The Monkey Cage

I need you to take 30 seconds to watch the RNC attack ad below. That way, all that follows will make better sense to to you, Gentle Reader/Viewer.

Antisemitism on display?  Absolutely. But more from the accusers than from the accused. From the mysteriously and anonymously registered on October 18 website, which has mysteriously gone “offline” [update: it’s back, now]:

click for the RNC YouTube original

Has the GOP gone completely mad?

Uh, yeah. But there’s a reason for it, and there’s not actually a “GOP” anymore. 

The easiest way to explain this is by analogy.

In Eastern psychology, there is the concept of the emotions as the “monkey cage” or “a cage of monkeys.” Perhaps

During the day, the Mind continually fulfills the will of  whichever monkey is screaming the loudest. When it gets what it wants, it shuts up. Then, the NEXT screaming monkey. They are under no requirement to be consistent: the monkey screaming for chocolate cake shuts up when the piehole is filled, and then the “you must diet” monkey screams.

Right now the “Right” and the “Conservatives” and the “GOP” are the monkey cage. The difference is that, in this case, mind has been fired. (A Konservative mind would never go on strike – no matter how hideous the working konditions.)

People constantly complain about the GOP “presidential” field. But consider it from their point of view:  Right now there is no such thing as a “qualified Republican candidate.”

That’s not a slam; it’s a stone cold fact. The Party has no clear consensus and, thus, “priorities” are all over the map. They are held together either by hatred — Guns, God, Gays, etc. — or else sheer contrariness — oppose all Democratic ideas, no matter how sound — but the fundamental positions within the GOP are SO contradictory that no one exists who could fill the wish list for the crazy salad they’d collectively like to toss.

I mean, accusing Congressman Steve Israel of anti0-semitism for standing with Occupy Wall Street is absurd on the face of it. The former President and CEO of the Institute on Holocaust and Law is probably NOT anti-semitic, nor, given his name, would one automatically mistake him for a Protestant.

No: this is the screaming of monkeys.

The attempt by the RNC to throw the anti-semitism card at the Occupy Wall Street movement is nearly Keystone Kops in its undistinguished hamhandedness:

It begins on October 19, last Wednesday with this headline, when it hit Memeorandum at 12:30 AM, t0 be precise:

Jonathan Easley / The Hill:
GOP rips Dems for anti-Semitism in Occupy Wall Street protests


ZIP / Weasel Zippers:   RNC Rips Dem Leaders For Failing To Denounce Anti-Semitim At Occupy Wall Street Protests…

And here is a taste of the story:

GOP rips Dem silence on anti-Semitism in Wall Street protests
By Jonathan Easley – 10/19/11 09:26 AM ET

The Republican National Committee is calling out Democratic leaders for ignoring episodes of anti-Semitism in the Occupy Wall Street protests.

The GOP argues the Democrats are holding a double standard by ripping the Tea Party for incidents of racism in the movement while letting slide anti-Semitic comments by demonstrators protesting corporate greed.

“Democratic leaders have spent the last week championing the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement,” read a statement from RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer. “Yet in the midst of protestors’ extreme anti-Semitic, anti-Israel comments, they’ve been silent.”

Spicer criticized President Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

“Where’s the outrage?” he asked. “While protestors are seen spewing hate against Jewish Americans, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz have declared their support for the demonstrations. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Steve Israel even circulated a petition saying he’s ‘standing with’ Occupy Wall Street.”

Spicer’s memo included links to videos on YouTube that showed a few protestors making anti-Semitic statements.

Gee, where’s the outrage at outrage? Does this lack of outrage about the outrage outrage you? And what about Bill O’Reilly? How can he be outraged, when the Democrats aren’t outraged that some of those outraged by the outrageous antics of Wall Street and the Plutocracy aren’t outrageous enough to characterize the entire Occupy Wall Street for the phony Marxist, Socialist, Anti-Semitic, illegitimate Dirty Hippy lawbreaking thing that it is???!

