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Uji
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Know-Nothingism

Postby Uji » 2008 Aug 09 13:14

This was in the NY TIMES the other day. The GOPs and Dems are obviously not stupid, but they seem to think that we are. (Come to think of it, maybe they're right: we did elect them all, after all.)

And if Dems are your preferred scapegoat (Krugman takes on the GOPS, here), just substitute your favorite Obama-ism for "drill here, drill now."

Anyway, Krugman, put his notion interestingly. What do you think?

Know-Nothing Politics
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: August 7, 2008

So the G.O.P. has found its issue for the 2008 election. For the next three months the party plans to keep chanting: “Drill here! Drill now! Drill here! Drill now! Four legs good, two legs bad!” O.K., I added that last part.
Skip to next paragraph

And the debate on energy policy has helped me find the words for something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Republicans, once hailed as the “party of ideas,” have become the party of stupid.

Now, I don’t mean that G.O.P. politicians are, on average, any dumber than their Democratic counterparts. And I certainly don’t mean to question the often frightening smarts of Republican political operatives.

What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.”

In the case of oil, this takes the form of pretending that more drilling would produce fast relief at the gas pump. In fact, earlier this week Republicans in Congress actually claimed credit for the recent fall in oil prices: “The market is responding to the fact that we are here talking,” said Representative John Shadegg.

What about the experts at the Department of Energy who say that it would take years before offshore drilling would yield any oil at all, and that even then the effect on prices at the pump would be “insignificant”? Presumably they’re just a bunch of wimps, probably Democrats. And the Democrats, as Representative Michele Bachmann assures us, “want Americans to move to the urban core, live in tenements, take light rail to their government jobs.”

Is this political pitch too dumb to succeed? Don’t count on it.

Remember how the Iraq war was sold. The stuff about aluminum tubes and mushroom clouds was just window dressing. The main political argument was, “They attacked us, and we’re going to strike back” — and anyone who tried to point out that Saddam and Osama weren’t the same person was an effete snob who hated America, and probably looked French.

Let’s also not forget that for years President Bush was the center of a cult of personality that lionized him as a real-world Forrest Gump, a simple man who prevails through his gut instincts and moral superiority. “Mr. Bush is the triumph of the seemingly average American man,” declared Peggy Noonan, writing in The Wall Street Journal in 2004. “He’s not an intellectual. Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world.”

It wasn’t until Hurricane Katrina — when the heckuva job done by the man of whom Ms. Noonan said, “if there’s a fire on the block, he’ll run out and help” revealed the true costs of obliviousness — that the cult began to fade.

What’s more, the politics of stupidity didn’t just appeal to the poorly informed. Bear in mind that members of the political and media elites were more pro-war than the public at large in the fall of 2002, even though the flimsiness of the case for invading Iraq should have been even more obvious to those paying close attention to the issue than it was to the average voter.

Why were the elite so hawkish? Well, I heard a number of people express privately the argument that some influential commentators made publicly — that the war was a good idea, not because Iraq posed a real threat, but because beating up someone in the Middle East, never mind who, would show Muslims that we mean business. In other words, even alleged wise men bought into the idea of macho posturing as policy.

All this is in the past. But the state of the energy debate shows that Republicans, despite Mr. Bush’s plunge into record unpopularity and their defeat in 2006, still think that know-nothing politics works. And they may be right.

Sad to say, the current drill-and-burn campaign is getting some political traction. According to one recent poll, 69 percent of Americans now favor expanded offshore drilling — and 51 percent of them believe that removing restrictions on drilling would reduce gas prices within a year.

The headway Republicans are making on this issue won’t prevent Democrats from expanding their majority in Congress, but it might limit their gains — and could conceivably swing the presidential election, where the polls show a much closer race.

In any case, remember this the next time someone calls for an end to partisanship, for working together to solve the country’s problems. It’s not going to happen — not as long as one of America’s two great parties believes that when it comes to politics, stupidity is the best policy.

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nudgewink
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Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby nudgewink » 2008 Aug 09 14:26

Peggy Noonan wrote:Mr. Bush is the triumph of the seemingly average American man ...He’s not an intellectual. Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world.

Well, George W. Bush has clearly and deafeningly refuted that one for all time.

:wink: I don't know what's in that man's head. And I don't want to know. :wink2:

10thFO

Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby 10thFO » 2008 Aug 09 16:30

Wow another slight at GW Bush by a poster on this forum, whodathunkit in a post where UJI asked what people thought of the articles basis, "KnowNothingism". Guess it didn't get to far on this board to prove him right now did it Uji.

