He Doesn’t Just SEEM Crazy

I know I'm crazy, but at least I'm consistent.Ron Paul is, like, just about the hippest presidential candidate ever…

…especially if you don’t know anything.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – I’m the one that doesn’t know anything.  Ron Paul is the savior of the world, if only people would give him a chance and listen.  Well, it’s when you give Ron Paul a chance and really listen that the most crazy stuff comes out.

Let me say, before you get really angry, that I do, in fact, respect Ron Paul.  I think he has principles and he is unafraid to stick to those principles in the face of sometimes extreme opposition from his own party.  He stakes out his own policy territory and owns it.  I believe he’s got integrity and that he’s an honorable man.  Unfortunately, he’s just slightly insane.

If you carry his political philosophy to its logical end, it simply cannot work.  Beyond that, there are definite consistency issues when he feels that the government shouldn’t be involved in making its citizens’ private decisions but is still adamantly anti-choice when it comes to abortion.

Over the weekend, in the aftermath of Hurrican Irene, Ron Paul went around promoting the end of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  By all accounts, FEMA did a superb job responding to Hurricane Irene – in stark contrast to how it managed to handle the response to Hurricane Katrina back in the good old days of small government (as if) conservative, George W. Bush and “Brownie”.

Paul declared that the city of Galveston, in his home district, battled one of the most severe natural disasters in our country’s history back in 1900 and came through it swimmingly – all without the help of the federal government.

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Thinking is Redundant

"I'm not the decider."

I’m loathe to write twice in a row about the same person, especially when that person is Michele Bachmann, but her performance on Meet the Press yesterday merits some comment and consideration.  In short, it was an absolute abomination – one that is sure to please her followers and enhance her position as the Tea Party princess.

Between skirting her former judgments on how debased and deplorable homosexuals are and redefining the word “submissive” to somehow be synonymous to “respect”, she made an argument that more and more people are making these days, to the detriment of the country as a whole.

At one point, David Gregory addressed Bachmann’s hardline stance to oppose any raise of the debt ceiling, even though every expert said it was a reckless position to take.  Her response was as follows:

The people of this country would love to weigh in, and they would love to say, “Tim Geithner, Treasury secretary, you’re wrong. Mr. President, you’re wrong”…. all the people in Washington said we had to raise the debt ceiling, all the people out in America said don’t raise the debt ceiling…. representatives are supposed to represent the people that they serve. The people that they’re serving are saying, “You guys don’t have it figured out. Stop spending money you don’t have.

Gregory actually did a surprisingly reasonable job of following up on these statements, asking repeatedly if public opinion should be the determining decision making factor in a representative democracy, noting that the whole reason to have representatives making the decisions is because we don’t just use public opinion.

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No, You’re Just Insane

People have been in an uproar all week about the latest Newsweek cover featuring Michele Bachmann – everyone from conservatives who are worried that their candidate is being seen in a bad light to women’s group who believe the use of the picture is sexist.

On all sides, people are claiming that Newsweek is biased because, they say, the picture makes Bachmann look insane.  I agree with half of that.  The picture does make her look insane.  Actually, Michele Bachmann makes Michele Bachmann look insane.  The picture just reflects the reality of her total batshit-ness.  It’s not like this is something new (recall her ridiculous Tea Party “response” to the State of the Union).

But I don’t think that means Newsweek is biased, unless being biased about having insane/stupid people trying to run our struggling country is now a bad thing.  It used to be the media’s job to show us reality and teach us about the world.  Now they basically just have to make both sides seem equal and be nice to everyone.  Bias would be not making it clear that Bachmann is completely unqualified and mentally unable to be the leader of the free world.  It would be bias to pretend that she’s on the same level as Barack Obama – but this isn’t a left/right thing: she’s also not on the same level as Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, John Huntsman, or Ron Paul and I don’t want to see any of them leading the country.

It’s important to note that many of the people on the right who are raving mad about this picture had no problem with the “Obama in Muslim garb” or the claims that Obama “palled around with terrorists” and was anti-American.

