Certainly there are few election seasons in which candidates from either party don’t say or do something stupid or ill-advised. It’s an occupational hazard when you blow smoke for a living – doubly so if you relate to other humans about as effectively as a visitor on a boondoggle,”fact-finding” junket from Jupiter.
One by one, the Republican presidential field has come to ruination and they’ve blamed the media, or mainstream media (MSM), or Lamestream media in Palinspeak – at every turn. They are apparently of the mistaken opinion, as was US Senate candidate Sharron Angle, that journalists should only ask questions candidates want to answer. As news consumers and master media manipulators themselves that belief alone should be a disqualification for lack of critical thinking skills.
When faced with proof of their objectionable behavior, they vigorously deny it. Even a world-class nimrod can see that is a surefire strategic loser. In taking that position politicians deny the existence of videotape, reporters’ notebooks, and public records. Oh, and any lick of common sense too. Without these contradictions in their truthy narratives, The Daily Show and Fox News would starve for a lack of comedy gold. And, Newt Gingrich would still be unstoppable and not a fast-sinking nitwit outfitted with concrete overshoes.
When repeated denials collapse under their own weight the fraidy-cat graftmeisters often blame the media for gotcha journalism. The Half-Term Schoolmarm was a master practitioner of this craft – even if it is the least successful strategy of all. When Katie Couric asked her which newspapers or magazines she regularly read she stammered, “All of them”. Unsurprisingly, Couric and the general public didn’t buy that. If you’re running for President of the Free World and you’re tripped up by a question you could have answered with Time, the Wasilla News Weasel, or Reader’s Digest your mind is as nimble as a saguaro cactus with one of its quills on the “noo-cu-ler” football.
She whined and stamped her sensible pumps and said something on the order of, “That was gotcha journalism, you betcha. They wouldn’t have asked Barack Hussein Obama that.”
In fact, they probably wouldn’t have, although he got plenty of equally dangerous questions too. However in this case, she was rumored to be aggressively incurious, much like George the Lesser. Since escaping his Reign of Error was nigh, it’s a legitimate question to ask about that uncuriosity. After all, you could accuse The Messiah of many things, but being incurious or poorly spoken wasn’t one of them.
I don’t always buy the flip-flopper angle either. There are numerous legitimate reasons to change a position and if you can reasonably explain them you can minimize their damage. But, changed too often – Mitt Romney, I’m talking about you – you are either extremely hypocritical at best or a pander bear at worst.
The media – Hannity, Rush, O’Reilly, and Maddow you are the media too – makes its share of mistakes. But they share a kinship with all politicians and others they cover. When they make a mistake it’s in full view of the public just like when politicians act like stupid lunkheads. Both careers need a certain amount of aplomb that all too often is sorely missing.
And one other thing: perceptions of media bias are one of the few bipartisan things left in America. If the same story, with reasonably consistent facts, gets complaints from both left and right it’s a sign that the bias may be more between your ears than splashed across a screen or paper.
So quit yer bellyachin’ and act like rational adults.
- The Omnipotent Poobah speaks about politics and the media. See more comments (omnipotentpoobah.com)
- The Results Are In: The Best of the Worst Media Bias Quotes of 2011 (newsbusters.org)
- Yet Another Media Bias Technique: Graphical Misrepresentation (mediatemetrics.wordpress.com)
- Media Bias: What we fail to Notice (krzna.wordpress.com)
- New Ron Paul Ad Blasts Newt Gingrich for ‘Serial Hypocrisy’ – Forbes (forbes.com)
- Kurtz: Conservative Candidates Consider Basic Journalism (Like Maddow?) an ‘Affront’ (newsbusters.org)
- Ron Paul’s in The Lead, The Media’s Shown to be Intellectual Prostitutes (socyberty.com)
- 2012, A Year of Media Savagery (papundits.wordpress.com)
- Hannity: Obama Is The Dumb One (businessinsider.com)
- Mitt’s media blowback (politico.com)
Now that Jared Lee Loughner’s bullets have stopped flying, the air is thick with new bullets in the form of accusations and denials, proposed legislative actions, and the pros and cons of the Second Amendment. But most of these rhetorical bullets are far off the mark.
There are many reasons to suspect that Loughner is severely . And I should know, I’ve spent most of my life in close proximity to the severely mentally ill. Both my mother and grandmother were schizophrenic and my sister is severely bipolar. I suffer from bouts of clinical depression myself.
One of the things I’ve learned is that the mentally ill, particularly likely schizophrenics like Loughner, don’t live in the same dimension as you and I. They live in a dark mash-up of reality and hallucination that the initiated often have trouble grasping.
