Saturday, October 23, 2010

This Month in Wingnuttery

You asked me once, what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.
-George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four
It seems like just a couple of years ago that there was an election in the US to distract the public from the problems at hand. What's that you say? There was. Right, I forgot that part of a system more and more coming to resemble a perfect machine to enrich a plutocracy until its cataclysmic implosion was the perpetual election cycle with its two-party false left-right paradigm to shift blame from one to the other giving the public the illusion of choice. In case you missed it, the mid-term elections are fast approaching in the United States of America, so this month a special edition of wingnuttery devoted to the ten wingnuttiest candidates put forward by the two-party tagteam that ensures nothing ever gets done. Blame ping-pong is a tool in the doublethink toolkit where left is right and right is left as neoliberals and neocons are mortal enemies that have the same agenda. Remember, it was a Republican president named Nixon whose first act as commander-in-chief was to sign the act that created the Environmental Protection Agency and a Democrat with a foreign sounding name who was going to close Guantanamo and end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was Clinton who oversaw the final implementation of the financial industry's takeover of the economy while it was Reagan who raised taxes four times, including the largest corporate increase in history.

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis that certain concepts cannot be understood by those who use another language was a low point in science. Scholars took the hypothesis as valid without any evidence to support the claims and made fantastic assertions, from linking certain Native American languages with an intuitive understanding of Einstein's concept of time as a fourth dimension to the tense system of ancient Hebrew determining the nature of Judaism. Another bullet was added to the scientific disbeliever arsenal and research on the topic was abandoned for decades falling to the domain of science fiction. Yet much like the work of those writers, truth can be found in the theory; words may not prevent us from having certain thoughts but they do oblige us to think about space, time, colours, objects and people a certain way. Our language effects how we construe events, reason about causality, count, perceive and experience emotion, choose to take risks, and even the way we choose our spouses and professions.

Oh, and who to vote for in elections. So let's look at some of the choices Americans will have November 2nd with a little help from some language from Orwell's 1984 as the words chosen will have a bigger impact on the decision making process than any silly issues. It's a diverse crew but veins of Orwellian commonality can be mined, mostly doublethink and newspeak that seeps into the flow of media bobblehead chatter. Law is important to most, but unfortunately the Biblical kind has more influence on their thinking and actions than the scientific or, you know, legal ones. Many want to abolish the federal department of education, even going so far as calling for the end of public schools altogether as they are "socialism in education" and see universal health care as an Obamanation for introducing more socialism into the equation. Simalakama is an Indonesian word which seems to mean a situation which forces someone to make a decision where each possible option leads to a negative outcome, more or less the idea of Catch-22 given to us by Joseph Heller in the book of the same name. American democracy promises choice and freedom but seems to only give us the discretion to choose the least bad option.

Christine O'Donnell GOP candidate for the Senate in Delaware. In the interest of brevity (ha!) it's easiest to start with Christine as she not only checks all the right-wingnut candidate boxes this year - Palin endorsed, Tea Party supported white female (yes, female) Christian - but also wouldn't be the least bit out of place in science fiction, from JRR Tolkien to JK Rowling. She wouldn't have lied to protect Anne Frank from the Nazis because god would have provided a way for her not to practice deception. One moment she's denouncing erudition as elitism, the next she's lying about her Oxford education. Sometimes she wants us to forget her youthful fascination with incantation and Buddhism repudiation or even how her Italian indoctrination saved her from becoming a Hare Krishna thanks to meatball glorification. She sides with creation over evolution, finds taxation an unnecessary complication, thinks spending money on AIDS research and teaching kids about safe sex is a funding misallocation and even claims the spread of the disease is thanks to condom distribution. Her lack of comprehension of anything requiring the slightest bit of cognition was highlighted by her warning about the scientific creation of "mice with fully functioning human brains". Yet her lasting contribution to the Orwellian dystopia will be her promotion of a further than right wingnut view of goodsex, where the only sex considered acceptable is married heterosexual sex for the exclusive purpose of procreation without any other lustful waste such as masturbation.

