30 January, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on (yesterday's) public discourse.

That's right, my darlings. We're going with vintage stupidity because Dana's going to be traipsing through downtown Seattle, doing things like gazing at the Seattle Fault beneath the waters of Puget Sound and marveling at the fact part of it just slipped 35 kilometers down, stuffing herself until she bursts on the best chowder in the Northwest and some of the finest Indian food in town, and seeing Dark Knight at the Imax. Lucy may figure in there somewhere, but depending on how things go, we may be punking her off until a couple weeks from now, when we can spend a bit more time with her.

Since I'll be getting home rather too late to deliver Happy Hour at a reasonable time, and since the Cons were so obliging with the stupid, we'll have a retro discurso for now. I'll hit you with the hangover later so we don't get too far behind. Sound good to you? It does to me. So let's go for it.

Let's begin with Eric Cantor, who demonstrates beautifully the GOP tendency to loudly declaim, "I know you are but what am I?"

House GOP whip Eric Cantor has been successfully using the battle over the stimulus to secure a great deal of media attention. Now he’s trying a novel tack: Making an issue of that ad campaign by Obama allies I wrote about below, which shows, he suggests, that President Obama is the real partisan here.

Cantor has an aggressive new statement out demanding that Obama force the coalition running the ads — which includes MoveOn, AFSCME, SEIU, and Americans United for Change — to take down the spots, which pressure GOP Senators to back Obama’s stimulus package.

“President Obama should immediately disavow plans by some political groups who announced they will run attack ads against Republicans,” Cantor says. “Let us be clear: attack ads will not create jobs or help struggling families but will only serve to undermine our nation’s desire for bipartisanship. Instead of thinking about winning at any cost, we should all be thinking about creating the jobs Americans need.”

I think irony just died a little bit there. Here we have a partisan hack accusing the man who bent over backwards to make the perpetual crybabies of the GOP happy of being a partisan hack. For the Cons, the reality inversion never ends.

My friends, the fundamentals of the pearl-clutching economy are strong. Just listen to Rep. Jim DeMint waxing hysterical:

The stimulus bill that is being championed by President Obama, which was passed by Democrats in the House last night, is the worst piece of economic legislation Congress has considered in a hundred years. Not since the passage in 1909 of the 16th Amendment - which cleared the way for a federal income tax - has the United States seriously entertained a policy so comprehensively hostile to economic freedom, nor so arrogantly indifferent to economic reality. ...

This bill is not a stimulus, ladies and gentlemen; it is a mugging. It is a fraud.

DeMint's preferred solution? You guessed it, folks: make the Bush tax cuts permanent. Why add to the deficit to create jobs when you can add to the deficit to mostly benefit the rich?

Somebody get that main a fainting couch, stat.

David Sirota thinks they deserve a fainting cell instead (h/t):

How do you know House Republicans aren't negotiating in good faith and are acting as legislative terrorists? Because their rantings are verifiably crazy (h/t Steve Benen):

Representative Virginia Foxx, Republican of North Carolina, said that former President George Bush's signature tax cuts in 2001 had created years of growth but that the nation's problems started when Democrats regained majorities in Congress in the 2006 elections.

Again, only legislative terrorists desperate to sabotage the economy would make such deliberately insane statements. Only legislative terrorists would insist that the economy was Teh Awesome under George W. Bush. Only legislative terrorists would ignore the basic facts that most Americans innately know, and that were perfectly summarized by Washington Post...


And only legislative terrorists would keep repeating lies that claim - despite overwhelming data to the contrary - that Bush-style tax cuts are a better way to create jobs and boost GDP than infrastructure spending.

Alas, Guantanamo is closing. Where oh where will we put the legislative terrorists who want to destroy America?

Speaking of terrorists, isn't it amazing how the folks on the right so often sound just like 'em?

I've followed this for a quite a while, because I've always been fascinated by the extent to which far-right criticism of Americans runs parallel to terrorists' criticism of Americans.

Dinesh D'Souza, for example, wrote an entire book devoted to arguing that terrorists are right about the problems with the culture in the United States. Osama bin Laden and other dangerous Islamic radicals believe the U.S. is too secular, too permissive, too diverse, too free, and too tolerant -- and D'Souza concluded that they're absolutely correct. Indeed, D'Souza went so far as to argue that liberal Americans are to blame for 9/11 -- the left invited the attacks by reinforcing the beliefs al Qaeda had about the United States.

In one particularly memorable episode of "The Colbert Report," D'Souza conceded that he finds some of the critiques from radical, anti-American extremists persuasive.

Glenn Beck, at the time with CNN, came to the same conclusion:

"More and more Muslims now hate us all across the world, and it really has not a lot to do with anything other than our morals.

"The things that they were saying about us were true. Our morals are just out the window. We're a society on the verge of moral collapse. And our promiscuity is off the charts.

"Now I don't think that we should fly airplanes into buildings or behead people because of it, but that's the prevailing feeling of Muslims in the Middle East. And you know what? They're right."

And a few months later, the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan also seemed to agree with our enemies about America: "We make it too easy for those who want to hate us to hate us. We make ourselves look bad in our media, which helps future jihadists think that they must, by hating us, be good."

And they accuse us of hating America just because we'd like to stop the things that really drive terrorism, like, y'know, torture, invading Middle Eastern countries cuz we wanna, and letting Israel starve and kill as many Palestinians as it likes without so much as a murmur of protest.

Speaking of unhinged torture advocates, John Yoo's doing a spectacular job lying for the cause:

John Yoo, infamous author of the Bush administration legal memos authorizing the use of torture on suspected terrorists, slams President Obama for banning torture in a Wall Street Journal op-ed today, gravely warning that Obama “may have opened the door to further terrorist acts on U.S. soil.”

Throughout the article, Yoo insists that torture is America’s most effective weapon against terrorists and warns that without it, the U.S. will be incapable of intelligence-gathering:

Eliminating the Bush system will mean that we will get no more information from captured al Qaeda terrorists. Every prisoner will have the right to a lawyer (which they will surely demand), the right to remain silent, and the right to a speedy trial. […]

Relying on the civilian justice system not only robs us of the most effective intelligence tool to avert future attacks, it provides an opportunity for our enemies to obtain intelligence on us.

Considering the Bush administration repeatedly insisted its use of coercive techniques was “limited,” it would be a far stretch even for loyal Bushies to suggest that torture is not the one and only method to obtaining information. And as ThinkProgress has made clear again and again, numerous intelligence experts and real interrogators agree that, far from being “the most effective intelligence tool,” torture simply doesn’t work.

You know what? I think they know that now. But they've backed themselves into a corner - if they admit they were wrong, they have to admit that they were criminal dumbshits who really didn't keep America safe, their chances at ever running this country again within the next generation could be measured only with an electron microscope, and it would prove they're so spectacularly stupid that they get their ideas on effective counterterrorism from a teevee show. All they can do at this point is keep digging their hole and hope it's not their political grave.

Good luck with that.

You know what's really sad? We've gotten two Happy Hours out of these assclowns just from their antics from yesterday alone, and I still haven't managed to cover the full extent of the stupid. When historians look back on this period of American history a century for now, I hope they have universal healthcare, because there's going to be a lot of hernias resulting from the hysterical laughter.

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