Thursday, November 27, 2008

russia was right after all

this summer we witnessed a war between russia and the tiny former soviet republic of georgia. the u.s. media portrayed this as russian aggression against a small, defenseless country, and proof that russia was still the evil empire that it was back when it was the soviet union. well it turns out russia did not start the war. the man who was georgia’s ambassador to russia until they ended diplomatic relations this summer, erosi kitsmarishvili, has revealed the truth about this affair, something i have been wondering about for months. i did not trust either the russian or the georgian side of the story, and they both seemed like liars, but at first i thought that the georgian side, as told by georgian president mikhail saakashvili, was much more plausible than the russian side of the story.

south ossetia and abkhazia are both regions of georgia populated by ethnic minorities, ossetians and abkhazians rather than georgians. ever since a war in the early 1990s after the soviet union collapsed, a war in which georgia fought against south ossetians and abkhazians, they have been wanting to become independent from georgia so they can unify with russia, because the people there are afraid of georgians and want protection from russia, a country they view as their protector and ally. after that war, russian peacekeeping troops were sent into those 2 breakaway regions to protect the civilian populations from georgian aggression. however, those 2 regions were still officially part of the nation of georgia, although they had their own separate governments and were not under the authority of the georgian government. south ossetia and abkhazia were all ready de facto independent countries ever since that war in the early 90s, and their status as part of the nation of georgia was only a technicality. this is similar to the kurds in northern iraq: they gained independence from the iraqi government of saddam hussein in the early 90s after the united states invaded iraq in the first gulf war to liberate kuwait. the kurds had their own government in northern iraq and saddam hussein had no authority or power there. after the united states invaded iraq again in 2003 and overthrew saddam hussein, the kurds continued to have their own de facto independent nation of kurdistan in northern iraq, and to this day they are still not under the authority of iraq’s central government. kurdistan being part of iraq is just a formal technicality, and the current iraqi central government has no more authority there than saddam hussein did.

anyway, the president of georgia had been wanting for years to reconquer south ossetia and abkhazia, and put them back under the authority of the georgian central government. russia, on the other hand, still had peacekeeping troops there to protect the civilian population. the georgian president, mikhail saakashvili, made one of the worst miscalculations in military history when he decided to invade and conquer the 2 breakaway provinces. russia does not take too kindly to its troops being attacked, and the civilians in both provinces were already strongly pro-russia and anti-georgia. being attacked by the georgian military reinforced the views of the civilians there even more, and the russian military decided that it would not let some puny, insignificant country like georgia get away with killing its peacekeeping troops and conquering people who were under russian protection.

naturally, russia did a bit of overkill with their military response, completely destroying the georgian military and advancing their troops well into georgia proper. advancing their troops into georgia proper, to positions near the georgian capital of tbilisi, was a show of strength meant to demonstrate russia’s complete military superiority, and how russia could easily conquer all of georgia if they really wanted to, but russia decided against such a move. this show of strength was meant to completely demoralize the georgians and make them realize they had absolutely no chance of defeating the russian military or retaking the breakaway provinces of south ossetia and abkhazia.

in the end, the result was a lot of innocent people on both sides being killed, and plenty of atrocities on both sides. but the war was instigated by the georgian president mikhail saakashvili, who is hardly a democratic hero. he is more of an oppressive despot, although he did win office through a democratic election. then again, russian president dimitry medvedev and russian prime minister vladimir putin both were democratically elected as well. naturally, none of these elections was entirely democratic, and both russia and georgia have some problems with freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and clean elections. both countries are full of corruption. neither country is led by people who are heroic or morally good in any sense.