If this cover makes people think that Bachmann is nuts, good.  If it damages her chances of actually being president of the United States (not that there really is a chance), even better.

If you think that the founding fathers tried to end slavery, that evolution is an evil liberal myth, and that gay marriage is the greatest threat to our nation in the last three decades, you’re not an actual sane, thinking person.  If you think your husband can turn gay people straight, you’re a fucking moron.  If you publicly decry taxes and government spending while simultaneously begging for government money, you’re either not smart or have no integrity.

So where’s the bias in nudging along the narrative that a crazy/ignorant person is crazy/ignorant and unfit to be president?  That is the real story and the real truth.

And showing that used to be the media’s job, no matter who it helped or hurt.

Promise Me You’ll Never Die

Grover Norquist would have sex with a tax cut.The recent right-wing bullshit extravaganza that was the (entirely fabricated) debt ceiling “crisis” brought to light a growing problem in American politics, that of the signing of campaign pledges.

Powerful lobbyists, PACs, etc… have candidates sign pledges to do a whole range of things, from refusing to raise taxes to oppose abortion at any cost to emphasizing their own marriage vows.  In every case, it’s ridiculous – it is the opposite of mature, intelligent thought and you can argue that it’s antithetical to the Constitution and to their oath of office.

In the oath of office, Congress members “swear to protect and defend the Constitution” and “well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office”.  Nowhere in the oath or in the Constitution is there a part where it says you should pledge your undying allegiance to a lobbyist or to a general principle, regardless of how that affects the rest of the country.  It’s absurd that it’s allowed, far more absurd that it’s a common and acceptable practice.

One of the key pledges that caused so much stress in the past couple of months while the Tea Party and other irresponsible Republicans held a gun to the nation’s head, nearly forcing the first default in our history, putting the nation’s credit rating in great jeopardy (it still is), and wasting valuable time arguing about something completely specious rather than fixing the nation’s actual problems, is Grover Norquist’s tax pledge.  Norquist, who heads a group called Americans for Tax Reform, convinces nearly every Republican in the House and Senate (even at the local level) to sign his pledge which states that they will oppose every single potential tax increase and every single instance where a tax deduction will be removed.

That’s right.  Like brainless zombies, nearly every Republican has vowed in a written pledge to oppose a collection of policies regardless of their effect on the country.  If there were a law that was able to promise eternal peace with a 1% tax hike on the wealthiest 1% of Americans, it wouldn’t be able to get through Congress due to Republican opposition.  Either that, or they’d have to go against their pledge, and then Norquist would make absolutely certain that that Congress member will lose their seat.  Makes sense, right?

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Babbling (Lame)Stream

There he goes a-ridin' and a-ringin'!!

In my heart I wish I could never talk about Sarah Palin again or think about Sarah Palin again and beyond all of that I wish that I would never have to hear her stupid fucking voice ever again.  I used to think it was fun to poke fun at her.  I used to think that her mistakes needed to be pointed out so that whoever was a supporter would be dissuaded and realize the error of their ways in championing someone so fantastically dangerous that she shouldn’t be charged with leading a girl scout troupe.

Unfortunately, since the news media and the reality show producers won’t let that happen yet, she continues to provide moments so outlandish that they can’t pass by unrecognized.

Friday, she gave us one of those moments when she stopped off on her all-American bullshit tour – I mean, bus tour – in Boston and spouted off this made up version of Paul Revere’s ride for the news cameras.

Palin Makes Up a Story About Paul Revere

If you thought that sounded dumb, it actually seems even worse when you read it: “He who warned the, the British that they weren’t gonna be taking away our arms by ringing those bells and by making sure that as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were gonna be secure and we were gonna be free…and we were gonna be armed.”

That was sprinkled with a ton of “uh”s and “um”s as her pea-sized brain tried to process enough things at once to sound semi-informed which, of course, she is not.

