Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall

100_0367Republicans seem never to tire of gazing at their own reflections, but often disliking the beady eyes and fleshy face menacingly staring back at them, suddenly see their own glaring flaws writ larger than ever in others, and are unduly fond of pointing this out.  The bible makes early mention of this phenomenon, about motes in eyes or something, and in modern times psychologists have come to call it “projection,” but clearly both were onto something.  I wrote a bit about this subject back in August (“Rubber and Glue”), but practically every day since then more examples of this hogwash come up, and from all the usual suspects, of course.  It therefore didn’t exactly surprise me to see Liz Cheney, warming her usual seat on Fox News Sunday, loudly denouncing President Obama’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech as “slander” and “shameful,” because if anyone knows what those words mean, it’s she, and she comes by it honestly. But apparently having only had time to consult the “S” section of her dictionary before makeup, she went on to opine that Obama had “cast dispersions” on those heroically sadistic CIA agents and Gitmo guards by less than full-throatedly extolling the virtues of torture.  Not to sound schoolmarmish, Sister, you little fifth deferment, you, but “dispersion” is what happened to those bricks of cash in Iraq, and at any rate, cannot be “cast” at anybody. It may be nurture rather than nature; Daddy always thought “disburse” meant “disperse,” but maybe that blonde hair is more authentic than it looks.

Of course, Dick’s mini-me is a piker of projection compared to the global warming deniers.  Pockets bulging with checks from the astroturf sock puppets of Big Carbon, these typical ne’er-do-wells of dubious credentials fill the airwaves with accusations that the world’s scientists who have actively raised the alarm about a melting planet are in it for the money.  This particular projection I actually  find more sad than merely revolting.  Such desperate types literally find it unfathomable that anyone could possibly care about something other than their bank balance, so rather than a lie, this may just be their best guess.  They move into pants-on-fire territory, though, when they elaborate this ludicrous claim to include a concocted desire for one-world government, ludicrously claiming that they are defending “freedom,” for such salt of the earth, mom and pop outfits as Exxon-Mobil against ruthless predation by a cabal of scheming hippies and academics, as though $45 billion in profits leaves that poor little corporation, larger than many nations, powerless and voiceless amid the roar of crunching granola and Melissa Etheridge.

Which brings me to my favorite projectors, the various and multitudinous loudmouths who relentlessly blanket the airwaves lamenting their (somewhat hypothetical) loss of “free speech.”  The Mormon and Catholic Churches, wealthy multinationals who have chosen to, like Scientology, call themselves “religions” for tax purposes, are a perfect example.  They muscle their way into nearly every political debate regarding civil rights with overwhelming money and manpower, always against some minority or other they’ve taught their followers to hate, and then reflexively whine about the negative publicity such unwanted and un-Christian endeavors create.  Blinded by the reflection in the mirror, the Mormons seek to lecture the unsaved about marriage, despite their rather blemished record on the subject, and the Catholics threaten politicians about all matters of sexuality, even up to scuttling health care reform in so doing, despite their hypocritical silence about war, capital punishment, and their own horrendous and still unfolding coverups of worldwide sexual abuse in their ranks.  Some lives are more equal than others, you know.   But yet, they somehow see their First Amendment rights as constantly under threat, naturally through no fault of their own, and unlike their victims, they have plenty of tax-free dollars to spend on trial lawyers, and politicians to match.  Jesus was evidently only kidding when he talked about casting the first stone, or so it would seem.