but the georgian president proved himself to be a lousy ally to the united states with his complete failure in the war he started. what’s more, the georgian president is close friends with john mccain and american neoconservatives, and he was counting on them for support. john mccain presumptuously said “we are all georgians now,” claiming to speak for all americans. well it turns out john mccain was dead wrong. morally speaking, georgia is even worse than russia, and from a strategic standpoint, it would be much more valuable for the united states to ally itself with a big, strong, important country like russia than to ally with a tiny, insignificant, powerless country like georgia. russia has nuclear weapons and they are vital in dealing with iran and north korea as well as in combating terrorism and the potential for nuclear weapons to fall into the wrong hands. russia has huge amounts of natural resources, especially the fossil fuels that we are so dependent upon nowadays. russia has lately been showing off its support for cuba and venezuela, and threatening us if we deploy a missile defense shield in eastern europe. i say it is time to end this silly hostility towards russia and help russia modernize and become a prosperous democratic ally to us and to europe. i think we should let russia join the european union and nato. if russia were to join the european union and nato, it would permanently change things and transform russia into a pro-western democracy and a dependable ally for the united states. just look at the relationship between france and germany. for centuries, the french and the germans (who were called prussians before prussia expanded to become germany) were bitter enemies, constantly at war with each other. france and great britain were also staunch enemies for centuries. but starting with world war 1, france and the united kingdom (which was previously great britain) became staunch allies. germany and france were bitter enemies up until the end of world war 2, and then germany was divided and conquered by the victors of world war 2. it has not been until recently that france and germany have come to terms and become allies, but nowadays, those 2 nations are the closest pair of allies in the world, showing that nations really can overcome long-standing differences. in the 1990s, the united states and russia were on very good terms and were allies, and president bill clinton of the united states was best friends with president boris yeltsin of russia. bill clinton and boris yeltsin were like BFFs (best friends forever). it is rather tragic that this budding friendship between the united states and russia came to a close after george w. bush took office. sure, george w. bush got along with vladimir putin at first, but this did not last very long, because the russians realized that the neoconservatives in america wanted complete world domination with the united states as the undisputed sole superpower in the world, and the united states was turning russia’s neighbors (such as georgia and ukraine) against russia. just as the united states has for many years tried to control all the countries in north, south, and central america, russia has always tried to control its neighbors, especially the former soviet republics. if we condemn russian imperialism without acknowledging our own imperialism here in the western hemisphere, that is pure hypocrisy. when russia lends support to our current enemies in the western hemisphere such as cuba and venezuela, they are really just doing the same thing we have been doing to them, except nowhere near as badly. our foreign policy has been to threaten the national security of what is today the 3rd most powerful country in the world, russia, (after the united states and china). the russians react to threats to their national security the exact same way we amerians do. they are no different from us. we should put aside our petty differences and work together. the united states cannot rule the world as a single superpower, but if we combine forces with the other most powerful nations on earth, we will be much more powerful and much better able to deal with whatever problems occur anywhere in the world. we have been doing this with china, and our relations with the chinese are better than ever, despite all the evils of the chinese government and how awfully the chinese government treats its own people. if we can be allies with china, then why on earth can’t we be allies with russia, a country that is much less evil than china? russia, unlike china, is actually a democracy, and their human rights record, while bad, is nowhere near as horrible as china’s. and why can’t we be friends with all the nations of the americas, including current enemies like cuba and venezuela? if we can have diplomatic relations with communist nations like china and vietnam, and if we were able to have diplomatic relations with the soviet union and soviet satellite states back during the cold war, why must we stubbornly remain enemies with cuba and venezuela? it does not make any logical sense. if we really want to rule the western hemisphere, we should put aside our differences with the few nations that refuse our hegemony, and have friendly relations with their leaders, treating them with respect and like equals, not like inferiors who must obey our commands or else. the whole point of things like the war on terror is for all the nations of the world to work together and cooperate towards a common goal, which, in the case of the war on terror, is defeating all the terrorists and eliminating them from the face of this globe. how can we achieve victory in things like the war on terror if we constantly fight with other nations and refuse to cooperate with them, when stuff like the war on terror requires close international cooperation? in the case of russia, we need the russians and the russians need us. the 2 world wars and the cold war showed the foolishness of nations fighting against one another... wars by definition involve the mass slaughter of innocent people, all because of the silly, petty differences of the leaders of the nations of the world. we won both world wars and the cold war, but that is no guarantee that we will win wars we fight in the future. we are not doing terribly well in the war on terror that is going on right now, for instance. the only way to defeat the terrorists is to work together with all the other nations of the world, including nations that we have historically been enemies with. anyone who opposes working together with other nations is basically advocating letting the terrorists win.

