Thursday, January 29, 2004

1-15-04 Column 

Sports columnist no more, Cal Thomas dons another of his guises--book reviewer! Today's target: The Price of Loyalty, David Suskind's new book about former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's tenure in the Bush White House. Actually, Mr. Thomas doesn't target the book, he targets Mr. O'Neill. Cal compares him to a "disgruntled former employee who returns to his old workplace and starts shooting to avenge his perceived mistreatment". Yep, O'Neill's no better than a psycho-killer. Except that O'Neill's crime wasn't killing anyone, it was telling the truth about George W. Bush. Suskind's interviews with O'Neill reveal the devastating truth that Bush has no knowledge of or interest in economic policy and that it's Bush's political team (Cheney & Rove), not his economic team, that ultimately decides economic policy. Now O'Neill's job performance can't really be defended, but he correctly opposed Bush's insane tax cuts for the wealthy that eliminated the surpluses and brought back the gigantic deficits Clinton had eliminated, just in time for the Baby Boom generation to have nothing to retire on. Mr. Thomas knows as much about economics as Bush does so he predictably defends the tax cuts as stimulus for the economy. Short-term demand needed stimulus in 2001 and to anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of economics Bush's supply-side soak the rich policies were the wrong remedy at the wrong time for the wrong reasons but now I've gone and made things too complicated for the likes of Cal Thomas. Let's just let stagnant wages and the loss of millions of jobs speak for themselves.

Mr. Thomas also tries to throw cold water on O'Neill's claim that Bush and his people planned to go to war with Iraq from the beginning of their administration. Unfortunately using famous crackpot Laurie (Saddam was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing) Mylroie as his expert witness to debunk the claim speaks for itself. ABC News confirmed O'Neill's assertion on January 13th, 2004:

"President Bush ordered the Pentagon to explore the possibility of a ground invasion of Iraq well before the United States was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, an official told ABCNEWS, confirming the account former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill gives in a book written by former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind. The official, who asked not to be identified, was present in the same National Security Council meetings as O'Neill immediately after Bush's inauguration in January and February of 2001. 'The president told his Pentagon officials to explore the military options, including use of ground forces,' the official told ABCNEWS. 'That went beyond the Clinton administration's halfhearted attempts to overthrow Hussein without force.'...Both the official who spoke to ABCNEWS and O'Neill have acknowledged that Bush had not yet made up his mind for a ground invasion at the start of his administration, but they say officials were told to find ways to get rid of the Iraqi leader."

Mr. Thomas and the right-wing can assasinate Paul O'Neill's character, but they can't kill the truth.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

1-13-04 Column 

Two sports columns in a row? Will we soon be seeing Cal Thomas sitting across from Tony Kornheiser on ESPN's Pardon The Interruption or taking Rush Limbaugh's place on Sunday Morning NFL Countdown? Well, he certainly couldn't be any worse than Rush was and he's probably not a money-laundering, drug-trafficking junkie either. As for the column itself, it's about Pete Rose. Mr. Thomas certainly gets to the crux of the matter. Baseball's own Rule 21 prohibits Rose from reinstatement. Whether or not Rose deserves induction to the Hall of Fame is irrelevant since those who gamble are permanently ineligible to be a part of major league baseball and ineligible players may not be selected to the Hall. No argument.

As I've discovered from reading his columns for the last several months, Mr. Thomas is incapable of writing about a nonpolitical subject, like say baseball, without taking cheap shots at Democrats. Jimmy Carter is apparently beneath contempt because he wrote back in 1995 that Rose should be forgiven as the evidence of his gambling was less than compelling. And why stop with the former president? The American people as a whole are a bunch of idiots because "a 1994 Sports Illustrated Poll found 97 percent of respondents thought Rose should be in the Hall of Fame." Three points: (1) Rose didn't admit he gambled until 2004; (2) prior to that the evidence of his gambling, as set forth in baseball's Dowd Report, WAS less than compelling, relying almost exclusively on the self-interested testimony of a convicted felon. That was the only evidence known to the public before Rose's confession; and (3) Rose was extremely popular in his day and his accomplishments on the field more than merit his selection to Cooperstown. Rather than criticize, might we not look upon both the American public and Jimmy Carter and applaud them for believing in the word of their fellow man, for believing in the principle of innocent until proven guilty, and for admiring a man who for two decades played the game of baseball the way we were told it should be played? Not in Cal's world.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

1-09-04 Column 

Shorter Cal Thomas: It ain't the Second Coming, but Joe Gibbs' returning to coach the Washington Redskins is the next best thing!

