Tuesday, March 9, 2010

This Week in Wingnuttery

A new semi-regular feature for my 5's of regular readers: a quick(ish) rundown on the thought process of those on the right - as in opposite from left - side of the political spectrum. As today's internet has enabled users to coral the shotgun blast of information into their own RSS'd version of reality, it's good to take a minute and try to understand where the beliefs that the other side of reality get their information. The 24/7 news cycle that has been thrust upon us in the last couple of decade has evolved into something even more dangerous as the deluded right has an even greater capacity to isolate themselves from reality. As more and more pay walls go up, we'll increasingly need this kind of insight to understand how misinformation gets passed onto an unsuspecting public.

We'll start with the Wall Street Journal where March kicked off with:

Milton Friedman has been dead for more than three years. But his spirit was surely hovering protectively over Chile in the early morning hours of Saturday. Thanks largely to him, the country has endured a tragedy that elsewhere would have been an apocalypse.
I'll save you the trouble of reading the rest of the WSJ article. After rattling off a few stats about the power of the latest Chilean earthquake, the writer, one Bret Stephens, goes on to thank none other than Milton Friedman, Uncle Milt, for the low death count in Chile relative to Haiti who sustained a much more powerful earthquake. Why? Well, according to the deluded, it was thanks to the Chicago Boys that Chile adopted strict building regulations which resulted in their housing being built of bricks instead of straw. According to rightwing mythology all the concrete and rebar came thanks to the economic policies adopted by the Pinochet regime under the advice of Uncle Milt.

Without knowing the reactionary press victim's condition it would seem inexplicable that one could think the man partially responsible for the slaughter of thousands is in fact owed thanks because he made building codes stronger in Chile. Responses to this assertion should begin with reminding the nutter of Richard Nixon's response to the democratic election of Salvador Allende - "make the economy scream" (hard to read copy here, 8th line of the semi-legible scribble). This was Tricky Dick's order September 15, 1970 to his CIA director Richard Helm, launching the soft line campaign to undermine Allende which paralleled the hard line Pepsi fuelled military coup.

But I digress, read more here. Back to Friedman and Chilean building codes. Even if we ignore the fact that the Chilean seismic building code was adopted in 1972, the year before the CIA assassination of Allende, there's the matter of Uncle Milt's view on government legislated building codes. Hint: He didn't like them. In fact, Chile's earthquake had the curious effect of destroying a disproportionate amount of modern buildings and highway overpasses. So, if anything Friedman is to blame for much of the destruction as building code standards and enforcement degenerated after Pinochet took power. Whether you're building highway overpasses or entire economies with only private sector oversight, both tend to collapse when the big one hits.

Next up, McCarthyism is in again. Last week's 'news' cycle featured media stalwart whore Wolf Blitzer giving air time to Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol's view that lawyers who aided Guantanamo Bay prisoners legal defense are unpatriotic. They went even further, suggesting the Department of Justice be renamed the Department of Jihad (get it DOJ, J for Justice or Jihad, sigh). Of course this is nothing new for the likes of Kristol or Cheney, but it gets ugly when it spills over to the main stream of CNN. The Kristol's and Cheney's of the world need to be kept in their boxes, not given forums to create perceptions of American patriotism. The hubbub arose when Liz's Keep America Safe propaganda unit made this ad which instead of getting them tarred and feathered has even reached the floor of the Senate:

If you're a NY Post reader, you don't read that as a lawyer, John Adams defended British soldiers accused of brutal crimes committed during the Boston Massacre calling it "one of the most gallant, generous, manly, and disinterested actions of my whole life, and one of the best pieces of service I ever rendered my country." Instead you get 9/11 scaremongering day in, day out. Oh, and they conveniently forget that the Bush/Cheney DOJ and Rudy Gulliani's firm also employed these same horrible types of people providing constitutional protection. Hat tip to Glen Greenwald, the timeline of events showed he was most prescient in his warning over watching how the media would play this story. Unfortunately, the (brain)damage is already done for readers of the Weekly Standard, they think witchhunts are a good thing, but don't hear about how 34 of America's 50 largest law firms represented detainees or filed amicus briefs on their behalf as Senator Grassley had to be reminded. Thanks to Wolf, while passively watching CNN many were exposed to the contamination. I hate Wolf Blitzer. Oh, and anyone named Cheney. There I said it.

