Friday, January 01, 2010

2009: The Year of Living Sickly

2009 played out like a non-stop, recurrent major depressive episode for the left's clerical pool posing as 'leadership.' It was noticeable throughout 2008 as well but what we might write off as tension, stress or fear before the 2008 election was clearly a psycho-social disorder afterwards. 2009 was when the clerical pool publicly begged their relatives to be institutionalized on a daily basis as they had one hateful episode after another, took to wide-eyed ravings and conspiracy talk and went around in a never-ending funk.

Everyone noticed, many pretended not to. Those not used to pulling out the DSM can phrase the question in more popular vernacular: If it makes you happy, why the hell are you so sad?

Dr. Sheryl Crow first posed the question in 1997 but the doctor was apparently suffering her own delusions and therefore unable to diagnose as evidenced by her non-ironic performance of "A Change Would Do You Good" [in Denver at the 2008 DNC convention]. Long before 2009 demonstrated to the Cult of St. Barack that there would be no change from the previous administration, they were still the most grouchy, touchy and whiny bunch the world may have ever seen.

A large number of the Cult of St. Barack can't remember a Democratic president in their adult lifetime so possibly they just don't know better. But for those with experience and/or historical knowledge, 2009 is not how the winning side behaves.

It was so bad that a left voice with a slew of books to his name suggested privately, "You get the feeling sometimes around them that they actually didn't want Barack Obama to survive the campaign, they wanted a martyr instead." When it was pointed out (by three people including myself) that the observation was worthy of putting to paper, the left voice insisted he couldn't. And that moment illustrated the sickness as well: Even those who knew of the huge problem refused to address it. It was the elephant in the room and suddenly it was time to choose sides with most suiting up for NYT Co-Dependents and LA Enablers. Very few wanted to join The Interventions.

Which is how the left was allowed to get sicker and sicker all year long.

In 2008, strains of sexism and homophobia dominated. From the left. That's the kicker, from the left. Was it stress? Was it tension? Fear over the outcome? Could have been. But when 2009 rolled around and we were still seeing it on a daily basis, it was obvious that the two forms of bigotry were deeply entwined in the DNA of many on the left and 'left.'

Let's start with sexism. In 2008, Sarah Palin's positions were repeatedly (and intentionally) distorted. She was the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee. Surely, with the Barack Obama - Joe Biden ticket winning the 2008 election, the record would be corrected in 2009 because good sports don't repeatedly lie about people. Not only could they not stop lying, they couldn't stop attacking. The woman was the governor of Alaska, something the Democratic Party spent forever in 2008 mocking as unimportant. Then why the need to tear this woman down on a daily basis? It's a question that especially should have been asked when Palin stepped down as governor.

Shushannah Walshe became a mini-hero to some on the left when the former Fox "News" reporter co-wrote a book on Palin with Scott Conroy. The book attempted to play it even and fair. Whether it did or not is open to debate. What's not open to debate is the hatred Walshe had for Palin, the hatred she began expressing in interviews throughout the year. Throughout the year, various friends would send copies of these awful interviews -- not because they thought it was funny but because they couldn't believe how Walshe was self-presenting on the book trail. The all time worst took place in December when she appeared on KERA's Think (I am not sure if it was aired on the radio station or the TV station -- it was most likely aired on radio with plans for it to be aired on TV at some point -- I was sent the interview on DVD).

Walshe lied repeatedly to the point that there is no excuse for it. There is no, "Oh, she's been on the road . . ." There's no, "Oh, you know, she's a little punch drunk . . ." You self-present as an expert on Sarah Palin you better know your damn facts. Walshe actually did know them, she just didn't share them. She lied. She lied and she lied again. So, for example, when the treatment of Palin's son Trig was raised by a listener, Walshe insisted it was just some 'blog gossip' that started online and quickly died. The Atlantic Monthly is not just 'some blog.' It is one of the oldest magazines in the country and it is respected by many (not by me, never by me). It is from The Atlantic Monthly that HIV-positive bareback rider Andrew Sullivan launched his non-stop, never ending assault on Trig Palin. As the year drew to a close, Sullivan could still be found insisting that there was no proof that Trig was Sarah Palin's son. It was not 'blog gossip' that quickly died. It has been kept alive with non-stop lies and from some of the most name-brand of outlets.