They can seem normal and rational one minute and the next arguing with a disembodied voice. They can lapse in an out of psychotic episodes separated by months or years or they can stay psychotic, as my grandmother did, nearly all their lives.
There are as many different presentations of mental illness as there are people who suffer from it. But, there’s one constant – trying to deal with the irrational through rational means is a long shot at best, and more often than not, doomed to failure.
Triggers Without Guns
The air’s already heavy with accusations that right-wing politicos fanned the flames of insanity. The Palinator says, ‘Gosh oh golly gee, I had no idea people would see that as a gun target. And, how did people jump to the conclusion that my statement about not retreating, but reloading is in any way violent?’
Well Sarah, they said so at the time – loudly – and you didn’t “explain” yourself until people died. Ditto Sharron Angle’s entreaty to take “Second Amendment” solutions if not getting her way. Both of these “explanations” are toilet paper-thin and should be used for exactly the same purpose.
However, claiming violent suggestions trigger violence is as specious as claiming that being gay makes you a pedophile. It’s almost impossible to tell if there is a trigger and what effect it has at all. It’s equally true it might have. In the end, it doesn’t matter. When the evil voices tell you to kill, you do and there is no rational explanation why.
That’s not to say the Palinistas were guiltless to throw “misunderstood” gun sights out there. The First Amendment guarantees that right, but the First Amendment doesn’t say word one about free speech being intelligent speech. At the very least, their actions lowered the national discourse by several notches.
As is often the case, the knee-jerk response to tragedies like this is to become a dynamo cranking out proposed laws guaranteed to stop the violence.
Legislation: Responding Rationally to the Irrational
Increase gun control to keep loony fingers off the trigger? Well, if a person hasn’t been diagnosed there is no way to tell if their finger is competent to grasp the trigger. And if they have, there’s no way to tell if the person’s demons are under control, especially when they can seem completely normal even while in a deep psychotic episode.
Besides, there are many more ways, other than guns, to kill. Some of them are even more efficient. You can bomb, stab, set on fire, or bludgeon your victims with exceptionally large heads of cabbage. If the voices say kill, the mentally ill kill – by any means necessary. Besides, you can’t control the sale of cabbages.
And for the drive all decisions to the state level crowd, no control works if all states have different rules. Otherwise, a gun bought on one side of a lenient state boundary will kill the same on the other.
It’s a uniquely American trait to pay scant attention to violence until the right someone gets killed. If this hadn’t involved a sitting member of Congress, the national anguish wouldn’t be so deep nor last so long.
There are gang shootings that rival this one’s brutality and death toll, yet we don’t get in such a tizzy over them. How is this instance any different from a dangerously disgruntled right-to-lifer picking up a gun or bomb to carry out an assassination? What about Timothy McVey or a Kabul suicide bomber or the Va. Tech shooter? What about someone who carries a gun to a political event to “exercise their Second amendment rights” only to get into a one-sided duel with and overly agitated opponent in the crowd?
If the NRA is right about anything it really is that guns don’t kill people, people kill people…and there are a lot stupid, clumsy, and insane people out there. People I’d prefer not lug their guns everywhere for when they decide to “protect” themselves from an overly righteous Obama socialist.
There are dozens of rational responses we could take to keep this from happening again because most of us are sane and rational – if not a little overheated. Unfortunately, most would have about as much effect as prostate and colorectal exams for airplane passengers or tapping every phone on the planet to chase down a nut who lives in a cave and makes bad videos. It behooves us to choose wisely because the cure may be worse than the disease.
You can only control those things that are within your control. A person who literally hears the voice of the devil isn’t going to bend to your control. That’s not because they are unwilling or inherently bad people. It’s because they can’t.
And there lies the problem.
- Q Of The Day: Should I Be Able To Buy A Gun? (pinkbananaworld.com)
- Josh Horwitz: Tucson Shooting Shows True Face of NRA’s “Second Amendment Remedies” (huffingtonpost.com)
- Loughner and how America treats its Mentally Ill (pajamasmedia.com)
- Dr. Harold Koplewicz: Arizona Shooting: Treating Mental Illness Before it Kills (huffingtonpost.com)
- Giffords Attack Makes Joke of Gun Control: Roger Lowenstein (businessweek.com)
- Better Mental Health Care Won’t End Murder, But It Will Save Lives [Aftermath] (jezebel.com)
- Diagnosing Arizona: the quest for the mind of Jared Lee Loughner (guardian.co.uk)
- Carolyn McCarthy readies gun control bill (texasfred.net)
- “Jared Loughner shooting puts Arizona gun laws in the crosshairs” and related posts (personalmoneystore.com)
- The Sad Death of Gun Control [Blame] (gawker.com)
- Sarah Palin Doesn’t Kill People. Guns, On the Other Hand… (abovethelaw.com)
Juan Williams, Fox News contributor and now ex-NPR reporter, was fired for saying he’s nervous when Muslims board his plane. As might be expected, conservatives are howling to yank NPR funding and liberals are saying NPR jumped the gun ala Shirley Sharrod. It’s nice to see we’ve finally achieved bipartisanship by rallying around the notion that NPR sucks – unless, of course, you’re a fan of opera.
