Saturday, August 22, 2009

What Is It With Ben Connable?

This morning I received two more emails from the man. Email No. 1—(The Veiled Threat) "How sad. You will be contacted." Email No. 2—(The Put-Down) "Ms. Tomme - On second thought, knock yourself out. I did a bit of research on your website and I do not believe you have a big enough audience of rational readers to do my reputation any damage. I wish you the best of luck." Well, he’s right about that. Who am I? And who is this Ben Connable, the constantly commenting Bush-administration Iraq War apologist and propagandist from almost five years ago, the purported “GOP tool”? Who is this man, and why has he concerned himself with the Ratbang blog? I have no idea.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Elusive Ben Connable Surfaces, (Maybe)

Of course, one does not know if the email I received this morning is really from Ben Connable or if the email was a joke being perpetrated on Mr. Connable. Almost five years ago, a man named Ben Connable was having articles printed all over the mainstream media and the Internet. They were all Bush administration propagandistic in tone about the Iraq war. At that time, Connable was being called “elusive” because he could not be tracked down, and substantive, in-depth info on him could not be found. Following, if you choose to respond that way, is your morning hoo-hah! giggle and my response. “Request to Remove Post August 19, 2009 Ms. Tomme, I am Ben Connable, a retired Marine Corps officer and author of several articles on the Iraq war. In your December 14, 2005 column on the website, "Ratbang Diary" at you refer to me as a "GOP tool" and state that I have been writing propaganda pieces for the Pentagon since I was a Captain. While you are free to comment on the substance of my articles, I ask that you either produce proof that I am, or have been a member of the GOP since the Iraq war began in 2003, that I have been directed or coaxed to write articles for the GOP, or that my writings have in any way been directed by an official in the Pentagon. (In fact, none of these things are true.) If you cannot produce such proof, I formally request that you remove this libelous post from your website. It appears in the first page of a Google search of my name and therefore affects my reputation as an author. This in turn directly affects my livelihood. Thank you. - Ben Connable” “Re: Request to Remove Post Good morning Mr. Connable, No. I cannot remove my December 14, 2005 Ratbang post. It is not libelous, since it does not fall under the definition of libel, which is: "a false and malicious publication printed for the purpose of defaming a living person". The purpose of the article was to reprint the truth as it was being reported at the time. I do not now nor have I ever had the purpose of defaming anyone, and certainly not you. What I will do is reprint your email to me today in a Ratbang post today. And I will also reprint my answer to you. I will do this because I think your apparently sudden desire to reinvent yourself after four-and-a-half-years is hilariously funny. By the way, know that I do not engage in dialogues with commenters to Ratbang and I do delete comments that are long and/or offensive. Sincerely, Joy Tomme”

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Philadelphia Eagles Disgrace Itself

The guys who run the Eagles pro-football team have just come out with the biggest load of baloney to defend their decision to sign ex-con, animal abuser Michael Vick as an Eagles quarterback. As a matter of fact, the NFL mavens should never have lifted Vick’s suspension, which allowed him to get back into pro-football. Eagles head coach Andy Reid says Vick deserves a second chance. That is a silly and spurious argument. When convicts have served their sentences they do deserve to come back into society and they do deserve to lead their lives as rehabilitated persons. But society also deserves to put limits on how it allows ex-cons to make a living and how it allows certain ex-cons back into its embrace. Convicted bank robbers do not deserve to be hired by banks when they come out of jail; parents who have been convicted of abusing their children do not deserve to once again live with their children; priests who have been convicted of molesting children do not deserve to work with children, and a convicted Enron executive does not deserve to make millions again as a corporate mogul. The above examples are only a few instances of wisdom overriding the second-chance adage. And trotting out second-chance piety about ex-con animal abuser Michael Vick is specious and hollow. Michael Vick lost his right (or, he should have lost his right) to play professional football when he dishonored the game by getting involved in a dogfighting ring. Dogfighting is so low and reprehensible that participants can be jailed for engaging in the offense, as Vick was. If the NFL chose to allow Vick to get back in the game, that is a bad decision by the NFL. But for the Eagles management to then compound that bad decision and have so little moral fiber as to allow Coach Andy Reid to hire Vick is beyond low and reprehensible. The Eagles hiring of Michael Vick is depraved, repugnant and vile.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

“Making of Legislative Sausage Is Never Pretty”

