Tag Archives: Adolf Hitler

Partial book review: ‘Wingnuts’

This book sucks ass, as does its author. I did my best, but I was able to get only to page 18.

Trying to buck the criticism that those of us on the left never expose ourselves to views on the right (and vice-versa), I recently bought a copy of John Avlon’s Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America.

I like and I often use the term “wingnut” myself, and I bought Avlon’s book even though he (incorrectly) redefines the term “wingnut” to include those on either far side of the political ideology spectrum. (Actually, the commonly accepted meaning of the term “wingnut” is an individual who is to the far right, and the term “moonbat” would be applied to one on the far left.)

Despite the fact that I disagree with Avlon’s retooling of the vernacular to suit his own purposes, and despite the fact that his book puts Keith Olbermann on its cover with Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin — a strikingly false equivalency — I bought his book at full cover price.

Can you say “buyer’s remorse”?

After several pages of reading Avlon’s false equivalencies — for instance, he implies that what he calls “Bush Derangement Syndrome” was/is anything like what he calls “Obama Derangement Syndrome,” which we have been witnessing for some time now* — I finally had to literally toss Avlon’s book aside when, on page 18, I read Avlon refer to the democratically elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as “Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.”

I mean, as U.S. Sen. Al Franken has put it, you are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.

Hugo Chavez has been elected and re-elected by a strong majority of Venezuela’s voters and he has the support of a strong majority of the people of Venezuela.

Chavez has been clamping down on his right-wing political opposition (who did, after all, illegally and treasonously attempt to overthrow him in 2002),  and Venezuela needs to be monitored for human rights abuses (just as every nation does, and nothing has gone on in Venezuela under Chavez’s watch that has even approached what happened at the Abu Ghraib House of Horrors or at the Guantanamo Bay Concentration Camp during the eight long nightmarish years of rule by the unelected Bush regime).

But Hugo Chavez is far away from having earned the title of “dictator.” To call Chavez a “dictator” isn’t just against my belief that a nation’s government should work for the benefit of the most number of the nation’s people instead of for the benefit of the minority plutocrats and corporatocrats, as Chavez believes, but it is blatantly factually incorrect, and I can’t handle “non-fiction” books containing such glaring factual errors.

Nor does Avlon bother to explain why he uses the term “dictator” — he just throws it out there for no other apparent reason than that the members of the Bush regime (and George W. Bush, never having been legitimately elected, having started a bogus war that has cost thousands upon thousands of lives and billions upon billions of dollars, having shit and pissed all over the U.S. Constitution, and having left the nation in much, much worse shape than he got it, certainly comes closer to the dictionary definition of “dictator” than does Chavez ) and their allies at FOX “News” falsely called Chavez a “dictator” for several years. (To the right wing you are a “dictator,” you see, if you refuse to kiss U.S. corporate ass and refuse to surrender your nation’s natural resources and other wealth to U.S. corporations; that you have been democratically elected by your people is irrelevant to the democracy-hating, election-stealing right wing.)

But Avlon already demonstrates, before he calls Hugo Chavez a “dictator,” that he’s no more than a smug pretty boy who is posing as an expert on politics.

About all that he points to, in the 18 pages that I was able to stomach, in order to exemplify the far left or the far right are some examples of some political figure, usually George W. Bush or Barack Obama, being compared to Adolf Hitler. Ooooo! Insightful!

However, while skimming through his book, I noted that apparently anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan is a “wingnut”** for having stood up against the Bush regime’s bogus Vietraq War that killed her son — a war that the majority of Americans now acknowledge, fucking finally, was a bogus war.

Hmmm… A woman’s young son is killed for non-existent weapons of mass destruction, Dick Cheney’s Halliburton profits obscenely in that bogus war (as do the BushCheneyCorp’s other oily subsidiaries), and because she has the gall to protest her son’s pointless death, that makes Sheehan a “wingnut,” according to Avlon, who, I take it, hasn’t had a loved one killed in the Vietraq War or ever even been in harm’s way himself. 

Overall, Avlon reminds me of a lazy, mediocre parent or teacher who witnesses two children fighting, and, because he doesn’t want to bother to try to figure out what they’re fighting about — and whether one child might actually be in the right and the other child might actually be in the wrong — he labels both fighting children as equally guilty. There. Done with it. Why bother to unravel the facts? And why take sides?

