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Friday, October 01, 2010

Just How Dumb Are We?

Calhoun's Can(n)on for Oct 1. 2010


. . . The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. . . .
                                    W.B. Yeats

What Yeats forgot to mention is that the passionate intensity is now filled with an astonishing amount of pure dumb. I mean, really. Has a good chunk of America started wearing tin-foil hats? Consider:

--The corporate media, as bad as it is, debunked the “death panels” rumor over 40 times. You remember that one? The lie that had folks terrified that the health care bill would result in the government killing Granny. Nonetheless, an Associated Press poll shows that 25% of those polled still think Granny’s gonna get offed.

--It gets worse. In a Pew poll, 18% of the public thought Obama was a Muslim, while 43% didn’t know what his religion was. In addition, a CNN poll found that 27% thought Obama was “probably” or “definitely” born in another country.

--All this gets worse for Republicans. A new poll reported in Politico.com. of 2,0003 self-identified Republicans, showed that 63 percent believe President Obama is a socialist, 24 percent think he wants terrorists to win, 36 percent do not believe the President was born in this country, 31 percent agreed with the statement that Obama is “a racist who hates white people,” while 23 percent want their state to secede from the union.

So, a good chunk of Americans apparently think Hawaii is now a foreign country, have forgotten the hysterical dust-up over President Obama’s pastor and spiritual mentor, the very Christian Reverend Jeremiah Wright, while a huge number are dreaming about the windfall inheritance soon to be coming their way every time Grandmaw starts looking peaked.

Plus, a scary percentage of deluded Republicans, while waving the flag and tub-thumping about the sacredness of the Constitution, nonetheless want to secede from the very union they claim as sacred?

And now, into this bizarre blend of Dumb and Forgetful comes a Republican Rerun – the un-new, un-improved retread of Newt Gringich’s old 1994 “Contract with America.” The “Pledge to America” is a cynical ploy that may well work because, beside Dumb, Americans also suffer from a serious case of short term memory loss. For that reason alone, they won’t bother to ask the critical question required of this new “Pledge:” If the issues listed in this “Pledge” were so important to Republicans and to the nation, then why weren’t they passed into law during the eight years that Republicans controlled the House, the Senate and the presidency?

The answer, of course, is that this rhetorical retread is just another cynical plan that will allow politicians and voters to pretend they’re doing something without having to actually do it. Because doing something about the problems we face means we’d all have to make some real changes. And that’s the one thing Americans don’t want to do.

Instead, we get the cynical in league with the willfully uninformed in order to avoid doing the necessary while both sides self-righteously play the victim card.

So we continue to dumbly vote for meaningless platforms that will never deliver any effective results. (Case in point, the Pledge’s promise to “End the practice of packaging unpopular bills and advance legislative issues one at a time.” Complete hokum as neither party will ever, EVER, “advance legislative issues one at a time.” Hiding unpopular bills inside popular bills gives politicians plausible deniability when they have to make hard choices. It’s the soft conspiracy of the unspoken lie that voters love since they regularly punish congressfolk who are honest enough to make those tough votes public.)

The result is we end up with spineless political weasels, dishonest “Pledges,” more political theatre, wealthy players, unions and corporations hiding behind affinity PACS in a system awash with huge secret, non-reported political “donations,” hours of Fox Noise’s misinformation inadvertently churning out fodder for John Stewart’s satirical “Daily Show,” great swaths of Corporate Media’s lazy misinformation further confusing an already dumbed-down and actively misinformed and forgetful electorate, while a comedian shows up in character to satirize our hypocritical farm labor policies during another useless window-dressing Congressional hearing while pundits pretend to be outraged by the stunt.

In short, we are entertaining ourselves to death, all of which will surely result – as it always does – with the sound of gunfire followed by bullet holes appearing in a huge number of feet: Bang! OW! Bang! OW!

And as for the “tea party” darling-du jour, Senatorial candidate from Delaware, Christine O’Donnell? In 2007 she excitedly claimed as fact that “American scientific companies are crossbreeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains!”

Close, Ms. O’Donnell. But you reversed the brain/body order.

32 comments:

Churadogs said...

Testing comment page, which seems to be acting up.

Sandra Gore said...

Just goes to show that if you say something often enough, people will start to believe it. And if they are predisposed to believe anything negative about someone they don't like or don't agree with, then the Glenn Beck's of the world win.
As the Greeks said, "The centuries copy each other." Only now time is speeding and we are recycling decades.

