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Saturday, April 26, 2003  

As the world churns

Capazzola becomes richer

Jim Capazzola of The Rittenhouse Review has cancelled his subscription. Yes, blogophiles, he has finally had it with The New Republic. After years of watching what was once a grand magazine decline, Jim is free to spend that bling bling at WaWa instead. The last straw for him was the TNR's full fanged attack on David Brock's book Blinded by the Right. The same folks who helped elevate Brock as a hatchet man for conservatives went for his jugular.

Whether he lied in his latest book is, in some ways, beside the point: It is a toxic smear job of nearly everyone who wandered into Brock's careerist orbit in the '90s -- sources, employers, colleagues, friends.

Jim, who has apparently picked up some street skills since moving to Philadelphia, slugs'em hard.

You have it wrong, Messrs. Peretz and Beinart: By printing this tripe, this inexplicable display of animosity toward Brock, you have joined the liars, smearers, and disreputable hacks who cannot muster the courage -- or facts -- to refute any meaningful element of Brock's book.

It is striking how Brock went from being their favorite caudillo to vampire bait when he came to his senses. Conservatives can be very strange.

Niewert fisks Limbaugh

Dave Niewert at Orcinus explains why Rush Limbaugh's mischaracterization of presidential candidate Richard Gephardt as supporting fascism is ludicrous.

Utterly lacking are the genuinely definitive aspects of fascism: its populism, particularly its claim to represent the "true character" of the respective national identities among which it arises; and its mythic core of national rebirth -- not to mention its corporatist component, its anti-liberalism, its glorification of violence and its contempt for weakness.

I have thought since the 2000 election that the current regime has some fascist aspects to it. That became extremely clear before and during the invasion of Iraq. The warmongering was nothing if not a claim to represent the true character of America as the ugly American, as if anti-imperialism has no place in the American psyche. The regime is now wallowing in a populism born of a "war" that was like a boxing match between middleweight champ Roy Jones, Jr., and scientist Steven Hawking. (Scroll down to 'The other "Incredible Victory."')

Niewert also sees fascist aspects to the conservative agenda.

One of lessons I've gleaned from carefully observing the behavior of the American right over the years is that the best indicator of its own real agenda can be found in the very things of which it accuses the left. (Remember how during the Florida fiasco it regularly accused Al Gore of attempting to steal the election through court fiat?) When it accuses liberals of "fascism," it almost always is done so in an effort to obscure its own fascist proclivities -- and it reminds the rest of us just whose footsoldiers are in reality merrily goosestepping down the national garden path.

Too often liberals react in a Pavlovian way when the Right hurls accusations at us. Some of us rush to prove we are not whatever false name we've been called. I believe that partly explains the broad-based capitulation to supporting the war on Iraq once it was a fait accompli. From thinkers like Niewert we can learn to temper that impulse. It is not necessary to disprove an accusation if one knows that it was never true in the first place.

Dean: Ain't nuthin' but a party

Dave Johnson at Seeing the Forest tells us that today is house parties for presidential candidate Howard Dean day. These events are meant to be kick-offs for other forms of rallying for the candidate. He notes that Dean has been an advocate of gay rights. Revealing at a time when a major Republican politician has confused homosexuality with incest. Take that Log Cabin Republicans.

Tomorrow (Saturday) is National House Party Day for Howard Dean, starting several days of events to, as the campaign puts it, "Celebrate the 3rd Anniversary of Governor Dean signing the Vermont Civil Union Law and his stand as a Democratic Presidential candidate for equal rights". House parties are local events in people's houses to bring together supporters and raise funds for the campaign. There are also larger (fundraising) events in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York during the week. I know that in San Francisco there is a "Greet Dean" rally outside before that event, Tuesday. That's at 6pm in front of the Ferry Building.

You can still make it to one of those parties if you live on the West Coast.

See Seeing the Forest to learn more about what Dean's supporters are up to.

The Diva and presidential candidates? Still uncertain. I promise to let you know when I decide.

5:12 PM