This morning’s Wall Street Journal opinion section contains a lot of what one expects to see. There’s an opinion piece making a big fuss over the fake scandal at the EPA. There’s an editorial claiming that the latest job figures prove the failure of Obama’s economic plan — something I dealt with in the Times. All of this follows on yesterday’s editorial asserting that the Minnesota senatorial election was stolen.
All of this is par for the course; the WSJ editorial page has been like this for 35 years. Nonetheless, it got me wondering: what do these people really believe?
I mean, they’re not stupid — life would be a lot easier if they were. So they know they’re not telling the truth. But they obviously believe that their dishonesty serves a higher truth — one that is, in effect, told only to Inner Party members, while the Outer Party makes do with prolefeed.
The question is, what is that higher truth? What do these people really believe in?
My earlier post on Glenn Beck and a comment from a friend on Facebook prompted some thoughts on a construct relating to bias that I’ve been thinking about lately:
Bias, in and of itself, doesn’t bother me as much as what people do in the service of their biases. After all, most everyone in every facet of life operates on a daily basis to somehow service their biases and advance some kind of agenda.
If someone is biased yet uses facts and truth in support of their agenda, I don’t get too worried.
If, however, someone employs lies, fear-mongering, xenophobia and racism in service to their biases/agenda, that’s when I have a problem.
As John Cole opines:
The reason Republicans in DC are running from some guy on the street asking them whether or not Obama is an American citizen is because they have spent the last thirty years cultivating a base of insane crazy people, and while they may escape a reporter from FDL, they can’t escape the base.
The New York Times breaks a big story and reports that Dick Cheney ordered the CIA to break the law by withholding information from Congress about Bush’s secret spying programs:
The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, the agency’s director, Leon E. Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday.
The report that Mr. Cheney was behind the decision to conceal the still-unidentified program from Congress deepened the mystery surrounding it, suggesting that the Bush administration had put a high priority on the program and its secrecy.
Mr. Panetta, who ended the program when he first learned of its existence from subordinates on June 23, briefed the two intelligence committees about it in separate closed sessions the next day.
Efforts to reach Mr. Cheney through relatives and associates were unsuccessful.
It’s strange but I’ve started to only get surprised when Republicans actually get called out for their bald-faced lies (via C&L):
Last Sunday on Fox News, Ohio Republican John Boehner raised a few eyebrows when he told host Chris Wallace that there hasn’t been a single stimulus job started in his state:And out the other side of the Crying Boner’s mouth, here’s what he said a few weeks ago:
In Ohio, the infrastructure dollars that were sent there months ago — there hasn’t been a contract let, to my knowledge. And the fact is — is I don’t believe it will create jobs.John Boehner is either a liar or he’s clueless:
Boehner released a statement to “clarify:”
When U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner told a newscaster Sunday that not a single stimulus-funded road contract in his home state of Ohio had been let, he was wrong.
The Ohio Department of Transportation has OK’d 52 stimulus-funded
road and bridge projects at a cost of nearly $84 million.
“The entire process has been absurdly slow moving just as Republicans warned it would be when we called for an economic recovery bill
based on fast-acting tax relief for small businesses and working families,”
Boehner said in a statement. Read on…
“With Ohio’s unemployment rate the highest it’s been in 25 years, I’m pleased that federal officials stepped in to order Ohio to use all of its construction dollars for shovel-ready projects that will create much-needed jobs.”All this mendaciousness has spawned a new ad by the DNC:
Paul Krugman ponders an age-old question:
I sometimes rely on the Religion Explanation, i.e., They believe in God and all other sorts of unreal stuff in the spiritual realm which leads them to be comfortable believing all sorts of unreal stuff in the physical realm.
Sometimes I just go with the Malevolent Sociopath Explanation, i.e., people capable of constantly peddling fantastical fabrications in the service of some higher agenda are just out-and-out sociopaths, incapable of recognizing the emotional wickedness of their ways.
These theories can feel comforting at times but never seem to contain the whole answer. Is it one or the other? Is it something else? What say you?