Her selection in the GOP primary caused a rare breaking of the ranks in the Republican/Tea Party coalition, that is between Sith lord Rove and Queen Palin, as the former knew her selection in the GOP primary will cost the Republicans a majority in the senate as she was made into a mini-me remake by the latter. O'Donnell nails the character's ignorance on Supreme Court rulings and Christian fundamentalist beliefs which seem to cause Constitutional 1st Amendment memory loss. Their anti-elite-educationism is the bridge to nowhere as the GOP has predictably taken over what was believed to be a grassroots movement but is simply another in a long line of right-wingnut reactionary groups that have formed over time when the true elite have felt their grip on power challenged. Reading from a "poor man’s teleprompter", their hysterical voices are a siren song to those who "proudly cling to [their] guns and [their] religion". When Palin's amazing lack of knowledge about geography or history is pointed out, she simply dismisses it as another attack from the 'lamestream' media and  ignored by Faux News and the rest of the right wing echo chamber. Maybe the blood just flows too quickly from one head to another, a typical reaction: "I’m sure I’m not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, “Hey, I think she just winked at me.” And her smile ... it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America.". This is a convenient state in which to avoid facts and it helps to have already submitted yourself completely to a belief in an omniscient higher power, something many heathen liberal types don't quite get. Neither the attractiveness of Palin nor willful ignorance, but in the right-wingnut reality, ignorance is strength. Maybe Christine’s not a witch but thanks to the transitive property of O'Donnell, her beliefs use a hocus pocus that can even equate masturbating with being gay. Sorry Christine O'Donnell, not only are you not Eowyn, shieldmaiden of Rohan, you're definitely not me.

Next up is Sharron Angle, Republican candidate in Nevada, hoping to beat out current senate majority leader Harry Reid. If she walks like a duck and talks like a duck, speaking without thinking, well, she must be fluent in duckspeak. Running in a high profile race, even when her statements are slammed for being ungood, they become good as her wacky proclamations are like duck calls to the press, so even once she goes back on a claim they have the tendency to push the envelope of possibilities. In the kakotopian future she's helping bring about, Flip-flop Angle can be thanked for her one-time belief in privatizing Veterans Affairs, dismantling Social Security (here then here) and dismissing unemployment benefits as welfare. She's a doubleplusgood duckspeaker when trying to whip up Oceania's hate for Eurasia and Eastasia, America's hatred of socialism and Islam. Entitlements are turning government into god violating the first commandment. She responded to a question about "Muslims wanting to take over the United States" by decrying the fact that Dearborn, Michigan and Frankford, Texas were governed under Sharia Law. Um, not only is this not true but Frankford went out of existence in 1975! Her ads blatantly play on fear of Mexicans crossing the border then tries to deflect criticism by saying that Hispanics look like Asians to her and that she's far more concerned about the Canadian border. She wants to take the US out of the UN, shut down the IRS, ban alcohol and if she doesn't get her way she believes the people should "secure the blessings of liberty" using 2nd amendment remedies. Sounds like this lame duck is nothing but a quack:

Rand Paul, Tea Party driven upset Republican nominee for the Senate in Kentucky. Featured here a few weeks back thanks to his propensity for giving speeches with anecdotes from the days of the Weimar Republic in Germany that preceded Hitler's Third Reich. Stories about workers pushing wheelbarrows of cash home from work as they were paid twice a day in a vain attempt to keep up with hyperinflation serve as his warning for the American workers' future if she continues down her current path. The first round of quantitative easing (QE - lovely newspeak for oldspeak printing money) was a reckless attempt to jump start the economy by pumping banks full of money which many feared would cause a Weimar repeat. Didn't happen, the hyperinflation or the jump start, so it seems we'll have QE2 in both finance and on the seas. Remember that the Tea Party movement may have begun from the floor or the NYSE a month after Obama’s inauguration when CNBC’s Rick Santelli directed his rant at the ordinary American "losers" defaulting on their mortgages, and at those in Washington who proposed bailing the losers out. Funny how he never mentioned the bank bailouts were Bush-initiated, a two for one of false blame, Democrats and the poor.

