Category Archives: Politics

Bad Friends pt. 1

Just a cry for attention.

Much like poor put-upon Patty Hearst, America is generally a nice lady with unfortunate taste in friends. Over the years, we’ve thrown our lot in with dictatorial theocrats, mafia hitmen, Nazi doctors, fascist terrorists, and every other kind of nasty bastard short of Satan himself (though some would argue that assertion). As an exercise in humility, I occasionally try to point out such assholery and am typically met with pointed silence. It’s like bringing up an ex-boyfriend who once passed out and pissed himself at a party. We all know it happened, but no one wants to talk about it.

Thus, in the interest of uncomfortable remembrance, I’ll try present a running tally of people America really should have ignored. Here’s the first:

The Gehlenapparat

Around the time the US government was grabbing up Nazi scientists by the armful, it was taking its first hesitant steps toward the greatest dick-measuring contest in the history of the world. I am speaking, of course, about the Cold War. Truman and Stalin had barely finished stomping Germany a new one when they extracted their boots from Berlin and aimed them at each other’s asses.

For those of you who have never been in a dick-measuring contest (there must be a least a couple of you out there, right?) the one thing you never want to do is actually measure dicks. It’s just bad strategy. Once the flies are undone, the best you can hope for is to awkwardly stare at another dude’s junk. At worst, you find out that his is actually bigger. So instead of measuring, you posture and brag and threaten to whip it out. More importantly, you spread rumors about your manhood’s prodigious dimensions whilst simultaneously surveying your opponent’s most intimate acquaintances for insider info re: his package.

Unfortunately for the world’s newest superpower, its intelligence agencies were deeply enmeshed in Western Europe and the Pacific. The US had little to no espionage resources that would let it get a peek at Stalin’s pecker. (The metaphor might be falling apart at this point. Let’s move on.) Providence provided, however. It just so happened that a substantial spy network already existed on the Eastern front: the one the Nazis left behind.

Snazzy.

Enter Reinhard Gehlen. During the war, Gehlen was a Generalmajor, the highest rank attainable in the German army, and Hitler’s chief spymaster on the Eastern front. He managed to achieve such a lofty post despite having played a minor role in an assassination attempt on Hitler. (The one from that Tom Cruise movie. You know what I’m talking about.) At least that’s what he claimed in his memoirs. It’s entirely possible that he made it up, given that he was Hitler’s goddamn spymaster. Just saying.

Gehlen was captured by US forces in mid-1945. True to Nazi-spy form, he immediately began negotiating for his release. He turned over all of his intelligence archives, gave up his entire spy network, and even outed a few OSS officers as Communists. He was just that kind of guy. US Army Intelligence was so gosh-darned delighted that they released him in 1946 with a mandate to get back to work. Operating out of West Germany, Gehlen established his own personal network of 350 hand-picked ex-Nazis and got busy selling information to the Allies. The organization was informally known as the Gehlenapparat (Gehlen Organization) to the Germans involved. US Army Intel officially named it “Operation Rusty”, for no apparent reason.

Could it be?

Could it be?

“Rusty” did good business, pulling in $2.5 million a year from its inception. (This is in 1946 “movies-cost-a-nickel” dollars.) For comparison, the Strategic Services Unit (an interim agency that transitioned the wartime OSS into the peacetime CIA) had an operating budget of around $400,000. That wad of cash bought “little new or particularly valuable information,” according to the CIG (Yet another precursor to the CIA). In fact, the Gehlenapparat was generally panned by every domestic intelligence agency from its inception. The reasons for this are several, but they generally fall into three main complaints.

Firstly, Nazis adhere to Nazi philosophy (that’s why it’s called that), which incorporates concepts of racial superiority. Besides being completely dickish, the “master race” idea is not congruent with reality, leading its adherents to underestimate their opponents. For instance, German intelligence drastically underestimated the capabilities of the Soviet T-34 tank, assuming that Slavs simply couldn’t build as good a tank as the German Panzer. This is a lot like assuming that Oscar de la Hoya can’t kick your ass because he’s Hispanic. It’s just dumb. The ginormous cock-up helped stall the Germans at Stalingrad and turn the tide of the entire war.