I would say he is right with his article. If you can't sell it in a thirty second ad, it has a snowballs chance in hell in catching on in this country anymore. The preferred newspaper for choice for most americans for the last 20 years was the USA Today, of course newspapers are only good for birdcages now, but USA Today was written in the aspect that it would resemble a TV Newscast. No really hardhitting stories. All the front pages were for short catchy ones, and then if you liked it, you may or may not find more on the inside pages. It was revolutionary for the newspaper business because they realized that most americans didn't have time to sit down and cipher through the entire paper anymore, they were competing against television, ie' it was no longer journalism, it was entertainment. Obviously newspapers have failed badly, and the American publics attention span get's shorter and shorter.

Politicians play for the sound bite. They don't offer up plans of substance, because they know that would get them bogged down, while their competition, brought out a mudslinging campaign against them. Obama's pledge not to play politics as usual was brilliant because one, he did it in the beginning, two, he knew that in the end to win he will/would have to get dirty, but if he flip flops on an issue as small as that, much less more important ones that are supposed to say what and who he is about, either his followers will forget or forgive him, because most Americans have the atttention span of a 5th grader with a bad case of ADD.

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fangz1956
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Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby fangz1956 » 2008 Aug 09 17:51

What gets a Know-nothing elected? Money and power

What keeps a Know-nothing in office? Money and power

The money and power in these cases do not necessarily belong to the Know-nothing him/herself, but rather to family connections, corporate lobbyists, and other special interest groups. The Know-nothing is merely a puppet whose strings are manipulated by "the man behind the curtain". Let's think about this for just a hot minute. We live in a nation where all of the major media outlets are controlled by approximately 5 people.........control of news and information. We live in a nation where we have a central bank..........a private one, at that.............control of cash flow and all money. We live in a nation where the group representing the major credit card companies had the power to rewrite the bankruptcy laws....................legally enforced poverty with no chance of a way out. We live in a nation where labor unions have been busted and we are returning to pre-Matewan days in the working world...............I owe my soul to the company store! We live in a nation where prisons are a lucrative and thriving business................lots of them filled with non-violent drug offenders.........................profitable slave labor force.

In the midst of all of this, one might ask where is the lobby that really represents John/Jane Q. Taxpayer? John and Jane ARE their own best lobbying group but alas, they seem to have forgotten all about that. They have been lulled by the media mirage of the American Dream and have fallen into the trap of material acquisition.

The way I see it: What we have in the White House and in Congress are the equivalent holographic images (OZ......the Great and Powerful) and the real winner is "the man behind the curtain". If the man pays enough money to the puppets, then he continues to run the show.......................no questions asked because he also control which questions can be asked. The puppets profit to a point and only materially. We must remember that which a man has to sell in order to keep his "public" office.......................his integrity, morality, compassion, and independent thought processes.


:2cent:
Ever looked at someone and thought "the wheel is turning but the hamster is dead"?

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Coondog
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Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby Coondog » 2008 Aug 11 10:39

10th wrote:most Americans have the atttention span of a 5th grader with a bad case of ADD.

Well......that about sums it up!

It puzzles me, though, that Krugman doesn't understand why the media failed to raise the nesessary skepticism over the Iraq intellegence (or lack thereof) data. Even my 5th grade, ADD riddled intellect can spot self serving sensationalism when I see it. And I see it all day long. War is the favorite stepchild of the media. CNN was born in the deserts of Kuwait when millions of 5th grade mentalities tuned in and skyrocketed their ratings......cause we just love to see stuff get blown up.

The very prospect of War gets the media avidly salivating with dreams of career enhancing interviews with anyone and everyone from politicians, pundits, experts, victims, victimizers.....and eventually, those who profited, stole and bamboozled an opportunistic fortune at the taxpayer's expense. Thanks a lot, CNN!

Of course, this applies equally to all broadcast and print media. Professional journalism has become so obscure and unappreciated, it is generally rendered moot by a simple alligation of "lacking patriotism". Give the people what they can digest: A war....a hurricane...a bus crash in Mississippi. Or an axe murder. Interview the mullet headded cousins & neighbors. "He was a Quiet Man!" Nothing makes the average American sit up straighter on the sofa than a lot of flashing red and blue lights at the head of a traffic snarl or scene of a senseless pit bull attack.

Yes, the sly ones behind the political facade know well the pandering, greedy, self aggrandizing nature of the media.....and they played 'em like a cheap ukulele.

