You are traveling through another political dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of lies, a slanderous land of imagination. Next stop, the TwiRight Zone! Picture this if you Wills…George Wills. Sorry, but Mr. Winslow wants me to start warning readers before they click the read more button. It cuts down on complaints—at least marginally so.
I know, I know, I’m covering the batshit Right again when I could be at the casinos, but we happen to be between ghost investigations right now and Cokie McGrath isn’t returning any of my phone calls…again. The way I see it there are generally four types of misinformation tactics flooding Republican-land:
This is not to say these tactics are completely absent on the Left, it’s just that EVERYTHING on the Right seems to fall into one of these four categories. Theirs is a land built on false assumptions, of shadow not substance, a land that lies closer to the pit of man’s fears than the summit of his knowledge, a land known as…okay, okay, I’ll stop!
The first tactic employed by the GOP is:
1. The Irrelevant Comparison:
The chart at right is not the one I originally saw on Facebook, I couldn’t find that, but it’s the same idea. It might be accurate, aka those numbers are probably real, but comparing the end of Bush and Obama’s first terms in this manner is truly meaningless. But it does get to the heart of the GOP’s delusion. To them the collapse never happened, to them we’re not heading for continued global economic uncertainty, to them overpopulation is not an issue, to them lowering unemployment is easily correctable (despite our country’s inability to actually make things anymore), to them we can frack our way to energy sustainability, to them climate change isn’t happening, to them a return to a 50s-style American nirvana is just around the corner. Next stop Willoughby! Sorry, if I sneak in any more of these Zone references you can wish me away to the cornfield.
Yes, the future is bleak, but it could be worse….
Instead of the economic collapse of 2009, let’s say there was a zombie apocalypse. So that chart above is essentially saying, “As part of Cheney’s covert Super Soldier Program a mutated virus went awry triggering a zombie outbreak. But when George W. Bush left office only a mere 3% of the population were zombies, but in the subsequent four years under the incompetent leadership of Barack Hussein Obama, 96% of the population of Earth became zombies! That zombie appeasing socialist! In all fairness to the Right, Obama’s campaign slogan A Brain in Every Mouth didn’t help matters (grey matter joke gnawed upon and then omitted).
See how that works? It’s a cooked book! It’s a cooked book! Sorry, it’s a Zone thing. Another related analogy might be comparing the economy of Hiroshima of 1944 to 1945. Very insightful but, umm, you’re kind of forgetting about the atomic Bush, or the whole zombie apocalypse thing. Comparing the surplus W walked into to the clusterfuck Obama inherited is like comparing apples and orangutans (Trump ancestry joke omitted, as there’s still a pending lawsuit). Oh, and if you don’t want liberals to keep mentioning Bush, stop thinking charts like this are meaningful.
Another tactic prevalent on the right is called:
2. False Equivalency & You!
The false equivalency, which I first described years ago as “We’re Even!” goes something like this: if a pattern of truly sinister and irrational rhetoric/actions/plottings occur on the Right, it is immediately cancelled out with one semi-related quote uttered by some Rosie O’Donnell type on the Left. Bill Maher has also identified this tactic.
“There’s a man on the right winger of this plane!”
The game “We’re Even!” was played effectively by the Romney campaign during the War on Women. As the Republicans attempted to respond to many of their own statements on rape, birth control, and pay inequality, they semi-successfully squelched the momentum when an Obama intern said, “Ann Romney never worked a day in her life.” Do you remember that? Well, Obama’s aid had a valid point in the context of the argument, but the Republicans all cried in unison, “We’re Even!”—which means everything they said is absolved. It’s like when you’re playing chess and you’re about to be checkmated so you accidentally kick the table.
One valid but inarticulate statement by Obama’s intern =
All of the Republican Senators, Congressman and Presidential candidate’s statements and beliefs that triggered the War on Women.
Well played Republicans, well played. The Hannitys, Drudges and Limbaughs of the world pull this shit every damn day. One drunk Occupier from Oakland says something and that’s supposed to Trump anything said by…er, bad choice of words. You’re fired! Here’s my favorite recent example of false equivalency:
The chart at right is not mine, but I immediately made this same point as Benghazi was unfolding here. My quote:
“You know what’s a real scandal? When nearly 3,000 Americans died in our own country, while our President kept reading My Pet Goat. That’s a slightly larger intelligence failure, no? But in Bush’s defense that’s a really good book.”