No sweat, guys. We got this.

Secondly, Nazis weren’t exactly winning any popularity contests in Eastern Europe circa 1946. Their personal histories left them wide open to blackmail. I don’t know about you, but when I’m trying to hire foreign espionage agents, I try to avoid the ones that are all blackmailey.

Rounding out the why-Nazis-make-shitty-spies trifecta is a little dustup some people refer to as World War II. Apparently, no one in Army Intelligence noticed it. The Allies had just finished curb-stomping these guys across Europe. Sure, Nazis hated Russian Communists, but they weren’t necessarily keen on buddying up to the Amerikaners either.

There are other reasons why Nazis were a bad choice for post-WWII American spies. If you really want to pare it down, though, all of these reasons can be reduced to one: because they were fucking Nazis. Nothing about these guys made them good spies. By many accounts, they were less like an intelligence organization and more like an alumni association. “Rusty” was a great place for German officers to maintain their lifestyle and status while simultaneously avoiding the whole “crimes against humanity” thing. Gehlen filled the group with his old war buddies, eventually commanding over four-thousand former Nazi officers. Among these were several known war criminals, including Leopold von Mildenstein, former head of the SS’s Jewish Affairs department, Otto Albrecht von Bolschwing, an aide to Adolf Eichmann who helped orchestrate his “Final Solution”, Aleksandras Lileikis, who killed thousands of Jews in Lithuania, Alois Brunner, who gassed 140,000 Jews at the Drancy Interment Camp, and at least a hundred other former SS and Gestapo members. National Archives historian Robert Wolfe summarized it thusly: “US army intelligence accepted Reinhard Gehlen’s offer to furnish alleged expertise on the Red Army—and was bilked by the many mass murderers he hired.” In short, we paid a lot of money for a bag of assholes.

Now, I know what you’re saying… “Ok, so the CIA funded thousands of useless Nazi fucktards for a decade or so, but at least they kept the Ruskies out!” You would be wrong in saying that. Idiot.

Long lost brothers?

Startling similarities.

The Gehelenapparat was the least secure spy corp since ­Get Smart. As mentioned above, the political liabilities of its members made them prime targets for blackmail from Soviet agents. The NKGB had double agents in the organization before you could say “Boris and Natasha”. Those compromised agents quickly recruited Russian moles, giving the Soviets one of their first conduits into the US intelligence community. They used Gehlen’s group as a springboard to eventually infiltrate the CIA.

The Gehlenapparat was handed over the West German government in 1955. It formed the core of the newly minted German Federal Intelligence Service a year later. The best you can say about the whole scaticane (That’s a hurricane made out… aww what the hell. You’re smart enough to get it.) is that they’re someone else’s problem now.

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How to Write Political Pap

As an aspiring writer myself, I am more than aware that some literature sells better than others. If you write a 700-page epic fantasy adventure about repressed semi-aquatic warrior women and their society of sex monsters, the major publishers won’t touch you.

Fuck you Random House. You KNOW it would sell.

Fuck you Random House. You KNOW it would sell.

On the other hand, Chicken Soup for the Nascar Soul is a REAL GODDAMNED BOOK! Here’s proof:

Also available on Kindle. Seriously. How fucking small is that demographic?

Also available on Kindle. Seriously. How fucking small is that demographic?

Amazon currently has 106 used copies on their site. Meanwhile Myrmidonia, Queen of the Sea-Harlots languishes in the manuscript phase. What’s the difference between these two books? Three words: “Lowest common denominator.” Why would publishers risk precious wood pulp on a niche market item when they can just copy/paste their last bestseller, stick a new graphic on the front, and sell a kerjillion of them. People forget that writing at a sixth-grade level eliminates FIVE WHOLE GRADES that you could otherwise market to. In short, pap sells.

No. I'm not going to do this joke.

No. I'm not going to do this joke.

