November 16, 2006

Our Bastards

I need a one-day break from the doom and gloom of the ongoing Middle Eastern catastrophe. Since I have no affection whatsoever for either American political party, and since bitching about the government is one of our ever-popular past-times, I'm going to indulge in some slightly juvenile behavior today -- photo gallery style. Hopefully you will laugh at least once. If not, lighten up!

Here are some pictures of American politicians.

Bill Clinton.jpg

Bill Clinton, Democrat


Alan Keyes.jpg

Alan Keyes, Republican


John Kerry.jpg

John Kerry, Democrat


John McCain.jpg

John McCain, Republican


Nancy Pelosi.jpg

Nancy Pelosi, Democrat


Dennis Hastert.jpg

Dennis Hastert, Republican


Hillary Clinton.jpg

Hillary Clinton, Democrat


Dick Cheney.jpg

Dick Cheney, Republican


Howard Dean.jpg

Howard Dean, Democrat


Donald Rumsfeld.jpg

Donald Rumsfeld, Republican


John Murtha.jpg

John Murtha, Democrat


George W Bush.jpg

George W. Bush, Republican


Teresa Heinz Kerry.jpg

Teresa Heinz Kerry, Democrat


Jeb Bush.JPG

Jeb Bush, Republican


Dennis Kucinich.jpg

Dennis Kucinich, Democrat


Lincoln Chafee.jpg

Lincoln Chafee, Republican


Jimmy Carter.jpg

Jimmy Carter, Democrat


Rudy Giuliani.jpg

Rudy Giuliani, (male) Republican

Posted by Michael J. Totten at November 16, 2006 01:31 AM
Comments

Aw, c'mon, the tinfoil was photoshopped in.

Still, I have to admit that even on their worst days, I'd rather be choosing between those guys than between Arafat and Hamas.

While it would be nice to not have to figure out which candidate is the bigger idiot, at least our system generally does a decent job of filtering out the actively malignant types, so the usual problem with our pols is just incompetence.

Posted by: rosignol at November 16, 2006 01:57 AM

I turned on NPR today and they had a long segment where they had given a young woman in Africa a tape recorder and she had recorded her thoughts on having AIDs over some long period of time...

I shut the radio off pretty quickly because it was heart breaking, but her attitude was so civilized...

Well before I finish that thought let me give you and example, she was talking to the AIDs virus in her body, asking it to respect her and pledged that if it didn't hurt her, she wouldn't do anything to hurt it...

Ok, that's a useless gesture, and probably a sign that she can't afford medicine, but it reminds me that there are people's with very open hearts who've been taught to try to live peacefully. Who have been taught to make peace. People with humanity. Cultures with humanity. The exact opposite of middle eastern Muslims.

Whenever I read another post from Lebanon, whether it's AlGhaliboon making excuses for killing innocent people and dooming generations to come with war and hatred, or if its "Unaligned Lebanese" blaming and taking no responsibility for keeping the state of war alive - well I feel hopeless, these people are creating so much unnecessary pain and they seem to be missing all empathy, as if they weren't born human. It's good to be reminded that whatever is wrong with that culture hasn't infected the entire human race.

That young woman may have been dying, but she's much healthier than the average Lebanese, at least in my eyes.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 16, 2006 03:20 AM

I love Rudy Giuliani.

Posted by: James at November 16, 2006 05:12 AM

Man, these are bloody hillarious. Thank you, I needed that laugh :)

Posted by: The Raccoon at November 16, 2006 05:20 AM

dude, theres the green party and thereis Nader (he's lebanese) lol

so its not Either party.

:)

Posted by: bodhi at November 16, 2006 06:32 AM

My favorite image of Hastert is here

It's Hastert's Jabba the Hut moment. What really makes the image work is the cackling minion in the background

Posted by: mary at November 16, 2006 06:59 AM

Mr. Totten,

You forgot to add at the bottom, "Please oh please hit the tip jar for this valuable and unique contribution of independent journalism. I am not a rich person and can't afford to photoshop without your help. Please send a check to..."