Newspeak, doublethink and outright lies are used by those who would have us believe poor people who couldn't afford houses are to blame for the recession instead of the banks who are still being given all the support from the Obama administration. Orwell's Miniplenty in today's economy is the financial industry, not the false flag accusation of Obama's socialist regime. Making up lies about the stimulus package, which possibly saved the economy, and pejoratively labeling it the bailout stimulus to conflate the negatively viewed bank bailout in people's minds distracts us from the real problems of a debt based economy. Bailouts cause moral hazard and are doomed to make matters worse and fail, period. They enabled an industry of rent-seeking parasites to bet on and profit from its own crash. Even today as we learn the banks were cheating on the paper work, losing others then hiring folks off the street to become robo-signers in order to repossess homes more quickly (even taking some from people who never had a mortgage) the pyramid scheme is being supported by the government to prevent crash and panic.

If only there were an option besides voting for a party who has been in control of the executive and legislative branches of government for the last couple of years as this has been going on or one dedicated to making it even worse. Instead we have a false choice seen as freedom that makes us slaves to pick between bad and evil. Rand out Rands Ayn Rand, to whom he's devoted, in his hatred of government, except when they're paying his bills. The doublethink required to be a (Ayn) Randian Christian allows him to be a libertarian unless you're the wrong religion, railing against unfounded claims of foreign money being used to build cultural centers but having no problem when it's used for election spending by the Chamber of Commerce. Instead of teaching the lesson from the financial crisis that our freedom is slavery to the debt-based consumer society, Rand rants about an administration whose spending is somehow suddenly out of control instead of taking the time to explain that we, just as he has, have been praying to false idols of false belief.

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All of which makes it hard for even good politicians to maintain their seats when there are candidates like Ron Johnson, again Senate, again Tea Party powered (TPP?) Republican, this time in the land of Cheeseheads, Wisconsin. Johnson doesn't really set himself apart from at least a few dozen other candidates for this list in that he hasn't had to publicly defend himself against dabbling in blood rites or dressing up like a Nazi. Johnson makes the list because he doesn't seem to know anything outside of the plastic business while his opponent seems to be a semi-decent representative of his electors but will be voted out of office because he's from the gubmint. Democratic Senator Russ Feingold voted against confirming Tim Geithner as Treasury secretary, citing Mr. Geithner’s personal tax issues. He cast unpopular votes against popular spending programs such as the prescription-drug benefit for seniors. He opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement, the war against Iraq, deregulating banks and, nine years later, bailing them out. Personal liberty? He was the only senator who voted against the misguided Patriot Act in 2001. To add to what should be a near spotless Tea Party resume, he even supported gun rights. Yet, his opponent is ahead because he proudly proclaims that he doesn’t "think this election is about details". Johnson seems to be counting on the voters going with bellyfeel, just like he does with climate change, blindly enthusiastically going with sunspots.

Joe Miller Republican Senate candidate in Alaska. In a huge surprise, the Alaskan political scene is messed up and it's not all Sarah Palin's fault. No, in a state where 40% of the economy comes from government aid and residents get paid by the government to live there, the people are mad as hell at...the government. "Unemployment has never been lower; there is no housing crisis; banks are solvent. We just got Permanent Fund Checks — and, boy, are we pissed off!" Their rage has been translated into a unique opportunity to choose from three candidates with party support, a Democrat, a Republican and a Tea Bagger. Well, to be clear, it's a choice between a name with a D beside it, Scott McAdams, an R, the Tea Party powered Republican nominee Joe Miller, or they'll have to write in Lisa Murkowski, the Republican incumbent who was beaten in the primary. The biggest obstacle pundits are predicting for Murkowski is that voters who want to choose her will have to come close to spelling her name correctly, enough to show intent, and, well, many Americans aren't all that bright. Ever try to read comment threads anywhere? You know the commentator is American when 'lose' becomes 'loose'.

