Writing about things like this is a real pain in the ass sometimes.
I like to try to be above the fray, and I have no desire to make a comment every time some moron conservative demagogue opens his or her big mouth and says something stupid. It just happens all too often. I also tire of gossiping about the spats between middle-aged political wonks in suits tossing out insults at each other. Besides, these articles take a long time to write, seemingly almost as much time as it's taken Axl Rose and what's left of Guns n' Roses to finish Chinese Democracy.
Besides, other sources, such as Think Progress and Media Matters for America do a much better job of chronicling the nonsense. I can only offer witty commentary when something really noteworthy comes up. Or if something happens that really makes me scratch my head and wonder, "why?"
Today, I'll share a couple recent interconnected incidents that have made me rather enraged, bored to tears, and wondering in amazement about the overall decline of our society.
Let us begin. This little war of words and ideas started a few weeks ago.
General David H. Petrayus, President Bush's war lackey, testified before Congress and the nation on the state of the Iraq War. And, not surprisingly, he toed the Bush line on the whole ordeal, as our insecure president feels most comfortable around an army of yes-men. I most certainly wasn't surprised by Petrayus' statements. He's a soldier, and soldiers follow the orders of their superiors.
But many were furious, including political activist group MoveOn, which retorted with a scathing ad placed in the New York Times. Since much ado has been made about the wording of the ad, albeit with little actual quoting from it, below is the whole body of text, unedited:
And boy, did conservatives get pissed! Quite frankly, I didn't see any kind of vile cheap shots directed at General Petrayus in the ad. Sure, there's that "Betrayus" thing, but anyone who gets offended by that needs to grow a thicker skin. But Republicans, unlike their elephant mascots, don't necessarily have thick skins. And because of this, the recent anti-MoveOn movement became a major cause for a conservative movement that desperately needed a rallying cry.GENERAL PETRAEUS OR
GENERAL BETRAY US?
Cooking the Books for the White House
General Petraeus is a military man constantly at war with the facts. In 2004, just before the election, he said there was “tangible progress” in Iraq and that “Iraqi leaders are stepping forward.” And last week Petraeus, the architect of the escalation of troops in Iraq, said, “We say we have achieved progress, and we are obviously going to do everything we can to build on that progress.”
Every independent report on the ground situation in Iraq shows that the surge strategy has failed. Yet the General claims a reduction in violence. That’s because, according to the New York Times, the Pentagon has adopted a bizarre formula for keeping tabs on violence. For example, deaths by car bombs don’t count. The Washington Post reported that assassinations only count if you’re shot in the back of the head — not the front. According to the Associated Press, there have been more civilian deaths and more American soldier deaths in the past three months than in any other summer we’ve been there. We’ll hear of neighborhoods where violence has decreased. But we won’t hear that those neighborhoods have been ethnically cleansed.
Most importantly, General Petraeus will not admit what everyone knows: Iraq is mired in an unwinnable religious civil war. We may hear of a plan to withdraw a few thousand American troops. But we won’t hear what Americans are desperate to hear: a timetable for withdrawing all our troops. General Petraeus has actually said American troops will need to stay in Iraq for as long as ten years.
Today, before Congress and before the American people, General Petraeus is likely to become General Betray Us.
The AM radio meatheads were all over it. Sean Insannity himself spent over a week trying to compare MoveOn to a terrorist organization, and trying to find some kind of connection to their favorite whipping girl Hillary Clinton. MoveOn temporarily moved ahead of Media Matters for America on Bill O'Reilly's shit list. Bush himself called the ad 'disgusting,' while obviously having no problem winning the 2004 election thanks to the smearing of another decorated military officer (a.k.a. John Kerry).
Yes, there's Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who saw this as such a pressing matter that he moved to stop everything in Congress so that he could introduce a new Republican wedge issue on the floor of the Senate. At least we can expect this kind of childish nonsense out of Republicans. What irritated me the most was that there were far too many Democrats that caved in and supported this incredible waste of time!
The vote was 72-25 in favor of this silly political stunt. That's right, 72 Senators support the condemnation of free speech that they don't like. That includes almost half of the Democrats, who are showing themselves to be spineless on a completely different level than the Republicans! Just disgusting. Think that time could be better spent trying to get our troops out of Iraq? But like many other things that go on in our government, this wasn't about the best interests of Americans. It was yet another childish pissing match between the Republicans and Democrats, a.k.a. the Bloods and the Crips.
MoveOn's response to all of this? "Yesterday, they couldn't even pass a bill to give soldiers adequate leave with their families before redeploying. But they're spending time cracking down on a newspaper ad?"
So now, a week has passed. And now it's time to call the GOP on the carpet. Because it was only inevitable that one of their own would flash some serious conservative hypocrisy. And that man was no other than their main mouthpiece, Rush Limbaugh.