just yesterday, india suffered a major terrorist attack. the indian government seems to be rather inept at combating terrorism and at intelligence operations. obviously we need much closer cooperation with india, in order to help them deal with situations like this. this is just one example of a nation we need better cooperation with. india’s neighbor and long-time enemy, pakistan, is also a nation we need much more cooperation with. pakistan is perhaps the world’s biggest breeding ground for terrorism, despite being an ally of the united states, and osama bin laden and the top al qaeda leadership is believed to be hiding out inside pakistan. it is likely that pakistanis were responsible for the terrorist attacks in india. we need to work together with pakistan to eliminate the terrorists in their country. the pakistani government is most likely going to be cooperative; the current president of pakistan had his wife benazir bhutto assassinated by terrorists less than a year ago. i am sure he is out for revenge, and luckily the people who killed his wife are the same people we are after: al qaeda and the taliban. another way to help solve this problem of terrorism in that part of the world would be to help india and pakistan achieve peace with each other and sign a treaty that would finally resolve all of their long-standing disputes. international cooperation is really the key to defeating terrorism.

and as for georgia, we should certainly continue to cooperate with them. georgia might not be a perfect country, and they might have started a stupid war this summer that backfired on them horribly, but they are our friends, and we should not completely abandon them. yes, it turns out russia was telling the truth about the war and georgia was lying, but we need to cooperate with all the nations, even ones led by murderous liars like mikhail saakashvili. once we have all the nations of the world cooperating with us, we can help to overthrow bad leaders in other countries and replace them with better ones, and we will have plenty of cooperation and not get stuck doing it unilaterally. with the cooperation of russia, china, japan, and south korea, we could probably overthrow the government of north korea, and reunify korea into a single country, led by the pro-western democratic government of south korea. when george bush, sr. invaded kuwait to push saddam hussein’s iraqi occupation forces out, he had the rest of the world supporting him. that is why the first gulf war went so much better than the second one that we are fighting now. this time around, the rest of the world opposes our war in iraq, and the few nations who do support us are still almost all unwilling to help us out in any meaningful way. only the united kingdom has really helped us out significantly in that war. that is part of why the war in iraq has been such a fiasco. of course, there was also tremendous mismanagement under donald rumsfeld, and the war was never justified in the first place, since they kept changing the justifications for the war once each one they were using turned out to be false. there were no weapons of mass destruction, saddam hussein was not a threat to us in any way, and we completely failed to understand all of the tensions between sunnis, shiites, and minority religions or between arabs, kurds, and other ethnic groups. it is a war that was based on lies, that was horribly mismanaged, and that barack obama is going to have to end, with the help of dubya’s 2nd defense secretary, bob gates, who will be staying on to work for obama. and in the case of georgia, our government gave georgia mixed signals that they misinterpreted as a green light to invade south ossetia and abkhazia. we need to be much more careful about the signals we give to other countries and not accidentally green-light any foolish military misadventures. of course, the war between georgia and russia was not really our fault, because mikhail saakashvili is completely insane. but in a way it is sort of our fault, because we are the ones who put him in power in the first place (and by we i mean the united states government that we elected).