1-8-04 Column 

Fundie catfight! Fundie catfight! Cal Thomas blasts his ideological and theological soul brother Pat Robertson. Why? Because Reverend Robertson recently "told his television audience he believed he had 'heard from the Lord' that President Bush was going to win in a 'blowout.' The Lord has blessed Bush, said Robertson, and 'it doesn't make any difference what he does, good or bad. G-d picks him up because he's a man of prayer and G-d's blessing him.'" Robertson can regularly be counted on to make asinine statements like these and provide us all with a hearty laugh. No doubt Mr. Thomas is annoyed that Robertson again made a mockery of their shared faith. Mr. Thomas rightfully points out Robertson's faulty logic by listing a number of bloodthristy tyrants who rose to power despite a lack of high moral convictions. Of course it wouldn't be a Cal Thomas column without Cal including Bill Clinton's name along with the likes of Hitler and Stalin as those who failed to do the Lord's work.

Not much to add here. Mr. Thomas does manage to work in a shot at Howard Dean who sinned by joking that Job was his favorite New Testament book because he identified with Job's travails. Gotcha! Job's actually an Old Testament book. Big deal. Dean later corrected himself. Do we really expect presidential candidates to memorize the whole Bible now? Of course not. Dean's real sin is that he keeps pounding home the message that Democrats have the power to take this country back from crazy right-wing preachers like Pat Robertson in 2004. Believe it!

1-7-04 Column 

Want to win the So-Called War on Terror? Well, there's a handy new manual for doing just that called "An End to Evil: Strategies for Victory in the War on Terror", written by Richard Perle and David Frum.

Cal Thomas says it's must reading. I'm going to take a pass myself given Perle and Frum's previous track record. After all, Iraq isn't exactly the "cakewalk" they predicted and setting up a friendly democracy in Iraq sure is turning out to be a bitch. Luckily, Mr. Thomas has read the book and he tells us Perle and Frum advocate "regime change in Syria and Iran and a Cuba-style blockade of North Korea backed by planning for a preemptive strike on its nuclear sites. The manifesto also calls for Saudi Arabia and France to be treated not as allies but as rivals and possibly enemies". According to the review in the Christian Science Monitor the book also says:

1) European nations must be forced to choose between Paris and Washington
2) Muslims living in the US must be given special scrutiny by US law enforcement and other Americans.
3) Palestinians must not be allowed to have a state
4) All Americans must carry a government issued identity card
5) The US must explicitly reject the jurisdiction of the United Nations Charter.

So let me get this straight. To win the So-Called War on Terror all we have to do is fight three wars (one against a country with nukes), do this by ourselves after destroying all of the alliance systems we've spent decades building, and we'll then kick back and celebrate our success by revoking the Bill of Rights. If any of this sounds good to you then you are insane, as are Messrs. Perle and Frum (and Cal Thomas). They don't seem to understand war isn't a board game, it's something to be avoided at all costs because PEOPLE DIE!!!

Cal Thomas sniffs at all that and invokes his hero Ronald Reagan and Reagan's "Peace through Strength" doctrine that (allegedly) caused the Soviet Union to collapse. It's funny, but I don't remember the Soviet Union ending in the fiery holocaust of war so forgive me if I don't see the analogy. On the other hand, if building up our defenses and containing the enemy until they collapse from within due to their rotten ideology was good enough for Reagan, maybe it ought to be good enough for Ricky, David and Cal. It's both sad and frightening to realize people like Perle and Frum (though thankfully not Mr. Thomas) are influential foreign policy advisors to our current regime.

P.S. Frum's probably invested in wars with Iran and North Korea because as President Bush's speechwriter he listed those nations along with Iraq to create the famous "Axis of Evil" phrase for a Bush speech. Frum's wife later blabbed to everyone about her hubby's parentage of the phrase (a speechwriter faux pas) and soon after Frum "mysteriously" left Bush's employment. Actually, what Frum wrote was "Axis of Hatred" which Bush then changed so Frum really only came up with the word Axis. A word once used to describe countries closely allied against us in wartime now describes countries who have almost nothing to do with each other. How can anyone doubt this man's genius!?!?!?