Here in Little Beirut, we have our own home-grown mirror-gazer, because something called the Cascade Policy Institute has generously dedicated its existence to protect its corporate welfare recipient in chief, John Charles, from ever having to work for a living.  What Charles, rather unnecessarily but with numbing repetition, “defends” is the “free market,” defined by his corporate benefactors as unchecked sprawl, pollution, and four cars in every garage.  Even as Portland has led the nation in mass transit, carbon reduction, and not incidentally, livability, he rotely decries every expansion of streetcars and light rail as wasteful boondoggles, despite the fact that our stringent land-use laws and transit-oriented development incentives he insistently derides are an important factor in the relative lack of a real estate collapse here.  Across the Columbia in Vancouver, Washington, where land use laws are considerably less strict, sprawl and overdevelopment have drastically increased traffic on the six-lane Interstate bridge to the point where a $4 billion, 12-lane bridge replacement is now deemed necessary, but unfortunately no “free market” has stepped up to provide it.  Quelle surprise.  But thanks to the brainwashing bleatings of the likes of Charles, otherwise sentient Vancouverites now insist that charging tolls would be tantamount to communism, whereas getting their 12-lane behemoth for free from the government so they can shop here and avoid sales tax without annoying congestion is just how Ayn Rand would have wanted it.  They tossed out longtime Mayor Royce Pollard in the last election in favor of a male Sarah Palin chanting “No Tolls” instead of “Drill, Baby, Drill.”   What they’ll get, of course, is no bridge at all, at least for a long time, because without local matching funds that can only be raised by tolls, the federal boat will have sailed, and of course the creaking drawbridges of the aging bridge will have to open for it, causing a two-hour fiasco.  I find it hard to be sad about this.  For righties, arithmetic is the new evolution.

It does make it easier, though, to understand what righties are saying once you realize they are almost always speaking to the almighty mirror.   When they speak of “racism,” “political correctness,” ‘cowardice,” or some thinly veiled euphemism for treachery, you can be fairly certain you’re hearing it from a racist, a martinet, a chickenhawk, or a traitor…  the rest is just details.

They’re still the fairest of them all.


  1. avelna says:

    So how are they going to respond when that I-5 bridge collapses under the weight of all too many vehicles, ala the I-35 Minnesota debacle? Because I’m guessing that infrastructure spending is not high on their list of priorities either.

    • cocktailhag says:

      They love infrastructure, in this case; it’s the spending they’re against. They also voted down extending light rail across the river, twice, even after Portland extended it almost to the river.
      Maybe they could get Halliburton to build the bridge… The tolls would be $50 and they might get electrocuted in the process.

  2. retzilian says:

    The new motto will be “Swim, Baby, Swim.”

    • cocktailhag says:

      Well, if you want to feel better, Tom, I suggest you have a look-see at what the “government” paid Halliburton, Blackwater, et al, and try to discern some conceivable benefit for Americans from that.
      It would have been better, in my opinion, to have forced the private car companies to produce zero-emissions vehicles long ago through gas taxes that reflect the true costs of oil, including the wars as well as the environment. Gas would then be fifteen bucks, and the free market would have taken care of it. With oil companies running things, however, we have to resort to government interference, and pay for useless wars, too. Please make a note of it.

  3. dirigo says:

    It’s notable, Mr. Hag, that the Brits are grappling with the recent excesses of the Blair government with respect to the preemptive US/UK lurch into Iraq, while our government continues to drag its feet about the problem with the rationale for it all.

    After all, Tony Blair was Bush’s tool, his poodle. He always barked at a very high pitch when W. growled.

    So while the Chilcot commission, convened in London, prepares to question Blair, Blair has just said he might have used any old excuse to take down Saddam Hussein, just like W. said after it was established there were no operational WMDs within Saddam’s sweaty grasp.

    But these good ol’ boys – Tony and George – began by saying Baghdad required a military cakewalk by UK and American troops to root out those WMDs.

    Gawd, it was NEVER just about oil, or, say, an unprecedented spike in Pentagon contracts for civilian security services in war zones.



    And now, lo and behold, we find that the same foot-dragging American government has agreed, under legal pressure, to release some 22 million “lost” emails from the Bush White House, while appearing to codify policies on “enemy combatants” – suggesting a theoretical underpinning for the arrest of ANYONE (not just actual bad guys) who jaywalks oddly or appears threateningly cross-eyed to the orb manned by crack homeland security officials.


    Lordy! What kind of mirrors into the souls of our fearless leaders might those emails reveal?

    Keeping our feet to the fire and looking at ourselves in the mirror is the necessary corrective, and it seems clear the ravings on the right that we just move on and keep building our market paradise as if nothing awkward, or even terrible, has happened, will not save us any more than new bridges to nowhere or plans for endless subdivisions all across what’s left of the Plains and the West.

