Sunday, April 26, 2009

Conservatives are taking the term “cognitive dissonance” to an entirely new level lately.

(For those who need a refresher on what cognitive dissonance is, check here.)

Conservatives apparently don’t understand how absolutely insane they collectively sound these days. Or maybe they do but continue to spout nonsense at a very high volume anyway. I don’t know which hypothesis is scarier. Either way, conservatives are lashing out and anything and everything these days, and they aren’t even stopping to consider what fools they look like while doing it. Historically speaking, raving lunatics standing out on the street corner, screeching at anyone who comes by, all the while drooling all over themselves, tend not to rate very high on the believability index. They contradict themselves with ease and have apparently forgotten all about the eight years that George Bush and his cronies were in charge. In a normal world, if you would like to have any sort of credibility at all, you normally do NOT go around shouting about how upset you are when what you are saying CONTRADICTS your earlier stated position that is STILL ON THE PUBLIC RECORD!

For example, remember when torturing detainees didn’t happen? But then it did happen, but it was only a couple of times by a few “bad apples?” That has now somehow morphed into a patriotic imperative on part of most (but admittedly not all) conservatives that we MUST torture anyone who MIGHT have any information at all that MIGHT be useful in breaking up a SUSPECTED terrorist plot, and anyone who believes otherwise is anti-American. Does no one even remember these various stumbling steps forward, which just happen to all contradict each other? And how does this jive with all the (past and current) statements that “America does not torture?”

Here’s some more ranting and raving from a prominent Republican on this subject. From Balloon Juice.

New York Republican Rep. Peter King thinks his party needs to go nuke if Bush era officials are prosecuted on torture charges.

King, the outspoken ranking member of the House homeland security committee, said Republicans should “shut down [legislative] activity across the board” if any Bush-era officials are hauled into court.

“We would need to have a scorched-earth policy and use procedural means to bring the place to a halt — go to war,” he told POLITICO.

He added:

“If we have another 2,000 people killed, I want Nancy Pelosi and [liberal philanthropist] George Soros, John Conyers and Pat Leahy to go to the funeral and say, ‘Your son was vaporized because we didn’t want to dump some guy’s head under water for 30 seconds.’”

So, the choice that seems to be put forth here is that we either “dump some guy’s head under water”, which is a very benign sounding thing indeed, or having someone’s son vaporized. Gosh, when you put it like that, WHO could possibly object to that?

If these “enhanced interrogation techniques” are so damn fire important, but they aren’t torture, then why must we do them? We keep hearing idiots like Rush Limbaugh say that these techniques are not torture, it’s just slapping, or like some college hazing. THAT’S what we have to do to keep this country safe? “College hazing?” “Slapping?” “Dumping some guy’s head under the water for 30 seconds?” (All those are very real quotes, I may or may not look up the links at this point.) How can anyone actually argue that these techniques are so benign that no one with any sense should object, but still maintain that we must do these things to protect every person’s safety? It’s really that easy? You are actually telling me that these Al Queda guys, who have been training for years to go on missions to kill as many of their enemies as they can, and kill themselves in the process, who are absolutely convinced in their own minds that God is on their side and they will receive all sorts of rewards after they die and take as many of their enemies as they can with them are actaully so wimpy that they are just going to give up after "dunking their head in water for 30 seconds" and tell the interrogators everything they know? THAT is what you are saying, Representative King? It isn't torture, it's really nothing at all, but yet, if we don't do it, everyone in this country will die? Does that make the SLIGHTEST BIT OF SENSE to ANYONE!?!

For a very detailed timeline of the history of torture as we know it, check out this post in DailyKos.

Here’s another version of the conservative oxymoronic universe. Remember when ANY sort of criticism leveled at President Bush or his policies immediately required a resounding response from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, et. al., to the effect of “criticism of the President is unpatriotic in the time of war.” Dissenters didn’t “support the troops” or were “for the terrorists.” Remember that? The country had been stampeded into invading and dismantling the government, military, police force and infrastructure of a country who had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11, and no one in the Bush government had the FIRST IDEA of what do to with Iraq after the first two weeks because absolutely no one had done any post-invasion planning. But yet, if anyone dared criticize Bush and his policies, they were labeled as un-American.