But though she didn't have time for the facts, Shushannah Walshe was happy to step into Palin's mind. Some mistake Walshe for a book author when, in fact, she's apparently a 'reader'. Any event in the news? Walshe knows what Palin would say and what Palin would do. Walshe and Conroy churned out a glorified clip-job. These are not authors who spent years, decades, researching the person they wrote about. But NPR stations were thrilled to have Walshe stop by and spread the sickness.

It's a sickness. In the spring, Naomi Klein goes to the 'celebration' of The Progressive (what the magazine's calling it's 100th anniversary) and she's speaking to a progressive, left crowd. She can speak on anything in the world. But she decides the way to 'reach people' is to engage in a one-sided cat fight. She decides to be the stereotypical harpy and fails to grasp that the chuckles and applause she's getting for being a Bitch? It's the same sort of response Joan Rivers used to get. The same Joan Rivers who can't land a TV job today. Bitchy has a short shelf-life, ask John Simon.

The speech was as hateful and bitchy as the crap Laura Flanders used to do about Liz Cheney. But, in 2004 and 2005, Dems didn't control the White House (or both houses of Congress). Bitterness comes with the losing side. Which doesn't explain why it was served up repeatedly in 2009. Alleged thinker Naomi Klein is addressing a liberal audience with a speech and the best she can do is bitchy little remarks about Sarah Palin?

There is no universal, single-payer health care being proposed by the Congress. And there's a lot of misinformation out there about what is being proposed. Possibly if people like Naomi Klein had spent their time in a productive manner, 2009 wouldn't be so bad it feels like a Bush year. But they were all too busy daily ripping apart Sarah Palin. They knew they could get away with it and they ran with it. In the process, they revealed themselves to be very, very ugly people.

Doubt it? The year ended with no objection from the left to Jonathan Raban disgusting "Sarah and Her Tribe" (New York Review of Books). The article is the biggest reason for mandatory retirement. It's offensive in every way but Raban probably could have gotten away with it and been applauded for it back in the sixties. The money paragraph, the cum-shot if Raban could still get it up, is no doubt supposed to be this one:

She's back: reviving the book business in provincial towns from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Richland, Washington; working on her keynote address to the Tea Party movement's national convention, to be held in Nashville, Tennessee, in February; tweeting daily, sometimes hourly, to her followers about the state of the nation; and everywhere parading her Down's syndrome son, Trig, along with her most photogenic daughter, Piper, as living testaments to herself as the model pro-life mother. What she's running for is not yet clear, but she's evidently running for something.

Insulting Grand Rapids? What a proud moment for the Seattle dweller. Hint to the British transplant, when you look down your nose, generally you have to be elevated above those you're looking down on. But that's small potatoes, check out the waffle fries: "parading her Down's syndrome son, Trig." This crap has been going on for over a year now.

Trig was born in 2008. He's still an infant. He's not even a toddler yet. Sarah Palin is the mother of a young child. Her being seen with her young child isn't surprising to anyone who's ever raised a child. All of these 'parading her Down's syndrome son' remarks really testify to the bigotry on the part a large number of people to special-needs children. Palin's never applauded for this. And a special-needs child is repeatedly the butt of rude, bitchy remarks. That's not a reflection on Trig Palin, that's a reflection on sickos like Jonathan Raban.

