Monday, August 10, 2009

American Idiots

Must read:

Bill Maher: New Rule: Smart President ≠ Smart Country:

Or take the health care debate we're presently having: members of Congress have recessed now so they can go home and "listen to their constituents." An urge they should resist because their constituents don't know anything. At a recent town-hall meeting in South Carolina, a man stood up and told his Congressman to "keep your government hands off my Medicare," which is kind of like which is kind of like driving cross country to protest highways.

I'm the bad guy for saying it's a stupid country, yet polls show that a majority of Americans cannot name a single branch of government, or explain what the Bill of Rights is. 24% could not name the country America fought in the Revolutionary War. More than two-thirds of Americans don't know what's in Roe v. Wade. Two-thirds don't know what the Food and Drug Administration does. Some of this stuff you should be able to pick up simply by being alive. You know, like the way the Slumdog kid knew about cricket.

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"And these are the idiots we want to weigh in on the minutia of health care policy? Please, this country is like a college chick after two Long Island Iced Teas: we can be talked into anything, like wars, and we can be talked out of anything, like health care. We should forget town halls, and replace them with study halls. There's a lot of populist anger directed towards Washington, but you know who concerned citizens should be most angry at? Their fellow citizens. 'Inside the beltway' thinking may be wrong, but at least it's thinking, which is more than you can say for what's going on outside the beltway.

And if you want to call me an elitist for this, I say thank you. Yes, I want decisions made by an elite group of people who know what they're talking about. That means Obama budget director Peter Orszag, not Sarah Palin."
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Even better:

Daily Kos: Idiot Nation

Ugh. I just have to highlight this again, as perfect example of Everything. Sarah Palin, determined to battle healthcare reform:

"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."

Seriously? I mean, come the flying monkey hell on. How is it that this hollow-headed dimwit doesn't get run out of town for statements like that? Obama's going to come murder her son?

The whole Republican party can absolutely make stuff up, no question about it, 100% lies, no factual basis whatsoever, outrageous, known false stuff about euthanasia and "death panels" and denying care to people that are no longer "productive", stuff that's right out of the most venomous propaganda playbooks around, weird-assed, depraved, paranoid stuff that would be perfectly at home in a Henry Ford tract about the secret methods of the evil Jews or the like -- and not a goddamned news outlet on the planet is making a story out of the fact that these supposed leaders of their party are gleefully lying through their teeth about all of it, or that the "teabaggers" carrying these selfsame lies into public meetings aren't just angry Americans with a different point of view, but people spreading known, 100%-goddamn-freaking-false-and-false-from-the-very-first-time-it-was-uttered bullshit, and intentionally doing it so loud that they hope nobody can possibly shout them down.

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No shit.

Republicans Propagating Falsehoods in Attacks on Health-Care Reform:

"The recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage. By poisoning the political well, they've given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition. They've become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems."

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Widening Gyre | TPM

We had a number of emails last night discussing how much of what we're hearing from the right now should be considered incitement. There are numerous instances of anti-reform advocates explicitly comparing President Obama's health care plan to the Holocaust, for instance -- jumping from the hideous and outrageous claim that reform means euthanasia and going from there. We get desensitized to this stuff. But it's worth taking a moment to give that a long think -- comparing the president's reform plan to the Holocaust.

Most significant here is not the right-wing liars and demagogues making this stuff up but the fact that they've convinced a significant number of their followers that this stuff is true. That's a very dangerous situation.

We should also keep in mind that the birther-mania, as comical as it is on one level, is all part of the same fabric with the Hitler and Holocaust comparisons, an aggressive process of denigration and dehumanization, dressed up around claims about paperwork and places of birth, but all escalating and churning the belief of a minority of Americans that President Obama is not a legitimate president but rather a usurper.

It's always important for us to remember what the last eight years have again taught us, which is that America has a very strong civic fabric, one that can withstand, absorb and conquer all manner of ugly behavior. It can take in stride a lot of angry rhetoric, townhall fisticuffs and more.

But as this escalates we should continually be stepping back and thinking retrospectively from the vantage point of the future about where this all seems to be heading.

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Working from the same playbook going on 40 years.

Op-Ed Columnist - The Town Hall Mob - NYTimes.com:


"Does this sound familiar? It should: it’s a strategy that has played a central role in American politics ever since Richard Nixon realized that he could advance Republican fortunes by appealing to the racial fears of working-class whites."

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Can you trust bing? - The Inquirer:


"IT SEEMS THAT Microsoft tinkers with its Bing search algorithms to push its own marketing.

According to PC World, if you tap in the phrase 'Why is Windows so expensive?' you get as a top link 'Why are Macs so expensive?'

The rest of the links on the first search page answer everything including the price of windows you can see through and little about the price of the Windows OS.

There are a few entries about why Windows hosting providers are so expensive, and one about fish! The five other links on page one are about the expensive price of Macs. The Windows client OS is not even mentioned.

If you do the same search at Google, you get a long list of links about whether the Windows OS is expensive.

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Yeah, Australia rocks.

Australian Sex Party gets all-clear:

"Sex and politics have officially come together, with the Australian Sex Party obtaining approval from the Australian Electoral Commission for registration as a political party."

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2 comments:

Jez said...

Great post today.

JPW said...

Thanks, Jez. I'd rather the post entirely be about folly and nonsense, but, once again, a segment of our country has lost their goddamn minds.