Coondog :blob1:

Smarter than a 5th grader?
Last edited by Coondog on 2008 Aug 11 11:04, edited 1 time in total.

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Uji
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Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby Uji » 2008 Aug 11 10:52

I'm with you, CoonDog.

But what's with the whole media thing? I mean, why is the TV on constantly in most houses? Easy to imagine empty lives, no active mental life, etc. But is that it? We see the same apparent mindlessness in the music we listen to, the movies we watch, the books that fewer and fewer of us are reading...

Who's the chicken and who's the egg here? Know what I mean? Are we driving the media or the other way around? If it's a feedback loop, how do you stop it.

Are the pols just "victims" of the whole thing like the rest of us? If we're all victims, who/what is the victimizer?

Beats me.

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Wise One
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Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby Wise One » 2008 Aug 11 11:00

Uji wrote:Krugman, put his notion interestingly. What do you think?

As usual, Krugman hits a bulls-eye.

With the latest developments in Georgia, I cannot help noticing yet another in a nearly unbroken series of Bush failures. He has damaged American national security and freedom beyond even our wildest doubts and fears. His administration has demonstrated repeatedly that he knows even less than nothing ... what a bozo!

After Bush & Putin met, Bush emerged smiling, saying
George W. Bush wrote:"I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul."
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

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fangz1956
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Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby fangz1956 » 2008 Aug 11 11:44

Uji wrote:Are the pols just "victims" of the whole thing like the rest of us? If we're all victims, who/what is the victimizer? Beats me.

On that note, I will pose a question to the great thinkers and researchers in this thread. Who comprises the Trilateral Commission and the Council On Foreign Relations? Do you see their role as non-political in nature or are they really the "man behind the curtain"? I am curious as to your thoughts and insights on these questions as I know the thoughts of certain colleagues and friends and am not sure I'm buying what they're selling.......even though a lot of it makes complete sense.

:wink2:

OK......sorry, that's two questions rather than one.
Ever looked at someone and thought "the wheel is turning but the hamster is dead"?

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Amy Probenski
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Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby Amy Probenski » 2008 Aug 11 15:51

fangz1956 wrote:Who comprises the Trilateral Commission and the Council On Foreign Relations? Do you see their role as non-political in nature or are they really the "man behind the curtain"?

I thought their membership was pretty widely known, from the odd article I've seen here and there. Correct me if that's a mis-impression.

Few people know less about this that do I, but I am vaguely uneasy over groundless Conspiracy Theories that may lurk when I hear people whisper "Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, Carlyle Group, Rockefeller".

10thFO

Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby 10thFO » 2008 Aug 11 16:33

Wise One, I somehow fail to see how this Russian / Georgia escalation/Russian invasion is Bush's failure? He was being interviewed by freaking Bob Costas, a sports reporter, at an Olympic event about the escalation. He told Costas that "he told Putin, that he strongly discouraged the attack, as did the administration". What else did you think he was going to say? Somehow I think he could have performed live open heart surgery to save Costas and you would have found something wrong with it. "dance13"

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Wise One
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Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby Wise One » 2008 Aug 11 16:49

Here's my opinion on why Bush's many mistakes constitute a failure in this instance.

By diverting US resources and focus from genuinely important problems needing our constant attention, he has handed Putin a virtual guarantee that Russia is free to make whatever mischief it likes.

Putin can act in confidence that the United States will respond with nothing more than a little whining by Bush, between gymnastics and swimming events at the Olympics.

Bush has crippled the United States against substantive influence when credible action is required. His preference is wasting lives, power, and money on non-problems, rather than preserving adequate resources and credible power for vigorous and effective application to real problems when required.

Putin will get away with it, and it is partly Bush's fault for pursuing his folly in Iraq and withdrawing from the world of diplomacy for most of his two terms.

The result is a weaker Georgia, a weaker Europe, a weaker western alliance, and more difficulties with Russia in the future.

:usa2: Voters choosing Bush Republicans because they want "security" and "freedom" will get neither. :usa2:
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

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Coondog
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Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby Coondog » 2008 Aug 11 17:01

Ah....there it is again. Sports personality interviews President at a supposedly non-political sporting event over foreign relations policy and broadcast when? Between water polo and ultimate thumb wrestling?

Who has lower approval ratings? Bush or Costas?

I have no problem with Bush performing live open heart surgery on Costas......only......mixed feelings over 'successful' live open heart surgery.

Bush's problem with taking a credible stance with Russia is he has no credibility......and no higher ground from which to pontificate. How do you argue with preemptive first strikes when you invented the concept.

