I’m seriously concerned by the rash of threats and amped up rhetoric aimed at progressive legislators—throwing of bricks through windows, using crosshairs on a map to show the location of targeted representatives, spitting and slurs directed at members of congress, faxing an image of a noose, etc., etc., I hope this is not a preamble to something more insidious.
However, the political atmosphere has been poisoned by conservatives trying to bring down HCR and how it’s time for us to reap what they have sewn, namely unleashing their gang of angry, ignorant and heavily-armed constituents on the country.
Part of the problem is that the media can’t handle this narrative under their currently flawed paradigm of objectivism, where each side gets to deliver it’s message without anyone questioning the bullshit that gets delivered to us. That used to be the role of the media, but no more.
As such, the conservatives are much better at taking advantage of this new normal. Here’s how it works, courtesy of Billmon:
For some years now, I’ve been morbidly fascinated by the political dark arts—especially the very dark art of disinformation: the systematic creation and dissemination of false narratives designed to discredit your opponents and/or drive undecided audiences away from their cause.
The difference between disinformation and just plain lying is in the scope of the enterprise: A lie is intended to conceal a specific truth (e.g. “I did not have sex with that woman”). Disinformation, on the other hand, is aimed at constructing an entire alternative reality–one in which the truth can find no foothold because it conflicts just not with a specific falsehood, but with the entire fabric of the false reality that has been created. It puts the “big” in big lie, in other words.
These basic disinformation techniques were first pioneered by the totalitarian movements of the 1930s, such as the [GODWIN REDACTION] and the Soviet KGB, but they’ve been brought to their full fruition by the modern advertising, public relations and political consulting industries. Proving once again that what communism can do, capitalism can do better.
Karl Rove’s White House was, in many ways, the Olympian ideal of a disinformation operation–a propaganda achievement that will probably never be topped, at least in American politics (God willing). But it looks as if the House Republicans are giving it the old college try.
Thus the rather amazing press conference Minority Whip Eric Cantor held earlier today, in which the Virginia Republican in effect accused the Democrats of inciting violence against all those innocent teabaggers out there who are simply expressing their sacred constitutional right to spit on black people and fax pictures of hangman’s nooses to their elected representatives.
The basic objective of all this, as I wrote way back when, is very simple:
The goal is to confront the public with two sides hurling identical charges at each other–the better to convince them that it’s just another partisan mudfight and who the hell knows . . . anyway.
In that sense, the “mirror image” technique is a like a bomber scattering chaff behind it to try to fool enemy radar or deflect a heat-seeking missile from the real target. As I said, it’s one of the tricks Rove would use when Team Bush lost the news cycle, which suggests the past few days of coverage of the Great Teabagger Freakout have done some real damage — or at least, that the Rovian high command thinks it has done some damage.
Will the ploy work this time? I don’t think so, or if so, only to a limited degree. The material may have been brilliant, but the performance sucked — even Cantor couldn’t make himself sound like he actually believed it. Sure, Fox News is ready (as always) to take the baton and run with it, but I think the mainstream corporate media deadheads, brain dead as they may be, have finally picked up on the scam…
I recommend reading the whole post.
Sounds about right to me.
It was amusing to see the Republican party inveigh against health insurance reform as if they were a synod of Presbyterian necromancers girding the nation for a takeover by the spawn of hell. This was the same gang, by the way, who championed the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, then regarded as the most reckless giveaway of public funds in human history. Along the way, they enlisted an army of nay-sayers representing everything dark, disgraceful, and ignorant in the American character. If the Republicans keep going this way, they’ll end up with something worse than Naziism: a party that hates everything but believes in absolutely nothing.
The most striking elements of so-called health care in America these days is how cruel and unjust it is, and in taking a stand against reforming it the Republican party appeared to be firmly in support of cruelty and injustice. This would be well within the historical tradition of other religious crusades which turned political — such as the Spanish Inquisition and the seventeenth century war against witchcraft. Whatever else the Democratic party has stood for in recent history, it has tended to oppose institutional cruelty and injustice, and notice that it has also been the party for keeping religion out of government.
Now a health care reform act has passed and there’s some reason to hope that insurance companies will be prevented from doing things like canceling the coverage of policy-holders who have the impertinence to actually get sick, which has been their main device for revenue enhancement, and we’ll see how they cope with the idea that being alive in a treacherous world is the fundamental pre-existing condition.
At least this once a workable majority in the government has stood up to the forces of cruelty and injustice, and whatever else happens to us in the course of this long emergency, it will be a good thing if the party of fairness and justice identifies its adversaries for what they are: not “partners in governing,” or any such academical-therapeutic bullshit, but enemies of every generous impulse in the national character.