And how low can the GOP go when they’ve been feeding a non-stop “find the crank” and use him or her to smear the entire crowd* agenda for the entire week? It verges on the pathetic.

[* The Crazy Salad du Jour is Fox News’ “EXCLUSIVE: ACORN Playing Behind Scenes Role in ‘Occupy’ Movement” — even though they were just reporting that ACORN doesn’t exist (and ought to know, since they held the flailing arms as Breitbart and O’Keefe slit its throat)]

The Ghost of ACORN Past

This is very interesting, when you consider that the domain — the one whose sole page and mission is to present the video at the top of this post — was registered on October 18 [emphasis added]:


Domain name:

Administrative Contact:
Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc.
Whois Agent (
Fax: +1.4259744730
PMB 368, 14150 NE 20th St – F1
Bellevue, WA 98007

Technical Contact:
Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc.
Whois Agent (
Fax: +1.4259744730
PMB 368, 14150 NE 20th St – F1
Bellevue, WA 98007

Registrant Contact:
Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc.
Whois Agent ()

PMB 368, 14150 NE 20th St – F1
Bellevue, WA 98007

Status: Locked

Name Servers:

Creation date: 18 Oct 2011 13:22:02
Expiration date: 18 Oct 2012 13:22:00

Registered, you will notice, anonymously. (More on that in a moment.)

So, the attempt to smear Steve Israel and the Occupy Wall Street movement BY THE RNC was created at approximately 1:30 PM October 18th (EDT?), and the pliable reporter with “The Hill” and the obligatory cross-linked blog to drive it to Memeorandum (Weasel Zippers, in this case) had the story “breaking” by 12:30 PM EDT on October 19th. No coordinated plan going there.

And then this week, the fully-produced campaign ad, with requisite footage of crazies was released. Here’s a screenshot:

The faint rectangle at the bottom says the RNC is responsible, as well

OK. So WHY did they register it anonymously?

Obviously, they knew that people would have to know who put the site up, and go to great lengths to make sure they’re taking full responsibility. So, what lunacy grips them that they have to register their new attack domain ANONYMOUSLY?

I guess ‘never let your right hand know what your far right hand is doing’ right? It is reflexive secretiveness, absurdly expressed. But absurdity is the order of the day.

 That strip you see across the top is the Google cache legend, explaining that this was how the website looked “a snapshot of the page as it appeared on October 24th, 2011 at 09:41:01 GMT.” (click here for the full sized screen.)

You see, there fundamentally  is no Republican Party right now: it has devolved into a series of tangentally-connected single-issue groups with competing aims and contradictory beliefs.

The anti-tax people fight with the “fiscal responsibility” folk. The small government Randians conflict with the MONITOR ALL PREGNANCIES with Big Government religious extremists. The crypto-athiests of “me-first” conflict with the “my-way-or-the-highway” religious zealots.

The point here is not to belittle the separate interests — although it ought to be apparent that I hold their beliefs in no high regard — but to note that while the machine chugs on, collecting money and minting attack ads, instant domains and anonymous identified webpages to show the latest video, the soul of the machine, the driver, the unifying consensus is gone.

And in the absence of that “driver” the bulldozer clanks on, mindlessly attacking when the attacks make no real sense.

It is the twitching of the legs of a dead daddy long legs spider. The nerves continue to produce movements of the legs, as all children learn, but the spider itself is dead.

Right now, the old consensus, the Ronald Reagan coalition of the GOP is out of steam. Out of ideas, out of passion, out of touch with the times.

It happened to the New Deal Democrats.

I once watched a series of speeches on CSPAN, shown concurrently with (IIRC) the 1996 Democratic National Convention, and it showed speeches by every Democratic Nominee from FDR to George McGovern and probably on from there, but what struck me was that the vision, clear in FDR, passionate in Truman, still strong in Adlai Stevenson, beginning to mutate a bit in JFK, clearly stated, but muddier with LBJ, and finally, in 1968, Hubert Humphrey spoke the same words as FDR, but the life had leeched from them. They were copies of copies of copies, and what had once seemed visionary had now turned pedestrian, what was once profound was now merely a string of clichés.