A problem arises, however, in the realm of political writing. Politics is traditionally thought to be the domain of the well-informed erudite. Thoughtful and provoking political commentary requires a an incisive wit, a deep knowledge of strategy, and a commitment to constant information gathering. How can the common hack survive?

Fortunately for all of us lazy idiots, conservative pundit Thomas Sowell gave a master class in dumbing it down in a recent Townhall.com article entitled, I shit you not, The Brainy Bunch. Watch and listen as the maestro works:

There is usually only a limited amount of damage that can be done by dull or stupid people. For creating a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs.

Frankly, I beg to differ. Oh please. Please allow me to differ. I could point to the epic forest fires started by careless morons or deaths arising from mass hysteria and stampedes, but that’s too easy. How about the worst industrial disaster of all time? In 1984, a tank at a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India released several dozen tons of methyl isocyanate gas. MIC is highly toxic. The local government reported nearly four-thousand deaths from the initial incident, with long-term exposure mortality estimates ranging from 17,000 to 25,000.

Why did this tragedy occur? Was it some mad scientist in a misplaced bid at supervillainy? Did Union Carbide’s cadre of geniuses think so hard that they passed out on the release button? Did a lone maverick polymath blow the tank up with his mind?

Nope. It happened because some idiots decided to clean the tank’s pipes with water. Mixing MIC with water produces an exothermic reaction, which increased the pressure inside the tank until it vented the toxic crap all over half-a-million people. Of course, the tank had safety systems in place, all of which had been turned off to save money. At the very least, valves in the pipes should have prevented water from entering the tank. They probably would have, too, saving thousands of lives, if Union Carbide had used stainless-steel valves on a corrosive chemical tank. Or if they had done any maintenance on the valves to prevent them from rusting out. Or if they had tested them periodically to make sure they worked. Or if the pipes leading to the flare stack (which should burn excess gas before it gets released) had not been removed. Or if anyone had turned on the scrubber that cleans the vent gas. Or if the water curtain (water sprayed over a vent area to force gases downward) had actually been high enough to reach the gas vents. Or if they had decided not to store forty-some-odd tons of cyanide compound in one tank. Or if anyone had noticed that the tank was heating up to four-hundred degrees in the hour and a half before the release.

This is not the work of geniuses.

This is not the work of geniuses.

Okay, so stupid people are at least as good at fucking things up as smart people. That much is obvious, mostly from the definitions of the words “stupid” and “smart”. The thing is, Sowell probably knows this. He’s no dummy himself after all. He graduated from Harvard and Columbia, and holds a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago (renowned for developing one of the two major modern fiscal theories, creatively named the “Chicago School of Economics“). Sowell has taught at Howard, UCLA, Brandeis, and Cornell, and he holds a fellowship at Stanford. Sowell can’t seriously be prejudiced against intelligentsia. The smart money (no pun intended) says that he’s not. He’s simply following the first rule of political patronizing.

1. Justify your audience’s ignorance.

Smart people are scary. They use big words and wash their hands for no apparent reason. By framing intelligence as a vice, nay, a danger, Sowell makes his brain-damaged audience seem almost noble. Not only does he justify their fear of critical thinking, he practically turns stupidity into a moral imperative.

2. Revise history

When writing for the academically impaired, you can be fairly certain that your audience’s grasp of history is tenuous at best. You can pretty much make up anything you want, and they’ll believe you. You’re the one that got published after all. As long as it’s even remotely feasible, they’ll gobble it up without question. For instance, you can’t say that the fall of the Roman Empire was caused by Godzilla, but you could easily claim that it was caused by syphilis, or dung beetles, or the downfall of “family values”.

How cool would that have been, though?

How cool would that have been, though?

Sowell puts this principle to good use with the claim that FDR’s “brain trust” not only failed to end the Great Depression, but actually prolonged it. As he puts it:

They [people who think government spending ended the depression] never ask the question as to why previous depressions had always ended on their own, much faster than the one under FDR, and without government intervention or massive government spending.

