Sunday, July 13, 2014

Idiots' Delight (the Semi-Annual Edition)

Due to unforeseen circumstances - the New York Rangers actually made it all the way to the finals for the first time in twenty years - last two months' Idiots' Delight features got, shall we say, waylaid. Fear not, kids. The nice thing about idiots is that there are always plenty of them around from which to choose. It's kind of like watching a soap opera. You can miss a month's worth of episodes and when you finally resume watching, Brad is still proposing to Laura, over the objections of her father.

Rather than combine May and June, I thought I would just cut to the chase and proceed to the semi-annual edition. That way, I figure, I can maximize the idiot to feature ratio. Who says progressives can't be efficient? 

Okay, buckle up, here we go. Envelope please.

The "experts" who got everything wrong about Iraq. You've got to have balls of steal to go on the air and criticize this president for his mistakes in Iraq, when just about every prediction you made about that country was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Let's start with the "brains" of the operation, Dick Cheney, AKA, Darth Vader. Cheney penned an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal in which he said of Obama's alleged failures, "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many."

This coming from the man who said we would be greeted as liberators and that the insurgency was in its last throes. How embarrassing was Cheney? Fox News's own Megyn Kelly called him on the carpet in an interview saying, "But time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir...Now with almost a trillion dollars spent there with 4,500 American lives lost there, what do you say to those who say, you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?"

Wow, I guess it's true that even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Next up on the poison food chain is Paul Bremer. This was the genius who thought de-Ba'athification of Iraq would be a good idea. Rather than strengthen Iraqi democracy, the policy exacerbated the growing unrest throughout the country that led to the proliferation of the types of insurgency groups that Cheney assumed were in their last throes. Thanks to Bremer, these groups now had the support of thousands of Ba'ath Party members who were all too eager to avenge their purge from the Iraqi government.

To this day, Bremer defends his decision and pins the blame on - guess who? - the U.S. military. If only they had listened to him, Iraq would be a democratic paradise today. Dogs have more shame when they shit on your rug.

Of course, no operation of this magnitude could've gotten off the ground without an inspirational leader. Which brings us to Paul Wolfowitz. The chief architect of the Bush Administration's policy in Iraq, it was Wolfowitz who first brought up the idea to invade the country shortly after the 9/11 attacks. He also predicted that the reconstruction costs would be paid for by the revenue from Iraqi oil. Wolfowitz, you might remember, served as Under Secretary of Defense to George H.W. Bush, who, like his son, also invaded Iraq. Though in that case, the elder Bush at least had the brains to stop before toppling the government.

Naturally, no team would be complete without its cheerleader. Enter Bill (I never met a war I didn't drool over) Kristol. Calling Kristol a neocon would be like calling the Atlantic ocean wet. It goes without saying. The editor of The Weekly Standard was famous for insisting that the war would last at most two months and that there was "almost no evidence ... at all that the Shia can't get along with the Sunni." If by two months he meant 104 months and if by no evidence he meant that there was plenty of evidence, then yes, I guess Kristol was right.

Once more, Kristol is beating the war drums. I guess spending $2 trillion on one unwarranted war that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and thousands of our troops wasn't enough for Captain Killroy. Now he's setting his sites on Syria, calling for - surprise, surprise - military intervention.

Some people never know when to quit.

The media for allowing the aforementioned clowns back on stage.   It's one thing to be brazenly arrogant, not to mention profoundly wrong. It's quite another for that arrogance to be enabled by the alleged guardians of truth.

If you need any more evidence that the main-stream media in this country is lame, you need look no further than the shameless performances of the Sunday talk-show hosts. Not only did they allow these buffoons admission to their sets, they didn't even have the decency to challenge them on their own complicity in what has now become the most disgraceful chapter in American foreign policy.

Talking Head, and hopefully soon to be ex-Meet the Press moderator, David Gregory, actually asked Wolfowitz what he would do about the growing terror threat from ISIS.  Nothing like asking a pyromaniac what he would do with a couple of gallons of gasoline. Knowing Gregory's propensity for lapping up anything he's told, I'm surprised he didn't hump Wolfowitz' leg during the interview.