Yet Joe is just a typical teabagger. His favourite word is 'unconstitutional', a label he slaps on child labour laws, social security, medicare, unemployment (except when it benefits him) and the minimum wage even though he doesn't seem to understand the document. While wrapping himself in the constitution he had hired goons, his Thinkpol, handcuff a reporter asking questions at a public event. Taken together with Joe's admiration of the former East Germany's border security Big Brother Is Watching You posters can't be far behind. Truth is teabaggers have unwittingly allowed themselves to be manipulated by a bunch of carpetbaggers. The Koch brothers, Glenn Beck and Carl Rove will sit back and reap the rewards of a supposed grassroots movement that is set to establish a sizeable caucus to push its agenda in the House and the Senate. Just as their father was a founding member of the John Birch Society, the Kochs were instrumental in funding this astroturf backlash against what they see as a liberal government threatening their right to destroy the planet for profit. Beck has been given a Faux News platform to sow fear through lessons in rewritten history to enrich himself by fleecing the ignorant. The shadow of Carl Rove is spreading like a cancer due to the Citizen United decision metastasizing as prognosticated with a flood of untraceable money; a modern day Minitrue falsifying the past to manufacture truth, disseminating propaganda to spoon feed the semi-literate under a cloak of invisibility. This repressed movement primarily composed of Medicare recipients who object to "government-run healthcare" are being led under the banner of libertarianism to back some of the most anti-choice politicians ever to run for such major office. On issues such as phosphate bans they've been manipulated to believe they don't need to know the actual facts behind an issue because they can simply substitute their paranoid hostility towards liberals for understanding. By giving up any sense of shared responsibility as citizens towards the common good, many have been duped into choosing the freedom of slavery to the richest tenth of one percent.

Alvin Greene Democrat for the senate South Carolina. This guy came from so far out of right field that for a while it was believed his primary victory had to be a Republican plot. Greene makes the list because like most of the others here he has no actual campaign policies to advocate but unlike them he is unemployed, lives in his dad's basement (so of course no campaign office), did no fundraising or campaigning to gain his parties nomination in the primary and is facing a felony obscenity charge. Maybe Big Brother is right and we should fear ownlife as this basement dweller allegedly walked into a computer lab on the University of South Carolina campus, sat down next to a student and asked her to look at his screen, which showed a pornographic website. When told it was offensive, Camille McCoy, a 19-year-old rising sophomore, claims Greene simply laughed and said "Let's go to your room now".

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Only in South Carolina could Jim Demint who is running for his second term against Greene be the less worse candidate. Demint played Tea party kingmaker and lent Republican incumbents conservative street cred for much of the primary season. His theocon views would have Big Brother in your bedroom as he reasserted his belief that gays and unmarried, sexually active women should not be allowed to teach. Just women mind you, yee-haw! Remember, this is the state where Nikki Haley is trying to replace Mark Sanford in the governor's house. She had to deny an affair with a blogger to make her electable in the eyes of voters who voted for a man who told everyone, including his wife, he was hiking the Appalachian Trail while he was in South America. Somehow he wasn't impeached, I guess it's because he paid back the $3,300 he took to visit his mistress in Argentina. But that would be admitting you..., well, others were fired, so I guess censure's enough!?!