Except that the real world is so much more complex than that, and our crumbling democracy didn’t really need another book put out there to tell people that instead of closely examining the facts and taking a principled stand on important issues based upon the facts, they need to just join the mushy middle, because obviously there’s no difference between the impassioned right and the impassioned left (or, as Avlon calls everyone who isn’t a milquetoast, apolitical, apathetic sleepwalker, the “wingnuts”).

To give just one of many possible demonstrations of how Avlon shills a false equivalency between the right and the left, right now, as I type this sentence, a book incredibly titled The Manchurian President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists incredibly is No. 13 — thirteen — on amazon.com’s top 100-selling books list.

When does a moonbat title like that ever get that far on any of the mainstream best-selling books lists?

Further, I know that many of us on the left had at least some fear of possible retribution for our outspokenness against the unelected, mass-murdering Bush regime — the Bush regime was, after all, engaging in the illegal surveillance of American citizens in the name of “national security,” and the Abu Ghraib House of Horrors and the Guantanamo Bay Concentration Camp certainly demonstrated for us where the Bush regime stood on human rights — yet here is a book out calling President Obama a “Manchurian president,” and I don’t sense that the wingnuts (the right-wing kind) have any real fear of retribution from the Obama administration for their publishing, promoting or purchasing a book thus titled.

And that’s because historically, dictators and tyrants — the kind who, unlike Hugo Chavez, actually steal elections, rule against the wishes of the majority of the ruled, and who actually torture and murder their political opponents — predominantly have been right-wingers, not left-wingers. (The right-wing Chilean Augusto Pinochet, for example, was a dictator.)

The wingnuts (my definition of the term, not Avlon’s) attack Obama unreservedly because they know that those on the left only rarely use what I might call, a la Dick Cheney, the “enhanced” tactics used by those on the right against their political opponents. Paradoxically, if Obama truly were the tyrant the wingnuts say he is, they probably wouldn’t be calling him a “tyrant” or a “Manchurian president” or the like — because if he truly were that, he just might retaliate against them.

As far as “Obama Derangement Syndrome” is concerned, it’s far more virulent and widespread than “Bush Derangement Syndrome” ever was. Not only did anti-Bush books not sell nearly as well as anti-Obama books sell today, but there was no “tea-party”-like “movement” formed by the left in response to Bush. The closest thing to the left’s “tea party” that I can think of is MoveOn.org, which, compared to the den of vipers that comprise the tea party, is a den of garter snakes.  

And while the minimum that we factually can say about the 2000 presidential election is that George W. Bush was made president in late 2000 under circumstances that were shady at best, and that in November 2000 he captured only 47.9 percent of the popular vote to Democrat Al Gore’s 48.4 percent, and that he was “re”-elected by only 50.7 percent of the popular vote in 2004, Barack Obama won 52.9 percent of the popular vote in November 2008, a better showing at the polls than “President” Bush ever had, yet far more people have questioned Obama’s presidential legitimacy than questioned Bush’s, even though Bush’s presidential legitimacy was much, much more questionable than Obama’s ever has been.

If you are a right-wing white guy from an oily, rich family, you can “win” the White House without having won the most number of votes (by “winning” the pivotal state of which your brother conveniently is governor, with a little help from that state’s top elections official who also sat on that state’s committee to elect you, and with a lot of help from the recount-quashing U.S. Supreme Court). And that kind of shit is perfectly OK.

But if you’re a black guy, you’re considered illegitimate even if you did better in your presidential election than the last white guy did in his two presidential elections. (But nooooo, racism is dead in the United States of Amnesia!)

For Avlon to make the false equivalency between the far left and the far right — to lump everyone who feels strongly about politics together as “wingnuts” — isn’t only grossly inaccurate, but it’s dangerous to our already endangered, dumbed-down democracy.

If you want to read a real book that’s worth your money, read Susan Jacoby’s The Age of American Unreason, now available in paperback.

Pay close attention to her chapter on “junk thought” — a term that describes John Avlon’s book to a “T”.

*Avlon defines “Obama Derangement Syndrome” as “Pathological hatred of President Obama, posing as patriotism,” and “Bush Derangement Syndrome” more or less as a visceral aversion to George W. Bush, of which I myself have been afflicted.