Saturday, November 8, 2008

regarding holy joe

holy joe, a.k.a. senator joseph lieberman from connecticut, of the connecticut for lieberman party, has been in charge of the u.s. senate’s homeland security committee ever since democrats took control of the senate. part of the reason is that the democrats needed his support in order to have a majority in the senate. if he had caucused with the republicans, they would have been able to form a majority based on the tie-breaking vote of vice president dick cheney. holy joe, as he is nicknamed, is a former democrat who ran for vice president in the year 2000 as al gore’s running mate. he left the democratic party in 2006 and founded the connecticut for lieberman party to run for office that year, after he was beaten in the democratic primary for senator by ned lamont. then holy joe went on to win the general election in 2006, with most of his support coming from republicans, and most democrats voted for ned lamont. however, republicans overwhelmingly supported holy joe, and lots of democrats (but less than half) also supported him, as well as a majority of independents. so anyway, since being re-elected in 2006 to a 6-year term in the u.s. senate, joe lieberman has caucused with the democrats, helping harry reid be majority leader instead of minority leader, and he forced the democrats to give him concessions in exchange for his support, such as putting him in charge of the homeland security committee. most democrats in the senate do not put any conditions on their support for the democratic party, but then again, joe lieberman is not a democrat anymore, even though in 2004 he ran for president of the united states as a democrat. anyway, when he ran for re-election in 2006, joe lieberman made 2 very important promises repeatedly: he promised to caucus with the democrats and support having them be in charge of the senate, and he promised to support the democratic presidential nominee for the 2008 presidential election. many prominent democrats offered their support to joe lieberman in 2006 in the primary against ned lamont, including both bill and hillary clinton, barack obama, and pretty much all the other big names, and joe lieberman STILL lost the primary, despite all that support from the party establishment. soon after being re-elected, joe lieberman decided to support john mccain’s presidential campaign, despite john mccain being a republican. joe lieberman, by doing this, was clearly and openly violating a campaign promise he made to the voters of connecticut to support the democratic nominee for president in 2008. since that time, joe lieberman has very often spoken in favor of john mccain for president, criticized barack obama quite harshly, and he even gave the keynote address at the republican national convention earlier this year. now that the 2008 elections are over, the people have spoken and have overwhelmingly rejected republican rule, electing barack obama president by a huge margin in the electoral college, and picking up a number of senate seats. at this point in time, the democrats have enough senate seats to render joe lieberman irrelevant. there is absolutely no need to give in to holy joe’s demands to be in charge of the homeland security committee or some other powerful committee. he has consistently praised john mccain and other republicans and criticized barack obama and other democrats. while his voting record on issues other than the war in iraq and national security is quite liberal, his public statements and behavior show that he is much closer to the republicans than the democrats. it is ridiculous for him to demand to be in charge of a powerful committee or else he will leave and join the opposition minority republican party where he will have no power. and, as someone who is liberal on most issues, i doubt the republican party will have much taste for having someone like him among their ranks, and they will want someone more conservative to replace him. as a practical matter, the republicans are probably smart enough not to do that, and they would probably keep him if he switched to republican, and have him run for re-election in 2012 as a republican, whereas in the democratic party he has no future after 2012, since most democrats hate his guts at this point. so, as for holy joe, if he wants a career after 2012, it might be a good idea to switch to the republican party, regardless of whether the democrats let him be in charge of a powerful committee, since he is unlikely to win another election in connecticut if he tries to run as a democrat. holy joe was probably rooting for john mccain to win because, among other reasons, he thought he might get a cabinet post, and he was actually john mccain’s top pick to be vice presidential nominee until steve schmidt vetoed that. steve schmidt’s top pick was mitt romney, but john mccain vetoed that pick. they both settled on sarah palin, their mutual second choice that neither of them knew much about. anyway, back to holy joe... if the democrats kick him out, this may make them look bad, since they are supposed to be acting bipartisan and that is what barack obama’s message is. however, he is a traitor to the party, which he has proven hundreds of times he has said or done things to betray the democratic party, and he is not even in the party anymore. he can continue to caucus with the democrats if he wants, or caucus with the republicans if he wants. it is a free country, and that is a choice that is completely up to him. however, the democratic leadership in the senate can decide who to put in charge of committees, and their decisions should not be held hostage by rogue elements within the senate with ulterior motives to undermine the ruling party while pretending to be part of it. we have seen that there were rogue elements in the mccain-palin campaign that were actively working to undermine their own campaign through negative leaks to the press that were damaging to either sarah palin or john mccain. i have read online about the reasons for that, and primarily it is because most of these political operatives working for the mccain campaign were hired on after he won the primaries, and their loyalty is not to their 2008 candidate, john mccain, or to his running mate, sarah palin. many of them worked for other candidates such as mitt romney, mike huckabee, or