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

1-6-04 Column 

Shorter Cal Thomas: Any reporters who note that polls show President Bush is not universally popular among Democrats are biased liberals.

Longer (too long) Cal Thomas: It's a new year, but the same old Cal Thomas. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Mr. Thomas still believes the myth of the Liberal News Media. Or at least he portrays himself as someone who does. After the media war against Clinton and Gore over the past 10 years or so, no sentinent person could still believe the media favors Democrats. RNC press releases are taken verbatim and regurgitated as mainstream news stories in the blink of an eye, yet we're supposed to living in a liberal media world. Al Franken, Joe Conason, Eric Alterman, Bob Somerby, and of course the indispensible Media Whores Online (among others) have exposed the continuing atrocities committed daily by our lazy, horrible, fat, happy, and satisfied national press corps. But like the fundamentalist he is Mr. Thomas continues to believe. Does he provide proof of this alleged liberal bias? Yes, he does. Only problem is it's the type of evidence that would you laughed out of a courtroom. Here's an example: ABC news correspondent Terry Moran, hosting "This Week", noted that in the 2000 race, George W. Bush campaigned as "a uniter, not a divider." Moran concluded that he had failed and that he has become a "divisive president" and a "divisive figure." Wow! Read that again. A statement of fact equals liberal media bias! Polls consistently show Bush has virtually no support among Democrats. The most popular Democratic candidates are the ones who have most forcefully opposing Bush's record. Bush is the most partisan president in memory, forcing his radical right-wing agenda down our throats from tax cuts for the rich to preemptive wars. It's no secret Bush had near-complete Democratic support following 9/11 but instead of reaching across party lines, he used the "War on Terror" to paint Democrats as unpatriotic so the GOP could win the 2002 midterms. Yet mentioning any of this is liberal bias. Listen Cal, if you campaign as someone who can bring the parties together but you govern as someone who repeatedly kneecaps the opposition, you're a divider, not a uniter. And anyone who points that out isn't biased, he's just doing his job.

Another example of liberal bias? How about this: the media "treated negatively people who hated Clinton, while they frequently treat Bush haters as noble and virtuous, wanting only the best for all of us." You read that right. The media treated Clinton haters negatively. Incredible. Adjust your memories. Though it was all Monica all the time during the halcyon days of Impeachment, in Mr. Thomas' world the Clinon haters were treated negatively. In the world the rest of us live in, even the craziest crackpots were given national forums and treated with respect by the media. The Washington Post was a virtual arm of Ken Starr's team, providing its readers with fresh anti-Clinton leaks almost daily. Tim Russert, David Broder, Cokie Roberts, and the rest of So Called Liberal Media, seemed to take it personally that Clinton "trashed the place". When the GOP witchhunt failed to dislodge Mr. Clinton from office, the media's wrath fell on Al Gore, costing him the White House.

More? "On CBS, [Bob] Schieffer claimed that Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean is bringing people together." Though I have no transcript of that program, I'm going out on a limb to say Schieffer was probably referring to Dean's current Democratic front-runner status? Mr. Thomas could read the New York Times crossword puzzle and find liberal bias.

Ah what the hell, one more. Terry Moran asked former Clinton Chief of Staff Leon Panetta: "For many Americans, this is a divisive president. Is he vulnerable in the manner in which he seems to polarize people's opinions?" Offended, Mr. Thomas writes: "No self-respecting media liberal would ask such a question of, say, Sen. Hillary Clinton, about any of the Democratic presidential candidates and why they fail to draw conservative support. Apparently, division is a one-way street." Yes, that might be true Cal. You know why? Bush is PRESIDENT!!! He's head of state. He's president of the whole damned country! Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. If he's doing a good job, he'd receive some substantial support from all sides no? If he's not, that's a story. If he is, that's a story. If you're running to be the Democratic Party nominee for president, you're not looking for conservative support! Understand?