I always try to link back to earlier posts, but as for the GOP-types it’s best we forget their statements so they can focus all of their energy on botching the next issue.
We probably couldn’t have prevented the four deaths in the cesspool known as Benghazi, yet somehow that trumps the largest intelligence failure here in America since Pearl Harbor—not to mention the worst reaction to said intelligence failure since Nam. Oh, not to mention our wonderful Republican Congress actually blocked funds for said embassy security. But I can see their point…er, okay not really. Can anyone on the Right even identify an actual problem anymore? Oh yeah, the guy just confirmed as our Defense Secretary (Hint: that’s why they hate him). This whole scenario becomes even more disturbing when you consider approximately 40% of our country thinks Benghazi = Iraq.
Of course, the Foxeteer will respond with, “We’re even! Besides, Iraq was just an intelligence failure!”
Oh, Iraq was an intelligence failure all right, just not the kind you meant, or as I put it nearly a sentence ago:
“Oh, Iraq was an intelligence failure all right, just not the kind you meant.”
Sorry, I’ve apparently already abused my hyperlink privileges.
As a psychology type, I wonder how so many people can immediately translate this back into Limbaughnese. Tragic beans? Wait, I got it! Rove-setta Stone!
Translate and understand a truly irrational ideology in just a few easy Hannity episodes! You two can make sense of the senseless with our six-CD set. And, not only is it inaccurate, it’s fun!
False equivalency (exhibit two):
The GOP believes voter intimidation/suppression =
Yes, it equals two yahoos at a voting station in an already heavily favored Obama district being weird and creepy.
Republican intimidation/suppression =
A coordinated effort by politicians and judges to create systemic changes designed to create widespread voter suppression.
Come on everyone! Say it with me! …We’re Even!
And yet Congress couldn’t even clap during that SOTU story of a 102 year old woman who waited many hours to vote in Florida. I know Obama said no more name calling, buutt…
What a great game. You see? Those are equal…well, for the factually impaired. Similarly the GOP is now trying to essentially gerrymander the entire Electoral College (related article here). Confused? Just replace the word gerrymander with screw. But don’t worry, I’m sure the next statement by Michael Moore on the subject will mean, “We’re Even!” Sadly tuition was too high at the Electoral College for me, but I still frequent the campus bars.
And for #3 one of my favorites:
3. Revisionist History:
I’ve beaten this one to death, but my last post has an example that gets to the heart of it. The Foxeteers think the Bush Administration never happened and they all agree “Obama is the worst President ever!”
Historians and scholars rank W. almost dead last and Obama is guesstimated by guru Nate Silver as coming in around 17th (between good and average).
Here’s one of my old articles on Republican revisionism here. When investigated and researched, almost everything the GOP holds as gospel is built on a pile of lies and false assumptions, or as I call it The Vatican. I kid the Pope. Actually, it all started with Lord Reagan and an economic strategy with many years of implementation yet no discernable successes (aka, Trickle Down, aka, Supply Side Economics, aka, Reaganomics, aka, how can you all be against pot and dream up this shit?). Well, it apparently works if you like high deficits.
The last and probably most heavily utilized tactic is (drum roll):
4. Outright Lies:
The Outright Lie is my favorite, but I’m told if I try to list these again I will crash our server. For examples see any non-ghost-related-Zano-article (NGRZA). I believe the NGRZA were the same dragon-like creatures the ringwraiths flew back in Mordor. It must be true, I heard it in a Zeppelin song. I am going to try to limit this category to one recent example to add to my collection:
Okay, Googling…(12 seconds later)…ah, here we are:
The Sequester: If you want to know step-by-step how it’s actually going down, check out Dickerson’s coverage over on Slate. Hint: it will be news to a Foxeteer, but what isn’t, right? Yes, the GOP, as usual, is insistent on being the most wrong on any given topic. And the only thing they’re consistent about is their ability to lie to each and every step of the way. Bob Woodward’s rendition was also dismantled by Ezra Klein, here. Oops.
Hey, Pssst, Woodward. Come here, let me talk to you in private:
Look, you’re an okay dude, but even if you think the GOP is right about something, they’re probably not. I learned this the hard way a few times and you can learn from my mistakes. If you think they’re right about something double check that shit before you open your mouth, kapish?
(Italics = Private).
But even if it were true, even if Obama set up the sequester trap, Boehner will step right into that shit every time. Obama has been playing a great game of chess. But, on the other…er, opposable thumb…
|This is what Republicans are playing. Good luck with that.
