Tuesday, September 07, 2004

To the Dead Children

This is the song of the earth to all the children who have died in wars and acts of terrorism, or maybe a faint echo of it:

These are my children, the dead ones, the beloved: the ones covered in mud and dirt, the bloodied ones, the limbless ones, the ones who were scattered by bombs like crumbs thrown for the birds. These are my children: the burned ones, the raped ones, the starved ones, the buried ones. See how beautiful they all are, my beloved children.

I seek for them everywhere, I call for them and at nightfall I find them. I gather them to me and give them sleep. The night I turn into a silken shawl, the sky into a blue blanket. I weave cradles and nests out of my hair, and I find a place for each one of my children, however hurt and frightened.

My lap is wide enough for all of them and their pain, and I give them dreams of pine forests, of fresh streams in sunlight, of young foxes gambolling in a clearing. I give them dreams of peace and quiet, of stars and sailboats, of flowers and meadows. I give them dreams of snow and sun and sweetness. I give them what was taken away from them and when I cannot do that I give them oblivion and rest. And the wind sings a lullaby, gently, in all my tongues.

It is my milk that feeds all, and my tears that sate all thirst, and these children, my beloved, will never lack food or drink or a place to slumber in my lap or a peace that cannot be broken.

How Low Will They Go?

The wingnuts, that is. Well, this is the newest low from the mouth of Dick Cheney:

"It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States," Cheney told about 350 supporters at a town-hall meeting in this Iowa city.

(By the way, 350 supporters! What's the matter with the Republican campaign? Not enough faithfuls or too many loyalty oaths to sign?)

The funny thing about this statement is that the terrorists struck on Cheney's watch and that there is evidence that suggests people in crucial places ignored the threat. So a careful reading of the comment might convert many voters to John Kerry. On the other hand, it is probably true that the risk of terrorism will be higher in the future, whether it is Bush or Kerry in the White House, as this administration has done nothing to prevent new terrorists from being created and might in fact be argued to have contributed to the next wave of terrorists by their misguided foreign policies.

But on the third hand, this is just the same message the wingnuts have been campaigning from the beginnning: "Be afraid. Be very, very afraid."
Link via Eschaton.

The Glass Cliff?

British psychologists Alex Haslam and Michelle Ryan are the researchers in a study which found that women who break through the proverbial glass ceiling may find themselves teetering at the edge of a glass cliff. (All this glass is getting on my nerves; I fear that they might shatter. And yes, I know that I have used similar metaphors before, but I did it much better.)

The 'cliff' refers to their finding that firms, political parties and so on tend to nominate women to important positions when times are bad, when the job is seen as impossible to perform. According to Haslam, this is not only true for the first appointments of new, eager managers or politicians but a recurring problem for women and, he speculates, for racial and ethnic minorities as well.

The Haslam-Ryan study can be summarized as follows:

Prof Haslam and a colleague, Dr Michelle Ryan, compared the stock market performance of FTSE 100 companies with their appointment history.
The 19 that had appointed women to the board in the previous year had done worse than those whose appointments had been all male.
"But in all cases women had only been appointed after the company performance had slumped," Prof Haslam told the British Association science festival in Exeter yesterday.
"If everything had gone swimmingly, then they carried on with the old jobs for the boys."
A similar pattern emerged in a study of candidates for the Scottish parliamentary elections. Women were more likely to be nominated as candidates for harder to win seats.
The glass cliff also emerged in experiments in which 300 students were asked to pick a candidate for a fictional senior management post.
Given a man and woman with identical qualifications, students were far more likely to pick a female candidate than a male one if the company was doing badly.
The reason for the discrimination is unclear. Prof Haslam believes it could be explained by overt sexism - that men were handpicked for the good jobs, leaving women to take posts in failing companies.
More subtle forms of discrimination could be in play, he said. The predominantly male managers of companies were likely to recommend desirable jobs to their predominantly male friends, but give "poisoned chalice" jobs to those they did not know.
Another explanation was that women were perceived as being better at crisis management, he added.