Of course, Sowell never answers the question either, and it’s because he knows the answer. When the economy takes a dive, the bottom rung of the economic ladder take the hardest hit. These folks are just a paycheck or two from starvation to begin with. When the unskilled labor market dries up, Malthusian economics sets in. As in the early Depression, the working poor start dying from starvation or disease caused by squalid living conditions and poor access to health care. Either way, as the population dies off, the decreased demand for basic needs stalls inflation in the cost of living. Meanwhile,the ever-shrinking labor pool boosts wages. Everything becomes cheaper, and those that survive make better money. The economy magically resurrects itself! And all we have to do is wait for a portion of the population to contract typhoid! Hooray!

Thomas Malthus. Like Alan Greenspan, but with less interest rate reductions and more smallpox.

Thomas Malthus. Like Alan Greenspan, but with less interest rate reductions and more smallpox.

FDR’s New Deal wasn’t implemented to bounce the Dow a few points. It was put in place to keep people from starving to death. But who cares? Surely Sowell’s readers don’t.

3. Bullshit psychology

Sowell plays this one to a tee by explaining exactly why intelligent people are such fucking idiots:

Such people have been told all their lives how brilliant they are, until finally they feel forced to admit it, with all due modesty. But they not only tend to over-estimate their own brilliance, more fundamentally they tend to over-estimate how important brilliance itself is when dealing with real world problems.

Many crucial things in life are learned from experience, rather than from clever thoughts or clever words. Indeed, a gift for the clever phrasing so much admired by the media can be a fatal talent, especially for someone chosen to lead a government.

Did you get all that? Smart people are dumb because they know how smart they are. They never gain any experience, probably because they’re too busy saying and doing smart things. Dumbasses.

4. Segue to Hitler

When in doubt, go Godwin on their asses. In an article nominally about Barack Obama, Sowell spends fully one-third of his time talking about Hitler. He also throws in a couple of paragraphs on Argentina for reasons of who the fuck knows why.

This, people, is how you dumb it down. Waaaaaaay down. In 700 words, Sowell has lowered the bar further than daytime television ever has. Vaguery, pandering, gross fallacy, gibberish, and outright lying are our tools, and Thomas Sowell has shown us the way.

Phyllis Schlafly and the Gay Agenda

Not continued from previous post. I know I said I would, but I had half a bottle of Tanqueray instead. Fuck it.

It’s late September again, and you know what that means.  No, I’m not talking about Talk Like a Pirate Day. Or Ask a Stupid Question Day. Or even the immensely more kickass Elephant Appreciation Day.  No, for the seething masses of Christian Conservatives in America, late September means only two things: A) Rod Stewart REALLY should be back at school, and B) the Value Voters Summit.

If you dont get this joke, dont bother. Its really not that clever.

If you don't get this joke, don't bother. It's really not that clever.

For those who don’t follow the effervescent soup that is political lexicography (ie: those of you with a life), “Value Voters” are the democratic equivalent of fast-food “Value Meals”: generally bad for you but cheap as hell. All a politician needs to do to court these folks is pray publicly (in direct contravention of Matthew 6:5-6), oppose abortion and homosexuality, and not be an ethnic minority.

Actually, that’s not entirely fair. This year’s Summit had five black speakers over the course of the three-day event. That’s almost two black people a day! It’s also two more African-Americans than they had in 2008, when Barack Obama gave black people the right to vote.* They don’t have any Asians or Latinos yet, but they do have Stephen Baldwin, a.k.a. “The Other White Baldwin”, so that should be enough.

*…for a candidate that doesn’t despise or patronize them.

The ’09 Summit was a doozy, featuring such riveting sessions as “The New Masculinity” (an anti-movement to feminism) and “Global Warming Hysteria: The Face of the New Pro-Death Agenda”. There, attendees learned about startling advances in the field of Biblical environmentalism, which could help end Obama’s policy of coercing abortions to fight global warming. (I swear to Cthulhu, this is real. I’d give half an inch off my wang to be able to  make up shit this good.)