As for Piper, I wouldn't evaluate the looks of any young child in a publication. I don't think most of us would. So I'm not going to weigh in on whether she's the most attractive or not. But I will point out that she's Sarah Palin's youngest daughter. Bristol is an adult, Willow's 14 years old. Piper's seven-years-old. If Piper's on the road with her mother (if, I have no idea, I don't spend my time stalking Sarah Palin), it's perfectly understandable. Her other children are teenagers or older and don't want to come along with Mom (because no teenager wants to leave their friends for long periods of time to travel with a parent). Her two youngest children -- her infant son and her seven-year-old daughter -- go with her on the road because Sarah Palin's sharing this with her children and also parenting her children.

I can name a lot of women who took their children on the road with them. I took mine with me. I remember before I ever had kids, a strategy session Jane Fonda was leading and, while she was leading it, Vanessa Vadim (Jane's daughter) was asleep in the drawer that had been pulled out from a desk. No one thought Jane was a bad mother for that and it impressed a great many of us and impressed on us that we can juggle and our lives didn't have to be either/or, that our lives could be both-and.

I have never been disgusted to see a mother or a father take their children along with them. But Sarah Palin is repeatedly attacked and slimed for doing this and, in the attacks, her son is attacked, a special-needs child is attacked.

What kind of a s**t do you have to be to attack a special-needs child?

I would love for someone to explain the hatred and self-hatred that must consume a person like Jonathan Raban.

As well as the sickness that allows Raban's attack to only be one in a long line of attacks on Trig Palin, a small child who's never hurt anyone in his life.

What so much of the left's clerical pool fed on and found funny in 2009 is the same thing that makes me cry. I guess it's me and I'm just missing the 'funny' in mocking a child, in sneering at him and using him to attack an adult.

In 2008, Newsweek almost ran a cover of Barack that some could see as racist (I saw the intended cover as racist) but a wife-of prevented that from happening. Sadly, no wife-of was as concerned about women which is how in 2009, Newsweek ridiculed Sarah Palin by using a photo she posed for (for a workout magazine) in running gear. And it wasn't just the cover. It was the sneering, leering copy and it was illustrations presenting Palin as a doll or choosing to illustrate her speaking by rendering her headless in a photo that you use to show some leg. In 2009, so many women just went along with the sexism.

In fairness to those who were silent because they were frightened, 2008 was all about rewarding the women who turned on women and attacking the women who supported women -- whether those women supported Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Cynthia McKinney or all three. And when women see other women attacked they watch very closely. In 2008, too many feminist 'leaders' sent the message that we respond to attacks by backing down. Translation, when Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem will not defend themselves but will quickly fall in line, how can they expect other women to stand up? When women who are seen as assured and empowered can't speak up it sends a message.

Let's turn to homophobia.

Homophobia ran free and unchecked throughout 2007 and 2008. Never before had a Democratic candidate for the party's presidential nomination so embraced homophobia. Barack putting homophobes on stage as 2007 drew to a close was echoed by his 'swing state' strategy featuring homophobic speakers in the last six weeks of the general campaign. It wasn't at all different from his having homophobe Rick Warren speak at the January 2009 inauguration. It wasn't at all different from his refusal to do anything to help the LGBT community -- even though both he and Michelle would insist he was the strongest advocate on LGBT rights. When it's time to drum up donations, suddenly Barry O's Super Straight Guy, Friend To All Gays. But when it's time to actually do something or, heaven forbid, lead, Barack's somewhere outside the auditorium having yet another smoke.

And his own embrace of homophobia allowed various lefties to begin embracing in 2008. They continue to do so today.

There's a term we don't use here and no one should have been using it as an insult. If it's a sexual practice they enjoy, by all means talk about it with friends and lovers. What we do in the bedroom, all of us, what gets us off, is rather curious and rather strange. That's true even if your activities are confined to the missionary position. There's a reason, pay attention, children giggle and point when they see members of the animal kingdom engaged in sex. And jokes about sex and sexual anxiety have long been comic gold.

With all that said, when you take a practice that is a predominately same-sex (male) practice and use it to ridicule people you loathe, you're engaging in homophobia.