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'Crazy' Carl Paladino, gubernatorial candidate for New Jersey, er, I mean New York. Easy to make the mistake as Carl seems more the Jersey mob boss type, actually, more an enforcer, as he opened up his campaign threatening to "clean out Albany with a baseball bat". He wants to send welfare recipients to prisons for joycamp where they can take lessons in "personal hygiene". Yet another in a line of holier-than-thou right wingnut hypocrites when it comes to sex, he made an issue of pornographers and perverts but sent dozens of porn filled emails that included some chick on horse bestiality mixed in with African tribal rituals captioned "Obama Inauguration Rehearsal". Crazy was at the center of what were the strangest political attacks of the season until the Aqua Buddha story was dug up. He had charged that his rival Andrew Cuomo had multiple "paramours" that were being ignored by the press, forgetting that he was the unfaithful candidate. His memory was somehow triggered by a NY Post editor questioning Crazy's source which caused him to threaten to "take [the reporter] out" if he didn't stop stalking his illegitimate ten-year old daughter. To clean up that mess, Crazy figured it was a good idea to tell the voters that his rival's "prowess is legendary". In an odd twist, Carl later claimed that Cuomo didn't have the cajones to face him in an open debate. Er, um, I'm assuming he knows you need them to have legendary sexual prowess, right?

Yet I would pity poor Paladino if it weren't for the danger he represents. He was a broken man onstage during the governor's debate surrounded by a loony squad. He seems to have been a sacrificial lamb in the radical right's cause, a political loss-leader to expand the frontiers of acceptable dialogue. Carl just isn't politically polished enough to get away with expressing his neanderthal thinking on what he doesn't understand. Right-wingnuts see progressive attitudes towards other religions and lifestyles as a liberal plot to make hatred a form of crimethink patrolled by a politically correct thought police. Their anger is usually aimed at 'government' in general, whatever the location or officials in charge but more likely to claim minorities like gays, Latinos and Muslims as collateral damage. The mad-as-hell crowd in America, still not seeing any solid economic recovery on the horizon, will lash out at any convenient scapegoat. In order to wipe the slate clean for endorsing comments comparing an Orthodox Jew political rival, to "Hitler" or an "Antichrist", Crazy gave a speech to a group of Orthodox Jews in which he said he didn't want children "brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option -- it isn't." Having stepped in it again, Paladino figured he'd go on the Today show in order to register his disgust with gay pride parades only to wake to morning headlines that read "Carl Rages Against Guys in Speedos, Gay Grinding". D'Oh!

Linda McMahon is running as a Republican for senate in Connecticut, yes Vince McMahon's wife. Yes, the WWF's, er, sorry panda bears, I mean WWE ringleader. Tea party reasoning says, why not? She successfully ran a business that entertained white, gun-toting, NASCAR before Faux News watching, gap-toothed, anti-intellectual, get the gubmint's hands off everything except a woman's body types. Seeing as she is light on policy but must be electable because she's a business woman, let's look at the business of hillbilly mesmerizing a little closer. WWE's choice to manufacture most of its licensed products in China and Pakistan is blamed on America's corporate tax, but what can she blame on having so many of her Stateside workers die before 50 in the last ten years? World Wrestling Entertainment, an empire built killing wrestlers and working rednecks into a froth, then expanded to bring teenagers to a different froth through programming with prestigious partners such as the “Girls Gone Wild” franchise, has allowed the McMahon family to achieve the American dream, including a self-financed Senate campaign and a yacht named Sexy Bitch. In a recessionary environment where she had to lay off workers, McMahon took home $46 million which was lucky as she's spent $22 million of it in the primary alone and said she would spend "what it would take" to be elected. Of course she has tried to spin this spending as a good thing, not having to take money from special interest, though she has spent hundreds of thousands lobbying for millions in tax breaks.