Well, all it takes for the Republicans to change their minds about what is and is not un-American is President Obama’s plan to jump start the economy with a massive infusion of capital and to rescue some corporations who are “too big to fail” (a process not only necessary because of the policies of the Republicans in power for the last eight years, but a process started by then President Bush). A significant number of Texans believe that Texas should secede from the United States. From Talking Points Memo.

A new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll finds that Rick Perry's suggestion at the Tea Party last week, that Texas might have to secede from the Union, actually has significant support from his home state's Republican voters.

One question: "Do you think Texas would be better off as an independent nation or as part of the United States of America?" The top-line number is United States 61%, independent nation 35%. Among Republicans, it's a dead-even tie at 48%-48%.

And then there's this one: "Do you approve or disapprove of Governor Rick Perry's suggestion that Texas may need to leave the United States?" The top-line is only 37% approval to 58% disapproval -- but among Texas Republicans, it's 51% approval to 44% disapproval.

This is not somehow “unpatriotic” or “un-American?” Protesting being stampeded into the Iraq war is un-American but actually saying that some states should secede is somehow NOT un-American? I cannot think of anything MORE un-American than publically state that you would like to start splitting the country apart because you don't like Obama's actions (which just happen to coincide, for the most part, with what he promised to do before he was elected). Gosh, it's like Obama was ELECTED by a large majority of the people or something like that! We can't POSSIBLY let him get away with this!

O.K., how about this one? One of the new Republican talking points is say that the U.S. is becoming a “banana republic”, all because Obama has released Bush-era memos trying to find a way to rationalize and legalize interrogation techniques that the U.S. has considered torture since the 1800’s, and that many people believe that those who were behind this actually BROKE THE LAW and should be held accountable. THAT, according to some Republicans, makes us a “banana republic.” Washington Monthly has a good throwdown of that particular exercise in name-calling.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of a "Banana Republic" is an accountable chief executive who ignores the rule of law when it suits his/her purposes. The ruling junta in a "Banana Republic" eschews accountability, commits heinous acts in secret, tolerates widespread corruption, and generally embraces a totalitarian attitude in which the leader can break laws whenever he/she feels it's justified to protect the state.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Rove, McCain, Bond, Hannity, Beck, et al are so caught up in their partisan rage, they've failed to realize they have the story backwards. They're so far gone, they're so blinded by their rigid ideology, they have no idea that they're projecting. It's genuinely pathetic.

If our goal is to avoid looking like a "Banana Republic," then we would investigate those responsible for torture, which is, not incidentally, illegal. The accused would enjoy the presumption of innocence and due process rights. The process would be transparent, and those who act (and have acted) in our name would be held accountable.

When you look at almost any of the polls these days, you find a very large percentage of the American people generally supportive of the President and his handling of the economy. A large number of people now think the country is headed in the right direction, as opposed to several months ago when that number was in the teens. In other words, the Republicans are losing the argument. They can stomp on the floor, and throw a tantrum like a very petulant four year old that has been told it is bedtime. What’s a good Republican to do, then? Why, it’s obvious!! Call Democrats name!!

From Balloon Juice:

A conservative faction of the Republican National Committee is urging the GOP to take a harder line against both Democrats and wayward Republicans, drafting a resolution to rename the opposition the “Democrat Socialist Party” and moving to rebuke the three Republican senators who supported the stimulus package.

In an e-mail sent Wednesday to the 168 voting members of the committee, RNC member James Bopp, Jr. accused President Obama of wanting “to restructure American society along socialist ideals.”