It's not complicated.

And the t-word? It's become the new n-word and it's just as ugly.

The fact that Rachel Maddow popularized it doesn't mean a damn thing. Maddow is a lesbian, she's not a gay man. (Yes, some gay men -- like the one who wrote the Time magazine piece raving over how sexy Ann Coulter allegedly was -- call Rachel an "angel" -- direct quote -- but she's not the spokesperson for gay men.) She's also a notorious suck up. That's how she got her own show on Air America Radio while others were kicked to the curb. (Her original show had two other hosts. Suck up Rachel repeated every lie Air America wanted her to on air to explain the absences as the show -- unknown to listeners -- wound down.) She angled for an MSNBC show by attacking Chris Matthews as a sexist (he is one) and, as soon as MSNBC did the deal on her own show, she immediately began walking back her comments on Chris Matthews publicly. Rachel Maddow is nothing but a trained seal who performs when coins are tossed her way. When MSNBC cancels her low-rated show, the world will be a lot better off.

As the token lesbian at MSNBC, Rachel's use of the t-word allowed White straight males to do likewise -- she provided the cover for them to hide behind. And suddenly the t-word was all the rage.

"That's so gay." Have you ever heard that? It and similar statements became popular in the nineties. I heard them and was appalled (my children weren't adults yet). I didn't allow my children to say that and I objected to people (adults or children) who used that. People knew not to say it around me. To insult something by saying, "That's so gay," is to express homophobia because you're likening a same-sex attraction to something stupid, dumb or bad. That's the reality of what that statement expresses.

By the same token to call Republicans the t-word as an insult, to laugh at them and scoff at them with the t-word, is to traffic in homophobia. And to claim that calling out homophobia spoils your shot at fun? That doesn't wash with the n-word and it won't wash with homophobia.

More and more when the left clerical pool wants to go nuts in public, they head to KPFK's Connect the Dots with Lila Garrett and Ruth caught Jeff Cohen making a perfect idiot out of himself. Worse than that, he was outright lying. He couldn't take accountability, he couldn't even admit to his role in the 2008 election. Ava and I offered "Not So Fast Jeff Cohen (Ava and C.I.)" and then, as Ruth pointed out earlier this week, he shows up with a column. Ruth: "In fact, the whole thing reads like he is attempting to convince people Ava and C.I. were wrong. That makes his sad column even funnier."

And it does. Except for one point that I told Ruth I was planning to tackle in the year-in-review. He's still using the t-word. In his new column, he's still using it.

It's not funny, it's not cute, it's hateful. And not hate aimed at an individual who may have earned it (say Bully Boy Bush) but hate aimed at a group of people already scapegoated in this society and already denied equality. On top of all that, Jeff Cohen's going to insult gay men?

Ava and I pointed out earlier this month:

Just as the use of "tea b**gers" by 'progressives' like Jeffy Cohen today indicates there's no real acceptance of out-gays and lesbians in the 'progressive' circles, their embrace of sexism demonstrates there's no real place for women who value women on the left either.

He can't stop using it, he can't stop spewing hatred at groups of people, people who are not in power, people who do not decide whether or not this country goes to war, for example.

Why did the left clerical pool masquerading as leaders start 2009 with a chip on their shoulders when they should have been dancing in the street? Why were they instead snarling and attacking and, basically, scrawling "KILLJOY WAS HERE" on any blank space?

Because they're sick. They're not healthy and they shouldn't be even trying to lead a movement. They are sick. Past leaders lifted the people up, past leaders celebrated differences and demanded equality. Today's clerical pool sneers at the average person, isn't interested in equality and stigmatizes differences.

They don't need to assume leadership roles, they need to seek professional help. Even when they should have been dancing in the streets, they couldn't be happy. They're sick and they are active in their diseases and, as a result, they will pull everyone else down with them.