Same old right-wing game. Work the refs" (to quote Eric Alterman), intimidate the mainstream media, and watch them time after time bend over (backwards) to please the right. At the same time, the right-wing media (FOX, Washington Times, talk-radio) places fealty to the conservative cause ahead of journalism and spreads its sickening propoganda like the plague. Surely Cal Thomas can't really believe the media is liberal in 2004. Could he really be that stupid? Probably.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

12-30-03 Column 

Worst column of the year! With this final entry of 2003, Cal Thomas doesn't disappoint. Usually the bigotry is hidden under the guise of "morality" but here it's right out in the Jew-hating open. Unfortunately, every Democrat needs to read this nauseating swill because it's just a taste of what conservatives have in store for the Democratic nominee for president.

Op-Ed writers like David Brooks or William Safire use their columns to influence either elite media opinion or certain powerful politicians in Washington. Cal Thomas is coming from somewhere totally different. He's actually an incarnation of the most loyal and important segment of the Republican base: fundamentalist Christians. What he writes, they think (or will think after they read him). Consequently, it's crucial to understand what he's really saying as we're going to hear it every single day until Election Day 2004 (and probably beyond). Today, Cal informs us that Howard Dean isn't a "real" Christian. Let's painfully go through Cal's "case" point by point to see what he's telling his readers.

"Democrats have been trying hard in recent years to squeeze G-d into their politics, perceiving that Republicans have an edge on invoking the Creator to bless their policies. Democrats worry they suffer from a "G-d gap."

Right off the bat we find that Republicans are in fact the favored political party of the lord. Oh, Democrats may talk a good godly game but it's an exercise in futility.

"Bill Clinton and Al Gore, with their Southern Baptist backgrounds, were fluent in the language of religion, though not always in its personal application."

Time to wave Monica's blue dress again.

"Clinton and Gore often quoted what they said were verses of Scripture, which turned out to be incorrect and/or misapplied."

Clinton and Gore might have played Christians on t.v. but a true Christian would quote the bible correctly. Of course Cal offers no citations but he wouldn't lie. You don't ever see George W. (Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...can't get fooled again") Bush mangle any quotes.

"And now Howard Dean will rush in where political angels have feared to tread and try to advance the theological ball down the field to see if he can score votes for his candidacy."

Sure Dean might profess to be a believing Christian but it's only to score political points. It's all a game to him.

In an interview with the Boston Globe (Dec. 25), Dean announced that he is a "committed believer in Jesus Christ."

Note the use of the word "announced" here, a small but insidious attempt to imply Dean is pandering for votes by suddenly talking up Jesus. Dean in fact made no such announcement which I was able to find out for myself by ACTUALLY READING THE GLOBE ARTICLE! The article says Dean "described himself in an interview with the Globe as a committed believer in Jesus Christ".

"He told writer Sarah Schweitzer that he plans to include references to Jesus and G-d in his speeches as he campaigns down South. That's the land of Confederate battle flags and pickup trucks Dean so recently disparaged.

Dean didn't say he "plans" to include references to Jesus and God. He said he "expects" to include such references in his speeches because Southern audiences will probably want to hear that. Stereotyping? Not if you read the Globe article which cites an "ABC/Washington Post poll" that showed "46 percent of Southerners said a president should rely on his religious beliefs in making policy decisions, compared with 40 percent nationwide and 28 percent in the East".

"In the Globe interview, he said Southerners understand religious talk better than his fellow New Englanders. Yes, that "vast Unitarian wasteland of the Northeast," as Charles Colson has jokingly called it, is the latest target of Dean's regional stereotyping."

Wrong again Cal. Dean never said Southerners understand religious talk better. He actually said he himself was raised in the ''Northeast'' tradition of not discussing religious beliefs but in other areas, which include the South, he would discuss his beliefs more openly. And the poll results cited above show support the existence of the Northeast tradition so Dean didn't stereotype anybody (although you certainly embody one if anybody does you pompous holier-than-though jackass). Can't you read?

"Dean is from a Congregationalist background, a liberal denomination that does not believe in ministerial authority or church hierarchy. Each Congregationalist believes he is in direct contact with G-d and is entitled to sort out truth for himself."

Do I need to point out Cal's use of the dreaded "l-word" to delegitimize Dean's chosen denomination? As for direct contact with God, conservatives such as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and yes, the president himself have claimed direct contact with their deity and I recall no complaints by Mr. Thomas.