    People on the right will keep on, lecturing about blessed market forces (and Michael Steele will give us dance lessons) as though none of us have ever taken a basic econ course or worked for a living (or boogied at a peppermint lounge). But I’m not riding this bus. Good luck.

    And frankly, considering those same ravings in this country, I don’t think people in the UK and other parts of Europe are paying too much attention because the intellectual bottom has fallen out.

    It’s like watching hounds baying at the moon.

    Or worse:


    There’s much more fat to put on the blaze:

    “Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o’erstep not the modesty of nature. For anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, TO HOLD AS ‘TWERE THE MIRROR UP TO NATURE, to show virtue her own feature, SCORN HER OWN IMAGE (Think Silvio!), and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.”

    – Hamlet’s Speech to the Players/III,i
    – Shakespeare

  4. Meremark says:

    Perhaps a sort of ‘capper’ MediaMatters.ORG reported yesterday: said Limbaugh, “I am not a hater. It is ‘liberals’ whose hearts are all hate.”

    Instantly he recalled Nixon: “I am not a crook.”

    Somehow in the transparent reflection of the ‘I am not …‘ syntax, totally everyone sees the speaker spies himself and lies tied down with a false “not”.

    • cocktailhag says:

      It’s the old “I’m rubber, you’re glue” game. Harry Reid once told Ed Schultz, regarding the Bushies, “Whatever they say, believe the opposite.” I would elaborate that to say, “Whatever they say about you, they mean it about themselves.” A tale as old as time.

  5. sysprog says:

    Torygraph :

    Fears for Silvio Berlusconi’s morale

    By Nick Squires in Rome
    Published: 5:00PM GMT 15 Dec 2009

    The normally ebullient Italian prime minister, who in recent months has described himself as “Superman” and the best leader Italy has ever had, was left badly shaken and “saddened” by the violent assault, supporters said.

    Mr Berlusconi likens himself to a “bullfighter” fending off his enemies in the press and opposition. But his confidence appears to have taken a serious knock from the attack, which happened after a political rally in Milan on Sunday.

    “Why is there so much hate, why this violence?” the prime minister was quoted as asking close aides by La Repubblica newspaper. “I don’t hold resentment against anybody, I want the best for everybody. If I’d been hit a bit higher up, I could have lost an eye.”

    The 73-year-old leader cancelled plans to attend the UN climate summit in Copenhagen this week and is under orders from doctors to restrict his public appearances until the New Year.

    He is expected to be released from Milan’s San Raffaele hospital on Wednesday, having been kept under observation for three nights.

    He was left with a broken nose, two damaged teeth and deep cuts to his face when an electronics engineer, Massimo Tartaglia, 42, who has a history of mental illness, threw a souvenir of Milan’s famous cathedral at him.

    “Physically, he is eating normally, but with a bit of difficulty,” said his personal doctor, Alberto Zangrillo, who added that the premier had been “saddened” by the incident.

    “In terms of morale, it’s still a matter of concern.”

    In his first public comment on the attack on Tuesday, Mr Berlusconi posted a brief, oddly worded message on his party’s website in which he said:

    “Everyone needs to be calm and safe. Love always prevails over envy and hate.”

    Mr Tartaglia sent a letter to Mr Berlusconi apologising for what he called a

    “superficial, cowardly and inconsiderate act”.

    “I don’t recognise myself,” he said in the letter, insisting that he had “acted alone [with no] form of militancy or political affiliation.”

    He faces up to five years in prison if convicted of assaulting the media tycoon, with a judge expected to rule on Wednesday on whether he should be sent to a psychiatric hospital or kept on remand.

    Replicas of the alabaster statuette of Milan’s Duomo have been selling in numbers to tourists as a macabre reminder of the attack.

    While Mr Berlusconi nursed his injuries, his spirits may have been lifted by a message from Vladimir Putin, who praised the

    “manly way”

    his friend handled himself after being left with blood streaming down his face.

    - – Torygraph

  6. dirigo says:


    Ban foreign pigs; or abolish sausages altogether !


    (And what is Sen. Kerry’s role in all this?)