Tag Archives: liz cheney

Shillgate Denialism: why the rightwing Republican corporate shills aren’t getting traction with ‘climategate’

While our friends at redstate Trike Force HQ and elsewhere are busy prostituting themselves to corporations that profit greatly from selling dinosaur era fuel, all their jumping up and down is profiting them little.

They think they have debunked the climate change ‘myth’ conclusively. They are of course wrong, but, trapped in their self amplifying echo chamber, they are largely oblivious to this particular aspect of reality. Of course, they do believe the “MSM” (“main stream media”) are playing their obvious role in the international conspiracy to trick the public into believing in AGW (anthropogenic global warming). Their explanations of the motivations for the vast green conspiracy were always vague and nebulous, but lately seem to revolve around some sort of scheme to enrich Al Gore.

Environmental issues are probably not in and of themselves election deciders for most people. However, they are a strong, if sometimes less attended to, undercurrent that helps shape not only how people vote in individual elections, but also the very foundation of their worldview. This is another in a long string of societal questions that the rightwingers and Republicans have been on the wrong side of.

By attempting to appear credible while obtusely denying global scientific consensus, they are loosing not only a generation of young people who are still working out where they stand socially and politically and who care about climate change — they are also hurting their ethos with others and, even more broadly damaging, they are yet again showing themselves to be completely lacking in intellectual honesty and any interest in rational civic discourse.

So how do progressives, liberals and like minded Democrats respond to this epochal rightwing and Republican failure? Satire, mockery and ridicule.

I read or heard this description recently, but I can’t recall the source: the rightwingers and Republicans have been reduced to a coalition of cynical liars and the willfully ignorant. Neither segment of the alliance is very open to reason and persuasion.

But we’re not trying to appeal to them. Max Bumenthal provides a good description of the sado masochistic impulses that propel so many of them to a rightist authoritarian world view. They are the 20-25% who love the Cheney family television road show and think Bush was the most bestest president since St Ronald the Dyed and they are a lost cause.

However, there’s a much more amorphous and ill defined group, including many younger people, who either have not formulated their worldview or who are true independents and can, at least potentially, vote for either party or even a third one.

This group is open to reason and persuasion — we persuade them by being reasonable. And, at this point in the rightwing and Republican devolution, the reasonable response is satire, mockery and ridicule.

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Loose lips

The Hill reports this morning that Republicans are telling tales out of school regarding information from a closed, and ostensibly secret, House intelligence committee briefing.

“Based on what I heard and the documents I have seen, I came away with a very clear impression that we did gather information that did disrupt terrorist plots,” [Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.)] said.

Sounds like a clear, unequivocal declaration, no? Or maybe more like a carefully parsed, cya muddle of weasel words…?

I don’t know much about Kline, but he was backing up Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), who, along with most Republicans, doesn’t have much credibility on the matter of criticizing the veracity of the CIA.

The Republicans in congress also include members who claim — including Hoekstra — we found wmd in Iraq, that evolution is suspect and that climate change due to global warming is a vast left wing scientific community anti capitalist scam.

As The Hill article makes clear, this ties back to the flap over Nancy Pelosi’s claim that the CIA misled her regarding the use of waterboarding as well as former president vice president Dick Cheney’s claim that there are documents proving that torture yielded evidence that foiled terrorist plots.

Of course, senator Carl Levin (D-Mich) strongly disputed that claim. This is of course subjective, but, as far as I’m concerned, Levin beats Cheney hands down in a contest over credibility any day of the week.

The Democrats in congress should open everything up for review, including what the CIA said to who and when. The fact that they’re not doing so could indicate some complicity in the torture question.

But even if some, uh, past flexibility, on the issue would come to light a a result of full disclosure, they would still be better served by that tack than they are by keeping mum on the issue and letting the Republicans make claims they are unwilling to refute.

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What are they thinking…?

Or, are they even thinking, for more than a nanosecond, at all?

Even before news leaked concerning the announcement of Sonia Sotomayor as Obama’s Supreme Court pick, conservatives were “spoiling” for a
SCOTUS fight
. A fight based not on the views, history, ideology or any personal characteristics or beliefs of the nominee, but instead based purely, and proudly, on nothing but obstructionism.