The event that really caught my eye, though, was the first of the breakout session meetings: “True Tolerance: Countering the Homosexual Agenda in Public Schools”. Now, anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a veritable bastion of tolerance. Most days, I don’t even think about lynching until well into the afternoon. If I see a gay person on the street or in the workplace, I won’t condemn them as the abominations they are to their actual faces. Not while I’m sober, at least. Every right-thinking person has to draw the line somewhere, though. For me that somewhere is having an agenda. It’s just a sneaky word. Merriam-Webster has the etymology as the neuter plural of agendum. Did you catch that? The NEUTER plural. “Agenda” is neither male nor female, but some kind of godless ladyboy word. Why should we be surprised that the gays have one?

Enthralled but fearful, I set out to determine what this mysterious agenda is. After asking several gay people at random, all I managed to figure out is that A) homosexuals are a surprisingly secretive bunch of folks, and B) I really need to do something about my pores. Undeterred, I turned to the one source I can always rely on: Conservapedia. Conservapedia, in case you don’t know, is an open-edited, user-generated online encyclopedia for people who don’t have time for the rigorous neutrality, vetting, and professionalism typically associated with Wikipedia. In fact, Conservapedia maintains that Wikipedia’s stated goal of academic neutrality makes them liberally biased.  I suppose facts, like my testicles, naturally lean left. In order to hit the center, you have to aim to the right. If you really can’t be bothered to check out the site, I’ll sum it up this way: Their article on Phyllis Schlafly is five times larger than their entry on the NAACP. Really.

Comparative example

Comparative example

Luckily for me, Conservapedia came through with an astounding article on the Homosexual Agenda. It’s forty-five times longer than the NAACP article, meaning that the Homosexual Agenda is more important than nine Phyllis Schlaflys. It is unknown how Conservapedia acquired this information, or how many brave men had to sit through the Winter Olympics to get it. What is known is that the Homosexual Agenda is “a set of beliefs and objectives designed to promote and even mandate acceptance and approval of homosexuality”. Are you getting this? Gay people want to be accepted and approved of. We are truly through the looking glass here, people. The article states that some homosexuals even go so far as to “…tell seven- or eight-year-old boys, ‘If you only like boys, there’s a chance you may be homosexual’…” How dare they declare tautologies to impressionable youngsters? Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children? Luckily, the foolish homosexuals’ efforts are all for naught in this particular endeavor. As the insightful article explains, “Well, at that age, all members of the opposite sex have cooties.”

And don’t think that the Great Gay Plot only entails their unique brand of accepto-fascism. No, the stalwarts of liberty at Conservapedia go on to detail eleven specific goals of the Homogenda. Some of these goals are predictable, such as “11. Pushing for legalized adoption by gay individuals and couples” and “1. Destroying Christian morals”. Some are utterly devious, though. Number seven on the list is “Stopping children as young as 5 years old from attending therapy to repair their sexual preference”. Can you imagine? What kind of America is this where people can’t send their five-year-olds off to be sexually repaired? The most disturbing bulletpoint, however, is easily number ten: “Undermining the resolve of latent homosexuals so that their will becomes too weak to resist the temptations of homosexuality.”

This, it seems to me, is the true threat of the Homosexual agenda. Not content to merely be gay, and thus unaccepted and disapproved of, homosexuals want to recruit others to their side. And should we really believe that they’ll stop with latent homosexuals? Of course not! After them, it will be the bisexuals, then the transexuals, then the metrosexuals, and then… all of us. Every man woman and child, queer as a three-dollar bill. Conservapedia explains it thusly: “…if all Americans turned homosexual it would only take a few generations for the United States to lose most of the population of the country through lack of procreation. This would make the US more vulnerable to attack by our enemies.” Chilling, isn’t it?

This doesnt exist.

This doesn't exist.

Since I’ve never even heard of in vitro fertilization, I am forced to accept this unhappy but clearly logical conclusion. Homosexuals want nothing less than the complete downfall of this great nation. They know full well how alluring gayism is, and they will do everything in their power to make us succumb to our unnatural lusts. We must take a stand now! I call on all straight people to say NO! America will NOT come out of the closet! We will NOT fall passionately into the safety of your oiled, rippling arms and purr like contented kittens against your soft yet manly chest! Our wives will NEVER surrender to their sapphic desires to be touched like only a woman can. We REFUSE to experience hot girl-on-girl action or the exquisite pleasure of knowing another man’s taste!