;)

Posted by: lebanese at November 16, 2006 07:31 AM

What are you five?

Posted by: Lucas at November 16, 2006 08:02 AM

make lJosh Scholar wrote: "these people are creating so much unnecessary pain and they seem to be missing all empathy, as if they weren't born human. It's good to be reminded that whatever is wrong with that culture hasn't infected the entire human race."

You are a disease, Mr. Scholar. And I somehow doubt that you are a scholar because you'd have a hard time at any institution speaking ignorantly about "whatever is wrong with that culture" and "infecting" the entire human race.
Somehow I hope that the full range of repurcussions of what you advocate, come back to haunt you. And I almost don't wish that upon anyone, because you know what that means, right? It means you will perish in an arbitrary attack by someone who has decided that they have the moral highground to make life or death decisions for a people you, Americans who have something "wrong with their culture". You are a fascist, Mr. Scholar. G-d help you.

Posted by: good jew karma at November 16, 2006 08:07 AM

The pic of Rudy is from a video he did with Donald Trump for his 2000 press roast:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=4IrE6FMpai8

If Rudy gets beyond the exploratory stage of a prez run, I can't wait to see how this footage is incorporated into ads :)

Posted by: Josh at November 16, 2006 08:17 AM

Odd that the only one that looks remotely respectable is the one that everyone think is crazy...

How odd the world of Politics.

;-)

Posted by: Ratatosk at November 16, 2006 08:23 AM

Come on, Michael.

Hastert, Cheney, Dean, and Murtha really look like that. Those aren't bad pictures of them.

The Rumsfeld and Theresa Heinz pics are the best.

Posted by: Charles Malik at November 16, 2006 08:23 AM

Hilarious! Side note - I'm not sure Republicans would consider Chafee one of their own.

Posted by: cb at November 16, 2006 08:54 AM

"good jew karma", since I think that people should pledge to live in peace with their neighbors, should have enough empathy to want to avoid war and to want to understand their neighbors, should have the wisdom to avoid teaching their children to hate, should be able to make common cause with their neighbors to form a democracy no matter what their respective religions. I'm obviously much worse than "a fascist", you should jumped straight to calling me Hitler!

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 16, 2006 11:42 AM

Anyway you misquoted me, what I actually said was "It's good to be reminded that whatever is wrong with that culture [meaning blind, stupid hatred and hostility] hasn't infected the entire human race." Ie I was celebrating the fact that in most cultures, people have open enough hearts that they want peace very much. If your culture isn't like that, then I feel very sorry for you.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 16, 2006 12:01 PM

should have the wisdom to avoid teaching their children to hate

Ye Gods! If only more people would have that wisdom, be they Jew, Muslim, Christian, Conservative, Liberal, or Hippie.

Live and let live seems like a great idea to me. It, unfortunately seems one that only gets picked up on by centrists... as soon as some dogmatic right/left/Christian/Muslim/Atheist view gets accepted, "be peaceable among all men" flies right out the window.

For a real political party that understands this ideal:

http://gunsanddope.tribe.net/

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at November 16, 2006 12:06 PM

Obviously, Rumsfeld is using his mind powers to melt Teresa Kerry's brain in that sequence - which does explain quite a bit.

Posted by: Michael at November 16, 2006 12:14 PM

I hadn't noticed the "G-d" thing. GJK is a Jew himself who seems to have missed the context slightly. If you have a few hours, GJK you might read all of the comments over the last week to get that context.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 16, 2006 12:21 PM

I like how Josh Scholar manages to overlook the millions of savage casualties of Africa's many civil wars (Rwanda? Congo? etc) and base his conclusion that Africans are civilized on ONE SINGLE WOMAN's story, but then proceeds to generalize about ALL MIDDLE EASTERN MUSLIMS.