George Will for his rape column.  Over the last few years of his career, George Will has managed to stay clear of the insanity that has gripped the bulk of the conservative movement. Though frequently wrong on just about every topic imaginable, he was nonetheless respected by even his staunchest critics.

Well you can now kiss that baby goodbye. On June 6th, Will wrote an op-ed piece for The Washington Post, in which he said that, thanks to the recent trend of political correctness, being a victim of rape is now a "coveted status that confers privileges."

Not being satisfied with digging himself halfway to China, Will went on to expound further by calling the incidents of sexual assault a "supposed campus epidemic."

The main thrust of Will's argument rests on two points: the first being what he considers a discrepancy between the number of rapes that are actually committed on college campuses, which is 20 percent and the number that are actually reported, which is 12 percent. "Simple arithmetic demonstrates that if the 12 percent reporting rate is correct, the 20 percent assault rate is preposterous." Apparently, it has never dawned on Will that the difference may have something to do with the fact that there is still a great deal of shame associated with reporting a rape. Women not only have to contend with the actual trauma of the event but the stigma that somehow they must've done something to deserve it. Idiots like Will don't make it any easier.

Which brings us to Will's second point, a report in a Philadelphia magazine about a girl who had befriended a young man, who she assumed was not interested in a romantic relationship. When the man decided otherwise and proceeded to undress her, she initially said "no." But the man persisted and he eventually raped her. The woman "just kind of laid there and didn’t do anything." Six weeks later, she reported the incident.

It's the six weeks that's bugging Will out. Somehow the delay in reporting the assault means that it couldn't have been that traumatic. Again, Will fails to understand the huge shame and guilt that many women carry in these circumstances. This man was supposed to be a friend, she thought. He didn't just violate her body, he violated her trust.

Neanderthals like Will see the male as the true victim here. Thanks to what he calls "progressivism," these young men, who have had their reputations smeared, must now contend with "costly litigation" against these institutions that have denied them their "due process" to clear their names.

Apparently Will must've missed the lesson in English class where the teacher said "no" was a complete sentence. Thankfully, his ignorance did not go unpunished. Within a couple of days of the piece appearing, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which was carrying Will's syndicated column, dropped him, calling the piece "offensive and inaccurate."

The only question remaining is what is The Washington Post waiting for?

John Boehner suing President Obama. The day that John Boehner decides to hang up his gavel, give up politics and become a private citizen, he should immediately pursue a career in comedy. In a stunt that would make Lewis Black's day, the Speaker of the House is actually going to sue a sitting president.  You know, it's one thing to be delusional (as many in his party are) it's quite another to be flat out stupid.

And what is the basis for the suit? It seems the Speaker and the GOP are all up in arms over Obama's decision - last year, mind you - to delay the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Yep, you heard right. Republicans are pissed that Obama delayed implementation of part of a law they've tried to repeal more than 50 times. See what I mean about comedy?

Politics aside, this stunt is doomed to failure. As Bloomberg's Jonathan Bernstein correctly points out, "For the courts to consider a lawsuit, the person or group bringing the suit has to show they were harmed in some direct way. So, for example, in the recent recess appointment case, Noel Canning Corp. was able to show that it had directly been harmed by an action taken by members of the National Labor Relations Board who had been recess-appointed. Generally, the courts have ruled (Vox has a good explainer on this) that Congress isn’t eligible to sue the president just because it doesn't like what he’s done."

So why is Boehner proceeding with a suit? Two words: Tea Party. Nobody with any credibility thinks this will go anywhere. In fact, there are a number of pundits who've warned that Boehner's suit could potentially backfire on the GOP. But try telling that to the bubble people who are obsessed with this president and his use of executive orders. Never mind that past presidents have relied on executive orders far more than Obama; never mind that it is well within the purview of a president to take executive actions when he or she sees fit. The fact that this president has done it has driven them completely over the edge.