“The proposed resolution acknowledges that and calls upon the Democrats to be truthful and honest with the American people by renaming themselves the Democrat Socialist Party,” wrote Bopp, the Republican committeeman from Indiana. “Just as President Reagan’s identification of the Soviet Union as the ‘evil empire’ galvanized opposition to communism, we hope that the accurate depiction of the Democrats as a Socialist Party will galvanize opposition to their march to socialism.”

So, let me get this straight. Republicans “drafted a resolution” to rename their opponents’ party. Can you do that? I had actually thought that organizations got to pick their OWN names. This is how far Republicans have gone around the bend. They want to rename the Democratic party. Actually, I hope they do. These jerk faces who insist on calling the Democratic party the “Democrat” party do not look like intelligent adults putting forth rationale ideas. They look like vindictive, petulant grade school kids who make up names to taunt whoever they don’t like in the schoolyard. If they take this one step further and go for the “Socialist Democrat Party”, that is REALLY going to make them look stupid. Of course, people like Michelle Bachmann are going to think that this is a great idea.

We even have, on public record, the reason why Republicans make up names to call their opponents. Because the old names DON’T WORK ANYMORE! From Sadly, No!

“Rhetorically, Republicans are having a very hard time finding something that raises the consciousness of the average voter,” said Saul Anuzis, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party who recently lost a bid to became national party chairman.

Workaday labels like “big spender” and “liberal” have lost their punch, and last fall, Senator John McCain of Arizona and Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska gained little traction during the presidential campaign by linking Mr. Obama’s agenda to socialism.

So Mr. Anuzis has turned to provocation with a purpose. He calls the president’s domestic agenda “economic fascism.”

We’ve so overused the word ‘socialism’ that it no longer has the negative connotation it had 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago,” Mr. Anuzis said. “Fascism — everybody still thinks that’s a bad thing.”

Well, at least this guy is being honest about it. They’ve so overused the terms “liberal” and now even "socialism" that there is has no emotional content left in those words. They're just words. So, Republicans need to find another term that DOES upset everyone. And it doesn't really even have to make any sense, in the historical context. THAT’S the big Republican plan, everyone! Find a name-calling technique that gets a response!! "Ooh! Look at the Fascist!" How adult! How rational!

I might expect this kind of behavior, like I said earlier, out of grade school kids. But adults? Hardly. And elected officials to national and state positions? No. Absolutely not. In any sort of rational world, I would not expect that kind of behavior. The real problem here is that Republicans have absolutely NO IDEA about how to govern and actually get things accomplished for the good of the country. The just don’t. All they know how to do is push people around to get their way when they are in power and whine, name call, stomp their feet on the floor and threaten to hold their breaths until they turn blue when they are out of power.

And I have missed a few, like the overwhelming threat of a Republican filibuster on just about every piece of legistation, when I distinctly remember Republicans threatening the "nuclear option" if Democrats used the threat of a filibuster. Or blocking a very large number of Obama appointees, some for reasons unknown, when Republicans and their Limbaugh-like mouthpieces were decrying Democratic objections to Bush's appointees. "Republicans won the election, therefore WE get to pick the nominees we want! You Democrats should try winning an election now and then, if you don't like how this works!" Yeah, now that Democrats have convincingly won the last couple of elections, where is that concept now? Not hearing much about that these days, are we?

Here’s a good windup from Steven Weber at HuffPo:

In everything -- from defending torture to eschewing diplomacy to regularly engaging in Orwellian contradiction to its unctuous servility to radical religion to its blatant corporate cronyism to its obvious disdain for intellect -- the Republican Party shows few signs of being a viable political organization and every sign of being a condition, one which causes creeping, mean-spirited dementia; a virus which attacks the conscience and renders it inert; an infection which causes even the most sensible persons to engage in such behavior that, as though trapped within a robotically compliant body, they must watch in mute horror as they utter sentiments similar to those spoken by superstitious inn keepers from the year 1738.

I wish I had said that.

(My apologies for the many typos in this post. When I get really upset, I start typing very fast and that doesn't make for a very clean copy.)

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