Good stuff, Josh...Can you pass the pipe please? I need some of that.

Posted by: bad vilbel at November 16, 2006 12:33 PM

Vibel, there is more than one culture in Africa you know!

Which of us is generalizing too much again?

Anyway I write from my experiences with both middle easterners and Africans. I wish I could agree with you that my observation was unfair.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 16, 2006 12:44 PM

Anyway I'm not drawing any conclusions from one woman's story, I'm using it to illustrate what I have seen over and over again.

If we are required to recount our entire life's experience whenever we draw a conclusion from them, then communication would be completely impossible.

Her story illustrates the attitudes that I've seen countless times, and contrasts with others that I have also seen countless times. Do you understand?

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 16, 2006 12:50 PM

Anyway I apologize to Mr. Totten for dominating the conversation for the last few posts.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 16, 2006 12:52 PM

My apologies too, if this is off topic. But you DID generalize when you said "middle eastern muslims" and implied that their culture is somehow more violent than those found in Africa (where children get their limbs hacked off, for example). You get the idea.

Conversely, I could easily find countless stories of middle eastern muslim women (or men for that matter) exhibiting a degree of civility comparable to that of the woman in your story.

My point is, neither culture is inherently less or more violent than the other. If you'd used some Western culture to make your point, I might have actually agreed with you. But as far as I'm concerned middle eastern and african cultures are both very much tribal and involve very similar degrees of "civility" (obviously, your mileage may vary from person to person).

Posted by: bad vilbel at November 16, 2006 01:08 PM

You misread me, and it was partially my fault for summarizing my own post incorrectly.

I wasn't primarily talking about whether a culture is violent, but whether people in it have a strong drive to make peace or not.

And your characterization of Africa vs. the Middle east is just wrong because middle eastern cultures have been much more homogenized by Islam than Africa. There are COUNTLESS completely separate African cultures and only a few distinct Arab and Persian cultures, most of which are similar.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 16, 2006 01:16 PM

By the way, Bad Vibel, we are completely off topic in this thread.

I'm holding off on responding any more to your argument in this thread, though I have much more to say, because this isn't the right place. I'm sure we will have an opportunity to finish this argument later in a more appropriate context.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 16, 2006 01:22 PM

Sorry for getting your name wrong, my eyes aren't that good.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 16, 2006 01:23 PM

Well, this is also off topic, and I know everyone is sick of AlG, but by way of closure I thought it important to point out what he just wrote on his website (translated by google). Just in case anyone had any doubts or were fooled by some of his doublespeak:

"We must fight.. for freedom and the elimination of the infidels who violate the sanctity of Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque."

Can't get much clearer than that.

Posted by: Mertel at November 16, 2006 01:44 PM

Mertel, I only smoke a cigarette about once a month, only when something gets me so upset that I can't regain my equilibrium.

That AIG just wrote "we must fight for the elimination of the infidels..." qualified. This guy is bad for my lungs.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 16, 2006 02:08 PM

this woman, nancy pelosi, is she for real??? she looks like a waxdoll.

mertel, how do you do that google translation thing? you can mail me or give answer on my blog if it's too much off-topic for here. t.i.a. :)

Posted by: tsedek at November 16, 2006 04:01 PM

Where did the picture of Giuliani in drag come from???? Is he dressed as Marylin Monroe?

Imagine if he runs for president. That picture would be everywhere!

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 16, 2006 04:54 PM

I do like Hilary Clinton (ducks while brickbats are thrown) but she does look crazed in that photo.