See how we can't get rid of the glass? Now it's a poisoned chalice.
But the results are interesting and even suggestive. I have often wondered if Condie Rice wasn't one of those appointments, given that her background made her a pretty astonishing choice for advising about current security concerns. Her selection could have been seen as a win-win solution for the Republicans: if she fails it's because she's a woman and a member of a racial minority, if she succeeds, well, then the Republicans can take the credit for being smart in their choice and gender- and color-blind.

What is serious about all these cliffs and ceilings is their real impact on fairness and on productivity, of course. Note the way the correlation with poor performance of stocks and the appointment of women into positions of power can be distorted:

It was reported in 2003 that UK business had gone downhill in the previous year as the number of female directors on the boards of FTSE 100 companies had risen by 20%. A newspaper commentator said: "The triumphant march of women into the country's boardrooms has wreaked havoc on companies' performance and share prices."
Professor Haslam said: "What we found was that in all of those cases, women had only been appointed after company performance had slumped quite dramatically."

The problem here was that old tiresome assumption that correlation implies causality or that the order of the causality is obvious from the correlation. If the bad performance preceded the appointment of women as Haslam stated, then to argue that the 'triumphant march' (what framing!) of women has 'wreaked havoc' (what framing!) is lying. In fact,

Haslam also said: "The appointment of a woman director was not associated with a subsequent drop in company performance. Indeed companies that appointed a woman actually experienced a marked increase in share price after the appointment."

I think that the real glass cliff is in the tongues of some journalists and public commentators who never learn to appreciate basic statistics as well as the glib sounds that so easily slide out of their mouths.

The Decadent Left

This term is something writers like Andrew Sullivan and Christopher Hitchens might use. It's not intended for general consumption but for the select few with the gastronomic tastebuds to appreciate its flavor in political discourse. Or so I surmise.

It would be fun to study this term from the point of view of an alien, and this is what I have done. The trick is to pretend that I don't know what decadent means (which turned out not to be much of a pretense at all), and to seek for its meaning in all the usual places.

I started with the Google. The impression Google gives on decadence is that it is a characteristic of kinky sex and chocolate gateaus. Only the third page gives a dictionary definition:

Noun 1. decadent - a person who has fallen into a decadent state (morally or artistically)
bad person - a person who does harm to others Adj. 1. decadent - marked by excessive self-indulgence and moral decay; "a decadent life of excessive money and no sense of responsibility"; "a group of effete self-professed intellectuals"

My Webster's Unabridged gives these synonyms for decadent:

corrupt, immoral, degenerate, debased, debauched, self-indulgent

It seems that the decadent left is an immoral, degenerate and debased left; that a decadent lefty is a person who does harm to others. This is strong language. But I doubt very much that most readers catch the intended meanings. The connections of decadence to chocolate cakes and exotic sex are just too strong in themselves.

When I see the term I think of old smoke-filled apartments with lofty ceilings and antique lace curtains covering the windows, Victorian furniture, bone-china tea cups erudite conversation carried out in languid voices. Perhaps there are small tarts with elaborate icing, expensive wine served in toothmugs, long rants about some revolutionary dead a hundred years. Somehow I can't imagine any kinky sex here but maybe I should try harder.

This may be an example of political sloganing where the framing has failed. Decadent sounds like a rather nice thing to be, on the whole, or at least an impotent thing as far as its politics are concerned. But more importantly, it makes me think of imaginary groups which have nothing to do with the real left.

Monday, September 06, 2004

A Labor Day Block Party

We have a very nice tradition in these parts of having all neighbors come together at the end of the summer for a block party. Everybody brings a dish or two, some lend their grills, some bring balloons and music, and the road is blocked off from traffic. And soon the street fills up with chairs and ballgames and children running to and fro with dogs and each other and adults standing eating and talking in large and small groups.