"Dean's wife is Jewish and his two children are being raised Jewish, which is strange at best, considering the two faiths take a distinctly different view of Jesus."

The money quote. I can't say I'm shocked. If it's strange "at best" that Dean and his children are Jewish however, how would you describe it "at worst" Cal? Yes, Judaism takes a different view of Jesus than Christianity. So does every other religion. So do agnostics and atheists. Almost 40 million Americans (17.8% of the population) aren't Christian according to The American Religious Identification Survey 2001, most of those unbelievers in fact. And yes Cal, they're citizens just like you and they vote and pay taxes too. Mr. Thomas has already come out against gay marriage; apparently he also opposes interfaith marriage. The Constitution specifically prohibits any religious test for office, but Mr. Thomas clearly applies such a test and any Jew or anyone married to a Jew need not apply.

Is it really so strange Dean and his wife practice different faiths? Dean says ''We considered becoming Unitarian as sort of a compromise that wasn't going to respect either person's tradition,'' Dean said. ''But you know, our religions mattered enough that we didn't really want to change.'' Wow, he and his wife love and respect each other so much, they chose not to switch faiths or persuade the other to change. What a horrible marriage! As for their kids, "the couple's two children, Anne, a sophomore at Yale University, and Paul, a high school senior in Burlington, were given their choice of religion. Both chose Judaism." So the Deans allowed their children to choose for themselves what path to follow. What horrible parents!

Dean did say something that really pissed off Mr. Thomas. Know what it was? Check it out: ''Christ was someone who sought out people who were disenfranchised, people who were left behind,'' Dean said. ''He fought against self-righteousness of people who had everything . . . He was a person who set an extraordinary example that has lasted 2000 years, which is pretty inspiring when you think about it.'' Good Lord, could someone please stop this man from saying such horrible things about Jesus Christ? Mr. Thomas twists this to portray Dean as one who denies the divinity of Christ and sees Christ as "only" an inspirational figure. Many people do believe this of course but does Howard Dean? The Globe article quotes him saying to a South Carolina congregation: ''In this house of the Lord, we know that the power rests in God's hands and in Jesus's hands for helping us." He followed that with: "In this political season there is also other power. Not as important or as strong as the power of Jesus but it's important power in the world of politics and the world of Caesar.'' Howard Dean own unedited, undoctored, and unspun words show a man who believes Christ was the son of God.

What Mr. Thomas is really pissed about is that "Dean makes it sound as if He might have been a Democrat". You see, Christ may have healed the sick and fed the hungry but to Republicans like Cal Thomas and George Bush that's meaningless as far as governing is concerned. The only earthly ends to which they put the Bible's words are in their attempts to deny rights to others. For women--reproductive rights, for homosexuals--any rights at all. The fact someone's faith might inspire them to seek elective office in order to do good works on earth should indeed scare the likes of Cal Thomas. His president's pro-rich, pro-war, and anti-human policies are the antithesis of both the Democratic ideal and the message of the New Testament. Like Jesus, Howard Dean is fighting against the self-righteousness of people who have everything. That's you Cal.

All of us, including Dean, are sick of the GOP's continuing presentation of itself as God's party. Dean's no "political opportunist who seeks to bamboozle Southern religious Democrats" or anyone else. He's got a powerful message and won't concede one inch of ground when it comes to religion. What's your message Mr. Thomas? I guess it's to be found in the last line of your column:

"I can't wait to see how Dean panders to Californians. Fruits and nuts, anyone?"

One final year-end blowout slander. Jews, homosexuals, the mentally ill, liberals, Californians. Pathetic. WWJD?

