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Currently viewing the tag: "Stupidity"
I want to like Conor Friedersdorf, I really do. But after he starts a post with this, I really don’t know what to think:
One of the most thoughtful right-leaning talk radio hosts is Dennis Prager
Really, Conor? I must disagree. Prager is easily one of the stupidest, most poorly-informed and least creative talk show hosts imaginable. Granted, the article Friedersdorf cites isn’t bad, but dear Lord, this is such an ignorant whopper I feel I have to lay down some justice. Here’s Prager’s thoughtfulness in effect (link):
If you love liberty, you must target the left and put its totalitarian tendencies in your cross hairs. We must shoot down political correctness and wage a crusade for truth and liberty. All those ladies and gentlemen who cherish personal and societal freedom must fight like great Indian chiefs, braving secondhand smoke if need be, in affirming a masculinity that has been under relentless attack. And yes, we must even endure the taunts of our foes and, at the appropriate time of the year, wish fellow Americans a “Merry Christmas.”
Then, and only then, will we be able to vanquish lies, defeat the foes of liberty, and once again be able to proudly sing a national anthem that affirms that “the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.” If we don’t, that line in “The Star-Spangled Banner” will go the way of “Merry Christmas.”
Just so that you don’t accuse me of cherry-picking something he wrote years ago, he posted this last week. Violent rhetoric post-Arizona? Not cool, man (though the Christmas references make me think he might have written this in December, to be fair). Keep in mind, I didn’t even have to go looking for this. It finds me (or, more accurately, it finds my significant other Elizabeth and she sends it to me). But, still: LAST WEEK! See, I don’t get how Friedersdorf could possibly think that Rush Limbaugh is awful while praising Dennis Prager. Limbaugh is preferable to Prager by a mile in my opinion, by making points (loathsome as they often are) and being entertaining sometimes. Here’s something else to savor by Prager (this was around the time that health care passed, I believe) and you tell me what you think:
I write the words “civil war” with an ache in my heart. But we are in one. Thank God this civil war is non-violent. But the fact is that the left and the rest of the country share almost no values. The American value system and the leftist value system are irreconcilable. If the left wins, America’s values lose. If American values prevail, the left loses. After Sunday’s vote, for the first time in American history, one could no longer confidently believe that the American system will prevail. And if we don’t fight for it, we don’t deserve it.
It saps energy just read it, doesn’t it? It’s just uninspired, tired rhetoric of the sort that nearly anyone on the right throws around. Could be Coulter or Hannity just as easily. Not what I would consider thoughtful stuff. But this is about as thoughtful as he gets, and I’m not sure it’s an improvement (here’s a link):
Finally, and most important, by voting for Democratic Party candidates, you are voting for a type of government more like the ones most Latinos fled.
Yeah, Obama’s just like Pinochet! Oh, wait, Pinochet’s economic program in Chile is indistinguishable from what Republicans advocate for! Never mind. I’m not even sure what to make of this:
Take black Americans, for example. It makes perfect sense that a black American who is essentially happy is going to be less attracted to the left. Anyone who has interacted with black conservatives rarely encounters an angry, unhappy person. Why? Because the liberal view on race is that America is a racist society. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, a black American must abandon liberalism in order to be a happy individual. It is very hard, if not impossible, to be a happy person while believing that society is out to hurt you. So, the unhappy black will gravitate to liberalism, and liberalism will in turn make him unhappier by reinforcing his view that he is a victim.
I guess this is part of this “Why Obama is angry” bullshit that Dinesh D’Souza is pushing. But the black conservatives I’m aware of tend to be angry yellers like Allen West and Herman Cain, so I guess I don’t agree here. And, if you’re really a glutton for punishment, go ahead and read though some of his large, patronizing op-eds for TownHall. Most of his writing takes the form of long lists of long, leading, weaselly questions addressed toward liberals that only really allow for his particular answer, like this (I swear, this is supposed to be one question):
Given how much you [lefties] rightly hate torture, why did you oppose the removal of Saddam Hussein, whose prisons engaged in far more hideous tortures, on thousands of times more people, than America did — all of whom, moreover, were individuals and families who either did nothing or simply opposed tyranny? One assumes, furthermore, that all those Iraqi innocents Saddam had put into shredding machines or whose tongues were cut out and other hideous tortures would have begged to be waterboarded.
This isn’t a question, it’s a damn soliloquy! Warblogging makes a comeback! And much of his “deep thinking” is really meant to emotionalize and shut down debate, not to get it going, which is exactly you see here. If you’re a torture opponent, as I am, how do you even respond to this? (I made an attempt at the time here.) The premises are so idiotic that it’s hard even to know where to start from. Keep in mind this was written in 2009. As in, after the years of deaths fighting for what will wind up a vaguely theocratic strongman state. Tens of thousands of dead civilians, U.S. troops and God only knows how many victims of ethnic and religious cleansing, and Prager has the nerve to act as though it’s an argument for torture! By this point, I can’t even tell the bullshit from the lies. Before I stop (and believe me, I really have to), let me just point out a factual inaccuracy in his recent column about how the left libels the right:
For example, most Americans want to retain the man-woman definition of marriage. Even most voters in liberal Californians [sic] want to. The left has not been able to convince even Californians to redefine marriage to include members of the same sex. So what the left did was to declare as “haters” all those who wanted California to retain the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. Proposition 8 became “Prop. Hate.”
This is Prager in a nutshell to me. You see, I worked for the No On 8 campaign, so I can speak to this. I can say authoritatively that we were told never to use the word “hate” in the same sentence as Prop 8, or ever. All the literature I handed out did not have “hate” in it. Perhaps he’s referring to “the left” as people holding signs by the side of the road, and I did see one or two signs saying to “Stop the hate” by voting No on 8, but if that counts, then the Tea Party should be considered racist because a couple of their people had signs that said “nigger” on them. God, he’s stupid. It’s not like a quick search on the Internet Archive wouldn’t let you see what the No On 8 page looked like in 2008. Oh, I can go on and on. Ultimately, if you want to hear a pompous ass spouting off about the “myth of heterosexual AIDS” and gender role claptrap that would make Dr. Laura say to ease off, then Prager’s your huckleberry. Other than that, stay away! Man, that was exhausting. Oh, and if you liked that “bullshit from the lies” crack, it’s not mine:

