At long last, it's time to catch up on the political stupidity. I'm sorry to have gone MIA, my darlings, but when there's a new Wheel of Time book out, everything else gets put on hold. Including sleeping. Thank you for letting me bugger off without warning.
Right, then. We've got a lot to catch up on. Where to start....
I'm a little unsure how effective the Smack-o-Matic 3000 is against an entire nation, but over half of America has earned it. We have become a nation of torture-loving freaks:
My fellow Americans: what the fuck is wrong with you? Are you having a hard time distinguishing 24 from reality? Did eight years of Con rule destroy your moral compass? Have we become a nation of sadists? Did you forget that torture is immoral, illegal, and ineffective? Let me put this as clearly as I can:It's painful enough that U.S. use of torture is even open to debate. But looking at the results of the latest Pew Forum survey adds insult to injury.
Currently just over half of Americans say that the use of torture against suspected terrorists in order to gain important information can either often (19%) or sometimes (35%) be justified. This is the first time in over five years of Pew Research polling on this question that a majority has expressed these views. [...]
Both Democrats and independents have become more accepting of the idea that torture can be justified.
Yes, a year after Bush/Cheney left office, and a year after a presidential election in which both major party nominees rejected use of torture, the number of Americans who believe torture can be "justified" is going up, and now represent a majority.
The pro-torture trend -- a phrase that's slightly nauseating to even type -- spans self-identified Democrats, Republicans, and independents. GOP members are the biggest supporters of torture (67% believe it is either "often" or "sometimes" justified), but the other two groups aren't too far behind -- 47% of Dems and 53% of independents agree. All three groups have seen the numbers increase considerably in recent years to all-time highs.
Torture is never, ever justified. It is never, ever useful, and it is never, ever the right thing to do.
My fellow Americans make me sick sometimes.
In related news, I've noticed a growing contingent of Americans who seem to be pining for the good old days of Con rule, and I'm not talking about just Teabaggers, either. Otherwise sensible people are muttering more and more about voting with their butts. I have said before and I will say again: the solution is not fewer Democrats, but better Democrats. We'll never get them if the Dem base is too fucking lazy and petulant to get out there and make it so. What we'll get instead is Cons. Unless, of course, the Teabaggers come to our rescue:
They're fast becoming my only hope. I mean, we've seen the kinds of candidates these dumbshits try to run. Americans may be torture-loving freaks, and they may be disillusioned, but I don't think they're quite ready to hold their noses and vote for certifiably-insane Con candidates. Not in the general election, anyway. I hope there shall be many, many repeats of NY-23 next fall.Glenn Beck, who has waged a conspiratorial, hateful campaign against liberals and his other political enemies all year, has been galvanizing his supporters to run for office. Today, conservative activist Eric Forcade announced that he is running in the Republican primary to unseat longtime Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-FL). In explaing his reason for running, Forcade said he was inspired by the “values that have been popularized by Glenn Beck.” Beck’s 9/12 project and its closely related “tea parties” have inspired a number of other challengers to Republican lawmakers deemed insufficiently “pure”...
I wonder if that potential is what's making Cons make such spectacular asses of themselves:
Several far-right House Republicans have been demanding congressional hearings into ACORN. Dems have ignored the nonsense, which led eight GOP lawmakers to host a pseudo-hearing -- technically labeled a "forum" -- on the community group.
Dave Weigel was on hand for the event, and seems to have enjoyed the nuttiness.
With most of Washington's attention focused on the health care debate happening a few blocks away in the Senate, or President Obama's upcoming speech on troop escalation in Afghanistan, Smith and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the sponsors of the hearing, were able to attractive an impressive amount of media. Six cameras were staged around the room, and national reporters filled out the seats behind the witness stand alongside members of ACORN-investigating conservative organizations like the Capital Research Center and Big Government. Officially titled a "Joint Forum on ACORN," the hearing gave Republicans a chance to re-air allegations against the controversial activist group, which lost its long-standing federal funding in two lopsided September votes.
The eight Republican members of Congress who showed up for the hearing didn't disappoint. With one exception, they labeled ACORN a "criminal enterprise" with close and current ties to the highest levels of the Obama administration and the labor movement.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), who presumably would be the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee if Republicans take back the House, insisted the attorney general should "appoint a special prosecutor to investigate ACORN," in part because, as Smith sees it, "President Obama previously served as ACORN's lawyer." (He didn't.)