On his radio show, Limbaugh, speaking with a caller, lashed out at dissenters in the military, and called them 'phony soldiers'. Here's an excerpt:
LIMBAUGH: "Save the -- keep the troops safe" or whatever. I -- it's not possible, intellectually, to follow these people.It takes a massive set of nuts, or millions of dollars in 'fuck-you money' for a guy who dodged the draft due to a pimple on his ass to call a combat veteran a 'phony soldier.' As the heat started to thicken, he went into damage control mode, Limbaugh claimed that the "phony soldiers' comment was directed at guys like Jesse Macbeth, a con artist who just got nabbed for pretending to be a soldier. But this had nothing to do with Macbeth. In actuality, that "phony soldiers" comment was likely directed at people like Captain John Soltz of VoteVets.org. Smoltz knew this, and in return, slapped him silly at Huffington Post.
CALLER 2: No, it's not, and what's really funny is, they never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media.
LIMBAUGH: The phony soldiers.
CALLER 2: The phony soldiers. If you talk to a real soldier, they are proud to serve. They want to be over in Iraq. They understand their sacrifice, and they're willing to sacrifice for their country.
LIMBAUGH: They joined to be in Iraq. They joined --
CALLER 2: A lot of them -- the new kids, yeah.
Of course, Rush did no wrong in the eyes of his lemmings. They claimed the "phony soldiers" comment was taken out of context. I dunno, I heard the audio clip from his show, and read the unedited transcript, which displayed El Rushbo getting his ass handed to him by anti-war caller 'Mike in Chicago' and the follow-up call with the 'phony soldiers' comment. Sounded pretty plain to me. But the fault of this gaffe lied not with Limbaugh, but with another entity - Media Matters.
This was yet another ploy in the neocon playbook. Never attack the message, attack the messenger. So, this is why Republicans and their minions didn't condemn Limbaugh's lashing. Instead, it was all Media Matters' fault!
So, once again come the attacks on the media watchdog. Limbaugh, who allegedly pulls in upwards of $30 million a year, claims it's a conspiracy and that they're coming to get him. Riiiiight. The guy must really be scared. Then things got even more ridiculous. Brent Bozell's NewsBusters again clutched at all the straws they could, and claimed that ABC News did a story about 'phony soldiers' a few days earlier. But that report was about Jesse Macbeth, the con artist mentioned earlier. Nice try, guys. FOX News goon John Gibson used an edited version of the conversation to prove that MMFA edited the conversation. Aye carumba!
And now, shrill San Francisco radio bimbo Melanie Morgan, who has to say really outrageous stuff because nobody really cares about her otherwise, is now using colorful terms like "fake," "phony," "poser" and the worn-out cliche "anti-America" in reference to people like Soltz. Obviously, all those years of combat - if you call getting shit-faced drunk in casinos while neglecting your kids 'combat' - has prepared Ms. Morgan well for things like this.
Of course, it was inevitable that all of this would reach the government, which as of late seems all too happy to comment on pop culture happenings. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blasted Limbaugh on the floor of the Senate, calling for an apology and for fellow Democrats to join him in writing a letter to Limbaugh's handlers at Clear Channel Communications, whose Premiere Radio Networks syndicates his show.
Now, this is where I'm torn. I'm glad Reid and co. decided to get tough, and shove the Republicans' hypocrisy back in their faces. But I was furious over the Senate's chiding of MoveOn last week, and I certainly don't think things like this are the best use of the Senate's time and resources. Does the Senate have to comment on everything in the world of current pop culture? What's next? Is the Senate going to give Britney Spears her kids back? Will they pick the next "American Idol"?
The Senate should not speak out against the rights of any American to speak their mind. That includes MoveOn protesting the war, and that also includes Limbaugh yet again making a complete ass of himself. But let's assume that I enjoyed Limbaugh getting raked over the coals. Because in doing so, I could enjoy Drugboy going into spastic meltdown mode on his show yesterday, as he challenged Reid to 'say it to his face.'
Now that's funny! Limbaugh trying to be an alpha male. A real badass. I'll bet his personal boot licker Brian Maloney is in such awe that's he's ready to swallow this time instead of spit!
But really, is Limbaugh really so thin-skinned that he has to issue threats over a microphone, from the security of his home studio in South Florida? After all the insults he's spouted at so many others? Would he ever tell Bill Clinton that his daughter was "the White House dog?" Or repeat all those nasty things he said about John Kerry or Al Gore directly to their faces? Of course not.
Let's face it, Rush Limbaugh is not only a chickenhawk, but he's a chickenshit. A true coward. Anyone listening to the 'phony soldiers' audio bit heard him get his ass handed to him by "Mike in Chicago," an anti-war caller. Limbaugh couldn't argue his way out of a paper bag. And most certainly not with Harry Reid. And most certainly not with Capt. Soltz, who had issued the 'say it to my face' challenge earlier:
My challenge to you, then, is to have me on the show and say all of this again, right to the face of someone who served in Iraq. I'll come on any day, any time. Not only will I once again explain why your comments were so wrong, but I will completely school you on why your refusal to seek a way out of Iraq is only aiding al Qaeda and crippling American security.In addition, VoteVets.org has released a new television and radio ad, saying that very thing. They were aiming to air the ad on a few of Limbaugh's radio affiliates.
Ball's in your court.
In all actuality, I certainly hope this swinging dick competition ends soon. Not that I don't enjoy seeing wingnut bloviators get their words thrown back at them. I do. But aren't there more important things going on the world? Like the Iraq War? Or Britney Spears' kids?
Priorities, we've got to have our priorities.