And that is where the GOP stands today. Separately. Uncertain in what they believe in as a party, but unified only by what they DON’T believe in, which is simply the negation of anything that the opposition believes in.

There is no consensus in congress and no compromise because there is no compromise nor consensus in the Republican “party,” since Parties are merely mechanisms for national consensus, and in 1976, Gerald R. Ford ran on a Republican platform that called for the ratification of the ERA and endorsed a woman’s right to choose. Jimmy Carter’s Democratic Platform pointedly did NOT support the ERA.

(When Republicans are out of power, they are always in favor of fiscal responsibility and restraint. When they are in office, they historically create gigantic new bureaucracies and spend like drunken sailors, as we saw with Reagan and Bush, and again with Bush the Younger.)

But the words have rung hollow, and the profound has turned to cliché.

(Mr. Boehner! Tear down this wall!)

We have created a self-supporting political money network — professional consultants, professional fundraisers, professional itinerary and support services, professional pollsters and the rest — that depend on a 24-hour political cycle. Otherwise, they’re out of work for a year between elections. And in that network, the machine clanks on, but, like the Democratic Party of Jimmy Carter, there is no longer any real agenda and time is wasted in endless cockfighting over turf, Congress reclaiming powers and prerogatives usurped by Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson.  And the Democratic Party went into decline.

For a time, it was like that dead daddy long legs.

John Locke once said that words lose their meaning over time. That great concepts become hollow and empty, as has our Constitution become hollow and empty words.

The whole notion that the people, peacefully assembling for the redress of grievances are an OBSTRUCTION and a MENACE to (INSERT BUREAUCRATIC CONCERN HERE) ought to be laughable, given the plain language of the First Amendment.

And yet it is taken seriously that nobody actually takes it seriously.

Same for search and seizure, trial by jury and self-incrimination, to say nothing of cruel and unusual punishments.

But that’s another topic for another day.

The point is that in all of this, all of these weird, reflexive attacks, the Grand Old Party’s legs still twitch, but the spider itself is dead.

Until the next resurrection. The next consensus.

But right now there ain’t one. (See 2009’s “Daddy Long Legs” for more on this.)

But right now, the Monkee Cage is rockin’ and roilin’ and (without being at all schadenfreudey) it’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys.*



According to librarian Ted Nesbitt at

The most authoritative source for the etymological of words and phrases in the English language is “The Oxford English Dictionary,” the multi-volume collection commonly called The OED. The earliest recorded WRITTEN use of the phrase was “cage of monkeys,” in 1840. Of course, the expression most likely was used in SPOKEN English, long before it was ever written in print.

Here is the entry from that source:

31. colloq. a wagonload (also barrel, etc.) of monkeys: used as the type of something extremely clever, mischievous, disorderly, jolly, fun, etc.

In barrel of monkeys, perhaps influenced by barrel of fun (laughs, etc.) s.v. BARREL n.

1840 G. DARLEY Thomas à Becket V. viii. 129 De Traci chatters More than a cage of monkeys: we must wait.

1889 Harper’s Bazar 21 Dec. 932/4 My brother..says the American girls are perfectly fascinating… He says they are more fun than a box of monkeys.

1895 W. C. GORE in Inlander Dec. 115 Barrel of monkeys, or bushel of monkeys, to have more fun than, to have an exceedingly jolly time.

1908 W. G. DAVENPORT Butte & Montana 28 This is just more fun than a bag of monkeys.

1930 G. GOODCHILD McLean Investigates xvi. 310 If once we lose touch with Feeny good-bye to the Rajah’s ruby. He is as clever as a cartload of monkeys.

1968 A. POWELL Mil. Philosophers 155 They’re as artful as a cartload of monkeys when it comes to breaking the rules.

1978 G. VIDAL  Kalki ii. 24 Christianity was never exactly a barrel of monkeys when it came to the here and now.



A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog.

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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