This is pretty stupid:

As it happens that puts [John Boehner] in roughly the same position as House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, who as Majority Leader last year said all options — including raising the retirement age — should be on the table.

In a speech last summer about entitlements and deficits, Hoyer said, “We should consider a higher retirement age or one pegged to lifespan.”

At his weekly press availability on Wednesday, I asked him if he still stood by his previous comments, or if, like Boehner, he’d rather keep his powder dry.

“Unlike Boehner [who supported raising the retirement age outright], what I said is it ought to be on the table,” Hoyer said. “We ought to consider all options, including raising the age, but there are a lot of other options also that can be considered and I also indicated that whatever we do needs to be done prospectively. And I think all parties agree with that.”

Look, unlike many liberal bloggers, I’m not a reflexive Steny Hoyer hater. He’s not incredibly liberal, but reports of his awfulness are often exaggerated. Not this time! Maybe I’m the stupid one here and I’m misconstruing this (the link doesn’t have any amplified remarks) but how can you peg retirement age to lifespan without knowing the future? I mean, health changes pretty dramatically in older age, in ways that are hard to predict. Does this mean you get, say, ten years of retirement and then you’re cut off? Or do they figure, hey, he’s 65 and healthy, why not work a few more years? How do you avoid demographic factors when considering this? Does race/ethnicity get involved? How could it not be? All of a sudden, this is a complete damn mess, and the cure seems far worse than the original disease of a modest budgetary shortfall.

Steny Hoyer

The Minority Whip tries out his legendary Alan Partridge impression...

I’ve written on this before, but it’s hard to find a debate on an issue that’s more beside the point than the one we have on Social Security, which isn’t surprising since it’s one the Beltway crowd has inserted itself into most heavily. The only argument for raising the retirement age is to save money on Social Security, that’s it. The cleanest solution to the Social Security problem is to spend more money on it to guarantee benefits. You could do this by raising taxes, perhaps by just eliminating the cap on payroll taxes for the wealthy. You could make some headway on this on the cut side, too. I’ve never heard anyone actually propose phasing out survivor benefits, which strikes me as a reasonable change to make as we transition from a set of senior citizens where the women were generally homemakers who had little education to one where women were more independent and career oriented. But that’s a change that makes sense according to societal factors, not just because we’re treating the bottom line as sacrosanct. Ultimately, though, raising the retirement age is a political nonstarter and a stupid idea. From the perspective of finding employment, it’s silly because it’s extremely hard to find a job when you’re 59, let alone 69. From the perspective of why should someone have to keep working into their late sixties in the most wealthy nation in the world if they don’t want to? it makes no sense. Over the past two elections, Democrats have gotten just hammered among older voters. Standing firm on the retirement age seems like a decent way of showing this important bloc that Democrats are watching out for them. But Hoyer evidently seems more interested in charming the Beltway elites, which is why it’s such a shame that he didn’t get forced out of the leadership by Jim Clyburn.

Has got to be this one:

Wall Street to GOP: Don’t Cut SEC Funds

But it’s only February 9! Nice one, guys, pulling your April Fool’s joke so early. But the article is actually a pretty interesting one, and makes a certain amount of sense. Here’s a taste:

Republicans were aligned with much of the financial sector in opposing President Obama’s overhaul of Wall Street’s rules, and the new House GOP majority is keen to present a pro-business image.

But Republicans are also battling the administration over burdensome regulations, and are in no mood to provide funding to strengthen regulations they fought against in the minority, even if some of the firms being regulated support the funding.

SEC Logo

Wall Street

“It’s only in government, especially in Washington, where you have agencies that failed in their core assignments in the past, and yet they are rewarded with more authority and bigger budgets,” Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) told The Hill last month.