Seeing as the Jim Bunning crusade to kill the unemployed is over, just one more shocker this week. Bunning may have had some success making people forget that the nation's debt problem is mostly due to Bush and Republican congress era unfunded wars and Medicare prescription drug benefits that came along with two of the biggest tax cuts for the rich in history (all of which he voted for). If people can be made to forget all that along with the fact that the bank bailout was mostly Bush's, they will also now believe Sarah Palin is smarter than Barack Obama. Yes, it was only Sean Hannity saying it, but remember Faux News controls the minds of many zombiefied conservative neanderthals you may run into. Sorry, I know it's painful, but you gotta get to just past the 2:00 minute mark:

Keep in mind that their definition of smart is obviously different than the traditional one. For them, smart means writing down answers to supposedly unscripted questions on your hand. You're smart when you can only name one of the founding fathers of your nation while claiming to revere their ideas. Yes, smart is calling single payer health care socialist and then admitting that your family used to slip across the Alaskan-Canadian border in order to receive some of that commie medicine. I don't even know what to say, no matter, Zirgar says it better here. Just remember how the Inca were proved right when American's are mulling over the Palin/Cheney vs. Obama/Biden decision come 2012.

The misinformation rolls around the planet with Tsunami-like destruction. Is there any wonder why Canadian officials support torturing brown people in Afghanistan? How the only way Obama can improve national security standing among much of the electorate is to kill more people in a country he's not at war with remote control indiscriminate killing toys. You have to remember the information that these poor creatures are fed with the goal of retarding society. Gnashing your teeth about illegal Israeli settlement construction will get you nowhere without remembering why the right hates brown people. In a world where America is destroying itself like 18th century Poland while I'm living in a 21st century Poland still trying to imitate the States, it's not only the language that's hard to translate. Having a dictionary can help you understand the words coming out of the right-wingnutter's mouth but you'll never comprehend the meaning oozing out of their mind without remembering they get most of their 'information' from Rupert Murdoch controlled sources. Wow, didn't even mention Rush Limbaugh once in the inaugural installment of wingnuttery. D'oh!


bigjake said...

Great blog!

I even checked out all the links which I never do, and they were great, too.

As Charles Pierce reminds us in Idiot America, we must reserve the right to ridicule the cranks when they say ridiculous things.

Shane said...

Hey Jake, glad someone reads 'em, they're usually more informative than my posts! Great quote and from a sports fan no less, plus he's an Elizabeth Warren fan to boot!

Hope you managed to catch last night Jon Stewart... our inability to understand the other side's argument exemplified, plus he used the John Adams argument: http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/tue-march-9-2010-marc-thiessen

Daryl said...

Thank you for your efforts. Please continue your great work!

Jim said...

"Facts are stubborn things," he concluded, "and whatever may be our inclinations, or the dictums of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."

Any chance of getting that tattooed (backwards!) on the forehead of Mrs Palin?
A little reminder in the mirror every morning could make a world of difference!
Or perhaps we could have it writ large over the entrance to the offices of Faux News... right next to "Arbeit Macht Frei" and "Abandon Hope, All Ye that Enter Here"!

And, as a finishing touch, an exhortation to remember that knowledge without understanding is largely valueless.

Oh for a world where ubiquitous and iniquitous hyperbole is balanced by a lick of litotes! (poncey enuff for ya??)

Regards as ever...J.

word ver: bant_r...just needed an "E". As, indeed, do I!

Shane said...

I'll keep soldiering on Daryl, hope you keep coming back.

Speaking of back good to have you back Jim. I wonder what I'd choose to have tattooed on Sarah's forehead. It would have to be something simple, along the lines of the scarlet letter so the folks who listen to her will be able to understand. The reference to Auschwitz or Dante may be a little too complex for most I'd bet. Any other suggestions?

Phuck Politics said...

For the life of me, I don't understand the love for Milton Friedman.

Shane said...

Gotta say I'm baffled too Phuck. The true believers will never admit the errors of his ways. Here's one for you, who did more harm to the world: Friedman or Cheney?