Andrew Sullivan has always made the comparison Obama = Road Runner and Boehner = Wile E. Coyote, but some good news for the Republicans, according to his business card, Wile E. Coyote is a super genius. This aint rocket surgery.
Here’s some more scientific reasons for the GOP’s continued suckage. Good thing for them they don’t believe in science, eh? Did you hear about this study suggesting neurological difference between voting D and R? Check out this Penn State/Brown University study. Of course, Fox News covered the news as, “Hey kids, there’s a reason you buy all our malarkey despite any supporting evidence! You use the reptilian parts of your brain more often and more effectively than Democrats! It’s called the amygdala and it governs fear, paranoia, and most Fox & Friends episode.”
Or, as I said in my last post (before reading this study):
“We both arrived at similar conclusions. I arrived at mine through reason and logic and they arrived at theirs through fear and propaganda…the usual.”
Yeah, I’m a shameless know-it-all. It’s a shame. I have already covered the neurological deficits of the GOP here, as well as accurately diagnosed them as a collective here. The amygdala is a more primitive part of the brain associated with people who used to beat me up regularly at frat houses. The anterior insula—used more by the Dems to reach decisions—is mammalian in origin. So Republicans’ decision making first arrived on the evolutionary scene…well, this joke says it best:
|Brain Studies Suggest GOP is only 290 Million Years Behind!
|Fox News: So close to the Mesozoic you can smell it…
Ahh, but we haven’t developed smell yet.
Ask your doctor if the more executive functioning centers of the brain are right for you. Yeah, they’re not just a little behind on the evolutionary scale, but that’s okay because they don’t believe in evolution. So they’re good. And don’t worry, I’m sure sail-backed-synapsids are coming back into style any time now. I kid the Republicans. But studying how one uses the anterior insulate (mammalian) vs. the amygdala (reptilian) has an 83% accuracy in determining whether you will vote D or R. Scary but Truman.
“The only thing to fear is Fox itself”
This also ties into a theory I have supported for many years, Beck & Cowan’s Spiral Dynamics. This theory states cultures and individuals move through stages, or levels of consciousness, namely from: tribal thought, to fundamentalism, to entrepreneurialism, to liberalism, to—if you believe the Transpersonalists like Ken Wilber—integral thought. I think this is an accurate theory, but it’s controversial because at first glance it appears hierarchical (a liberal taboo) and Republicans don’t like it (because of their ranking). Of course, the Wilberits would say we can counter these problems by meditating, meditating, meditating! Initially misunderstanding this message, I ended up with a sore palm throughout most of my adolescence.
The dysfunction of our government is primarily of Republican design and most of our current woes are linked to Republican policies. I would love to do a whole post on issues I do agree with the GOP, but thus far it’s only one sentence. But, in their defense, it is a long sentence.
But here’s one disturbing point. There’s no one left to reign Obama in. Let’s be clear…there’s no longer a viable opposition party. Obama is going to push Keynesian economics to its limits, which I personally don’t think is a great idea. He can just dismantle the GOP’s arguments and paint them as crazy. It’s not too difficult as they have a tendency to talk about how they really feel about issues, out loud…with their microphones on. I still feel Obama is fairly moderate in his governing, but nevertheless America is being pushed toward an uber-liberalism and some of this rampant leftism is a direct result of the sad and pathetic behavior of the Foxeteers, or as I put it in my last post:
“One Sean Hannity episode and I’m ready to hand over my gun, have an abortion, and divide all my money equally between my coworkers.”
I fear this scenario. What they fear is a larger dimetrodon; their only natural predator. Sorry, back in time again. Precambrian…hmm, if my 8th grade science is correct that came before the Cambrian.
So if some moment, any moment, you hear emanating from your flat screen the sound of Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly, voices filled with vitriol and angst, they are the last gasps of a dying ideology—an ideology trying to muddle its way home from one of the darker corners of the TwiRight Zone.
Let’s let the Zone’s Rod Serling close up shop:
“It’s a sickness known as hate. Not a virus, not a microbe, not a germ. Highly contagious. Deadly in its effects. Don’t look for it in the Twilight Zone. Look for it in the mirror. Look for it before the lights go out altogether…like during the last Super Bowl. Go Ravens!”
(Not doctored in any way)
(Okay, perhaps a smidge)