While Republicans continue to fight the fight, Wall Street seems to have moved on and is now focused on getting the best rules possible from regulators implementing the law.

Tim Ryan, president and chief executive officer of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), said last month that the Dodd-Frank fight was over.

“Today, the industry’s view as expressed by SIFMA is Dodd-Frank is the law,” said Ryan. “We are all about providing substantive input so that the government produces final regulations that make sense.” […]

The attorneys warned that an SEC starved of funds would endanger America’s dominance in the capital markets, as investors would shy away from a market that was deemed to have an inadequate regulator.

The cynical interpretation is that Wall Street knows Dodd-Frank isn’t going to destroy the financial industry and figures it can game the rules in the new law just fine. But the emphasized part of the quote interests me. It makes absolute sense to me that nobody would want to invest in a market with a lousy regulator, since that would make it more likely that you get defrauded. Are the people who put money in stocks during the Chris Cox era over at SEC really happy with how that turned out? Really, bad regulators are only in the interest of dishonest banksters trying to swindle people. But the quote is phrased in a way that makes it seem that the important aspect of this is seeming like an effective regulatory agency. As though the important thing is being seen as an effective regulator instead of really being one. Republicans defunding the SEC would be unwise, politically and economically, but when one considers that all Republicans have offered so far falls into either the category of symbolic claptrap or revenge against Obama for, you know, passing bills, even if they have no alternative or no real criticism of the bills to speak of, I guess it makes sense they’d try this. Ugh! It’s hard to believe people this petty actually managed to win any measure of power at all.

This conflict reminds me of the cramdown fight, where Wall Street was basically resigned to losing the ability to rewrite mortgages in their favor at will, but Republicans decided to fight it anyway and won, betting that it would be too complicated to make into a campaign issue (and, you know, big dollars). Looks like the same thing is going to happen here. At some point, what the Republicans are doing simply stops being rank corporatism and just starts being mindless spite that’s only going to help sleazy characters. But what else is new, I guess.

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I know this should really go under Snack Food but I really can’t help but front-page this vomit-inducing bit of editorial page wingnut autoerotica by Dan Quayle’s son, who is now a freshman in the House of Representatives:

When I was a child, President Ronald Reagan was the nice man who gave us jelly beans when we visited the White House. I didn’t know then, but I know it now: The jelly beans were much more than a sweet treat that he gave out as gifts. They represented the uniqueness and greatness of America — each one different and special in its own way, but collectively they blended in harmony.

The apple doesn’t often fall far from the tree, hmm?

h/t Dennis G.

How the fuck does dreck like this get posted at the New York Times:
Ms. Palin, the former governor of Alaska, is scheduled to give a major speech Friday night at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, Calif., in honor of what would have been the 40th president’s 100th birthday. It’s possible that Ms. Palin could use the opportunity to deliver a broadly conceived foreign policy speech that uses the turmoil in Egypt to advance an understanding of her national security beliefs that goes beyond her use of Twitter messages and Facebook posts…
Sure, I get it that NYT writers are told to occasionally write puff pieces on Palin to fight off that mean ol’ “lamestream” media attack. But “a broadly conceived foreign policy speech that uses the turmoil in Egypt to advance an understanding of her national security beliefs“?? Seriously? Point to one instance of her making foreign policy statements that didn’t sound like the result of solving a word jumble and I’ll give you a lollipop. h/t DougJ

Bill O’Reilly takes another stab at defending faith. Goes about as well as the first time:

Okay, how did the Moon get there? How’d the Moon get there? Look, you pinheads who attacked me for this, you guys are just desperate. How’d the Moon get there? How’d the Sun get there? How’d it get there? Can you explain that to me? How come we have that and Mars doesn’t have it? Venus doesn’t have it. How come? Why not? How’d it get here?

He does realize that nonbelievers actually do have theories for this stuff, right? Big Bang and so on?

I was thinking of making some wisecracks about his stupidity, but I’ve read this quote about six times now, and I’ve concluded that engaging with it is actually making me stupider. Click through to the link if you need some of that sort of thing. I really think this is so blatantly and obviously stupid there’s no way to make it sound even stupider. There’s no deep stupidity to draw out, it’s all right there.

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Bill O’Reilly takes another stab at defending faith. Goes about as well as the first time:

Okay, how did the Moon get there? How’d the Moon get there? Look, you pinheads who attacked me for this, you guys are just desperate. How’d the Moon get there? How’d the Sun get there? How’d it get there? Can you explain that to me? How come we have that and Mars doesn’t have it? Venus doesn’t have it. How come? Why not? How’d it get here?

He does realize that nonbelievers actually do have theories for this stuff, right? Big Bang and so on?

I was thinking of making some wisecracks about his stupidity, but I’ve read this quote about six times now, and I’ve concluded that engaging with it is actually making me stupider. Click through to the link if you need some of that sort of thing. I really think this is so blatantly and obviously stupid there’s no way to make it sound even stupider. There’s no deep stupidity to draw out, it’s all right there.

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