We had one these parties today and it was very successful! Nobody else even got near the chocolate ice-cream cake, though the side-effect was that I slept the rest of the day, and even got a little flegmatic before the party was over. This was why I sat down for a while just watching, and realized that the block party was like a big leap back in (imaginary?) history, to a real communal world where children could run free and take risks, where the parents could relax, knowing that many others watched over their children, where gossip and important information was equally exchanged, joys and griefs shared together with the food and the drink. I suspect that there were some Republicans there, but everybody was smiling and friendly. For one day, at least, we were indeed good neighbors.

That's what is going wrong with the public discourse in the United States. The atmosphere in the media is not that of friendly neighbors arguing over common matters but much more that of two armies negotiating a possible siegefire. The fault lies almost totally with the wingnuts who started this all with their slogans of culture wars, and trying to a be a good neighbor to someone who wants to raze down your house doesn't work. But I do wish we could try a little bit harder to build bridges across ideological chasms. For the other side are human, too, whatever else we sometimes imply.

More on Blogs

My recent political fervor has had some unpleasant side-effects. Like sleeplessness and devouring innocent bypassers. Also that I have been reading many more political blogs than usual, and commenting on quite a few of them.

Once again, this has brought me face to face with misogyny, even on the blogs that are supposed to be on our side. Why can't some people attack a female politician or a female journalist or the wife of a politican without discussing her breast size, her cunt, her general fuckability or the lack of it? What is it about this world that for some people being a woman is in itself a crime of a sort? A crime that then lends itself to various slurs, none of which can be isolated to apply to only the woman attacked. They apply to all women, unfortunately.

I'm the first person to admit that the wingnut women deserve criticism, but the criticism should be about the first part of the definition, 'wingnut', not about the second part of the definition: 'woman'.

Why is this so difficult?

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Bush By Numbers

From this excellent article. A short quote:

1 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security issued between 20 January 2001 and 10 September 2001 that mentioned al-Qa'ida.

104 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security and defence in the same period that mentioned Iraq or Saddam Hussein.

101 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security and defence in the same period that mentioned missile defence.

65 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security and defence in the same period that mentioned weapons of mass destruction.

0 Number of times Bush mentioned Osama bin Laden in his three State of the Union addresses.

73 Number of times that Bush mentioned terrorism or terrorists in his three State of the Union addresses.

83 Number of times Bush mentioned Saddam, Iraq, or regime (as in change) in his three State of the Union addresses.

$1m Estimated value of a painting the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas, received from Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States and Bush family friend.

0 Number of times Bush mentioned Saudi Arabia in his three State of the Union addresses.

1,700 Percentage increase between 2001 and 2002 of Saudi Arabian spending on public relations in the United States.

79 Percentage of the 11 September hijackers who came from Saudi Arabia.

3 Number of 11 September hijackers whose entry visas came through special US-Saudi "Visa Express" programme.

140 Number of Saudis, including members of the Bin Laden family, evacuated from United States almost immediately after 11 September.

14 Number of Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS) agents assigned to track down 1,200 known illegal immigrants in the United States from countries where al-Qa'ida is active.

$3m Amount the White House was willing to grant the 9/11 Commission to investigate the 11 September attacks.

$0 Amount approved by George Bush to hire more INS special agents.

$10m Amount Bush cut from the INS's existing terrorism budget.

$50m Amount granted to the commission that looked into the Columbia space shuttle crash.

$5m Amount a 1996 federal commission was given to study legalised gambling.

7 Number of Arabic linguists fired by the US army between mid-August and mid-October 2002 for being gay.

Thanks to rojopelo for the link.

It's All Emotion

My analysis of the Republican campaign has concluded that appealing to reason is so outdated. All that is required of a campaign is to cause the right emotions to surface. Never mind if they are not based on any facts at all. This worries me a lot, because if the Republicans succeed with this heinous plot it's pretty clear proof that democracy stinks.

The basic emotions the Republicans wanted to evoke were fear of terrorists, hatred of Democrats, especially Kerry, and a desire for a strong leader who views the Americans as ten-year olds needing an authoritarian father. And maybe they succeeded. Though the early polls were taken at a time when most Democrats were probably not paying attention to anything but the Labor Day weekend, and though there are some questions about the way the polls were conducted, they may show a post-convention bounce for Bush. Whether this will last is a question for the future. Maybe defreezing bin Laden is the next step in the emotional war of the right.