The $50 million price tag on a government seat was made peddling violence and misogyny to kids as well as the South while helping enable steroid abuse to kill her employees. Orwell's Prolesec couldn't have devised of a less mentally nutritious prolefeed, one that leaves the addict hungrier than before, seeking ever greater spectacles of gore and violence, panem and circenses run amok. In a world of iPads and Blackberries competing for our attention by feeding us an ever thicker stream of information we are paradoxically able to digest less and less. Lacking effective strategies to deal with the onslaught, it's easy to become distracted and unfocused, an easy target for those who would tell us how to think. Yet the exercise of freedom requires focus and attention which is constantly being divided by tweets, texts and tits. From Facebook updates to Glee Gone Wild this information candy has caused a hypoglycemic fit for which the insulin seems to be fear and hate. Huh, in such a world, seems the perfect senator's own daughter would describe her this way:

Carly Fiorina's Republican primary victory in California promised wackiness judging by her primary campaign ads that featured possessed sheep. The lady who personally almost took down Hewlett Packard is trying to take Barbara Boxer's senate seat. Her tenure as CEO at HP saw her fire 28,000 people while the stock price fell 50% before rebounding 10% the day her firing was announced. For her failure, she was given a $21 million golden parachute which is financing her campaign. Of course, if there is a state where someone like Fiorina might appeal to voters, it would be California - look ma, still no budget. A place where billionaire gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman responded to Nanny-gate accusations (hiring an illegal immigrant housekeeper) by blaming her opponent Jerry Brown, her husband, Gloria Allred, the Democratic party, her staff - basically everyone besides herself. Better to spin than to admit fault. Seems she had picked up the spinning habit years earlier, paying off employees to duck battery charges as well as getting in early on Goldman Sachs offerings as an investor (yes, known as spinning) thanks to her position as corporate director giving her both insider stock deals and now campaign donations. If California chooses Meg, maybe the governator really will be back:

Carly and Meg are the elite who Palin and Gingrich should be warning against but instead they serve Miniluv to help inflict misery, fear, suffering, and torture in war, business and politics on brown people, the poor and liberals. We idolize the rich for making the rest poor in a world where class composition is strikingly similar to Orwell's Oceania, where 2% of the population were part of the inner party, today's gilded class, sitting above the outer party and us proles. We are kept safe by being told to be afraid and that our freedom is better protected by giving up a little in exchange. Minipax has convinced us that war is peace so ending a decade long war with no other purpose than killing brown people wasn't even a possibility that the commander-in-chief could even consider. Iraq isn't even an issue anymore and the war in Afghanistan is just an afterthought rebranded as Af/Pak. The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post all refuse to use the word "torture" to describe waterboarding, beatings, and sleep deprivation of prisoners, adopting instead the government-approved phrase "enhanced interrogation techniques".

It's a world of doublespeak in which escalation in war is a 'surge', prisoners are 'detainees', assassinations are 'targeted killings', health care leads to 'death panels' while 'death taxes' replace estate taxes and somehow a 60,000 barrel-a-day undersea oil eruption is nothing but a 'leak'. We fight a war on drugs in order to further marginalize minorities while ignoring the fact that three times more veterans under 35 died back home in California than in the theatres of war in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2005 and 2008. Seems Fiorina shares more than a love of outsourcing and cutting jobs with the Koch brothers, they are also working in support of Proposition 23 part of their war against progressivism; in this fight misinformation is a weapon of mass destruction. Here she is in friendly territory, yep, Faux News, does she answer a question? Try to get the 4:13 point at least:

West Virginia’s Republican candidate for the Senate is lucky politics isn't baseball or he'd have struck out long ago. John Raese lost to Jay Rockefeller back in 1984 during the Reagan Republican landslide, then lost the Republican gubernatorial primary in 1988 to scandal plagued Arch Moore and then lost when he ran for the senate again in 2006, this time by almost 30 points despite spending $2.2 million of his own money. Well, Raese is back for another kick at the can, running against popular Governor Joe Manchin in a special election to fill the last two years of the term of the late Jim Byrd who had held it for over 50 years. Raese is the face of the Republican Tea party that wants to take America back further than FDR's New Deal and Teddy Roosevelt’s Square Deal, all the way to the heady days before there were laws on wages and hours, environmental concerns and debilitating economic concentration. His electoral success, and states future, hinges on how successfully Minitrue has rewritten the past and whether the public has been dumbed down enough to swallow his blackwhite platform hook, line and sinker.