Posted by: Rebecca at November 16, 2006 05:05 PM

Thanks for the pics Michael! I can totally relate to your feelings. Remember back in October when the news talked about the $20 million they have set aside for the so-called Iraq / Afghanistan Victory party ? One story about it found here:
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/287510_accounted.html

Well after that bit of news came out, ol' Jon Stewart of the Daily show made this hilarious video (which can no longer be found on YouTube ) But it's found here (cracks me up everytime I watch it):
http://www.veoh.com/videoDetails.html?v=e14930095jDdcZz

Hang in there Michael

Posted by: Cindy at November 16, 2006 05:31 PM

"Nothing is more humorous than a politician demanding to be respected after stumping to a group of old women and promising he was concerned about the state of knitting."

No, it's my quote, but H.L. Mencken should have said it.

Politics are too hilarious to not make it outwardly ridiculous from time to time. For heaven's sake, grown men and women are yelling at each other about issues they don't care about and plan to do nothing about.

And everyone talking to Josh Scholar: I think this is an example of why politics are so ridiculous. The guy said that this woman was an example of the people who were still honest, simple and naive (I'm elaborating). He said nothing about how the region is more/less violent or more/less bad than others. Unless you're bringing in other arguments he has made, lighten up, for heaven's sake.

Besides, it's never good to take life too seriously: You're not going to get out of it alive.

Oh BTW, at Berkeley I saw Denis Kucinich posters all the time, as well as his supporters. If he is as half as crazy as his supporters... the tinfoil hat is just about right. The man is ca-raze-eeeeeee.

Posted by: Berkeley Non-Conformist at November 16, 2006 07:36 PM

From Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary

POLITICS, n.
A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
POLITICIAN, n.
An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared. When we wriggles he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling of the edifice. As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive.
VOTE, n.
The instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

Posted by: Berkeley Non-Conformist at November 16, 2006 07:40 PM

Berkeley, thanks, though I think I should have been more explicit about what I was reacting to. What I found so touching was that her reaction to AIDS, and no doubt to everyone, is to want to make peace with it. Yes that's naive in the specific case of a virus, but the point is that societally it's a very wise attitude. And that attitude DOES exist in many societies (if not you know where).

And it's a humane attitude, it makes me proud to be human unlike those whose every reaction is to want revenge (like that AlGhaliboon fellow who left just after saying that killing the Israeli prisoners is be justice) - he makes me depressed and ashamed to be the same sort of hairless ape as he is.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 16, 2006 08:23 PM

... and I should say that she demonstrated that peace and good relations with your neighbors is something some people really value and really want.

I can count the number of middle easterners who talk like that on the fingers of one, well one finger! Counting those who actually live in the middle east, there's Ali Salem and... Well there are a few who are much less passionate about it. But Salem is the only passionate peace activist, a peace movement of one.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 16, 2006 08:45 PM

Josh, I know quite a number of people who live in the Middle East who are the types of people you want to see more of.

Two days ago I had a brief post here about this that was lost in some glitch. The same glitch took out several comments in a previous thread.

I will post it again tomorrow.

In the meantime, this post by a disgruntled Lebanese should make you feel better.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at November 16, 2006 09:13 PM

Priceless! More please!

Posted by: Abu Nudnik at November 16, 2006 09:15 PM

I thought Kucinich was the new center? Isn't that what he said?

I may sound crazy, but whenever someone suggests that "we need to get rid of the pentagon and start a department of peace" I want to slap them around for a while. It's not like they would actually start a department of peace, they just want to tell you about it so you can bask in their glory. meh.

Posted by: mikek at November 16, 2006 09:58 PM

Yes that's naive in the specific case of a virus, but the point is that societally it's a very wise attitude.

No, it is foolishness. Every society has 'viruses' of one kind or another, and creates antibodies to defend against them. You've probably seen one of those antibodies today- they're called police.

Re Rudy- yes, that's a real picture, from several years ago. I think it was some kind of charity event.

Posted by: rosignol at November 16, 2006 10:18 PM

rosignol, look if every society wants peace then the stable condition for the world is peace.

If not then the only stable condition for the world is the extinction of mankind.

