Sunday, January 16, 2005
Since it is our highest ambition to respect the Best of the Left, we will refrain from snarkiness except when we can't resist it, but you should feel free to fill that void in the comments section. Nominations for future installments are not only welcome, they're solicited.
Of course, a lot of these posts will make you mad. Fighting mad. And you will have compelling arguments to discredit the arguments made therein. Don't point your rage to TigerHawk if you feel that way -- I can respect the style or even the substance of an argument without agreeing with it. And sometimes a lefty blogger even gets me to change my mind.
A couple of disclaimers are in order. First, I'm blowing off "hat tips" in this post, not because I don't believe in them, but because it is too much work when you're link-dumping like a banshee. Second, I do not claim to an exhaustive search of the left blogosphere. I spend most of my time in the right side because I blog for fun and reading the writing of people you agree with is a lot more fun than wading through scorn heaped on everything that you think is right and dear in the world.
And, no, I don't really think that lefty bloggers are "commies." But those of us who were Teenage Republicans during the Carter Administration only wish that our opposition today were so cuddly as the "commies" of that era.
The lefty blogs are much more active politically than the righty blogs, probably on account of their extreme out-of-powerness. While the right blogosphere, content in its political supremacy, has been working on all sorts of charitable efforts, there are campaigns to right all sorts of political wrongs all over the left blogosphere. This should not be surprising -- the frustration and the rage over there remains palpable. Here are a few of the causes of the left, and the blogs that have pushed them in the last week or so.
The certification of Ohio's presidential electors. The various ambiguities in the voting in Ohio, however, immaterial to the ultimate outcome, drive the left batshit. The Scrutiny Hooligans have a nice round-up of the issues in that state that drive them crazy. If you dig through the links in that post, you'll get a sense of what the left is complaining about in the Buckeye State. Digby really hates what Tom Delay had to say about the Democrats opposition to the certification of the presidential electors:
If anyone in history has ever emitted a bigger pile of oozing, sanctimonious, unctuous, fetid, perfidious, malodorous offal than this, I'd like to know what it could possibly be...
The inaugural. Atrios advises the mayor of Washington, D.C. to screw it up. On purpose.
Commies can cat blog with the best of them.
Coercive interrogation -- always "torture" on the left -- is back in the news with the nomination of Alberto Gonzales and the recent convictions of American soldiers. This is a topic about which the right side has been somewhat defensive, and that makes sense because we are on the defensive. Jesse Taylor explains why he believes that's a loser's game:
There are those who view the war on terror as us vs. them, and are therefore comfortable treating anyone who appears to not be us as them, and applying various phallic objects to clenched sphincters. There are those of us who view the war on terror as a war between some countries and varied terror organizations, with a great portion of the world not directly involved and ripe for recruit and persuasion to either side. In the first case, the only standard we are required to adhere to is an unfailing and uncritical belief in what we are doing. In the second case, there are actual standards of conduct and ethics that we adhere to. Beating terrorists isn't just about beating terrorists - it's a more complex and more perilous battle than that.
The torture brigade isn't really concerned about winning the war. They're playing a videogame in which they don't realize that they may never run out of bullets, but as long as they keep doing what they're doing, they're never going to run out of enemies. The strategy, however, will never change, as they can point to their score and the corpses on the ground and declare that victory is almost around the corner.
In a very heavily tracked post, Atrios writes about RatherGate from a perspective you won't see on Power Line. He argues that the reaction of the press to Rather's 60 Minutes story and the resulting investigation are grossly out of proportion to the offense, especially when compared to bad reporting from the Clinton era that reflected badly on that administration. After reviewing any number of media screw-ups that hurt the interests of the left, Atrios digs in:
I could go on and on. But, the worst Rather has been accused of by sensible people is letting partisanship cloud his judgment. Accepting that as true just for sake of argument, it's still a far less egregious sin than most of the Whitewater-era horseshit which has never been acknowledged as horseshit by the liberal media, even though unlike the Rather incident, much of that horseshit was clearly deliberately manufactured by the producers and reporters. These events were recycled and echoed throuhgout the entire liberal media, with no one calling foul and no one calling for their heads. Without making any statement about what the appropriate consequences for "Rathergate" should be, it's clear that the media attention by that liberal media and the actual consequences have been much greater than dozens of worse incidents involving clear deliberate deception by people in the media.