**On page 189, Avlon quotes Sheehan as — gasp! — having called George W. Bush a “bigger terrorist than Osama bin Laden.” Actually, it’s a fucking fact that Bush is reponsible for the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of people, including tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians and more than 4,000 of our troops, in his bogus Vietraq War — which is far more people than Osama bin Laden is responsible for having slaughtered on September 11, 2001, which was fewer than 3,000 people. And if we can call bin Laden a terrorist for having masterminded the slaughter of so many innocents, why can’t we call Bush & Co. terrorists for having masterminded the slaughter of so many more innocents? Why the fucking double standard?

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‘Inglourious Basterds’ rather inglorious for a film by Quentin Tarantino

In this film publicity image released by The Weinstein Co., ...

Lead Nazi slayer Aldo Raine, played by Brad Pitt, addresses his merry band of Nazi slayers in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds,” one of Tarantino’s less gory — and lesser — endeavors (which at least came to us in just one part…).

As I have noted before, I think that they make way too Holocaust-themed movies. No, I’m not anti-Semitic, and no, I’m not a Holocaust denier, and it’s sad that I have to state that up front.

It’s that the Holocaust has been done.

But I’m a Quentin Tarantino fan, and so I saw “Inglourious Basterds” on its opening weekend.

I love ya, Quentin, but I can give “Basterds” only a “B.”

“Basterds” starts out promisingly. The opening scene, in which Nazis search for Jews being hidden at a French farmhouse, at first seems overlong, but then you realize that Tarantino got it just right.

And then it looks like the entire movie, or most of it, anyway, is going to be about Brad Pitt, who plays an American named Lt. Aldo Raine with a hick accent who is something like Robin Hood leading a band of merry men, only this Robin Hood and these merry men (who call themselves the “Inglourious Basterds”) don’t steal from the rich and give to the poor, but they hunt, kill and scalp — yes, scalp — Nazis in Nazi-occupied France. And most of these Nazi slayers are Jews.

But after teasing us with this novel slant on the whole Holocaust-movie thing, “Basterds” then goes into a much-less-interesting and less novel direction involving a young Jewish woman named Shosanna (well-played by Melanie Laurent) who survived the Nazis’ slaughter of her family and who plots her revenge when the premiere of a Nazi propaganda film is slated to be shown in the movie theater that she owns and operates in France.

Pitt and his band of merry Nazi killers come back into the movie, but only after we’ve been fairly bored by the whole movie-theater subplot.

Pitt does a kick-ass job in “Basterds,” as does Christoph Waltz as Nazi Col. Hans Landa, the “Jew hunter,” whose Oscar-worthy role runs throughout the entire film. It is largely on the strength of the performances that I can give “Basterds” a “B.”

Also doing a great job are Eli Roth as the “Bear Jew,” who takes a baseball bat to Nazis’ craniums, and Til Schweiger as former Nazi Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz, who for some reason decided to turn on his fellow Nazi officers and start terminating them (whether he opposed their “cause” or whether he is just psychopathic is not clear to me) before he was taken in by the Basterds. I wanted to see much more of these two characters and I was disappointed to see one of them terminated too early and too ingloriously.

Also interesting about “Basterds” is Tarantino’s reinterpretation of Adolf Hitler (played by Martin Wuttke) as a perpetually fuming and sputtering tyrant hilariously (darkly so) replete with a red monarch’s cape. (Tarantino also reinterprets the history of Hitler in an interesting way that I can’t tell you about, because it would give away the ending of the movie…)

Mike Myers (yes, the “Austin Powers” Mike Myers) makes an appearance as a British general that is supposed to be quirky, I think, but is more throwaway than quirky.

Tarantino’s re-envisioned Hitler and his twisted version of Robin Hood and his band of merry men alone make “Basterds” worth seeing — and I must admit that it’s hard not to feel some amount of glee to witness Nazis being exterminated like the cockroaches that they were — but “Basterds” has too much that isn’t that interesting and doesn’t measure up to what we’re used to getting from Tarantino, so it misses an “A” for me.

Maybe the uninteresting portions of “Basterds” were Tarantino’s attempt to be a more “serious” director? If so, well, he should have stuck to what he does best. There is no shortage of “serious,” “respectable” movies about the Nazis and the Holocaust out there.

