04 September, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

The reason I didn't highlight Gonzo's support of torture investigations was because I knew this was coming:
It was a pleasant surprise earlier this week when former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales signaled his support for the Justice Department' investigation of alleged CIA interrogation abuses.

"We worked very hard to establish ground rules and parameters about how to deal with terrorists," Gonzales said. "And if people go beyond that, I think it is legitimate to question and examine that conduct to ensure people are held accountable for their actions, even if it's action in prosecuting the war on terror."

Apparently, when Gonzales said "legitimate," he didn't mean "legitimate."

Former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said Thursday that his previous assertion that it was "legitimate to question and examine" charges of CIA abuses of suspected terrorists did not mean he endorsed such an investigation.

"Contrary to press reporting and based on the information that's available to me," Mr. Gonzales said during an interview Thursday with The Washington Times, "I don't support the investigation by the department because this is a matter that has already been reviewed thoroughly and because I believe that another investigation is going to harm our intelligence gathering capabilities and that's a concern that's shared by career intelligence officials and so for those reasons I respectfully disagree with the decision."

Remember that this spineless son of a bitch was once our Attorney General, and is currently disgracing Texas Tech University.

Speaking of disgraces, our Senate is full of them. Take Mitch McConnell, for instance, who has novel ideas about the morality of management:
Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promised that no Republicans will vote for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), should it come to the Senate floor. In order for the bill to pass “the Democratic members will have to do it,” he said. In a speech before the business organization Commerce Lexington, McConnell explained that the reason for such uncompromising opposition is that workers don’t actually want to join unions due to the “very enlightened management in this country now...”
That "enlightened management" is why I'm happy to be paying union dues, thank you so very much.

But as ridiculous as McConnell is, he's just the opening act for the Inhofe & Broun floor show:
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) of Oklahoma sure is nutty. Last month, he raised the specter of a "revolution." This month, he's just making stuff up.

[Inhofe is] alarmed, he said, by the proposed closing of the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Obama administration wants to shutter the camp because of its association with torture.

Inhofe said: "There has never been a case of torture there. The people there are treated better than in the federal prisons."

He continued, "I don't know why President Obama is obsessed with turning terrorists loose in America."


Just to briefly offer a little fact-checking of America's worst senator, Inhofe is wrong about torture at Gitmo, wrong about turning terrorists loose, and wrong about the F-22.


One of Inhofe's House counterparts, Rep. Paul Broun, an unhinged Republican from Georgia, continues to talk about the likelihood of an Obama dictatorship.

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun is again raising the specter of Democrats turning the United States into a totalitarian state. [...]

He told a meeting of the Morgan County Republicans on Wednesday night that Obama already has or will have the three things he needs to make himself a dictator: a national police force, gun control and control over the press.

"He has the three things that are necessary to establish an authoritarian government," Broun said. "And so we need to be ever-vigilant, because freedom is precious."

So is sanity.

Note to Broun: every President has had or could have those three things.

None of us called for an encore, but Inhofe delivered one anyway:

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) had some harsh words for President Obama at a town hall back home in Oklahoma, the Tulsa World reports -- indeed, Inhofe says Obama is doing such a bad job, he's not sure the country will last long enough for when the next Congress is sworn in, in January 2011.

"Every institution that has made this country the greatest nation in the world is under attack," said Inhofe.

I think he's getting this administration confused with the previous one. Either that, or he's thinking of a different country.

You may wonder why so many of our Senators are certifiably insane. Look no further than the people who vote for them:

In the wake of objections by many on the right against President Obama's upcoming address to schoolchildren -- reminding them on the first day of school about the importance of education, and telling them to work hard -- many schools across the country are dealing with objections from parents who don't want their children exposed to such a harmful, socialist message.


Denver-area mother Shanneen Barron is keeping her kids home from school on Tuesday. "Thinking about my kids in school having to listen to that just really upsets me," said Barron. "I'm an American. They are Americans, and I don't feel that's OK. I feel very scared to be in this country with our leadership right now."