In any case, the Republican campaign asks the audience to leave their brains home. This I find very upsetting, not an emotional reaction that they intended. But then I won't vote for them so my upset doesn't matter.

Here are examples of the way fudging facts is done by the Republicans:

At last week's Republican convention, President Bush and Vice President Cheney repeatedly linked the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the war in Iraq, largely abandoning the rationale offered when the Bush administration invaded the Persian Gulf country.
Announcing the invasion on March 19, 2003, Bush said in a nationwide televised address that the United States "will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder." Two days earlier, Bush had asserted in another address to the nation, "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."
But no such weapons were found after the invasion, and the subject was only fleetingly mentioned from the podium in Madison Square Garden. Instead, the war on Iraq was presented as a part of a seamless thread that stemmed directly from the terrorism of the Sept. 11 attacks. "We have fought the terrorists across the earth -- not for pride, not for power, but because the lives of our citizens are at stake," Bush said, before listing Iraq along with the struggle against terrorist groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

The message of the week was: You know where Bush stands. You can't be sure about Kerry. But that headline also came with a misleading subhead: Bush is fighting the war against terrorism, and Kerry wouldn't. It was a theme that was pounded from the very start of the convention, and it depended on a sly conflation— the notion that the war in Iraq and the war against the 9/11 terrorists were one and the same. We heard far more about Bush in the World Trade Center rubble than we did about the U.S. in the Iraqi quagmire. And when Iraq was raised, it was done in a deceptive and simpleminded way. Even John McCain, who gave the most serious foreign policy speech of the week, presented a false choice: "Our choice [in Iraq] wasn't between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war. It was between war and a graver threat."

You see what I mean? There is something very sad in watching a democracy shake and start crumbling by the use of such vicious and unethical tactics as simple lying and yelling louder and louder when one points out that the facts are missing. Never mind busing people in to Bush meetings, if it happens, here we are lying about the very blood and meat of the campaigns.

The Republicans have always appealed to the lowest common denominator, of course, and what's so worrying about it that it may just be working. According to Newsweek polls, 49% of Americans do believe that Iraq had something to do with the 9/11 slaughter. And this is solely attributable to the Republican campaign to make it seem so. What are the conservative values nowadays that lying is regarded as a virtue?

In other political news, the wives of presidential candidates are once again judged. Theresa Kerry is seen as a potential negative for Kerry, while Laura Bush is all good news. This is another example of appealing to emotions, this time to those of the men who don't like gender equality of who fear their own wives, perhaps. Look, Laura is quiet as a mouse! A good traditional wife!

Why does it matter what the personalities of the candidates' wives are? After all, the candidates have been married to their respective spouses for some time, and coped just fine with that fact. Why would this suddenly change? Of course it doesn't, and it doesn't matter, but the point is to get people to vote with their lower animal minds, to focus on primal fears and desires, to ignore what is actually happening in this world and in their own lives. If this works it makes me very scared of living in this country. Just saying.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Happy Labor Day!

I hope that you have fun and enough rest and relaxation. Don't labor too much, in other words.

This is sent early in case I get infected with an Angry Writing bug in the near future. Now that I've been nice it's ok for me to rave and rant to my heart's content, isn't it?

Friday, September 03, 2004

On Jaws

Watching the RNC made me conscious of the large number of Republican men who have jaws like nutcrackers. Maybe they all suffer from TMJ disorder or something, but looking at them made me feel that one would have to pry their jaws open like those of a pitbull who has gotten hold of someone's sleeve or throat. How does one get a jaw like that? Were these people born that way or is the stiff jaw a consequence of decades of wild rage swallowed?

Well, it has not been swallowed much for the last twenty years or so, given that much of it has spilled all over the American public. And this has caused the stiff-jaw syndrome to spread. I'm beginning to see it in the faces of non-conservatives, and sometimes even in my own divine reflection.