TheOpenEye said...

A fine, sharp rant indeed! But, Ann, we could use a clarification on this metaphorical toothache, please:

"In short, we are entertaining ourselves to death, all of which will surely result – as it always does – with the sound of gunfire followed by bullet holes appearing in a huge number of feet: Bang! OW! Bang! OW!"

oAre you suggesting that humor is the violinist on the Titanic and no one's listening?

oAre you suggesting "entertaining ourselves to death" will lead to gunfire in the streets, i.e. uprisings over food and water?

oIs "entertaining ourselves to death" an aphrodisiac we should avoid, and therefore a form of social corruption we should eschew?

oAre you suggesting that the wrong ones, innocent bystanders, the masses, are going to be paying the price (as in LO), while the bad guys just get badder?

oAre you suggesting that Americans are too stupid to save their own lives at this point, and they/we get what we deserve (as in LO)?

Flesh out your picture with a few details.

It may be that there is simply too much corruption, tragedy, inhumanity and grief to absorb on a daily basis, and that humor has become even more important to communicating enlightenment in an increasingly darkening world. Humor is sometimes the only way to draw attention to issues and problems that are otherwise ignored. As things grow worse, we will need more of it to reflect who we should be and what's missing.

Good comment on "speeding time" and "recycling decades" by Sandra. But even after all this time the Greeks still make a nice salad.

Watershed Mark said...

THE GREAT PRETENDER SAYS "FOX NEWS IS DANGEROUS:" AWESOME BOB SAYS 'AU CONTRAIRE, MON AMI !!"


HYPERKINETIC AS USUAL, ANGRY BOB OF DRINKINGWITHBOB.COM OPINES:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lWziyaCy8I&feature=player_embedded

AS ALWAYS, AWESOME BOB IS 'SPOT ON.'

ALSO, FOX NEWS HAS THE VERY BEST IN 'THE BABE FACTOR,' FOR ITS NEWSCASTERS AND COMMENTATORS !!

Watershed Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Churadogs said...

TOE sez " Humor is sometimes the only way to draw attention to issues and problems that are otherwise ignored."

Humor's not the issue. What we, as a country, as a society are doing might better be described as a combo of entertaining/amusing/distracting" ourselves to death. Instead of watching (say) a factually correct PBS/news special report 'splaining how special interests/congress corrupted the banking system and how it can be corrected and then sitting down and writing our Congressfolk, we watch "Dancing With The Stars." And then when we are asked about how the banking system was corrupted and what we can do about it and which politicians running for office would be best qualified to help fix the problem, we shrug and say, "Oh, I don't know anything about that. But I do know that Lindsey Lohan will be getting out of jail at 3:47 p.m. and she's going to be wearing this really cute pink outfit with a great looking scarf and, wait! wait! I just got her latest Tweet! Oooo, too cool."

And you say I should "Flesh out your picture with a few details?"

Look around you.

Watershed Mark said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVIAGWtCD10

Ann, this should fit into the lizard brain box you are so fond of...Facts are stubborn things.

TheOpenEye said...

Thanks Ann. I get your drift now.

My complaint viz a viz your comment is that "celebrity" has become coupled with absolutely everything we read, watch and buy, and it's this hybrid -- celebrity news, celebrity books, celebrity fashion, etc. -- that has all but destroyed 24 hour hard news, book publishing, the original art market, you name it. We have become so celebrity conscious that we have allowed ourselves to be reduced to fans of the fame game and spectators to our own lives.

To find the substance that is the reality of our lives, we have to reject the false religion of celebrity and dig deeper inside -- or risk living a superficial life, which is not living at all.

It has become far too easy to watch than get off the sofa and do... and time has a way of flying by. The revolution will not be televised. Act on your dreams before time slips away.

Spectator said...

How come the socialists whine so loudly when confronted with facts?

Didn't the socialist system fail in Russia? How about North Korea? It seems to me that when the socialists get into power we end up with fat socialist politicians and really skinny people.

We have your number, progressives, and know what you are after! There is a revolution coming in November because of smart people, not dupes!

Did you know that if you sell your house after 2012 you will pay a 3.8% sales tax on it? That’s $3,800 on a $100,000 home etc. When did this happen?
It’s in the health care bill!
SALES TAX TO GO INTO EFFECT 2013 (Part of HC Bill)

REAL ESTATE SALES TAX!