Dan Rather - evil biased liberal whose partisanship led him to jump the gun on a story? Believe that if you want, I don't really care. But, "Rathergate" proof of "liberal media?" Just the opposite.
James Walcott absolutely flogs Howard Fineman for trying to have it both ways:
Forget for a moment that Fineman, a mucky-mucky at Newsweek and MSNBC pundit who preens like a courtier, jeers at the "Media Party" as if he weren't a fully paid-up club member with spa privileges. When he writes, "It's hard to know now who, if anyone, in the 'media' has any credibility," it doesn't penetrate his pancake makeup that few have less credibility than he, and not because he's tilted at too many windmills and missed.
No, what's startling is Fineman's ignorance of the history and dynamics of his own profession. He now looks at journalism not through the eyes of a journalist but through the contemptuous eyes of those he covers, sharing their disdain.
The Poor Man has a nifty chart that compares RatherGate to "WMDGate," a term you probably have not even heard before! It will really irritate you, but it does make you think. For a minute.
Tom Tomorrow just sends us to his cartoon on the subject.
And speaking of WMDs, Maccabee over at Kos links to a voluminous compendium of Bush administration statements about the presence or possibility of WMDs in Iraq.
Daniel of Crooked Timber has a very interesting post on the "Iraqi resistance and the noble cause":
Whatever Christopher Hitchens thinks, [the Iraqi resistance is] the direct moral equivalent of the Viet Cong; they represent much of what is worst about the human condition, and any future in which they gained power would most likely be outright disastrous, but for all that, to take up arms against an occupying foreign army is not an ignoble thing to do, and I can quite understand why lots of people on the left have been sympathetic to them.
But history has passed them by. Iraq is not Vietnam (or more specifically, Iran is not China) and they have no hope of victory. All they can really do is prolong the occupation and therefore the misery. The time has well past by which anyone with brains in their head could reasonably hope for anything other than swift and reasonably democratic elections, a declaration of victory and for the coalition troops to jump in the tanks, start the engines and stop driving when they see the first McDonalds.
You will agree less with the rest of it.
On Social Security reform.
This one just drives them crazy. Atrios:
I remember when that was enough for Cokie, Sam, George, and George to unanimously declare that immediate presidential resignation was the only possible consequence for such a thing. And, now, we have a president whose almost every word about Social Security is a Big Fat Fucking Lie. Not a mistake. Not spin. Not hyperbole, exaggeration, etc... But, a Big Fat Fucking Lie.
AMERICAblog hates lying about Social Security, too. Kos hates the idea that the Social Security Administration is financing public discussion of its future. Suburban Guerilla calls somebody, it isn't clear who, "amoral scum" for doing just that. Josh Marshall also sees criminality.
They transgress every limit, every rule. Now the Armstrong Williams episode turns out to have been just a blip on the radar, a faint premonition. Your payroll taxes and the whole edifice of the Social Security Administration is being joined to Karl Rove's outside astroturf groups pushing the Social Security phase-out. Or, I guess you could say that your payroll taxes are being used to cheat you out of what you've spent the last decade or two or three paying them for.
Gives a whole new meaning to raiding the Trust Fund.
The White House is intent on making this into a fight about what the country is. So the battle is joined.
Go to Talking Points Memo and just keep strolling to feel the rage over Bush's Social Security proposals. It's pretty much the only thing Marshall has written about for days.