Cognitive dissonance has been disabled by years of fear, indoctrination and repression of critical thinking which allows many to not only believe that black is white but to know it to be so. Evidence contradicting the fairy tale of  Horatio Alger rags to riches stories is ignored by the lottery ticket buying faithful enabling Raese to proclaim "I made money the old-fashioned way. I inherited it. I think that’s a great thing to do. I hope more people in this country have that opportunity as soon as we abolish inheritance tax in this country, which is a key part of my program". Permanently repealing a tax that is only applied to estates worth over $3.5 million only helps the Raeses of the world, keeping the ultra-rich, rich, while the 99.7% of estates who would pay no taxes at all deal with the consequences of lower government revenues. As far back as 1906 President Theodore Roosevelt stated that "the man of great wealth owes a particular obligation to the State because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government." But heck, Raese wants us to go even further and bring back 19th century labour laws. See you later minimum wage because wages would be higher without it, which explains why no one hires illegal workers for less money I guess. It was a better time for his family as they could even send children down into their mines, people knew their place and it didn't matter if you couldn't pronounce anyone's name properly, especially if they were foreign sounding. For the record, it's pronounce Race-ee, even if he's a racist.

Minitrue's done a great job in West Virginia, even giving Governor Manchin amnesia when it comes to the need for coal mine safety. Meanwhile, Miniplenty has kept people poor enough that they'll believe anything that will help them get a job, no matter how deadly. Instead of trying to protect our environment, the EPA (curse you Nixon!) is trying to sow uncertainty and dry up job creating investment by giving notice a permit could be revoked for a project that "would bury more than seven miles of the Pigeonroost Branch and Oldhouse Branch streams under 110 million cubic yards of spoil, killing everything in them and sending downstream a flood of contaminants, toxic substances and life-choking algae." Of course the irony is that Republican obstructionism is what has caused this uncertainty. Lucky we don't trust those elitists who know better than us, like the 97% of climatologists who believe in man-made climate change so we can continue practices like mountaintop mining. No, Raese is probably right, it's just volcanoes. With this kind of healthy job creation it's no wonder so many West Virginians would elect a representative whose family resides in Palm Beach, the one in Florida, which in turn explains why Palin endorsed Raese for the race in Pennsylvania. Folks like this are lucky the past is constantly rewritten so we won't remember who to blame or that there was a Republican president almost 30 years ago who, like Raese, wanted to create a Star Wars program. Hmm, I'll bet thousands of orbiting lasers wouldn't cost too much.

Sadly, pathetically, impossibly, this list just scratches at the surface of the rot that is democracy in the US, the home of the brave and land of the free to choose between bad and evil every couple of years. Many of these wingnuts ballot foes more than fit the bad bill; Richard Blumenthal, the Democratic senatorial candidate running against McMahon in Connecticut, repeatedly implied in public speeches that he had fought in the Vietnam War, though he’d served only stateside. In this iniquitous two-party world, however, the thought of voting for a third party candidate, even when clearly the superior choice, is dismissed out of hand by most as a sure way to hand the most hated choice victory. We didn't even get to the House of Representatives where the likes of Outlaw Motorbike Club fan Allen West, batshit crazy Michelle Bachmann, SS-loving Rich Iott and Pornosec provider Ben Quayle (yes, son of Dan) are running under the GOP banner as are senate candidates such as Marco Rubio and Ken Buck and gubernatorial hopeful, bike-fearing Dan Maes.

