12 September, 2008

Hangover Discurso

I know, I know. Two Hangovers in two days. But Aunty Flow has my ass fully kicked - I spent today feeling like I was having a miscarriage, and as far as substantial thought right now, I just can't do it.

Besides, there's just too much political fuckery to pass up. I feel like going on a tour through small-town America, shaking people by the scruff of their necks, and shouting, "Wake the fuck up! The Republicons think you're this stupid, and the polls seem to be proving it! What the fuck was so great about the last eight years that you're willing to risk an encore?"

First up, Joe "I Used to be a Democrat before I Went Totally Fucking Insane" Lieberman. I really don't get this stupid fuck. I don't. I have no idea how a human being can be this tremendously dense and still manage to hold a Senate seat. Here's Joe, on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, spewing more insanity and lies into our political atmosphere:

In late July, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) said he would introduce a resolution in the Senate to applaud the success of the surge “against enemies who attacked America on 9/11.”

Yesterday, Lieberman introduced the formal amendment (S. Amdt. 5368 to S. 3001), which “expresses the sense of the Senate recognizing the strategic success of the troop surge in Iraq.” In his statement, he linked the surge to 9/11 (via the Congressional Record):

If there is anyone in this Chamber who doubts the strategic stakes in Iraq, I urge them to listen to General Petraeus. Listen to General Petraeus who warned us in an interview published today in the Washington Post that “Iraq is still viewed as the central front for al-Qaida.” Let me repeat that: “Iraq is still viewed as the central front for al-Qaida,” which is to say by al-Qaida. Not Afghanistan, Iraq; not Pakistan, Iraq.

This is not the opinion of a Member of Congress. It is not the opinion of a politician running for office. It is the judgment of America’s most successful battlefield commander in the war on terror which began 7 years ago tomorrow when America was brutally attacked on 9/11/2001.

While the surge has certainly produced calmer streets in Iraq, it has not achieved its primary purpose of facilitating political reconciliation. The surge has essentially frozen into place “a fragmented and increasingly fractured country” and produced an “an oil revenue-fueled, religious Shia-dominated national government with close ties to Iran.”


As Yglesias explains, “An al-Qaeda offshoot only arose in Iraq in the first place because we invaded there and created an appealing venue in which to try to kill American soldiers and bleed American resources.”
But here's Lieberman, spouting off this neocon fuckwittery, speciously linking Iraq to 9/11 although that's been debunked about two hundred billion times, and introducing this ridiculous amendment that's basically just an endorsement of Republicon lies, misdirection, and fantasy.

That I in "I-CT" must stand for "Imbecile."

And how's Sarah Palin doing on foreign policy? Don't make me laugh - it hurts. Here she is swallowing that big chunky steaming pile of dog vomit that is the throughly debunked notion that Iraq had a damned thing to do with terrorist attacks on this country:
Earlier today, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin linked the Iraq war to the attacks of September 11, 2001, “telling an Iraq-bound brigade of soldiers that included her son that they would ‘defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans.’” “America can never go back to that false sense of security that came before September 11, 2001,” said Palin at the deployment ceremony.


As the Washington Post’s Anne Kornblut points out, “The idea that Iraq shared responsibility with al-Qaeda for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, once promoted by Bush administration officials, has since been rejected even by the president himself.”

So she sends her son off to risk his life for a lie. That's judgement we can believe in.

How clueless is she? So clueless she can't even survive a gentle interview with a man hand-picked by the McCain camp to ensure she didn't have to suffer any real journalism:

I watched the first clip of Sarah Palin's interview with Charlie Gibson, and to me, the most striking part was her complete inability to answer the question: "Do you agree with the Bush Doctrine?" Here's what she said:

"Do you agree with the Bush Doctrine?"

"In what respect, Charlie?"

"The Bush -- well, what do you interpret it to be?"

"His world view?"

"No, the Bush Doctrine, enunciated in September 2002, before the Iraq war."

"I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell-bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made. And with new leadership -- and that's the beauty of American elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better."


The transcript doesn't really do it justice; the video is here, and it makes it pretty clear that she has no idea what the Bush Doctrine actually is.
The Bush Doctrine, simply put, means that America is allowed to kick the arse of anyone who we think is looking at us funny. It's the doctrine that's nearly destroyed this country. And she's fucking clueless about it. How the fuck are Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum supposed to change one single solitary godsdamned thing if they aren't even aware of what it is that needs changing?

She's breathtakingly ignorant. Dangerously ignorant. And this is the woman cons want us to believe is prepared to step into the driver's seat and not run the country over a cliff? Go on, pull the other one, it's got bells on.

As Steve Benen said after a terrifying review of just how dramatically unprepared Palin is, "...it was eerily reminiscent of watching George W. Bush, circa 2000." That gives me the screaming cold chills. So I ask again of those voters who are either undecided or breaking for McCain: just what was it about the last eight years that was so fucking fantastic you're willing to risk an encore?

Do you think like this?

Then there's the other side.

Robert Kagan, a foreign policy advisor to McCain, derided criticisms of Palin as elitist.

"I don't take this elite foreign policy view that only this anointed class knows everything about the world," he said. "I'm not generally impressed that they are better judges of American foreign policy experience than those who have Palin's experience."

I see. Those who spend their careers on foreign policy are fine, but their judgment is no better than a rookie Alaskan politician who has never said or written a single word on the subject.

And how does this work, exactly? It's about ideology, not experience. As Kevin noted, this is the same crowd that never cared for Nixon or H.W. Bush, despite their foreign policy background.

Yglesias explains what Kagan & Co. are looking for.