Houston-area parent Brett Curtis is also against the speech. "I think it's inappropriate because it smacks of political indoctrination of the worst kind," said Curtis. "It's not just a speech. It's a specific curriculum to go along with the speech directly from the president of the United States without review."

And even a Republican elected official, Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, is speaking out. Kinder released a statement today bashing the address. Key quote:

While I have the utmost respect for the office of the president, and for this president, this public relations tactic has gone too far. The distribution of teaching curricula from the White House to the classroom clearly usurps the authority of our local school boards and school administrators.

We have seen the federal government intervene into our lives in ways that many of us thought we would never see.
Well, my goodness. I didn't know it was possible to become a Lt. Gov. when you've spent most of your life with your ears plugged and your eyes screwed shut. Or perhaps he was in a coma. That's the only explanation for why he missed all the other times Presidents have taken the outrageous step of indoctinating the kiddies:

ABC's Jake Tapper noted today, for example, that in 1988, then-President Reagan spoke to students via C-SPAN telecast. During Q&A, Reagan "talked about opposition to gun control and other issues." Does this count as "indoctrination," too?

Steve M. has an even more recent example.

And do you know what the administration is calling the "community service" organization the president wants kids to join? The "USA Freedom Corps"! That's right -- "Corps"! It's a civilian fascist army! You don't believe me? It's right there on the section of the White House Web site specifically dedicated to children!

No, wait -- it's on the archived Bush administration White House site for children.

It was Bush, so there was no indoctrination going on there, no sirree. Nor was there any indoctrination going when -- at a time when the White House was trying to brand Bush's foreign policy with the name "Freedom Agenda" -- the White House kids' site offered a "freedom timeline" that attempted to link the "American Response to Terrorism" to stories about U.S. history touchstones such as the Underground Railroad, the Statue of Liberty, the March of Dimes, and the Berlin Airlift.

The Bush gang's supplemental educational materials encouraged teachers to tell kids how those historical touchstones "relate to today's efforts to preserve freedom." They also encouraged classes to "explore the biographies" of Bush and Cheney.

And don't forget Bush the Elder's notorious indoctrinatin':

Here's something the lunatics planning to boycott President Obama's stay-in-school speech ought to have considered before getting all wingnutty about it: on the eve of the 1992 presidential campaign -- October 1, 1991, to be exact -- President George H. W. Bush pitched his education plan in a speech broadcast live to school classrooms nationwide.

Here's video excerpts:

As you can see, although Bush's speech did contain some inspirational rhetoric, significant portions of it were focused promoting his own education plan.

A conspiracy theorist might even claim Bush’s goal was to influence parents in the upcoming election by "indoctrinating" their children.

The horror, oh the horror! Remember how the left - well, didn't throw an enormous shit-fit and scream about the end of American civilization as we know it. Even though he'd previously set such a horrible example for the children with his anti-broccoli ways...

And, following up on yet another item from yesterday, it appears MSNBC not only doesn't mind putting Pat Buchanan on camera to spout nonsense, they thought they'd have no problem posting his Hitler apologetics on their website:

But it turns out the network actually has Buchanan's revisionist column up on its own site, marked "commentary" -- as if this were a piece about, say, health-care reform, or Sonia Sotomayor.

That's right. Supposedly liberal MSNBC now has a column on its site that argues, essentially, that Hitler was a man of peace -- a point of view usually relegated to the fringiest of neo-Nazi newsletters.

Hard to know what more to say.

Late Update: MSNBC has now taken down the column -- after Media Matters and a Jewish organization had joined us in raising concerns. We've asked MSNBC for comment and will keep you posted.

Late Late Update: An MSNBC spokeswoman responds:

An editorial decision was made to remove the column from msnbc.com. Pat is a contributor to MSNBC, his syndicated column does not speak for the network or represent the views of MSNBC.
That one has to go down in history as one of the most non-explanatory explanations in the history of weasel words.

Between the news organizations, the right-wing hysterics, and the dumbshit Senators, it's a wonder this country hasn't imploded from terminal stupidity this summer.

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