The question is how to get from the condition where a few societies want war to the condition where none do, short of everybody being dead.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 16, 2006 11:10 PM

A bit of theoretical trivia:

Darwin's "survival of the fittest" is a somewhat less than completely likely special case of the principle "survival of the stable state"

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 16, 2006 11:12 PM

rosignol, look if every society wants peace then the stable condition for the world is peace.

'Stable' implies a lasting condition. Human societies are dynamic and change pretty much constantly, according to the desires and objectives of the humans in them. At some point, it is likely that one or more of those desires or objectives will be a higher priority than peace, therefore peace is not- and cannot be- a stable condition over the long term.

If not then the only stable condition for the world is the extinction of mankind.

Only insofar as humanity is concerned. Nature is dynamic, too.

The question is how to get from the condition where a few societies want war to the condition where none do, short of everybody being dead.

By appealing to their enlightened self-interest.

The negative consequences of starting a war (death, destruction, impoverishment, leaders being held personally accountable) must significantly outweigh any possible benefit of starting a war.

This is called deterrence, and we need to get better at it. Fast.

Posted by: rosignol at November 17, 2006 12:50 AM

Anyway rosignol, you're dense as a rock.

I wasn't saying that pacifism is wise. I was saying that desiring peace is wise, and being willing to peacefully tolerate (peaceful) others is also wise.

Pacifism may arise from a wish for peace, but a desire for peace can exist among people who are not entirely pacifists.

Being against unnecessary war is not pacifism.

Being against teaching children hatred is not pacifism.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 17, 2006 02:28 AM

...and you are ignorant of history.

In the 1930s, a great many European statesmen desired peace so much that they decided to trust in one man's word, instead of their own strength.

Would you call that wise?

There will always be thugs. Human nature ensures that people with the inclination to be brutal and callous enough to order the deaths of thousands will always exist.

Our best option for dealing with that fact is doing whatever we can to encourage systems of government that make it difficult for such people to attain positions of power. The second-best approach is having the means to deal with such people when the first approach fails.

I wish it was otherwise, but that is how it is.

Posted by: rosignol at November 17, 2006 04:21 AM

Rosignol, I guess you're right. Muslims should fight a big war against Israel, America, then Spain, Europe and every other infidel on the planet.

Thanks for setting me straight.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 17, 2006 04:26 AM

Anyway the problem is not that I'm ignorant of history but that you are lacking reading comprehension and incapable of switching gears to an unfamiliar context.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 17, 2006 04:34 AM

To email, then.

Sorry, Michael, I didn't mean to hog the comment thread.

Posted by: rosignol at November 17, 2006 05:01 AM

Shut up, Josh.

Posted by: cb at November 17, 2006 09:44 AM

Shut up

There's an argument for you. It would also be a great platform for a totalitarian party like Hizbullah. They could run saying, "we'll make everyone shut up!" Or perhaps "Shut up and fight!", it has a ring to it.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at November 17, 2006 11:05 AM

OK, you won. You got me to laugh.

Giuliani looks pretty good for a dedicated gun-grabbin' New York RINO. Given the choices the Democrats have given me the past 40 odd years, I'll probably wind up having to vote for him if he's the ticket.

He is a proven leader, tho. That's something we haven't seen in a while. I'd give him 4 years just for how he handled 911....if he could just keep his hands off the 2nd Amendment.

Posted by: trainer at November 17, 2006 09:53 PM

Dude

They look better than our idiots in Lebanon. Wanna trade.

Posted by: Jeha at November 19, 2006 12:04 AM

He is a proven leader, tho. That's something we haven't seen in a while. I'd give him 4 years just for how he handled 911....if he could just keep his hands off the 2nd Amendment.

I'm hoping the non-New England Republicans will clue him in on the significance of certain issues at the national level.

Posted by: rosignol at November 20, 2006 11:30 PM

Hey, these are pretty good!

Posted by: Tim Karwoski at October 1, 2007 08:12 AM
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