Jaws are miraculous things, of course. There they hang, barely attached to the skull, but ready to chew, grind and chop like mad. I respect them a lot, but I don't think that they need to be so stiff and mechanical looking to work.

Take my dogs. They have enormous maws with large pink tongues and lots of vampire-type teeth. Yet their jaws are held in a relaxed manner, easily swaying as the dogs run or dripping saliva at the sight of a doggie biscuit. I bet they don't suffer from TMJ disorders, either. Wingnut politicians have a lot to learn from dogs.

Try this experiment: Stand on your head and try to open and close your jaw by moving not the jaw but the skull itself. Can it be done? I doubt it. That's how wonderful the jaws are!

And the Surprise Guest Is:......CODE PINK!

In three days in a row, Code Pink managed to infiltrate the Republican National Convention. Imagine this: a women's peace organization using the color pink managed to get through all the incredible security arrangements of this administration! I find this truly mindboggling, and perhaps a significant message from the higher powers.

Here is what happened yesterday:

...Thursday night at the front of the California delegation section when -- in the middle of Bush's speech -- June Brashares, 40, of San Francisco, an activist with Code Pink, stood up on her chair and unfurled a banner that read, "Bush lies, people die.''
Just minutes before, the blue-suited Brashares had been in the crunch of delegates and press in the aisle when former Gov. Pete Wilson graciously offered his seat with a prime sight line to President Bush. Brashares was wearing an alternate delegate pass, and I stepped aside to let her sit down.
It was 50 feet from the president and three rows behind Gerald Parsky, the chairman of the California delegation and chairman of the UC Board of Regents.
Brashares looked grateful and said her feet were killing her. During the speech, she started to stand up on her seat numerous times, holding onto cardboard signs of support for the president. She waved a tiny American flag.
Just more than 40 minutes into Bush's speech of longer than an hour, Brashares jumped on the chair, yelling "Bush lies," and holding up her homemade banner.

Later the same night another Code Pink member did something even more shocking:

Later, another Code Pink activist, Jodie Evans, 49, of Los Angeles, stood up in a seat under the Fox News skybox and pulled off her dress, exposing her pink lingerie with a hand-written message: "Fire Bush - Women say bring the troops home now."

There is a lovely surreal flavor to all of this.

Well, it's Over

And I am very happy about that. George Bush accepted the Republican nomination as expected (though I was hoping for some exciting developments here). He also gave a very long and a very boring speech in which he offered something for everybody, including working women! (they get flex time which, by the way, pays less), which didn't get much of an applause from the Republican faithfuls. The unborn were mentioned, something was said about the horrors of religious discrimination, Kerry was bashed, something was said in Spanish, God was implied to be on Bush's side and there was a lot of stuff about how all the things will now be done that were promised four years ago but were not done since. And then there was lots of war-talk, of course, and how everybody in the Middle East is very happy now. As I type this from memory some details may have been a little distorted. But I clearly remember a protester who got through somehow. So the president who vows to keep us safe can't keep his own Convention safe.

However, the well-known liberal rag called New York Times concludes as follows about the success of the RNC:

The predominant view in New York was that the Republicans had successfully inflicted some damage on Mr. Kerry, but to do so they had to spend considerable time on the attack and present a tough image to the viewing public before an election that will be decided by voters in the middle. Whether this success came at any cost will be determined later.

Interesting, isn't it? To see whether smears and lies and half-truths are more effective in determining the election results than the dislike of the way they were presented? But I suspect that the Republicans aren't trying for the undecideds anymore at all. They were speaking directly to the wingnuts and tried to make it sound unpleasant so that as few of the undecideds would bother to go out and vote at all. The wingnuts will come out in hordes, of course, so this is not a bad strategy for Rove to choose. We'll see if it works, though I hope it won't naturally. I am still relatively sane, and now I can stop listening to politicians for a while! Yes!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Republicitis Has Struck Me!

