18 July, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Sometimes, there's stupidity so deep you can't wade in. You can't dabble your toes while you get used to the temperature, because there's no getting used to it. All you can do is take a deep breath, hold it, and dive headfirst into the deep end.

Jim DeMint's stupidity is that type:
Last week, Sen. Jim DeMint (R) of South Carolina, arguably the chamber's most right-wing member, told an audience at the National Press Club that the United States is currently "about where Germany was before World War II." Everything about his remarks -- the sense of history, the understanding of current events, the philosophy -- was a special kind of stupid.

But DeMint seems quite pleased with himself, and keeps churning out new and creative insanity.

In an interview with the evangelical World Magazine titled "The Taxpayers' Greatest Ally," Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) had some interesting things to say about his work with his colleagues in the Senate:

"I am not going to be able to persuade my colleagues to do the right things, so I am just going to have to create pain."

Okay, that is a bit intense. However, it may not even be the most intense statement from Sen. DeMint this week. On a conference call this morning, DeMint discussed health care reform: ""This health care issue Is D-Day for freedom in America... If we're able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him."

I'm not quite sure what all of this means, but it sounds rather twisted.

I think Dems should keep those remarks in mind when they contemplate bipartisanship. There's no being bipartisan with an insane fool like that.

Alas, he is not the only insane fool in the Senate:
This sure does get tiresome.

Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) has placed a "hold" on Robert Perciasepe's nomination to be deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, demanding that the EPA re-analyze a controversial climate bill.


He said he had no objections to Perciasepe, the chief operating officer of the Audubon Society. But he wants the EPA to alter its analysis of a bill, aiming to lower greenhouse-gas emissions, that passed the House in June.


The problem has to do with the Waxman-Markey "American Clean Energy and Security" (ACES) Act. The EPA estimates that the bill, if implemented, will cost the average U.S. household about $110 per year. (A CBO analysis came up with a slightly higher figure: $175 per household per year.) Voinovich, hoping to defeat the bill, found the estimate unsatisfying.

So, he's told the EPA that he'll let the Senate vote on Perciasepe's nomination just as soon as the EPA reevaluates ACES's cost and tells him what he wants to hear comes up with a per-household annual cost that he considers "reliable and realistic."

In other words, he's trying to blackmail the EPA. Extortion is unbecoming to a senator, don't you think?

Meanwhile, yet another Con demonstrates his difficulty understanding numbers:

Earlier today on Fox News, RNC Chairman Michael Steele was asked whether Republicans would borrow from President Clinton’s famous catch-phrase during the 1992 campaign, “it’s the economy stupid,” in the run-up to the 2010 election. Steele proceeded to launch into a rambling answer that used fuzzy math to assert that, in only six months, President Obama has added “10 trillion dollars” to the national deficit, while President Bush is to blame for only “a trillion”:

STEELE: They love going back to George Bush and his deficit that was inherited. Great. I’ll take George Bush’s deficit right now of a trillion dollars over the 10 trillion dollars that this administration has created in just six months.


Steele is clearly confusing the difference between our national debt, which stands at roughly $11.4 trillion, and this year’s budget deficit, which just exceeded $1 trillion.

To help jog Steele’s memory, here’s a bit of a deficit recap: Bush inherited a budget surplus of $128 billion in 2001. Budget experts projected a $710 billion surplus for 2009 when he came into office. But the deficit soon exploded, thanks largely to the Bush tax cuts — which accounted for 42 percent of the deficit. When Bush left office, he handed President Obama a projected $1.2 trillion budget deficit for this year, the largest ever.

As for the debt, when President Bush took office, it was $5.73 trillion. When he left, it was $10.7 trillion.

You know, I really wish they'd come up with talking points that took more than a minutes' effort to debunk. There's no challenge here.

Let us turn now to principled conservatism:
There's been an ongoing and heated dispute between FedEx and UPS lately, stemming from a labor provision currently being debated on the Hill. In a nutshell, UPS already negotiates union contracts with individual locations, and FedEx may soon be forced to do the same, giving up its one national union contract for its express business.

A fierce fight between the two shipping giants has broken out over this, and American Conservative Union, a major conservative lobbying organization, was, as recently as two weeks ago, on FedEx's side. The ACU said in a recent letter, "We stand with FedEx in opposition to this legislation."

But that wouldn't last. The ACU asked FedEx to pony up a couple million dollars for conservative lobbying expenses. FedEx balked, so two weeks later, the American Conservative Union switched sides, and now backs UPS.

In return for the $2 million, ACU offered a range of services that included: "Producing op-eds and articles written by ACU's Chairman David Keene and / or other members of the ACU's board of directors. (Note that Mr. Keene writes a weekly column that appears in The Hill.)"

The conservative group's remarkable demand -- black-and-white proof of the longtime Washington practice known as "pay for play" -- was contained in a private letter to FedEx that was provided to POLITICO.

The letter exposes the practice by some political interest groups of taking stands not for reasons of pure principle, as their members and supporters might assume, but also in part because a sponsor is paying big money.


And if one fails to pay that price, wouldn't you know it, the conservative organization finds that maybe it doesn't really agree with your principled position after all.

My goodness, imagine that. ACU values their values so much they've put a $2 million price tag on them.