The lefties -- even the "thoughtful" and "considered" lefties -- use very strong language when they're agitated, and almost nothing makes them angrier (this week) than Bush's push to restructure Social Security. Of course, they rarely mention middle-class old people sucking the life blood out of the country. All the passion on the left may make it very difficult for moderate Democrats to vote with Bush, though, and that will strip the Republicans in Congress of any air cover.
Atrios quotes a reader who thinks that media scrutiny of blogging and bloggers is way overdone, considering it is the Web's version of "talk radio." Atrios responds:
I think this comparison is worthwhile enough for discussion. It's meant as an insult to both, but for years the rest of the media ignored talk radio (they still do). I wish a tenth of the attention given to dissecting the meaning of blogs had been given to talk radio. I wish all the media people tut-tutting bloggers would listen to a bit of talk radio every now and then. That would give them some perspective that they are sorely lacking.
Digby, on the ancient tradition of bloggers and their cognates taking money to leak stories (heaping scorn on Chris Suellentrop, who wrote a column worrying about the media picking up stories they would not otherwise publish after they have been on blogs):
Uh, Chris Suellentrop. I'd like to introduce you to a guy named Matt Drudge? I don't know if anyone's ever mentioned it to you, but Matt's been known to slip an item or two into the mainstream on behalf of Republicans in just the way you outline for almost a decade now. (It's pretty clear that he's slipped in an item or two on behalf of the mainstream media, too, hasn't he, Chris? It makes it so much easier to "report" these delicious gossipy lies once they're "out there.")
He doesn't get paid directly by the Republican national committee or any specific candidate for this so he doesn't have to disclose anything. Instead, Republicans launder great piles of cash through speaking fees and book deals and radio shows and "fellowships" to give them a couple of degreees of separation from Drudge's slime machine. They've been "feeding" stories to the mainstream press through him for almost eight years this way. He invented the practise. I'm very surprised you just noticed. Welcome to the world, little guy.
The rest of this post is worth reading if for no other reason than to understand the extend to which the lefty bloggers feel under siege. You would not see this tone on the right in 2005.
Kos just can't stop writing on the accusations against him, in one of which posts he puts up a handy list of the email addresses of the editors of the Wall Street Journal. Here's a chart on the Kos-Armstrong-Williams kerfufle, if you don't like prose.
August J. Pollak just can't believe that people are still going after Kos for taking money from the Dean campaign:
We seem to have some fascination with the economy of the blogosphere all of a sudden... let's talk about the psychology of the blogosphere for a minute, okay?
Bloggers don't care. They just don't. They don't care if anything they say is one hundred percent pure bullshit. If they can feel good about themselves and extract one more day of joy out of their meaningless non-blog lives by snarking in someone's comments section, they will.
The accusations about Kos being a Armstrong Williams-esque shill for Howard Dean are bullshit. Everyone knows it. Why are we even bothering trying to legitimately counter it? It's bullshit, we all know it's bullshit, the right-wingers all know it's bullshit. But they know the "Al Gore invented the internet" line is bullshit too, and you still see it in weblog comments.
There is, in my experience, mirror-image snarkiness on both sides. Just the other night, Al Franken propagated the "plastic turkey" myth on one of the cable news shows, and nobody called him on it, either. There is a tremendous amount of myth about tiny little things out there, and an inordinate amount of rage -- on both sides -- that these irrelevant myths sustain themselves.
DNC Chair race. The lefty bloggers are writing about the only election the Democrats can get interested in right now, the race for DNC chair. There is some sense that they think it is for the soul of the party. Want to know who is ahead? Kos has data from a survey of 187 DNC members. Kos think's Dean's in the "driver's chair," whatever that is. Uptown Ruler (one of the Scrutiny Holligans) is quite excited about that prospect.
And in something of a sideshow, Screwy Hoolie ran into Al Sharpton no less than eight times in seven hours. One man's horror is another's joy, I suppose.
