Friday, February 04, 2011

Conspiracy and Outrage

North Carolina man reports
his money was stolen from
his girlfriend’s bra as they slept.

I am not much for conspiracy theories. Nor do I ever watch or listen to people like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Hannity, O’Reilly, or others of that general type (apparent right wing lunatics, that is). It is, however, impossible not to be aware of some of what they say and do. Here where I live, for example, you cannot visit a barber shop, the health food store, or even City Hall without occasionally hearing Rush. And clips from Beck, O’Reilly, Hannity, and others are often shown on programs I do watch (mostly Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Lawrence O’Donnell, formerly Olberman, and now Cenk Uygur). I have concluded recently there must be a conspiracy by all of these right wingers to drive us all crazy. I have come to this conclusion because as much as I despise these people I cannot bring myself to believe they could possibly be that stupid. They must be doing what they do on purpose, and I believe they are beginning to succeed. You will notice that lately more and more people like O’Donnell, Uygur, and Schultz, in particular (but others like Maddow as well), are reduced to near apoplexy as they try to describe the latest idiocy emanating from these conservative commentators. When O’Reilly, for example, argues the proof of God can be seen in the regularity of the tides, or Beck hysterically claims we are going to all be subjected to Shari’a law, or others who claim President Obama is in league with the Muslim Brotherhood, or criticize Michelle Obama because of a remark about barbecues, what can you do but throw up your hands and either surrender or go mad from your apparent helplessness in the face of insanity? Arizona is another example of this conspiratorial strategy. As you may have heard the Arizona legislature is passing a bill that says they do not have to comply with any Federal law or statute they don’t wish to comply with. Have they never heard of the Civil War? Can they possibly be stupid enough to believe they can do something like this? Maybe in Arizona, but it does seem to me unlikely. Irrationality can often be used when you are losing an argument, as in a recent case of a young woman in an argument with her boyfriend, set his clothes on fire. It is also being employed at the moment by President Mubarak of Egypt, who is simply trying to ignore the overwhelming demands of his people to resign and leave. Now he says if they want to stay in the streets and protest just let them, eventually they will give up. What can they do against such an irrational position except perhaps be provoked into violence that will then give Mubarak an excuse to attack them once again and possibly cling to power once more.

Outrageousness, too, can often win. Take the case of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas who, for several years, has failed to report his wife’s considerable income from her right wing activities. Not only is he claiming he just didn’t understand the tax forms, he apparently is unconcerned about the blatant conflict of interest involved as his wife is lobbying for measures that will come up before his court. And of course both he and Scalia have refused to recuse themselves from cases they should have, and also think it appropriate for them to attend meetings of right wing organizations. This is truly “in-your-face” kinds of behaviors that apparently they will get away with (there seem to be no signs of action to be taken against them). You could even say the same thing about Bush/Cheney who both boast about their war crimes openly, apparently in the knowledge that no charges will be brought against them (unless, perhaps, they travel to other countries like Spain or Switzerland). Of course the Supreme Court itself is not above the outrageous. Remember in 2000 when they awarded the Presidency to George W. Bush with an absolutely unprecedented act that was so outrageous they themselves said it could never be used as a precedent. And more recently they took an even more unprecedented decision when they declared corporations were the same as persons. The U.S. government itself sometimes does perfectly outrageous things, like doing away with habeas corpus or holding prisoners without charges, or torturing them. There seems to be a kind of unwritten rule that administrators and administrations can do whatever they want until someone tells them to stop. Who is to tell the U.S. Government to stop, or the Supreme Court, or even the blathering idiots of the far right?

What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to.
Hansell B. Duckett

Duck and goose fat is said to be more like olive oil than like butter.

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