The ancient Greeks ignored Aristophanes warnings of the tyrannical assault on democracy as their civilization was crumbling around them just as America will ignore the obvious warning signs and bring about a repeat of 1994 bringing them, and us in their wake, closer to Nineteen Eight-Four. In this age of a fantastic proliferation of information, instead of being empowered we've been enslaved by a corpocracy whose power has somehow been reinforced by the crisis they brought about as a self-censoring media has stood impotently by or worse, done their dirty work. Facts are dismissed as bias attacks or ignored altogether as intelligence is elitist and asininity is divinity in a warped real world version of high school. Google and entire elections are for sale to the highest bidder as inconvenient facts simply disappear down the memory hole as a modern day Syme sits at his keyboard working on a new edition of the newspeak dictionary. Welcome to Room 101, or not...


Jim said...

Hi Shane.

Wingnuts on both sides of the Atlantic these days, mate. In fairness, the offerings from Stateside seem somehow larger, brighter and "wingnuttier" than here in the the UK. I'm not sure if that's good or bad... your's are easier to spot while ours seem able to slither into the political undergrowth when the going gets tough.

It seems, to this observer, that the cases you cite all fall into the category of low-level demagoguery, differentiated only by the particular prejudices of the group they are looking to appeal to. An angry crowd is meat and drink to an orator whose will to win far outstrips their integrity.

"The Constitution gives every American the inalienable right to make a damn fool of himself."

John Caines

On a happier note, I thoroughly enjoyed the Orwell/Huxley comparison. I think it is important not to see the two dystopic visions as mutually exclusive but rather more as a "carrot & stick" way to influence behaviour. If the one hand don't get ya, the other one will!

Many angry folk here find themselves driven to a confused and poorly thought out position somewhere in a fog of quasi-libertarian, anti-government rage.
Unable to fully comprehend the true scale of the economic issues, they focus this rage on any soft target... benefit cheats, the unemployed, immigrants, etc. They hate the Bankers too, even tho I doubt one in a thousand could give a clear summation of how we got here in the first place, beyond blathering "US sub-prime" and "obscene bonuses" til the cows come home! Easy meat for a demagogue indeed!

The perceived attacks on civil liberties here in the UK (principally related to security issues)have had one slight upside... many people saw fit to remind our Government that 1984 was meant as a warning, not an instruction manual!

I was a little surprised to see no mention of my personal favourite fruitbat of US politics, the certifiably crazy Cynthia McKinney. Perhaps you could do a Xmas special on her... just for me! :}

Best Wishes as ever... keep up the good work!

Shane said...

A Cynthia McKinney Xmas special you say? Not a bad idea, better than the alternate-ending Christmas Carol that I had planned. Definitely better than the one planned for us by our modern day Scrooge overlords. I'm almost afraid to look at the news coming out of the UK these days buddy, what'll those crazy ConDems do next?

Schwerpunkt International said...

Good run up of the wingnuts, with many good links to back up or otherwise demonstrate the Craxy out there in "public" life. From a life watching one side or the other of corporate interests promote a rich person's agenda while getting the ... uh... masses? Great Unwashed? to work against their interests (turn against unions, buy Chinese made crap cauze' it's cheep, vote for people who hate the middle class and even more hate poor people, etc) I wonder if what we are watching is the collapse not of our own system, but the limitations of democracy. Just a thought, but my reaction after this "election."
And, while not proven in science, I do think that having a vocabulary does allow one for a more complex view or understanding - At least I find my own linguistic wordafication abilities limiting my conceptualizing of the current world and forces me to use many, many four letter words in replacement.

Shane said...

Ah, the masses, the Great Unwashed, the sheople or the lemmings being lead over the cliff to their doom by their corporate masters, call it what you will - I couldn't agree with you more that it's becoming clear that 'democracy has jumped the shark' as you put it in your last post. The trick is how to explain it when you can't even have the conversation without being labeled a communist/socialist/fascist. A near impossible task thanks to the media manipulation that has warped the forum through indoctrination and even the transformation of the very words we use.

A good write up on some of the wackier right wingnuts that were actually elected can be found at