04 July, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

I normally wouldn't speak ill of the dead before their bodies are cold, but in this case, I shall make an exception:

Jesse Helms, a North Carolina Republican known as “Senator No,” died today at the age of 86. Helms left the Senate in 2003 after serving five terms. The Heritage Foundation credits Helms with establishing “the conservative movement and became a powerful voice for free markets and free people.” During his political career, Helms “became a symbol of a particular brand of uncompromising, racially tinged social conservatism.”

If the Heritage Foundation is right, this explains a lot about the insanity, racism, cruelty, jingoism, and inability to deal with the slightest hint of reality that the "conservative movement" wallows in. Helms left the Senate before I became a political animal, but news of his fuckery penetrated even my apolitical bubble. I especially remember his filibuster of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday legislation. He's a major reason why I thought politics was ridiculous and destructive, and our Senate filled with inane old men who'd not only gotten stuck in the past, but wanted to ensure the worst bits of it got resurrected in the present.

Jesse Helms was a poisonous piece of shit. His retirement was possibly the only good thing he ever did for his country. We're going to spend decades cleaning up the mess he encouraged and fighting the racist fuckwits he inspired, so forgive me if I don't strew flowers at his funeral.

Even Carpetbagger didn't have anything kindly to say about Helms. That's a sign that we're saying goodbye to a man who doesn't deserve a monument.

Right, then, moving on to other poisonous fuckwits who are, alas, still with us.

The main characteristic of neocons seems to be that when they get a really stupid idea lodged in their craniums, no amount of evidence of its stupidity can shake it loose. Evidence, to the contrary, seems to act like superglue. Exhibit A:

In April, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) waived at least 30 key environmental laws and regulations it claimed were impeding the completion of 670 miles of border fence. Environmental groups subsequently protested the decision.Border residents have sued DHS for “hoodwink[ing] landowners into waiving their property rights.”

The El Paso Times reported yesterday that the environmental impacts of the fence were so severe that even the Environmental Protection Agency criticized it, reportedly voicing “serious concerns about how barrier fencing would affect habitat, animals and communities.”


The EPA urged the Border Patrol to “consider alternative locations for fence placement that will result in the least impacts.” Ultimately, however, Chertoff issued “the biggest use of legal waivers since the administration started building the fence.” “From the EPA’s comments, it was clear they weren’t going to get any kind of go ahead anytime soon,” the Sierra Club noted.

See? Lodged. You couldn't get that idea loose with dynamite.

Neocons also have absolutely no sense of irony:

Ironically, when pushing for the construction of the border fence in 2007, Chertoff remarked, “Illegal migrants really degrade the environment.”

Breathtaking, isn't it? I think neocons were jealous. They want to be the ones to degrade the environment, and they've got to do it bigger and better than anybody else, just to prove they can. They're out to prove they can destroy the environment better than any dirt-poor, brown-skinned bugger.

Now comes Exhibit B:

For over a year, Barack Obama’s position on Iraq has been entirely consistent — a flexible withdrawal timeline, over 16 months, with one to two brigades a month. He would consult with commanders on the ground about how best to execute this policy, and would consider conditions on the ground, but Obama is committed to a withdrawal policy. He’s said this over and over again.

In fact, conditions-based flexibility has always been a hallmark of Obama’s policy. Asked earlier this year if he’d refine the timeline based on events on the ground, Obama said he would. Asked if he’d guarantee that all the troops would be out of Iraq, no matter, what 2013, Obama demurred.

So, yesterday, when Obama repeated the exact same policy he’s emphasized for over a year, the McCain campaign and the national
political media — the distinctions between McCain and his “base” continue to blur — pounced. Obama, they said without evidence or connection to reality, had changed his policy.

The problem, of course, is that McCain and the traditional media outlets had already picked the narrative in advance. Republicans decided recently that Obama would change his Iraq policy. Why? Because they said so, and proceeded to repeat the claim, incessantly, over the last 10 days. Major news outlets, demonstrating 2000-like levels of professional malpractice, bought into it.

This is another key feature of the Republicon mentality: they think if they repeat something often enough, it magically becomes true. No amount of reality to the contrary penetrates, because they're too busy trying to pretend everything's just the way they want it. And they've dragged at least two countries down with their sordid game of make-believe. The stupid gits don't need any more power - they need the power they do have snatched out of their hands by the grown-ups before they cause any more damage.

Exhibit C is still under construction, but I'm sure you all know the Bush regime's fingers are stuffed down their ear canals and there's a lot of "I'm not listening LA LA LA LA LA!" going on today:

Bush administration officials, leading neocons, and conservative commentators were taken aback yesterday when Barack Obama reiterated his opposition to a military confrontation with Iran, and called, again, for increased diplomatic outreach to Tehran. The president and John McCain have, of course, called negotiations with Iran “appeasement,” and Obama’s remarks were like waving a flag in front of a bull.

Wait, did I say Obama? This reflects his position, but in this case, the remarks actually came from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

It could turn out to be one of the most significant comments of the 2008 campaign — but coming just ahead of a holiday weekend, it isn’t getting much notice.

Upon his return from a visit to Israel and Europe, the nation’s highest ranking military officer warned Wednesday that a military strike on Iran would be a very bad idea.

“This is a very unstable part of the world, and I don’t need it to be more unstable,” said the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen.

He added pointedly, “we haven’t had much of a dialogue with the Iranians for a long time,” seeming to imply that the Bush
administration should be talking to the Iranian government.

Well, when the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff emphasizes the need for a new round of dialog with Iran, I think he’s doing more than just “imply” that the administration should try engaging Tehran.

In a political context, of course, it’s interesting that in the midst of the presidential campaign, in which the two major-party candidates disagree strongly on how to approach relations with Iran, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would, unprompted, implicitly announce his support for the policy presented by the Democratic nominee.

Oh, yes, interesting indeedy. And you know what's going to happen after the neocons get done stuffing themselves sick on hot dogs and hamburgers, don't you? Yes, you do! They're going to find a way to smear the nation's highest ranking military officer, because you can only support troops and respect military folks' sacrifices for this country if they agree with you. The character assassins are sharpening their weapons as we speak, mark my words.

Make America's birthday happy: pledge not to vote for a Republicon this fall.


Woozle said...

I just gotta say -- I registered to vote for the first time in 1990 specifically so I could vote against Helms, who was then facing his first credible challenger (Harvey Gantt) in quite some time.

And re exhibits B and C: make no mistake, there's a war on for control of this country, and the enemy are religious terrorists -- that much is true (always wrap a lie around the truth, wherever possible) -- otherwise known as neocons and the religious right. They now control essentially all the mainstream media, which is the nervous system by which we used to form a national consensus, and tell it what to think. They've already won 90% of the battle.

We need to grow an alternative national nervous system, pronto. (You know my suggestion already; let me know if I should re-post the link, but I don't have anything new to report except a little progress on the technical docs.)

Efrique said...

they think if they repeat something often enough, it magically becomes true. No amount of reality to the contrary penetrates, because they're too busy trying to pretend everything's just the way they want it.

Unfortunately, when you have the media helping you out, eventually it does magically become "true". Enough voters believe it, and reality is what you make it.

It's straight out of the you-know-who playbook:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly - it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over”

“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”

Godwin's Law really sucks when you're talking about people who confuse Goebbels and Gospel.

Cujo359 said...

We could mention Stalin and be just as right, Efrique. It seems like every few days I see or hear something from the news or the government that reminds me of reading about those times.

Anonymous said...

I would like to attend Helms' funeral, just to make sure the stake has been pounded in correctly.