others, and their loyalties still lie with those other candidates, and they saw the writing on the wall that john mccain was going to lose to barack obama in an electoral college landslide, so they decided to help out their favored candidate for the 2012 election by making sarah palin look bad. these operatives were worried that sarah palin might be a leading contender in 2012 when barack obama is up for re-election, and they wanted to destroy her politically so that mitt romney or mike huckabee or someone like that would be the republican candidate instead in 2012. these traitors to the mccain-palin campaign continue to leak bad things to the press, even after the campaign is over and john mccain has conceded the election, and they have said a lot of very negative things about sarah palin. my point is, in politics, you do not want to be working with traitors because traitors are traitors and they will betray you. john mccain is a traitor to the democratic party, something he has proven many, many times, and there is no reason for the democratic party to reward his anti-democratic, pro-republican behavior by putting him in charge of an important committee. there is absolutely no reason, however, for the democrats to even consider ejecting him from the democratic caucus or kicking him out, because he can freely choose which party to be a member of. however, he is not in a position to dictate terms to the democratic senate leadership, because he is in a minority of 1. there are not any other senators from the connecticut for lieberman party. joe lieberman can vote however he wants and say whatever he wants and campaign for whoever he wants, but in this country we also believe in personal responsibility and being held accountable for your actions, and we believe that if you are a traitor to an organization (such as the democratic party for example), it would be foolish for that organization to reward you for your traitorous actions by giving you a leadership position so you can actively undermine them from within. just as foolish as the libertarian party was by choosing bob barr as its presidential candidate this year, despite the fact that bob barr is not a libertarian and that for almost all of his political career, his views have been diametrically opposed to libertarian views on most issues important to libertarians. many libertarians gave up on the libertarian party because of the fiasco of them choosing bob barr as their nominee. look, should the democrats put someone like me in an important leadership position, such as white house press secretary? hell no. i would totally suck ass at something like that, and i am very bad at staying on message. i say what i think, which is not always what people want to hear or what the party line currently is. for instance, i don’t believe in god and i am a subgenius. that would not sit well with most people. also, i am very left-wing, and i don’t know whether i am a socialist or not, because i am unclear about what the word “socialist” actually means, after hearing it debated in the media a lot recently. i think i might be socialist but it depends on how you define it. i’ll put it this way: i am exactly as socialist as franklin delano roosevelt was, no more, no less. and by today’s standards, franklin delano roosevelt would be an ultra-left-wing radical. okay, i am a little more liberal than fdr; for instance, i would not have put japanese-americans in internment camps, because that was a very conservative thing to do. and i am more liberal than harry truman; i would not have dropped nuclear weapons on innocent civilians in hiroshima and nagasaki, because that was a very conservative thing to do. i am definitely more liberal and closer to a socialist than john f. kennedy, lyndon johnson, jimmy carter, bill clinton, or barack obama. that being said, i completely despise marxism and communism, as it is an authoritarian, totalitarian form of government where people have no rights. i believe in the socialism of the wealthy nations of europe, nations such as sweden or switzerland, or actually the vast majority of western and northern europe, as well as the great country of canada to our north. now, there are some reasons i do not prefer living in those countries to the united states: first of all, the english language is the only language that makes any sense whatsoever, so that eliminates all other countries except for the united kingdom and canada. ireland and australia are both wealthy countries but they are much more capitalist, like the united states. canada has cold weather and i hate cold weather, plus they have all that silly french-speaking nonsense. so maybe canada, but only the southernmost parts of it or some part where the weather is nice. but really, i think the best foreign country to live in for me personally would be the united kingdom. i have always thought the british are quite awesome. however, the united kingdom has a rather dysfunctional form of government, where they still have a queen and a house of lords and no constitution to guarantee people’s fundamental rights, and margaret thatcher privatized everything in the 1980s with her right-wing rule. so really, the united kingdom is not that great either, plus the economy in that country is not that good. in the end, i like the united states best, because we have the most freedom and the most prosperous economy, we are the most powerful nation on earth, i was born and raised here and love my country, and i share the same language and culture as the vast majority of americans, plus the only politics i really care about is american politics. so, while i think people in other countries have some good ideas that should probably be adopted here, that in no way means that i would rather move to those countries. as for the non-english-speaking countries, i have heard very wonderful things about sweden, for instance, from a friend of mine who is swedish. however, i have absolutely no intention of learning a foreign language and living in a country where english is not the main language. that for me is a complete deal-breaker. i am only willing to consider english-language countries, and i like the united states best. well ok, i forgot to mention another relatively prosperous english-speaking nation: new zealand. i have heard a lot of good things about new zealand, actually. i