That was one of Frank Rich’s sentences in his Sunday morning New York Times Op-Ed column today (“Is Obama Punking Us?”) and it needs to be remembered. How come everyone (and the most flagrantly-forgetting offenders are the news media) come EVERYONE forgets that THE MAKING OF LEGISLATIVE SAUSAGE IS NEVER PRETTY? How come everyone conveniently forgets that all legislators trade horses...including Presidents of these United States and oh my! DO THEY EVER!!! Rich’s column was about how President Obama is facing REALITY. The reality being that the world is looking at the promises Barack Obama made as a Presidential candidate as opposed to the actuality of Barack Obama as President. What is striking me at this moment is the bullshit parading in so-called news stories as “What Americans Value”. I am reminded of my hometown, Paxton, Illinois. All those staunch male Republicans who ran that small town in the 1940’s and 1950’s valued the high price of corn, the belief that women needed to obey men, the belief that teen-age girls didn’t know (as in, the Biblical understanding of “know”) about sex and if they did, they were whores and that the boys who knew about sex were normal young men who should be applauded. The truth of the matter was that boys and girls were having sex and enjoying it; some were getting embroiled in the reality of sex leading to pregnancy, shotgun weddings were happening all over the lot, women were making the best of a bad situation, bad laws and a male-dominated understanding of religion, and the price of corn was very important. And, all during the ‘40’s and ‘50’s, as now, we kept hearing that Americans value honesty, purity, and God. Which, of course, always was, is now, and no doubt will be into the foreseeable future a HUGE CROCK OF CRAP! Yes, Barack Obama is trading horses. He has to. He has to, because this is the way our government and our society are set up. Were we a country that valued honesty in all things, it probably wouldn’t be necessary for a President to trade horses and engage in the making of stinky legislative sausage. But given that this country values an untrue and impossible-to-live-up-to image of itself, we are stuck with WHAT IS as opposed to WHAT-WE-WISH-WERE-TRUE. And, I am not ranting about what results from all this BULLSHIT. What results actually works out fairly well. And it usually is not a bad deal for the majority of people in this land. What I am ranting against is the pain that is inflicted on all of us by the hypocrites and assholes who demand that we live up to a cheesy, sham, deceptive, fake, deceitful ideal that the political charlatans selling all this phony purity, honesty and love of God can’t live up to themselves. So...what else did Frank Rich say today? His last paragraph is quotable: “The best political news for the president remains the Republicans. It’s a measure of how out of touch G.O.P. leaders like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are that they keep trying to scare voters by calling Obama a socialist. They have it backward. The larger fear is that Obama might be just another corporatist, punking voters much as the Republicans do when they claim to be all for the common guy. If anything, the most unexpected — and challenging — event that could rock the White House this August would be if the opposition actually woke up.”

Sunday, August 02, 2009

A Face in the Alaska Crowd

The parallel between Sarah Palin’s antics and the Andy Griffith movie, “A Face in the Crowd”, is stunning. In the 1957 movie made from a Budd Schulberg story, Griffith was a guitar playing, boozing drifter who was plucked out of the throng by TV-exec Patricia Neal who saw in him an attractive crowd-pleasing quality. And she made him into a star. His trajectory was like a skyrocket. The problem was, he became so powerful and corrupt, he had to be brought down. And the comeuppance was made possible by his hubris and addiction to fame. This morning we hear that Sarah and Todd Palin are getting a divorce due to multiple affairs on both sides. We hear that she’s hotfooting it out of Alaska with the kids and moving to Montana. We hear that she’s shopping herself as a radio talk-show host and the radio execs are not saying NO. We hear she took off her wedding ring in a fit of pique after her July 31 official announcement she was quitting her Alaska Governor gig. We hear she stormed off with her kids leaving Todd standing in the wake of her dust. We hear her plan to publish a ghostwritten book and make millions is going full-steam ahead. And we hear that the Palin’s reluctant and no-longer-future son-in-law-baby-maker Levi Johnson has taped a tell-all interview (without his handlers) for “Vanity Fair” which will appear in October. this the meltdown that was bound to come, ala “A Face in The Crowd”? No. Palin has no self-awareness. She has no internal monitor to warn her she’s off-track and headed for disaster. The big meltdown is yet to come. And, as fun as it’s been to watch this classic allegory come to life warning us about the dangers of power and fame, the BIG Palin Showdown-Meltdown is yet to come. And it will be painful to see.