Meaning that I can hardly drag myself out of bed these days. I can't blog about this crap much longer without going craziers than I already am, but I can't stay away, either. Help!

Anyway, here are some of the thoughts that race around my tired brain right now:

First, the Republican platform indeed is more restrictive than any of the previous ones about abortion. Not only does it include the human life amendment proposal to the Constitution (that life starts at conception) but it also pledges to support anti-choice judges. Thus, there will be a Litmus test for all judges under a Republican regime. By the way, I can see my copy of the Handmaid's Tale from where I type. You should probably buy yours if George gets re-elected. It's a good guidebook. (A joke, though not much.)

Second, it strikes me as surrealistic that the whole tenor of the Republican National Convention is that of a struggling minority party: the anger, especially. Yet the reality is that the Republicans are ruling the presidency, the Senate and the House, and that their money is ruling the media. So how come so angry? Who is stopping them from doing whatever they wish? I read the same anger from Republican on the internet, too, and wonder the same thing. What would be enough for them? Anything at all?

Third, the other emotion much in the foreground of the RNC is fear. We are supposed to be afraid of the terrorists and we are supposed to be afraid of John Kerry because he's too wimpy to fight terrorism. We are supposed to be scared of the French and the United Nation, too. This is to prepare us to jump in the all-sheltering God-ordained lap of Papa Bush tonight, when he will open his arms wide and talk about good things and calm things and the great nation that is us.

Maybe he'll protect me against Dick Cheney and Zell Miller? I had a nightmare last night after watching those two speak. It had many scenes of climbing up fire-ladders with something slavering and foaming inching up the wall behind me.

Today's Joke

Via a commenter on Atrios whose name I failed to take down.

A New Yorker in a bar turns to the man next to him during the RNC and asks:

"Do you want to hear a dittohead joke?"

The man answers:

"Before you tell it you should know that I'm a dittohead and so is the man next to me and so is the man next to him. Do you still want to tell the joke?"

"Nah" says the New Yorker.

"I don't want to explain it three times."

Cheney and Miller in the RNC

What can I say? It was what might be expected, perhaps, given that the wingnuts had minded their manners for so long. Tonight was the night of the pitbulls.

Here are some quotes from Cheney:

From the beginning, the President made clear that the terrorists would be dealt with - and that anyone who supports, protects, or harbors them would be held to account. In a campaign that has reached around the world, we have captured or killed hundreds of Al-Qaeda. In Afghanistan, the camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans have been shut down, and the Taliban driven from power. In Iraq, we dealt with a gathering threat, and removed the regime of Saddam Hussein. Seventeen months ago, he controlled the lives and fortunes of 25 million people. Tonight he sits in jail.

Notice how deftly Iraq was slipped in there? As if it was part of the war against terrorism. Which it isn't, just to be picky.

George W. Bush is a man who speaks plainly and means what he says. He is a person of loyalty and kindness -- and he brings out these qualities in those around him. He is a man of great personal strength -- and more than that, a man with a heart for the weak, and the vulnerable, and the afflicted. We all remember that terrible morning when, in the space of just 102 minutes, more Americans were killed than we lost at Pearl Harbor. We remember the President who came to New York City and pledged that the terrorists would soon hear from all of us.

This I don't get. Was going to New York evidence of Bush's loyalty and kindness? Silly me, I thought that it was part of the job description of the president when the country is at risk. And never mind all that threatening of terrorists. Osama bin Laden has not been caught, terrorist acts are up in the world and the U.S. military is fighting in Iraq, a country from which exactly zero of the 9/11 murderers hailed.

But all this was expected stuff from the war hammer of the Republican party. He's supposed to provide the contrast to George Bush tomorrow night and to make the president look downright reasonable in comparison. Or so I have been told.

The rest of his speech was about John Kerry. I thought that this was the Republican Convention, yet the most talked about person so far has been the rival candidate for the presidency. The Republicans even invited a Democrat to talk about John Kerry, though an unusual type of Democrat to be sure: Zell Miller.