don’t know much at all about that country. it seems like an interesting place, certainly a nicer place to live than neighboring australia. then again, there is a tropical paradise that is part of the united states, namely hawaii, and i could go there instead. as for the continental united states, i am not too fond of the southeast, and i have been to florida many times and it is a rather messed up state. i also know that texas and california are quite messed up as well, in different ways than florida. new york is a very messed up state, too. so is alaska. it is hard to think of states that are actually run well, in a way that i agree with. ok so as far as florida is concerned, the 2000 election fiasco really turned me off on florida, and when i go there, things are just... well... kind of messed up. it is hard to explain exactly. there are a whole lot of old people, and florida is rather right-wing, and the air smells of sulfur when people use their sprinkler systems to water their lawns, and the weather gets a bit too hot in the summer (although going in the swimming pool solves that problem), and there are lots of problems with pesky insects because it never freezes in winter. as for texas... ugh... it is where george w. bush is from, and is a very very right-wing state, they have so many executions, and i just do not like texas at all. as for california, they obviously have very dysfunctional politics, their state is deeply in debt, they have tons of violent crime in the big cities, housing prices are astronomically high and completely unaffordable, and a lot of really good people have been laid off from silicon valley and those people know a lot about computers so i cannot really compete with them for jobs. as for new york, our state is also deeply in debt, our winters are cold, taxes are too high, the economy here is very bad, and everything is such a mess that most of the young people leave to find better jobs elsewhere. as for alaska, they have the coldest weather in the nation, their governor is sarah palin, and they most likely just re-elected senator ted stevens, a convicted felon 7 times over. alaska is very right-wing, they have the highest rates of rape of any state, and their state rips off the rest of the country in a very big way by taking in more money from the federal government than they pay to the federal government, per capita, more so than any other state. new york is at the opposite end of the spectrum, and is the arch-enemy of alaska, since we pay a lot more to the federal government each year in taxes than we get back in government spending, more so than any other state. new york has a debt of about $50 billion i think, and every year we send $87 billion more to the federal government than we get back. so if the federal government just treated new york equally to other states for 1 year, we could easily pay off our state’s entire debt and save up an extra $37 billion or so, and it would greatly benefit our state’s economy. similarly, the economy of alaska is heavily dependent on u.s. federal government spending that greatly exceeds taxes to the federal government paid by alaskans, and if the u.s. government treated alaska equally to other states, the entire economy of alaska would completely collapse, and everyone would either flee the state to someplace safe, or die there in the cold north. i am not sure which state i like best, but right now i am leaning towards hawaii, although i have never been there and do not really know that much about it. anyway, i have gotten off on a bit of a tangent there, talking about various potential places to live, and it is time to return to the main topic of joe lieberman. joe lieberman is someone most democrats despise and most republicans adore. it makes perfect sense for him to switch parties. he might as well just do it. it is ridiculous for him to make unreasonable demands to democratic party leaders after he openly betrayed the democratic party so many times, most notably with his keynote address at this year’s republican national convention. joe lieberman is not a bipartisan or nonpartisan kind of guy. he is fiercely partisan, pro-republican, and anti-democrat, something that is obvious every time he opens his lying mouth. we do not need him at all, and he has no relevance or importance whatsoever, but he can stay on our side if he really wants. it is time for joe lieberman to be cast into the dustbin of history along with the bush administration and the rest of the neocons who got us into the quagmire in iraq. i never want to see him on tv again or hear him mentioned in the news again. he is annoying and i hate him and want him to just go away and leave me alone when i am trying to watch or read the news without annoying characters like him popping into the news stories to distract me from the important things actually going on in the world. paris hilton is more relevant in the news than joe lieberman. that is how irrelevant i think he is. putting him in charge of an important committee is like putting the fox in charge of guarding the henhouse. he should just join the republicans officially so we can be done with all this drama over his traitorous judas/benedict arnold type behavior. and after he does that, i never want to see him or hear from him again in any news broadcasts or news stories. if he were a republican, his behavior would be understandable, because he acts just like any republican. the problem is that he keeps pretending not to be a republican, despite the fact that he has nothing but praise for republicans and nothing but criticism for democrats. imagine 2 sports teams going up against each other in a game, and 1 player on one of the teams keeps helping out the other team and helping them beat his own team. that is just wrong. if you do not support your own team, leave it and join the team you actually do support. this also applies to republicans who are disloyal to their party, such as colin powell or many other republicans who have endorsed or praised barack obama and/or criticized john mccain and/or sarah palin and/or george w. bush. i invite them all to join the democratic party, where they can express their disloyalty to the republicans even further. however, they had better learn to be loyal to the democrats once they have joined our team, or else our team will never make the playoffs.