When I first heard about this story, the idea that Williams had become some sort of overnight racial profiler didn’t even occur to me. After all, he has a long history of speaking out against racism in its many forms or at least as often as he can before Britt Hume or some other ass cake interrupts him. No, the first thing that jumped into my head was, “What a wuss!”
If Williams is guilty of anything, it’s not racism – it’s his irrational fear of a crackpot amateur videographer living in a Pakistani cave. And if that’s a crime, let’s lock up the rest of fear-crazed America too.
Setting Our Crotches on Fire
So big is our national obsession with fear, that we compliantly allow ourselves to be x-rayed, cavity searched, and deprived of our shoes and belts simply because some idiot mistook his shoe for a candle and another set his crotch on fire.
It seems everyone is terrified of something or someone today. AZ Governatrix Jan Brewer is tremble-kneed over Latinos attacking from Mexico, though curiously not afraid of French Canadians invading Vermont. Sharron Angle is afraid of Canadians so that fear seems to be covered. What a relief, I feared no one would step up for that one. Sharron may also be afraid of Latinos and Asians or someone. They all look alike to her and it’s a tough job so she has to do it.
Obama is afraid of failure, Bush is afraid someone will see he was a carbuncle on the ass of democracy – a hint to the Dub, that cat is already out of the bag. Whites are afraid of blacks. Otherwise brave soldiers are afraid someone might look at their armor-piercing peckers in the shower, but feel much safer if they don’t ask the lookie-loo what he’s looking at and said loo doesn’t tell them. And Sarah Palin pretty much scares the crap out of everyone – except CEOs, who fear no one, but are roundly feared by everyone.
Oh, and Christine O’Donnell is afraid of Bill Maher, though that didn’t stop her from appearing on his show like 357 times to say she was an anti-mastubatory witch.
All Fear, All the Time
Being afraid of Muslims is like saying you’re afraid of Oklahomans because of Timothy McVey or afraid of Coloradans because a zealot whack job killed an abortion doctor there.
To edit a phrase recently uttered on the Fox Fear Network, “Not all Muslims are terrorists, not all terrorists are Muslims, but all terrorists are terrorists” and they’re in the business of scaring the bejeebers out of people. When they’re successful – and in America they’re fabulously successful beyond their wildest incoherent dreams – they win. They get what they want. They want to say, “BOO!” and see 350 million people simultaneously piss their pants…over a poorly-filmed amateur videotape.
Americans really need to get a grip. There’s nothing wrong with prudent precautions, but building a Maginot Line across the southwest is NOT it. I can live with a stroll through a metal detector, though I still don’t like it nor think it does much. I mean when was the last time a turban-wearing Arab showed up for the 3:15 Delta to Sheboygan carrying one of those round Spy vs. Spy bombs?
So what say we all pull up our big girl, big boy, transgendered pants and act like reasonable adults instead of a pack of screaming Campfire Girls because that new Muslim kid down the block keeps trying to put worms down our backs.
Oh yeah, and hire Williams back…with a raise. It’s the least you could do, you pussies.
- NPR Under Fire: Is News Giant Stepping on the Right to Free Speech? (politicsdaily.com)
- Palin, Huckabee: Strip NPR of funding for firing Williams (dailykos.com)
- NPR Critics Weigh In on Juan Williams Firing (blogs.wsj.com)
- FNC/RNC Doubles Down On Juan Williams (andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com)
- Enraged Mike Huckabee Wants NPR Stripped of Public Funds [Controversy] (gawker.com)
- NPR’s CEO Vivian Schiller on Juan Williams Firing (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- Bozell: NPR Firing of Juan Williams Is Outrageous, Congress Should Investigate (newsbusters.org)
- Juan Williams: One Less Con Tool (oliverwillis.com)
- The Ironic Firing of Juan Williams From NPR (dvorak.org)
- NPR Hates Fox: After CAIR Demand for Action, NPR Fires Juan Williams for O’Reilly Factor Comments (newsbusters.org)
Given the plethora of political pinheads roaming the streets and licking babies this year, it’s a several times daily thing when one says or does something incredibly stupid. When you speechify for a living things like that will happen, but this is an amazingly talented bunch when it comes to crapping in their own rhetorical mess kits.