“Kill Bill,” to me, still remains Tarantino’s best work to date.

My grade: B

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We liberals need to stop resting on our laurels and start slaying the vampires

 Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative ManifestoLiberty versus the Tyranny of Socialism: Controversial Essays

Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of MeaningGuilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America

These wingnutty titles, for which trees actually died, are typical of amazon.com’s top 100 best-selling books list right now.

So I was perusing amazon.com’s top 100 best-selling book titles just now, and among the top 100 are these lovely wingnutty titles:

  • Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto
  • Liberty Versus the Tyranny of Socialism: Controversial Essays (gee, the wingnuts just can’t get enough of that “tyranny” thing; funny, for some reason it wasn’t tyranny when Repugnican George W. Bush stole the White House in late 2000, but it’s “tyranny” when the majority of American voters actually do elect a Democratic — er, I mean, “Socialist” — president)
  • Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America (this is by the same wingnut dipshit author of Liberty and Tyranny, so his argument probably is not that the Supreme Court destroyed the United States of America by having appointed G.W. Bush as president in late 2000)
  • A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (and Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media (of course, it was perfectly fine with the wingnuts when the mainstream media just rolled over and played dead when the Repugnican-dominated Supreme Court, not the majority of American voters, elected Bush in 2000, and it was perfectly fine with the wingnuts when the mainstream media were nothing but fucking cheerleaders for the unelected Bush regime’s bogus Vietraq War in early 2003 [“shock and awe” makes great television!])
  • Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning (replete with a cute little picture of a smiley face with a Hitler ‘stache, comparing liberals to Adolf Hitler; nice!)
  • Atlas Shrugged (the dead Ayn Rand’s ancient wingnutty novel that apparently is like Dungeons & Dragons to conservative geeks; Rand also wrote a nonfiction tome lovingly titled The Virtue of Selfishness*)
  • The American Patriot’s Almanac: Daily Readings on America, by wingnut William Bennett (wingnuts almost always wrap their toxic ideology in such nice sheepskin as “patriotism” and “liberty”)
  • Ann Cunter’s latest drivel (does it even matter what the title of it is?)
  • Bill O’Reilly’s latest drivel (ditto)
  • In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms, by wingnut dingbat “Dr.” Laura Schlessinger (hey, if a woman wants to be a stay-at-home mom, that’s fine by me, as I support a woman’s right to choose, but why do I have the sinking feeling that Schlessinger’s stance is that a woman should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen?)

While it’s a virtual wingnut extravaganza on amazon.com’s top 100 best-selling books list, there is a dearth of liberal titles on the list, which makes me suspect that we libbies are resting on our laurels now that centrist Barack Obama is in the White House.

My fellow libbies, let me remind you that the wingnuts are like Freddy or Jason: They have a tendency to come back.

The ideological war continues; there is no hiatus just because we finally have an actually democratically elected president in the White House who is a Democrat.

Just like Team Bush hijacked the White House in late 2000, the wingnuts have hijacked such terms as “liberty,” “freedom” and “patriotism” — while calling their opponents (who would be us, the majority of Americans, who voted for Barack Obama in November 2008) “tyrants” and “fascists” and “traitors” and the like.

We need to put an end to this shit now — and not allow Freddy or Jason to return from the dead.

Speaking of the undead, I also noted that amazon.com’s top 100, curiously, is chock full o’ vampire titles.

Hmmm… Conservatism, vampirism… Same thing

We liberals need to get off of our laurels and finish the job of driving that stake through the heart of the vampire that is called conservatism.

(Maybe we can start with the queen of the damned wingnuts, Ann Cunter…)

*Library Journal says this of The Virtue of Selfishness:

…[A] good essayist with a flair for the dramatic turn of phrase, [Rand] wasted her obvious writing skills in an effort to support outlandish personal opinions cloaked in the guise of logic. An absolutist thinker, she devotes one whole essay to an effort to persuade us that we really should see things as black and white, with no shades of gray.

Born in Soviet Russia, Rand so despised socialism and collectivist thinking that she leapt to the furthest extreme possible to become the champion of unbridled capitalism, the rights of the individual at the expense of the community, and the diminution of all regulation by the state, with the exception of a judicial system and the control of crime.