And there's much, much more where that came from. I think the Cons need to seek professional help. They seem to have a rather serious fixation, and that just can't be healthy.
Let's move on to financial matters for a bit, here. I think we all remember Cons screaming "tax cuts tax cuts tax cuts!", interspersed with the occasional "spending freeze!", during the stimulus debate. And after the stimulus passed. And, well, forever. Well, guess what provides the least bang for the buck stimulus-wise?
That's right. Tax cuts! And spending freezes are just too stupid to consider.
Not that this will keep them from screaming "tax cuts etc!" They seem to be stuck in a rut, there. I know that when a record's skipping, you can just hit the record player to make it stop, but I'm not sure what kind of jolt it will take to shake Cons loose. Short, sharp shocks from reality haven't helped. The idiots still believe the stimulus has failed, all evidence to the contrary. And their jobs plan? You guessed it:
Different day, same stupid song, with Newt Gingrich chiming in on the chorus. And for church, they have a hymn: Jesus hates the estate tax.Arguably the single most farcical aspect of America's political discourse is listening to congressional Republicans talk about economic policy. We're talking about a group of people who've managed to be spectacularly wrong about practically every economic challenge in recent memory, but who are nevertheless convinced of their own self-righteous expertise. It's hard not to cringe.
But yet, they keep talking, blissfully unaware of their track record of uninterrupted failure. Yesterday, for example, House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) visited the conservative Heritage Foundation to unveil what he called "a no-cost jobs plan." Andrew Leonard explained, "Without adding a single dime to the deficit, the Republican's plan will ameliorate the worst unemployment crisis in 30 years. One wonders how a political party capable of such innovative thinking ever lost its hold of power."
To recap: Cut regulations. Freeze spending. Cut taxes. No new taxes. That's the plan.
As for the "no-cost jobs plan," it's hard not to laugh at the stupidity. We tried it Cantor's way. We're still suffering the consequences. NBC reported on Cantor's plan, and explained, "The challenge for Cantor and Republicans is that these solutions -- low taxes, free trade, and fewer regulations -- existed during the Bush years, which saw three different economic downturns (in 2001, 2003, and 2008), and which produced the weakest eight-year span for the U.S. economy in decades."
ZOMFG, what enormous fucking fools.
In other news, Lou Dobbs has not only failed to win the hearts and minds of the Latino community he bashed so long, he's now lost the hearts and minds of the crowd that bashed Latinos with him.
And here is the AP's version of science writing: comparing the President to Mr. Spock.
The Associated Press has run a 1,070-word piece pondering the question, "Is Obama too much like Mr. Spock?" Seriously.
He shows a fascination with science, an all-too deliberate decision-making demeanor, an adherence to logic and some pretty, ahem, prominent ears.
They all add up to a quite logical conclusion, at least for "Star Trek" fans: Barack Obama is Washington's Mr. Spock, the chief science officer for the ship of state.
"I guess it's somewhat unusual for a politician to be so precise, logical, in his thought process," actor Leonard Nimoy, who has portrayed Spock for more than 40 years, told The Associated Press in an e-mail interview. "The comparison to Spock is, in my opinion, a compliment to him and to the character."
Obama's Spock-like qualities have started to cause him political problems in real world Washington. Critics see him as too technocratic, too deliberative, too lacking in emotion.
BarbinMD replied, "Yes, you can file this one under you-can't-make-this-shit-up -- the science writer for the Associated Press actually interviewed Leonard Nimoy (and the producer of the latest 'Star Trek' movie) for an article about the President, where he ponders Obama's resemblance to a fictional T.V. character, wonders whether his Vulcan-like ways are causing him political problems in the real world, and tells us that geeks and nerds everywhere are sure that Obama is a trekkie."
I have a confession to make, my darlings. I didn't ditch Happy Hour for two days because of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time alone. No, part of it was the fact that, when I wasn't reading Jordan, I was left in utter despair by the state of our political discourse. And I don't know what I'm going to do when I've finished the book.
I think I need someone to show up here spreading the good news of Captain Morgan.