Okay, fair enough. But they are just proving, yet again, that the “party of the future” is astoundingly, historically, tragically — and now farcically — tone deaf.

After their trenchant criticism of Pelosi, they are now going to trash a latina — proving that losing the latino/a vote for a few generations isn’t enough of an epic fail and they really want to see just how many women they can also drive away from their Republican party. To be sure, some Republicans attempt to slow the train ride, if only just a little bit, to oblivion. There are two example from, of all places, Utah: Jon Huntsman and Jason Chaffetz.

But, even such strongly right leaning moderation, despite its relative popularity outside the echo chamber, is not viewed favorably within the asylum.

There’s always an a chance they will suffer a sudden, if momentary, attack of rationality, but I’m not sure how likely that is. They of course hold up Sarah Palin and Liz Cheney as proof that some of their best friends candidates and pundits are women. They can even bring forth Michael Steele, now with more mojo, if not actual control or respect from the RNC committeemen, to show how much “urban-suburban hip-hop” street cred they can boast.

But with party back benchers calling for an end to “birthright citizenship” because they fear the wrong sorts of people are taking unfair advantage, and their treatment of strong women who make them feel weak, the likely coming ruthless attacks on Sotomayor are not going to do much for their long term viability.

But still, they can always count on the unwavering support, as David Neiwart writes, of their base.

Update: Judicial Watch and redstate are already on the attack.

Update II: Glenn Greenwald writes approvingly of the pick.

Update III: Huffington Post takes down a ridiculous lie the right wingers have been spewing.

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Competing realities and divergent uptakes

If you need any more proof that human perception of reality is partial, in both senses of the word, look at the varying ways people of differing political and ideological inclinations subjectively perceive events.

People with different, especially opposing, points of view can look at the same event and come away with diametrically opposed opinions of what took place. And if the event is a disputatious interaction involving one actor they identify with and another actor they most assuredly do not identify with, then their — our — perceptions of what happened and who ‘won’ can be particularly divergent.

Take for instance two recent interactions getting attention in both left and right online communities: an exchange between Al Gore and Republican congresswoman Marsha Blackburn and an exchange between Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz and MSNBC host Nora O’Donnell.

Posters and commenters on the right think Cheney and Blackburn were without doubt the clear victors while their counterparts on the left are equally certain that the exact opposite is true. I, not surprisingly, am in the latter camp but a Google search shows how contested the perceptions are.

Do I think people on the right are lying or somehow disingenuously spinning just to put a happy face on what they in fact know are defeats for their champions?

No, I do not. I think they are just as sure that the people advocating their worldview ‘won’ as I am that they were smacked down. Why is this?

It’s probably because, while we see the same interactions, we see them very, very differently. One commenter at NationalJournal.com was so angry, he wrote the following:

Listen to youself Nora, you should lined up against a wall and shot.
Thomas J Smith | April 24, 2009 8:45 PM

It seems clear to me that Blackburn and Cheney received smack downs and did not make their points. But someone on the right would almost certainly think the opposite. We watch and interpret the interactions with different sets of filters, already held beliefs, biases and presuppositions that affect the way we take up the exchanges.

A couple of questions emerge:

  • how do people on with different worldviews even talk to each other rationally, let alone engage in civic and civil debate, when such broad gulfs separate our perceptions?
  • how does each side best convince moderates that their interpretation of events is accurate and the alternative interpretation is flawed?

Regarding the second question, it seems clear that we on the left are winning over enough moderates that our interpretations prevail, just as the opposite had been the case in previous times. But, as that history of varying fortunes for both those on the left and the right indicates, we cannot presume that the current ascendancy of the left will morph into a permanent state of affairs.

That means that the first question is, ultimately, the most relevant. There will always be those, like the 20-30% who still believe dubya was the best president ever, who will never be open to persuasion from the left. But there are right leaning moderates who can be reached. Not catered to, but convinced.

It should be a long term project for us on the left to persuade people in this group that they should cleave themselves from the dead enders on the extreme right and come back to the idea that compromise is not capitulation.

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