Stories you don't see in the media. Like the right, the lefty bloggers have their list of stories that you don't see in the MSM. Kos links to a story in the Telegraph that claims that 5,500 American servicemen (and women) have deserted to Canada. If true, it's a troubling story. If they are waiting for a Democrat to pardon them, though, it is unlikely. The last time that happened the Democrats cemented their reputation as soft on defense for 28 years and counting.
A lot of lefty bloggers really hate the religious right, or maybe just religious people, but AMERICAblog seems to devote every fourth or fifth post to picking on activist Christians. John in DC is upset that a Christian organization is rescuing orphans in Indonesia. He calls it "kidnapping."
I am a Christian. THIS is criminal. It also sends a message to foreign countries to NEVER accept foreign disaster aid in the future, meaning millions will suffer as a result of the religious right's selfish viciousness. Is it any wonder India didn't want any foreign help?
Feel free to call the Indonesian Embassy and let them know that not all Americans are kidnapping religious right maniacs who see the death of 170,000 people as an "opportunity".
He supplies telephone numbers and email addresses to give substance to his admonition that his readers apologize for American Christians. It must have worked (heh), because 90 minutes after his post Wired reported that the group had dropped its plans. John says that the "damage has been done."
In the bashing of the horse meat category, Tom Tomorrow is still worried about the "bulge" seen under Bush's jacket during the first debate.
Unfogged defends Michael Jordan. And I agree with him completely.
UPDATE (Monday, January 17, 8 a.m.): The Poor Man linked back, with as friendly an observation as I might expect:
Taking a page from TigerHawk's commendable "Carnival of the Commies" (in which a well-meaning righty ventures out of Wingnuttia, trying - and, predictably, failing - to make sense of all these crazy people who think stuff they didn't just hear on Hannity) we will endeavor to bring to you the best and the otherwise noteable from the other side of the blogosphere. We will plunge headlong into the spiritual wasteland of theocrats, crypto-fascists, asexuals, militiamen, torture apologists, Millenialists, Bush idolators, racists, Randians, flat Earthers, Likudniks, hypocrites, liars, and the many other sour, brittle old harpies and doughy, bowtied chronic masturbators of the Right, and return with such victuals as can be scrounged from this unforgiving soil. We will mix these scraps together into a thick, nominally palatable paste that we call Wingnut Butter.
Amazing. A post so full of crunchy nuttiness that there's no rational way to comment, other than to pick a point or two and say "Amen, brutha".
Atrios, in particular, with his "pee in the punch bowl" comment, proves that being a sore loser doesn't obscure one's status a loser.
I'd chime in on the silliness of the Social Security maunderings, but I'd fill up your comment area after an hour or three, and that wouldn't be polite.
And, jumping to the bottom, after having read all the intervening, I second that emotion on Jordan, and unfogged did a masterful job explaining how silly is a comment about Jordan's "leaving a small mark" on the game: He left a smoking crater, that's what he left.
Great idea, TH. It's a lot of heavy lifting, but somebody's got to do it. My favorite was AMERICAblog replicating outrage that Republicans were scaring seniors over Social Security. I think the outrage is over the fact that it's Democratic franchise.
EGAD!!! A Little Green Footballanche. I knew you when. :)
Jack! That's the best blog roundup I've seen in ages.
And to Jack's readership, the moonbat left endorses the Tigerhawk's attitude and willingness to have a conversation of ideas. Never divisive.
"One man's horror..." he he.
Thanks, Screwy. And may the traffic that comes your way via TigerHawk be as civil as you.
Since I intend to make this a regular feature, I hope you send me your suggestions for future editions of the Carnival.
This was an outstanding idea, and the execution is even better.
I'm really impressed, Jack, and I don't say that lightly. Can't read it all now because I already have a migraine, but I'll be back when I'm feeling better.
Are you still going to remember us "B list" bloggers when you make the big time??? :)
Y'know, if they'd bother to read the actuarial reports on SSA's website (http://www.socialsecurity.gov), they'd know their position is on shaky ground. Of course, they can't be bothered to read anything that would prove them wrong....