Thursday, January 08, 2004

12-24-03 Column 

  • Mr. Thomas really, really doesn’t like homosexuals, and he really, really, REALLY doesn’t want them getting married.
  • Why else would he write what is essentially the same exact column he wrote back on November 19th? The new column makes about as much sense as the earlier one. Mr. Thomas is pimping a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage yet he says, “Marriage has traditionally been a fundamental building block of all stable societies. When it is undermined - whether by heterosexuals or homosexuals - societies crumble.” Hey Cal, homosexuals agree with you! They want to get married too! If any of you are all right with gay marriage then it’s because you’ve been force fed “cultural pollutants” by “one-sided media presentations depicting gay as great with no downsides”. Don’t you all know that it is straight that’s great and, millions of divorces to the contrary, heterosexual life is downside-free? If homosexuals would just see the hetero light at the end of the gay tunnel, they’d be as blissfully happy as all of us heterosexuals--like Britney Spears. By the way, look for a new column very soon from Mr. Thomas blaming our corrupted culture for the failure of Ms. Spears’ recent 55-hour marriage. Society’s tolerance of the gay lifestyle is no doubt responsible.

    Shot through Mr. Thomas’ column is the fear that at if we don’t take action quickly, everyone will just decide to turn gay. His ludicrous fear is understandable when one remembers that as a fundamentalist, Mr. Thomas refuses to accept the correctness of evolutionary theory. Natural selection strongly favors heterosexuality as it facilitates reproduction and the propagation of genes. If sexual orientation could be changed as easily as George W. Bush changes his reasons for going to war with Iraq, then the human race would have died out a long time ago. For whatever reason, probably genetic, a certain percentage of people prefer same sex relationships, and many scientists believe sexual orientation isn’t rigid, but exists as a continuum. However, the continued survival of the human race proves there’s no danger of everyone switching teams. The bigoted, backward, anti-human attitudes of people like Cal Thomas are far more of a danger to this country then any gay marriage will ever be.

    Sunday, January 04, 2004

    12-23-03 Column 

  • Does Moammar Kadafi's announcement he will give up his efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction and allow inspections constitute vindication for the "Bush Doctrine"?
  • Of course Cal Thomas thinks so since to him all world events must be spun for the benefit of George W. Bush regardless of the facts. The reality? Well, I'm no expert on Libya so I'll turn to others who know more. Flynt Leverett, a former member of Bush's NSC staff, says "Within months after September 11, we had the Libyans, the Syrians and the Iranians all coming to us saying, What can we do [to beter relations]? We didn't really engage any of them because we decided to do Iraq. We really squandered two years of capital that will make it harder to apply this model to the hard cases like Iran and Syria." Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo notes that "Libya's 'WMD' are awfully primitive compared to be the big-boys of the rogue state universe. They have mustard gas, a World War I era weapon, and some very preliminary nuclear stuff, not even remotely close to having a serious facility let alone a bomb."

  • Juan Cole of Informed Comment persuasively argues that Libya wanted this deal because of a bad economy and over ten years of crippling economic sanctions.
  • Bush Doctrine my ass. Mr. Thomas does make an important point: "Dictators lie and deceive". Well that dictator Kadafi is still in power. If Bush and Cal Thomas justify the administration's lies about the War in Iraq by saying the world is a better place without Saddam, then what about Kadafi? Shouldn't he be on our list? We are committed to bringing democracy to the Middle East aren't we? And how do we know Kadafi can be trusted? Saddam let inspectors in too for all the good that did him. Now and forever the Bush Doctrine of preventative war is dangerous, unjustifiable, and asinine.

    The most amusing part of this column is Cal's title: "Bush on a Roll". All good Democrats would love an order of Bush on a roll come November 2004. Our nominee will have him for lunch.

    12-18-03 Column 

  • Playboy Magazine is 50 years old but Cal Thomas doesn't feel like celebrating.
  • How could he when, according to him, "the progeny of the Playboy philosophy - which said men did not have to limit their sex drive to their wives but could plunder whatever woman would allow them - is brokenness, depression, addiction and, in some cases, suicide." Now I thought the Playboy philosophy was actually "hey, sex is good and look--pictures of hot naked chicks." If Hugh Hefner actually advocates adultery (and Cal Thomas provides no quotes to prove that), that is indeed nothing to celebrate. But the man was simply there with the right product at the right time. You can't shoot the messenger. World War II and the widespread availability of the Pill changed a lot of attitudes decades ago. What Mr. Thomas is really mad about is that Americans grew up and stopped feeling like they had to hide the fact that they like sex. Yes, sex has consequences. Opposing birth control and sex education as Mr. Thomas does, and simply shouting at people to "just say no" until marriage probably isn't going to help get those consequences across to young people. But blaming Playboy for suicides and AIDS is pretty stupid. Whose copying Hefner? I don't see too many people walking around in silk pajamas with six young blondes in tow.