Before that happens they will lie, due to their sickness. December 17th, you may have seen, heard or read an example of that:

The New York Times is reporting an influential American diplomat working for the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan tried to enlist the White House in a plan to replace Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The diplomat, Peter Galbraith, made headlines in September after he was fired from his position as the second-top UN official in Afghanistan. Galbraith said his superior, Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide, was covering up widespread electoral fraud in Karzai's re-election. But Eide now says Galbraith was fired after proposing to replace Karzai with a "more Western-friendly figure." The US embassy in Kabul has also confirmed Galbraith presented the plan, but that it was rejected. Although Karzai has long been linked to corruption and fraud, US scrutiny greatly increased after Karzai began criticizing deadly US air strikes and discussing a timetable for withdrawing foreign troops. Galbraith has also come under recent scrutiny after it was revealed he stands to reap a $100 million windfall from oil reforms he helped push through as an adviser to the Iraqi Kurdish government. Galbraith was working for a Norwegian oil company at the same time as he took part in talks on key oil measures in Iraq’s constitution.

That's Amy Goodman doing headlines on Democracy Now! And by itself, that's the headline in full, there's nothing strange about it. By itself. And nothing all that strange about the little smirk from Amy, celebrating in someone else's apparent embarrassment. What's strange is that this diplomat, he was on Democracy Now! before. Amy Goodman always self-plugs. Always links to past interviews when guests are in the news. She didn't mention this one.

Did she forget? That's hard to believe it was just October 5th when she spoke with Galbraith on the program. If your memory needs jogging, that segment was entitled "Fired UN Official Peter Galbraith Accuses the United Nations of Helping Cover Up Electoral Fraud Committed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai." That segment requires accountability when Goody's parading a story weeks later discrediting her guest. Galbraith may have been telling the truth in the interview, he may not have been. He's not the issue here. The issue is Amy Goodman is promoting a New York Times storyline discrediting Peter Galbraith and she forgets to inform her audience that she gave Galbraith a platform mere weeks ago to advance claims that the paper states are false.

That's part of her sickness. A refusal to take accountability for actions from only weeks before. The left's not going anywhere because the clerical pool wanting to lead it is sick and needs help. They can't take accountability for any of their actions and their actions in 2008 destroyed the left. They cannot heal, they cannot lead.

And as long as they're allowed to pretend 2008 didn't happen, they infect the entire left. If you doubt that, look at 2009 and see what the clerical pool elected to write and gas bag about: insults to gays, insults to women, non-stop attacks on Sarah Palin who holds no office currently. What did they accomplish?

The Iraq War has not ended. The Afghanistan War has not ended. The Guantanamo prison system has not been closed. Illegal warrantless spying has not ceased. The Patriot Act was not overturned or allowed to sunset out of existence.

What did they accomplish?

Not a damn thing except to drive up support for Palin. That really wasn't supposed to be the point of their attacks on Palin, was it? If there's a lesson for 2010, it's that the sick can't lead and it's time to tell them, "Get help or get lost. We can't afford you." For more on the clerical pool, see this piece by Ralph Nader who is far kinder than I would be if I were him.

Kat's "Kat's Korner: 2009 in music" and Ruth's "Ruth's Report" and Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Brownie Approved" went up earlier today. Kat's "Kat's Korner: The decade in music" and "2009 in books (Martha & Shirley)" went up Thursday and "Reflecting on 2009 (Beth)" posted on Sunday. In addition, Ann's "2009 in DVDs" and Stan's "DVDs of 2009" (joint-post) looks at DVDs. Isaiah started the morning with a look at this year and ends it with a look at next which posts after this.

Added: 1-2-10, the opening of paragraph 19 has been corrected to "As for Willow, . . ." I had mistakenly said "As for Bristol, . . ." Thank you to community member Dustin for catching that. Added: 1-4-10, the opening paragraph 19 has been corrected to "As for Piper, . . ." Thank you to community member Ned for catching that.
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