Update: John Cole weighs in:
I’m gonna roll with tax cuts, invisible jeebus, and “shut up, that’s why!” But even that isn’t accurate, because we know that most of the right-wing elites don’t even believe in the invisible jeebus stuff (remember when all the folks at the NRO and other right-wing joints were asked about whether they believed in evolution, and they all did- I can’t find the link), they just pretend to be godbotherers and flat-earthers to keep the rubes busy. So what do they actually believe in?
Marcotte dissects the argument behind this historical drivel thusly:
Consider this piece from the first century BCE poet Catullus (Carmen 61:134-141), in which the poet addresses himself to a bridegroom on the eve of his nuptials:
“You are said to find it hard, Perfumed bridegroom, to give up Smooth-skinned boys, but give them up… We realize you’ve only known Permitted pleasures: husbands, though, Have no right to the same pleasures.”
The social history behind this piece is clear: once they’ve experienced sex with other men, Catullus tells us, men are unsatisfied with what their new wives provide them. Notice that the poet is unconcerned about the husband’s dallying with other women—it’s the other men around that threaten the marital union.
Read the whole article.
Okay, let’s see if you can follow this. If men are allowed to marry other men, women will lose out because because they when marry men—which at leas Klinghoffer will concede will still be legal—they will not be able to keep their marriages together because once a guy has tasted forbidden man flesh, he can’t go back to inadequate lady flesh. Men can step out with other women without threatening the main marriage, because apparently it’s just easier for men to close their eyes and imagine that the missus is the mistress long enough to complete his conjugal duties. So if gay marriage is legalized, all the men will want to fuck each other, and women will have no one decent to marry. Women can’t marry each other, of course, because a) Klinghoffer keeps forgetting about lesbians when he’s dwelling on the delicious images of an ancient Roman cornucopia of manflesh and b) just like men, women can’t lower themselves to touching women once they’ve sampled the dudely goods.
Let’s face it. No one wants vagina when penis is available, end of story. You, like Klinghoffer, know that if you ever succumb even once to the urge to reach out and touch a cock, you will forever be ruined, never able again to muster enough pleasure out of a union with a lady to get through it.But what I find really interesting about Klinghoffer’s argument is this—he’s trying to argue against gay marriage. Like many panicked wingnuts, he seems to think that legalizing gay marriage=legalizing dudes fucking each other. What they fail to understand is that dudes can already legally fuck each other.
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: We’re in for a long, long winter of complete and utter batshit insanity from the wingnut right.
A Florida Appeals court ruled there is absolutely nothing illegal about lying, concealing or distorting information by a major press organization. The court reversed the $425,000 jury verdict in favor of journalist Jane Akre who charged she was pressured by Fox Television management and lawyers to air what she knew and documented to be false information. The ruling basically declares it is technically not against any law, rule, or regulation to deliberately lie or distort the news on a television broadcast.It’s not like i disagree with the fundamental premise involved here. Fox Noise probably does have a First Amendment right to lie to its viewers. As a lawyer, it’s just interesting to imagine the oral arguments in the case. Here’s how my imagination frames it:
Judge: So, does Fox News lie in its coverage of the news? Fox News Lawyer: Well, of course, your honor, have you watched our network!? But seriously, it’s not as if there’s anything legally wrong with that!Man Droppings has some good thoughts on this:
[T]his cuts to the chase on the old, tired argument I get when I try to trash Faux News to true believers: ‘Oh, but all the news lies, it’s just a matter of their view.’Yes, it is true, in the simplest sense of true, that all news is by definition biased. There can be no truly objective news, because it is presented by humans, who have biases. However, this court ruling shows that Fox News, and Fox News alone, as far as I know, deliberately sets out to distort the truth as a matter of course. And the fact that so many people not only buy into these lies, but actually seek out these lies because they are simple, and straightforward, and don’t challenge the consumer to think for himself–this is what spells our doom as a species. We prefer comfort, we prefer simplicity, and we shy away from challenges. We are soft, in body and in mind, and in my more pessimistic moods, I see Fox News as a stalking horse for a future in which we are ever dumber, and ever more controlled. That may sound a bit apocalyptic, but you have to admit, we are getting dumber. And it is also demonstrable that dumb people are easier to control than smart people, those who ask questions. So does it make sense, therefore, that those who seek to control might wish to deliberately seek out ways to make and keep people dumber? Or maybe that’s just dumb…
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