So this is, "change you can believe in"?
Under the new health care bill - did you know that all real estate transactions will be subject to a 3.8% Sales Tax? The bulk of these new taxes don't kick in until 2013 (presumably after Obama’s re-election). You can thank Nancy, Harry, Barack and your local Democrat Congressman for this one. If you sell your $400,000 home, there will be a $15,200 tax. This bill is set to punish the retiring generation who often downsize their homes. Is this Hope & Change great or what?

Oh, you weren't aware this was in the Obamacare bill? Guess what? You aren't alone. There are more than a few members of congress that weren't aware of it either (result of clandestine midnight voting for huge bills they've
never read). AND, there are a few other surprises lurking...

People have the right to know the truth because an election is coming in November! This stuff makes your November and 2012 votes more important!

Spectator said...

The "born in America" question for Barack Obama is in the courts. It has been accepted as a legitimate question to try. I reserve my judgment until after the trial. In any case, by the time it is adjudicated, Obama will be out of office, and the trial will mostly be a question of his pension and secret service benefits if he is found illegal.

The Razor said...

Did you know that if you sell your house after 2012 you will pay a 3.8% sales tax on it? That’s $3,800 on a $100,000 home etc. When did this happen? It’s in the health care bill!

I didn't know there was a 3.8% sales tax in the "Obamacare" bill. Maybe I never knew about it because there isn't any 3.8% sales tax in the bill (PolitiFact) (Snopes)

Kids, don't believe every chain e-mail you receive from racist Tea Partiers.

Also, Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. Get over it.

Watershed Mark said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMnSp4qEXNM

Watershed Mark said...

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/ap-sparse-crowd-of-thousands-gathers-in-dc-to-push-dem-agenda/

The "comments" are worth a look.
"Stewart delivers Joke"...

Spectator said...

Razor: If you would read the law instead of Snopes, which consistently confuses the issue for an Obama administration advantage, you might actually find out that there is a tax. Read the comments! Of course this law will be repealed.

As to Obama being born in Hawaii, what passport did he use when he traveled to Kenya early on as found in his book?

I have never seen a certified copy of Obama's birth certificate on the web. I know that mine (New York) gives date of birth, time of birth, where born (hospital and district), maiden name of mother, father, etc. I even noticed a false middle name for my father, not on HIS birth certificate.

There is a reason why this issue finds itself in the courts, and it is not frivolous. You must watch Glen Beck on Fox and believe what he says since he is anti "birther".
He says he knows that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. He also knows that there is a GOD.

I will await for the decision of the courts.

AND you throw the race bomb! Shame. You betray your ignorance. Enough is enough!

Watershed Mark said...

Time to wise up "kids":
http://www.theblaze.com/

Ever notice how liberal progressives are never happy?
Poor ol' Rick Sanchez, what happened to free speech @CNN?

Watershed Mark said...

http://docs.house.gov/rules/health/111_ahcaa.pdf
(c) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to sales (and leases and uses treated as sales) after December 31, 2012.

Sec. 1235. Exception for use of more recent tax year in case of gains from sale
of primary residence in computing part B income-related premium.

The Razor said...

Reading Snopes doesn't mean I didn't read the law (in your case, the "Obamacare" bill).

As to Obama being born in Hawaii, what passport did he use when he traveled to Kenya early on as found in his book?

You mean this passport? Says he's from Hawaii.

I have never seen a certified copy of Obama's birth certificate on the web.

You mean like this copy of Obama's birth certificate? Says he's from Hawaii too.

Or how about the August 13, 1961 Honolulu Advertiser, which announced his birth on August 4?

Really, Jon? Really? You can do so much better than this.

Almost a year ago, I dropped this so-called "race bomb" on this site, but this time I'll explain more thoroughly.

In spite of all that has been determined as true, the belief that Obama was born in Kenya undermines any reasonable debate of public policy that prudent individuals could discuss. The debate is substituted for the premise that Obama is completely and unforgivably bound to his African lineage, and that Obama's African lineage supersedes even the most degenerative criticism of his policies.

Watershed Mark said...

Why isn't anyone running on their record of voting for "Healthcare" reform?

Watershed Mark said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_born_citizen_of_the_United_States#Legal_opinions

Why did MIchele and later Barack resign their law licenses?