    12-16-03 Column 

  • Cal Thomas joins in the world's celebration over the capture of Saddam Hussein.
  • All Americans applaud the arrest of the evil dictator and mass murderer who will soon stand trial for his many crimes. Of course we all knew Mr. Thomas wouldn't just stop there and he'd somehow have to find the capture "proved" Bush was right to go to war with Iraq. Well, unless Saddam has super powers and is himself a weapon of mass distruction or we find Saddam's Al Qaeda membership card in his spider hole, Saddam's capture proves nothing. The purpose of the war, we were told, was to fight the "War on Terror" and to eliminate a threat to the U.S. We've still found no evidence to suggest Saddam was part of any terrorist group and we still haven't turned up those pesky WMD's either. And sadly, the deaths of our soldiers continue even after Saddam's arrest. Yeah Saddam's gone. So are 473 Americans. Don't forget 3,255 wounded by hostile fire and 18,717 non-battle injuries. Where does it end Cal?

    12-11-03 Column 

  • Cal Thomas fears for the First Amendment after the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the McCain-Feingold law.
  • Mr. Thomas has no love for the First Amendment where the separation of church and state is involved so forgive me if I don't take his concerns here very seriously. For some reason Cal quotes a sentence by Justice Harlan from an unrelated 1958 case. Persuing the actual case at issue, McConnell v. State, 124 S.Ct. 619 (2003), would be more instructive. Now I know Mr. Thomas hasn't read the opinion (it's 134 pages) and I'm not bored enough to do it either. However, I see Justice Stevens' leads his majority opinion with some interesting quotes from Elihu Root.

    Root, a prominent conservative Republican of the early 20th Century, advocated legislation to prohibit political contributions by corporations in order to prevent "the great aggregations of wealth, from using their corporate funds, directly or indirectly" to elect those who would "vote for their protection and the advancement of their interests as against those of the public". Such legislation would "strike at a constantly growing evil which has done more to shake the confidence of the plain people of small means of this country in our political institutions than any other practice which has ever obtained since the foundation of our Government." It still sounds good to me.

    Congress has the power to regulate campaign contributions and they have exercised that power repeatedly over the years. Cal Thomas doesn't care about the integrity of the system. He knows Republicans have it easier when it comes to raising tons of cash thanks to their sucking up to big business at the expense of the public interest. If McCain-Feingold makes raising that cash a tiny bit harder then so much the better. Cal Thomas doesn't give a rat's ass about the First Amendment except as it applies to himself.

    Actually, my favorite part of this column is this: "a Dan Rather, Peter Jennings or Tom Brokaw can interview liberals who attack President Bush, providing little or no equal time for those who disagree, and a Sean Hannity can invite on his Fox program people who support Bush and ignore Bush opponents. This may empower TV anchors, but it doesn't empower voters." On what planet do those Rather, Brokaw, and Jennings shows exist? Does my cable system not get them? In my world, those anchors host 22-minute nightly news shows featuring short reports on a wide variety of topics of varying interest like natural disasters, medicine, the stock market, war, crime, and feel-good human interest stories. The law firm of Rather, Brokaw, and Jennings conduct few interviews with anyone. On many nights, Bush is usually good for a ten-second sound bite sometimes followed by a few seconds of someone else not totally on board with whatever Bush said. Alas, "Night of the Attacking Liberals" remains a proposed tv show forever stuck in development hell. The egregious Sean Hannity is another matter.

    Friday, January 02, 2004


  • Our country's educational system is going to hell in a handbasket!.
  • Because of lack of funding? Overcrowded classrooms? Of course not. Blame the devil of "multiculturalism". Apparently "some" history books teach "more about popular culture than the Founders". It'd be nice if Mr. Thomas cited to any of these alleged books but he does not and his premise sounds phony to me. Mr. Thomas worries that "contemporary students know more about sex than about Shakespeare, more about the environment than about T.S. Eliot, more about popular culture than about Thomas Paine". Not to knock the works of Shakespeare and Eliot, but surely students (and all other humans) are right to dwell upon sex and the environment, two things upon which the future of the human race depends. As for Paine, it's kind of amusing that a well-known fundamentalist Christian like Cal Thomas desires American students to be well-acquainted with such a famous atheist like Paine.