I hope that Mr. Obama’s party can carry this message clearly into the electoral battles ahead, painting the Republican opposition for what it is: a gang of hypocritical, pietistic sadists, seeking pleasure in the suffering of others while pretending to be Christians, devoid of sympathy, empathy, or any inclination to simple human kindness, constant breakers of the Golden Rule, enemies of the common good. In fact, the current edition of the Republican party has achieved something really memorable in the annals of collective bad intentions: they have managed to create a sense of the public interest whose main goal is the destruction of the public interest.
I hope the American public begins to understand this, because they have been manipulated in their own pain and hardship by these dark forces, and their thrall to the likes of John Boehner, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush, Hannity, and the rest of these vicious morons could easily increase as their economic hardships deepen. We’re facing a comprehensive contraction of wealth and economy that is going to challenge every shared virtue in our national soul, and we’re not going to meet these difficulties successfully without a sense of mutual obligation and sympathy for each other. The Republican party is just itching to turn a giant thumbscrew on the US public — that is, before they try to start burning their enemies at the stake. We understand that the Health Care Reform Act is a first stand against that.
The Rude Pundit is on the trail:
The whole history of our post-9/11 brain damage doesn’t need to be rehashed here. But the continuing use of terrorism as a political tool, and the success it has, speaks a great deal about the character of the nation. Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol’s hysterical attack on the Justice Department is part of the right’s attempt to undermine the credibility and the legitimacy of the Obama administration. Without demonstrating in any way that the “al-Qaeda 7,” the DOJ lawyers who did pro-bono work for Gitmo detainees, have broken any laws or ethics rules, young Cheney is doing the same work as old Cheney, that Dick: giving al-Qaeda legitimacy as a force in determining the way the United States functions.
Indeed, the right has so successfully torqued the country into what our enemies believe it is, it’s almost as if the GOP is a subversive arm of al-Qaeda. They have nearly bankrupted us, thus making any great social advances impossible; they have turned mild dissent into sedition; and they have turned the Constitution into a loophole-ridden contract, filled with more fine print than a subprime mortgage. They did most of that shit when they were in power. Now, out of power, the right is seeking, as it did in the Clinton years, but even more insidiously, to undermine the very functioning of government. And, frankly, it ain’t like the Obama administration is doing a whole lot to stand up to these political forces. Close Gitmo. Try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York. Say, “Fuck you, cowards everywhere. This is what a country does that ain’t intimidated.”
Here’s the dirty secret: we were pretty fucking safe prior to 9/11. We aren’t really much more safe after. We should be vigilant and strong. We should be infiltrating groups and breaking them up. We should be negotiating with other countries. Ultimately, though, you can use all the technological geegaws in the world, you can get DNA and feces samples of everyone coming into the country, you can drown every detainee, but you’re not gonna stop the lone fucker who wants to crash a plane or blow up his balls. It’s the price of living in these armed times.
And, honestly, on the whole, for those of us who remember the Cold War, it’s a little easier to live with the odds of a terrorist attack versus the odds of an earth-destroying nuclear war. (But we were still told on a daily basis to bug out over Commies.) At some point, we have to decide if we are a nation of principle or a nation that capitulates to the merest threats.
I think we’ve decided. And we’ve decided to be terrorized.
Liberals need to stop being such pussies and pass HCR.
Tabbi is America’s great debunker of bullshit that passes for news and thought in this country. His blog is an absolute must read for anyone from the reality-based world.
I love Matt Taibi. Anyone who can chart the dimensions of Valerie Bertinelli’s ass versus happiness is a hero in my book. But that aside, there’s no question in my mind he’s the most talented writer in America today. He’s also a brilliant wit and wordsmith and when he focuses his pen on someone, he doesn’t miss.
Latest victim: Thomas Friedman.
Remember Friedman’s take on Bush’s Iraq policy? “It’s OK to throw out your steering wheel,” he wrote, “as long as you remember you’re driving without one.” Picture that for a minute. Or how about Friedman’s analysis of America’s foreign policy outlook last May:
The first rule of holes is when you’re in one, stop digging.When you’re in three, bring a lot of shovels.”
First of all, how can any single person be in three holes at once? Secondly, what the fuck is he talking about? If you’re supposed to stop digging when you’re in one hole, why should you dig more in three? How does that even begin to make sense? It’s stuff like this that makes me wonder if the editors over at the New York Times editorial page spend their afternoons dropping acid or drinking rubbing alcohol. Sending a line like that into print is the journalism equivalent of a security guard at a nuke plant waving a pair of mullahs in explosive vests through the front gate. It should never, ever happen.
You have to read the whole thing.
9,493 of you made predictions for tonight’s prediction contest. The average of all those predictions is:
57.21 Democratic Senate seats
39.96 Republican Senate seats
255.43 Democratic House seats
169.47 Republican House seats
351.69 Obama Electoral Votes
189.91 McCain Electoral Votes
52.79 Obama Popular Vote Percentage
45.14 McCain Popular Vote Percentage
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