Miller's outburst was entertaining, but I hesitate to comment on it very much as I suspect that he might not be quite himself. Though I must mention that he said that he knocked on the door of Bush's soul and found someone home. Now this is one visit I would have liked to eavesdrop on.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

The Republican Platform

This doesn't refer to the pulpit with crosses that is being used in the speeches at the RNC, but the contract that the Republican party has written on America. It's not that different from previous years, but it's worth pointing out that there are two important pillars of social conservatism in it, and they are a human life amendment and the marriage amendment to the Constitution.

These amendments declare that life begins at conception, not at some other time, and that same-sex marriages as well as civil unions and other arrangements of similar sort would be made impossible. Note that not only same-sex marriages would be banned; even less controversial arrangements would become illegal. This is compassionate conservatism.

The human life amendment has several problems. The major one for me is that I believe that life begins much earlier than at conception and that all Catholic priests, night ejaculators and menstruators are baby-killers. So the Republican party is far too slack and liberal here. I suspect that they've picked conception as the point because it makes it easier to limit the cultural war just to pregnant women. Everybody knows that pregnant women should have no human rights.*

The marriage amendment also has its problems. To really defend marriage, all people should be banned from entering into this holy state and thereby staining it by their less-than-rapturous intentions. I will not be satisfied until the marriage amendment bans heterosexuals also. Only then with the real purity of marriage shine through!**

"Ownership" is a new buzzword in the platform. We are going to have an ownership economy, everybody! This means that Social Security accounts will be freed from the horrible straightjackets of government control, and everybody can then learn about how stockmarkets work (may I offer you about twenty books that I have read on it?) and enjoy Las Vegas-level pleasures of gambling with their retirement incomes on Wall Street. Other aspects of ownership economy are not as much stressed in the document. For example, who will the owned ones be? I have my suspicions.

The rest of the platform consists of all the expected stuff: terrorism, terrorism, (Iraq), terrorism, terrorism, and so on.

* This is a joke.
**This is also a joke.


No, I'm not going to admit that I might not be divine. Just to prove that, I had a blazing, thunderous fight with someone today. I only seem to fight people who have power over me which is not good for my financial position or my career. But that's how it is. Maybe everybody else is so firmly under my thumb that they don't dare to argue with me?

The background for this fight is a long period of resentment on my part about money and other earthly matters. I prepared myself very carefully for this discussion; I made long lists of pros and cons, studied psychology guides about how to argue constructively ( never blame the other person for your feelings, always imply that the problem is a shared one that can be solved with cooperation, be prepared to compromise), and I practised in front of a mirror.

It all started exceedingly promisingly. I said all the right things in a calm and friendly way, and I was feeling smug with my mature approach. Then I was called paranoid and other less flattering things, and I lost it. I tried to retrieve the calm feeling by going over my 'thirty-five ways to kill someone with your bare hands", but that didn't work. So.

The problem is that when I get going with my viper tongue I'm deadly, and what's said can't be unsaid. Besides, it was all true. He is as thick as a wall of bricks and as subtle, too. But maybe I shouldn't have said it.

Enlightenment seems to be a long way in the future right now. Oh well, better to travel than to arrive.

More From the Wingnut Dictionary

This is a continuation of two earlier posts (here and here).

7. "Good and Evil"

Good is what Republicans do. Evil consists of worldwide terrorists, countries that the Republicans don't like and the U.S. Democratic party, the so-called liberal media, feminists, pro-choice people and gay-activists. Plus anybody else who might disagree with the Republican platform.

8. "Un-American", "Treasonous"

Un-American activities are treasonous. They include, but are not limited to, any criticism of president Bush's policies and especially the war in Iraq. There is a McCarthyish flavor to these terms, and many of the same ideas apply.

Notice that Arnold's speech last night equated being a good American with being a Republican. It is not really possible to be an American in this sense and to vote for the Democrats. It is certainly impossible to think that the Iraq war was wrong from the beginning and not to be regarded as treasonous.