Now, it’s one thing to point out the factual incorrectness of almost everything she relayed about the story.  The only part she really had correct was that Paul Revere was on horseback.  The rest is pure idiotic fiction.  He didn’t ring bells.  He didn’t “warn the British” about anything.  And he sure as shit didn’t ride his horse around Boston to make a statement on gun rights.  We should note that over the weekend Palin’s supporters decided to attempt to edit Wikipedia to reflect Palin’s account as a possible version of the Paul Revere story since, well, who’s really to say what happened?  Not those “books” that “intellectuals” and “elitists” read, right, Moose Lady?

But the true stupidity, which is what outweighs every factual error she’s ever made (and there are plenty) is revealed in the way she handles these things as a person.  Any of us could be asked a question about something we don’t know very much about.  We could even be asked a question about something we used to know and forgot.  I took a year of Italian in college and I remember almost none of it.  But if someone asked me about it…

…the last thing I would do is pretend to be fluent!

And that is Palin’s problem.  She was asked about what she had seen during that day of her tour and what she took away from it.  She launched into a bullshit concoction of the Paul Revere story.  No one forced her to do that.  No one badgered her for details.

The stupidest thing you can do is try to sound intelligent about subjects you don’t know anything about.  This also applies to using words and phrases when you’re unaware of their spelling or meaning.  Probably just better to avoid them altogether.  It’s like when people use the word “whom” in place of “who” to sound more proper or sophisticated when they’re really just announcing that they’re morons.

Her account was almost 100% incorrect and it was definitely 100% uncalled for.  She’s just too dumb to shut up.

Yesterday, in an interview with her employers at Fox News, she defended her fairy tale, claiming that she wasn’t wrong at all.  She did her best to rationalize a way that her tale was, in fact, correct even though it’s not correct by any account.  Then she went so far as to call the question a “shout-out, gotcha type of question”.  Palin’s “Defense” Let’s just quickly note that it wouldn’t have been a “gotcha question” if she believed she had gotten it right.

Again, we have Palin calling out a “gotcha” question.  I think it’s safe to assume that the definition of “gotcha question” is when someone who isn’t employed by Fox News asks Sarah Palin a question and she doesn’t know the answer.  Unfortunately, this really encapsulates basically every question you could possibly ask her, since the only occasions when she sounds remotely intelligible come when she’s speaking directly from her talking points or dropping her third-grade level tag lines like, “drill baby, drill”.

Gotcha questions: “What newspapers and magazines do you read?” “All of them.”  “What are your feelings on the Bush Doctrine?”  “What’s that?”  “What did you see today?”  “Paul Revere had a sweet Lamborghini.”

Again, Palin and her supporters defending what she said as somehow correct misses the point completely.  They’re all blaming those nasty liberals with their educations and whatnot.  I don’t really give a damn if she has an elementary school level of sophistication about Paul Revere.  I give a damn that she thinks she does and then goes on to blame other people for her own idiocy.

There are those observers who think Palin is actually so clever that she does these things on purpose to further cultivate her brand and to get media attention.  I hope all of those people jump off of the Bridge to Nowhere.  Because that’s not what’s happening.  All that’s happening is that a dumb, self-serving, attention whore is answering really easy questions in really stupid ways.  If that’s not the case, then you’d have to argue that her answering simple questions correctly would somehow negatively impact her public image.  Umm…

She and her supporters can cry about the “lamestream” media all day long but if they’re going to do so, then every time they do, they should preface their complaints with, “We appreciate everything the mainstream media has done to give Mrs. Palin any sense of relevance…” because the fact is, if they weren’t obsessed with the disease that John McCain dispersed on the American public, no one would give a shit about Palin.  She wouldn’t have her dumbass TV show and her dumbass kid wouldn’t be on Dancing With the Stars.  No one would care about her fake presidential aspirations.  No one would be paying huge sums of money for her to speak.  Donald Trump wouldn’t be inviting her for pizza parties.  No one would think the ignorance and racism of Palin and her followers would be cute.

Palin would be a big, dumb tree falling in a big, empty forest and no one would ever hear her…and unlike real trees in real forests, she wouldn’t, in fact, make any more sounds at all.