Watershed Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Watershed Mark said...

http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=37651

Funny how Snopes doesn't really weigh in with a true/false.

http://www.mail-archive.com/osint@yahoogroups.com/msg57324.html

Snopes didn't touch Barack- (further proving their liberal bent)

Watershed Mark said...

Listen up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVAhr4hZDJE

5,645,533 views 21:55 PST 10-2-10

Churadogs said...

TOE sez:"My complaint viz a viz your comment is that "celebrity" has become coupled with absolutely everything we read, watch and buy, and it's this hybrid -- celebrity news, celebrity books, celebrity fashion, etc. -- that has all but destroyed 24 hour hard news, book publishing, the original art market, you name it."

It's worse than that when you substitute celebrity for vital information, then manipulate and/or lie about the information that's left. And we wonder why voters make such bad choices. Can't run a democracy that way.

John sez:Didn't the socialist system fail in Russia? How about North Korea? It seems to me that when the socialists get into power we end up with fat socialist politicians and really skinny people."

Uh, Russia was a communist country. Ditto with Korea. And both failed to live up to their own (ideal) manifestos, which is what always happens when faulty humans run with ideas (and scissors) Your comment about fat leaders and skinny people is pretty funny. In our country we have a thin-but-rich corporate politburo and a fat unhealthy populace.

And sez:"You must watch Glen Beck on Fox and believe what he says since he is anti "birther".
He says he knows that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. He also knows that there is a GOD."

Of course Beck knows there's a God. God speaks to him. Told him to hold a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I bet God tells Glen Beck to also sell gold, too.

Razon sez:"In spite of all that has been determined as true, the belief that Obama was born in Kenya undermines any reasonable debate of public policy that prudent individuals could discuss."

The subtext lies deep in our slave-owning, Jim-Crow, racist history: The scary big black man as a wild-eyed, murderous Mau-Mauing SAVAGE who's out to rape our white women and murder us in our beds.That's the allusion Dinesh and Newt are hinting at in their references to, Obama's --sniff, wink-nudge -- "Kenyan ways." He's not -- sniff, wink--"one of US, you know."

As for John believe nonsense? Pointless to argue. He thinks Russia is a socialist country. Where's Joe McCarthy to set him right. Pssst, it's a Commie country! Dennmark, now THAT's a country filled with healthy, highly educated, and according to a recent survey, the happiest/most content "socialists" on earth. Go figure that one.

Churadogs said...

TOE sez:"My complaint viz a viz your comment is that "celebrity" has become coupled with absolutely everything we read, watch and buy, and it's this hybrid -- celebrity news, celebrity books, celebrity fashion, etc. -- that has all but destroyed 24 hour hard news, book publishing, the original art market, you name it."

It's worse than that when you substitute celebrity for vital information, then manipulate and/or lie about the information that's left. And we wonder why voters make such bad choices. Can't run a democracy that way.

John sez:Didn't the socialist system fail in Russia? How about North Korea? It seems to me that when the socialists get into power we end up with fat socialist politicians and really skinny people."

Uh, Russia was a communist country. Ditto with Korea. And both failed to live up to their own (ideal) manifestos, which is what always happens when faulty humans run with ideas (and scissors) Your comment about fat leaders and skinny people is pretty funny. In our country we have a thin-but-rich corporate politburo and a fat unhealthy populace.

And sez:"You must watch Glen Beck on Fox and believe what he says since he is anti "birther".
He says he knows that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. He also knows that there is a GOD."

Of course Beck knows there's a God. God speaks to him. Told him to hold a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I bet God tells Glen Beck to also sell gold, too.

Razon sez:"In spite of all that has been determined as true, the belief that Obama was born in Kenya undermines any reasonable debate of public policy that prudent individuals could discuss."

The subtext lies deep in our slave-owning, Jim-Crow, racist history: The scary big black man as a wild-eyed, murderous Mau-Mauing SAVAGE who's out to rape our white women and murder us in our beds.That's the allusion Dinesh and Newt are hinting at in their references to, Obama's --sniff, wink-nudge -- "Kenyan ways." He's not -- sniff, wink--"one of US, you know."

As for John believe nonsense? Pointless to argue. He thinks Russia is a socialist country. Where's Joe McCarthy to set him right. Pssst, it's a Commie country! Dennmark, now THAT's a country filled with healthy, highly educated, and according to a recent survey, the happiest/most content "socialists" on earth. Go figure that one.