When something goes awry, the tried and true tactic is for the candidate – or some unlucky bastard of a surrogate – to come out and explain why what they said isn’t really what they said, even though they said it in front of several thousand people, while being broadcast on 144 channels around the globe, and Jon Stewart is playing it unedited and nonstop for nigh onto a month.
Sometimes the stupid statement is so egregious and unmistakable there is no way to explain it away. In those cases, the candidate usually runs away and refuses to give interviews.
Being ‘Cracker Lite’ is All the Rage
It’s one thing to be aggressively ignorant, but it’s another to run from who you are and what you say.
Perhaps the most common scenario lately involves racism. Racism is hard to prove, but it’s like porn – you know it when you see – at least if you’re honest about it.
Provable or not, there are a lot more cases of possible racism now that all the angry white guys are trying to get back in with the voters and there’s an African American in the White House. It’s fashionable to be “cracker lite” these days. I vaguely recall that when George the Indifferent was President few people said things about him being dumb white cracker from Texas or question whether he was a closet Muslim, Kenyan escapee, or a socialist far to the left of Uncle Fidel. But now, mysteriously, these things keep happening and keep being denied.
Not all racially-tinged speech or behavior is clearly racist. Sometimes people just don’t think before they talk. Not all Tea Partiers are racists, although statistically there does seem to be a dearth of color at their rallies. Face it, if you were black, would you go to a rally with a bunch of people with whom you vehemently disagree?
But sometimes, racism is unquestionable. I don’t believe that Sharron Angle, ignorant sow that she is, would say something like the clearly Latino people in her anti-immigration ads (BTW, since yanked from the web over copyright claims) possibly being Asians who cross the border from Canada, and then imply she is all Asiany herself…to a room full of Latinos. You don’t say things like that unless you are clearly and stupidly trying to draw attention away from your own asshatted agenda – at the expense of an ethnic group – or you really believe that claptrap.
Though granted it could be one or the other or both in Sharron’s case.
Then, there’s the case of David Bartholomew, Virginia Beach Republican party chair. He emailed a “joke” about a man trying to get welfare benefits for his dog.
The Lazy Black Dog Jumped Over the Fat White Cracker
“My Dog is black, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English, and has no frigging clue who his Daddy is,” goes the punchline. When called on it by some GOP bigs, Dipshit Dave resigned and hid in an undisclosed location to keep the email from becoming a “distraction”. To their credit, several Republicans spoke against the hate message.
But one, Gary Byler, a congressional district chair, left no doubt where he stood. Byler said he was “horrified” by the email, but that didn’t stop him from sticking his own racist boot in his mouth by saying Diamond Dave forwarded the email when, “he was first getting familiar with the Internet.” Losing a document is something a newbie does, sending racist emails “accidentally”? Not so much.
There were other apologists too. Independent candidate and former GOP swell, Kenny Golden, said Bartholomew was being thrown under the bus too quickly. “David would never do something like that on purpose.” Several GOPstoppers thought the Democrats were at fault for “blowing the email out of proportion.” And one suggested, “Oh, absolutely they are!” she said it was possible Bartholomew sent the email “for awareness,” what she characterized as “sending it to somebody and saying ‘look how pathetic people think this is.’”
Oh, heavens to Betsy!
Here’s the thing. If you say racist things and can’t come up with a better excuse than the dog ate my concept of equality, don’t say them. Better yet, if you say racist things, own up to them and don’t offer excuses.
Hell, there’s not even any reason to resign. Be a modern day David Duke. Stand up and be a proud racist. Tell people that darkies just aren’t for you. It’s the best PR move you could make.
If you’re pandering to racists, they’ll be happy to have you join the club. If not, voters will see you for who you are, not withstanding your hiding out with The Big Dick™ at the Undisclosed Quail Hunting Ranch and Whiskey Emporium. As Ben Franklin once said, “If you must fart, fart proudly.”
“If you must be a bigot, be a proud bigot.” We’ll all be happier.
- Virginia Beach GOP chairman agrees to resign after hitting ‘forward’ and ‘send’ on a racist e-mail (pinkbananaworld.com)
- The Southern Strategy lives (washingtonmonthly.com)
- NV-Sen: Arpaio rallies Angle’s racist vote (dailykos.com)
- Darryl: Racist Email Flap Blows Up Virgina Beach GOP | TPMDC (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)