Costas may not have much clout, either!

Coondog :blob1:

Maybe we're just victimizing ourselves

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fangz1956
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Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby fangz1956 » 2008 Aug 11 17:32

Just for the record.....I knew the members of both groups before I posed my questions. Personally speaking, I don't buy 100% either what my friends and colleagues are selling or how these groups represent themselves to the general public. There is a tremendous amount of money, power, and influence between the two and that can always swing in the wrong direction.

:2cent:
Ever looked at someone and thought "the wheel is turning but the hamster is dead"?

10thFO

Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby 10thFO » 2008 Aug 11 19:35

What is the point of being in the United Nations, if they don't ever do a damn thing? The way this started off, it shouldn't have been much to it. It remains to be seen what will happen. But if the U.N. had any resolve whatsoever, they could make more than idle sanctions and threats. They never follow through with anything.

I didn't agree with the invasion because of WMD, but I agreed with the premise that the U.N. had done shit for over 10 years and still would do nothing soon. I realize you think it is wasted lives, and a Non'issue, but well, I don't totally agree with your assessment.

Coondog, please, Bush didn't invent Preemptive first strikes. If anything Clinton did when he bombed the apirin factory in Iraq. But that's not fair either. He didn't invent it either. Just because you don't like Bush doesn't mean you have to jump on the proverbial bandwagon with bashing him.

How about you all go back and look at the original post in this thread? Seems we can't keep it on topic can we? And we wonder why it always resorts in name calling.

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Wise One
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Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby Wise One » 2008 Aug 12 09:22

10thFO wrote:What is the point of being in the United Nations, if they don't ever do a damn thing? ... They never follow through with anything.

This refrain from righties rests on an essentially myopic view that "doing anything" means one and only one thing - aggressive and decisive use of military force to the benefit of the United States.

I will concede that, on this definition, the UN is relatively ineffective.

What I will not concede is that such a definition makes any sense, or that we ought to measure the effectiveness of the UN in those terms alone.

The real utility of the UN is that it provides a forum for nations to air their differences and to assist toward peaceful resolution of disputes, not always successfully but helpfully often enough to keep it going.

The UN also performs a number of useful technical functions that are international in their character. For example, the following specialized agencies of the UN perform useful technical and humanitarian services to all nations of the world:

  • International Atomic Energy Agency
  • International Civil Aviation Organization
  • International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • International Maritime Organization
  • International Telecommunication Union
  • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  • Universal Postal Union (UPU)
  • World Bank
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  • World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

:wink2: I went deer hunting wearing my blue helmet - didn't see a single deer. Now that's peace-keeping! :wink2:
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

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Coondog
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Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby Coondog » 2008 Aug 12 16:09

10thFO wrote: Just because you don't like Bush doesn't mean you have to jump on the proverbial bandwagon with bashing him.


It is the duty of all citizens, irrespective of party, to denounce, and, so far as may be, to punish crimes against the public on the part of politicians or officials.

Theodore Roosevelt said that.

I'm not jumping on the bandwagon, I've been on the bandwagon since it left the barn. And it's not so much about not liking Bush. I'm sure he's a lot of fun with a bottle of Tequila in a game of Spoons. And, were I a mule, I'd surely admire his uncompromising stubborness. It's more a matter of the observation that his administration, ideology and policies, both foreign & domestic.......suck!

My reference to lack of credibility stems from, among a bushel of other things, his admonition to the Russians over invading a soverign country and what is acceptable in the 21st Century. Yeah, I know he was talking about a country with a democratic government.....but, that's what makes him so incredulous. Presumably, it's OK to invade soverign countries whose politics don't mirror ours. But, of course, that presumption only applies to us. It doesn't take a genius to recognize the satyrical irony. I've been hearing this same double standard jibberish for almost 8 years and I consider challenging every word of it a civic responsibility. If I can interject my own satyrical irony, so much the better.

Coondog :joker:

"Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." --Thomas Jefferson

10thFO

Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby 10thFO » 2008 Aug 12 17:04

Wise One the U.N. is so ineffective, it is ridiculous, why it still stands to this day is rather disheartening. Who is served by it? Their issues with the Food program is abysmal, and no other countries abide by their desires or wishes. It is a paper puppet and that's all it is. Go back and look at their aid record in Somalia. They couldn't do crap without the U.S.'s intervention. Then when the Pakistani's got wiped out, they decided to go on a manhunt. Rest is history, and so has their organization after that.

