03 September, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

No wonder I've felt vaguely unhealthy lately. I just realized my stupidity consumption's far exceeded the recommended daily allowance. Unfortunately, I have no self-control. It's just all so tasty!

I mean, what's more delicious than watching right-wing hysterics pitch fits over the most uncontroversial crap? For example:
At first blush, it seems like the kind of thing that's entirely innocuous, even by Republican standards. President Obama will deliver an address on education on September 8, to be broadcast live to schools that choose to air it.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the president "will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible." Hardly controversial stuff.

Apparently in the midst of some kind of breakdown, Florida's Jim Greer is throwing a tantrum over this.

The chairman of the Republican Party of Florida on Tuesday issued a statement to "condemn President Obama's use of taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate America's children to his socialist agenda."

Jim Greer also accused President Obama of "using our children as tools to spread liberal propaganda."

Greer's hysterical press release, which doesn't appear to be a joke, went on to argue that the president will force children to "watch the President justify his plans for government-run health care." The Florida GOP chairman called Obama's speech "infuriating" and "an invasive abuse of power." He added that the president "has turned to American's children to spread his liberal lies."

What's really frightening is that this WND-quality hysterical fit was pitched by someone recently considered by GOP leaders to not be conservative enough. So either he's overcompensating, or he's gone completely starkers. I plump for the latter. Check out his staff's defense of the indefensible.

The WorldNut Daily, of course, has jumped in with both feet. Apparently, the President encouraging kids to do well in school = Hitler Youth. Susie Madrak sees their point: "Because if children actually pay attention, learn to read and write and apply critical thinking skills, they're actually a lot less likely to read fine publications like World Nut Daily - except when they're mining them for comedy gold like this."

So, so true.

Because our public discourse can never seem to get enough Hitler these days, let us turn the tender attentions of the Smack-o-Matic upon Pat Buchanan, who has apparently decided that Hitler was a man of peace:

Ethan Porter asks the right question, and then answers is the right way: "Just how crazy is Pat Buchanan? Pretty goddamn crazy."

The reason this comes up is because the MSNBC personality and former Republican presidential candidate asks in his latest column, "Did Hitler Want War?" Buchanan believes the answer is "no."

As it turns out, the piece has generated a fair amount of interest today, and it crashed Buchanan's servers. But once it's back up, Buchanan's creative argument deserves a look.

[W]here is the evidence that Adolf Hitler, whose victims as of March 1939 were a fraction of Gen. Pinochet's, or Fidel Castro's, was out to conquer the world?

Adam Serwer responded, "That whole invading Poland thing was clearly just a big misunderstanding. He didn't want war, he just wanted to arbitrarily annex whatever part of Europe he felt like having -- the response was clearly overblown, and maybe even a little rude."

Dday quotes the appropriate song:

I don't want war! All I want is peace...peace...peace...!
A little piece of Poland,
A little piece of France,
A little piece of Austria
And Hungary, perchance!
A little slice of Turkey
And all that that entails,
And then a bit of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales!"

-Mel Brooks, To Be Or Not To Be

And then takes Buchanan thoroughly to the woodshed:

Matt Yglesias does quick work of the historical inaccuracies - Hitler invaded Russia as soon as he achieved a border with them by conquering Poland. And this is a decent riposte as well - Buchanan seems to expect a crazy person to also be a rational military strategist, and when he's not, searches for alternative explanation ("Hitler couldn't have wanted war because he didn't have enough planes! So it's Britain's fault!").

But I'll take the less dainty approach. In 1939, in a small town called Averduct on the German-Polish border, practically every member of my family was rounded up by Nazi authorities, herded into a local synagogue, and burned alive inside. This would fall in Buchanan's revisionism as part of the supposedly honest and forthright effort by Hitler to annex Danzig and restore the German homeland (hey, Hitler just wanted some Lebensraum - why not let him annex whatever he decided was part of Germany, right? Don't you want to save lives?). But my dead ancestors didn't live in Danzig (now Gdansk). They had nothing to do with such a conflict. Maybe that was the work of a few bad apple Nazis acting alone. That and the other 6 million incidents.

Wow. I don't know that I've ever seen anyone actually break a Smack-o-Matic over someone's ass before, but that just went snap.

Allow me to paraphrase ee cummings here:

and what i want to know is

how do you like your hitler-loving freak


Apparently, they like him just fine, thanks. I'm not sure Maddow and Olbermann make up for that.

It's hard to move on from such offensive insanity, but perhaps a fitting transition is to make fun of Faux News, the network where Buchanan actually belongs. You just knew they'd jump into the great Muzak Controversy of 2009 with both feet:

From Sean Hannity’s show last night:

HANNITY: Now up until now you probably have been enjoying lovely patriotic tunes. Well, that is until Nancy Pelosi had anything to say about it. Under the current Democratic leadership, patriotic music was replaced with smooth jazz elevator music. … Well, let this serve as a lesson to the Democrats — don’t meddle with our patriotic music.

This morning, Fox and Friends discussed the important issue with former boxer George Foreman, who broke out and started singing “America the Beautiful” at the end of the segment. Foreman said that patriotic music was “a necessity” because it’s a “privilege” to call your federal lawmakers and something you can do “only in America.” “You better not have that jazz playing.” Host Steve Doocy noted that the “Democratic leadership” had decided to go back to the original music. “America wins!”


Since when is jazz not American?
Since Faux News became a "news" network, I'd imagine.

But that's just typical Faux News stoopid. For the really good stuff, you have to watch apologists for frothing fundie gubernatorial candidates fall flat on their faces trying to walk back the lunacy:

Nice try.

Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review, writing on Washingtonpost.com, does his best to misconstrue Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell's neanderthal master's thesis. Writes Ponnuru:


Maybe he was saying that working women as such were "detrimental" to the family. But from my skim of the thesis I don't see that message anywhere else in it--and remember that McDonnell wasn't trying to finesse anything in it. (McDonnell's fifteen-point plan says nothing about discouraging women from working.) If, on the other hand, McDonnell was saying that it would be detrimental to families to encourage them to use day care rather than helping them make their own decisions, then he was right.

Let's review: When McDonnell wrote that the "dynamic new trend of working women and feminists that is ultimately detrimental to the family by entrenching a status-quo of non-parental primary nurture of children," he didn't really mean it. What he really meant was that encouraging them to use day-care was detrimental.

Obviously, this doesn't begin to make sense.
Like I always say, you can't make sense of the senseless. But it surely is amusing watching wingnuts try.

Speaking of McDonnell, he truly is caught between the deep and the shit:
The Washington Post has an interesting quote from Victoria Cobb, president of the Virginia-based Family Foundation. "Bob McDonnell got where he is because pro-family Virginians have seen him as a champion for their cause," Cobb said. "If he expects to motivate those same voters, they need to continue to see him as that champion."
And yet, if he does motivate those voters, he loses all the moderates and independents who might propel him to victory. Too bad for him that his opponent's not ALFie Vegan McTreehugger, because that's about the only way he could thread this needle.

Let us turn now to Eric "I Hate the Stimulus But I Love Bragging About the Money My District Got" Cantor, who has decided that what an ailing economy really needs is to cancel the stimulus:

One of the most bitter opponents of the economic stimulus package is House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), who has repeatedly claimed that the stimulus is “failing.”
Yesterday in an interview with CNBC’s Erin Burnett, Cantor floated the idea of canceling the rest of the economic stimulus and using the money to pay off debt:

CANTOR: Since we know now that the Stimulus has not met the criteria by which it was passed and the White House promoted it, which was to stave off job losses and to stop unemployment from reaching above 8.5%, since we know it’s been a failure, why not do the responsible thing, which is to take the $400 billion that has not been committed yet - or not been spent, but been committed to the stimulus - and just pay off the debt and deficit so we can get our fiscal house back in order?

Because, Eric, that would be a bloody irresponsible thing to do:

The evidence of how wrong the Republicans are on this is hard to ignore.


Economists say the money out the door -- combined with the expectation of additional funds flowing soon -- is fueling growth above where it would have been without any government action.

Many forecasters say stimulus spending is adding two to three percentage points to economic growth in the second and third quarters, when measured at an annual rate. The impact in the second quarter, calculated by analyzing how the extra funds flowing into the economy boost consumption, investment and spending, helped slow the rate of decline and will lay the groundwork for positive growth in the third quarter -- something that seemed almost implausible just a few months ago. Some economists say the 1% contraction in the second quarter would have been far worse, possibly as much as 3.2%, if not for the stimulus.

For the third quarter, economists at Goldman Sachs & Co. predict the U.S. economy will grow by 3.3%. "Without that extra stimulus, we would be somewhere around zero," said Jan Hatzius, chief U.S. economist for Goldman.

"The signs of the stimulus are there," Allen L. Sinai, chief economist at Decision Economics, a forecasting firm in New York, said a couple of weeks ago. "Government -- federal, state and local -- is helping take the economy from recession to recovery. I think it's the primary contributor."

If Eric Cantor were a doctor, he would advocate removing the stitches that are the only things keeping your guts from spilling on the floor as soon as your bleeding has stopped - all the while bragging about how shiny and awesome his own stitches are.

It's almost as laughable as Mark Sanford's latest inane remarks about his little trip along the Argentinian Tail:

As part of a fresh round of interviews designed to help save his job, South Carolina governor Mark Sanford suggested a higher power wants him to remain in office, and called his now legendary Appalachian Trail deception "a little white lie".

A thought occurred to me today as I read his ridiculous rationalizations: at least when Bill Clinton decided to engage in some extra-marital adventuring, he did it in the Oval Office, where he could do things like answer the phone in case of emergency. Oh, and there's a rather enormous difference between "That color looks good on you" and "I'm not in Argentina fucking my brains out while I should be running the state. Really!"

Just like there's an enormous disconnect between "Go Green with Verizon Wireless" and this:

On Labor Day, tens of thousands of people will be gathering for the coal-powered “Friends of America Rally” in Holden, WV. The point of the gathering is to rail against the Waxman-Markey clean energy legislation. It will feature right-wing guests such as Sean Hannity and Ted Nugent (who once ranted about killing Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton), and is being pushed by mountaintop-removal mining company Massey Energy. Last week, Massey CEO Don Blankenship even recorded a video inviting people to attend the rally, saying they would learn about how “environmental extremists and corporate America are both trying to destroy your jobs.”


The sponsors for the rally are mostly regional oil, gas, and coal companies. However, the list also includes the Science and Public Policy Institute — a fringe climate-denial organization — and Verizon Wireless. CREDO Action recently launched a campaign calling on Verizon to drop its sponsorship. CREDO Political Director Becky Bond contacted Verizon’s Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Gerace to inform him that that CREDO would be launching a campaign against Verizon. Gerace responded by disparaging Bond:

This is how our response is going over with the activists. Becky once lived in a tree for a while. At least now I know where the emails are coming from.

For the record, Bond never lived in a tree. Verizon’s vice president of federal government relations also sits on the board of the global-warming denier National Association of Manufacturers.

Thank you, Verizon. I have never in my life been more proud to work for one of your major competitors and have my landline and cell service through two others.

And with that, my darlings, I do not believe we could ingest even one wafer-thin dinner mint's worth of stupidity. We're already in danger of exploding...

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