Kagan, like most neoconservatives, thinks that in-depth knowledge of foreign countries and the politics and culture of foreign societies isn't helpful in thinking about foreign policy questions. Similarly, they believe that in-depth knowledge of theoretical and empirical work in the field of international relations isn't helpful. Indeed, they think that this kind of in-depth knowledge is actually harmful. They prefer the judgment of people who have little knowledge of the outside world but do possess a degree of gut-level nationalism.

One gets the distinct impression that if given a choice between a combat veteran who teaches international affairs at Georgetown after 12 years working in the State Department, and a high school junior who memorizes Bill Kristol columns, a surprising number of conservatives would prefer the latter be responsible for shaping U.S. foreign policy. And those same conservatives would make up a McCain/Palin administration.

Because if this is what you're thinking, you've failed your country. You may call yourself a patriot, but you're intent on destroying the thing you claim to love, because you want it to be as ignorant as you.

No wonder the smarter conservatives are pining for Obama:

Even Michael Smerconish, the right wing radio host in Philadelphia, has had enough:

Forget ideology or politics. I wish every American could agree that our obligation to bring these two [bin Laden and al-Zawahiri] to justice needs outrage. I wish Hillary Clinton would have done more than promise to answer the White House phone at 3 a.m. Forget following bin Laden to the gates of hell; I just want John McCain to follow him to Pakistan. Most important, I wish Barack Obama's calls for refocusing the War on Terror there would fall on receptive ears.

I skimmed his article just now. I'll read it in-depth later, but the thing that struck me was the number of times he approvingly quoted Obama.

So, our country's falling apart, Iraq's paralyzed and will explode into violence the moment we take our foot off its neck because some complete asshole in the White House decided we could have war without subsequent nation building, our economy's in tatters, our constitution's a shambles, our reputation internationally is in the toilet and about to get flushed, and our world is about to bake to death in our greenhouse gasses, and what does McCain have to offer? A cute running mate who can't open her mouth without lying or sounding like an uninformed nitwit, and insults. Oh, and a cribbed line about "change" when it's clear he has no plans to change anything.

And yet McCain's still nearly even with Obama in the polls.

America: wise the fuck up.


Cujo359 said...

Everyone's the change candidate this year. Wake me up when someone actually changes something.

Woozle said...

I've finally given up trying to get through to my ostrich -- either to persuade him of his error, or to find out what convinced him in the first place.

I'm letting myself off the hook for working on him further because I finally noticed something: he totally doesn't seem to connect the dots with regard to politics, and I don't think that this is something I can change.

For him, politics is like a football game or something -- taking place somewhere else, with little or no direct impact on him. He makes his political decisions based on a gut feeling (with party affiliation apparently playing a large part), at an unconscious level, and they are unaffected by reason. The outcome does not pose a threat to him. All politicians are equally crooked, so you might as well elect someone who appeals to you personally.

"I think everyone is too excited about all this... it's just another election!" quoth he.

It's not a rational point of view, and I accept that a large portion -- perhaps the majority -- of US voters think in much the same way. This is a fact we have to deal with when trying to fix things.

(I've posted in more detail about this phenomenon here.)

So I'm coming around to the idea that we just need to say the hell with it, and start our own government -- possibly/hopefully based on the theory that the currently-recognized government of the US has broken its oath to the Constitution (a highly defensible argument, I should think) and has therefore lost its legitimacy.

But we've got to have a way of organizing, first. (Still working on that. Stupid life.)

Cujo359 said...

The economy that determines your ostrich's job and economic prospects is shaped by the people he does or does not elect to government, at all levels. Don't like no-fault insurance? Your state governments foisted that on you. Can't stand the limitations you have on what you can or cannot do to your property? That's your local government at work.

The feds confine themselves to things like getting us involved in wars, making sure we have some form of retirement pay, and making the mail get to you. Or not. They can do it or not do it if no one cares.

This attitude about politicians, that they're inevitably corrupt, is just an excuse not to pay attention to politics. It's hard. You have to learn things. It's much easier just to dismiss it all as nonsense and do what you want.

I don't know how to fight that, and I'm getting to the point where I don't want to try. A few decades from now, maybe sooner, this will no longer be my problem. We'll eventually devolve into creatures so stupid and apathetic that Mexicans and Canadians can hunt us and eat us. And if that happens, it will be OK with me.

As I've written before, stupidity has a cure, but the price can be high.

Woozle said...

Yes, I think you see what I'm talking about.

It's easy, at this point, to understand where elitism (the bad kind -- Leo Strauss, the "noble lie", and all that -- not Elitist Bastardry, which of course rocks) comes from. Most people are irrational and make up their minds based on arbitrary criteria, so "obviously" they can't be trusted to rule a country; the facade of democracy must be maintained, of course, to placate the masses... et bloody c.

The problem there, of course, is that the elite becomes an exclusionary cabal focused more on making sure the "wrong" people don't get in (and on firming up their own power) than on making the best possible decisions -- i.e. what we have now.

But I have come to the reluctant conclusion that I agree with the premise: people who don't bother to understand the issues shouldn't be making the decisions.

I still don't agree with the conclusion, however. If there simply were no other choices than (a) bad decisions by the masses and (b) bad decisions by a "ruling elite", I'll take the masses any day. It's the "ruling elite" that got us into this mess, not the masses; the problem is just that the masses won't do anything about the ruling elite. They prefer to be led.

I think there are other solutions, however, which allow the "elite" to be self-selected from among "the masses" by a merit-based process rather than by ambition and ruthlessness.

I should stop writing and get back to working on my solution.