Coondog, we're all entitled to our opinions, but the fact of the matter is, that Iraq had been warned and rewarned and overwarned since we left the Gulf region after 1991. So there is a quite a bit of difference between your theory of invading a soveriegn nation, just because they are democrat of whatever. The difference is tatamount to this conversation, but unless you are older than 36 I would imagine you would have a hard time understanding that, unless you were/are a scholar of American/Middle East history.

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Wise One
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Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby Wise One » 2008 Aug 13 00:39

Thank you for providing a perfect example of Know-Nothingism. You have crystallized the problem perfectly.

On the other hand, sweeping and dismissive generalities are impossible to reply to usefully, kind of like a "bah humbug" by Scrooge at Christmas.

For example, I would pretty much turn off if people would say:

  • "close the hospitals, them doctors is useless, people just keep dying there"; or
  • "the schools is lousy, I ain't payin' no more taxes for money down a rat hole"; or
  • "don't spend no more my tax dollars for medical research, all that money and total failure to cure cancer and heart disease, people just keep gettin' sick 'n dyin' anyway"; or
  • "damn police, drivin' their big cars around all day eatin' donuts, and they's still robberies 'n muggings 'n rapes 'n killings by the thousands. Ridiculous, paper puppets, get rid of 'em!"
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

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Uji
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Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby Uji » 2008 Aug 13 10:12

Right-on, WiseOne.

We only assume that waste, inefficiency, and messiness are evidence of failure when we are dealing with something we don't like for some other reason. Everything we humans do is wasteful, inefficient, and messy. When we like the thing that's doing it, we just call it "collateral damage", or "the cost of doing business", etc. When applied to something we don't like for some other reason, we call it an evidence of uselessness and failure.

The war in Iraq is wasteful, inefficient, messy, and has failed to accomplish even the limited goals that were put forth for it (eliminate WMDs, make us safer from Terrorists, etc.). Yet, 10thFO, I don't hear you saying that it was useless, and why hadn't it been done away with before now, etc.

Come on, what's fair for the goose is fair for the gander...

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Coondog
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Re: Know-Nothingism

Postby Coondog » 2008 Aug 13 12:11

10th Wrote:The difference is tatamount to this conversation, but unless you are older than 36 I would imagine you would have a hard time understanding that, unless you were/are a scholar of American/Middle East history.


Yeah. Well, I'm a lot older than 36 and have learned a lot about American/MiddleEast history since 1991. Yet, how is it I remember the reasons Bush I didn't "finish the job" and topple Hussein, but no one who supports every stupid move Bush II makes seems to have conveniently forgotten.

Regardless of how misled we have been over WMDs, or how outraged we are over Saddam's retaliation against the
Kurds (which we condoned for 15 years) he was a stabalizing force in the region. He kept the waring factions in his own country under control as well as a deterrant to the aspirations of Iraq......by exaggerating his capabilities. Oh, but George Bush knew this.....he just chose to ignore it operating on the most questionable of evidence and demanding Hussein hand over WMDs he didn't have. The UN inspectors on the ground at the time were, as I recall, forced to evacuate so that we could enforce UN sanctions....without the UN's approval. Then, planting a fake letter connecting Saddam & Al Quaeda? That's pathetic!!!!!

What is the UN good for? An excuse!

So, why invade a soverign country in spite of the fact we had an Iraqi General telling us Iraq's WMD program was a hoax? The petulance of a 5 year old or the the interests of corporate intities close to Bush & Cheney....or both? Well......who's profited the most? Need I say more?

Or, maybe none of the above. Maybe just political expediency. War President has a more appealing ring to it than Inneffective Wimp President. But, there is no sane rationale, for the hogwash about keeping America safe, liberating the Iraqi people....establishing a democracy....blah, blah, blah!

One who is supportive of Bush may choose to ignore all of the evidence that the justifications for the invasion were fabricated......after all, ignoring evidence and refusal to accept facts is the proceedural doctrine......ain't it.

And, what about the Troops? Our Troops! Surely, only an elite liberal pinko could have failed to recognize the burning desire and willingness of our Military and National Guard to lay their lives on the line for a twisted political ideology in Iraq.
Not that they had any choice. I suppose the idea of spreading freedom and keeping America safe is more palatable than the truth, though. It still seems to be working for about 20% of the people here. Might not the Russians, emulating the Bush doctrine, similarly claim to be acting as a matter of National Security?

C'mon! "So there is a quite a bit of difference between your theory of invading a soveriegn nation, just because they are democrat of whatever." Really? I fail to see the distinction!

Coondog :joker:

....still, younger than McCain!