Monday, November 3, 2008

“secret” conservative meeting

conservatives are planning a “secret” meeting thursday, 2 days after the election, to strategize about why they will have lost and what to do in the future. their meeting will apparently focus on how they think the republican party has gotten too centrist and mainstream, and has to abandon the moderate middle completely and become a completely wacko ultra-right-wing extremist party if it ever wants to win again. so let me get this straight: voters are going to be rejecting conservatism and embracing liberalism as they did in 2006, and conservatives think the answer is to become even more conservative. good idea, if you want to become a permanent minority party. the republicans are so brilliant... their plan is to alienate and insult everyone. they hate gays, they hate muslims, they hate atheists, they hate black people, they hate mexicans, they hate chinese, they hate liberals, they hate democrats, they hate socialists, they hate women, they hate smart people, they hate people who live in urban or coastal areas, etc. ok basically this is how it works: either you are a conservative christian heterosexual white male who is a natural-born u.s. citizen and lives in a rural area far away from the east coast or the west coast and has an iq below 100, or the republicans hate your guts. period. that is what they have devolved into. they insult anyone who does not meet those standards. they do not like anyone who is different from them. and if you think the sarah palin pick means they do not hate women, just look at how the mccain campaign itself has treated sarah palin, and how the mccain camp and the palin camp are now exchanging fire through insults that advisers to each of them leak to the media anonymously. think about why sarah palin was picked: john mccain thought american women, in general, are stupid enough to vote for him just because he picks a female running mate, and he thought that men would be dumb enough to go for it if he picked someone attractive, a former beauty queen. the mccain campaign has either not had a strategy at all, or has had a strategy of appealing to stupid people and nobody else, over these past few months. this first became apparent with the “celebrity” ad john mccain put out comparing barack obama to paris hilton and britney spears. that ad was designed to appeal explicitly to complete morons and nobody else at all. since then, the mccain campaign has consistently appealed to idiots, morons, cretins, retards, dumbasses, fools, the mentally handicapped, the mentally challenged, and subgeniuses. john mccain fake-suspended his campaign in a blatant act of pandering to the retard vote. he again pandered to them with all of his “joe the plumber” nonsense. and sarah palin does nothing but constantly pander to the dumbass demographic. she has become the most unpopular vice presidential nominee in history, out of all the vice presidential nominees that had not yet served as vice president (obviously dick cheney takes the cake in terms of vice presidents up for re-election). and this “secret” meeting of the conservative anti-intelligentsia is not even secret at all, because some idiot went and leaked the story about it to a prominent reporter/blogger on the 2nd most popular political news website, politico (huffington post is #1 and drudge report is down to #3). this just proves yet again what the dubya/cheney administration has been proving for 8 years: conservatives are almost all incompetent fools. a very small percentage of conservatives are actually smart, and this elite intelligentsia are not the people who are being invited to this meeting. why not? because they have all either publicly endorsed barack obama or at least publicly offered harsh criticism of john mccain and/or sarah palin recently. the smart conservatives include people like david brooks and george will, both very intelligent pundits who have been quite critical of john mccain and sarah palin. that does not mean they are actually supporting barack obama, of course, since they have strong philosophical disagreements with barack obama and democrats in general. for them the choice is between idiots they agree with or competent people they disagree with. but i suspect the conservative intelligentsia will not be at this meeting, because this supposedly secret meeting has an agenda of making the republicans into an ultra-conservative party when the rest of the country is moving in the exact opposite direction, towards an all-out embrace of liberalism. if they actually wanted to win, they would campaign from the center, even if they governed from the far right. democrats have learned the importance of campaigning from the center, after the stinging defeats of the 1980s. george w. bush may have “won” the 2000 and 2004 elections, but both elections were quite close, showing that the democrats have not been completely out of it when it comes to campaign strategy. the real deciding factor in elections, other than turnout/get-out-the-vote measures, is the media. the media are a fickle bunch who sometimes favor one side and sometimes the other, but are never neutral. the media game is the most important part of any election nowadays. whoever gets the news media on their side wins the election. period. another part of the media game, besides cozying up to the media and getting them to like you, is attacking the media when they don’t cover you favorably, and trying to dig up dirt on them or turn the public against the media. often when the media are attacked, instead of defending themselves they chicken out and side with