The Zonkette/Dean/Kos Korruption trainwreck is still happening, with more details emerging in a new post.
This is so much fun to watch!
I think you should have left the troll's comments intact as a sterling example of the deep intellect and critical thought exhibited on the left these days. I've long noticed that leftist commenters on blogs rarely engage in true debate but rather post boilerplate cant. A page full of the same sentence in capslock form demonstrates this better than we ever could.
BTW, great idea for the blog. Furthermore, you post a partisan but very thoughtful roundup and they respond with attacks.
Stories you don't see in the media. Like the right, the lefty bloggers have their list of stories that you don't see in the MSM. Kos links to a story in the Telegraph that claims that 5,500 American servicemen (and women) have deserted to Canada. If true, it's a troubling story.I disagree. My take on it is more: So? Out of hundreds of thousands of people who volunteered for service, something like 1% or 2% did not comprehend what a military was for? I guess that says something about human stupidity, but nothing more troubling than that.
The military is there to do with military might what the American public and/or its leaders tell them to do. Don't like the possibility that you might have to put your bod in harm's way? Don't volunteer. While it may well be a good place to learn a career, that is not why it is there.
I mentioned this on the Poor Man but perhaps you'll read this here: It's good for you to expose your readers to what's going on in our echo chamber, but if you want them to really think about it (and if you don't want the Left to respond in an unfriendly fashion) perhaps you shouldn't call it "Carnival of the Commies."
a member of the Left
ps "Commies"? That is so Cold War. Shouldn't we be "Idiotarians" or "Appeasers" or "Fifth Column" or something?
I considered that the name "Carnival of the Commies" might induce a negative response from the Left, but I settled on it for a bunch of reasons, echo-chamberish and otherwise.
First, it is sufficiently dated that it should be seen by most people as genuinely humourous, as opposed to "idiotarian" and that sort of thing. Sort of like saying "twenty-three skeedoo." Other descriptors seemed somehow more insulting, mostly because they are being used today as insults (which, by and large, "commies" is not).
Second, it is alliterative, and I like that.
Third, it niftily juxtaposes with "Carnival of the Capitalists," which is a big deal on the right.
Fourth, I thought it was catchy, and strangely more memorable than "Carnival of the Lefties," which might refer to baseball.
Besides, anybody who is at all objective and who reads deeply enough into the post should be able to tell that I am not being disrespectful.
Jack (Hm I can't see your comment while I'm posting),
I see what you mean about the humorous retro thing but I'm sure that people still sometimes call Democrats "commies" with a straight face. So, I appreciate that you're making a joke, but I guess I don't think it came off.
Do I have an answer? "Carnival of the Kerryites"? "Carnival of the Clintonians"? Nah, it's not tied to a particular candidate. "Parade of the Progressives"? Well, I don't see any reason why you should adopt our term for ourselves.
So, this is kind of a nice service, but the title is really going to keep you from getting any thank-you notes from our side, I think. Not that that's what you're looking for.
Thanks for the thoughts. Truth be told, I wasn't really looking for too many kudos from the left side, although I imagine that as time goes by I can generate some respect for the exercise. We'll see. I did get one troll-like comment that was so impolite I deleted it, but otherwise it hasn't been too bad. In any case, if you in your travels see posts that you think would be good additions to the next edition (probably in two weeks), by all means pass it along.
All the best, Jack
From a guy sitting behind the plate.
Player number 41 proved himself capable of hitting the grand slam (Gulf War). I don’t care how related number 43 is to him, or how popular he is with most of the fans on the right, it’s all talk and spin until he actually hits what EVERYONE agrees is a homer. I think Afghanistan was a triple at best (didn’t have the distance to bin laden it outta there), and he keeps striking out whenever that guy named Mexican Border pitches. And so on. You’ll be having plenty of cat calls to write about from the left side of the stands until 43 really connects. Keep writing.
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