    Mr. Thomas' multiculturalism worries were touched off by some new advanced placement program funded by the Chinese government to teach some U.S. students Chinese language and culture. If you learn a few Chinese characters one day, is it then just a matter of time until you're memorizing phrases from Mao's Little Red Book? I do know that after I took Spanish in high school I developed an uncontrollable craving for flan.

    Multiculturalism's been defined (World Book) as a recognition of both the contributions of women, non-Europeans, and people of Hispanic ancestry to this country and the injustices these groups have suffered, often at the hands of their government. Is that dangerous? Does giving students a more honest view of their country cause them to occasionally question certain actions of their government? And is that a bad thing? Lord knows we all ought to have lots of questions about our current regime. I can see why Mr. Thomas might find this dangerous.

    Thursday, January 01, 2004


  • Typical right-wing smear job on Hillary Clinton.
  • What makes it worse than most is that Mr. Thomas argues with skills inferior to an average high-school debating student. Check out this line: "While praising the troops, Sen. Clinton questioned the administration's post-war policy, a distinction I find inconsistent. The Nazi leadership believed the troops at Auschwitz also did a "good job." The policy and the performance go together, don't they? " Is this just standard media-whore stuff or can Cal really not see a distinction between the performance of our troops and the incompetence of the administration's post-war planning? Can't the troops be doing a great job under horrible conditions even though the Bush team was too stupid to make sure sufficient forces were in Iraq to do the job of reconstruction? And notice how Cal oh-so-cleverly threw in not just a Nazi reference, but freaking AUSCHWITZ when talking about Hillary. What a sicko.

    We all know what the right-wing's insane jihad against the Clintons and the Democratic Party has done to this country. And "insane" is the right word as reason, logic, honest debate, facts, and democratic government were trampled in the all-out frenzy to depose Clinton. The war against liberals and democracy continued through the stolen 2000 election and the 2002 "Democratics are traitors" congressional campaign. And AM talk radio and even our bookstores are daily cesspools for right-wing toxic spew.

  • David Neiwert
  • has posited the theory that on some level right-wingers know they obliterated the line between simple opposition and obtaining political power at all costs (I hate to paraphrase someone a lot smarter than me. Just go read his stuff). Psychologically, the only way for them to cope with their betrayal of the constitution is to convince themselves that Democrats are just as bad as themselves and that "Bush-hatred" is equivalent to the Clinton-hatred of the 1990's. Of course that's ridiculous. Democrats want Bush gone simply because he's a failure. They gave him every chance to succeed after 9/11. Can anyone imagine the Republicans giving Clinton or Gore the same benefit of the doubt had they been president? The right began trying to bring Clinton down before he was even elected.

    Here's more GOP projection: Cal finds it "particularly disturbing that Sen. Clinton can't seem to find a single good thing to say about the president". Any chance a review of Mr. Thomas' columns during the 8 years Bill Clinton was in office would show voluminous praise on the part of Mr. Thomas for his president? Of course not. Hillary Clinton and all the congressional Democrats have every reason in the world to criticize Bush. Despite their rock-solid support and praise for his "War on Terror", Bush used the genuine national crisis for partisan political purposes and successfully painted them as virtual traitors. But why get exercised over a little "stab in the back"? (Look! I also snuck in a Nazi reference but a much more creatively subtle one). Democratic voters haven't forgotten Cal. And check out this penetrating psychological insight: "She has suffered the indignities of a wronged wife, and she is determined to get what she thinks is her reward - the presidency". It never, ever ends with these people. The hatred for the Clintons is truly pathological. To the far-right, every action the Clintons take, every word they utter, every thought they think are simply manifestations of their "evil" souls. The mind reels but the GOP's continuing relentless drive to marginalize Democrats can only be justified if their opponents are indeed the spawn of Satan.

    We can all play word games. Let's substitute "he" for "she" and "Cocaine-using drunk-driving draft-dodger" for "wronged wife". Or how about "failed businessman repeatedly bailed out of trouble by his father's rich friends" for "wronged wife". You know, it is kind of fun. And a lot more accurate.

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