their attackers, and admit that the people attacking them are correct. however, the way the media respond depends on the circumstances, because many other times the media holds its ground and does not chicken out. usually republicans are the ones who attack the media the most, while democrats cozy up to the media, both for the same purpose: getting more favorable coverage and less unfavorable coverage. it is clear at this point that barack obama has totally kicked john mccain’s ass when it comes to the media, ever since mid-september when the financial crisis hit. i think people need to remind themselves that reporters and politicians are people too, and they respond to things in a human way just like anyone else. if they are attacked or insulted, they get sad, angry, annoyed, or are just so used to it that they ignore it. if they are praised, they tend to feel really good about themselves and think they are the greatest thing ever, or maybe instead they think the people praising them are mindless brainwashed drones and that their evil plans are working perfectly. anyway, john mccain has seriously mismanaged media relations during this campaign. now the media does lose sometimes, like in 2000, when they overwhelmingly supported john mccain over george w. bush in the republican primaries, and went on to see their favorite guy in the world get beaten badly. nowadays, the media act like john mccain is their ex-husband or ex-boyfriend, and they are spurned former lovers out for revenge. that is mainly because john mccain is not acting or campaigning at all like he did 8 years ago, and he is not the man they fell in love with anymore, and they feel betrayed. barack obama has had a love affair with the media ever since he first became a national figure, and while there were tough parts this spring when the media went after him with all the rev. wright, tony rezko, and william ayers stuff during the primaries, he managed to get the media back on his side again afterwards. the tough parts for obama only happened after saturday night live parodied the media as being sycophantic obama supporters back this spring during the primaries. the media overreacted to that parody of them by having about a month of almost nothing but negative stories about barack obama, since they felt their reputation for being credible had been undermined and they had to show “balance”. once they felt they had accomplished that, they went back to supporting obama again. and it has been great. there is nothing better, when you are a candidate or a supporter of a candidate, than having the media on your side. remember, the media are people too, and they are the most vital constituency for politicians to pander to. the arch-conservatives going to the not-so-secret meeting are probably the type who like to go on the offense and attack the media for supposedly having a liberal bias. attacking the media may sometimes help you get better coverage in the short term, but in the long run, you alienate the very reporters and commentators you need on your side, and get them to hate your guts permanently. john mccain is understandably upset that the media is not in the tank for him like they were in 2000, and he also feels sorta like a bride left at the altar. he is not really used to negative coverage, because for many years he has been a media darling, and that did not really change until mid-september this year. to some extent though, media coverage just reflects reality, and reality did change in a fundamental way in mid-september when the economy, as john mccain put it, “cratered”. until then, the election had sort of been a big reality tv show and was not really taken too seriously, but now suddenly everything was really serious. and of course, besides the economy thing, sarah palin turned out to be a dismal failure with her media interviews and her debate performance, plus the mccain campaign ran a number of blatantly dishonest advertisements that shocked many journalists who had fallen in love with mccain years ago because they thought he was incredibly honest for a politician. the mccain-palin camapaign has basically been like a disaster movie where everything just goes wrong, and all john mccain himself has offered is an endless series of stunts and gimmicks to try to win the news cycle for a day or two, stunts and gimmicks that usually backfire, but he keeps doing them anyway. it is said that if you do the same thing you did before and expect a different result, that is the definition of insanity, and that is exactly how the mccain campaign has been operating for quite some time. that is also the problem that the people attending the not-so-secret conservative summit suffer from, that same type of insanity. what type of people will be there, if not the actual intellectuals? anti-intellectuals and pseudo-populist demagogues, of course. people like ann coulter, bill o’reilly, rush limbaugh, sean hannity, michael savage, pat buchanan, william kristol, karl rove, dick morris, grover norquist, etc. basically a bunch of professional right-wing propagandists who believe their own bullshit. they are like people who find themselves in a hole and decide to keep digging. i, for one, hope they keep digging themselves even deeper into a hole for quite some time. eventually, of course, they will probably hit some underground oil reserves with all their deep digging, and their chants of “drill baby drill” will finally pay off. and i will keep digging myself into the hole of this metaphor that i have dug too deep, until it makes no sense whatsoever. or i could just end this blog post right here, abruptly.