In other principled conservative news, we discover that yet another principled Christian conservative screaming for Bill Clinton's head was busy violating the sanctity of marriage all the while:

Last night on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow reported the story that former Rep. Chip Pickering’s (R-MS) wife has filed a lawsuit against Pickering’s mistress Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd, exposing a long-running affair. Pickering, now a lobbyist for Capitol Resources LLC, campaigned on a platform of promising to bring family values to Washington. Pickering tried to force his own views on marriage upon the country by pushing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and using marriage as a cudgel to demand that President Bill Clinton resign:

– While engaged in the affair with Creekore Byrd, Pickering said of President Bill Clinton: “I think for the good of the country and the good of his own family it would be better for him to resign. When someone puts himself forward for public office, then his personal conduct does become relevant.” [Washington Times, 8/20/98]

– Pickering explained his support of a constitutional gay marriage ban, stating: “Marriage as an institution between one man and one woman promotes the best interest of the husband and wife, and the best interests of children.” [Mississippi Link, 7/20/06]

The suit filed by Pickering’s wife also alleges that Pickering pursued the affair while living in the “C Street Complex,” the boarding house for the secretive right-wing Christian group known as “the Fellowship.” Pickering’s former colleagues embroiled in similar scandals, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) and Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC), were also members of the Fellowship.

Wow. C-Street should change its name to A-Street, there. As in a scarlet A. And you know the funniest part of the Pickering affair? He dropped out of public life not because of scandal, but because his mistress told him to.

The next time Cons start screaming about other peoples' moral failings, I do believe we should laugh them loudly out of the room.

And, finally, our racist Con quote o' the day, courtesy of Pat Buchanan after being raked over the coals on Rachel Maddow's show:

Rachel asked, for example, for his thoughts on 108 out of 110 Supreme Court justices being white. Buchanan replied, "White men were 100% of the people that wrote the Constitution, 100% of the people that signed the Declaration of Independence, 100% of the people who died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, probably close to 100% of the people who died at Normandy. This has been a country built basically by white folks."

This, of course, from the man who decided that white people need to whine more about how the minorites are keeping them down. If you believe, as many do, that this fucktard has no place in the public discourse, you can inform MSNBC of your displeasure here.

If you're worried about getting a racist fucktard fired during a major recession, don't. You know he'll find a happy home at Faux News.

Have I mentioned lately how much I'd like to see a sane opposition party? Y'know, one that doesn't put forth stupid, racist, and frothing insane fucktards as their creme de la creme? I'd like that a lot. Alas, it looks as if that's about as likely as Christian Bale showing up on my doorstep to profess his undying love, so I'd best go exercise my point-and-laugh muscles instead.


Frizz said...

Methinks that Pat Buchanan is an asshole of the first magnitude and is deliberately playing to the ignorance of his wing nut audience by omitting and distorting historical facts as he spews his race bating blather. Particularly egregious is his downplaying of the role of blacks in the Civil War and WWII.

It's well known that during the Civil War a regiment of all black soldiers from Massachusetts fought in many major battles, sustaining horrendous losses. The heroic actions of these free blacks and ex-slaves earned them a number of regimental and individual medals and citations. But behind Pat's looking glass, only whites died in these battles.

As far as D-Day is concerned, Pat also overlooks the fact that the armed forces were segregated during WWII and most blacks were not allowed to participate in combat; they were assigned support roles such as the Army Engineers who built roads and bridges, sometimes under enemy fire, delivered supplies to the front lines in truck convoys, maintaining such a grueling pace that they were unable to sleep for days at a time (check out the Red Ball Express), etc. So, even though they were consigned to support roles, blacks exhibited great valor and many lost their lives in the process.

Although not limited to action just on D-Day, the Tuskegee Airmen, an all-black squadron of fighter pilots, conducted themselves with great skill and bravery while escorting large formations of bombers on their long runs from England to Germany. They exhibited such skill in air combat that no bomber formation that they escorted ever lost a plane from attack by German fighter aircraft. Early on, the squadron had painted the tails of their planes red. The bomber crews didn't know that these "red tails" were piloted by blacks. All they knew was that when the red tails were escorting their formation no German fighters ever got close enough to shoot them down. It wasn't long before the red tail's reputation spread and every bomber command was requesting them as escorts. And to think that the Tuskegee squadron almost never came to be because the Army brass considered blacks to be so intellectually inferior that they would be unable to learn anything as complicated as flying a fighter airplane and engaging successfully in air combat. Only through the persistence and efforts of one white general who knew that this prejudice was bullshit did the Army finally agree to form the squadron.

I'm a Korean War vet and have seen enough prejudice inside and outside of the military to know it when I see it. And although it's not as widespread and at the level that it was in the 40s and 50s (except for f**ktards like Pat Buchanan and his ilk), it's still alive and kicking.

Cujo359 said...

Such prejudices were certainly common during WWII, Frizz. Patton wrote in his memoirs that he didn't think that blacks could think fast enough to be in armored units. Ironically, when blacks were allowed to fly fighters, a skill that requires at least as much quick thinking, they performed well.

A couple of corrections about the 332nd Fighter Group, the Tuskeegee airmen who made it to the European Theatre. They were stationed in Italy most of the time they were escorting bombers. The second is that they actually did lose some bombers they were escorting. If Wikipedia entry is accurate, this legend began with some wartime hyperbole, and has been repeated ever since. If I'm reading this article correctly, there's serious dispute about the number of lost bombers claimed in the Wikipedia, but there were almost certainly a few. Considering how many missions they were on, though, their record was a good one.

Frizz said...


Sorry for implying that the 332nd escorted the bombers from England to Germany. Actually the bombers flew from England and picked up their fighter escorts over Italy before continuing on to Germany. Because they used less fuel by flying the shorter distance from Italy to Germany, the fighters had more time at the end of the run to attack targets of opportunity (trains, factories, vehicular traffic, and whatever else they could find) before heading home.

Some of the bombers they escorted were lost because of anti-aircraft fire from the ground. But I was unaware of the dispute about whether or not they lost bombers because of the actions of German fighter planes. Either way, I agree that they did a hell of a job considering the hardships they had to overcome.