Don’t Ask” has ousted at least 58 soldiers who speak Arabic, 50 Korean, 42 Russian, 20 Chinese, nine Farsi, and eight Serbo-Croatian — all trained at the prestigious Defense Language Institute. Al-Qaeda intercepts need translation, and Uncle Sam may need people who can walk around Tehran with open ears. Yet these dedicated gay citizens now are ex-GIs.

Ye gods, that almost sounds sane, and he’s talking about teh gays!!11!!1! Aside from that little “crush America’s foes in the War on Terror” screed, we could be talking to an ordinary, rational, reasonable human being.

By now you’re asking, “What’s the catch?” So glad you asked. It doesn’t take long before his true conservative colors seep through like bloodstains:

“Don’t Ask” should yield to equality: Sexual orientation should be irrelevant while inappropriate sexual conduct — gay, straight, or otherwise — should be punished. Our enemies are Islamofascists who murder Americans, not gay patriots who unravel terrorist plots and introduce jihadists to Allah.

Uh-huh. There it is, the real reason for this call for “equality.” He wants teh gays to go after “those murdering Islamofascists” and kill them. As long as they’re killing Mooslims and not having sex (you noticed that little “inappropriate sexual conduct” caveat, I trust, and realized that applies to any sort of sex a gay person might engage in), gays are okay by him.

We’re right back to the death machine again.

Let’s sum up the right-wing philosophy: Anyone who disagrees with their politics is a traitor and should suffer and die. Anyone with an alternative lifestyle is a moral leper and should suffer and die, unless that person happens to be useful to the military, in which case they can live as long as they’re killing America’s enemies. America shouldn’t negotiate with other countries: other countries should do what we say or die. Religious dissenters should suffer and die. People who mistreat a communion wafer should suffer and die. And on and on.

But they won’t do the killing and torturing themselves. Oh, no. They have people for that. After all, why get your hands dirty with blood and gore when it’s so much cleaner to get others to do it for you?

Fuckwits this obsessed with killing absolutely anyone and everyone they don’t like shouldn’t be in the mainstream. They shouldn’t be a part of our politics, government, or media. They shouldn’t be in any position where they can encourage or order others to carry out their fantasies of death and mayhem. They truly should be on the lunatic fringe, not front-and-center. Why the fuck have we tolerated these assholes? Why have we allowed dangerous infants to play with the adults?

It’s time we shoved them out of power. Time we isolate and contain them.

But I won’t use their rhetoric. I’m old enough and wise enough to know that death is not the answer.

Ridicule is. Shame is. Information is.

Show people how ridiculous these lackwits are.

Show those who admire and respect them realize that they should actually be ashamed.

And never, ever relent on the facts. We can start with the fact that it’s not McCain and Bush’s policies of belligerence, so enthusiastically cheered by the bloodthirsty right, that work to keep America safe. If they were enough, Bush & Cronies wouldn’t be dashing to embrace Obama’s policies of direct talks and troop withdrawls.

Let’s shut the right-wing death machine down before they get us all killed.

Gracias, Gracias Mil Veces

(Oh, dear lord, I didn’t realize the word for “times” looks almost exactly like “feces.” Silly español. Don’t take that the wrong way.)

I just wanted to give you all a huge thank you, En Tequila Es Verdad style. I expected a few comments from the regulars, not the flood from new, old and lurkers alike, when I asked for your input on this blog’s content.

You’ve given me a plethora of fresh directions. I’m reassured that there’s something I’m doing right. And that’s going to ensure that this community of cantina commentators continues without going stale. I owe you for that. You all drink for free.

This blog is all about you guys. I know it looks like politics, religion and the occasional bit of science, but underneath it all is you. Never forget that. Keep the suggestions coming, and don’t be afraid to make demands in the future. I’ll be right here, listening to every word.

Salud, amigos y amigas.

I Love the Smell of Impeachment in the Morning

Democrats.com has a delicious little petition for you to start your day with:

Support Rep. Kucinich’s Articles of Impeachment

Rep. Dennis Kucinich performed a heroic service for our Nation by introducing 35 Articles of Impeachment against President George W. Bush.

Rep. Kucinich thoroughly researched and documented every single article. Any one Article would be sufficient grounds for impeaching Bush and removing him from office; taken together, the case for impeachment is overwhelming and urgent.

I thank Rep. Kucinich for his true patriotism and I urge you, my Representative and Senators, to fully support all of his Articles of Impeachment.

Signing things like this makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Especially when I get to append my own commentary:

I don’t know how this country is going to be able to stand before the world and proclaim support for democracy and the rule of law when we’ve allowed Bush and cronies to flagrantly violate both. We must impeach: for our country, and for the world. And considering that a President Cheney would be a nightmare, I urge you to impeach Dick Cheney as well – he’s certainly done more than enough to justify it.

How I love democracy in the age of the internets. The only thing it can’t give me is the pleasure of shaking George W. Bush by the hand, looking him in the eye, and saying, “My signature helped kick your ass out of the White House, you evil lying lackwit.”

Hmm. This gives me an idea for when I’m rich and famous – finagling invites from important people I despise so I can explain my opinion of their fuckery up close, personal, and above all publicly. I’ll have to bring you all with me. You’d make a hell of an entourage, my darlings.

Well, you can be my virtual entourage for now. Go, sign, envision us as a legion striking terror into the hearts of the powerful and terminally stupid asshats running our government, and let me know if you think of a suitable name for us.