Here's the irony. If Boehner's suit were to be successful, the employer mandate that the GOP had demanded be stripped from the ACA during last year's government shutdown, would actually be reinstated. How's that for shooting yourself in the foot?

Spoiler alert. If this stunt actually ends up costing the GOP the Senate this year, look for Boehner to top the annual Idiots' Delight awards. In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, "What a maroon!"

President Obama for his handling of the border crisis. I have said this on more than one occasion. This president's greatest problem has been not his policies, but his perception. Simply put, the man doesn't know - or apparently isn't interested in - how to, as they say in show business, play to an audience. And that one glaring weakness has caused him a mountain of grief during his five plus years in the Oval Office.

The border crisis is yet another case in point. Yes, this problem has been growing steadily for well over two decades and, yes, the main obstacle, ironically enough, appears to be a law that George Bush signed in '08. That law prohibits the quick return of children from countries other than Mexico or Canada and affords them an immigration hearing with legal counsel. The Administration, to its credit, is asking for some "flexibility" regarding the law's implementation so it can take action. Again, good policy.

But, with all due respect, Mr. President, you can't say that the reason you didn't go down to visit the border was because you weren't interested in a photo op and then show up at a bar and shoot pool with voters in Denver. You can't have it both ways. Yes, we get it you are well briefed and on top of the situation. No one is doubting that (well at least no one who's sane). But for Christ's sake, would it have killed you to spend a couple of hours down there? You went all the way to New Jersey to shake Chris Christie's hand after Sandy. It's not like you don't have Air Force One at your disposal.

How bad was your faux pas? Rick Perry actually ended up looking good. Yes, Rick Perry! The guy who couldn't remember the third department he'd shut down if he got elected president. Mr. Oops, himself! There are only four things in the universe dumber than Rick Perry: Michele Bachman, Sarah Palin, Louie Gohmert and an amoeba.

Shame on you, sir, for ceding the stage to him and letting him look even remotely intelligent, not to mention giving the wing nuts a talking point on, of all things, immigration reform.

Ron Reagan, Jr's tasteless atheist commercial on Cosmos.  As someone who grew up with both an appreciation of science and faith, it annoyed me to no end when, on the season finale of Cosmos, this ad by Ron Reagan appeared.

Well, first off, Ron, it's NOT freedom from religion, it's freedom of religion. Let's get our prepositions straight. Secondly, and most importantly, your commercial, while I'm sure it was important to you personally, could not have been more ill timed or ill advised.

Okay, you're an atheist who doesn't believe in heaven or hell. Good for you. I'm sure you're a credit to atheists everywhere. I'll even bet Bill Maher got a woody when he saw your ad.

Here's the problem. While it's true that an overwhelming majority of Cosmos' viewers would probably agree with your stance, some don't. Like me, they don't think that believing in God means that the universe has to be six thousand years old. They see science not as an impediment to their faith in God, but as proof of his wonder and glory. They don't believe in fairytales, but they also don't believe in a random universe.

Without quite realizing it, you took a giant shit on those people and, in so doing, aided and abetted the Christian Right, which has been looking for every opportunity to exploit this situation to their advantage.

This is one of the reasons why I detest the Left almost as much as I do the Right. While the Right is myopic and backward thinking, the Left is often arrogant. There is a smugness that tends to rub people the wrong way. And it's that smugness that often costs them votes in close elections. Voters who might otherwise be sympathetic to their positions are often dissed and made to feel unwelcome, hence they vote for the other candidate, often against their own interests.

Ron Reagan may not want to admit it, but the majority of the country believes in God. The goal of the Left shouldn't be pissing off that majority, but, rather, finding a way to lure many of them over from the dark side.

Votes are hard enough to come by even in good years. No one should flippantly toss any aside.


Steve said...

Go get 'em, Pete.

Steve said...

P.S.-- Interesting article here:

(loved what they said about the Pleistocene era. Not sure they meant to be funny.)