NO MATTER HOW MUCH WE WANT TO!

Words Mean Something

Once upon a time, children, words had these things called “definitions”. These “definitions” told us what the words meant, so that we could be sure we were using them correctly and avoid sounding like idiots. Sadly, that time is no more.  Now, any politician or pundit can use words to mean anything they like… or nothing at all. In memory of the lost practice of actually defining the things that come out of our mouths, lets take a look at a few words that used to mean something. I’ll be using the Oxford English Dictionary for definitions, seeing as they invented the damned language.

Socialism

noun a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

This man is a douchebag:

More relevantly, he doesn’t know what the word “socialist” means. Redistributing wealth is not socialism, it’s economic egalitarianism. For the record, socialism is not Communism. Notice how “Communism” has a big “C” at the beginning? That’s because it’s a frickin’ proper noun. Socialism is an economic and political philosophy, not a system of government.

Socialism, defined simply,  is public ownership of industry. Your local fire department is an example of a socialist organization: government owned fire protection. So are public schools, the post office, road maintenance, police patrols, Medicare, savings bonds, municipal parks, the Armed Forces, and every other government service that could otherwise be provided by the private sector.  Most of these are examples of  mixed socialism, ie. public services that compete with, but do not forbid, private services. America is a socialist country, at least in part. This is not a bad thing. Get over it.

Fascism

noun 1 an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government. 2 extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice.

Can you read that definition, Michael Savage? You see where it says “right-wing”? Twice?  I know the Oxford University Press is neo-hippie revisionist liberal Jew propaganda, but come on.

American Democrats are not fascists. Neither are Republicans. You know who was a fascist?

This guy.

This guy.

Benito “The Body” Mussolini was a motherfucking fascist. As a matter of fact, he was the fascist. He and his cronies invented the damned word. Fascism is an entire system of government based around corporatism, authoritarianism, militarism, and extreme nationalism. There was nothing “liberal” about these guys, except for the amount of ass-kickery they might unleash on you for associating them with modern-day Phish fans.

If you happen to think that today’s liberals are invasive or totalitarian, fine. I won’t argue the point. I might even give you “draconian”, if you can use it in a sentence on the best out of three tries. The thing is, we already have words that mean “invasive” and “totalitarian”. (Here’s a hint: Look between the quotes to find them.) Equating fascism with totalitarianism would make Stalin a fascist, a claim that would earn you some fine Italian leather up your ass in 1930’s Italy.

Nazi

noun (pl. Nazis) 1 historical a member of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. 2 derogatory a person with extreme racist or authoritarian views.

Do I even need to explain this one? Seriously, “Nazi” is not an adjective, and you have to be a complete jackass to refer to any aspect of the current healthcare debate as “Nazi policy”. Unless you’re talking about German vaccination programs circa 1940. In which case, I apologize. Otherwise, you’re a dumbass.

On a broader note, associating anything and everything you don’t like with Nazis or Hitler isn’t just logical fallacy, and it isn’t just insulting to the person you’re talking about. It’s also insulting to Hitler.

Not pictured: tolerance for your bullshit.

Not pictured: tolerance for your bullshit.

Hitler and his Nazi pals were arguably the vilest people in the history of the world, and they worked hard to get there. They systematically murdered 17 million people. Seventeen-fucking-million. I can’t even count that high. And they didn’t just do it all willy-nilly either. They took censuses and counted and categorized their victims. Can you imagine the logistics involved? I can’t get around to organizing my porn folders, and these guys orchestrated epic-scale murder with IBM punch-cards.

Status code 6 is gas chamber. Seriously.

Status code "6" is "gas chamber". Seriously.

Comparing these utterly accomplished assholes to anyone currently employed in American government is like comparing Satan to Snidely Whiplash. It diminishes the evil that they perpetrated to comic proportions.

More later…