Among the sadly dated ideas she conveys are the attitude that homosexuals are mutant symptoms of a sick society and the belief that anyone with an interest in internationalism is a “one world” proponent.

To use one of her own favored words, Rand’s political and social philosophy is critically “muddled.” … 

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White-pride dipshits make me embarrassed to be white

Heath Campbell, left, with his wife Deborah and son Adolph Hitler, ...

Associated Press photo

These parents (yeah, the person on the left reportedly is a dude) named their child, whom they are cuddling, Adolf Hitler and they say they don’t know what all the fuss is about. And if you want a swastika on your kid’s birthday cake, try Wal-Mart.

Looking at me — white male, blue eyes, shaved head — you might think that I’m a white supremacist.

Uh, I’m not. I’m queerer than a $3 bill; I find many if not most “Christians” to be quite satanic, ironically (let’s slaughter those Muslim babies for Jeeezus!); and I think that George W. Bush should be held to the same standards of justice that Americans expect other nations’ mass murdering dictators (such as Saddam Hussein, most recently) to be held to. And that’s just for starters.

Sex change?

Can I get a race change?

Because white people like these make me feel damned embarrassed to be white:

[From The Associated Press] EASTON, Pa. – The father of 3-year-old Adolf Hitler Campbell, denied a birthday cake with the child’s full name on it by one New Jersey supermarket, is asking for a little tolerance. Heath Campbell and his wife, Deborah, are upset not only with the decision made by the Greenwich ShopRite, but with an outpouring of angry Internet postings in response to a local newspaper article over the weekend on their flare-up over frosting.

“I think people need to take their heads out of the cloud they’ve been in and start focusing on the future and not on the past,” Heath Campbell said [today] in an interview conducted in Easton, on the other side of the Delaware River from where the family lives in Hunterdon County, N.J.

“There’s a new president and he says it’s time for a change; well, then it’s time for a change,” the 35-year-old continued. “They need to accept a name. A name’s a name. The kid isn’t going to grow up and do what (Hitler) did.”

Deborah Campbell, 25, said she phoned in her order last week to the ShopRite. When she told the bakery department she wanted her son’s name spelled out, she was told to talk to a supervisor, who denied the request.

Karen Meleta, a spokeswoman for ShopRite, said the Campbells had similar requests denied at the same store the last two years and said Heath Campbell previously had asked for a swastika to be included in the decoration.

“We reserve the right not to print anything on the cake that we deem to be inappropriate,” Meleta said. “We considered this inappropriate.”

The Campbells ultimately got their cake decorated at a Wal-Mart in Pennsylvania, Deborah Campbell said. About 12 people attended the birthday party on Sunday, including several children who were of mixed race, according to Heath Campbell.

“If we’re so racist, then why would I have them come into my home?” he asked.

The Campbells’ other two children also have unusual names: JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell turns 2 in a few months and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell will be 1 in April.

Heath Campbell said he named his son after Adolf Hitler because he liked the name and because “no one else in the world would have that name.” He sounded surprised by all the controversy the dispute had generated.

Campbell said his ancestors are German and that he has lived his entire life in Hunterdon County. [Today] he wore a pair of black boots he said were worn by a German soldier during World War II.

He said he was raised not to avoid people of other races but not to mix with them socially or romantically. But he said he would try to raise his children differently.

“Say he grows up and hangs out with black people. That’s fine, I don’t really care,” he said. “That’s his choice.”

Why the fuck is it that the haters, such as the white supremacists who name their kids Adolf Hitler and the homo-haters who think that gay men and lesbians should be denied their equal human and civil rights, have now co-opted the concept of tolerance and are demanding tolerance for their intolerance? And worse, why are so many Americans actually buying this sick and twisted “argument”?

And the same stupid white dude who likes to prance around in Nazi footwear from World War II tells the rest of us that we need to “start focusing on the future and not on the past.” Hmmm…

Here’s a heterosexual couple that thinks that the swastika belongs on a child’s birthday cake and thinks that “Adolph Hitler” and “Aryan Nation” are appropriate names for their children.

But we must not — must not! — let those fags and dykes raise our precious children!

Why do the white-pride people make me feel so ashamed to be white?

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