Watershed Mark said...

Ann writes: Can't run a democracy that way.

Ann, The United States of America is a Constitutional Republic no matter how hard the liberal progressives wish it weren't. See you at the polls in November.

How about that pesky border issue eating Calfornia alive? Meg's right Brown is wrong...Sneaky Allred.

Watershed Mark said...

After watching the video clip here:
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/even-msm-doesnt-buy-one-nation-claim-that-102-rally-attendance-topped-becks/
Look at the picture here:
http://www.theblaze.com/

It’ll be interesting to see how Stewart will spin it-…No wonder he is makes his living as a comedian posing as a source for news and commentary.
What a joke, on those who use him as a reality check. See ya’ll at the polls soon.

Spectator said...

Razor: I have seen this Obama certificate of live birth. I have never seen any certification stamp which would certify the (Copy?). Problem in the courts.

The picture of the passport has no date of issuance. Looks like one issued within the last 7 years. Why would the date be not copied, when it shows whether or not the passport is valid? It came from the White House. In addition, usually old passports are punched when renewed. Where is the punch?

In any case, I do not care. The issue is in the courts. I await their decision. I just wish,like you, I could be as sure that Obama was born in Hawaii. After all, many illegal aliens have full forged documentation to obtain employment, just like Meg Whitman's maid gave to her employment agency before she was hired by Whitman. After this flap, can you believe anything that great Gloria or Brown says?

Ann: socialism:

1. A theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
2. procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
3. (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.

There is nothing dishonorable about being a socialist. It just means that you trust government more than yourself to run your life. Like yourself, I do not trust politicians who run the government since there is seldom sunshine on their actions.

Churadogs said...

John sez:"In any case, I do not care. The issue is in the courts. I await their decision."

Why do I doubt that statement? You obviously DO care. Plus, here's what I bet will happen to the Birthers if and when a court tosses the case out: They'll claim the court is deligitimate and the whole round will start again.

Spectator said...

Ann: I really do not care. Obama will be history the next presidential election, and given a resounding "Never again!" like Carter. This election will clip his wings severely.

There is a revolution going on in this country.

A court has accepted the case. This, of course, will be appealed forever by both sides.

The Razor said...

Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone has a Sep. 28 article about the Tea Party ("Tea & Crackers").

When the word "socialism" is used, think of the following paragraphs found in the article:

"The scooters are because of Medicare," he whispers helpfully. "They have these commercials down here: 'You won't even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay!' Practically everyone in Kentucky has one."

A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries [...] If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can't imagine it.


Medicare? "Socialized medicine." But that "socialism" is accepted. All the other kinds of "socialism"? Bad!

The right misconstrues socialism.

In our country, we pay taxes for public entities that materially benefit us (e.g. libraries, schools, emergency services etc.). Socialism utilizes the necessity of the people of a socialized government to be bound by reliance. In the U.S., we are bound by the reliance of our countrymen to pay their taxes, not the government. The government acts as the intermediary distributor of our taxes pursuant to a guiding budget that we, as voting citizens, have the power of democracy to alter (unlike socialism, which removes this crucial element).

The Razor said...

Also, the legitimacy of a case is not weighed by whether a court finds reason to try a case or not. Rather, the courts -- which vary from state to state -- may find reason to proceed with a case if the pleading satisfies their state's procedural elements that provide a cause of action prima facie ("on the surface").

The term "prima facie" is important to recognize. The court recognizes that the case can proceed on procedural grounds; that it satisfies the elements of facts, issues, applicable rules and relevant analysis. However, it's up to the judge or jury to determine the ultimate question of fact.

Some courts will accept cases simply to set a precedent in their legal system to reduce the "floodgates of litigation." For example, if a court accepts a "birther" case, the judges, jury or justices hearing an appeal will hold against the "birther" so that it significantly reduces the amount of relevant cases to be tried at future dates AND it makes it easier for legal authorities to dismiss charges as a nonsuit.

Several states have already passed laws (including Hawaii) to eliminate "birther" challenges because of their frivolous nature. In my opinion, these challenges are malicious prosecutions of the president.

Churadogs said...

Mat Taibbi sez:"A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries [...] If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can't imagine it."

Bwa-hahahah. There you have America in a nutshell. Give me MY FREE pudding,stick THE OTHER GUY with the bill, and NO SOCIALIZED MEDICINE so keep your hands off MY Medicare!